WPTV and WSM to become ABC affiliation in the 80s

Part 21: CBS to affiliate with WGR-TV
  • May 18, 1981

    CBS announced an affiliation agreement to move to the number one television station WGR-TV (channel 2), and it would displace WIVB-TV (channel 4) as Buffalo's CBS affiliate, abandoning NBC.

    WIVB-TV, the previous channel 4 CBS affiliate may have to go independent, or move to NBC, which no longer had a Buffalo outlet here.

    Last month, NBC benefitted from Taft by switching the Kansas City NBC station WDAF-TV to the powerful ABC television network.

    WGR-TV has finished number one in newscast ratings, and CBS had finished number one in all timeslots, which is stronger than what we got for the Buffalo outlet.
    Chapter 22: Metromedia and United complete trade
  • June 6, 1981

    Metromedia and United Television completed their swap of the two stations. It was for FCC approval a month earlier. Metromedia would now get United's KMSP-TV, while Metromedia's KMBC-TV would go to United.

    The Federal Communications Commission said that they would raise limit on total stations under one owner, and increased from 7 stations to nine stations, means that they will have 7 stations to repeal a 28-year old rule, until it was removed by 1990. This means there are seven VHFs and two UHFs.

    General Electric said the buyout of WCKT-TV in in process. Outgoing ABC affiliate KMBC-TV would sign with NBC, while incumbent NBC affiliate WDAF-TV would sign with ABC.

    ABC would be the top-rated network, and WDAF-TV is the number one in all of Kansas City metropolitan area. ABC is invading all the top NBC stations not owned by the network.
    Chapter 23: KMBC signs with NBC
  • June 21, 1981

    Outgoing ABC station KMBC-TV, which lost its ABC affiliation to the market-leading WDAF-TV, owned by United Television, signed an agreement with NBC in order to move the shows to channel 9.

    Meanwhile, on the same day, outgoing ABC station KTVX-TV, which was also to be displaced by ABC for market-leading NBC affiliate KUTV signs up with NBC, to move the shows for channel 4.

    This makes United Television all NBC. General Electric has filing for the seven television stations, which include WCKT-TV and WOTV-TV, both NBC affiliates in their respective markets Miami and Grand Rapids.

    It was the time WTEN is starting to surpass WRGB-TV as The Capital District's market leader.
    Chapter 24: ABC courts KSDK
  • July 12, 1981

    ABC announced an agreement with Pulitzer, Inc. to move ABC programming to market-leading KSDK-TV, abandoning NBC, which falls third in the ratings.

    KSDK executives said we are proud to combine the number-one ABC programming with the number-one newscasts of all time, which KSDK ultimately beat CBS-owned KMOV in the ratings.

    KSDK executives say we have Peter Jennings, Ted Koppel, Henry Winkler and John Ritter as the new homes for their programming.

    This resulted in the displacement of longtime affiliate KTVI from ABC, which Times Mirror wanted a group affiliation deal with NBC to convert the entire seven-station group to the third-rated network.
    Chapter 25: Kansas City switch stations
  • August 2, 1981

    The NBC affiliate WDAF-TV (channel 4) and longtime ABC affiliate KMBC-TV (channel 9) swapped network affiliations. WDAF-TV became an affiliate of the stronger ABC television network, while third place perennial KMBC-TV became a NBC affiliate.

    The reason cited for WDAF-TV's move was to take advantage of ABC's stronger programming. In order to make the switch, Peter Jennings, Ted Koppel, the cast of General Hospital, Scooby-Doo and the cast of Dynasty all had to trumpet WDAF-TV's move to ABC.

    NBC however moved to United Television's KMBC-TV, the longtime ABC affiliate, so this means that CHiPs and The Facts of Life would be moved there and Johnny Carson had to trumpet the move to channel 9.

    It is speculated that the Buffalo switch (the TTL version of the Albany switch) happened on September 28, 1981.
    Chapter 26: Capital Cities to buy two NBC stations
  • August 20, 1981

    Capital Cities Communications of Albany was in negotiations to buy two UHF NBC stations in markets WVLA-TV in Baton Rogue, and upstart station KVEO-TV in Brownsville for $3 billion.

    WPVI-TV is Capital Cities' flagship television station, and it was ABC's Philadelphia station.

    Capital Cities owns most of the television stations that were affiliated with ABC. Two of these (WTVD-TV in Durham and KFSN-TV in Fresno) were CBS affiliates. These acquisitions of the two NBC stations reached FCC's maximum nine-station limit.

