WPFO is a Fox-affiliated television station whose signal covers some parts of southern Maine and northern New Hampshire; it is licensed to Waterville, Maine. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 23 from a transmitter on Oak Hill in Litchfield near the Androscoggin-Kennebec county line. Owned by Corporate Media Consultants Group (itself 51% owned by Power Television International and 49% owned by Max Media), the station is operated by Sinclair Broadcast Group, owner of WGME-TV. WPFO's studios are co-located with WGME at Northport Business Park in Portland, Maine. Syndicated programming on WPFO includes: Two and a Half Men, The Office, Hot in Cleveland, Family Feud, and Seinfeld.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP short name||Programming |
|23.1||720p||16:9||WPFO-HD||Main WPFO programming / Fox|
The station began broadcasting on August 27, 1999 as WMPX-TV and was a Pax (now Ion Television) affiliate owned by Paxson Communications. Paxson sold the channel in December 2002 to Corporate Media Consultants Group who changed the call sign to the current WPFO. The new calls reflected an affiliation change to Fox, which took place in April 2003, filling a gap created in Fall 2001 when WPXT switched to The WB. In July 2007, this station debuted a new logo and updated website. The website's design was outsourced to Fox Interactive Media which also develops websites for Fox's owned-and-operated stations. WPFO switched website providers to Broadcast Interactive Media in March 2010. Currently WPFO's website provider is Sinclair Interactive Media.
From its sign-on until April 12, 2003, the station was branded on-air as "Pax 23". In addition to Pax programming, WMPX carried a small amount of local programming. As WPFO in addition to Fox prime time, sports, and syndicated programming, the station produces and airs local paid programming under the titles Fox 23 Lifestyle and Your Hometown. It was announced by the Maine Lottery on April 16, 2010 that starting May 11 WPFO would begin airing the Mega Millions lottery drawings Tuesday and Friday nights at 11 following the hour long 10 o'clock newscast. Maine joined the Mega Millions lottery on May 9 starting ticket sales on that date.
On October 31, 2013, Sinclair Broadcast Group acquired the non-license assets of WPFO from Corporate Media Consultants Group for $13.6 million; the deal made it a sister station to WGME-TV, which already produced a newscast for the station. On November 20, it was announced that Cunningham Broadcasting will acquire the license assets for $3.4 million.  The sale of the license assets remains pending.
For a time in the early-2000s, WMPX re-aired some newscasts from WCSH and WLBZ as part of a larger deal between Paxson Communications and Gannett. This station also operated from WCSH's Downtown Portland studios at Congress Square and sold air time jointly with WCSH and WLBZ under a time brokerage agreement. In 2003, a three-hour-long weekday morning talk show with a call-in format called So Goes The Nation began airing. It was hosted by Alan Silberberg and former WVOM host Charlie Horne from the studios of Bangor's Fox affiliate WFVX-LP. Originally seen only on WFVX, simulcasts were later added on WPFO and area radio station WLOB. So Goes The Nation was canceled in September 2004.
From November 9, 2005 until March 27, 2009, WPFO simulcasted WLOB's weekday morning show known as The Fox Morning News hosted by Ray Richardson and Ted Talbot. There were short features and news stories from Fox News and weather forecasts with former WGME-TV meteorologist Paul Cousins during breaks in the show. The program was more of a conservative talk show than newscast and featured live call-ins from viewers and listeners. It was replaced by the nationally syndicated morning show The Daily Buzz. WLOB's program moved to MyNetworkTV affiliate WPME as The Ray Richardson Show and aired from 6:30 to 7:30 until June, 2013.
On February 5, 2007, WGME began producing a nightly 10 o'clock newscast on WPFO known as News 13 on Fox after a news share agreement was established between the two. It is aired from a secondary set at WGME's studios on the corner of Washington Avenue and Northport Drive in the North Deering section of Portland. Starting April 5, 2010, the weeknight 10 o'clock broadcast was expanded to an hour. The newscast features national content from CBS, CNN, and Sinclair. The newscast was renamed "Fox 23 News at Ten" on January 30, 2014.
A morning show was launched on WPFO called Good Day Maine also produced by WGME. It is a talk, entertainment, news, weather, and sports program that airs from 7 to 8. The show is the only local morning broadcast during the time slot and competes against CBS This Morning (on WGME), Good Morning America, and Today. This newscast airs from the secondary set at WGME's facilities (which received an update) along with a new secondary weather set (while also using the main weather center outside of WGME's CBS This Morning cut-ins) to deliver weather reports. There is also a live interview desk that was previously used on WGME during news headline updates on that station's weekday morning show and a new light story room which includes a nighttime backdrop of the Portland skyline along with several couches and armchairs. WPFO's website hosted video from both of the WGME-produced newscasts through April 2013; subsequently viewers were directed to a third-party website where individual segments could be purchased for a fee. Launched as a two-hour broadcast, Good Day Maine was shortened to one hour by October 2013.
On September 15, 2014 WPFO launched FOX 23 News at 6:30, a half-hour weekday newscast scheduled directly against the evening news on the Big Three television networks.
All WGME-produced newscasts on WPFO were made available in high definition format starting on February 8, 2012; the newscasts are presented in widescreen (letterboxed) format on WPFO's standard definition feed.