Bridgeport, Connecticut/New York City, New York
City of license Bridgeport, Connecticut
Channels Digital: 42 (UHF)
Virtual: 43 (PSIP)
Subchannels 43.1 Me-TV/Independent
43.2 The Works
Owner NRJ TV, LLC
(operated by Titan TV Broadcast Group)
(NRJ TV NY License Co., LLC)
Founded March 1953 first incarnation November 20, 1980 current incarnation
First air date September 28, 1987
Call letters' meaning Memorable Entertainment (slogan of Me-TV) or Me
Former callsigns WICC-TV (1953–1960)
Former channel number(s) Analog:
43 (UHF, 1987–2008)
Former affiliations Independent (1987–1999; 2008–2009; 2009–2010)
Shop at Home (1999–2007)
Jewelry Television (secondary, 2006–2007)
Gems TV (2007–2008)
RTV (2009; 2011–2012)
Transmitter power 780 kW
Height 168.5 m
Facility ID 70493
Transmitter coordinates 41°21′43″N 73°6′48″W
Licensing authority FCC
Public license information: Profile
WZME, virtual channel 43 (UHF digital channel 42), is a Me-TV-affiliated television station serving New York City, New York, United States that is licensed to Bridgeport, Connecticut. The station is owned by NRJ TV, LLC, and is operated by Titan Broadcasting Group. WZME maintains studios and offices located on Great Hill Road in Seymour, Connecticut, and its transmitter is located near Shelton, Connecticut.
The UHF channel 43 allocation in Bridgeport was first assigned to WICC-TV (standing for "Industrial Center of Connecticut", referring to Bridgeport), named after the local radio station. The station signed on in March 1953 as an affiliate of ABC and DuMont, a month after Connecticut's first UHF station, WKNB-TV in New Britain, signed on. Considering that UHF was rather new at the time and required an expensive converter, the station was not seen by many. In addition, ABC and DuMont network programming was easily seen in much of WICC's viewing area via WABC-TV (channel 7) and WABD (channel 5, now WNYW), respectively, from New York City.
One attempt at locally generated programming on the station was Newsvision, created by station owner Ken Cooper, in which a station camera was pointed at a teletype machine, with music being played on the audio channel. The FCC disallowed this because they ruled the video and audio channels must work in sync, rather than be separate sources.
None of WICC's attempts to gain viewers succeeded; one of these included a stunt where Bob Crane (who would later become the star of the sitcom Hogan's Heroes) offered $100 to the first caller who reached the station. No one called, leading the station to announce in January 1960 that WICC was the "only station in the U.S. without any viewers". That December, WICC-TV went off the air. Most of the station's programming inventory was destroyed by fire a few months later.
A group of women, under the name of Bridgeways Communications Corporation, received a construction permit for a new station on channel 43 on November 20, 1980, and on September 28, 1987, the station signed on as WBCT-TV, airing home-shopping programming. Initially, the station planned to become a locally focused independent station, with WBCT's management concerned that Bridgeport was being served only by New York City stations; a year later, however, the station had changed its plans and planned to implement cultural programming aimed at the Jewish community in the New York City market as a whole. Shortly afterward, the station changed its call letters to WHAI-TV, in reference to chai, the Hebrew word for living. However, the station was sold in 1994 to ValueVision, which in turn sold WHAI to Paxson Communications in 1996. By then, the station had also added infomercials to the schedule.
Original plans called for the station to become a charter station of the Pax TV network (as WIPX when it launched in August 1998, but those plans were scrapped (mainly due to duopoly concerns resulting from Paxson's acquisition of WPXN-TV channel 31, as both stations' signals overlap and are considered part of the New York City market; at that time the FCC did not allow common ownership of such stations) and the call letters were again changed, this time to WBPT. After an attempt to sell the station to Cuchifritos Communications (which planned to make the station the flagship of a Spanish-language home-shopping service) fell through, the station was sold in 1999 to the Shop at Home Network which switched the station to the network and changed its call letters to WSAH.
