WTVG, channel 13, is the ABC-affiliated and The CW-affiliated television station for Northwest Ohio and licensed in Toledo, Ohio. Owned by Gray Television, the station's studios and offices are located on Dorr Street (SR 246) in Toledo and its transmitter is located in Oregon, Ohio.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP short name||Programming|
|13.1||720p||16:9||WTVG HD||Main WTVG programming / ABC|
|13.2||CW 13||The CW|
The station signed on the air on July 21, 1948 as WSPD-TV, owned by Storer Broadcasting along with WSPD radio (1370 AM and FM 101.5, now WRVF). The studios were originally located at 136 Huron St. in downtown Toledo. It was Toledo's first television station, and the first television station in the Storer Broadcasting chain.
Originally, the station carried programming from all four television networks: ABC, NBC, CBS and DuMont. However, it was a primary NBC affiliate, owing to its radio sisters' long affiliation with NBC radio. In 1955, Storer changed its primary affiliation to CBS, as Storer and CBS had strong corporate ties. DuMont shut down in 1955, leaving WSPD-TV affiliated with just the big three networks.
In 1958, however, CBS moved its affiliation to newly signed-on WTOL-TV (channel 11), owing to its long affiliation with WTOL radio. WSPD also shared its secondary affiliation with ABC with WTOL. In 1961, WSPD radio moved to new studios in downtown Toledo, where they remain, WSPD-TV's studio building was remodeled within a year. WSPD-TV became an exclusive NBC affiliate in 1970 when Overmyer Broadcasting, then owner of then-independent WDHO-TV (channel 24, now WNWO-TV), persuaded ABC to move its affiliation there. By then, WSPD-TV had become the first Northwest Ohio station to broadcast in color.
Storer also owned WJBK-AM-FM-TV in Detroit and WJW-AM-FM-TV in Cleveland. Both WJBK-TV and WJW-TV were longstanding CBS affiliates. WSPD-TV provided city-grade coverage to most of Detroit's suburbs, while its grade B signal could be seen in Detroit and Cleveland. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) grandfathered this situation under its "one-to-a-market" rule in the 1970s. Storer sold off WSPD-FM in the early 1970s and WSPD-AM in 1979, and channel 13 became WTVG on October 1. By then the studio building on Huron Street had been outgrown and in the early 1980s, WTVG moved into its current studio building in west Toledo. Adhering to the design of the studios of most of its sister television station at the time, WTVG's current studio building is a modern interpretation of an Antebellum mansion.
The Storer stations were taken over by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR) in 1985. As a result, WTVG lost its grandfathered protection and was not sold to Gillett Communications along with the other Storer stations in 1987. Instead, it was sold to a local employee/investor group called Toledo Television, Inc. Toledo Television, in turn was bought out by SJL Broadcast Management in 1991.
In 1994, New World Communications, the owner of most of WTVG's former sister stations, signed an affiliation deal with Fox Broadcasting Company, resulting in most of New World's stations switching affiliation to Fox, but some stayed with NBC (which later bought the New World stations that did not go to Fox). Among the stations due to switch was WJBK, Detroit's longtime CBS affiliate. To avoid being consigned to UHF in what was then the ninth-largest market, CBS heavily wooed Detroit's longtime ABC affiliate, WXYZ.
WXYZ's owner, the E.W. Scripps Company, then told ABC that unless it agreed to affiliate with their stations in Cincinnati, Phoenix, Tampa, and Baltimore, it would switch WXYZ to CBS. As a contingency, ABC approached SJL about buying WTVG and WJRT-TV in Flint, Michigan. As mentioned above, WTVG provides grade B coverage of Detroit itself and city-grade coverage to most of Detroit's suburbs, which would have come in handy had WXYZ switched to CBS. The deal, valued at $120 million, closed on August 29, 1995. However, WTVG's affiliation contract didn't run out until October, so ABC had to run WTVG as an NBC affiliate for two months while NBC looked for a new affiliate in the area. On October 28, 1995, WTVG rejoined ABC, sending the NBC affiliation to WNWO-TV. As it turned out, ABC agreed to the affiliation deal with Scripps as well, and WXYZ retained its ABC affiliation. ABC chose not to trade its newly acquired stations for former O&O WXYZ-TV (because of ABC's ownership of WJR-AM and two other FM stations in Detroit), and Scripps was looking to exit the radio business completely. In 1996, Capital Cities/ABC was acquired by Disney. WTVG was the smallest station in the country that was an O&O of any major network, not counting semi-satellites (this includes WOGX in Ocala/Gainesville, Florida; which is a semi-satellite of WOFL in Orlando).
Because of its status as an O&O, WTVG aired the Veterans Day airing of the film Saving Private Ryan in 2004, while many affiliates pre-empted it out of fears of being fined by the FCC for indecency in the wake of the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show controversy. In fact, Scripps and Sinclair Broadcast Group (who combined owned four ABC affiliates in Ohio, as well as WCHS-TV in Charleston, West Virginia, which serves parts of Southern Ohio) decided to pre-empt the film on all of its ABC affiliates. Among the then-seven ABC affiliates in or serving Ohio at the time (Lima and Wheeling, West Virginia would later gain their own affiliates), this left WTVG and WYTV in Youngstown as the only ABC stations in state to air the film. It was later determined that the movie showing was not a violation of FCC regulations.
