|Branding||NBC 10 (general)
NBC 10 News (newscasts)
|Slogan||Count On It|
|Channels||Digital: 34 (UHF)
(to share with WWSI; later move to 28 (UHF))
Virtual: 10 (PSIP)
(NBC Telemundo License LLC)
|First air date||May 23, 1948|
|Call letters' meaning||Randomly assigned by FCC; backronymed to Where Cheer Awaits YoU
(derived from former sister radio station, now WPHT)
NBC Sports Philadelphia
NBC Sports Philadelphia Plus
|Former channel number(s)||
|Former affiliations||CBS (1948-1995)|
|Transmitter power||700 kW
618 kW (CP)
|Height||400.1 m (1,313 ft)
399.8 m (1,312 ft) (CP)
|Public license information:||Profile
WCAU, virtual channel 10 (UHF digital channel 34), is an NBC owned-and-operated television station licensed to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. The station is owned by the NBC Owned Television Stations subsidiary of NBCUniversal, as part of a duopoly with Atlantic City, New Jersey-licensed Telemundo owned-and-operated station WWSI (channel 62); NBCUniversal, a subsidiary of locally based media firm Comcast, owns both networks, along with regional sports network NBC Sports Philadelphia. WCAU and WWSI share studios at the corner of City Avenue and Monument Road in Bala Cynwyd, along the Philadelphia-Montgomery county line; WCAU's transmitter is located in the Roxborough section of Philadelphia.
In 1946, the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin secured a construction permit for channel 10, naming its proposed station WPEN-TV after the newspaper's WPEN radio stations (950 AM, now WKDN, and 98.1 FM, later WCAU-FM and now WOGL). The picture changed dramatically in 1947, when The Philadelphia Record folded. The Bulletin inherited the Records "goodwill", along with the rights to buy the radio station WCAU-AM (1210 AM, now WPHT) and the original WCAU-FM (102.9 FM) from their longtime owners, brothers Isaac and Leon Levy. The Bulletin sold the less-powerful WPEN and WCAU-FM, with the latter being renamed WPEN-FM (it is now WMGK). The Bulletin kept its FM station, renaming it WCAU-FM to match its new AM sister. The newspaper also kept its construction permit for channel 10, renaming it WCAU-TV.
WCAU-TV went on the air on May 23, 1948 as Philadelphia's third television station. It secured an affiliation with CBS through the influence of the Levy brothers, who continued to work for the newspaper as consultants. WCAU radio had been one of CBS's original 16 affiliates when the network premiered in 1927. A year later, the Levy brothers persuaded their brother-in-law, William S. Paley, to buy the struggling network. The Levy brothers were shareholders and directors at CBS for many years. Due to this long relationship, channel 10 signed on as CBS's third television affiliate.
In the late 1950s, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) collapsed northern Delaware, southern New Jersey and the Lehigh Valley into the Philadelphia market. The Bulletin realized that channel 10's original tower, atop the PSFS Building in Center City, was not nearly strong enough to serve this larger viewing area. In 1957, WCAU-TV moved to a new 1,200-foot (366 m) tower in Roxborough, which added most of Delaware, the Jersey Shore and the Lehigh Valley to its city-grade coverage.
Also in 1957, the Bulletin formed a limited partnership with the Megargee family, owner of CBS affiliate WGBI-TV (channel 22) in Scranton. As part of the deal, channel 22's call letters were changed to WDAU-TV (WDAU's call letters were changed again to WYOU in 1986). Soon afterward, the FCC ruled that the Bulletin could not keep both stations due to a large signal overlap in the Lehigh Valley. Although the Bulletin had only bought a minority stake in channel 22, the FCC ruled that this stake was so large that the two stations were effectively a duopoly. The Bulletin could not afford to get a waiver to keep both stations, so it opted to keep its stake in WDAU-TV and sell the WCAU stations to CBS. CBS had to seek a waiver to buy the WCAU stations, as the signals of the WCAU stations overlapped with those of WCBS-AM-FM-TV in New York City (in the case of the AM stations, both were clear-channel stations; the FCC at the time usually did not allow common ownership of clear-channel stations with overlapping nighttime coverage areas). However, in its application for a waiver, CBS cited NBC's then-ownership of WRCV-TV in Philadelphia (channel 3, now KYW-TV) and WRCA-TV in New York City (now WNBC). The FCC readily granted the waiver, and CBS took control in 1958.
