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Wwcp 2009.png
State College, Pennsylvania
United States
CityJohnstown, Pennsylvania
ChannelsDigital: 8 (VHF)
Virtual: 8
BrandingFox 8 (general)
Fox 8 News (newscasts)
ABC 23 (on DT2)
SloganThe Place to Be
Affiliations8.1: Fox (1987–present)
8.2: ABC
OwnerCunningham Broadcasting
(Johnstown (WWCP-TV) Licensee, Inc.)
OperatorSinclair Broadcast Group
(via SSA)
First air date
October 13, 1986 (34 years ago) (1986-10-13)
Former channel number(s)
8 (VHF, 1986–2009)
29 (UHF, 2001–2009)
59 W59AI State College
Independent (1986–1987)
Call sign meaning
Wonderful West-Central Pennsylvania
Technical information
Licensing authority
Facility ID20295
ERP9.3 kW[1]
HAAT368 m (1,207 ft)
Transmitter coordinates40°10′53″N 79°9′5″W / 40.18139°N 79.15139°W / 40.18139; -79.15139
Translator(s)WATM-DT 23.2 (24.2 UHF) Altoona
Public license information

WWCP-TV, virtual and VHF digital channel 8, is a Fox-affiliated television station licensed to Johnstown, Pennsylvania, United States and serving West-Central Pennsylvania. The station is owned by Cunningham Broadcasting, which also operates Altoona-licensed ABC affiliate WATM-TV (channel 23) under a local marketing agreement (LMA) with owner Palm Television, L.P. Both stations, in turn, are operated under a shared services agreement (SSA) by the Sinclair Broadcast Group, owner of Johnstown-licensed dual NBC/CW+ affiliate WJAC-TV (channel 6).

WWCP-TV and WATM-TV share studios on Scalp Avenue (PA 56) in Richland Township (with a Johnstown postal address), and also operate advertising sales offices in Altoona (on East Walton Avenue/PA 764) and State College (on West Beaver Avenue/PA 26); master control and some internal operations are based at WJAC-TV's facilities on Old Hickory Lane in Upper Yoder Township (also with a Johnstown postal address). WWCP-TV's transmitter is located along US 30/Lincoln Highway, in Ligonier Township, near the Somerset County line.

Since WWCP-TV's signal is not viewable in State College, the station is simulcast in high definition on WATM-TV's second digital subchannel (UHF channel 24.2 or virtual channel 23.2 via PSIP) from its transmitter on Lookout Avenue, in Logan Township, along the Cambria County line.

On cable, WWCP-TV is available on Atlantic Broadband and Comcast Xfinity channel 8, with a high-definition feed offered on Atlantic Broadband digital channel 708 and Xfinity digital channel 808.


Initially, the analog VHF channel 8 facility was to be licensed to Pittsburgh on two occasions. The first occasion was in the 1940s where it was to be one of four VHF channels in Pittsburgh along with 3, 6, and 10. Only channel 3 made it to the air before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a "freeze" on television licenses. Although KQV was essentially a shoo-in for the channel 8 allocation and later won the channel 4 license after the Pittsburgh market was reallocated channels 2, 4, 11, and 13, it eventually had to split ownership of what became WTAE-TV with the Hearst Corporation.[2]

While the four original channels in Pittsburgh would coincidentally be reallocated to what eventually became the Johnstown/Altoona market, channel 8 remained in Pittsburgh the longest. The FCC later granted the Pittsburgh market the channel 8 allocation again, feeling it wouldn't interfere with WJW in Cleveland. Despite their close proximity, Cleveland and Pittsburgh did share at least one other channel in the analog era: channel 19 by WOIO and WPCW, respectively. (WPCW was assigned to Johnstown until 1997 and to this day retains Johnstown as part of its station identification.) But before channel 8 signed-on, the owners petitioned the FCC to move the license to Johnstown. Programming prices were lower in this area and more shows would be available to the station here as opposed to Pittsburgh. Another likely consideration was the need to protect WJW (now a fellow Fox affiliate). The FCC approved the move under the condition that Pittsburgh would need to receive a Grade B signal; in fact, prior to the digital television switch, viewers in some Pittsburgh suburbs such as New Kensington and Greensburg actually got a better signal from WWCP than from Pittsburgh's own WPGH-TV.

