Description

WCBS-TV, virtual channel 2 (UHF digital channel 36), is the flagship station of the CBS television network, licensed to New York, New York, United States. Owned by the CBS Television Stations subsidiary of ViacomCBS, it is part of a duopoly with Riverhead, New York-licensed independent station WLNY-TV (channel 55). Both stations share studios within the CBS Broadcast Center on West 57th Street in Midtown Manhattan, while WCBS-TV's transmitter is located at One World Trade Center.

History

Digital era

WCBS-TV discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over VHF channel 2, at 2 p.m. on June 12, 2009, as part of the federally mandated transition from analog to digital television. The station moved its digital signal from its pre-transition UHF channel 56, which was among the high band UHF channels (52–69) that were removed from broadcasting use as a result of the transition, to channel 33, using PSIP to display WCBS-TV's virtual channel as 2 on digital television receivers. Since the station qualified for the nightlight clause in the DTV Delay Act, WCBS kept its analog signal on for one month to provide public service announcements, starting at 3 p.m. on June 12 and permanently shutting it down during the early morning hours of July 13, 2009; this possibly made it the last full power NTSC broadcast television station in the United States to discontinue analog transmissions.

Digital subchannel 2.2, branded as CBS New York Plus, was launched in November 2011 as a 24-hour news channel drawing upon the resources of WCBS-TV, WCBS radio (880 AM), WINS (1010 AM), and WFAN (660 AM and 101.9 FM). The Plus service was eventually planned to be rolled out to CBS' other owned-and-operated stations, but only WCBS and KYW-TV in Philadelphia added Plus channel services.

On December 12, 2011, CBS Television Stations announced its intent to purchase Riverhead, New York-licensed WLNY-TV (channel 55), later announced for a purchase price of $55 million, creating a duopoly with WCBS-TV. The company announced that it would add additional on-air staff and expand WLNY's local news programming (at the time, that station had only an 11 p.m. newscast). The FCC approved the sale on January 31, 2012, and CBS took control of the station on March 30. WLNY suspended its own news operations the previous day and began airing WCBS-TV produced newscasts on July 2, 2012.

WCBS-TV as of February 2012 has a construction permit for a digital fill-in translator on channel 22, to be licensed to Plainview, New York, which would serve portions of eastern and central Long Island where WCBS-TV's signal is affected by the presence of WFSB, a CBS affiliate in Hartford, Connecticut which also broadcasts on channel 33. In 2016, WCBS-TV returned to transmitting from One World Trade Center in lower Manhattan.

On October 21, 2014, CBS and Weigel Broadcasting announced the launch of a new digital subchannel service called Decades, scheduled to launch on all CBS-owned stations on May 25, 2015, including on WCBS-TV on channel 2.2. The channel is co-owned by CBS and Weigel (owner of CBS affiliate WDJT-TV in Milwaukee), with Weigel being responsible for distribution to non-CBS-owned stations. It airs programs from the extensive library of CBS Television Distribution (now CBS Media Ventures), including archival footage from CBS News. On September 3, 2018, Decades was replaced on 2.2 by Start TV. (Decades returned to the New York market in October 2019, when it was added to WNYW channel 5.5 as part of an agreement between Weigel and Fox Television Stations).

As a result of the 2016–17 FCC spectrum incentive auction, WCBS-TV moved its digital signal from channel 33 to channel 36 on August 1, 2019.

On December 12, 2018, WCBS-TV in cooperation with CBS Interactive, launched CBSN New York - a local version and partner of the CBSN service. CBSN New York can be accessed from cbsnewyork.com, cbsnews.com, and their respective mobile and streaming apps.

On December 4, 2019, CBS Corporation and Viacom remerged; WCBS and WLNY therefore became part of ViacomCBS.

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