WGME-TV is the CBS-affiliated television station for southern Maine and eastern and northern New Hampshire in the United States. Licensed to Portland, it broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 38 (or virtual channel 13 via PSIP) from a transmitter on Brown Hill west of Raymond. Owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group, WGME also operates Waterville-licensed Fox affiliate WPFO (channel 23) under a local marketing agreement with its owner Cunningham Broadcasting. However, Sinclair effectively owns WPFO due to Cunningham's ownership structure. The two stations share studios on Northport Drive in the North Deering section of Portland; WGME also maintains regional studios in the Lewiston/Auburn area, as well as at the state capital in Augusta.
The station's first broadcast was on May 16,1954, as WGAN-TV, owned by Guy Gannett Communications (no relation to Gannett Company or its television spinoff, TEGNA, which owns WCSH) along with WGAN (AM 560) and the Portland Press-Herald daily newspaper. (An FM station, 102.9 WGAN-FM was added in 1967.) The 493.5-meter (1,619 ft) tall transmission tower, situated near Route 121 in Raymond, was built during 1959. It was, according to the 1999 Guinness Book of World Records, the world's tallest architectural structure at the time. It was surpassed by KFVS-TV's tower in Cape Girardeau, Missouri during 1960. However, it remained the tallest structure in Maine until the construction of WMTW's tower during 2002.
When the radio stations were sold during 1983, the WGAN call letters were sold with them. WGAN-TV then changed its call code to the current "WGME-TV" on December 15 of that year. It remained the main station of Guy Gannett Communications until the company sold most of its television stations, including WGME, to the Sinclair Broadcast Group during 1998.
WGME owner Sinclair Broadcast Group and Time Warner Cable disputed the terms of their retransmission consent agreement that expired on December 31, 2010. The agreement was extended to January 14, 2011, while the parties continued to negotiate. An agreement in principle to resolve the dispute followed soon thereafter and was finalized in February 2011.
On January 8, 2016, Sinclair announced that American Sports Network would begin as a dedicated, digital multicast network, with the American Sports Network name in 10 cities including Portland on WGME on January 11, 2016.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP short name||Programming |
|13.1||720p||16:9||WGME-HD||Main WGME-TV programming / CBS|
Appropriately for a station associated historically with a newspaper, channel 13's newscasts dominated the ratings in Portland for many years. However, WCSH overtook WGME in 1989 and has dominated the ratings ever since. WGME produces 24 hours and 30 minutes of produced news content every week. (Daybreak 4:30 - 7 a.m., News 13 at Noon, Live at 5, Live at 5:30, News 13 at 6, News 13 at Eleven, and News 13 Weekend Edition 6:00 p.m and 11:00 p.m). WGME also produced 17 hours of produced news content for partner station WPFO during a seven-day period, weekdays and weekends (Good Day Maine and News 13 on FOX at 10:00 p.m). WGME produces the most local news content in the Portland market spanning both WGME CBS 13 and WPFO FOX 23. Singularly though, if only taking into account the news programming on the CBS station, WGME would produce the least amount of local news content in the market among the three major network affiliates.
Former news team for Live At 5 and News 13 at 6, Kim Block and former Anchor Doug Rafferty were a news team from the mid-1990s until the mid-2000s. Kim Block is one of the most recognized television journalists in both the Portland market and in the State of Maine/New Hampshire, winning various titles of excellence in broadcasting and women in broadcasting history, however outdone by rivals at WCSH. Block has been the Lead Anchor at WGME for more than three decades, being at WGME since 1981. She recently celebrated her 31st year Anchoring at WGME during 2012. She began as a Reporter/Anchor, leading the station to various Emmys and AP awards over the years with her Anchoring of News 13 at Noon, News 13 Live At Five, and News 13 at 6, as well as being the station's primary medical/health reporter, and the segment producer of Healthline, a call-in medical program lasting from 5PM-6:30PM, usually on Tuesday nights when the segment is advertised on the newscasts, showcasing an issue of concern for patients in Maine, interviewing medical doctors from area hospitals. Rafferty reduced his reporting hours, quitting the anchor desk for a behind-the-scene technical job at the station and providing reports for the station for the Daybreak segment, Maine Outdoors and the News 13 at 6 segments, "Doug's Discovery." Both segments were assisted with by Maine's L.L. Bean, a longtime sponsor of WGME programming (today, at the end of every newscast along with the copyright, the L.L. Bean logo is presented as the main sponsor of WGME's newscasts). He reduced his hours after suffering a stroke while broadcasting during the mid-2000s during a live cut-in of a syndicated program on the station prior to the Live At Five broadcast. He retired during 2012 to become the Public Relations and Education Head at the Maine State Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Other longtime Anchors include weeknight announcer Gregg Lagerquist and morning announcer Jeff Peterson. Sports Anchor/Director Dave Eid has been with WGME since 1996 and continues bringing its viewers live, local, and late-breaking sports updates, stories, and scores. Longtime Meteorologist, later Chief, Charlie Lopresti was with the station for more than a decade.
