WCMU-TV, channel 14 is a Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) member Public television station for much of the northern portion of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, with a coverage area spanning three television markets and small portions of several others. The network is based at Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant. The station's on-air branding is CMU Public Television.
WCMU came to the air on March 29, 1967. WCMV serves Cadillac and Traverse City while WCML serves Alpena and Petoskey along with Cheboygan and the Straits of Mackinac. WCMW serves the Lake Michigan communities of Manistee, Ludington and Pentwater, all of which are on the edge of the Grand Rapids market. On January 15, 2010, WCMU took over operations of WFUM in Flint pending approval of the sale of the station from the University of Michigan-Flint by the Federal Communications Commission. After the FCC approved the sale in March and CMU officially took over the station in May, the call letters of WFUM were changed to WCMZ-TV, using the same callsign as sister station WCMZ-FM in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. Although Mount Pleasant is part of the Flint/Saginaw/Bay City market, the majority of its viewership is in the Traverse City/Cadillac market.
WCMU-TV's analog transmitter was located near the school in Mount Pleasant; the digital transmitter is located in Martiny Township in Mecosta County, north of Martiny Lake. WCML's tower is located north of Atlanta, with WCMV's tower east of Kalkaska, and WCMW's facilities are northeast of Ludington. The entire network discontinued analog service on March 31, 2009.
Unlike other major stations in the Cadillac / Traverse City market, CMU Public Television does not have marketwide coverage, and following the 2009 digital transition, the network actually lost significant coverage — Alpena station WCML was received throughout most of the Eastern Upper Peninsula before the analog shutdown. After WCML went to digital, residents of the Eastern Upper Peninsula (except for those on the Lake Huron shoreline) were no longer able to receive a WCML due to its 300 kW UHF signal. Currently, CMU Public Television has no plans to add transmitters in the Eastern U.P. All PBS service, whether from CMU Public Television or another station, is only available in that region only via cable or satellite. Some cable systems in that region carry another PBS station instead of WCMU — in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, Marquette's WNMU is seen on Charter, while across the locks in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Shaw carries Detroit's WTVS instead mainly because of the lack of a local over the air signal to the near 90,000 people in the twin Saults and Eastern U.P. (Shaw previously carried WNMU for that same reason before it was replaced by WTVS in 2002.)
In January 2010, WCMU-TV began airing 24 hours a day, and launched an HD feed.
|Station||City of license||PSIP|
|First air date||Call meaning||ERP||HAAT||Facility ID||Transmitter Coordinates|
|WCML||Alpena||6||24 (UHF)||November 21, 1975||Central Michigan ALpena||300 kW||393 m||9917|
|WCMV||Cadillac||27||17 (UHF)||September 7, 1984||V - first letter after U||338 kW||393 m||9922|
|WCMW||Manistee||21||21 (UHF)||September 7, 1984||W - second letter after U||70 kW||134 m||9913|
|WCMZ-TV||Flint||28||28 (UHF)||Originally signed on as WFUM-TV by the University of Michigan–Flint on August 23, 1980; CMU took over broadcast operations on January 15, 2010||Z - fifth letter after U||500 kW||258 m||69273|
Acquisition of WFUM
On October 27, 2009, it was announced that the CMU Board of Trustees approved a proposal for CMU to acquire Flint's PBS member station, WFUM (now WCMZ-TV), from the University of Michigan–Flint for a maximum of $1 million. The sale was approved by the FCC, allowing the network's presence to expand further south, not only including Flint, but also Ann Arbor and into Metro Detroit. The network now provides at least secondary over-the-air coverage from far Northern Emmet County to northern Monroe County. While WFUM was folded into the CMU Public Television network, CMU vows to include Flint-area events and issues in its programming, as well as produce new programming that would originate from the region. CMU believes the acquisition of WFUM will increase its viewership from 2.2 million to 8 million. CMU originally hinted that the takeover of WFUM would begin in late November, but WCMU took over operations of WFUM on January 15, 2010. The FCC approved the sale of WFUM in March and CMU officially took over in May at which point the call letters were changed to WCMZ-TV.
CMU Public Television carries three digital subchannels:
(## = local channel)
|##.1||Main WCMU Programming / PBS HD|
|##.2||SD simulcast of ##.1|