It signed-on as W42AU in 1988 airing a low-powered analog signal on UHF channel 42 from a transmitter on Mount Tom in Holyoke. The station served as a repeater of Trinity Broadcasting's national religious network. In 1994, it moved to UHF channel 67 and became W67DF. Originally, CBS was seen in the Pioneer Valley on WHYN-TV (now WGGB-TV) from 1953 until 1958. At that point, WFSB (then known as WTIC-TV with no relation to the current station except for the same calls) became the network's Connecticut affiliate.
Due to its strong analog signal on heritage VHF channel 3, the station also became CBS' affiliate of record in Springfield. Later on, WTIC/WFSB would begin purchasing syndicated programming to air in the Hartford/New Haven and Springfield/Holyoke markets (this practice continues today). It also blocked several attempts by WGGB to switch from ABC back to CBS.
Sometime in 2003, the Meredith Corporation (having acquired WFSB in June 1997) purchased W67DF in order to set up a separate operation in the Pioneer Valley. Reasons for such a launch ranged from advertising opportunities to complaints from New England Patriots fans in weeks when the station chose to air other National Football League games from the American Football Conference. In November of that year, the station joined CBS and adopted the call sign WSHM-LP after upgrading to official low-powered status. It immediately replaced WFSB on Pioneer Valley cable systems.
The station became known on-air as "CBS 3" based on the cable channel location in order to encourage WFSB viewers stay with WSHM after the switch. Right from the start of its CBS affiliation, it was a semi-satellite of WFSB and cleared its syndicated programming except for those shows already seen on the other stations based in Springfield. WSHM did not simulcast any local newscasts from its parent even though this could have been possible because it was operated out of WFSB's "Broadcast House" studios at Constitution Plaza in Downtown Hartford.
In August 2006, this station changed its logo from one resembling sister station KPHO to a logo resembling (but unrelated to) KYW-TV in Philadelphia. On May 25, 2007, WFSB's studios were flooded by a water main break. The flooding knocked out power and phone service to the building which in turn caused WFSB to go dark. WSHM's master control was also affected and the station went black for about an hour mid-afternoon and intermittently throughout the evening. There were some points during the weekend that its "CBS 3 Springfield" IDs were being seen on WFSB and that station's IDs were seen on WSHM. On June 27, master control and internal operations of WFSB and WSHM moved to the former's new facilities in Rocky Hill.
Since it is a low-powered station, WSHM was exempt from the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) mandated switch to digital-only broadcasting on or before June 12, 2009. Back on February 28, 2008, a high definition feed of this station was added to Comcast replacing WFSB-DT which moved to digital channel 291 and became a standard definition feed. Charter has yet to make the change. An application filed with the FCC calling for WSHM to launch its own low-powered digital station on channel 49 was dismissed in June 2006. Another application to move the existing analog signal to channel 45 was dismissed in 2004 at the station's request.
More recently, WSHM had a construction permit to air a low-powered digital signal on UHF channel 21 from a new transmitter. On November 22, 2010, this became active after WSHM finally gained a "license to cover" allowing it to turn-off its analog signal on channel 67 and activate its own digital signal for the first time. Through PSIP, the signal appears as 3.5 which is based on WFSB's virtual channel identification. Normally, it would be 67.1 taken from WSHM's defunct analog signal. On January 7, 2011 to reflect the change to digital-exclusive transmission, its calls were officially changed to WSHM-LD. WFSB's current digital signal can be reached in southern areas of the Pioneer Valley giving the area access to two CBS affiliates.
Read more about this topic: WSHM-LD
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