TV Technical Profile: WMPV

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21.1 - TBN
21.2 - to be: Merit Street Television
21.3 - TBN Inspire
21.4 - Smile of a Child
21.5 - Positiv

Transmitter Location:
[map] [street view] South of Patterson Road in Baldwin County, just south of of I-10.  Co-located with WSRE-DT, WDPM-DT and WPMI-DT; FM stations WXBM, WRGV and WTKX.

Power (ERP):
900 kW (CP)

Height Above Average Terrain (HAAT):
1,736 feet

Other Information:
41 dBu protected contour map, from the FCC. (FCCdata Link)



[Facebook] TBN's Facebook page

[Image] Screenshot showing the slide featuring Dr. Phil announcing the launch of the Merit Street Television channel. Dr. Phil has invested in the channel and his show will air here. From February 2024.

This station dates back to an early-80's construction permit for an independent local commercial TV station.  The WMPV calls, assigned in 1982, stood for Mobile-Pensacola-Video.  The station went through several ownership changes and two expired permits before it finally got up and running in July of 1987 with a slate of what was likely low budget off-network programming.  Rel-way Partnership was listed as the owners during this time, and they built an enormously expensive, elaborate studio in West Mobile, which was soon abandoned.  Later the studio moved to the old WPMI studios in Tower on Ryan Park.  The station struggled to attract an audience and appears to have had little luck getting on Mobile and Pensacola area cable TV systems in its earliest incarnation, and also suffered from periods of being off the air.  Desperate to attract an audience, the station tried music videos from the Houston-based Hit Video USA network.  That only lasted a short time before the station finally threw in the towel and sold to a local religious group, Sonlight Broadcasting Systems.  They changed to religious programming and the era of WMPV as a commercial station was at its end.  Sonlight sold the station to All American TV, Inc. in 1997.  All American was a name used by the Trinity Broadcasting Network, who put their TBN programming on the station after acquiring it.  They moved the studios to their current location off the Beltway in Mobile, fronting I-65.

During the station's analog broadcasting years, the antenna was side-mounted on the WJTC-TV tower in Baldwin County.  With the digital switchover, it relocated to one of the two big master tower sites a little further west to be co-located with several other stations.
This station elected to discontinue analog broadcasts sometime before the new June 12th deadline.  In 2002 it was running a digital signal of about 600 watts from a temporary site just off Azalea and Cottage Hill Road.  Later, the station ran about 120 kW from the digital switchover date to the spring of 2011, when it officially debuted a much higher power from the current transmitting site.  The station experienced an encoder failure early in September 2011, forcing the TBN multiplex off air.  The signal returned a few days later.  In 2014 the JCTV music videos channel was discontinued, and a Christian youth oriented network called JUCE took its place.  In 2015, Smile of a Child moved to the .3 part time and this subchannel is now labeled "COMBO".  TBN Salsa launched on the .5 subchannel in its place.  JUCE would later come back as a part-time offering along with Smile of a Child on the .3 subchannel.

The station received a permit in July 2017 to relocate from RF channel 20 to 18 as part of the FCC repacking process.  Originally to be 1 MW, the permit was modified in December 2018 to reduce it to 900 kW.  In July 2019 the station received a Special Temporary Authority to operate at 315 kW at 447 feet, and that was later bumped up to 320 kW at 1,736 feet after some work was done on the tower for the TV repacking process.

In 2019, JUCE was discontinued, and replaced with TBN Salsa on the .5 subchannel.  In the winter of 2020, TBN Salsa moved to online-only distribution, and a Christian films channel called Positiv replaced it on the over the air multiplex.

On 1 January 2022, TBN re-branded the Hillsong Channel as TBN Inspire.

At the start of February 2024, the TBN Inspire subchannel was replaced with a slide featuring Dr. Phil and a message that Merit Street Television would be launching on 26 February 2024.  TBN Inspire moved to the .3 subchannel, in standard definition.  Smile of a Child moved to the .4 subchannel, displacing the Spanish religious Enlace channel.  The .5 subchannel remains Positiv.