    The two UHF additions were proud to be part of the Capital Cities' family of stations. Capital Cities received good relations with the Big Three networks.
    Chapter 27: NBC signs with another St. Louis station
  • August 30, 1981

    The official switcheroo in Baltimore was here! WMAR-2 goes to NBC, while WJZ-13 goes to CBS (Thankfully, WJZ's switch to CBS didn't happen until 1995) and WBAL-11 goes to ABC (thanks to Hearst's good relations to the network)

    Meanwhile, CBS station WJZ and ABC station WBAL are the top market leaders in Baltimore.


    A week later,

    September 6, 1981

    Times-Mirror Company signed an affiliation agreement with NBC to affiliate KTVI-2 in St. Louis, which lost its ABC affiliation to Pulitzer's KSDK, and longtime ABC affiliate WHTM-TV in Harrisburg with the network.

    Concurrently, at the same time Pulitzer signed an affiliation agreement with ABC to move longtime NBC affiliate WGAL-TV in Harrisburg to the network.

    KDFW-TV and KTBC-TV, both serving the Texas area expects to stay with CBS.

    KSDK and WGAL-TV are market leaders, which are now with NBC, and soon to be with ABC, owned by Pulitzer.
    Chapter 28: Buffalo stations switched
  • September 28, 1981

    The longtime NBC affiliate WGR-TV in Buffalo and CBS affiliate WIVB-TV in Buffalo swaps network affiliations. Taft Broadcasting's WGR-TV became the number one TV station and a CBS affiliate, while WIVB-TV, who was owned by Robert Howard affiliated with the NBC television network.

    The reason cited was that WIVB-TV had poor ratings, and WGR-TV felt they was compatible with the CBS programming lineup. WIVB-TV on the other hand, was more compatible with NBC than it was on CBS.

    Taft's other VHF stations are all ABC affiliates, such as Kansas City, in which WDAF-TV was wooed by ABC, while KMBC-TV, owned by United Television, moves to NBC.

    So this was equally coveted and parallel to New York, Detroit and Los Angeles, in which CBS runs on channel 2, NBC runs on channel 4 and ABC runs on channel 7.

    This is the ITTL's version of the Schenectady switch in which NBC affiliate WRGB-TV and CBS affiliate WAST-TV swaps network affiliations.
    Chapter 29: St. Louis stations switched
  • October 4, 1981

    KSDK, the number-one TV station in St. Louis, a NBC affiliate, and KTVI, a longtime ABC affiliate swaps network affiliations. KSDK became an ABC affiliate, while KTVI became an NBC affiliate through a groupwide affiliation agreement between NBC and Times Mirror Company.

    The reason cited for KSDK's switch was to take advantage of ABC's stronger programming. Among ABC's programs, Henry Winkler of Happy Days had to trumpet ABC's move to channel 5.

    Melissa Gilbert, star of Little House on the Prairie, had to trumpet NBC's move to KTVI-TV, channel 2 in St. Louis.

    KSDK was number one in all newscasts, while KTVI was a distant third in the television ratings behind CBS' owned and operated KMOX-TV in St. Louis.

    As dictated, Peter Barton's burn injury on The Powers of Matthew Star has been butterflied away, leaving in for the show to premiere on time on December 6, 1981.
    Chapter 30: General Electric completes purchase of two stations
  • October 18, 1981

    General Electric Broadcasting announced that they would complete its offer to purchase WOTV and WOOD-AM-FM in Grand Rapids, and WCKT-TV in Miami. Both of them were currently NBC affiliates.

    General Electric Broadcasting, NBC, Barry & Enright Productions, Westinghouse Broadcasting and Colbert Television Sales announced a joint venture partnership to revive the 1950s game show Twenty-One for prime access. Jim Lange will be the host. (ITTL this got picked up instead of Take My Word for It, IOTL this never picked up). This effectively stopped the game show scandals.

    CBS was in negotiations to Westinghouse to swap poor-rated KMOX-AM-TV in St. Louis with KPIX-TV in San Francisco for $500 million. San Francisco is the largest market where CBS did not own.

    General Electric was in talks with Durham Life & Insurance Company to merge the companies together, and effectively WPTF-TV-AM-FM in Durham would be under the General Electric Broadcasting unit.
    Chapter 31: GE to buy UHF stations
  • November 8, 1981

    The station's owners accepted a $750 million offer from General Electric Broadcasting, whose flagship television station is WRGB in Albany/Schenectady/Troy, and a NBC affiliate, in order for General Electric to purchase WBBH-TV in Fort Myers, operating on channel 20.