Logo from the WWCP/WWPC era.
Logo from the WWCP/WWPC era.

With this condition, the most logical place to build the transmitter would be atop Laurel Hill Mountain, or more specifically, Laurel Mountain State Park, in Westmoreland County (which is part of the Pittsburgh market). However, this posed a problem for the new station, as this stipulation meant that its signal would be all but unviewable in the eastern portion of the market (including Altoona and State College) although this was also done to protect WGAL-TV in Lancaster. WWCP's owners solved this problem by buying the dormant license of Altoona's former ABC affiliate, WOPC-TV. It moved the WOPC license from UHF channel 38 to 23 and changed the calls to WWPC-TV. As a result, WWCP signed-on October 13, 1986 as an Independent with WWPC as a full-time satellite.

Originally, both stations aired a general entertainment format running cartoons, classic sitcoms, old movies, recent sitcoms, and drama shows. Finding itself in the unusual position of being an independent on the VHF band, WWCP immediately took most of the stronger shows from the only other independent in the market, WFAT (channel 19). That coup effectively spelled the end for the latter station (it went dark in 1991, returned in 1996, and is now Pittsburgh's CW affiliate WPCW). Within ten months of going on-the-air, WWCP and WWPC obtained a Fox affiliation; for the network's first ten months of existence, the network's York affiliate WPMT served the eastern portion of the Johnstown market, while the network's Scranton affiliate WOLF-TV (now WSWB, a CW affiliate) served the northern portion, and WPGH served the western portion of the market. Since WOPC had gone dark in the early-1980s, the eastern portion of the market had received ABC programming from WHTM-TV in Harrisburg, while the northern portion was served by WNEP-TV in Scranton, and the western portion was served by WTAE-TV in Pittsburgh. At the time, both stations preempted a moderate number of network shows. It soon became obvious that Johnstown needed its own ABC affiliate.

In 1988, WWCP converted WWPC to a separate station (with new calls WATM-TV) which then took the ABC affiliation. That station was soon sold-off to a separate licensee in order to comply with FCC regulations on station ownership but the commission allowed WWCP to continue to control that channel under a local marketing agreement. WWCP successfully contended that if operated separately, both stations may have been in danger of going dark. For a time, a repeater was set up that allowed WWCP to be received on UHF channel 57 in the Altoona area. This was not effective, however, because the transmitter was twenty miles away near Martinsburg. Altoona viewers who did not possess a high-powered antenna could not receive this signal. Throughout most of the city, viewers only saw a picture with no sound.

WWCP was the first Fox affiliate in the nation to refuse to air O.J. Simpson's two-night interview special with Judith Regan on November 27 and 29, 2006. The controversial program, called If I Did It, Here's How It Happened, resulted in the station owner saying it was inappropriate for Simpson to profit from his infamy.[3] A special on St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee would have aired on the 27th with a locally produced program about domestic abuse, When Violence Hits Home, produced by WWCP/WATM Executive Producer, Josh Bandish, and anchored by Jim Penna, airing on the 29th had Fox not pulled the special from air on November 21. WWCP also airs the locally produced Catholic news show Proclaim! on Sundays.

