WXMI
CityGrand Rapids, Michigan
Channels
BrandingFox 17 West Michigan; Fox 17 News
Programming
Affiliations
Ownership
Owner
History
FoundedJune 1, 1981
First air date
March 18, 1982 (42 years ago) (1982-03-18)
Former call signs
WWMA-TV (1982–1983)
Former channel number(s)
Analog: 17 (UHF, 1982–2009)
Independent (1982–1987)
Call sign meaning
"Across West Michigan" (callsign predated Fox's launch by three years)
Technical information[1]
Licensing authority
FCC
Facility ID68433
ERP725 kW
HAAT306 m (1,004 ft)
Transmitter coordinates42°41′15″N 85°31′57″W / 42.68750°N 85.53250°W / 42.68750; -85.53250
Translator(s)
Links
Public license information
Websitewww.fox17online.com

WXMI (channel 17) is a television station licensed to Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States, serving West Michigan as an affiliate of the Fox network. Owned by the E. W. Scripps Company, the station maintains studios on Plaza Drive (near M-37) on the northern side of Grand Rapids, and its transmitter is located southwest of Middleville.

History

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The station signed on the air on March 18, 1982,[2] as an independent station under the call sign WWMA, standing for "West Michigan's Alternative" (as it was the first locally based independent station in the market not associated with a religious organization). The station was founded and originally owned by Heritage Broadcasting Company. Approximately a year after signing on, additional shareholders bought control of the station and changed the call sign to the current WXMI on August 15, 1983. In 1987, WXMI signed an affiliation deal to become the market's Fox affiliate; it joined the network on April 9, 1987, when Fox expanded its programming offerings to include prime time programming. In 1989, the station's stock was purchased by a New York-based company headed by Robert Dudley called Odyssey Television Partners.

WXMI logo used from 1999 to April 20, 2009.

Nine years later, WXMI was purchased by Indianapolis-based Emmis Communications, which traded the station with sister KTZZ in Seattle to Tribune Broadcasting in 1998 in exchange for FM station WQCD in New York City.

Aborted acquisition by Sinclair Broadcast Group and resale to Standard Media Group

On May 8, 2017, Hunt Valley, Maryland-based Sinclair Broadcast Group entered into an agreement to acquire Tribune Media for $3.9 billion, plus the assumption of $2.7 billion in debt held by Tribune. Sinclair was precluded from acquiring WXMI directly, as it already owned CBS affiliate WWMT (channel 3).[3][4][5][6][7] On April 24, 2018, Sinclair announced that it would sell WXMI and eight other stations – Sinclair-operated KOKH-TV in Oklahoma City, WRLH-TV in Richmond, KDSM-TV in Des Moines, WOLF-TV (along with LMA partners WSWB and WQMY) in ScrantonWilkes-Barre and WXLV-TV in Greensboro/Winston-SalemHigh Point, and Tribune-owned WPMT in York, Pennsylvania – to Standard Media Group (an independent broadcast holding company formed by private equity firm Standard General to assume ownership of and absolve ownership conflicts involving the aforementioned stations) for $441.1 million.[8][9][10][11][12]

Tribune terminated the Sinclair deal on August 9, 2018, and filed a breach of contract lawsuit, three weeks after the FCC's July 18 vote to have the deal reviewed by an administrative law judge amid "serious concerns" about Sinclair's forthrightness in its applications to sell certain conflict properties; the sale to Standard Media was also cancelled, as it was predicated on the closure of the Sinclair–Tribune merger.[13][14][15][16][17][18]

Sale to Scripps

On December 3, 2018, Irving, Texas–based Nexstar Media Group announced it would acquire the assets of Tribune Media for $6.4 billion in cash and debt. Nexstar was precluded from acquiring WXMI directly or indirectly, as it already owned NBC affiliate WOOD-TV (channel 8), MyNetworkTV affiliate WXSP-CD (channel 15), and Battle Creek–based ABC affiliate WOTV (channel 41).[19][20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27][28] On March 20, 2019, the Cincinnati-based E. W. Scripps Company announced it would purchase WXMI from Nexstar upon consummation of the merger, as part of the company's sale of nineteen Nexstar- and Tribune-operated stations to Scripps and Tegna Inc. in separate deals worth $1.32 billion;[29][30] the sale was completed on September 19, 2019.[31]

News operation

WXMI presently broadcasts 68+12 hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 11+12 hours each weekday and 5+12 hours each on Saturdays and Sundays). In regards to the number of hours devoted to news programming, it is the highest local newscast output of any television station in the Grand Rapids market.

On January 11, 1999, WXMI started its news department and launched the market's first prime time newscast at 10 p.m. It originally aired for 35 minutes on weeknights and for a half-hour on weekends. The program would expand to a full hour seven nights a week in 2004. On August 28, 2006, the station premiered the Fox 17 Morning News. Originally a two-hour-long broadcast, it expanded to four hours (running from 5 to 9 a.m.) on September 15, 2008. On April 17, 2009, WXMI became the first station in West Michigan to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition; at the time, WOOD-TV and ABC affiliates WZZM (channel 13) and WOTV produced their newscasts in merely widescreen enhanced-definition (WWMT became the second station in the market to upgrade to HD newscasts on April 16, 2011, followed by WOOD-TV/WOTV on October 22, 2011, and finally, by WZZM on December 3, 2011). On April 20, 2011, during the weekday morning show, the station officially unveiled a new logo, graphics, music package ("The Unexpected" by 615 Music), and set.

