WNYS-TV is the MyNetworkTV-affiliated television station for Central Upstate New York that is licensed to Syracuse. It broadcasts a 720p high definition digital signal on UHF channel 44 (or virtual channel 43.1 via PSIP) from a transmitter near Maple Grove, a hamlet of Otisco. Owned by Syracuse Broadcasting, WNYS-TV is operated through a local marketing agreement (LMA) by Northwest Broadcasting as a sister station to Fox affiliate WSYT. The two stations share studios together on James Street/NY 290 in Syracuse's Near Northeast section.
Since the nearby Watertown market currently lacks a MyNetworkTV affiliate of its own, this station could be considered as the area's de facto affiliate. However, the northern broadcasting radius of its over-the-air signal reaches south of Watertown proper. It is also currently not available on Time Warner Cable systems in that area.
The station began broadcasting in October 1989 as an Independent with the call sign WSNR-TV. Its call letters were changed in 1994 to the current WNYS-TV. This had been previously used on what is now ABC affiliate WSYR-TV from 1962 until 1978. On January 16, 1995, the station became a charter affiliate of UPN. In that same year, Max Media Properties (then owner of WSYT) entered into an LMA with WNYS-TV and began operating the station out of that outlet's facility. It switched to The WB in 2001 after which UPN was picked up ten months later on October 20 by low-powered WAWA-LP (now WSTQ-LP).
On September 5, 2006, WNYS-TV affiliated with its third network in the last twelve years becoming a MyNetworkTV affiliate. Along with other Sinclair Broadcasting Group stations in New York State, WNYS-TV and WSYT began transmitting digital-only signals in February 17, 2009. Sinclair announced the sale of WSYT, the LMA for WNYS-TV, and WYZZ-TV in Peoria/Bloomington, Illinois to Cunningham Broadcasting on February 28, 2013 following its acquisition of Barrington Broadcasting. The sale was necessary due to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)'s ownership rules as Sinclair chose to keep Barrington's WSTM-TV in Syracuse.
However, in an updated filing with the FCC, it was revealed that WSYT would instead be sold to Bristlecone Broadcasting, a company owned by Brian Brady (owner of Northwest Broadcasting) whose only other assets in New York State are WICZ-TV and WBPN-LP in Binghamton. Those transactions were completed on November 25.
Following the consummation of the sale, Sinclair continued to operate WSYT and WNYS-TV through a transitional service agreement for six months until May 2014. Sinclair will continue to own the station's studios on James Street and its transmitter site in Otisco for at least ten years. WNYS-TV previously maintained its own website but as a result of the sale to Bristlecone, this was abandoned in favor of a shared website with WSYT. In late-January 2015, its second digital subchannel began carrying GetTV, a Sony Entertainment-owned digital off-air broadcast channel providing mostly classic films from the Sony Pictures library.
Bristlecone Broadcasting was incorporated into the Northwest Broadcasting corporate structure in a May 2015 restructuring of Brian Brady's broadcast holdings. On November 20, 2015, the WNYS-TV license was sold by RKM Media to Syracuse Broadcasting. The sale originated in 2005 as an attempt by Sinclair to buy WNYS outright for $3.1 million; the rights to acquire the station were transferred to Bristlecone as part of its purchase of WSYT, and were in turn sold to Syracuse Broadcasting for $250,000 on August 10, 2015.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|43.1||720p||16:9||WNYS-DT||Main WNYS-TV programming / MyNetworkTV|
WNYS-TV shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 43, on February 17, 2009, the original target date in which full-power television stations in the United States were to transition from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate (which was later pushed back to June 12, 2009). The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 44. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 43.