TV Technical Profile: WPMI

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15.1 - NBC
15.2 - Quest TV
15.3 - The Nest

44.1 - WJTC // Independent

Transmitter Location:
[map] [street view] South of I-10 in Baldwin County, near the intersection of Patterson Road and Ernest Patterson Road.  Co-located with WSRE-DT, WDPM-DT and WMPV-DT; FM stations WXBM, WRGV and WTKX.
Power (ERP):
1 MW
Height Above Average Terrain (HAAT):
1,847 feet
Other Information:
41 dBu protected contour map, from the FCC.
Owned by Deerfield Media, operated under LMA by Sinclair Broadcasting
The first station to broadcast on channel 15 in the Mobile-Penscaola area was known as WPFA, based in Pensacola.  The station came on the air in October of 1953 with the DuMont network and signed off just a few years later, in December of 1955. This was actually the first television station to broadcast out of Pensacola, beating WEAR by a few months. 

Hess Broadcasting's WPMI debuted on air in March 1982 as the market's first independent television station, with calls standing for "Pensacola Mobile Independent".  In 1985 it was sold to Michigan Energy Resources.  In 1987, the station picked up the fledgling Fox network and branded itself "Fox 15".  In 1993 the station picked up affiliation with the short-lived PTEN Prime Time Entertainment Network, which attempted to become the "fifth broadcast network" with the popular Babylon 5 series.  That ended by 1997.  The station was purchased by Clear Channel in 1989, back when it was owner of just a few dozen radio stations; this was their first foray into the world of television.  They later acquired almost all the assets of the market's remaining independent station, WJTC, and pushed some lesser-know syndicated fare off WPMI and onto WJTC.

In 1997 then-NBC affiliate WALA was purchased by the Fox Corporation, and the Fox network moved programming to channel 10.  WPMI took up the NBC affiliation, leading to even more syndicated programming being cast off to WJTC. 
The station built out an 1,800 foot tower in the middle of Baldwin County, off I-10, to serve both Pensacola and Mobile.  The tower held several other TV and radio antennas until it fell in 2004 due to hurricane Ivan.  The station has since rebuilt the tower near the same spot.

During the station's time under Clear Channel's ownership, it was partnered up with Mobile News/Talk station WNTM 710 in Mobile.  In August 2006, the AM changed call sign to WPMI to reflect this relationship and highlight the concept that the AM and TV station shared a newsroom.  That partnership ended in 2007, when Clear Channel sold off all its television properties to Providence Equity Group to concentration on radio stations only.  Providence later morphed into Newport Television.
As with most NBC affiliates, the digital broadcast of WPMI at one time included a subchannel showing NBC Weather Plus.  After NBC bought The Weather Channel, these broadcasts were shut down.  WPMI, however, later began operation of its own weather subchannel in house.  This station elected to keep analog broadcasts on until the new June 12th deadline and moved back to RF channel 15 afterwards. 

The station began broadcasting HD local news and syndicated programming in 2012.  That same year, it and sister station WJTC were sold from Newport Media to Sinclair Broadcasting.  Sinclair, due market ownership rules, runs the stations via LMA (local marketing agreement) with Deerfield Media.  In early September 2013, the station dropped its longtime in-house weather production on subchannel 15.2 for WeatherNation, a national-scope digital channel.  Local forecasts are inserted into the national programming on a regular basis.  With the switch, the channel is now airing in a 16x9 widescreen format but at 480i resolution.  The station added the sports-centric Stadium subchannel to -.3 in early September 2017.  In mid-September 2017, the station dropped the longtime "Local 15" branding to become "My NBC 15", with a few updated graphics. 

During the 2019/2020 FCC spectrum repacking process, the station did not change RF channels like some other stations in the market. 
The station announced in the summer of 2020 the need to re-scan for over-the-air viewers, first a date in August, then 22 September 2020.  In September 2020, the FCC proposed a fine against this station for failure to negotiate a carriage agreement with AT&T (DirecTV and U-Verse) in good faith.  The fine, if ratified, would be $512,228.  The re-scan day was pushed back again, due to Hurricane Sally, to 21 October 2020.  On that day, the station added an additional subchannel from sister station WJTC, which began transmitting in ATSC 3.0.

The FCC fined Deerfield Media in July 2021 for failing to make good faith retransmission negotiations with AT&T.  A total of $1,024,456 was applied to Deerfield's Mobile entity for WPMI and WJTC.

In October 2022 it was observed the .2 subchannel had dropped WeatherNation for Quest.

In early October 2023 it was announced that Sinclair had sold their majority stake in the sports-themed Stadium digital channel, and would be dropping it at the end of the month for a new diginet called "The Nest", describing it as "comfort food programming" including true crime, home improvement and factual reality type shows. The launch date is set for 30 October 2023.