WHME-TV, virtual channel 46 (UHF digital channel 48), is the flagship television station of World Harvest Television serving South Bend, Indiana, United States. The station is owned by LeSEA Broadcasting (also known as World Harvest Broadcasting), an organization founded by Assembly of God minister Lester Sumrall, whose sons are still active with the ministry. WHME's studios are located on Ironwood Road in the southern side of South Bend, and its transmitter is located in Mishawaka. WHME-TV's signal is relayed on a repeater station serving the Chicago market: WHNW-LD (channel 18) in Gary.
History of channel 46 in South Bend
The UHF channel 46 allocation in South Bend originally belonged to WNDU-TV, when that station signed on the air on July 15, 1955; WNDU moved to its present channel 16 in 1957.
Channel 46 was later occupied by independent station WMSH-TV, which was on the air briefly from July 1974 to April 6, 1976. The station at the time was co-owned with WMSH AM 1230 and WMSH-FM 99.3 in Sturgis, Michigan.
WHME signed on the air on September 10, 1977; the station ran mostly religious programs, along with a blend of classic cartoons (such as Tom and Jerry, Bugs Bunny, The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, The Little Rascals and The Flintstones), sitcoms from the 1950s, '60s and '70s (such as The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Brady Bunch, My Three Sons, Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C., The Partridge Family and Leave It To Beaver), and some drama series (such as The Lone Ranger). By 1978, the station ran cartoons from 7 to 9 a.m. on weekdays. WHME ran Christian programs such as The PTL Club, The 700 Club, and locally produced Christian programs from 9 a.m. to about 1 p.m. Secular general entertainment programs ran from 1 to 7 p.m. Then after 7 p.m., WHME ran repeats of The PTL Club, The 700 Club and some of the religious shows that aired on Sundays, along with locally produced Christian programs. Saturdays consisted of Christian-themed children's programs until 9 a.m., a blend of secular cartoons and sitcoms until noon or 1 p.m., and some other family-friendly programs until 5 p.m. Christian programming continued after 6 p.m. Saturday nights and all day on Sundays (featuring televangelists such as Jerry Falwell, Jimmy Swaggart and Oral Roberts, as well as the Catholic Mass from Notre Dame). The station began broadcasting on a 24-hour schedule by 1980.
In the early 1980s, WHME cut back its secular programming hours on weekdays to 2 to 7 p.m. By the early to mid-1980s, the morning cartoons returned and at that point it started running more recent children's programs on weekdays such as The Great Space Coaster, Scooby-Doo, Inspector Gadget, and by the early 1990s, The Disney Afternoon animation block. WHME-TV also aired the nationally syndicated evening news program, the Independent Network News. By the early 1990s, more sitcoms from the 1970s and 1980s (such as Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley and Family Ties) were added onto the schedule. In September 1995, WHME began carrying the Kids' WB program block within its afternoon lineup, but unlike other LeSEA-owned stations, it declined to carry primetime programming from the block's parent network, The WB (which instead affiliated with W69BT channel 69, now WMYS-LD, and later moved to WMWB-LP channel 25, now WCWW-LD). In the early 2000s, WHME decreased the number of cartoons on its schedule and replaced them with more sitcoms and drama series. Today, WHME continues to run a blend of classic television series each afternoon on weekdays.
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|46.1||480i||4:3||WHME-DT||Main WHME programming|
|46.3||Blank, station identification card|
|46.4||Bulletin board video & weather conditions/CCM music audio from co-owned WHPD (92.1)|
WHME-TV shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 46, 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 48, using PSIP to display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 46.
On March 8, 2011, WHME-TV received a construction permit to move its digital operations to its former analog allotment on channel 46, due to interference with WBME-TV in Racine, Wisconsin (which transmits from Milwaukee), a station that also broadcasts its digital signal on UHF channel 48, with both stations having signal conflicts on the edges of their market areas, though a move to channel 46 would also conflict with WBME's sister station, WDJT-TV, which transmits its digital signal over channel 46 (using virtual channel 58). Should the channel change be granted, this would be the second full-power station in the market to use its original channel allocation for its post-transition digital signal after WSBT-TV moved back to channel 22 after the digital transition.
Between 2012 and sometime in early 2013, digital subchannel 46.3 was leased to , a family-oriented Spanish-language network. The subchannel presently carries no content besides a card listing the channel numbers, call letters and city of license.
WHME used to carry many regional college football and basketball games shown through ESPN Plus until the 2007 launch of the Big Ten Network. WHME currently serves as the South Bend home to Ball State University sports. WHME previously served as the South Bend affiliate of ESPN Regional Television's syndicated SEC Network (later SEC TV) until the August 2014 launch of the cable exclusive SEC Network. The station also maintains its own sports division that broadcasts many high school football and basketball games from Michiana area teams, usually once weekly, along with local NAIA college games, such as Bethel and Grace. WHME's sports director is Chuck Freeby, who previously worked as a sports anchor at WNDU-TV.