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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

First air date
November 24, 1962 (61 years ago) (1962-11-24)
Former call signs
  • WBJA-TV (1962–1978)
  • WMGC-TV (1978–1998)
Former channel number(s)
  • Analog: 34 (UHF, 1962–2009)
  • Digital: 4 (VHF, 2003–2009), 34 (UHF, 2009–2019)
Call sign meaning
Technical information[1]
Licensing authority
Facility ID11260
ERP298 kW
HAAT275.4 m (904 ft)
Transmitter coordinates42°3′39″N 75°56′35″W / 42.06083°N 75.94306°W / 42.06083; -75.94306
Public license information

WIVT (channel 34) is a television station in Binghamton, New York, United States, affiliated with ABC. It is owned by Nexstar Media Group alongside low-power, Class A NBC affiliate WBGH-CD (channel 20). The two stations share studios on Ingraham Hill Road in the town of Binghamton, where WIVT's transmitter is also located.


Alfred E. Anscombe, former general manager of WKBW-AM-TV in Buffalo, secured a construction permit for Binghamton's third television station on April 25, 1961.[2][3] He named it WBJA-TV[4] after his wife Beth J. Anscombe. Initially, the station was allocated to UHF analog channel 56.[4] However, five years earlier, two competing ABC affiliates in Northeastern Pennsylvania (WILK-TV channel 34 in Wilkes-Barre and WARM-TV channel 16 in Scranton) merged to form WNEP-TV, retaining WILK's license but using WARM's old UHF channel 16.[5]

Seeing a chance to use more signal at less cost, Anscombe sought and won a new construction permit for analog channel 34.[6] The new station signed on November 24, 1962,[7] from studios at its transmitter site on Ingraham Hill south of Binghamton; it was the third station to sign on in the Binghamton area, after WBNG and WICZ-TV.[5][6] It has always been an ABC affiliate.[7] The Northeastern Pennsylvania-area station now known as WOLF-TV signed on in 1985 on analog channel 38; it would eventually move to channel 56 thirteen years later.

Anscombe planned for WBJA to be the first station in a seven-station group;[7] however, only one other station, WEPA-TV in Erie, Pennsylvania (now defunct; its channel 66 allocation was later used by WFXP), was started before the two stations were acquired by Gerald Arthur, Oliver Lazare, and Jules Hessen, a group who also owned WEEE in Rensselaer, in 1966.[8][9] Pinnacle Communications bought WBJA in 1978[10] and changed the call letters to WMGC-TV on October 16,[11][12][13] reflecting its new "Magic 34" branding.[5] It dropped the branding by the mid to late-1980s, but retained the call letters.

Former WIVT logo.

Pinnacle sold WMGC to Citadel Communications in 1986;[14] in 1995, Citadel sold the station, along with WVNY in Burlington, Vermont, to USA Broadcast Group,[15] which was soon renamed U.S. Broadcast Group after a complaint from USA Network.[16] U.S. Broadcast Group put its stations up for sale in early 1997;[17] WSKG-TV contemplated acquiring WMGC and operating it as an NBC affiliate to raise money for its public broadcasting operations; during this time, a cable-only version of WETM (which would be replaced by WBGH-CD later that fall) served as the network's affiliate for the Binghamton market following WICZ's affiliation with Fox in April 1996.[18][19] The station would be purchased by the Ackerley Group,[20] which changed the call letters to WIVT on February 26, 1998.[12][21] The call letters were derived from Ackerley's station in Syracuse, WIXT (now WSYR-TV).[21]

A few months later, Ackerley nearly lost its investment. On May 31, 1998, a tornado ripped through WIVT's Ingraham Hill studios and destroyed its tower; radio stations WSKG, WSQX and WAAL also had their towers destroyed in that storm. WBNG had live reports that night literally from the WIVT facilities. The station had a feed restored to Time Warner Cable for customers in the immediate Binghamton area, but was off-the-air for several months.[5] WIVT became a sister station to WBGH when that station was sold by Smith Television to Ackerley in 2000.[22] Ackerley merged with Clear Channel Communications (now iHeartMedia) on June 14, 2002.[23] On April 20, 2007, the company entered into an agreement to sell its entire television stations group to Newport Television, a broadcasting group established by Providence Equity Partners;[24] the deal was completed on March 14, 2008.[25]

Newport announced on July 19, 2012, that it would sell 12 of its stations, including WIVT and WBGH, to Nexstar.[26] The sale was completed on December 3. On September 16, 2013, it was announced that Mission Broadcasting would acquire WICZ and low-power MyNetworkTV affiliate WBPN-LP from the Stainless Broadcasting Company subsidiary of Northwest Broadcasting. Upon the deal's completion, the stations' operations would have been taken over by Nexstar making them sisters to WIVT and WBGH.[27] In March 2015, Mission's purchase of WICZ and WBPN was canceled; as a result, Stainless withdrew the license assignment applications on March 18.[28]

News operation

NewsChannel 34 logo.