On September 21, 2009, WXMI debuted an hour-long newscast at 6 p.m. that competes against half-hour newscasts on WWMT, WOOD-TV, and WZZM and their national network evening newscasts.[32] On March 7, 2011, the station debuted an hour-long lifestyle program at weeknights 5 p.m. called The One Seven; the final broadcast of the program aired only five months later on August 19, 2011. It was hosted by Michele DeSelms and Tim Doty and featured lifestyle segments, art, entertainment stories, cooking segments and some local news.[33] The program was replaced by a traditional hour-long local newscast at 5 p.m. (which debuted without any promotion) on August 22, 2011. On March 2, 2013, WXMI debuted weekend morning newscasts, running for four hours from 5 to 9 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. The station added a nightly 11 p.m. newscast on June 2, 2014; a promo for the new newscast references the shift from the common Fox affiliate news tagline of "at 10 (o'clock) it's news, at 11 (o'clock) it's history," with the additional wording "we changed our mind." A 4 p.m. newscast debuted on September 8, 2014.[34]

Notable former on-air staff

Technical information

Subchannels

The station's signal is multiplexed:

Subchannels of WXMI[36]
Channel Res. Aspect Short name Programming
17.1 720p 16:9 FOX17DT Main WXMI programming / Fox
17.2 480i Antenna Antenna TV
17.3 Bounce Bounce TV
17.4 TruReal Defy TV
17.5 GetTV getTV
17.6 ShopLC Shop LC

From August 2006 to September 2007, The Tube aired on the station's second digital subchannel. In July 2010, the station reactivated its second digital subchannel to carry This TV, which moved to a new third subchannel on December 9 in anticipation of the December 31 launch of Antenna TV. In October 2019, WXMI-DT3 switched to Court TV (a network owned by Scripps sister company Katz Broadcasting), though it was a move planned by Tribune even before WXMI's sale to Scripps.

Analog-to-digital conversion

WXMI shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 17, on June 12, 2009, as part of the federally mandated transition from analog to digital television.[37] The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 19,[38] using virtual channel 17.

Translators

In addition to its main signal, the station also operates two translators, mainly to provide clear service of the station to lakeshore cities with varying terrain blocking reception of the main signal, and to address interference in farther portions of the market by former sister station WGN-TV from Chicago, which also broadcasts its digital signal on UHF channel 19. Two additional transmitters in the southern part of the market, officially classed as WXMI digital repeaters, serve the direct Kalamazoo area on channel 30 from the tower of WGVU-TV's Kalamazoo satellite WGVK, along with a second repeater licensed to Battle Creek on channel 17 transmitting from the city's south side; all four translators carry WXMI and its subchannel services, and all map via PSIP to channel 17. As of 2021, the six-station repeater network of WXSP-CD also carries 17.1 in the ATSC 3.0 format across West Michigan. This means it is possible for a television or receiver in the Grand Rapids market receiving an over-the-air signal to map out up to eleven different versions of WXMI's channel 17.1 on its channel map.

W42CB (channel 42) completed a flash-cut to digital-only broadcasting in November 2010. W52DB on analog channel 52 was replaced by a digital signal on channel 17 in December 2010. In late June 2011, the W52DB calls became W17DF-D. In mid-March 2019, W17DF-D moved from channel 17 to channel 18.[39]

