“My Network TV” Landing in Youngstown

UPDATE: The Business Journal reports the WYTV news conference has been cancelled, and will be rescheduled…

The “new network situation” is becoming clearer in the Youngstown market, where UPN/WB replacement The CW is already set. It looks like My Network TV will find a Mahoning Valley home as well.

The Youngstown-Warren Business Journal reports that Chelsey Broadcasting ABC affiliate WYTV/33 will announce a “second local channel” at a ribbon-cutting event tomorrow. (Thanks to an alert OMW tipster for passing this on!)

Though WYTV’s news release does not officially detail the second outlet’s programming, the Business Journal says it’s expected to become the Youngstown market’s affiliate for My Network TV, the FOX-owned mini-network developed after FOX’s UPN O&O’s got stiffed in the move to The CW. CW will air in Youngstown on current WB affiliate “WBCB”, a digital/cable/satellite channel run by NBC affiliate WFMJ/21.

The Wednesday event is a launch for the construction of new downtown Youngstown studios for WYTV, which is going to move to a new facility to be built on East Federal Street. Historically, only WFMJ (owned by the Youngstown Vindicator) has broadcast from downtown Youngstown, with both WYTV and Piedmont CBS affiliate WKBN/27 – and now FOX affiliate WYFX/62 – staked out far from downtown. WYTV’s longtime home is on Shady Run Road, south of downtown off I-680 and Midlothian Blvd.

WYTV is also expanding its early evening local news block, which will run a full 90 minutes from 5 PM to 6:30 PM starting on June 12th.

The move to add a second channel and My Network TV accomplishes two things – it means all three outlets of the original “Big Three” networks will have secondary channels with other networks…with WFMJ/21 hosting WB affiliate “WBCB” on its digital channel, and on cable and satellite, and WKBN/27 running “FOX 17/62” on a pair of LPTVers, on cable and soon-to-be satellite, and now on its own digital subchannel. It also means Youngstown will now get all the over-air networks locally.

The Business Journal article does not say how WYTV intends to deliver the second channel, but we’ll assume it’ll mirror WBCB (and now WYFX) with a digital subchannel and at least cable carriage.

Even if WYTV had not picked up My Network TV for a second channel, most Youngstown market cable viewers would have had no problem watching it anyway. Youngstown never had a UPN affiliate, even as a digital subchannel…and Cleveland’s future My Network TV affiliate – WUAB/43 – has long filled that role on cable in the market.

What we’ll have to see is if WYTV forces its hand with local cable outlets in the Youngstown market, and uses its new My Network TV channel to take over WUAB’s channel slot…

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