From 1965 to 1986, WCAU-TV was the only network-owned station in Philadelphia. As such, it was the only station in the city that did not heavily or moderately preempt network programming. It ran an hour of Saturday morning cartoons during the 7 a.m. hour on a one-week delay to run the hour-long locally produced children's program, The Gene London Show, which ended in 1977. Beginning in 1978, WCAU-TV began preempting an hour of Sunday morning cartoon reruns and in the beginning of 1979 the station preempted an hour of the Saturday morning cartoons. By 1980, the station was running the entire Saturday morning cartoon lineup again and by early in 1981, the Sunday morning hour of children's programs was brought back.
In 1994, CBS entered into a long-term affiliation agreement with Westinghouse (Group W) Broadcasting, owners of Philadelphia's longtime NBC affiliate, KYW-TV (channel 3). Westinghouse converted three of its stations, KYW-TV among them, into CBS affiliates. CBS was reluctant to include KYW-TV in the deal, since it had been a very distant third in the Philadelphia ratings for more than a decade. In contrast, WCAU was a solid runner-up to ABC-owned station WPVI-TV (channel 6). Ultimately, CBS decided to affiliate with channel 3 and sell channel 10, ending a 47-year relationship (including 37 years of ownership) with the station.
NBC and New World Communications then emerged as the leading bidders for WCAU. NBC had wanted to own a station in Philadelphia for many years; for most of the broadcasting era, Philadelphia was the largest market where NBC didn't own a station. It briefly succeeded in 1956, when it extorted Westinghouse into exchanging channel 3 (then called WPTZ-TV) and KYW radio for NBC's Cleveland stations, WTAM-AM-FM and WNBK television. However, after Westinghouse complained, the FCC and the U.S. Justice Department nullified the swap in June 1965. New World got into the bidding because it had just signed a multi-year affiliation deal with Fox, and intended to make WCAU a Fox station had it emerged victorious. Fox's affiliate in Philadelphia, WTXF-TV, was about to become an affiliate of the United Paramount Network (UPN), which was to be programmed mostly by WTXF's owner, Paramount Pictures. New World found the chance to give Fox a VHF station in the nation's fourth-largest market too much to resist. Fox jumped into the bidding as well in case New World's bid fell through.
However, Viacom, which bought Paramount in mid-1994, opted instead to sell WTXF-TV to Fox, making WTXF-TV a Fox O&O. New World pulled out of the bidding war for WCAU as well, effectively handing channel 10 to NBC. Had WCAU become a Fox station, it would have retained its status as the "home" station of the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles. The station had carried Eagles games since 1950, and had carried the majority of Eagles games since CBS won the rights to NFL games in 1956. Indeed, Fox had cut its affiliation deal with New World because it had recently won the rights to the National Football Conference, where the Eagles play, and most games were thus moved to WTXF; New World owned a large number of CBS affiliates.
While KYW-TV's sister stations, WBZ-TV in Boston and WJZ-TV in Baltimore, switched to CBS in January 1995, the swap was delayed in Philadelphia when CBS discovered that an outright sale of channel 10 would have forced it to pay massive[clarification needed] taxes on the proceeds from the deal. To solve this problem, CBS, NBC and Group W entered into a complex ownership and affiliation deal in late 1994. To make the deal for WCAU an even trade, NBC transferred KCNC-TV in Denver and KUTV in Salt Lake City (a station that NBC had only acquired earlier that year) to CBS in exchange; additionally, the NBC and CBS stations in Miami traded broadcasting facilities, with CBS moving to the stronger of the two signals. CBS then traded controlling interest in KCNC and KUTV to Group W in return for a minority stake in KYW-TV. The deal officially took effect on September 10, 1995. Group W's parent, the Westinghouse Electric Corporation, purchased CBS two months later, making CBS's Philadelphia radio stations sisters to WCAU-AM/WPHT's longtime rival, KYW radio.