Starting February 5, 2007, WGME began producing a nightly 10 o'clock newscast on Fox affiliate WPFO after establishing a news share agreement. Known on-air as News 13 on Fox, it is currently the only prime time broadcast in the market. During 2010, due to a revenue share agreement with the Fox station, WPFO, the station expanded the weeknight 10 o'clock broadcast to an hour and began a two-hour-long morning program by WPFO named Good Day Maine. WPFO pays WGME a fee along with a share of revenue realized from the newscast. "Good Day Maine" was shortened to one hour by October 2013.
The station has begun a news partnership with Maine Today Media, owner of its former newspaper sisters—the Portland Press Herald, Kennebec Journal, Morning Sentinel, and Maine Sunday Telegram. In addition to its main studios, WGME operates a Lewiston/Auburn Bureau on Main Street (across the street from WCSH's bureau). A second bureau is in Augusta near the Maine State House. News 13 also has a new partnership with the Lewiston/Auburn Sun Journal, using the source very frequently on evening broadcasts when there's news in the twin cities north of Portland. WGME also shares newsgathering material with WPFO, the FOX affiliate in Portland, gaining WGME access to both CBS Newspath and FOX News video footage for the use of all newscasts on both WPFO and on WGME. Taking full advantage of their partnership with other local non-TV media sources, WGME meteorologists provide the weather forecasts for the Portland Press Herald and the Maine Sunday Telegram, as well as for a variety of local radio stations in the Portland market. WGME also promotes upcoming stories for their "Live at 5" on radio stations such as WMGX and WJBQ. These radio promotion ads are done almost exclusively by Anchor Kim Block being broadcast usually around 3:00 p.m. in the afternoons on those radio stations. When providing regional and state coverage, WGME and ABC affiliate WVII-TV in Bangor share content and video footage.
WGME does not produce local weekend morning newscasts, unlike the NBC and ABC affiliates in the Portland market. Instead, it broadcasts infomercials or E/I children's programming early on weekends. For national news, the station carries the CBS News produced CBS This Morning: Saturday on Saturday mornings, and the CBS News produced Sunday Morning program.
During December 2011, WGME converted its broadcasts into full HD (including new slogans, graphics, music, and a new set).
On October 31, 2013, Sinclair Broadcasting, owner of WGME, bought all non-license assets of WPFO Fox 23 for $13.6 Million. The licensing assets were sold to Cunningham Broadcasting on November 20, 2013, for $3.4 Million. Cunningham Broadcasting, and former owner of WPFO Max Media, have close business relationships with Sinclair in stations around the country. This sale makes WPFO (FOX) the companion station of WGME (CBS) (for a number of years before this the two stations had a news sharing agreement), essentially creating an unofficial duopoly in the Portland, ME TV Market. Though throughout the State of Maine, Gannett owns both WCSH 6 in Portland and WLBZ 2 in Bangor, both NBC affiliates, creating what could be considered as a statewide commercial duopoly (MPBN has a 5 station monopoly in the state as the Federal Government's PBS broadcaster). In New Hampshire, Hearst Television owns WMUR 9 and in Portland, Maine, WMTW 8, both ABC affiliates. WMTW can be viewed in portions of New Hampshire, overlapping the WMUR viewing area, essentially creating a dual-state duopoly.
On September 11, 2017, WGME launched a half-hour 7:00 p.m. weeknight newscast; as a result, Entertainment Tonight rescheduled back a half-hour to 7:30 p.m. The opportunity to expand WGME's news franchise came about as a result of CBS Television Distribution's decision to cancel The Insider, which had previously aired on WGME in the 7:30 p.m. weeknight time slot.
Transition to HD
WGME began broadcasting in 720p High Definition on December 18, 2011, with a new set designed by Devlin Design Group. The newscasts also premiered a new graphics package, though opting to keep the standard Sinclair grey and black lower third. All other graphics were changed to a new, high-tech Sinclair standard package. Only two Sinclair stations (WZTV and WGME) use this new package. WGME's new High Definition set includes two video display monitors on either end of the set for anchor stand up reporting, a 12 monitor video wall which can display 3 video feeds (2x2 each), 2 videos feeds (2x3 each), one large panoramic video feed (2x6 which they use for a graphic of the Portland skyline), or 12 individual video feeds (one per monitor). WGME also has a small anchor desk at the video wall for their FOX 23 broadcasts, "Good Day Maine" and "News 13 on FOX" at 10PM. Their main anchor desk is larger than the Fox 23 anchor desk, though includes a similar style of a light box base with wood carved around it, as well as over the light box. The anchor desk includes a large monitor behind the anchors which shows a skyline image of Portland, ME, or during weather tosses, the "News 13" logo with clouds behind it in blue and red colors. The entire set includes an array of light panels and light boxes. Behind the anchors on top of the light boxes are square black panels that zig-zag behind the anchor TV monitor. The set includes a wood style from a brand native to Maine. The weather office is now open and fully visible to the viewers. The weather office is to the viewer's right, which includes a similar sized desk as to the FOX 23 anchor desk, for the meteorologist to open and close weathercasts with. Behind the desk includes 9 computers to operate the weather graphics and forecasting system which are on a raised platform so that viewers can see the station's other meteorologists working on severe weather reports live. Above these computers are another four monitors which can either broadcast a single video feed (1×4) for a panoramic view of the Portland Skyline, or can be individually manipulated to show weather graphics above the meteorologist. The set also includes a larger green screen to the viewer's right of the weather set.
