|Channels||Digital: 34 (UHF)|
Virtual: 61 (PSIP)
|Owner||Ion Media Networks|
(Ion Media Philadelphia License, Inc.)
|First air date||July 9, 1986|
|Call letters' meaning||Philadelphia PaX|
|Former callsigns||WTGI-TV (1986-1998)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:|
61 (UHF, 1986-2009)
31 (UHF, 2003-2019)
|Former affiliations||Independent (1986-1987)|
|Transmitter power||131 kW (STA)|
310 kW (CP)
|Height||251 m (823 ft)|
312 m (1,024 ft) (CP)
|Public license information||Profile|
WPPX-TV, virtual channel 61 (UHF digital channel 34), is an Ion Television owned-and-operated television station serving Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States that is licensed to Wilmington, Delaware. The station is owned by Ion Media Networks. WPPX's offices are located on Main Street in Manayunk, and its transmitter is located in Roxborough, both sections of Philadelphia.
The UHF channel 61 allocation in eastern Pennsylvania was originally assigned to Reading, Pennsylvania in the 1950s, when WHUM-TV occupied the channel as a CBS affiliate. The allocation was eventually reassigned to Wilmington after the Reading station went dark on September 4, 1956 after a lightning strike on the WHUM-TV tower severely damaged the station's antenna and waveguide.
The current station occupying channel 61, now licensed to Wilmington, Delaware, signed on the air as WTGI-TV on July 9, 1986, originally operating as a general entertainment independent station. It mostly broadcast programs that the established Philadelphia stations did not desire, including drama series, old movies, reruns of old game shows, religious shows, and some ABC network shows that WPVI-TV (channel 6) chose to pre-empt. Reruns of Dynasty were WTGI's most prominent program, as well as an attempt at a local newscast entitled Delaware Valley Tonight. In addition, the station was scheduled to broadcast Philadelphia Big 5 basketball, but that idea was dropped before the season started. A lack of cable system carriage (partly because of the news program) and a transmitter located away from the heart of the Philadelphia market left the station with minimal viewership and an inability to sell advertising time at a profit.
When Vineland, New Jersey-based independent WSJT (channel 65, now Univision owned-and-operated station WUVP-DT) was sold to Home Shopping Network later that year, WTGI planned to acquire that station's programming inventory of mostly 1950s sitcoms. But after low sales and a larger loss of money than was thought, the station changed course abruptly. Various Spanish, religious and shopping channels were considered for affiliation. On November 24, 1986, all the entertainment shows were dropped and WTGI began carrying home shopping programming from the Video Shopping Channel about 18 hours a day. The station continued to run some rejected ABC shows and religious programs part of the day.
In the fall of 1988, WTGI adopted an ethnic-based format airing Telemundo programming during the evening hours, a few hours a day of other foreign language programs, and religious shows (in English) for part of the day. In 1993, WTGI became an affiliate of the Trinity Broadcasting Network, which made an attempt to buy the station; however, this sale fell through. In 1995, the station was sold to Paxson Communications; it then became an affiliate of the company's all-infomercial service inTV, until becoming a charter affiliate of the Pax TV network on August 31, 1998, at which time it changed its call letters to WPPX.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|61.1||720p||16:9||ION||Main Ion Television programming|
WPPX-TV shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 61, on June 12, 2009, the official date in which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital signal continued to broadcasts on its pre-transition UHF channel 31. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 61, which was among the high band UHF channels (52-69) that were removed from broadcasting use as a result of the transition.
In March 2018, a new RF 34 transmitter for was installed about a mile from the previous location. It is a lower power transmitter, and some locations can no longer receive WPPX over the air (this includes some or all of the Lehigh Valley).