Although the radio stations had dropped the WCAU calls some years before, NBC dropped the -TV suffix from channel 10's callsign soon after it assumed control.
In January 2011, the Philadelphia-based cable and media company Comcast acquired a 51% majority stake in WCAU's parent company, by then known as NBC Universal, which effectively makes the station locally owned. Comcast bought the other 49% in early 2013.
In March 2013, NBCUniversal announced that it would buy Telemundo affiliate WWSI from ZGS Communications for $20 million, giving WCAU a duopoly partner, as with several other NBC O&Os. The sale was completed on June 2 of that year.
On February 14, 2014, WCAU along with nearby NBC affiliate WBAL-TV in Baltimore began to be shown on Comcast Cable systems in the Susquehanna Valley after WGAL, the NBC affiliate in that market, was knocked off the air after a portion of the roof at the station's Columbia Avenue studio facility collapsed due to heavy accumulations of snow and ice caused by a winter storm that moved through the Eastern United States earlier that week.
On April 16, 2014, WMGM-TV (channel 40), the NBC affiliate in nearby Atlantic City, announced that the station would drop its NBC affiliation and shut down its news operation on January 1, 2015, presumably due to WCAU claiming market exclusivity (Atlantic City is part of the Philadelphia market). Following an hour-long documentary focusing on the station's history and staff entitled NewsCenter 40: The Stories Behind the Station, WMGM-TV then began carrying programs from the Soul of the South network, while WCAU became the sole NBC affiliate in the market. WMGM-TV was sold to Univision Communications in 2017 and is now a Justice Network affiliate; it also relays sister station and Univision network O&O WUVP-DT (channel 65) on its third digital subchannel.
|Location||1618-22 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania|
|Architect||Harry Sternfeld; Multiple|
|Architectural style||Modern Movement, Art Deco|
|NRHP reference #||83002281|
|Added to NRHP||January 27, 1983|
Channel 10 was originally located at 1622 Chestnut Street in Center City along with its sister radio stations (the building, which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983, now houses The Art Institute). In 1952, the WCAU stations moved to a new facility in the Main Line suburb of Bala Cynwyd. The studio, located on Monument Road at City Avenue, was a state-of-the-art television center, and the first building in America constructed specifically for broadcasting. Channel 10 is still headquartered there.
On January 16, 2014, it was announced that WCAU will move to the under-construction Comcast Technology Center on Arch Street in Center City, which will be built by Comcast, which owns NBC. This 59-story building will become the tallest building in Philadelphia, and, upon completion in 2018, will be the tallest building in the United States, outside of New York and Chicago.
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|10.1||1080i||16:9||WCAU-TV||Main WCAU programming / NBC|
|62.3||720p||WWSI-TV||Simulcast of WWSI / Telemundo|
|62.4||480i||4:3||EXITOS||Simulcast of WWSI-DT2 TeleXitos|
On October 25, 2010, WCAU introduced its own version of WNBC's New York Nonstop channel, NBC Philadelphia Nonstop. This subchannel featured various news and entertainment programs, and a locally produced newscast at 7 p.m. On December 20, 2012, digital subchannel 10.2 became an affiliate of Cozi TV, which replaced the Nonstop network. 34.3 (virtual 62.3) is utilized as a simulcast of sister station WWSI in order to make that station available to viewers in the Philadelphia area that the station's main transmitter in Waterford Township, New Jersey does not reach.
WCAU shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 10, on June 12, 2009, the official date in which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 34, because ABC affiliate WHTM-TV in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania continued broadcasting on channel 10 after ceasing channel 27 analog transmission that day. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers continue to display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analog channel 10.1.
