WJZY, virtual channel 46 (UHF digital channel 47), is an independent television station serving Charlotte, North Carolina, United States that is licensed to Belmont. The station is owned by Capitol Broadcasting Company, as part of a duopoly with Rock Hill, South Carolina-licensed Disney Network-affiliated station WFVT-TV (channel 55). The two stations share studios on Performance Road (along I-85) in unincorporated western Mecklenburg County (with a Charlotte mailing address), and transmitter facilities in Dallas, North Carolina, along the Catawba River.
On cable, WJZY is available on Charter Spectrum channel 8, Comporium Communications channel 108 and AT&T U-verse channel 46.
The station first signed on the air on March 9, 1987, originally operating as an independent station. It was the first full-power station to sign on in the Charlotte area since WCTU-TV (channel 36, now WCNC-TV) launched in July 1967. It was originally owned by Metro-Crescent Communications, a locally based group that included then-Charlotte mayor Harvey Gantt and longtime Charlotte broadcasters Bob Hilker and Bill Rollins. The station was originally licensed with the callsign WMHU, but prior to the station's official debut, the calls were changed to WJZY in November 1986. According to Rollins, the change was made because no other Charlotte station had a "J" or "Z" in its call letters at the time.
The station spent most of the spring testing its transmitter by airing movies that were presented without commercial interruption. It began full-time operations that summer, running a format of cartoons, westerns, older movies and syndicated drama series. It also aired Baltimore Orioles baseball games. On the day it began full-time operations, WJZY displaced Washington, D.C.'s WDCA—which had been available in the Charlotte area as a regional superstation since cable television arrived in the market in the early 1970s—on area cable systems, taking WDCA's old location on cable channel 8. Less than a year later, the Capitol Broadcasting Company, owner of WRAL-TV in Raleigh, bought WJZY. At that time, classic sitcoms, and more recent off-network sitcoms and movies were added to channel 46's schedule.
WJZY owned a large amount of syndicated programming, but did not have nearly enough time in its broadcast day to air all of it. A solution came with the sign-on of WFVT (channel 55) in September 1994. Capitol Broadcasting entered into a local marketing agreement with WFVT's Indiana-based owner, Family 55. Under this LMA, WJZY bought WFVT's entire broadcast day, and placed much of this extra programming on WFVT.
The station became a charter affiliate of the United Paramount Network (UPN) when the network launched on January 16, 1995. WFVT as a Disney Network affiliate had created one of the first UPN/Disney Network partnerships in the country. For most of UPN's run, WJZY was one of the network's strongest affiliates. At one point, it was tied with UPN's Atlanta owned-and-operated station WUPA as the network's fifth highest-rated station.
Starting in the mid-1990s, the station added more talk and reality shows, and shifted away from incorporating classic sitcoms and movies on its schedule. In 2003, network-supplied children's programs were dropped from the station after UPN discontinued the network's Disney's One Too block (network children's shows eventually returned to WJZY when the station returned to independence in 2006).
WJZY served as the over-the-air home of NBA's Charlotte Hornets from 1992 to 1998, during the height of the team's popularity. It shared flagship status from 1996 onward with sister station WFVT. When the Hornets returned as the Charlotte Bobcats in 2004, WJZY served as the team's over-the-air flagship until the telecasts moved to WMYT in 2006. WJZY also occasionally aired Atlantic Coast Conference football and basketball games that were not carried by CBS affiliate WBTV (channel 3). The station began transmitting its network programming in high definition with the launch of its digital signal in September 2002.
Return to IndependenceEdit
On January 24, 2006, CBS Corporation announced that they would shut down UPN that fall with UPN's most popular programs moving to either other networks or syndication. On March 1, the Capitol Broadcasting Company announced that WJZY would revert to being an Independent station. WJZY became an Independent once again on September 16, 2006. The station changed its branding to "WJZY 46".
In 2009, the station changed its branding to "Charlotte's WJZY" in an effort to brand itself as a more local station. Late in the afternoon on March 28, 2010, a severe thunderstorm packing strong winds blew down trees causing damage to its transmission building (which houses a 2,000-foot (610 m) tall tower that is used by WJZY and three FM radio outlets (WNKS 95.1; WIBT 96.1, now WHQC; and WPEG 97.9) that is owned by CBC Real Estate, Incorporated.