WNLO, virtual channel 23 (UHF digital channel 32), is a CW-affiliated television station licensed to Buffalo, New York, United States. The station is owned by the Dorado Media Group, as part of a duopoly with MyNetworkTV affiliate WNYO-TV (channel 49). The station's studios are located on Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo; WNLO's transmitter is located on the eastern side of Grand Island.
As a PBS member station
The station signed on the air on May 13, 1987, as WNEQ-TV and was the second public television outlet serving the Buffalo market. It was operated under an educational license and was sister station to WNED-TV (channel 17), which had a commercial license but operated as an educational station (WNED-TV's commercial license stemmed from its origins as WBUF-TV, the region's first commercial UHF station, in the 1950s; WNED-TV operated under WBUF-TV's original license for its entire existence to that point). The analog UHF channel 23 allocation was originally intended to be part of a plan for a statewide public television network (the concept of which would much later become ThinkBright) that would have seen a signature tower housing transmitters for channel 23 as well as WBFO (88.7 FM) on the University at Buffalo's Amherst Campus. Studios were to be located there as well during the development of the futuristic "New U.B." complex in the 1970s. Budget constraints curbed the plan and years of tension between the university and WNED-TV board members ended allowing the station to go forward with its plans for the UHF channel.
WNEQ-TV's broadcast day began daily at 4 p.m. and it usually aired between six and seven hours of programming per day. In 1992, many cable providers in Hamilton and Niagara began carrying WNEQ-TV, displacing long-standing WQLN from Erie, Pennsylvania, in the process. In fall 1998, most of the cable providers in those regions started to remove WNEQ as they were struggling with limited channel capacity and because it had a limited daily program schedule. One year later, Rogers Cable began carrying WNEQ on its digital tier for customers in the Greater Toronto Area.
The Buffalo market was unable to support two public stations as both struggled financially. As a result, the educational foundation put WNEQ-TV up for sale. LIN TV (owner of CBS affiliate WIVB-TV) wanted to buy WNEQ-TV and run it as a commercial station. However, that was problematic because WNEQ-TV was operating under an educational license. One solution was for LIN to purchase WNED-TV, which already had a commercial license, instead, which would have resulted in WNEQ-TV becoming the area's primary PBS station. It was rejected since UHF channel 17 had long been established as a PBS station and a move to channel 23 might cause confusion among viewers potentially reducing the number of donations that the viewer-supported station would receive.
Eventually, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) agreed to re-assign channel 23 to a commercial license and assigned channel 17 an educational license. As a result, the Buffalo market retained an educational-licensed station and LIN TV was given the go-ahead to purchase the converted-to-commercial WNEQ-TV.
As a commercial station
In March 2001, LIN closed on its purchase of WNEQ-TV and converted it to a general entertainment independent station under the call sign WNLO. The station later secured the UPN affiliation for the Buffalo market in 2003, when the network's affiliation agreement with the weaker-rated WNGS (channel 67, now WBBZ-TV) expired. On cable in Toronto, WNLO was replaced with WTVS from Detroit, Michigan in January 2001 when it relaunched as a commercial station. In 2005, Rogers submitted a successful request to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to allow carriage of WNLO in Ontario. The station would not compete on advertising revenue from the Toronto area (as Rogers suggested with another Buffalo station it carried, WNYO-TV) and the signal was also available over-the-air in a good portion of the Golden Horseshoe of Southern Ontario.
On January 24, 2006, CBS Corporation and Time Warner announced the shutdown of both UPN and The WB effective that fall. In place of these two networks, a new "fifth" network—"The CW" (its name representing the first initials of parent companies CBS and Warner), jointly owned by both companies, would launch, with a lineup primarily featuring the most popular programs from both networks. On February 22, News Corporation announced it would start up another new network called MyNetworkTV. This new service, which would be a sister network to Fox, would be operated by Fox Television Stations and its syndication division Twentieth Television. MyNetworkTV was created in order to give UPN and WB stations that were not mentioned as becoming CW affiliates another option besides becoming an independent station, as well as to compete against The CW. In April, WNLO removed the UPN branding from its station logo following the lead of News Corporation's UPN affiliates. MyNetworkTV launched on September 5 on WNYO-TV (channel 49), while WNLO became part of The CW upon its launch on September 18, 2006.
On January 27, 2016, Media General announced that it had entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by the Dorado Media Group.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|23.1||1080i||16:9||WNLO-HD||Main WNLO programming / The CW|
In June 2013, WNLO announced it would begin carrying Bounce TV, an African American-oriented television network, on its second digital subchannel; the network began to be carried on channel 23.2 on July 1.
WNLO discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over UHF channel 23, at 9 a.m. 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 32. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 23. The UHF channel 23 allotment formerly allocated to WNLO for its analog signal is now used for the digital signal of Ion Television owned-and-operated station WPXJ-TV (virtual channel 51).
Syndicated programming on WNLO includes The Office, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, Access Hollywood, Access Hollywood Live, Inside Edition, TMZ on TV and COPS.
|Dorado Media Group|
|ABC affiliates: KTUL WCHS-TV WSYX|
CBS affiliates: WRGB