    Durham Life's owners also accepted a $3.5 billion offer from General Electric to purchase Durham Life Insurance Company, who operates WPTF-TV-AM-FM. The WPTF-TV station is also a NBC affiliate, also operating on UHF, this time on channel 28.

    General Electric owns and operates seven VHF NBC television stations. This included its top selling stations KFOG in San Francisco, KOA-TV in Denver, WTCN in Minneapolis/St. Paul, WRGB in Albany/Schenectady/Troy and WNGE in Nashville. The latter station was formerly an ABC station, and had joined NBC since 1980.

    The NBA already notified due to the NBC deal that they would terminate its association with CBS, forcing CBS to sign with NCAA.
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    Chapter 32: Macon and Philadelphia stations swapped
  • November 15, 1981

    Westinghouse Broadcasting reached a deal to swap KYW-AM-FM-TV in Philadelphia to Multimedia, Inc. in exchange for WMAZ-AM-FM-TV in Macon. KYW-TV is a NBC affiliate in the Philadelphia market, while WMAZ-TV was the CBS station in the Macon market. If the sale did finalize, WMAZ would take on the "KYW" calls, forcing Multimedia to rename the old KYW calls "WKYP", which stood for "KYW Philadelphia", a nod to NBC's WKYC, which stood for "KYW Cleveland".

    Concurrently, Multimedia announced that they would trade the Philadelphia stations to General Electric in exchange for WOTV and WOOD-AM-FM in the Grand Rapids market. This means General Electric is now having a station in the nation's fourth largest market.

    Westinghouse fought a waiver to the FCC to retain the three-letter calls for the newly-acquired Macon station, and a waiver also for the "K" sign when a television/radio station west of the Mississippi River normally have a "W" sign.

    Ultimately, ten of GE's television/radio stations for sale has been butterflied away. Rock Hudson's heart surgery has been butterflied away, prompting The Devlin Connection to premiere on time, rather than delay to 1982.
    Chapter 33: Boston stations change hands
  • November 27, 1981

    As Rock Hudson's heart surgery has been butterflied away, The Devlin Connection has been premiered on time, rather than delay to its debut to 1982, on NBC.

    The next week...

    December 6, 1981

    Peter Barton's burn injuries has been butterflied away, so that The Powers of Matthew Star could have premiered on time, rather than delay to its debut on fall 1982 on NBC.

    Also, LIN Broadcasting won a $2 billion offer to buy WCVB-TV, beating an initial price bid from Capital Cities, and Hearst won a $3 billion bid to buy WNAC-FM-TV and WRKO-AM, beating out an initial price tag from Meredith. If LIN and Hearst won these bids, then WBZ-TV could became a CBS affiliate (ITTL, IOTL this didn't happen until 1995), WCVB-TV could become a NBC affiliate owned by LIN and WNAC-TV could became a Hearst-owned ABC affiliate.

    Additionally, General Electric owns seven VHF television stations affiliated with NBC, and has plans to buy two UHF stations, meeting up the maximum limit of nine stations.
    Chapter 34: Multimedia completed WHBQ transfer
  • December 15, 1981

    Multimedia Inc. is completing their $975 million offer to purchase WHBQ-AM-FM-TV from RKO General as part of the divesture of its media holdings, which claim that RKO's license was revoked by the FCC.

    RKO said that they would dismantle their operations, clearing the way for Multimedia to buy WHBQ-AM-FM-TV.

    Multimedia's station group:
    WHBQ (NBC)
    WXII (NBC)
    WFBC (NBC)
    WLWT (NBC)
    WBIR (CBS)
    WMAZ (CBS)
    WZTV (IND)

    Multimedia is in the process of doing a three-way trade with Group W and General Electric, for both the Grand Rapids, Philadelphia and Macon markets. NBC however is starting to court WBIR-TV, the CBS affiliate in Knoxville.
    Chapter 35: Harrisburg stations change affiliation
  • January 3, 1982

    WHTM-TV, the longtime ABC affiliate in Harrisburg and WGAL-TV, the longtime NBC affiliate in Harrisburg swaps network affiliations. WHTM-TV is now a NBC affiliate, while WGAL-TV is now an ABC affiliate.

    The reasons cited was that WGAL-TV was more attractive, and it finishes first place in all newscasts, and was to be compatible with the popular ABC shows.

