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The Journal Gazette

Thursday, July 28, 2016 10:03 pm

Sale brings changes to local TV dial

Keiara Carr | The Journal Gazette

The Fort Wayne CW and NBC will be swapping channels for viewers with digital antennas on Monday.

The change comes after the sale last year of WPTA-TV, Channel 21 and WISE-TV, Channel 33. 

The CW will move from 21.2 to 33.1 at 10 a.m. Monday, station manager Barb Richards announced Thursday. The transition should not take more than a few seconds and viewers should not experience any interruption of service.

The CW will also assume the WISE call letters.

NBC, which is currently channel 33.1, will be moved to 21.2. ABC will remain on 21.1.

Merry Ewing, vice president and general manager of WPTA, released a statement on Thursday stating the impact on viewers will be minimal and the first steps into a "$5.8 million investment into the stations."

Tad Frank, creative services director for WPTA-TV/WISE-TV, said that the change will affect viewers who currently watch over-the-air broadcast signals through an antenna. Cable and satellite viewers will not be affected.

"It’s truly just a frequency change here. Let’s say you have DirecTV, Comcast, Dish, that kind of thing, absolutely nothing changes because the equipment will just automatically recognize it," Frank said.

He said it might be an advantage for antenna viewers with ABC and NBC placed next to one another on the channel lineup. Ewing and Frank both indicated that viewers will notice changes heading into the fall.

No changes are immediately expected for local news broadcasts. The Fort Wayne CW is currently producing local snippets of news and events for broadcast, Richards said.

With the CW becoming a top-tier digital station in the market, Richards said, it gains the opportunity to grow a TV station, and "see what we can make it become in this new and different age of information."

"That does make us a little more powerful than it had in the past in the way of signal, and makes us have a lot more responsibility in the way of our programming as well," Richards said.

In the sale, approved by Federal Communications Commission in late September, the Fort Wayne CW was purchased by SagamoreHill Broadcasting Company in November. The affiliate has a shared services agreement with Quincy Media, which bought the ABC, NBC and MyTV local affiliates in the same sale from Granite Broadcasting Corp.