WTEN, channel 10, is an ABC-affiliated television station licensed to Albany, New York, USA. WTEN is owned by Richmond, Virginia-based Media General, and operates Fox affiliate WXXA-TV (channel 23, owned by Shield Media, LLC) through joint sales and shared services agreements. The two outlets share studios in the Bishop's Gate section of Albany; WTEN's transmitter in located in Voorheesville, New York.
WCDC-TV, channel 19 in Adams, Massachusetts, operates as a full-time satellite of WTEN. This station broadcasts from a transmitter on Mount Greylock, the highest peak in Massachusetts. WCDC-TV's signal covers the western half of Massachusetts, and portions of Vermont, Connecticut, and New Hampshire.
WTEN began broadcasting on October 14, 1953 as WROW-TV on UHF channel 41 from a temporary transmitter in Herkimer, New York, limiting the signal to the immediate area. The station went to full power and installed a permanent antenna tower next to the studio a few months later. WROW-TV was founded by Hudson Valley Broadcasting Company, operating alongside WROW radio (590 AM). The two stations shared space inside a former retirement home for nuns on a farm dirt road in the town of North Greenbush near Troy. WROW-TV carried the Capital District's ABC Television Network affiliation at its launch.
Within their first year, the station was losing money, and on the verge of bankruptcy, prompted the company's management to sell the WROW stations. By November 1954, Hudson Valley's shareholders sold its majority stake to a New York City-based syndicate group led by legendary radio broadcaster/author Lowell Thomas and his manager/business partner Frank Smith, who also became president of the company upon completion of the sale. After the sale, the station switch network affiliate to CBS in December 1955. In the spring of 1956, the channel's call letters were changed to WCDA and a satellite station, WCDB (channel 29) in nearby Hagaman, New York was launched to reach areas where the main signal could not.
The call letters were changed again to the current WTEN in 1957 when the station moved to VHF channel 10. Upon moving to the VHF band, the station's transmitter was moved to Vail Mills, approximately 35 miles west of the Capital District. The previous site in Herkimer was fell outside of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) 170-mile separation requirement for VHF-high band stations in the Northeastern United States, and WTEN's new channel 10 signal was required to protect both WHEC-TV/WVET-TV in Rochester and WJAR-TV in Providence, Rhode Island. But the new transmitter proved inadequate for serving the Capital District proper. The FCC eventually allowed a waiver in 1963 which let WTEN move its transmitter to Voorheesville, closer to Albany.
In December 1957, Hudson Valley merged with Durham Broadcasting Enterprises, the owners of WTVD in Durham, North Carolina to form Capital Cities Television Corporation (predecessor of Capital Cities Communications) with WTEN as its flagship station. In 1966, WTEN and WROW-AM-FM moved to new facilities on the northside of Albany on Northern Boulevard, where WTEN remains to this day (the WROW radio stations moved out in 1993, ten years after they were sold by Capital Cities). In 1967, the old studio in North Greenbush was burned down by a fire caused by arson, but the station's owner donated its old transmitter to WRPI radio.
On February 24, 1971, Capital Cities sold WTEN to Poole Broadcasting. Following its purchase of several broadcast properties from Triangle Publications, Capital Cities had to sell off two VHF stations to stay within the FCC's limit of five per owner. In 1978, Poole sold WTEN and sister stations WJRT-TV in Flint, Michigan, and WPRI-TV in Providence to Knight-Ridder. The new owner signed an affiliation deal with ABC which resulted in WTEN swapping affiliations with WAST (channel 13, now WNYT) on October 23, 1977. Upon Knight-Ridder's exit from broadcasting in 1989, WTEN and sister station WKRN-TV in Nashville were sold to Young Broadcasting.
Since the Young purchases of the two stations plus WTEN satellite WCDC were made through two separate deals, they were consummated more than three months apart. WTEN signed-on its digital signal on UHF channel 26 in 2004 and began offering high definition service right from the start. This can also be seen on Time Warner basic channel 10 and digital channel 1200. On October 1, 2007, Young Broadcasting launched the Retro Television Network on a new third digital subchannel of WTEN. This was part of a test of the network with sister stations WBAY-TV in Green Bay and KRON-TV in San Francisco.
In an effort to cut costs, the company eliminated ten positions from WTEN on January 31, 2008 fueling speculations that the company might sell the station in order to pay down its financial debt. In January 2009, after failing to meet the minimum standards for being listed on NASDAQ, Young Broadcasting was dropped from the exchange. One month later, on February 13, they declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The company planned to auction off its stations in a New York City bankruptcy court on July 14, 2009 but canceled the auction last minute. RTV has been replaced by a 480i widescreen feed of ABC's Live Well Network as part of a group deal with Young's other stations.
