Fox 59 (WXIN), is a Fox-affiliated television station located in Indianapolis, Indiana, United States. It first aired in 1983. It shows mainly News and Weather updates.
WXIN, virtual channel 59 (UHF digital channel 22), is a Fox-affiliated television station licensed to Indianapolis, Indiana, United States. The station is owned by Nexstar Media Group, as part of a duopoly with Bloomington-licensed CBS affiliate WTTV, channel 4 (and its Kokomo-licensed satellite WTTK, channel 29). The two stations share studios on Network Place (near 71st Street & I-465) at the Intech Park office development in northwestern Indianapolis; WXIN’s transmitter is located on West 73rd Street (or Westlane Road) on the northern outskirts of the city (west of Meridian Hills).
On cable, WXIN is available on Comcast Xfinity, Charter Spectrum and AT&T U-verse channel 11.
WXIN presently broadcasts 62½ hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 10½ hours each weekday and five hours each on Saturdays and Sundays, which includes IN Focus airing Sundays at 9:30 a.m. and Indy Sports Central Overtime airing Fridays and Sundays at 10:35 p.m.); in regards to the number of hours devoted to news programming, it was the largest local newscast output among any station in the state of Indiana until late 2017 with the cancellations of FOX59 NewsPoint @ 11 on weekends, and also one of the highest in the nation. WISH-TV has now taken the reign of local news output in the market and the state of Indiana with about 77 hours of content. The sports highlight program Indy Sports Central Overtime is retitled Fast Break Friday or Football Friday Night on Fox during the high school basketball and football seasons.
News department history
Local newscasts debuted on channel 59 the day it started operations as WPDS-TV on February 1, 1984, with an hour-long 10:00 p.m. newscast, titled 59 Headline News; it was co-anchored by Ken Owen, who later served as an anchor at WISH-TV, WANE and WRTV. Unable to compete with WTTV’s longer-established primetime newscast in the ratings (which itself was canceled with the November 1990 shutdown of channel 4’s news department), the program was cancelled in the fall of 1984. For the next six years, channel 59’s news programming consisted solely of 60-second news and weather updates, branded as WXIN News Extra, that aired during commercial breaks within the station’s daytime and evening programming.
Long-form newscasts returned in September 1991 after Chase Broadcasting restarted a news department for WXIN, which began producing a nightly 35-minute newscast at 10:00 p.m. Debuting as Fox 59 Nightcast – which was later retitled Fox News at 10 in 1994 and then to Fox 59 News at Ten in 1997, it was first anchored by Bob Donaldson (who remained WXIN’s lead anchor until January 2016, when he moved exclusively to sister station WTTV, with which he had been serving as its primary weeknight co-anchor since it joined CBS in January 2015) and Caroline Thau, alongside chief meteorologist Chris Wright (who left in 1994, and was replaced by current chief Brian Wilkes) and sports director (and former ABC Sports commentator) Brian Hammons. WXIN grew to become the ratings leader in the 10:00 p.m. timeslot, even with competition from a WRTV-produced newscast on WTTV (which began shortly before the start of WXIN’s second primetime news effort, and was canceled in December 2002 after Tribune acquired WTTV) and WTHR’s late newscast – which moved from 11:00 p.m. to 10:00 on April 7, 1991 as part of a short-lived “early primetime” network scheduling experiment; more competition sprang up when then-WB affiliate WNDY-TV debuted the WTHR-produced Eyewitness News at 10:00 on March 16, 1996, which briefly moved to WIPX-TV when WISH-TV took over production of the WNDY newscast (as 24-Hour News 8 at 10:00) on February 28, 2005.
WXIN expanded news programming outside its established 10:00 slot on March 29, 1999, when it premiered Fox 59 a.m. Formatted as a mix of news, entertainment and lifestyle features with a looser, “personality-driven” style inspired by morning radio programs, the show initially aired from 6:00 to 9:00 a.m., replacing paid programming and children’s programs that had previously aired in that time period. The program was reformatted as a more traditional morning newscast in 2004, and grew to beat competing local and national morning news programs in the 25-54 age demographic. The station expanded the flagship 10:00 p.m. newscast to one hour on April 17, 2006; until that point, WXIN had been among the largest news-producing Fox affiliates by market size that did not air an hour-long primetime newscast, either on a nightly basis or on weeknights only.
In May 2007, WXIN entered into a content partnership with the Indianapolis Business Journal to provide news and weather content for the newspaper. On January 2, 2008, WXIN added an hour onto its morning newscast from 5:00 to 6:00 a.m., expanding it to four hours; a simulcast of the 6:00 to 9:00 a.m. block of the program began airing on WTTV on that date (the WTTV simulcast later moved to that station’s This TV-affiliated digital subchannel on September 13, 2010, before being dropped in September 2013). The station debuted a half-hour midday newscast at 11:00 a.m. nine months later on September 15.