References

  1. ^ "Facility Technical Data for WXMI". Licensing and Management System. Federal Communications Commission.
  2. ^ Miller, Bill (March 19, 1982). "Channel 17 is finally on the air". Battle Creek Enquirer. pp. A-1, A-2. Retrieved July 2, 2021.
  3. ^ Battaglio, Stephen (May 8, 2017). "Sinclair Broadcast Group to buy Tribune Media for $3.9 billion plus debt". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 6, 2017.
  4. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (May 8, 2017). "Sinclair Broadcast Group Sets $3.9 Billion Deal to Acquire Tribune Media". Variety. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved June 6, 2017.
  5. ^ Frankel, Todd (May 8, 2017). "Sinclair Broadcast to buy Tribune Media for $3.9 billion, giving it control over 215 local TV stations". The Washington Post. Nash Holdings, LLC. Retrieved June 6, 2017.
  6. ^ Baker, Liana; Toonkel, Jessica (May 7, 2017). "Sinclair Broadcast nears deal for Tribune Media". Reuters. Retrieved June 6, 2017.
  7. ^ Jessell, Harry A.; Miller, Mark K. (May 8, 2017). "The New Sinclair: 72% Coverage + WGNA". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheck Media.
  8. ^ Jessell, Harry A. (April 24, 2018). "Sinclair Spins Off 23 TVs To Grease Trib Deal". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheck Media. Retrieved April 25, 2018.
  9. ^ "Sinclair Enters Into Agreements to Sell TV Stations Related to Closing Tribune Media Acquisition" (PDF) (Press release). Sinclair Broadcast Group. April 24, 2018. Retrieved April 25, 2018.
  10. ^ "Sinclair Revises TV Spinoff Plans For Tribune Deal, Announces Deals For Several Stations". All Access. April 24, 2018. Retrieved April 25, 2018.
  11. ^ "Station Trading Roundup: 7 Deals, $571.7M". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheck Media. May 1, 2018. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  12. ^ "Form of Transition Services Agreement". Federal Communications Commission. April 30, 2018. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  13. ^ "Tribune Terminates $3.9 Billion Sinclair Merger, Sues Broadcast Rival". The Wall Street Journal. News Corp. August 9, 2018.
  14. ^ Miller, Mark K. (August 9, 2018). "Tribune Kills Sinclair Merger, Files Suit". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheck Media.
  15. ^ Dinsmore, Christopher (August 9, 2018). "Tribune Media pulls out of Sinclair Broadcast merger". Baltimore Sun. Tronc.
  16. ^ Lee, Edmund; Tsang, Amie (August 9, 2018). "Tribune Ends Deal With Sinclair, Dashing Plan for Conservative TV Behemoth". The New York Times.
  17. ^ Lafayette, Jon (August 9, 2018). "Tribune Ends Deal with Sinclair, Files Breach of Contract Suit". Broadcasting & Cable. NewBay Media.
  18. ^ Fung, Brian; Romm, Tony (August 9, 2018). "Tribune withdraws from Sinclair merger, saying it will sue for 'breach of contract'". The Washington Post. Nash Holdings LLC.
  19. ^ "Acquisition of Tribune Media Company" (PDF). Nexstar Media Group. December 3, 2018.
  20. ^ Miller, Mark K. (December 3, 2018). "Nexstar Buying Tribune Media For $6.4 Billion". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheck Media.
  21. ^ White, Peter; Hayes, Dade (December 3, 2018). "Nexstar Confirms $4.1B Tribune Media Acquisition To Become Leading Local TV Station Owner". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Media Corporation.
  22. ^ Smith, Gerry; Ahmed, Nabila; Newcomer, Eric (December 3, 2018). "Nexstar to buy WGN owner Tribune Media for $4.1 billion". Chicago Tribune. Tribune Publishing. Bloomberg News.
  23. ^ Panchadar, Arjun; Rai, Sonam (December 3, 2018). "Nexstar to buy Tribune Media for $4.1 billion". Reuters.
  24. ^ Lafayette, Jon (December 3, 2018). "Nexstar Announces Deal to Buy Tribune for $6.4B". Broadcasting & Cable. NewBay Media.
  25. ^ Jacobson, Adam (December 3, 2018). "It's Official: Nexstar Takes Tribune In Billion-Dollar Stock Deal". Radio-Television Business Report. Streamline-RBR, Inc.
  26. ^ Jessell, Harry A.; Miller, Mark K. (December 3, 2018). "Nexstar To Spin Off $1B In Stations". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheck Media.
  27. ^ "Nexstar Media Group Enters into Definitive Agreement to Acquire Tribune Media Company for $6.4 Billion in Accretive Transaction Creating the Nation's Largest Local Television Broadcaster and Local Media Company". Nexstar Media Group. December 3, 2018. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
  28. ^ "Nexstar Media Group Enters Into Definitive Agreement To Acquire Tribune Media Company". Tribune Media. December 3, 2018. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
  29. ^ Miller, Mark K. (March 20, 2019). "Nexstar Selling 19 TVs In 15 Markets For $1.32B". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheck Media.
  30. ^ Ahmed, Nabila; Sakoui, Anousha (March 20, 2019). "Nexstar to Sell Stations to Tegna, Scripps for $1.32 Billion". Bloomberg News. Bloomberg, L.P.
  31. ^ "TODAY.... Nexstar Takes Control of Tribune — FTVLive".
  32. ^ WXMI-TV Fox 17 adds 6 p.m. newscast starting Sept. 21, MLive.com, September 10, 2009.
  33. ^ Fox-17's 'One Seven' co-hosts Michelle DeSelms and Tim Doty ease into new afternoon show, The Grand Rapids Press, March 18, 2011.
  34. ^ Kaczmarczyk, Jeffrey (May 22, 2014). "FOX 17 announces plans to air news at 11 p.m. in West Michigan". The Grand Rapids Press. Retrieved May 22, 2014.
  35. ^ "NBC Sports Bay Area's Ahmed Fareed Named National Studio and Event Host for NBC Sports". NBC Sports Pressbox. February 5, 2019.
  36. ^ "RabbitEars TV Query for WXMI". RabbitEars.
  37. ^ List of Digital Full-Power Stations
  38. ^ CDBS Print
  39. ^ "FCC TV Query Results W17DF-D". Retrieved March 14, 2019.
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