WFLI-TV is the CW-affiliated television station for Chattanooga, Tennessee that is licensed to Cleveland. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 42 (or virtual channel 53.1 via PSIP) from a transmitter on Sawyer Cemetery Road in unincorporated Mile Straight.

Owned by MPS Media, WFLI is operated through a local marketing agreement (LMA) by New Age Media as sister to Fox/MyNetworkTV affiliate WDSI-TV. Both stations, in turn, are operated by Sinclair Broadcast Group, owner of ABC affiliate WTVC. The two outlets stations share studios on East Main Street (SR 8/U.S. 41/U.S. 76) in Chattanooga's Highland Park section. Syndicated programming on WFLI includes How I Met Your Mother, The Office, The Simpsons, and Seinfeld among others.

History

The station signed-on May 25, 1987 as an Independent co-owned with WFLI radio (1070 AM) (hence the television station call sign). It aired an analog signal on UHF channel 53 from a transmitter in Cohutta, Georgia. On January 16, 1995, WFLI joined UPN as a charter affiliate. In 1997, the station was sold to Lambert Broadcasting, LLC. It added The WB in 1999 as a secondary affiliate; two years later, WFLI dropped UPN and became a full-time WB affiliate. The Meredith Corporation acquired WFLI in 2004.

Between 2001 and 2003, the station sold late-night Saturday paid programming time to an independent producer, out of which eventually arose the format and style of Fuel TV (now Fox Sports 2), which went by that name on WFLI. Fox Cable Networks eventually bought the trademarks and concept of Fuel TV in 2003 to launch it as a full-fledged cable network in July of that year, and the original Fuel TV program on WFLI ended in September 2003.[2][3]

On March 7, 2006, WFLI was announced as Chattanooga's CW affiliate at the network's launch on September 18 in the wake of the merger of the WB and UPN into The CW.[4] Meanwhile, WDSI launched a new second digital subchannel to serve as the area's MyNetworkTV affiliate beginning September 5. On November 26, 2007, Meredith announced the sale of WFLI to MPS Media which closed April 1, 2008.[5] Shortly thereafter, New Age Media (owner of WDSI) began operation this station through an LMA. On May 23, 2011, WFLI signed-on a new second digital subchannel of its own to offer MeTV.[6]

Sinclair Broadcast Group purchased the non-license assets of WFLI-TV and WDSI-TV from New Age Media for $1.25 million in September 2015.[7]

Digital television

Digital channels

The station's digital channel is multiplexed:

ChannelVideoAspectPSIP Short NameProgramming[8]
53.11080i16:9WFLI-HDMain WFLI-TV programming / The CW
53.2480i4:3WFLI-MEMyNetworkTV
53.3MeTV

Analog-to-digital conversion

WFLI-TV shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 53, 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 42.[9] Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 53, which was among the high band UHF channels (52-69) that were removed from broadcasting use as a result of the transition.