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Jersey City, New Jersey/
New York, New York
United States
City Jersey City, New Jersey
Channels Digital: 23 (UHF)
(shared with WDVB-CD, to move to 22 (UHF))[1]
Virtual: 54 (PSIP)
Subchannels 54.1 - TBN
54.2 - Hillsong Channel
54.3 - JUCE TV/Smile
54.4 - Enlace
54.5 - TBN Salsa
Affiliations TBN (O&O)
Owner Trinity Broadcasting Network
(Trinity Broadcasting of New York, Inc.)
First air date April 6, 1981 (37 years ago) (1981-04-06)
(in Poughkeepsie, New York; license moved to Jersey City in 2017[2])
Call letters' meaning Trinity Broadcasting New York
Former callsigns WFTI-TV (1981–1983)
Former channel number(s) Analog:
54 (UHF, 1981–2008)
Former affiliations Independent (1981–1983)
Transmitter power 7 kW
15 kW (CP)
Height 297 m (974 ft)
Class DT
Facility ID 67993
Transmitter coordinates 40°44′54″N 73°59′9″W / 40.74833°N 73.98583°W / 40.74833; -73.98583Coordinates: 40°44′54″N 73°59′9″W / 40.74833°N 73.98583°W / 40.74833; -73.98583
Licensing authority FCC
Public license information: Profile
Website www.tbn.org/publicfile/wtby

WTBY-TV, channel 54 (UHF digital channel 23), is a television station licensed to Jersey City, New Jersey, United States, owned by the Trinity Broadcasting Network and serving the New York City television market. WTBY's studios are located on Union Square in Manhattan, with transmitter located atop the Empire State Building.


The station signed on April 6, 1981 as WFTI-TV, originally licensed to the city of Poughkeepsie, New York, in the Hudson Valley region. The station was initially owned by Family Television, Inc., founded by Keith Houser in 1979, and headquartered in the Poughkeepsie Plaza Mall on U.S. Route 9 in Poughkeepsie. WFTI's early programming included reruns of The Lone Ranger and The Cisco Kid, and the station originated coverage of Army Cadets sports (except the Army-Navy college football game); Family TV also produced Valley Magazine, a nightly 30-minute program with interviews of local celebrities, such as James Cagney.

After Irving Trust, the station's sole banking source, experienced financial problems and prematurely called the station's loan in 1982 (Irving Trust was ultimately shut down by the Federal Reserve), Family Television sold the station to the Trinity Broadcasting Network in June 1982,[3] though the sale would not be completed until over a year later, in July 1983. TBN then changed the station's call letters on October 4, 1982 to the present WTBY-TV and moved the station's operations to studios in the village of Fishkill. Not long after taking control of the station, TBN co-founders Paul and Jan Crouch helped sign WTBY on the air under TBN ownership with a special edition of the network's flagship program Praise the Lord, broadcast from the new Fishkill studios.

While Poughkeepsie is part of the New York City television market, WTBY's over-the-air signal could only be seen clearly in the northern fringes of the area. Most of the core of the New York area, including the Five Boroughs, got only a rimshot signal even in digital, and it completely missed most of Long Island. For most of its first quarter-century as a TBN-owned station, the bulk of its viewership was in the AlbanySchenectadyTroy market. Until 2010, WTBY operated two translators in that market—W52DF channel 52 to reach Albany and the Capital District, and W47CM on channel 47 to reach Glens Falls and the Adirondacks. Both stations ceased broadcasting due to declining support, which has been attributed to the digital transition, with W52DF shutting down on March 13[4] and W47CM shutting down one month later.[5] W52DF's license, along with 43 other silent TBN repeaters, was canceled on December 1, 2011 for remaining silent over a year.[6]

Until 2007, WTBY was not carried on the two main cable systems in New York City itself (Optimum TV [formerly Cablevision] and Spectrum [formerly Time Warner Cable]), and its cable penetration is still spotty at best on the New Jersey and Connecticut sides of the market. It is not available on DirecTV or Dish Network's New York City local feeds; only the national version is available, as is the case with all TBN-owned stations.

