WTLH is the MeTV-affiliated television station for the Big Bend of Florida and Southwest Georgia. Licensed to Bainbridge, Georgia, it broadcasts a standard definition digital signal on UHF channel 50 (or virtual channel 49.1 via PSIP) from a transmitter in unincorporated Thomas County, Georgia, southeast of Metcalf, along the Florida state line. Owned by New Age Media, WTLH operates CW affiliate WTLF (owned by MPS Media, LLC) through a local marketing agreement (LMA).
Both of the stations, in turn, are operated by the Sinclair Broadcast Group, owner of NBC affiliate WTWC-TV, under a master service agreement. WTLH and WTLF share studios on Commerce Boulevard in Midway, Florida while WTWC maintains separate facilities on Deerlake South in unincorporated Leon County, Florida northwest of Bradfordville (with a Tallahassee postal address).
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP short name||Programming |
|49.2||WTLH CW||Simulcast of WTLF|
WTLH signed-on February 12, 1989, airing an analog signal on UHF channel 49, the station immediately became Tallahassee's Fox affiliate. Originally owned by New South Television, it was put into receivership due to owner Timothy Brumlik's arrest on money-laundering charges. In 1990(?) it was sold to Paul Lansat of Singer Island, FL. In 1994 station was sold to Pegasus Broadcasting. On June 15, 1998, WFXU in Live Oak, Florida was established as a full-time satellite of WTLH in order to improve its coverage on the eastern side of the market. Since Tallahassee did not have enough stations to legally permit a duopoly, WFXU was technically owned by L.O. Telecast but operated by Pegasus through a local marketing agreement.
That station was sold to KB Prime Media in 1999 and became wholly owned by Pegasus in 2002. The sale was ultimately approved because the company helped fund WFXU's construction. In April of that year, WFXU became a separate station after becoming the area's first UPN affiliate. Since its signal was not nearly strong enough to cover the entire market, WTLF in Tallahassee was established as a full-time satellite. That station was one of the first in the United States to sign-on as a digital-only outlet with no analog counterpart.
On January 24, 2006, The WB and UPN announced the networks would end broadcasting and merge. The new combined service would be called The CW. The letters would represent the first initial of corporate its parents: "C"BS (the parent company of UPN) and the "W"arner Bros. unit of Time Warner. It was made public April 24 that WTLH would create a new second digital subchannel to become Tallahassee's CW affiliate. The plan was later modified in August to make WFXU/WTLF the primary CW affiliates and have a simulcast provided on WTLH-DT2. This took effect when the network premiered on September 18, 2006.
Pegasus declared bankruptcy in June 2004 over a dispute with DirecTV (then co-owned with Fox by News Corporation) over marketing of the direct broadcast satellite service in rural areas. The station group was sold in August 2006 to private investment firm CP Media, LLC of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania for $55.5 million. Eventually, CP Media formed a new broadcasting company known as New Age Media.
The company purchased WTLH at the end of March 2007 but sold WFXU separately to Budd Broadcasting. The latter dropped CW programming soon afterward leaving WTLF as Tallahassee's sole CW affiliate with the simulcast of that station continuing on WTLH-DT2. On February 17, 2009, WTLH shut-off its analog signal on UHF channel 49 and became digital-exclusive on UHF channel 50.
On September 25, 2013, New Age Media announced that it would sell most of its stations to the Sinclair Broadcast Group. In order to comply with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ownership restrictions, since Sinclair already owns WTWC, its partner company Cunningham Broadcasting planned to acquire the WTLH license but Sinclair was slated to operate the station (as well as WTLF, which would have been acquired by another sidecar operation, Deerfield Media) through shared services agreements.
On October 31, 2014, New Age Media requested the dismissal of its application to sell WTLH; the next day, Sinclair purchased the non-license assets of WTLH and WTLF and began operating them through a master service agreement. At some point after the transaction occurred, Sinclair moved the Fox affiliation to WTWC's second subchannel. At that point, MeTV programming moved from WTLH's third digital subchannel to WTLH's main channel; the simulcast of WTLF continues on its second subchannel.
|Station||Channel||ERP||HAAT||Facility ID||Transmitter coordinates||Transmitter location|
|WBFL-CA||13 (VHF)||2 kW||109 m||48763||on Madison Highway/GA 31 between unincorporated|
Clyattville, Georgia and Florida state line
|WBJV-LP||35 (UHF)||0.7 kW||89 m||23487||unincorporated northern Lowndes County, Georgia|
between Hahira and Moody Air Force Base