NYC TV Station Reviews- by Thomas Clarke
Channel numbers in italics are the PSIP channels. These stations are listed in order of their real RF channel positions.
A low power station that in its pre-digital days was a repeater signal for WCBS-TV on Channel 42. Now WKOB is on Channel 2 in digital, and they carry Soul of the South (2.1), Daystar (2.2), Peace TV (2.3) and Almavison (2.6).
The local ABC station. They have been the number 1 station in town since the late 1980s. (Up until the 2004-05 Season, ABC was behind Fox in the national ratings.) They have Oprah and the dominant early evening news. For 6 weeks after the WTC disaster, they transmitted out a low power facility in New Jersey, but now they share transmitter space with WCBS, WNYW, WPIX, WWOR, and WPXN on top of the Empire State Building. ABC7 has a digital subchannel for Live Well Network in both HD and 480i.
One of the highest rated commercial TV stations in the country not affiliated with CBS, ABC, NBC, or Fox. (WPIX until recently beat WNYW.) WPIX currently carries CW network programs, "Raymond" and "Friends" reruns (which have been known to beat the 11:00 newscasts), Mets games (they snatched the TV rights from WWOR in 1999 after losing the Yankees to WNYW), and the occasional Honeymooners marathon. WPIX has their transmitter on top of the Empire State Building. WPIX also has subchannels for This TV and Antenna TV.
One of the country's most influential public stations. Also an affiliate of the public "New Jersey Network." Their studios are in Midtown, but their city of license is Newark, New Jersey. They were the last area VHF station to use the Empire State Building's transmitter. As far as digital programming, they have 2 digital subchannels, Kids 13 and V-Me.
An eclectic independent station that carries infomercials and ethnic/foreign language programming over 6 subchannels (including Azteca America on 18.7 which used to be on Channel 39). Their old analog signal was weak in most of NYC because their transmitter was in NW New Jersey, but their new digital transmitter is much closer to NYC, and as a result, picks up better in Brooklyn and Queens than WLIW does.
Long Island's public TV station. (Insert Buttafuoco joke here.) WLIW is most notable for being the flagship station of BBC World's American newscast and the Irish-American public affairs program Out of Ireland. They also carry the NY area subchannel for Create on 21.2.
WNYE-24 (NYC TV)(25):
New York City's broadcast public and educational station. During the WTC disaster, they simulcast New York 1 cable news as well as WNET. WNYE is now more of a city informational channel and less of a PBS-type station. Their transmitter is in Brooklyn. Their subchannels carries the city's government broadcasts (24.2) and CUNY-TV (24.3).
WASA-25 (24): A Port Jervis licensed station with a transmitter on the Conde Nast Building in Times Square. They took the Estrella TV affiliation away from WPIX 11.2 (on both 25.1 and 25.4) , but their 25.2 and 25.3 subchannels are in Mandarin Chinese.
The local NBC station. Has atrocious local newscasts, yet were 2nd in most news races since before the WTC disaster until 2007. Popular NBC personality Al Roker started out on this station. General Electric finally dumped ownership of NBC over to Comcast in 2010. Ironically, WNBC's ratings fell more than 30% after I briefly moved out of NYC in September 2003. Since the February 2008 sweeps, WNBC is getting cremated by WCBS and ABC 7 in most time periods, as well as WNYW. Hopefully, the declining ratings and Comcast's downsizing of the Today and Tonight shows will mean the end of National Bull Crap in the not-too-distant future. Since the digital transition, WNBC is the only big 6 network affiliate that doesn't broadcast from the Empire State Building TV tower- it broadcasts from the tower at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, which is still owned by former NBC owner General Electric.
For 25 years, they were a religious station out of West Milford, NJ, that never picked up in NYC before they turned on their digital signal. As of November 1, 2013, they are WNYJ, with 29.1-29.3 airing MHz Worldview, and 29.6 simulcasting WFME's FM religious station. Until January 2014, 29.4 retained its WFME-era simulcast of WYBE Philadelphia, then the simulcast ended.
They used to carry Home Shopping Network programming (with call letters WHSE), before Univision bought them out in August 2001. As of January 2002, WFUT now carries some Spanish TV network that used to be called "Telefutura" but is now called "Unimas".
The flagship station of the Ion (formerly known as i and PAX) network. WPXN used to be WBIS, which was originally NYC's city-owned public station, WNYC-TV. But the station cost the city millions in lost revenue (they operated a FCC-licensed commercial station as a nonprofit public station), and in 1995 the city sold Channel 31 for $207 million. Bud Paxson paid slightly more than that for the station in 1997. It also broadcasts infomercials. NBC still owns majority interest in the Ion network. (If the FCC were truly concerned, they would have shut down NBC, which now illegally owns and controls 3 broadcast networks as well as being owned by the country's largest cable operator, Comcast.) WPXN is simulcast on Digital Channel 12 in parts of Long Island.
Low Power Channels 32 (WXNY) (32) and 43 (WNXY)(43) :
These stations share the same owner and programming (English, Spanish, and Mandarin subchannels of China's official CCTV network). This company used to operate WNYZ VHF Channel 6 (non-HD) as radio station 87.7 Party-FM. Until October 2013, WXNY was on Channel 32 (they were briefly on digital 26 in Oct-Dec 2013 before switching back to 32), and WNXY 43 was dark while now-dark WNYX 35 was carrying CCTV America.