For the most part, WIVT has been a non-factor in the local newscast race in Binghamton. It has spent most of its history as the third station in what was at one point essentially a two-station market (since it did not sign-on until November 1962). The outlet reaped virtually no benefit when the area's long-time NBC affiliate WICZ switched to Fox in 1996.[5] Immediately after taking control, the Ackerley Group significantly upgraded WIVT's news department with the ability to share resources with WIXT's well-respected news department in Syracuse as well as the company's other television properties in Upstate New York.[5]

WIVT's evening newscasts began to be simulcast on WBGH in 2000 after that station's acquisition by Ackerley.[22] After the aforementioned tornado caused severe damage to its newly renovated studios, the station temporarily relocated to the facilities of WSKG-TV in Vestal while rebuilding on Ingraham Hill.[29] However, the upgrades proved unsustainable and cuts began to be made as a result. Shortly before Clear Channel took over in June 2002, WIVT eliminated its weekday morning and midday newscasts.[30]

On July 8, WIXT in Syracuse began producing a two-hour weekday morning show known as Daybreak. Airing from 5 until 7, the regional newscast (separate from WIXT and originating from a secondary set at its East Syracuse studios) was simulcasted on sister stations WWTI in Watertown and WUTR in Utica. The show included brief localized updates (focusing on Binghamton) twice an hour although most coverage was regional in nature with area-wide weather forecasts.[30][31][32]

In 2003, WIVT dropped its weekend newscasts due to a loss of viewership.[32] The station eventually closed down its local sports department in 2006 and at the same time reduced its 11 p.m. newscast to a short five-minute update. WIVT also began originating its early weeknight shows, featuring unique segments including exclusive musical performances, from secondary studios in the Oakdale Mall in Johnson City. Due to a lack of meteorologists (except for a lone weather anchor) based at WWTI, WIVT's forecasting personnel also produced most weather segments that were taped in advance for that station.

On June 5, 2009, WIVT and WBGH announced there would be a consolidation of news operations with sister station WETM-TV in Elmira after Newport Television made across the board cuts.[33] WBNG reported all but two people from the news staff and all production personnel for the news department would be terminated.[34] The Press & Sun-Bulletin later identified the two personnel remaining as news director Jim Ehmke and news anchor Peter Quinn but also said fifteen other members of the original 28 person staff, including non-news personnel, would remain based in Binghamton. The two stations would continue to be locally operated and maintain engineer staff at the studios on Ingraham Hill Road.[35] WIVT and WBGH then began simulcasting WETM's newscasts with only regional weather coverage of the Eastern Twin Tiers.[36]

A separate newscast specifically focusing on the Binghamton area was brought back to WIVT and WBGH on June 28, 2009, through a simulcast on both stations.[37] This effort originally consisted of a 6 p.m. weeknight newscast entirely produced from WETM's studios in Elmira. Eventually, production of the news and sports portions of the broadcast shifted back to the WIVT and WBGH facility. These segments are recorded earlier in the day (usually by 5 o'clock) and feature locally based photojournalists in Binghamton. A repeat of the 6 o'clock newscast at 11 was subsequently added to the schedules of WIVT and WBGH. During the broadcast, WSYR in Syracuse provides a local weather forecast (featuring rotating meteorologists) that is also recorded in advance. Soon after adding the hyper-local Binghamton news, WIVT ceased simulcasting WETM's newscasts making the taped weeknight newscast the only local news shown on the station. However, WBGH continued to air WETM's weekend 11 p.m. newscast until some point in late 2013.

Notable alumni

Technical information


The station's signal is multiplexed:

Subchannels of WIVT[38]
Channel Res. Aspect Short name Programming
34.1 720p 16:9 WIVT-DT ABC
34.3 480i LAFF Laff
34.4 MYSTERY Ion Mystery
  Simulcast of subchannels of another station

Since WBGH operates as part of the WIVT twinstick, its second digital subchannel now carries WBGH in 720p high definition as of February 9, 2010. The official plan was to broadcast WBGH-CD in high definition in the future with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) roll-out plan for low-power digital stations. The plan took effect when WBGH-CD flash cut to digital in August 2015.

Analog-to-digital conversion

WIVT shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 34, after midnight on June 12, 2009, the official date on which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition VHF channel 4 to UHF channel 34 for post-transition operations.[39]


