On September 20, 1995, CBS officially completed its acquisition of what until December 11, 1994 was Detroit’s FOX affiliate, WGPR-TV. The transaction was messy, and saw the city’s African American leaders seek to block the sale of WGPR by the Masons, which made the station the first in the U.S. to be wholly owned by Blacks. Lansing-based real estate investor and broadcaster Joel Ferguson stepped in, ultimately failing in an attempt to buy it or at least form a partnership with CBS.
Twenty-six years later, what would become “CBS62” under the WWJ-TV call sign is a unique O&O for ViacomCBS. It hasn’t ever had its own local news department, with Graham Media’s NBC-affiliated WDIV-4 left to compete against The E.W. Scripps Co.’s ABC-affiliated WXYZ-7 and WJBK-2 — that former CBS affiliate which today is a FOX O&O that remains a key viewer magnet.
Thanks to Wendy McMahon and Adrienne Roark, this will soon change, finally making Detroit a local news hub for CBS.