WNWO-TV is the NBC-affiliated television station in Northwest Ohio that is licensed to Toledo. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 49 (virtual channel 24.1) from a transmitter northeast of Oregon. Owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group, the station has studios on South Byrne Road. It can be viewed over-the-air and on cable in Southeastern Michigan, Windsor, Ontario, and Essex County, Ontario.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP short name||Programming|
|24.1||1080i||16:9||WNWO-DT||Main WNWO-TV programming / NBC|
|24.2||480i||4:3||WNWO-AS||American Sports Network|
Although 24.4 carries Retro TV programming, viewers have confirmed that some programs are pre-empted with paid advertising.
Overmyer Broadcasting founded the station on May 3, 1966 as WDHO-TV (for Daniel H. Overmyer). Overmeyer owned several independent stations across the country, including KEMO in San Francisco, WATL in Atlanta, and WPHL-TV in Philadelphia. Logically, WDHO should have signed on either as a full-time ABC or NBC station. However, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) had just required all-channel tuning two years earlier. As a result, even though Toledo was big enough to support three full network affiliates, ABC opted to retain its affiliation with WSPD-TV (now WTVG). NBC opted to retain its secondary affiliations with WSPD-TV and CBS affiliate WTOL, and have WIMA-TV (now WLIO) in Lima cover the southern part of the Toledo market. Instead, WDHO signed-on as the unlikely flagship of "The Overmyer Network," very soon renamed "The United Network" (no relation to UPN), which began operations one year later on May 1, 1967. The sole program on The United Network, The Las Vegas Show starring comedian Bill Dana, was canceled along with the network after being on the air for only a month.
WDHO then became Toledo's first independent station carrying syndicated and local programming plus CBS, NBC, and ABC shows turned down by WSPD and WTOL. Finally, on June 15, 1969, WDHO persuaded ABC to move all its programming there. Channel 24's affiliation with ABC was not a successful one. For most of that time, it was essentially the third station in a two-station market. On several occasions, creditors nearly forced the station into receivership. At one point, the trailer housing its news department was in danger of repossession. It did not help that then ABC O&O WXYZ-TV in Detroit was available over-the-air in much of the Toledo market or that WEWS-TV in Cleveland and WPTA in Fort Wayne had Grade B signals in parts of the area.
Overmyer Broadcasting declared bankruptcy during the 1980s. WDHO was seized by the Bank of Boston (now Bank of America) in 1982. The Bank of Boston sold the station through a bankruptcy to a local group, Toledo Television Investors, LTD. for $19.6 million in 1986. The new owners changed the station's call letters to the current WNWO-TV on June 1, 1986.
In December 1994, Detroit's longtime CBS affiliate, WJBK, switched to Fox. CBS heavily wooed WXYZ to drop its decades-long affiliation with ABC and switch to CBS. Fearing that it would be relegated to UHF in Detroit, ABC cut a deal to buy WTVG, which provides at least Grade B coverage to most of the southern portion of the Detroit market. Almost out of desperation, WNWO approached NBC which was about to be evicted from WTVG. On October 28, 1995, WNWO became the new affiliate for NBC in Toledo.
Ironically, since it was the result of an unsolicited offer, the network swap increased WNWO's value. NBC was still the top-rated network at the time. Toledo Television Investors then sold WNWO to Malrite Communications Group in 1996, which merged with Raycom Media in 1998. However, that company owned Fox affiliate WUPW at the time and had to sell it because the FCC did not allow duopolies at the time. WNWO was once again put up for sale in 2005 after Raycom merged with The Liberty Corporation, owner of WTOL. Raycom couldn't keep both stations because the FCC does not allow one person to own two of the four largest stations in a market. Raycom chose to keep WTOL because of CBS' and even more so WTOL's higher ratings at the time. On March 27, 2006, the company announced that Barrington Broadcasting would be acquiring 12 Raycom stations including WNWO. The group deal was finalized on August 11. As a result, WNWO joined Marquette's WLUC-TV, Saginaw's WEYI-TV, and Northern Michigan's WPBN-TV / WTOM-TV as part of Barrington's family of stations serving Michigan. (Coincidentally, Raycom would regain control of WUPW in 2012 through a shared services agreement with WTOL.)
