WLTZ’s parent firm to carry CW Network in Columbus

The parent company of WLTZ NBC 38 has signed an agreement to broadcast the CW Television Network affiliate in the Columbus area market.

SagamoreHill Broadcasting of Georgia LLC will begin broadcasting the CW on WLTZ’s second digital channel, Channel 38.2, on April 27, the CW Television Network said Thursday.

The channel, called WLTZ-CW, will be available to local viewers with cable systems and televisions that use antennas to catch broadcast signals.

Officials said viewers should not expect to see any major changes with WLTZ-CW.

“Programming should be almost identical,” said Drew Rhodes, WLTZ general manager. “You can still expect to see Smallville, Gossip Girl and the new 90210.”

Whether CW programming will remain on the same channel for basic cable customers — channel 6 for many in the Columbus area — has yet to be determined. Rhodes said they are in talks with local cable companies and should know by April 27.

The CW — which targets women ages 18 to 34 — is currently broadcasted through WLGA, a television station based in Opelika.

Russ Myerson, executive vice president of the CW network, declined to say why the network was discontinuing its relationship with WLGA, which is owned by California-based Pappas Telecasting Inc.

According to the Dow Jones Newswires, Pappas Telecasting filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy May 10, 2008, with intentions to sell its 30 television stations under bankruptcy protection. The company cited an “extremely difficult business climate for television stations across the country” and blamed part of their financial woes on “poor ratings of the CW network.”

CW’s Myerson said they turned to SagamoreHill with the idea of broadcasting the CW affiliate in the Columbus market because of their “longstanding relationship.” SagamoreHill airs a CW affiliate in three other markets: Montgomery, Ala., Laredo, Tex. and Cheyenne, Wy.

“We look forward to expanding our relationship,” Myerson said. “It’s very exciting to be a part of a growing company.”

Augusta, Ga.-based SagamoreHill Broadcasting owns television stations in six cities across the country, including Rochester, Minn. and Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Many of SagamoreHill’s stations broadcast more than one network affiliate, which is made possible through digital capabilities.

WLTZ’s Rhodes said he was excited their tower off of Buena Vista Road will soon be sending out signals for both WLTZ and the CW.

“It’s an opportunity for us,” he said.

“For lack of a better term, we’ll be ‘upsizing.’”