WHAM-TV is the ABC-affiliated television station for Rochester, New York. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on VHF channel 13 from a transmitter on Pinnacle Hill on the border between Rochester and Brighton. The station can also be seen on Time Warner channels 13 and 1200 in standard definition and high definition. Owned by Deerfield Media and operated by Sinclair Broadcast Group (owner of Fox affiliate WUHF) under a local marketing agreement, it has studios on West Henrietta Road (NY 15) in Henrietta (though the mailing address says Rochester).
The station signed-on at 4 in the afternoon on September 15, 1962 as WOKR (for "We're OK Rochester"). Right from the start, it was an ABC affiliate and is the only commercial station in the area that has never changed its affiliation. It originally operated from studios located on South Clinton Avenue in Rochester. In March 1970, it was sold to Flower City Television Corporation. Flower City sold the station to Post Corporation, a media conglomerate based in the Fox Cities region of Wisconsin in 1977. George N. Gillett Jr. purchased the Post Corporation stations in 1984 transferring it into Gillett Holdings, Inc. Hughes Broadcasting Partners (Paul Hughes and Veronis, Suhler & Associates) purchased the station in 1991. Hughes then sold WOKR to Guy Gannett Communications in 1995.
Guy Gannett sold its stations to the Sinclair Broadcast Group in 1998; as Sinclair already owned WUHF, it then spun off WOKR to the Ackerley Group, with the acquisition closing in April 1999. The station came under common ownership with WHAM radio (1180 AM) in June 2002 after the Ackerley Group merged with Clear Channel Communications, WHAM radio's owner. Speculation immediately started about whether WOKR would take on the WHAM-TV calls, which had been used on what is now WROC-TV from 1949 until 1956. On January 10, 2005 at 1:42 in the morning, channel 13 signed off-the-air for the last time as WOKR and returned to the air at 4:59 that same day as WHAM-TV. The WOKR call letters then moved to sister station WUCL in Remsen, New York (now Air 1 affiliate WARW; in 2015, when WARW dropped the calls, a radio station in Rochester picked up the WOKR calls and returned them to the market).
For many years, WOKR was one of three Rochester area stations offered on cable in the Ottawa/Gatineau and Eastern Ontario regions. The Rochester area stations were replaced with Detroit channels in September 2003 when the microwave relay system that provided these signals was discontinued. Until January 2009, WHAM-TV was also the ABC affiliate carried in several Central Ontario communities such as Belleville, Cobourg, and Lindsay. Buffalo ABC affiliate WKBW-TV replaced WHAM-TV in these communities.
On November 16, 2006, Clear Channel announced its intention to sell off all of its television stations after the company was bought by private equity firms. On April 20, 2007, the company entered into an agreement to sell its entire television stations group to Newport Television, a broadcasting holding company established by the private equity firm Providence Equity Partners.  The sale separated WHAM-TV from WHAM radio (which remains owned by Clear Channel, now iHeartMedia); however, the WHAM-TV call sign has been retained, and the two stations have continued a news partnership.
On July 19, 2012, Newport Television announced the sale of 22 of its 27 stations to the Nexstar Broadcasting Group, Sinclair Broadcast Group and Cox Media Group. While most of WHAM-TV's New York State sisters were sold to Nexstar, a buyer for WHAM-TV was not announced until December 3, when Newport sold its non-license assets to Sinclair. The license was sold to Deerfield Media for $54 million. Sinclair cannot acquire the WHAM-TV license because of its continued ownership of WUHF (though it holds an option to do so); Nexstar could not purchase WHAM-TV because it already owned CBS affiliate WROC-TV. Rochester has only five full-power stations--not enough to legally permit a duopoly. WHAM-TV is also the only ABC affiliate owned by Newport Television that wasn't sold to Nexstar. With the announced sales in November of two additional stations to Nexstar and KMTR in Eugene, Oregon to Fisher Communications (which was later sold itself to Sinclair in May 2013), WHAM-TV was the last Newport Television station without a buyer. On January 30, 2013, the FCC granted approval of the transaction, and it was consummated two days later.
