WSHM-LD is a low-powered, CBS-affiliated television station licensed to Springfield, Massachusetts, United States, serving the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 21 (or virtual channel 3.5 via PSIP) from a transmitter on Ridge Road in Wilbraham. Owned by the Meredith Corporation, it is a sister station to ABC/Fox/MyNetworkTV affiliate WGGB-TV (channel 40). The two outlets share studios together on Liberty Street in Springfield.
Although considered a separate station in its own right, WSHM is actually operated as a semi-satellite of WFSB (channel 3) in Hartford–New Haven, Connecticut. WSHM clears all network programming as provided through its parent station, but airs a separate lineup of syndicated programming, as well as separate commercial inserts and its own legal identifications. Master control and some internal operations are based within WFSB's studios on Capital Boulevard in Rocky Hill, Connecticut.
(semi-satellite of WFSB, Hartford–New Haven, Connecticut)
CBS 3 (general)|
Western Mass News (newscasts)
|Slogan||Coverage You Can Count On|
Digital: 21 (UHF)|
Virtual: 3.5 (PSIP)
3.6 Cozi TV
|First air date||1988|
|Call letters' meaning||
|Sister station(s)||WFSB, WGGB-TV|
|Former channel number(s)||
42 (UHF, 1988–1994)
67 (UHF, 1994–2010)
|Former affiliations||TBN (1988–2003)|
|Transmitter power||6 kW|
|Height||160 m (525 ft)|
|Public license information:||
(semi-satellite of WFSB, Hartford–New Haven, Connecticut) Profile
(semi-satellite of WFSB, Hartford–New Haven, Connecticut) CDBS
The station signed-on as W42AU in 1988 airing a low-powered analog signal, on UHF channel 42, from a transmitter on Mount Tom in Holyoke. The station served as the Pioneer Valley's over-the-air repeater of the Trinity Broadcasting Network without any local deviation outside of station identification. In 1994, it moved to UHF channel 67 and became W67DF.
Originally, CBS was seen in the Pioneer Valley on WHYN-TV (now WGGB-TV) from 1953 until 1959. The end of WHYN's CBS affiliation came several months after WFSB (then known as WTIC-TV with no relation to the current station except for the same call sign) became the network's Connecticut affiliate. Due to its strong analog signal on analog VHF channel 3, the station also became CBS' affiliate of record in Springfield. Later on, WTIC-TV/WFSB would begin to purchase the syndicated territorial rights to programming for both the Hartford–New Haven and Springfield–Holyoke markets in bulk. It also blocked several attempts by WGGB to switch from ABC back to CBS.
In 2003, the Meredith Corporation (having acquired WFSB in June 1997) purchased W67DF in order to set up a separate operation in the Pioneer Valley. Reasons for such a launch ranged from local advertising opportunities, along with being able to assert the Pioneer Valley as a secondary New England Patriots market, allowing Meredith to avert from pre-empting Patriots games in a market such as Hartford–New Haven where split allegiances to the AFC East's New York Jets or Buffalo Bills (along with the NFC East's New York Giants in selected weeks) are maintained. In November of that year, the station joined CBS and adopted the call sign WSHM-LP after officially upgrading to low-powered status. TBN remains available easily through all cable and satellite providers in the area.
It immediately replaced WFSB on Pioneer Valley cable systems. The station became known on-air as "CBS 3" based on the cable channel location in order to encourage longtime WFSB viewers to stay with WSHM after the switch. Right from the start of its CBS affiliation, it was a semi-satellite of WFSB (it even operated out of that outlet's studios, known as "Broadcast House", at Constitution Plaza in Downtown Hartford) and cleared its syndicated programming except for those shows already seen on the other two commercial stations based in Springfield, WWLP (channel 22) and WGGB-TV (channel 40). In August 2006, WSHM changed its logo from one resembling sister station KPHO-TV to a logo resembling (but unrelated to) CBS owned-and-operated KYW-TV in Philadelphia.