Azteca América nearly bought the station late in 2000 to serve as its New York City affiliate. The deal quickly collapsed, with Azteca América citing concerns over WSAH's coverage of the market; the network ultimately affiliated with WNYN-LP. The station continued to run Shop at Home, with a brief interruption in 2006 when the network temporarily closed.
On September 26, 2006, The E. W. Scripps Company (the then-owner of the former Shop at Home owned-and-operated stations) announced that it was selling WSAH along with four other stations (KCNS in San Francisco, California; WMFP in Boston, Massachusetts; WOAC (now WRLM) in Canton, Ohio; and WRAY-TV in Wilson–Raleigh, North Carolina) to Multicultural Television for $170 million. Multicultural assumed control of KCNS, WOAC and WRAY on December 20, 2006 and flipped their programming to an all-infomercial format; it did not take control of WSAH and WMFP immediately due the stations' pending license renewal. The licenses were renewed in early April 2007, and on April 24, 2007, Multicultural took control of these stations.
In May 2007, WSAH changed shopping networks, switching from Shop at Home to Gems TV, a shopping network that specializes in jewelry. In addition, infomercials once again became a part of the schedule.The Gems TV affiliation was discontinued in 2009. On July 1, 2009, WSAH affiliated with the Retro Television Network (RTV), becoming one of only a few affiliates to carry RTV on its main channel. Initially, RTV programming was seen from 6 p.m. to midnight, with infomercials continuing during the remainder of the broadcast day.
WSAH's logo before joining Me-TV.
In September 2009, WSAH cut RTV programming back to end at 11 p.m. on weekdays, and 10 p.m. on weekends. Shortly afterwards, the station announced that it would drop RTV completely at the end of the month. The next month, WSAH added a subchannel, airing Chinese-language programming from sister station KCNS. On June 6, 2011, the station rejoined RTV, running its programming from 12 p.m. to 12 a.m.
After Multicultural ran into financial problems and defaulted on its loans, WSAH was placed into a trust; the station was then placed for sale. On October 6, 2011, it was announced that WSAH would be auctioned off in bankruptcy court by the end of 2011. In the auction, held on November 15, the station was acquired by NRJ TV, LLC, which had earlier acquired KCNS and WMFP; the deal is subject to bankruptcy court approval, though the auction has been challenged by Arthur Liu, who owned Multicultural and is associated with failed bidder NYVV. The FCC approved the sale on March 20, 2012, and it was consummated eight days later.
In December 2011, Me-TV announced on its website that it signed WSAH as its New York City affiliate. On January 4, 2012, WSAH switched from Retro Television Network to Me-TV on its primary channel, carrying Me-TV's programming from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. on weekdays and 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. on weekends. Infomercials run in the hours that Me-TV programming is not shown (making it the largest Me-TV affiliate not to carry the network's complete schedule, particularly unusual given the size of the New York City market, and since most Me-TV affiliates that preempt programming are in mid-sized and small markets and are alternately affiliated with major broadcast networks). RTV moved to WSAH's second subchannel, replacing the Chinese-language programming. On July 29, 2012, the station's call letters became WZME to reflect its affiliation with Me-TV. On January 24, 2014, Me-TV announced that it would move its New York City affiliation from WZME to KVNV (which will change to WJLP, Channel 3) when that station completes its move from Ely, Nevada to Middletown Township, New Jersey in the fall of 2014. At that time, WZME will be the Connecticut Me-TV affiliate.
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming 43.1 480i 4:3 WZME Main WZME programming / Me-TV 43.2 Works The Works 43.3 RTV Retro Television Network
WZME (as WSAH) signed on its digital signal on channel 42 on December 16, 2006. The station discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over UHF channel 43, on July 4, 2008. The analog signal was taken off the air, following a lightning strike at the transmitter. Since the cost of repairing the transmitter was considered to be uneconomical, due to the pending analog shutdown, the station's owners sought permission from the FCC to keep the analog transmitter silent. This did not affect WSAH's digital signal or its availability on cable. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 42, using PSIP to display WZME's virtual channel as 43 on digital television receivers.