WTAE-TV

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WTAE-TV
Image:WTAE PGH sm.jpg
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

<tr><th style="vertical-align: top; text-align: right;">Branding</th><td style="text-align: left;">Channel 4</td></tr><tr><th style="vertical-align: top; text-align: right;">Slogan</th><td style="text-align: left;">Where YOU come FIRST</td></tr>

Channels 4 (VHF) analog,
51 (UHF) digital
Affiliations ABC
Owner Hearst-Argyle Television
Founded September 14, 1958

<tr><th style="vertical-align: top; text-align: right;">Call letters meaning</th><td style="text-align: left;">We're Taking Action Everywhere</td></tr><tr><th style="vertical-align: top; text-align: right;">Former affiliations</th><td style="text-align: left;">None</td></tr> <tr><th style="vertical-align: top; text-align: right;">Website</th><td style="text-align: left;">www.thepittsburghchannel.com</td></tr>

WTAE-TV, "Channel 4" is the ABC affiliate serving the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Wheeling/Steubenville and Clarksburg/Weston market areas. Its transmitter is located in Buena Vista, Pennsylvania.

Contents

[edit] History

Channel 4, originally allocated to Irwin, Pennsylvania, was a late addition to the Pittsburgh market's TV channels, reportedly due to political pressure from Pittsburgh mayor David L. Lawrence, who is said to have petitioned the FCC relentlessly for a fourth VHF channel in the area. It is short-spaced to other Channel 4 stations in Columbus, Ohio and Buffalo, New York, with the tower located southeast of the city as a result.

WTAE-TV signed on the air on September 14, 1958 as Pittsburgh's ABC affiliate. From the beginning, it has been owned by the Hearst Corporation (now Hearst-Argyle Television), which purchased the station's former sister radio station, WCAE/WTAE Radio, in 1931. The radio station is now WEAE, and is owned by ABC/Disney as part of the ESPN Radio network.

Along with Pittsburgh, WTAE has also served as the ABC affiliate for the Johnstown/Altoona, Wheeling, West Virginia, and Clarksburg/Weston, West Virginia television markets (all of which could receive WTAE as a grade B signal). With WTAE having long been one of ABC's strongest affiliates, both parties reportedly resisted efforts by other TV stations in those cities to obtain a full-time ABC affiliation, although one was eventually granted to Altoona's channel 23. WTAE is still available on cable in Johnstown, Altoona, and throughout northern West Virginia today.

As an ABC affiliate, from the early 1970s until the late 1990s, the station pre-empted about a quarter of ABC's programming (most notably the now-defunct ABC soap opera Port Charles) causing those shows to not be seen in the Pittsburgh, Johnstown/Altoona and Wheeling markets. They also preempted ABC shows that aired in the 12 p.m. time slot for local news. In the mid-1980s until the mid-1990s WTAE also did not carry shows in the 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. At one point in 1976, they sliced off two hours (2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.) of ABC's late afternoon lineup for "Dinah!" and the reruns of The Brady Bunch and Bewitched, respectively.

In June 1992, the station expanded its news production, adding a Saturday morning newscast from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (matching WPXI's Saturday morning newscast of the same length which they began in 1990) and a three-hour Sunday morning newscast. The station also extended its weekday early evening newscast to begin at 5 p.m., and began to air a weekday morning newscast from 5 to 7 a.m. At that time WTAE dropped the entire ABC Saturday Morning cartoon lineup.

Beginning in 1996 though WTAE began to run two hours of cartoons from ABC in the 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. Sunday morning timeslot, replacing religious shows. In 1997 They expanded Sunday Morning News by an hour. At that time they moved their Saturday morning newscast to 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. They then began running two hours of ABC Cartoons from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. under the One Saturday Morning banner. By 2000 WTAE was running four out of five hours of the ABC cartoon lineup.

WTAE continued preempting Home after it became known as Mike & Maty. When Mike & Maty were replaced with Carolyn and Marilyn in 1996, WTAE still did not run it. Finally after that show was replaced by The View, WTAE added that in the fall of 1998 in pattern.

The 12:30 p.m. show which was Loving continued to be preempted after it morphed into The City in 1995. In 1997, when that was canceled for Port Charles, WTAE continued to preempt the show. In the fall of 2002, Port Charles was canceled nationally and that time was given back to affiliates. WTAE was also one of many ABC stations that pre-empted the special showing of Saving Private Ryan late in 2004 due to scares that the Federal Communications Commission would impose a fine on them if they had aired the World War II movie due to the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show controversy earlier that year; it was later determined that the movie showing was not a violation of FCC regulations. TNT currently has the United States broadcast and cable rights.