Also in 2006, WNWO began airing The Tube (a 24-hour music video channel) on its second digital subchannel. This would end on October 1, 2007 when The Tube shut down. This slot then became the Retro Television Network, and later (in March 2016) the American Sports Network. On June 12, 2009, the main channel turned off its analog signal forever. The station's digital signal remained at channel 49 following the digital transition. However, it can be tuned to channel 24 using PSIP.
In early 2010, WNWO-TV applied to double its power output from 59 kW to 118 kW after the station had complained of potential co-channel interference from WDLI-TV in Cleveland, which was proposing to move from channel 39 to channel 49.
In May 2011, WNWO began showing some of their syndicated programming in high definition.
With Detroit's ABC affiliate WXYZ-TV switching its second sub-channel from the Retro Television Network over to the Live Well Network, WNWO now acts as the unofficial RTV affiliate for the southern half of the Detroit market, as well as the Toledo market.
In July 2011, WNWO unveiled a brand new logo. The new logo is of a blue square with the call letters WNWO inside of it. The logo change is part of a complete rebranding of the station, which had been known as "NBC 24" since the 1995 affiliation switch.
On February 28, 2013, Barrington Broadcasting announced the sale of its entire group, including WNWO-TV, to Sinclair Broadcast Group. The sale was completed on November 25. On April 21, 2014, Sinclair Broadcast Group announced that a new management team has been put into place at WNWO to help grow and improve the station's position in the Northwest Ohio television Market. The new management team included a new general manager, news director, general sales manager, digital content manager, and promotions director.
On July 28, 2014, it was officially announced that longtime Toledo news anchor Laura Emerson would return to Toledo and join WNWO as evening co-anchor. Emerson was the evening anchor at WUPW for over 16 years before leaving the station in 2012. Emerson's first newscast at WNWO was on August 10, 2014.
December 15, 2013 saw the expiration and non-renewal of the retransmission contract between WNWO-TV and local cable company Buckeye CableSystem. With the two unable to reach an agreement on a monetary price to continue WNWO's cable coverage, Buckeye had to drop the station (at Sinclair's request, as per FCC regulations, which state a station cannot be retransmitted without its permission/consent) and blocked out any NBC programming aired on Detroit's WDIV-TV (also carried on cable) with infomercials from QVC. WNWO's analog and high-definition channels were replaced by those of CBET-DT (the CBC Television O&O) in nearby Windsor, Ontario, Canada. This allowed Buckeye to provide coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympics and the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs via CBC to their customers. Cable coverage of both properties on NBCU's cable properties such as NBCSN and CNBC was unaffected by the dispute, as NBCUniversal's carriage agreements for their cable networks were unrelated in whole to the WNWO dispute.
On July 14, 2014, the carriage dispute between Sinclair Broadcast Group and Buckeye CableSystem officially ended with the two parties coming up with a new two-year agreement. As a result of the agreement, Buckeye CableSystem subscribers in the Toledo area began receiving the WNWO-TV signal once again. CBET, whose standard-definition channel was part of the Buckeye CableSystem line-up prior to the dispute, had both versions remaining on the system, though relocated to different channel positions.
While owned by Malrite, the company invested heavily in its property reportedly spending (according to the station's present owner) $3 million to upgrade the station. New studios and offices were built on the site of the former WDHO off of South Byrne Road in Toledo expanding the facility by 10,000 square feet (930 m2). The station went from a newsroom of eight people and one half-hour newscast a day to over thirty people and three hours of news a day. In 1997, the completely revamped news operation went on-air with anchors Dan Lovett and Lissa Guyton, "Blizzard" Bill Spencer presenting the weather, and Jim Tichy (the only hold over from the previous newscast) presenting sports. Despite a large advertising campaign with the slogan "Building A Better Station For You", the newscasts did not do well in the ratings, trailing WTOL and WTVG by wide margins (and at times trailing WUPW's then in-house news operation as well). There was a lot of turnover on the anchor desk and a number of personalities (including Jon Clark, Angela Atalla, and Nora Murray) left the station.
On August 15, 2011, WNWO began broadcasting their newscasts in 16:9 widescreen. With the switch to widescreen, WNWO began using new graphics and music for its newscasts. WNWO officially unveiled an entirely new set costing around $100,000 on October 31, 2011, during its morning newscast. As of December 2015, WNWO is the only major station in Toledo that has yet to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in true high definition.