On May 25, 2007, WFSB's studios were flooded by a water main break. The flooding knocked out power and phone service to the building which in turn caused WFSB to go dark. WSHM's master control was also affected and the station went black for about an hour mid-afternoon and intermittently throughout the evening. There were some points during the weekend that its "CBS 3 Springfield" IDs were seen on WFSB while that outlet's IDs were seen on WSHM. On June 27, the master control and internal operations of WSHM and WFSB moved to a newly constructed facility (south of Hartford) in Rocky Hill. Since it is a low-powered station, WSHM was exempt from the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) mandated switch to digital-only broadcasting on or before June 12, 2009. Back on February 28, 2008, a high definition feed of this station was added to Comcast replacing WFSB which moved to digital channel 291 and became a standard definition feed. Charter would follow suit two years later.
On June 18, 2014, Meredith announced that it would acquire WGGB from Gormally Broadcasting creating a duopoly with WSHM. FCC broadcast ownership rules normally forbid same-market ownership of two of the four highest-rated television stations (based on monthly total-day ratings), which often constitute stations affiliated with the four major broadcast networks (the Springfield market has only three full-power television stations, too few to allow a duopoly in any normal circumstance). However, the deal is permissible under FCC rules which allow common ownership of full-power and low-power television stations (the respective class designations of WGGB and WSHM) in all markets. This sale was completed on October 31, 2014. Although WSHM and WGGB initially maintained separate facilities, WSHM was eventually consolidated into WGGB's studios in May 2015.
On September 8, 2015, Media General announced that it would acquire Meredith for $2.4 billion, with the combined group to be renamed Meredith Media General once the sale was finalized. Because Media General already owns WWLP, and the Springfield–Holyoke market does not have enough full-power television stations to legally allow a duopoly in any event (WGGB, WWLP and PBS member station WGBY-TV [channel 57] are the only full-power licenses assigned to the market), the companies would have been required to sell either WGGB or WWLP to comply with FCC ownership rules as well as recent changes to those rules regarding same-market television stations that restrict sharing agreements, had the sale gone through. WSHM-LD was the only one of the three stations affected by the proposed merger that could legally be acquired by Meredith Media General, as FCC rules permit common ownership of full-power and low-power stations regardless of the number of stations within a single market, and it was possible the station would be paired with either WGGB or WWLP after the sales were completed. However, on January 27, 2016, Nexstar Broadcasting Group announced that it had reached an agreement to acquire Media General, resulting in the termination of Meredith's acquisition by Media General.
The station's digital channel is multiplexed. It also numbers technically as subchannels of WFSB to reduce any confusion it might have if the main signal was numbered 3.1:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|3.5||1080i||16:9||WSHM-HD||Main WSHM programming / CBS|
In September 2010, WSHM began to carry select live UMass Minutemen sports programming on its own second subchannel, which also carried a standard loop of automated news and weather information. The subchannel converted to Cozi TV in the second quarter of 2015 as part of Meredith's carriage deal with the network across all of their stations. The subchannel is carried on Spectrum channel 183 and Xfinity's channel 293.
An application filed with the FCC calling for WSHM to launch its own low-powered digital station on channel 49 was dismissed in June 2006. Another application to move the existing analog signal to channel 45 was dismissed in 2004 at the station's request. More recently, WSHM had a construction permit to air a low-powered digital signal on UHF channel 21. On November 22, 2010, this became active after WSHM finally gained a "license to cover" allowing it to turn-off its analog signal (on channel 67) and activate its own digital signal for the first time. Prior to this transition, WSHM was carried through a standard definition simulcast on WFSB's second digital subchannel. Through PSIP, its digital broadcast channel appears as 3.5, which is based on WFSB's virtual channel identification. Normally, it would be 67.1 taken from WSHM's defunct analog signal.
On January 7, 2011 to reflect the change to digital-exclusive transmission, its calls were officially changed to WSHM-LD. WFSB's current digital signal can be reached in southern areas of the Pioneer Valley giving the area access to two CBS affiliates.
The most notable network programming differences between WSHM and WFSB include its airing of CBS This Morning Saturday (while WFSB does not), and showing Face the Nation in its entirety. WSHM-LD airs some WFSB syndicated programming at different times, such as Dr. Oz an hour later than WFSB, along with Live with Kelly and Ryan, Wendy Williams, Inside Edition and Entertainment Tonight.