  1. ^ "Facility Technical Data for WIVT". Licensing and Management System. Federal Communications Commission.
  2. ^ "The FCC last week..." (PDF). Broadcasting. May 1, 1961. p. 62. Retrieved December 4, 2011.
  3. ^ "For the Record" (PDF). Broadcasting. May 1, 1961. p. 129. Retrieved December 4, 2011.
  4. ^ a b "For the Record" (PDF). Broadcasting. May 29, 1961. p. 90. Retrieved December 4, 2011.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Fybush, Scott (December 20, 2000). "Ingraham Hill, Binghamton, N.Y." Tower Site of the Week. Retrieved December 5, 2011.
  6. ^ a b "The FCC last week..." (PDF). Broadcasting. March 12, 1962. p. 61. Retrieved December 5, 2011.
  7. ^ a b c "WBJA-TV begins operating" (PDF). Broadcasting. December 3, 1962. p. 50. Retrieved December 5, 2011.
  8. ^ "Howell sells 81% of his TV stations" (PDF). Broadcasting. May 9, 1966. p. 56. Retrieved December 5, 2011.
  9. ^ Broadcasting & Cable Yearbook 1999 (PDF). 1999. p. A-138. Retrieved December 5, 2011.[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ "Changing Hands" (PDF). Broadcasting. June 19, 1978. pp. 40–1. Retrieved December 5, 2011.
  11. ^ FCC History Cards for WMGC-TV (WIVT). Federal Communications Commission.
  12. ^ a b "Call Sign History". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved December 7, 2011.
  13. ^ "Call Letters" (PDF). Broadcasting. September 11, 1978. p. 78. Retrieved December 5, 2011.
  14. ^ "Changing Hands" (PDF). Broadcasting. June 30, 1986. p. 55. Retrieved December 5, 2011.
  15. ^ "USA flag to wave over seven stations". Broadcasting & Cable. August 28, 1995. Archived from the original (preview of subscription content) on June 11, 2014. Retrieved December 5, 2011.
  16. ^ "What's in a name?". Broadcasting & Cable. October 9, 1995. Archived from the original (preview of subscription content) on June 11, 2014. Retrieved December 5, 2011.
  17. ^ "U.S. Broadcast Group. up for sale and CEO Robert Fish is out". Broadcasting & Cable. January 20, 1997. Archived from the original (preview of subscription content) on June 11, 2014. Retrieved December 6, 2011.
  18. ^ Behrens, Steve (June 2, 1997). "Shifting to a "virtual station," Binghamton's WSKG flees the "death spiral"". Current. Archived from the original on June 9, 2012. Retrieved December 6, 2011.
  19. ^ Fybush, Scott (June 26, 1997). "The Reaction to Dodge". North East RadioWatch. Retrieved December 6, 2011.
  20. ^ "The big deals club". Broadcasting & Cable. February 2, 1998. Archived from the original (preview of subscription content) on June 11, 2014. Retrieved December 6, 2011.
  21. ^ a b Fybush, Scott (March 12, 1998). "CapStar Cuts Staff". North East RadioWatch. Retrieved December 7, 2011.
  22. ^ a b Fybush, Scott (March 24, 2000). "WFAU Loses A Tower, WFNX Gains A State, NERW Visits California's Coast". North East RadioWatch. Retrieved December 7, 2011.
  23. ^ "Radio giant acquires The Ackerley Group". Eugene Register-Guard. June 15, 2002. p. 15A. Retrieved December 7, 2011.
  24. ^ Malone, Michael (April 20, 2007). "Clear Channel Sells Stations". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved December 7, 2011.
  25. ^ "Clear Channel Completes Sale to Providence Equity Partners". Broadcasting & Cable. March 14, 2008. Retrieved December 7, 2011.
  26. ^ "Newport Sells 22 Stations For $1 Billion". TVNewsCheck. July 19, 2012. Retrieved July 19, 2012.
  27. ^ Malone, Michael (September 16, 2013). "Nexstar to Acquire Citadel's Iowa Stations for $88 Million". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved September 16, 2013.
  28. ^ Corbett, Dennis P. (March 18, 2015). "Re: Withdrawal of File Nos. BALCDT-20130927A11G, BALTVL-20130927AHH, and BAPDTL-20130927AH1" (PDF). CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved March 24, 2015.
  29. ^ Fybush, Scott (June 18, 1998). "Dame Media is Sold". North East RadioWatch. Retrieved November 25, 2009.
  30. ^ a b Fybush, Scott (June 10, 2002). "WICC Drops Music, WPXT Drops News". North East RadioWatch. Retrieved December 7, 2011.
  31. ^ Fybush, Scott (July 15, 2002). "Clear Channel Faces Hearings on Augusta Purchase". North East RadioWatch. Retrieved December 7, 2011.
  32. ^ a b "An Unusual Market". Broadcasting & Cable. November 9, 2003. Retrieved December 7, 2011.
  33. ^ "WIVT and WBGH to expand local news to the Southern Tier - WIVT/WBGH Newschannel34". Archived from the original on June 16, 2009. Retrieved June 5, 2009.
  34. ^ "Workers Fired at Newschannel 34 | WBNG-TV Binghamton, NY | Local Top Stories". Archived from the original on June 9, 2009. Retrieved June 5, 2009.
  35. ^ "OH SNAP! (not found)". Retrieved January 26, 2024.
  36. ^ "News department at WIVT-WBGH combined with WETM". YNN Binghamton. June 5, 2009. Retrieved October 6, 2012.
  37. ^ "NewsChannel34 will be returning June 29th with local news at 6pm - WIVT/WBGH Newschannel34". Archived from the original on June 29, 2009. Retrieved June 29, 2009.
  38. ^ "RabbitEars.Info". Retrieved January 27, 2024.
  39. ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on August 29, 2013. Retrieved March 24, 2012.

External links

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