Under the direction of now-former general manager Jerry Martin and his successor Larry Delia, and former news director Lee Rosenthal, WXIN spearheaded a major expansion of its news programming. On September 21, 2009 (as other Tribune-owned Fox affiliates began to increase their news output, which the network had encouraged its stations to do since the 1990s), the station expanded its weekday morning newscast to 4½ hours with the addition of a half-hour at 4:30 a.m., and premiered an hour-long 4:00 p.m. newscast. On November 1, 2009, WXIN became the fourth television station in the Indianapolis market to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition; with the change, WXIN adopted the logo and graphic scheme used by Fox’s owned-and-operated stations and certain affiliates (including some of its sister stations under Tribune ownership). On WXIN, this Fox graphics scheme and corresponding music package was already in use in some aspects (though the music package was used in all aspects) since 2006. The 11:00 a.m. newscast was dropped on January 1, 2010; WXIN then added an hour to its weekday morning newscast from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. on January 4.
WXIN launched Indysportsnation.com in April 2009; in addition, the station debuted a weekend evening sports program that month, IndySportsNation Overtime (which replaced another highlight show, Fox 59 Sports Weekender), and sports segments during the station’s newscasts were rebranded under the “IndySportsNation” banner. Morning newscasts expanded again on August 21, 2010, with the debut of three-hour weekend editions from 6:00 to 9:00 a.m. (as a result, WXIN became Tribune’s first television station, since an attempt by its Chicago flagship WGN-TV for a few years during the 1990s, to carry a weekend morning newscast); three weeks later on September 13, the station debuted an hour-long weeknight 5:00 p.m. newscast. The weekend morning newscasts expanded to four hours on January 8, 2011, with the addition of a 9:00 a.m. hour; this was followed on January 10, 2011, with the expansion of its weekday morning newscast to six hours with the addition of a half-hour at 4:00 a.m.
WXIN furthered its evening news expansion on September 10, 2012, when it debuted an hour-long weeknight 6:00 p.m. broadcast. On June 15, 2013, WXIN implemented a standardized graphics package for Tribune’s Fox affiliates that originated on Grand Rapids sister station WXMI in November 2012. On June 23, 2014, WXIN entered into a multi-year content partnership with The Indianapolis Star – which began on August 1, replacing WTHR – to collaborate on coverage of news reports and investigative reports, with WXIN also providing weather forecasts for the newspaper. On June 30, 2014, the station debuted a half-hour nightly 11:00 p.m. newscast, titled Fox 59 NewsPoint at 11, a program packaged as a standalone newscast serving as a wrap-up of the day’s headlines; this was followed on September 22, 2014 by the launch of a half-hour weeknight 7:00 p.m. newscast. These particular additions had increased the station’s weekly news total to 66 hours (beating Cleveland sister station WJW for the largest local news output of any major U.S. television station). WXIN’s 7:00 p.m. newscast competes with an existing newscast on ABC affiliate WRTV (which predates the WXIN program by seven years). In late 2017, the weekend editions of the 11 p.m. newscast were cancelled and replaced by FOX’s late night programming on Saturdays, moving from 11:30 p.m. to its original start time of 11 p.m., as it once was prior to the launch of the 11 p.m. newscast and being replaced by repeat episodes of The Simpsons on Sunday nights.
When sister station WTTV announced that upon its switch to CBS it would launch a separate news operation from WXIN with its own on-air staff (similar to, though also differing in structure from the shared news operation of St. Louis sister duopoly KTVI/KPLR-TV, the latter of which maintains separate anchors from KTVI for certain newscasts), WTTV/WXIN became the first known duopoly (legal or virtual) involving a Big Three affiliate and a Fox station, in which the two stations maintain separate news departments and newscasts in competing timeslots (the presence of two separate, but jointly based news departments controlled by one company structured in this manner is more common with duopolies involving stations affiliated with two of the Big Three networks). Both stations’ news departments are housed out of their shared facility on Network Place, and – while it does hinder both stations – each produce newscasts that compete in most traditional timeslots, except on weekend mornings (as WTTV carries the CBS Dream Team lineup), weekdays at noon and weekends at 6:00 p.m. (as WXIN airs syndicated programming in both periods, with sports programming periodically airing in the latter slot on either station). There is also a considerable amount of sharing between WTTV and WXIN in regards to news coverage, video footage and the use of reporters; though both outlets maintain their own primary on-air personalities (such as news anchors and meteorologists) that only appear on their respective station (Bob Donaldson is a notable exception as he anchors newscasts on both stations, remaining as lead anchor of channel 59’s 10:00 p.m. newscast but transferring his 6:00 p.m. duties from WXIN to WTTV following the CBS switch). On May 3, 2015, WXIN debuted IN Focus, a half-hour Sunday morning program focusing on political and civic issues (the Sunday morning newscast was concurrently reduced by a half-hour in order to make room for the program).