Graphics have been heavily changed due to the release of HD newscasts on the station, including transitions from one graphic to another, or one video clip to another. Shows open with a large "Coming Up" graphic that spins and below the lettering shows a video panel with an L-Shape graphic (text below the video clip and glass panels moving up and down to the left of the video feed). This graphic is seen on WGME's HD commercials for upcoming newscasts as well, though instead using the opening logo as the WGME logo (and similarly the "Good Day Maine" logo on Fox 23 commercials). This graphic is followed by a new HD open that shows the Portland Head Light (either during the day or during the evening depending on which broadcast) with the text lines "News 13" and "Now in High Definition", and brings viewers to a shot of downtown Portland with a variety of buildings behind the WGME logo, and then shows the broadcast's on-air anchors (The original late 2011 openers showed the main news anchors and meteorologist for each broadcast; regrettably, the sports anchors were not shown in those openings—although both sports anchors do appear on the nightly broadcasts.) Behind the anchors in the opening are large "13" logos rotating with a 3D CBS Eye logo, which is also seen in the Portland Skyline graphics, behind the lighthouse and 13 logos in the opening as well. After the anchors are shown, the WGME CBS 13 logo is shown floating in the Portland harbor with the skyline in 3D behind it with the reflection of the logo in the animated water, with the voice over saying "This is News 13 (insert newscast name)" and then a light flash transition to the anchor desk. A longer lower third graphic is used with an updated 3rd bar in red with a line going through it. During live shots, the "Live" text box on the lower third has a light flare going across the top of the box. During "News 13 Daybreak" broadcasts, a newly updated ticker is shown, new to any Sinclair stations. During the morning broadcast a new logo is presented "CBS 13 News HD", with the "News" text pushed over to allow the text line "HD". Transitions during all broadcasts include for video clips zooming in, rather than a fade out as used before, and for graphics a slide to the right. WGME has also updated their anchor graphics from a glass slider on either the left or right hand side of the anchors to simple glass panels moving up and down with an updated black graphic box. The generic backgrounds to display information also received a tune up with dotted lines moving towards the outer screen on the left, arrows going across the bottom of the screen, and lines shown throughout the background. It also includes several light flares. They have not changed their map graphics and still use either Bing Maps, or their own system's generic green and blue road maps. When weather is presented, they open with the show's open of "Your Weather Authority Forecast" and then show the meteorologist. A similar open is used during sports presentations. Sports graphics have been updated as well (During each sportscast, a cornucopia of sports balls float behind the Portland skyline).
The newscast openers got shortened (the intro and talent cast got dropped) in February 2013. WGME's newscasts are being referred to as CBS 13 News as of April 2013. The newscasts on WPFO are now being referred to as FOX 23 News as of February 2014.
WGME's weather department recently changed its slogan from "Storm Team 13" to "Your Weather Authority—News 13", seen in the upper left hand corner of every weather graphic. This change occurred right before airing in HD on December 18. Above the weather set, during anchor/weather tosses, viewers can still see a panel that says "Storm Team 13". WGME's weather system, "Doppler HD" was presented in broadcasts during August 2008, but was shown by the station in Standard Definition. After December 18, the station now shows the system in full HD. Often, the meteorologists use 4 monitors of the 12 monitor video wall to present a quick forecast at the start of each newscast.
On February 28, 2013, WGME's weather department rolled out new graphics to its Weather Central forecasting system, as part of a new graphics package from parent company Sinclair Broadcasting. It is slowly being introduced on other Sinclair stations.
Early during 2014, while WGME-TV CBS 13 News received an all-new (blue/teal-based) graphics package now seen on-air (featuring use of the FF DIN sans-serif font), News 13 Daybreak changed its name to Good Day Maine On CBS 13 (to match the appearance and format of the still-existing Good Day Maine On FOX 23 (which uses a yellow/gold/orange-based graphics package). On September 15, 2014, WPFO-TV FOX 23 premiered the WGME-TV CBS 13-produced FOX 23 News @ 6:30 PM featuring the combined (6 p.m. and 11 p.m.) anchor team, and a fresh-new format.
WGME is operated at its principal Portland studio, but also operates two regional bureaus. One is in Auburn, serving the Lewiston/Auburn area of the Portland market, and one in Augusta, near the State House. In recent years WGME has begun stationing one or two reporters in these areas, usually reporting every evening from those cities. WGME has gone live several times in the past from a corner set in the Auburn studio, as well as from the Augusta studio set on Live at 5 and News 13 at 6. These bureaus are not used on Sinclair produced programs on WPFO, such as Good Day Maine or News 13 on FOX at 10PM. Currently, WGME has reporter Brad Rogers stationed in either one of their bureaus. Brad Rogers usually serves as the State House/Political reporter, frequently being introduced by WGME Anchor Gregg Laggerquist.