Despite its modest cable penetration in the area, TBN has poured significant resources into WTBY in recent years. In 2007, when TBN opened a new studio in the former Century Center for the Performing Arts near Union Square in Manhattan, WTBY's studio/office operations were moved to that location.

Local programming

Locally produced programs include versions of Praise the Lord and Joy in Our Town, a public affairs program. WTBY also carries programs produced by local pastors, notably A.R. Bernard of Christian Cultural Center, and Floyd H. Flake of the Greater Allen A. M. E. Cathedral of New York.

Digital television

This station's digital signal, like most other full-service TBN owned-and-operated stations, carries five different TBN-run networks.

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming
54.1 720p 16:9 TBN Main TBN programming
54.2 TCC Hillsong Channel
54.3 480i 4:3 COMBO JUCE TV/Smile
54.4 Enlace Enlace
54.5 SALSA TBN Salsa

TBN-owned full-power stations permanently ceased analog transmissions on April 16, 2009.[7]

Analog-to-digital conversion

WTBY-TV elected to keep RF channel 27 permanently for digital operation during the first round of digital channel elections in February 2005. The station discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over UHF channel 54, on October 1, 2008.[8] The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 27, using PSIP to display WTBY-TV's virtual channel as 54 on digital television receivers, which was among the high band UHF channels (52-69) that were removed from broadcasting use as a result of the transition.

The shutdown initially caused the station to be dropped from Service Electric's systems in New Jersey due to difficulty in receiving the signal at the cable headend. Service Electric replaced it with the national TBN service.

Broadcast incentive auction

Trinity Broadcasting entered WTBY-TV’s broadcast frequency into the FCC’s spectrum auction, the results of which were released in April 2017. TBN received $162,402,181 for WTBY-TV’s spectrum[9] and as a result, the station will relinquish its RF channel 27 frequency and move to channel 23, where it will enter a channel-sharing arrangement with Class A station WDVB-CD, licensed to Edison, New Jersey.[10] TBN has additionally requested to have WTBY’s community of license moved from Poughkeepsie to Jersey City, New Jersey, as WDVB’s transmitter location at the Empire State Building would leave WTBY unable to service Poughkeepsie with a viewable over-the-air signal. A move to Empire State, if approved, will enable WTBY to be clearly viewed over-the-air in New York City for the first time in the station's history. The FCC approved the license move from Poughkeepsie to Jersey City on September 21, 2017. In late January 2018, TBN began the process of purchasing WDVB-CD from their owners, allowing full control of the entire channel space.[11]


  1. ^ "Channel and facilities sharing agreement". fcc.gov. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved October 14, 2017. 
  2. ^ "Community of license change". fcc.gov. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved October 14, 2017. 
  3. ^ "Changing hands–Approved" (PDF). Broadcasting. June 21, 1982. p. 73. 
  4. ^ "Notification of Suspension of Operations / Request for Silent STA". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. April 16, 2010. Retrieved April 19, 2010. 
  5. ^ "Notification of Suspension of Operations / Request for Silent STA". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. May 14, 2010. Retrieved May 17, 2010. 
  6. ^ "Re: Applications for Assignment of License…" (PDF). CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. November 30, 2011. Retrieved December 3, 2011. 
  7. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WTBY Archived December 20, 2016, at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ List of Digital Full-Power Stations
  9. ^ "FCC Broadcast Television Spectrum Auction–Auction 1001–Winning Bids" (PDF). Federal Communications Commission. April 4, 2017. p. 4. 
  10. ^ "Modification of a licensed facility for DTV application". fcc.gov. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved October 14, 2017. 
  11. ^ "Trinity Buying New York And Chicago LPTVs". TVNewsCheck. 30 January 2018. Retrieved 30 January 2018. 

External links

  • TBN website
  • Query the FCC's TV station database for WTBY

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