WSEE-TV is the CBS-affiliated television station for Northwestern Pennsylvania that is licensed to Erie. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 16 (or virtual channel 35.1 via PSIP) from a transmitter on Old Waterford Road in Greene Township. The station can also be seen on Time Warner Cable channel 5 and in high definition on digital channel 1005. Owned by Lilly Broadcasting, WSEE-TV operates the area's NBC affiliate WICU-TV (owned by SJL Broadcasting) through a shared services agreement (SSA) and the two outlets share studios on State Street in Erie. WSEE-TV can also be seen over-the-air in standard definition on WICU-TV's third digital subchannel on VHF channel 12.3 from the same Greene Township transmitter.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP short name||Programming|
|35.1||1080i||16:9||WSEE-DT||Main WSEE-TV programming / CBS|
|35.2||480i||4:3||WBEP-DT||Northwest Pennsylvania's CW|
WSEE began broadcasting on April 24, 1954. The station was originally owned by the Mead family, publishers of the Erie Times-News. ABC programming was shared by WSEE and WICU-TV until WJET-TV signed-on in 1966. The Meads sold the station to Gillett Broadcasting in 1978. In 1981, the "-TV" suffix was added to the WSEE calls. Gillett then sold the station to SCS Communications in 1982. In 1988, SCS sold WSEE to Price Communications. Price sold WSEE along with three of its stations (WAPT in Jackson, Mississippi, WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan and WNAC-TV in Providence, Rhode Island) to Northstar Television Group in 1989. UPN content was aired on weekends by WSEE-TV beginning January 16, 1995. In 1998, this station launched a cable-only WB affiliate as part of The WB 100+. It had the fictional call sign "WBEP". On January 24, 2006, UPN and The WB announced that they would cease broadcasting and merge. The new combined network would be called The CW.
On September 18 of that year, WSEE-TV launched a new second digital subchannel to simulcast "WBEP" allowing non-cable subscribers access to the new network. That station began official use of the call sign WSEE-DT2 and became part of The CW Plus.
Back in 2002, WICU-TV entered into a local marketing agreement with WSEE-TV. From that point until June 1, 2009, the station continued to operate from studios on Peach Street in Downtown Erie. On that date, WSEE-TV merged into WICU-TV's facilities on State Street. WSEE has been digital-only since February 17, 2009.
Its over-the-air digital broadcast signal covers Erie, Warren, and Crawford counties in Pennsylvania; reaches east to Jamestown, New York, west to Ashtabula, Ohio, north to London and Hamilton in Ontario, and south to Clarion, Pennsylvania. The station can also be seen via satellite in North America and the Caribbean through C band. It is available in Costa Rica through one of the country's major cable providers, Cabletica, and in Puerto Rico on all three cable companies serving the island as well as part of the locals package on Dish Network. WICU-TV and WSEE-TV merged their websites in June 2011.
WSEE-TV is available on some cable systems in Canada that serve communities on Lake Erie. Atlantic Broadband, the cable provider that serves McKean County, Pennsylvania and portions of Cattaraugus County, New York, announced that WSEE-TV would replace Buffalo's WIVB-TV in January 2009. Though an agreement was eventually reached with WIVB-TV, WSEE-TV was kept on the Atlantic Broadband lineups. However, Time Warner Cable announced it would remove WSEE-TV (along with WICU-TV) from its cable lineups in Westfield and Dunkirk, New York in favor of CFTO-TV from Toronto and the new YNN Buffalo despite the fact that Westfield and Dunkirk are arguably within WSEE-TV's must carry territory.
This station has been part of the Primetime 24 lineup since November 1997 when it replaced Raleigh's WRAL-TV due to that station's regular pre-emptions of CBS programming. The service provides American network television service to C band satellite and some cable viewers in Latin America, the Caribbean, and in rural parts of the United States where local signals are not available. This feed of WSEE-TV varies from its local one where local commercials are replaced with ads directed towards the Caribbean (especially direct response ads). Also, the station's local newscasts are replaced with infomercials although there is a taped Caribbean weather forecast by WSEE-TV's weather staff nightly at 11, which is available through a website specific to Caribbean weather and is branded as "One Caribbean Weather".
Although the shared services agreement between WSEE-TV and WICU-TV was established in 2002, the actual beginning of newscast consolidation between the two did not start until WSEE-TV actually moved into WICU's studios. WSEE-TV aired the final newscast from its separate Peach Street studios on May 28, 2009. With the challenges of moving, this station went without local news for nearly four days while technical and logistical arrangements were finalized.
When it resumed broadcasts, WSEE-TV's weeknight news at 11 p.m. was recorded while it broadcast live on the CW at 10.
After WSEE-TV moved its operations into the State Street facility, the existing studio set was split in two, allowing each station's newscast to look unique.
Until January 2013, this station's weeknight news at 6 was usually recorded during the mid-afternoon. The studios were unable to air two live broadcasts at the same time until a second high-definition production control room was added. Sister station WICU-TV airs a midday show weekdays at 12:30 following WSEE-TV's long-running noon newscast. On weekends, the two television stations jointly produce local news at 6 and 11 p.m. These shows are known as Weekends Now. The WSEE-TV news department also produces the weekly public affairs program The Insider, which airs weekends Sunday morning on WSEE-TV.
During the week, WSEE-TV and WICU-TV maintain talent for news and sports that generally appear on one station. Most video footage and content is shared, coming from the same newsroom. In cases of breaking news, severe weather, or election coverage, the two simulcast newscasts and occasionally include the CW subchannel as well. On weekday mornings, WSEE-DT2 provides a simulcast of the first hour of WICU's 12 News Today at 5 and the NBC affiliate's midday show at 12:30. It also airs the nationally syndicated broadcast The Daily Buzz from 6 until 9 with other CW Plus stations.
Along with their sister station WICU-TV, WSEE-TV upgraded newscasts to high definition in November 2012. The Newswatch branding was dropped after 28 years to coincide with the switch. WSEE's newscasts are now branded as "SEE News."
In September 2015, Lilly Broadcasting announced that WICU-TV and WSEE-TV would no longer produce separate morning and evening newscasts as of October 12; the two stations now simulcast newscasts in these time periods. The stations' executive vice president, John Christianson, said that the WICU and WSEE newscasts were seen by viewers to have been essentially the same newscast with different anchors.
Notable former staff
- Micah Johnson - reporter and news anchor (1984–1985); now CEO of Entegy Group
- Leila Feinstein - reporter (1995–2000); now at KTLA
- Lloyd Newell - primary news anchor (1984–1986); now professor at Brigham Young University and host of Music and the Spoken Word
- Dave Price - reporter (1997); served as weekday weather anchor for The Early Show
- John Stehr - news anchor and reporter (1980); worked for several other stations as well as an anchor at CNBC and correspondent at CBS News, now at WTHR
- Steve Scully; now at C-SPAN