The local CBS station. Since the World Trade Center disaster knocked their competition off the air for 2-6 weeks, WCBS's ratings have risen significantly (they have been in 2nd or 3rd place since late 2001 and were #2 in the May 2004, November 2007, and since the February 2008 Sweeps). WCBS normally has news at 5-7AM, noon, 5PM, 5:30PM, 6PM, and 11PM, as well as a new (as of February 21, 2012) subchannel called CBS New York Plus that is similar to New York 1. Their transmitter has been on top of the Empire State Building since well before September 11, 2001. They now have permanent weekend morning newscasts. For a while, WCBS was the only TV station in New York with a fan page and blog (at least, according to Google and Wikipedia).
WPXO-34(34): The Mundofox (34.1) and Caribevision/ACV (34.2) affiliate for NYC. They are licensed out of East Orange, NJ, but their studios are in Chelsea. Mundofox is also on WWOR 38.4.
The local affiliate of Spanish TV network Telemundo, whose news department used to be owned by CBS, but the whole network is now wholly owned by NBC (hence my new name for the network, Telemierda). They moved their transmitter to the Empire State Building in mid 2002, although now it is on top of the 30 Rockefeller Plaza building along with sister partner-in-filth WNBC.
WWOR-38(or 44.3) (9):
Originally an independent station from Midtown. Ted Kennedy and some New Jersey lawmakers twisted the arms of the FCC and then-WOR-TV owner RKO in the early 1980's, so since then, WWOR has been licensed out of Secaucus, NJ. They are the flagship station for Fox's MyNetworknetwork. Overall, WWOR is currently rated 7th in this market (since 2002, they've fallen behind WXTV in the ratings), but in 2000, they came close to beating WNYW in the ratings. Their studios are still in New Jersey (although they might end up sharing a studio with WNYW). WWOR recently got the TV rights to the New York Yankees. From 1962-1998, WWOR had the broadcast rights to the New York Mets. WWOR simulcasts WNYW on 38.2 (which shows as virtual 5.2), and broadcasts the Bounce network on 38.3. 38.4 simulcasts Mundofox on WPXO.
A low power station that picks up in Brooklyn, eastern Staten Island, Manhattan, and Queens. It used to broadcast the Spanish network Azteca America (an offshoot of Mexico's TV Azteca, and now on WMBC 18-6). Channel 39 used to air the Spanish LTV network, MTV2, and English and Spanish language infomercials. in the late 1990s, Channel 39 carried "The Box" music video network. Channel 39 is owned by the same group that owns low power Channels 32 and 43 (and 87.7 FM), but 39 is the only one of the group carried on Time Warner Cable.
The Spanish station out of Paterson affiliated with Univision. WXTV and WCBS were the only commercial stations not knocked off the air during the WTC disaster. In November 2001, WXTV became the first Spanish language station to beat an English language pre-digital VHF station (WWOR) in a sweeps period.
WNYW-44(or 38.2) (5):
The local Fox station. Their 10PM newscast resembles a video version of the tabloid NY Post (which, like WNYW and WWOR, is owned by Rupert Murdoch). WNYW went from 3rd to 4th in the ratings over the last 14 years and was almost beaten by WWOR and the Spanish stations in the May 2000 sweeps. They added a 5-6:30PM newscast in 2002- about 5 years after I suggested they do so in one of my old Excelsior TV columns. They presently transmit out of the Empire State Building. WNYW is usually 3rd or 4th in the News ratings, but they hope to increase their ratings now that WNBC is plummeting in the ratings. As of February 2012, WNYW was still beating WNBC in the 5PM news slot. WNYW added a network called Movies on 44.2.
WMBQ-46 (46): A mainly infomercial and Spanish station with a fairly strong signal for a low powered digital station.
WLNY-47 (55): An independent station of of Long Island that is carried on most cable systems on Channel 10 or 55. Their over-the-air signal picks up in Eastern and Southern Queens at times. Since CBS bought the station in 2011, WCBS took over the news department and the result has led to more Long Island coverage on WCBS and fewer Nassau/Suffolk news coverage on WLNY. At times, some CBS network programming that is pre-empted on WCBS will air instead on WLNY.
WBQM-50(51): A low powered digital station that is trying to launch a new Spanish network called Buenavision on Channel 50.2. Channels 50.1 and 50.3 air the Spanish version of CNN. Channel 50.3 retains the station's pre-2012 affiliation of Cornerstone TV. Until December 2013, their virtual channel was 3, now it is 51, although the real channel 51 (WNJN from NJ) shows up as 50.
Also worth noting are New York 1, the city's 24 hour all-news-on-cable station, and Sportsnet NY, Fox Sports New York, and MSG (Madison Square Garden TV), which carry sports on cable. There are XXX rated public access cable shows you can get if you receive Manhattan's Time Warner Cable Channel 35, such as Midnight Blue (now on satellite) and Robin Byrd's sexfests for heterosexuals, homosexuals, and those with jewelry fetishes.
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Note: ratings and station information courtesy of station websites, Shoptalk/TVSpy and Reuters\Variety, Wikipedia, the NY Daily News, and the NY Post. All opinions stated are those of the author. Any comments by WNBC or "Syracuse Peacock" can be referred to my Legal Aid lawyer.
Last Updated January 18, 2014