On December 31, 2013, WUHF terminated its eight-year SSA with WROC-TV, and the station was re-located to WHAM-TV's studios. On January 1, 2014, WUHF introduced two WHAM-TV-produced newscasts, Good Day Rochester and a 10 p.m. newscast, which were both previously seen on its The CW subchannel WHAM-DT2.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|13.1||720p||16:9||WHAM-HD||Main WHAM-TV programming / ABC|
WHAM-TV discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over VHF channel 13, on June 12, 2009, the official date in which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 59, which was among the high band UHF channels (52-69) that were removed from broadcasting use as a result of the transition, to its analog-era VHF channel 13.
What is now WHAM-DT2 was launched in 2000 as cable-only "WRWB". It was an affiliate of The WB through The WB 100+. The station was operated by Time Warner Cable (then owned by Time Warner) and the call sign was used in a fictional manner. On January 24, 2006, The WB and UPN announced that they would end broadcasting and merge. The new combined network would be called The CW. The letters would represent the first initial of its corporate parents: CBS (the parent company of UPN) and the Warner Bros. unit of Time Warner. On February 22, News Corporation announced that it would start up another new network called MyNetworkTV. This new service, which would be a sister network to Fox, would be operated by Fox Television Stations and its syndication division Twentieth Television. MyNetworkTV was created in order to give UPN and WB stations, not mentioned as becoming CW affiliates, another option besides becoming Independent. It was also created to compete against The CW. UPN was seen locally on Class A station WBGT-CA.
WRWB's CW affiliation was officially announced on March 7. As a result of Time Warner's half ownership in the new network, this was virtually a guarantee. After the switch on September 18, the station's on-air identity changed from "Rochester's WB 16" to "Rochester's CW" (with a "TV 16" logo used to denote its cable channel) and the fictional WRWB calls were laid aside. Meanwhile, WBGT became part of MyNetworkTV when that network launched on September 5. On November 13, 2006, WHAM-TV took over the operation of "Rochester's CW" from Time Warner Cable. It renamed the service "CW WHAM" and began to simulcast on a new second digital subchannel of WHAM to offer over-the-air viewers access to CW programming.
"CW WHAM" moved its operations from the downtown Time Warner Cable offices on Mount Hope Avenue into this station's facilities on West Henrietta Road (both Mount Hope Avenue and West Henrietta Road are part of NY Route 15). On September 8, 2007, WHAM-DT2 began airing Next Era Wrestling's Superstars of Wrestling, a popular wrestling program filmed and produced locally for the Rochester audience. The show was canceled after eight episodes. CW WHAM was later re-branded as The CW Rochester.
Syndicated programming on WHAM-TV includes: The Insider, Entertainment Tonight, and Access Hollywood. Syndicated programming on WHAM-DT2 includes: Family Guy, The Big Bang Theory, and How I Met Your Mother. It is one of the CW affiliates on a subchannel that does not use The CW Plus to acquire certain syndicated programming for the station.
WHAM-TV has led the news ratings in Rochester for many years and lead anchor Don Alhart has been at the station since 1966 along with longtime anchors Ginny Ryan and Doug Emblidge. As of 2007, portions of WHAM-TV's programming (including its weekday noon newscast) is streamed live on its website. On January 15, 2007, the station expanded its weekday morning show to include two hours (7 to 9) on WHAM-DT2. On September 13, 2010, WHAM-TV became the first station in Rochester to broadcast newscasts in high definition. The station debuted an updated logo featuring the "circle 13" design (derivative of the circle 7 logo) similar to ABC affiliate WTVG in Toledo, Ohio. The shows on WHAM-DT2 were included in the upgrade and currently can be seen in HD over-the-air or on Time Warner Cable channels 16 and 1212.   
On January 1, 2011, WHAM-DT2 began airing a half-hour prime time newscast every night at 10. This at the time competed with Fox affiliate WUHF that has a nightly 45 minute broadcast produced by WROC-TV.  As a result of changing operational partners from WROC-TV to WHAM-TV, WUHF begin having its nightly prime newscast and a new weekday morning show produced by this ABC outlet. Essentially, the same two shows currently airing every night at 10 and weekday mornings at 7 moved from WHAM-DT2 to WUHF. These changes took take effect January 1, 2014. On WUHF, the prime time broadcast became 13WHAM News at 10 on Fox Rochester and its weekday morning program is now known as Good Day Rochester.  The slots on CW Rochester were filled by syndicated sitcoms and paid programming. On September, 2014, 13WHAM News This Morning (5:00-7:00) has since been renamed Good Day Rochester and WUHF now simulcasts the last half hour (6:30 a.m.) of the program.