WHAM-TV/DT (formerly WOKR) commenced broadcasting on September 15, 1962, with interim ownership consisting of nine companies under the name of Channel 13 of Rochester, Inc.
In March 1970, the station license was awarded to Flower City Television Corp. Flower City in 1977 was sold to Post Corporation, a media conglomerate based in Wisconsin. George Gillette purchased the station from Post Corporation in August 1984 transferring it into Gillette Holdings, Inc. Hughes Broadcasting Partners (Paul Hughes and Veronis Suhler & Associates) purchased the station in June 1991. Guy Gannett Communications acquired WOKR in April of 1995. The Ackerley Group took control of the station in April of 1999, and Clear Channel Broadcasting Inc. acquired the station in June of 2002. The station changed its call letters from WOKR to WHAM on January 10, 2005. In 2008, WHAM-TV was sold to Newport Television LLC.
- The first station in New York State and the fifth in the nation to close caption its local newscasts for the hearing impaired, an effort that provides a valuable community service and the opportunity to reach approximately 50,000+ hearing-impaired viewers.
- The first station in Rochester to acquire locally-based weather radar.
- Consistently over indexes ABC NTI performance.
- WHAM has been a consistent overall #1 in the market (news) since fall 1987.
- The first station in the market to introduce Early Morning Local News and the first to expand it to 90 minutes.
- The first station in the market to produce a 5:00 p.m. newscast.
- The first TV station in Rochester to launch a website.
- Purchased the Rochester CW affiliate in November 2006 and operates it as CW-WHAM broadcast over-the-air on WHAM-DT, digital channel 13.2 (also 59.2), and on Time Warner Cable channels 16 (SD) and 1016 (HD).
WHAM is a business committed to being the premier broadcaster of local news, community affairs, and entertainment programming for our viewers and our customers in the greater Rochester area. By successfully achieving this goal, we will assure our continuing viability as a business, thus assuring our continuing support for the community and providing jobs and satisfaction for the employees of WHAM.
News and Local Programming
- WHAM-TV/DT produces and broadcasts more local news programs than any other television station in Rochester: 6-1/2 hours daily of news weekdays; one hour each weekend day. The 13WHAM News staff continues to receive accolades for excellence in local journalism. Most recently, 13WHAM News was awarded two regional Edward R. Murrow Awards for Best Sports and Best Investigative Reporting and two New York State Broadcasters Association awards for Best Sportscast and Best Hard News Story.
- WHAM-TV has strategic partnerships with the Democrat and Chronicle newspaper, WXXI (Public Television), and WHAM-AM Radio and six other Clear Channel stations. We supply weather forecasts exclusively for the newspaper and WHAM-AM. We also do joint news and sports projects with those partners. We have a “Voice of the Voter” elections related partnership with the newspaper and WXXI.
- 13WHAM-TV’s multicultural public affairs program, “Many Voices, Many Visions”. The show has won several national awards and state awards for best regularly scheduled public affairs programming. The program provides a media forum for the Rochester community to share its diverse cultures, ethnicities, and religions as well as local concerns common to all area citizens, such as education, health and health care, aging, poverty, etc.
- WHAM talent is the most sought after in the market to emcee local events.
- Buffalo Bills Training Camp – Held annually at St. John Fisher College, 13 WHAM is and has always been the Official Television Station of Training Camp. This includes extensive coverage of the pre-season camp, the impact on our community, and live specials featuring players and fans.