On July 27, 2012, it was announced that the Capital District's Fox affiliate, WXXA-TV would be sold from Newport Television to Shield Media, LLC (owned by White Knight Broadcasting Vice president Sheldon Galloway) for $19.2 million. That company will then enter into joint sales and shared services agreements with Young Broadcasting resulting in WTEN operating WXXA. On October 23, the FCC granted the transaction. After consummation of the sale, master control of the Fox outlet will likely move from WXXA's Corporate Circle studios to WTEN's offices. The move was completed on March 23, 2013.
On June 6, 2013, Young Broadcasting announced that it would merge with Media General. The merger was approved by the FCC on November 8, after Media General shareholders approved the merger a day earlier; it was completed on November 12. More than two years later, on January 27, 2016, it was announced that the Nexstar Broadcasting Group would buy Media General for $4.6 billion. WTEN and the operations of WXXA will become part of "Nexstar Media Group." This means Nexstar will own stations in every television market in Upstate New York.
In the spring of 1956, satellite station WCDB on UHF channel 29 in Hagaman was launched to reach areas where the main signal could not. This signed-off in 1957 after WCDA moved its transmitter closer to Albany, making WCDB superfluous even though it did provide some primary CBS coverage to Utica. The WCDB call sign would return to the air in 1978 for the student-run radio station at University at Albany.
WCDC began broadcasting on February 5, 1954 as WMGT (Mount Greylock Television) on UHF channel 74. This was a separate station affiliated with the DuMont network. The tower location on Mount Greylock helped WMGT serve first as the market's secondary affiliate of DuMont and later as a major boost to WCDA. In December 1954, WMGT moved to channel 19 extending the station's range to the Capital District of New York state. In February 1956, it was forced off the air when a storm damaged its transmitter tower. Capital Cities bought the license and returned it to the air in 1957 under its current calls, WCDC. (NOTE: The WMGT callsign now resides at a NBC-affiliated station in Macon, Georgia.) Since then, it has been a straight simulcast of WCDA/WTEN. WCDC's digital signal on UHF channel 36 signed on nearly eighteen months before WTEN's did. However, it did not upgrade to high definition until WTEN-DT signed-on.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|10.1||720p||16:9||WTEN-HD||Main WTEN programming / ABC|
WCDC does carry WTEN's two subchannels as 19.2 and 19.3 respectively, and they are carried locally in Massachusetts on the digital tier of Time Warner Cable.
WTEN shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 10, 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 remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 26. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analog channel 10.
Cable and satellite carriage
|Station||Comcast||DirecTV||Dish Network||Mid-Hudson Cablevision||Time Warner Cable||Verizon FiOS|
|WTEN-SD / WTEN-HD||10 / *710 Bennington, VT||10||10||10 / 610||10 / 1200||10 / 510|
For many years, WRGB was the dominant news station in the Capital District. In 1993, that station was quickly eclipsed by WNYT and for several years in the mid-1990s fell to third place. WTEN has stabilized at a steady second place for the most part, although for a period in the early-2000s, it fell back to third. WNYT overtook WTEN for the runner-up spot by the late-1980s, and in 1992, scored its first late news victory. At times during the 1990s and 2000s, this station has occasionally finished ahead of WRGB or, more recently, WNYT. The market remains very competitive today in terms of Nielsen ratings.
In November 2009, WNYT's newscasts slipped back to third place largely resulting from its owner Hubbard Broadcasting deciding to terminate many of its popular news team members. One notable personality let go from the NBC affiliate was Lydia Kulbida who was hired by WTEN in time to help launch the market's only over-the-air weekday local news show at 4 (which occurred on September 21, 2009). On October 26, 2011, WTEN became the second station in Albany to upgrade its newscasts to high definition level.
As a full-time satellite of WTEN, WCDC currently simulcasts all newscasts from its parent outlet. Although there are no separate title openings or local cut-ins provided during the broadcasts, there is coverage of Western Massachusetts and Southwestern Vermont. Since 2001, rival WNYT has been the only Capital District-based television station to operate a bureau in Western Massachusetts (this effort is located in Pittsfield). With the consolidation of WXXA with WTEN, this ABC affiliate took over production of the Fox station's newscasts. The two stations' reporting staffs were merged immediately following the completion of Shield Media's purchase of WXXA. On January 24, 2013, the Fox outlet dropped its separate weeknight 5 and 11 o'clock newscasts. WXXA's weekday morning newscast (seen 7 to 9 a.m.) and nightly prime time broadcast at 10 were retained as this programming does not directly compete with local news airing on WTEN.
Notable current on-air talent
- Tim Lake - News anchor