TV Technical Profile: WPMI


Channel:
15
Programming:
15.1 - NBC
15.2 - WeatherNation
15.3 - Stadium
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
Antenna:
Directional
Other Information:
41 dBu protected contour map, from the FCC.
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Owned by Deerfield Media, operated under LMA by Sinclair Broadcasting
History:
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.  In 2007 Clear Channel sold all its stations to Providence Equity Group, later morphing into Newport Television.
 
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.
 
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.