Initially as a semi-satellite of WFSB, WSHM did not operate a news department of its own nor did it simulcast any local newscasts from its parent. In October 2005, WSHM finally established a news operation and began producing local news from studios in the Monarch Tower (at Monarch Place) in Downtown Springfield's Metro Center section. It was the first station in the United States to use Grass Valley's "Ignite" control room system. Originally, CBS 3 Springfield News was only seen Monday through Saturday nights at 6, Sundays at 6:30, and every night at 11.
Initially after entering the news race in the Pioneer Valley, it struggled to make a dent in the ratings of longtime market leader NBC affiliate WWLP and established runner up ABC outlet WGGB. Eventually, this station grew substantially across the board during the May 2009 sweeps period to within decimal points of WGGB in several key demographics. Compared with the area's two other commercial television stations, WSHM tended to have a flashier format in its newscasts featuring more fast-paced coverage.
Fending off a challenge by WGGB, WSHM debuted the area's first prime time newscast on August 18, 2008. Known as CBS 3 Springfield Non-Stop News at 10, the twenty-minute program aired in a commercial-free format on its then cable-exclusive local weather channel seven nights a week (the program was also streamed live on its website). The launch beat Fox affiliate WGGB-DT2 which started its own nightly prime time show at 10 on September 8. At some point in time for an unknown reason, WSHM's 10 p.m. broadcast was dropped. On August 24, 2009, it began airing a thirty-minute show on weekday afternoons called CBS 3 Springfield News First at 4. It was the first Pioneer Valley station to make such a launch. The program was expanded to sixty minutes on February 4, 2013.
In September 2010, WSHM debuted an updated local news format that contained the top stories of the day and a full weather segment shown in the first five minutes of all newscasts before a commercial break. To go along with the change, a new logo was made public and included an updated music package and graphics theme identical to WFSB. In the past during weather forecast segments, this station had been exclusively using WFSB's Doppler weather radar. Known as "Early Warning Pinpoint Doppler", this is based on top of a terminal building at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut. Eventually, live NOAA National Weather Service radar data from several regional sites began to be used interchangeably with WFSB's radar and was branded on WSHM as "Pinpoint Doppler".
Following Meredith's purchase of WGGB, the news operations of WGGB and WSHM were merged under the Western Mass News branding on April 21, 2015. The combined news operation is based out of WGGB's facilities on Liberty Street; this led to the closure of WSHM's Monarch Place studios following the April 20, 2015 newscasts. As a result of the merger, WGGB and WSHM simulcast the weeknight 6 p.m. and nightly 11 p.m. newscasts. WSHM retained its weekday afternoon local news hour from 4 until 5 which is not seen on WGGB. In addition, its partnership with the Springfield Republican was extended to include WGGB. Also, as a result of the change, local news is now carried in high definition, an arrangement not possible when WSHM was at its previous facilities.
CBS' O&O station in Boston, WBZ-TV, shares resources with WSHM for coverage of Eastern Massachusetts and this station does the same for western areas of the state, in addition to the sharing of resources with WCVB-TV and WFXT in Boston from WGGB's existing ABC and Fox affiliations. iHeartMedia-owned radio stations WHYN (560 AM) and WHYN-FM (93.1 FM) partner with Western Mass News for severe weather coverage and winter weather storm closings. There was no regular sports segment seen during its newscasts although there was a Sunday night sports highlight show that aired after its 11 p.m. news.
Due to the arrangement of WSHM-LD, WGGB and WGGB-DT2, WSHM does not broadcast news in some timeslots, ceding to WGGB's wider viewership with its weekday morning, noon and 5 p.m. shows, and its evening weekend newscasts (though generally the latter would be pre-empted by CBS Sports programming most weekend early evenings, with WGGB airing news at those times outside of the college football season. Conversely, WSHM premieres Saturday night late newscasts on most of those same evenings which then repeat on WGGB immediately after the end of ABC's Saturday Night Football coverage).