Horseshoe Curve Communications bought out Peak Media's assets on December 31, 2010. However, the Peak Media name remains on WWCP's license. On July 22, 2013, Horseshoe Curve agreed to sell WWCP to Cunningham Broadcasting for $12 million. Sinclair Broadcast Group was to operate the station through shared services and joint sales agreements.[4] However, the majority of Cunningham's stock is held by the Smith family (owners and founders of Sinclair). As a result, Sinclair would have effectively owned WWCP as well. As the LMA for WATM was part of the deal, it would have resulted in the major commercial television stations in the market being controlled by just two companies. It would have essentially made WWCP, WATM, and WJAC all sister stations and expanded on their existing news share arrangement (see below). However, on February 20, 2014, Horseshoe Curve informed the FCC that the sale of WWCP had fallen through;[5] as a result, the sale application was dismissed on February 24.[6] Two years later, on January 8, 2016, Cunningham agreed to program WWCP under a time brokerage agreement.[7]

On January 5, 2021, Horseshoe Curve agreed again to sell WWCP-TV and the LMA with WATM-TV to Cunningham, this time for $2.85 million. The transaction was approved by the FCC on March 4[8] and completed on April 1.[9]

Digital television

Digital channels

The station's digital signal is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[10]
8.1 720p 16:9 FOX Main WWCP-TV programming / Fox
8.2 ABC Simulcast of WATM-TV / ABC

Analog-to-digital conversion

WWCP-TV shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 8, on June 12, 2009, the official date in 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 UHF channel 29 to VHF channel 8.[11][12]

News operation

On January 6, 1992, WWCP and WATM established their own separate news departments in an attempt to cover their respective areas. WWCP offered a nightly prime time newscast at 10 (sixty minutes on weeknights; half-hour on weekends) from its studios in Johnstown. Meanwhile, WATM aired local news every night at 11 from its headquarters in State College. Despite a valid attempt to gain enough market share, these broadcasts barely registered as a blip in the Nielsen ratings against longer-established WJAC-TV and WTAJ-TV that offered market-wide coverage.

Due in part to continual ratings struggles and low viewership, WATM's separate news department was shut down in December 2002 and merged with WWCP. On November 28, 2007, The Tribune Democrat reported the shared news operation of the two television stations would shut down entirely. According to a written statement, WWCP and WATM had been operating at a loss for several years and the move was desperately needed. The closure resulted in the termination of around fifteen personnel in the news and production departments.[13]

As a result, WJAC entered into a news share agreement with WWCP. The Big Three affiliate then began to produce WWCP's nightly prime time show and reduced the program to 35 minutes on weeknights while remaining a half-hour on weekends. The newscast, still known as Fox 8 News at 10, now originates from a secondary set at WJAC's facility on Old Hickory Lane in Upper Yoder Township (with a Johnstown postal address). It features a separate news anchor on weeknights, who does not appear on WJAC, in addition to a different music and graphics package from broadcasts seen on the NBC outlet. In addition to its main studios, the station also shares WJAC's bureaus in Altoona (on Beale Avenue), State College (on West College Avenue/PA 26) and DuBois (on East DuBois Avenue/PA 255; building is shared with WIFT 102.1 FM). On January 16, 2017 a new morning newscast launched using the branding Fox 8 News Morning Edition. The newscast runs from 7-9 a.m. (a first in its market) and is anchored by WJAC's morning news team.


  1. ^
  2. ^ Original Pittsburgh Allocations
  3. ^[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ Application For Consent To Assignment Of Broadcast Station Construction Permit Or License , Federal Communications Commission, 12 August 2013
  5. ^ "Re: Request for Dismissal of Assignment Application" (PDF). CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. February 20, 2014. Retrieved February 24, 2014.
  6. ^ "Application Search Details". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved February 24, 2014.
  7. ^ "Time Brokerage Agreement" (PDF). FCC Public Inspection File. Federal Communications Commission. January 8, 2016. Retrieved February 10, 2017.
  8. ^ "Assignments". FCC Licensing and Management System. Federal Communications Commission. January 8, 2021. Retrieved April 4, 2021.
  9. ^ "Notification of Consummation". FCC Licensing and Management System. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved April 8, 2021.
  10. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WWCP
  11. ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-08-29. Retrieved 2012-03-24.
  12. ^ CDBS Print
  13. ^

External links

This page was last edited on 9 April 2021, at 00:14
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