On April 13, 2017, it was revealed that the over-the-air spectrum of sister station WWSI has been sold in the FCC's spectrum reallocation auction, fetching $125.9 million--the highest payout from the process. As a result, WWSI's signal will be co-located with WCAU. NBC had won similar spectrum bids using the Telemundo station in Chicago (which will be in similar arrangement with NBC O&O WMAQ-TV) and the NBC station in New York (also in similar arrangement with Telemundo O&O WNJU), but stated that in this case, the NBC station had a superior signal.
Syndicated programming broadcast on WCAU including Access (including its live counterpart), Steve, The Ellen DeGeneres Show and Extra. As of September 2017, WCAU is one of the six NBC O&Os (along with WNBC in New York City, WVIT in Hartford, KNTV in San Francisco, KNBC in Los Angeles, and WTVJ in Miami, which was also formerly affiliated with CBS) that carry and distribute programming either nationally or regionally.
In July 2016, Comcast announced that they would take over as presenting sponsor of the Wawa Welcome America 4th of July festivities, particularly the Philly 4 July Jam and Grand Finale Fireworks; WCAU and WWSI assumed the local broadcast duties beginning in 2016, thus ending 32 years of broadcast rights with ABC owned-and-operated WPVI, while the Philly 4 July Jam concert was also broadcast nationally on VH1. By airing the event, the station pre-empts the live national NBC telecast of the Macy's 4th of July Fireworks from New York City, though it carries the condensed replay immediately after both ceremonies end.
Since Comcast acquired the station's parent NBCUniversal in 2011, WCAU has aired Philadelphia's major sports teams in many years. Because of those commitments to air these major sports teams, they reschedule NBC network programs pre-empted on the station.
On January 2, 2014, Comcast and the Philadelphia Phillies announced a 25-year, $2.5 billion TV contract, including WCAU and Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia (now NBC Sports Philadelphia); although it averaged $100 million a year, it was structured to begin below the average and end above it. As part of its 25-year TV contract, WCAU will take over its free-to-air broadcaster for the Phillies baseball games from MyNetwork TV affiliate WPHL-TV beginning in the 2014 season, including its Opening Day game and selected games aired on the station.
Philadelphia Eagles games primarily aired on Channel 10 back when it was a CBS station and that network carried the National Football Conference. That arrangement lasted until 1994, when Fox acquired the NFC contract and with it, the Eagles games to WTXF. After being traded to NBC, only select games where the Eagles hosted an American Football Conference opponent would air on WCAU from 1995 to 1997, when CBS regained the NFL. Since 2006, Eagles games broadcast nationally by NBC Sports have aired on WCAU, mostly Sunday Night Football contests but also Super Bowl LII, which saw the Eagles clinch their first NFL championship in the modern era.
In the summer of 2015, Comcast and the Eagles announced a new TV contract involving the team, WCAU began airing the preseason games in the 2015 season after ending its contract with ABC owned-and-operated station WPVI in the 2014 season. Pre-season games are sub-licensed to other stations during Olympic years.
WCAU has free-to-air rights to the Philadelphia Flyers hockey games beginning with the 2016-17 season with CSN Philadelphia; currently, these Flyers games are also broadcast nationally on the station through its broadcast package of the National Hockey League.
Beginning in the 2017-18 season, WCAU began displaying its in-court advertisements during all of the Philadelphia 76ers NBA franchise home games held at the Wells Fargo Center; the home games of the 76ers are currently broadcast on its sister regional sports network NBC Sports Philadelphia. Prior to the launch of the station's in-court advertisement campaign, the station carrying these 76ers games as part of the network's broadcasting package of the NBA from 1995 until 2002, when the national 76ers games was moved to ABC (WPVI locally) and ESPN.
In 2015, WCAU assumed the local English broadcast rights of the Blue Cross Broad Street Run, held every First Sunday of May, taking over from ABC O&O WPVI after the 36th annual event in 2014.