    WHTM-TV cited poor second in the ratings, and NBC is third place in all network ratings.

    Times-Mirror and NBC had a group affiliation deal converting all ABC affiliates to NBC stations, while Pulitzer has a group deal with ABC, making four of Pulitzer's stations all ABC affiliates. KSDK and WGAL were now ABC affiliates, while KOAT and KETV are existing ABC affiliates, and WLNE-TV is a CBS affiliate. Four of five Pulitzer's stations were completely ABC affiliates. WLNE-TV remained affiliated with CBS, now this has one CBS outlet and four ABC outlets owned by Pulitzer.
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    Chapter 36: Birmingham and Charlotte swap owners
  • January 25, 1982

    Westinghouse Broadcasting Company announced its plan to swap WCPQ-TV (channel 36) in Charlotte to Park Communications for WBMG-TV (channel 42) in Birmingham.

    WCPQ-TV is a NBC affiliate in Charlotte, while WBMG-TV was a CBS affiliate in Birmingham. Both stations run on the UHF dial.

    The tradeoff cost $750 million. CBS saw interest in the programs Westinghouse offered. Among the largest groups outside of owned and operated stations would be Storer Broadcasting and Group W.

    By contrast, NBC's largest groups were Multimedia Inc., Times-Mirror and General Electric Broadcasting, and ABC's largest groups outside of O&Os were Capital Cities Communications, Pulitzer, Inc. and Scripps-Howard Broadcasting.
    Chapter 37: ABC to woo Oklahma station
  • February 8, 1982

    ABC had signed an affiliation agreement with Universal Communications' KTVY in Oklahoma City, which would displace KOCO-TV as its Oklahoma City affiliate. KTVY was one of NBC's strongest affiliates, and its combination between the top rated station and the top rated network would help viewers boost up.

    This left KOCO-TV, former ABC affiliate without a network, and likely to be an independent, or sign with NBC. NBC and Gannett however found good relations for the Phoenix, Atlanta and Little Rock stations.

    KTVY is owned by Universal Communications, a subsidiary of the Detroit News.

    ABC is number one in all respected ratings, and combination with the channel 4 station in Oklahoma City helped their viewers.
    Chapter 38: KOCO signs with NBC
  • February 25, 1982

    Gannett Company and NBC reached a deal to sign outgoing ABC affiliate KOCO-TV in Oklahoma City with NBC. KOCO-TV is one of the ABC stations that lost its ABC affiliation to KTVY-TV.

    KOCO-TV was placed third in the Oklahoma City television ratings behind KTVY and KWTV.

    Gannett and NBC discovered good relations in the Little Rock, Phoenix and Atlanta stations. NBC was dead last in the television ratings.

    The KOCO-NBC relationship proves what it meant to be for the 1980s, and it would be a future relationship. The Gannett-NBC relationship is what that they want to provide for future relationships.
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    Chapter 39: UHF approval for GE
  • March 8, 1982

    The Federal Communications Commission had approved the $3.5 billion acquisition of Durham Life Insurance Company by General Electric Company of Schenectady, New York. This made WPTF-TV-AM-FM the first UHF station to be owned by General Electric.

    WPTF-TV is a UHF station and a NBC affiliate operating on channel 28. It is one of the weakest NBC affiliates in the world.

    WPTF-TV was first started in 1968 as WRDU-TV in Durham by Triangle Telecasters. Then, Durham Life bought it in 1977 and rechristened to WPTF-TV in 1978. It was the Triangle's NBC affiliate. It was in the process of being sold to General Electric.

    WPTF-TV became General Electric's eighth television station, as the company has seven VHF NBC-affiliated stations in the portfolio.
    Chapter 40: KNTV and WAKC go independent
  • March 22, 1982

    ABC announced that they would yank its affiliation from San Jose station KNTV, and Akron station WAKC, because of competition from ABC O&O KGO-TV and ABC Scripps-Howard affiliate WEWS-TV.

    ABC had three Scripps-Howard stations in the portfolio, including WEWS-TV in Cleveland, WPTV in West Palm Beach and WMC-TV, the latter two were market leaders.

    WEWS was notified that The Morning Exchange would shut down production, and decided to displace the show with the second hour of Good Morning America (ITTL, IOTL this didn't happen until the ABC-Scripps deal arrived in 1994).

    Both of the stations cited lower than excepted ratings made for the station.

    This is the POD ITTL scenario, IOTL ABC didn't yank its affiliation from KNTV until 2000 and WAKC/WAKR until 1996.