Call it Extreme Makeover: Station Edition. As affiliates sign up with The CW or My Network TV, station managers are frantically plotting to rebrand themselves.
So far, the boldest move is coming out of South Bend, Ind., where Weigel Broadcasting's independent station, now a My Network TV affiliate, is changing its name from WAAT to WMYT to give the station instant recognition.
About two-dozen WB stations have the network's initials in their call letters, including KSWB San Diego, KUWB Salt Lake City and WDWB Detroit. Only WUPN Greensboro, N.C., uses the network's name in its call letters, and its managers, too, must ponder name changes.
Come September, WUPN will be a My Network TV outlet, but General Manager Ron Inman isn't sure what he'll do with the station's name. “We've put a lot of equity in UPN, but I'm not sure it matters nowadays what your call letters are,” he says. (Flash! isn't that concerned. Yes, UPN was a brand that stood for something, but...)
In Kansas City, Hearst-Argyle's UPN affiliate is just plain lucky. The station, KCWE, is affiliating with The CW and, of course, plans to play off its name.
Don't despair, call-letter fans! There are still some good ones to be had: KMTY, WCWT and WCWE are all available, according to a search of the FCC database. But KMTV (the CBS affiliate in Omaha, Neb.) and WMTV (NBC in Madison, Wis.) are already taken.
In Pittsburgh, the Sinclair-owned WB station might be interested in a trade. Sinclair's WCWB boasts one of best plays on The CW. Trouble is, CBS-owned UPN affiliate WNPA Pittsburgh will carry The CW, leaving WCWB to become a My Network TV affiliate.