WCAU presently broadcasts 43 hours, 25 minutes of locally produced newscasts each week (with 7 hours, 5 minutes on weekdays, 4 hours on Saturdays and 5½ hours on Sundays). News has been produced at WCAU from when the station went on the air on in 1948. Charles Shaw, who had worked with Edward R. Murrow as a CBS correspondent in London during World War II, was the station's news director from 1948 until he left the station in the early 1960s. John Facenda, who later gained fame as the voice of NFL Films, was the station's main anchorman from shortly after it signed on until 1973. At the time he retired, he had been a main anchor longer than anyone in Philadelphia; he has since been passed by WPVI's Jim Gardner.
Soon after joining the station, Facenda sold the Bulletin on the idea of a local 11 p.m. newscast - the first in the country. It aired for the first time on September 8. In 1950, WCAU became the first station with a four-man news team. The 6 p.m. newscast was anchored by Facenda, with Philadelphia radio legend Phil Sheridan handling weather, Jack Whitaker on sports and Ed McMahon as announcer. In 1965, channel 10 introduced the "Big News" format from Los Angeles sister station KNXT (now KCBS-TV).
The station's news operation was the ratings leader in Philadelphia for most of the time from the late 1940s until the 1960s, when it was surpassed by KYW-TV's Eyewitness News. The station then remained a strong second until the 1970s, when WPVI-TV's Action News bumped channel 10 down to third place. WCAU struggled through the late 1970s while most of its CBS sister stations dominated the ratings, but has since recovered and has been a solid runner-up to longtime leader WPVI for over a quarter century. WCAU managed to pass WPVI in the 5 p.m. time slot for a time in the early 1980s with its original Live at 5, anchored by Larry Kane and Deborah Knapp (now at KENS-TV in San Antonio). In 2001, WCAU made national news when its 11 p.m. newscast (anchored by Larry Mendte and Renee Chenault-Fattah) knocked WPVI from the top spot in the local news ratings for the first time in decades. Since 2003, WCAU has had to fend off a spirited challenge from a resurgent KYW-TV for second place in the Philadelphia ratings; Channel 3's resurgence was fueled in part by luring Mendte away from channel 10.
WCAU used music based on "Channel 2 News", written by Shelton Leigh Palmer for WBBM-TV in Chicago (the 'de facto' official music for CBS' O&O stations) and variations on it from 1982 until the 11 p.m. newscast on September 9, 1995 hours before the switch to NBC. It used the original 1975 version from 1982 to 1987, a synthesized version produced by a local composer during the 1987-88 season and the "Palmer News Package" from 1988 to 1995. KYW-TV has used variants on this theme in recent years.
Shortly after CBS agreed to sell the station to NBC, WCAU dropped its longtime moniker of Channel 10 News in favor of NewsCenter 10. After the sale closed, NBC changed the newscast name to News 10, it became NBC 10 News in 2000. On December 10, 2005, WCAU took over production of WPHL-TV (channel 17)'s nightly half-hour 10 p.m. newscast after that station shuttered its in-house news department and laid off its entire news and production staff; this new newscast was called WB 17 News at 10, Powered by NBC 10. On July 25, 2006, the program was renamed My PHL 17 News, Powered by NBC 10 to correspond with WPHL's then-pending switch to MyNetworkTV. This newscast competed with the 10 p.m. newscasts on WTXF (channel 29, which is produced in-house) and WPSG (channel 57, which is produced by KYW-TV). WPVI has since taken over production of WPHL's 10 p.m. newscast; on September 14, 2012, WCAU produced its last 10 p.m. newscast on WPHL-TV.
From 2001 to 2005, WPPX-TV rebroadcast some of WCAU's newscasts.
