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August 26, 2011

WTHI to broadcast FOX on second channel

CBS stays on main digital channel, FOX will air on channel 10.2 starting Sept. 1

TERRE HAUTE — FOX television network programming will be available in the Terre Haute market starting next month on WTHI-TV’s digital channel 10.2.

WTHI-TV Channel 10, a CBS affiliate, announced Thursday it will carry FOX network programming on “MyFOX10” beginning Sept. 1

That also will be the day the former Terre Haute FOX station, WFXW-TV, will become an ABC affiliate, WAWV-TV.

This means WTHI-TV’s parent company, LIN Media, will control the CBS and FOX affiliates in the Terre Haute market while WTWO-TV’s parent company, Nexstar, will control the NBC and ABC affiliates.

While people using over-the-air digital receivers will be able to watch FOX programming on Channel 10.2, it was not clear Thursday how cable and satellite viewers will receive FOX in the Terre Haute market.

“That’s something we’re working on,” said Courtney Guertin, corporate communications manager for LIN Media in Providence, R.I.

“We are excited that our digital channel will feature FOX’s excellent lineup of sports and entertainment programming, as well as a new original news product,” said Todd Weber, vice president and general manager at WTHI-TV, in a news release issued Thursday afternoon. “Having both CBS and FOX programming on our channels is a great combination for both our viewers and advertisers.”

Meanwhile, Nexstar is ready to launch ABC programming Sept. 1 on WAWV-TV 38, formerly WFXW-TV.

“It’s going really, really well,” said Tim Sturgess, general manager of WTWO-TV and Channel 38, speaking of the transition to ABC. “We’re just doing a lot of behind the scenes technical work in order to be able to get [ABC programming] on the air.”

“We are thrilled to bring the local ABC affiliate back to the Wabash Valley after a 16-year hiatus,” Sturgess said in a news release issued last week.

On Thursday, an official with satellite TV provider DirecTV told the Tribune-Star that DirecTV had been planning to bring FOX programming to Terre Haute from a FOX TV affiliate in Dayton, Ohio, beginning Sept. 1. However, DirecTV is now “re-evaluating” that decision since the company learned that WTHI-TV will offer FOX programming, said Robert Mercer, a spokesman for DirecTV in Los Angeles.

Satellite and cable providers can bring out-of-the-area major network programming to a community when there are no local affiliates, Mercer said.

Time Warner Cable, which provides much of the cable TV service in Terre Haute, was still waiting for the green light to carry FOX programming in the area, a company official told the Tribune-Star on Thursday.

“While we have an agreement to carry [WTHI’s] CBS programming, we need permission from WTHI’s parent company, which is LIN [Media], before we can offer its FOX programming to our customers,” said Mike Pedelty, a spokesman for Time Warner Cable in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Officials from DISH Network, a satellite provider, and New Wave Communications, a cable provider serving Clay and parts of Vigo County, could not be reached Thursday.

The news about the agreement between FOX and LIN media to use WTHI-TV in the Terre Haute market was first released early Thursday by the FOX Broadcasting Co.

“LIN is one of FOX’s strongest affiliate groups and we are thrilled to expand our already successful partnership,” said Jon Hookstratten, executive vice president, network distribution for FOX. “In an ever-changing television marketplace, it’s key that FOX continues to grow our relationships with progressive media companies like LIN. With their track record, we are confident this partnership in Terre Haute will be a big success.”

Arthur Foulkes can be reached at (812) 231-4232 or

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