ABC News Now was launched in 2004 in the US on digital subchannel of ABC owned & operated stations and affiliates. For conversion to digital broadcasting, the station requested to stay on and was assigned Channel 13 by August 2007 and was temporary assigned Channel 19 for temporary digital broadcast during the transition. ABC Owned Television Stations, including WTVG, launched on April 27, 2009 the Live Well Network in high definition on the station's sub-channels alongside the AccuWeather Channel. WTVG's broadcasts became digital-only, effective June 12, 2009. Channel 13 DTV transmits at a lower power than it did on Channel 19 DTV, so in some locations, there has been a reduction in coverage. Many VHF stations are applying to the FCC for power increases to restore their coverage area after moving from UHF back to VHF.
SJL Broadcasting ownership
On November 3, 2010, Broadcasting & Cable magazine announced that SJL Broadcasting, now owned by the principal owners of Lilly Broadcasting, made an agreement with Disney to buy back WTVG and WJRT, upon speculation that Disney may sell off ABC. Both stations retained their affiliations with ABC. SJL teamed up with a new private equity partner, Bain Capital, whose affiliated offshoot Sankaty Advisors provided the capital for the purchases (which amounted to $16.8 million on WTVG's end of the $30 million deal). WTVG began being owned by SJL Broadcasting again beginning April 1, 2011. On April 12, 2011, the new management dismissed around 20 people from a pre-sale work force of approximately 100—all behind-the-scenes staff—from the station, despite promising earlier that they would make no staff cuts. Similar cuts occurred at WJRT, though cuts there also involved that station's veteran newscasters Bill Harris and Joel Feick.
Sale to Gray Television
On July 24, 2014, SJL announced that it would sell WTVG and WJRT again, this time to Gray Television, owner of Lansing, Michigan's NBC affiliate WILX-TV, for $128 million—a value higher than that of their original sale to ABC. Gray also announced its intent to add The CW to WTVG's digital subchannels. The sale was completed on September 15.
On September 1, 2014, WTVG added The CW to its second digital subchannel to replace Live Well Network, acquiring the affiliation and syndicated programming from the previous Toledo 5 cable channel operated by Buckeye Cablesystem, and inheriting Toledo 5's previous cable positions. The move made The CW's programming available over-the-air and in high definition in the Toledo market for the first time since the network's launch.
On July 1, 2011, WTVG began to broadcast the nightly Ohio Lottery drawings, and broadcast the game show Cash Explosion on Saturday evenings. WTVG took over broadcasting the lottery drawings and game show from rival station WTOL.
WTVG airs over two hours of local news shows every Sunday. The shows are each a half-hour and talk about different types of topics. The shows include: Conklin and Company (11:00-11:30), Bridges (11:30 a.m.-12:00 noon), Roundtable (12:00-12:30 p.m.) and Full Plate (12:30-1:00 p.m.). All four shows are also broadcast in high definition.
WTVG ended the show Coffee with the Fords on June 19, 2011. The show was hosted by former Toledo mayor Jack Ford and his wife Cynthia. Coffee with the Fords was shown between 12:30-1:00 p.m. on Sunday afternoons and was on the air for over four years.
WTVG also airs two special Friday night sports programs, Football Friday showcasing High School football games across Northwest Ohio, during the High School football season and Basketball Friday showcasing girls and boys Basketball across Northwest Ohio during the High School basketball season.
WTVG utilizes the Sony PDW510 XDCAM Camcorder. All Toledo stations (WTVG, WTOL, WNWO, and WUPW) use the Jeep Liberty as an ENG vehicle, due to the fact that they were made locally by Chrysler. WTVG also uses another Jeep-brand vehicle, the Jeep Commander.
WTVG owns and operates a 350,000 Watt Doppler Radar named Live Doppler 13000 HD.
Alexis Means won an Ohio Associated Press award for best spot news coverage for "Gunmen in the School," a breaking news story in which a gunman was allegedly seen walking into a Toledo Public School.
In 2011, WTVG received 6 Emmys from the Lower Great Lakes chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. WTVG also received over 15 nominations for their news, a record for the station.
In June 2011, news anchors at WTVG began using iPads to read news stories instead of paper. WTVG is the first television station in Toledo to use the technology. WTOL began using iPads in late September 2011.
On April 4, 2012, WTVG announced that longtime chief meteorologist Stan Stachak would retire from the station at the end of May 2012. Stan Stachak has been at WTVG for over 30 years and became the chief meteorologist for the station back in 1980. Chief meteorologist Stan Stachak has overseen many technological advances during his spectacular 30-plus year tenure including the addition of Toledo's only Doppler radar in 2003. Stan Stachak stepped down as being the chief on April 20, 2012. Stachak's final broadcast was during the 11:00 p.m. newscast on May 27, 2012.
High Definition Newscasts
On April 13, 2010, WTVG became the last ABC-owned station (as well as the first station in the Toledo DMA) to have upgraded its news productions to 16:9 widescreen enhanced definition. On July 2, 2010, WTVG became the first news station in Toledo and the ninth ABC-owned station to broadcast its newscasts in high definition. The in-studio cameras are in 720p high definition, and field coverage is in 16:9 widescreen enhanced definition. WTVG began using new HD graphics on January 17, 2012, and began broadcasting high definition commercials in May 2012. WTOL channel 11 began broadcasting their newscasts in high definition on April 21, 2011. WNWO began broadcasting newscasts in 16:9 enhanced definition widescreen on August 15, 2011. WUPW began broadcasting their newscasts in HD on May 31, 2012.
Notable past on-air staff
- Ryan Burr (now at ESPN)
- Carty Finkbeiner (former host of Carty & Company and former mayor of Toledo)
- Jack Ford (former co-host of Coffee with the Fords and former mayor of Toledo)
- Rob Powers (now sports director at WABC-TV in New York City)
- Randy Price (now at WCVB-TV in Boston, Massachusetts)
- Circle 7 logo - WTVG's Circle 13 logo is a derivative of the Circle 7 logo