On November 13, 2008, Fox Television Stations and NBC Local Media entered into an agreement to test a system that would allow Fox-owned stations and NBC-owned stations to pool their news resources ranging from shared video to any aerial video from a helicopter. WCAU and Fox owned-and-operated station WTXF were the first stations to undertake the plan (known as a "Local News Service" agreement) as an effective way to deal with the difficulties in costs in news operations. WCAU later announced in September 2012, that it would be leaving the Local News Service agreement with WTXF and KYW-TV (which entered the agreement by 2010) and utilize its own helicopter; the new helicopter dubbed "Skyforce 10" debuted on February 25, 2013.
WCAU became the fourth and last English-language television station in the Philadelphia market to begin broadcasting its local news programming in high-definition on December 10, 2008, starting with its 4 p.m. newscast. On September 12, 2011, WCAU expanded its weekday morning newscast to 4:30 a.m., along with the launch of a new midday newscast at 11 a.m., and the reduction of The 10! Show to a half-hour program. On December 6, 2011, the station announced a partnership with public broadcasting stations WHYY-FM-TV as part of a larger effort by NBCUniversal to partner with nonprofit news organizations following its acquisition by Comcast. On September 15, 2012, The 10! Show ended its run after ten years. On September 17, 2012, WCAU's midday newscast expanded to one hour. Their morning newscast starts at 4:00am.
Morning anchor Vai Sikahema may be the station's most recognizable current personality. A former Philadelphia Eagle, Sikahema is one of several former NFL stars who have gone on to become sports news anchors (other notable examples include Jim Hill of KCBS-TV Los Angeles and Len Dawson of KMBC-TV Kansas City). While Sikahema anchors the sportscasts on WCAU-TV weeknights, on-air personalities from Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia have anchored sports on weekends in recent years, owing to Comcast owning NBC through NBCUniversal since the current decade began.
In February 2014, WCAU became the second television station in Philadelphia (behind Fox O&O WTXF-TV) to expand its weekday morning newscast to three hours, with addition of a half-hour at 4:00 a.m., but however they canceled it in 2016, and they revived it on July 31, 2017. In conjunction with this, they switched its music to the "L.A. Groove" theme that has been in use by sister stations KNBC in Los Angeles and by WNBC in New York City.
On July 11, 2016 beginning with the 4:00 p.m. newscast, WCAU became the seventh NBC-owned station to begin using ArtWorks' "Look N" graphics package following WNBC (New York City), WTVJ (Miami), WVIT (Hartford), KXAS-TV (Dallas/Fort Worth), WMAQ-TV (Chicago); WRC-TV (Washington D.C.) began using the package in June.
On June 26, 1972, three news correspondents were killed in a helicopter crash in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where they had been covering the flooding stemming from Hurricane Agnes. The victims were Del Vaughn of CBS News and Sid Brenner and Louis Clark of WCAU, and the pilot, Mike Sedio. The helicopter lost its rotor some three hundred feet above the Capital City Airport, crashed, and exploded on the runway.
Outside of the Philadelphia market in central and southern New Jersey, WCAU is carried in southern Middlesex County on Comcast digital cable in the municipalities of Plainsboro, South Brunswick, Monroe, Cranbury, Jamesburg, Helmetta, Spotswood and East Brunswick. Up until November 2006, WCAU was carried on cable channel 10 until Comcast moved WCAU over to digital cable channel 253 to preserve bandwidth.
All of Ocean County carries WCAU on Comcast and Cablevision outlets. Like in Middlesex County, WCAU was also removed from Channel 10 and moved over to digital cable channel 253 to preserve bandwidth.
Comcast transmits WCAU to most of Sussex County in Delaware, except for Fenwick Island as the town uses former TCI (now Comcast) service, on Channel 10. It is the only Philadelphia local channel remaining on the Limited Analog Service. Mediacom and Verizon FiOS do not broadcast WCAU in Sussex County.
Also In November 2006, Comcast of Long Beach Island also moved WCAU from its basic analog lineup to its basic digital package (like in Middlesex County on digital channel 253) causing a massive public outcry from the Island's municipalities, including a resolution passed by the Boro of Harvey Cedars that the channel be reinstated to basic analog.