Today, WTAE runs nearly the entire ABC schedule, pre-empting only one hour of cartoons on weekends. The station cut back its Saturday morning newscast to three hours, but it still runs a news-intensive schedule, alongside its top-rated syndicated first-run talk shows.

Having long been second-fiddle to KDKA-TV in the ratings, WTAE has made some strides in recent years, even passing up KDKA on some occasions. However, WTAE has decreased dramatically in the mornings, and during the May 2006 Nielsen rating period, was only able to claim sole victory at 5 a.m.

On Monday, June 5, 2006, long-time anchor Scott Baker was demoted from his spot at noon and 5 p.m. and replaced by morning anchor Wendy Bell at 5 p.m. and Michelle Wright at Noon. Baker has left the station as a result.

[edit] Trivia

  • In 1972, WTAE sportscaster Myron Cope coined the phrase "The Immaculate Reception" to describe Franco Harris' miraculous, running shoestring catch that gave the Pittsburgh Steelers a 13-7 playoff victory over the Oakland Raiders.
  • On April 24th, 1980, WTAE personality Nick Perry, who hosted Bowling for Dollars and also called the lottery drawings for the Pennsylvania Lottery, fixed the PA Lottery's Daily Number so that the drawing could come up as "666". Perry would eventually serve jail time, and the drawings were moved from WTAE to WHP-TV in Harrisburg a year later. This resulted in lotteries now being audited and monitored with "witnesses" from the government and/or accounting firms hired by them, and also inspired the movie Lucky Numbers. In addition, KDKA now airs the PA Lottery drawings in the Pittsburgh market instead of WTAE.
  • During the 1980s, WTAE adopted Hello News, which gave it the most elaborate commercial of any Pittsburgh tv channel and access to the Hello News jingle, which was tailored to the Pittsburgh market as it had been for other markets. The promotional material included an elaborate montage of clips interspersing station personalities with local celebrities, the city's winning sports teams, and well-known local images and landscapes. As with other Hello News sites, this was an effort to capitalize on the strong locale identity. "There's a feeling in the air / That you can't get anywhere / Except in Pittsburgh /.... / Where the sunsets glow and where three rivers flow / We're all just neighbors passing by / Makes no difference where I go / You're the best hometown I know / Hello, Pittsburgh / Hello, Pittsburgh / Channel 4 loves you."

[edit] Newscasts

Weekdays

  • Action News This Morning - 5 a.m. to 7 a.m.- Andrew Stockey and Kelly Frey with news, Demetrius Ivory with weather and Melaine Taylor with traffic
  • Action News at Noon - 12 to 12:30 p.m.- Sally Wiggin and Michelle Wright with news and Don Schwenneker with weather
  • Action News at 5 - 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.- Wendy Bell and Michelle Wright with news and Stephen Cropper at 5:00 p.m. and Don Schwenneker at 5:30 p.m. with weather
  • Action News at 6 - 6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.- Mike Clark and Sally Wiggin with news, Stephen Cropper with weather and Jon Burton with sports
  • Action News at 11 - 11 p.m. to 11:35 p.m.- Mike Clark and Wendy Bell with news, Stephen Cropper with weather and Jon Burton with sports

Saturdays

  • Action News This Morning - 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.- Janelle Hall with news and Erin Kienzle with weather
  • Action News at Noon - 12 p.m. to 12:30 p.m.- Janelle Hall with news and Erin Kienzle with weather
  • Action News at 6 - 6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.- Jake Ploeger and Shannon Perrine with news, Erin Kienzle with weather and Guy Junker with sports
  • Action News at 11 - 11 p.m. to 11:35 p.m.- Jake Ploeger and Shannon Perrine with news, Erin Kienzle with weather and Guy Junker with sports

Sundays

  • Action News This Morning - 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.- Janelle Hall with news and Erin Kienzle with weather
  • Action News at 6 - 6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.- Jake Ploeger and Shannon Perrine with news, Erin Kienzle with weather and Guy Junker with sports
  • Action News at 11 - 11 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.- Jake Ploeger and Shannon Perrine with news, Erin Kienzle with weather and Guy Junker with sports
  • Action Sports Sunday - 11:30 p.m. to 12 a.m.- Hosted by Jon Burton or Guy Junker

[edit] Current On-Air Personalities

Anchors:

Weather Watch 4:

Channel 4 Action Sports:

Reporters:

[edit] Former On-Air Personalities

[edit] Contact Info

WTAE-TV</br> 400 Ardmore Blvd.</br> Pittsburgh, PA 15221</br>

News Tip: 412-244-4444</br> Main Desk: 412-242-4300

[edit] Local Programming

[edit] Past

[edit] Present

[edit] External links

WTAE-TV

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