WFMJ-TV, virtual channel 21 (UHF digital channel 20), is an NBC-affiliated television station licensed to Youngstown, Ohio, United States. Since its inception, the station has been owned by the locally-based Vindicator Printing Company, publisher of Youngstown's lone newspaper, The Vindicator. WFMJ-TV maintains studios and offices on West Boardman Street in downtown Youngstown, and its transmitter is based in the city's Lansingville neighborhood.
The station was founded by William F. Maag, Jr., publisher of the Vindicator, and went on the air for the first time on March 11, 1953 on channel 73. The station was owned alongside WFMJ radio (1390 AM, now WNIO, and 105.1 FM, now WQXK). WFMJ-TV has always been an NBC affiliate owing to its radio sister's long affiliation with NBC Red Network. The Maags then purchased the construction permit issued for channel 21 (originally granted to WUTV) and moved to that frequency on August 7, 1954. After moving channels, WFMJ was replaced on channel 73 by independent station WXTV which moved to channel 45 in 1959 (the former channel location of WYTV, then WKST-TV, before moving to channel 33) and remained on-the-air until late 1962.
From its sign-on until 1957, WFMJ-TV served as the NBC affiliate for the far northern portion of the Pittsburgh market, mainly areas not covered by WJAC-TV in Johnstown, Pennsylvania and WTRF-TV in Wheeling, West Virginia for NBC programming (the latter station is now affiliated with CBS). This ended when Pittsburgh got its own NBC affiliate, WIIC-TV (now WPXI), in September 1957. In addition to its main service area of extreme northeastern Ohio and northwestern Pennsylvania, WFMJ-TV can be seen as far as the eastern and southern suburbs of Cleveland with a good antenna which was useful to Cleveland especially from 1956 until 1965 when Cleveland did not have an NBC station during that period.
WFMJ-TV has been the only locally owned and operated station in the market since CBS affiliate WKBN-TV (channel 27) was sold off in 1997. In fact, it is one of the few stations left in the country that is still locally owned and operated and one of four in Ohio, with the others being WCPO-TV in Cincinnati, WBNS-TV in Columbus and WHIZ-TV in Zanesville. Channel 21 points out often in advertisements noting that it is the "only locally-owned station in Youngstown." As a result, WFMJ has been a ratings juggernaut in Youngstown for several years.
WFMJ is one of the few stations in the country that airs Live with Kelly and Ryan, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Judge Judy, and Dr. Phil on the same station. WFMJ's morning show (WFMJ Today), NBC's Today, and Live with Kelly and Ryan's ratings are among the highest in the country. WFMJ is also the Youngstown market's carrier station for the Ohio Lottery and its weekly game show, Cash Explosion Double Play. In October 2010, WFMJ began carrying syndicated programs, and commercials in high definition whenever available in the format. In April 2011, the station started broadcasting the Ohio Lottery's weekly game show Cash Explosion in HD.
In 2006, WFMJ opened a satellite studio at the Eastwood Mall in Niles, Ohio. Officially known as the Eastwood Mall Bureau, its primary focus is to cover news stories in Trumbull County, Ohio. It also features a retail store where people can buy WFMJ souvenirs, such as T-shirts embroidered with the WFMJ and/or WBCB logos.
On July 6, 2012, Dish Network subscribers within the Youngstown market temporarily lost access to WFMJ-TV, the result of a breakdown between the satellite provider and owner Vindicator Printing Company during retransmission consent negotiations to renew the station's carriage agreement with Dish.
"WBCB" debuted in November 2004 as an affiliate of The WB Television Network, before affiliating with The CW in September 2006. This channel formerly signed off on weekend early mornings from around 2:30 to 4:30 a.m. until 2011, when it began operating on a 24-hour schedule with paid programming filled the former downtime; though color bars were placed on the over-the-air digital signal while "WBCB" continued to broadcast syndicated programming and infomercials during periods where WFMJ signs off the air. WFMJ-TV was the last station in the Youngstown market to sign off on a regular basis (WYTV, which signed off on a nightly basis starting in 1997, ended the practice with the September 2006 launch of "MY-YTV").
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP short name||Programming |
|21.1||1080i||16:9||WFMJ-HD||Main WFMJ-TV programming / NBC|
|21.2||WBCB-HD||The Valley's CW|
Syndicated programming featured on WFMJ-TV includes The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Inside Edition, Judge Judy and Live with Kelly and Ryan. WBCB includes programming such as TMZ on TV and Access Hollywood.
WFMJ's newscasts typically garner higher ratings than its competitors combined in the morning, 6 and 11 p.m. timeslots. The station founded the market's first Friday night high school football program with The Overtime Report in the 1990s. On October 29, 2009, beginning with the 6 p.m. newscast, the station upgraded its weather graphics to Weather Central's 3D:LIVE system. On October 26, 2013, WFMJ launched the area's first weekend morning news with WFMJ Weekend Today. The newscasts air on Saturdays from 6:00–7:00 and 9:00–10:00 a.m. and on Sundays from 7:00–8:00 and 9:00–10:30 a.m.