WBNS-TV, virtual channel 10 (UHF digital channel 21), is a CBS-affiliated television station licensed to Columbus, Ohio, United States. It serves as the flagship television station of the Dispatch Broadcast Group and is co-owned with WBNS radio (1460 AM and 97.1 FM). WBNS-TV's studios and transmitting facilities are co-located west of Downtown Columbus, near the confluence of the Olentangy and Scioto rivers.
The Dispatch Broadcast Group's operations also include WTHR, the NBC affiliate in Indianapolis, Indiana.
WBNS-TV began operations on October 5, 1949. WBNS radio had been a CBS Radio Network affiliate for almost 20 years, so channel 10 immediately joined the CBS television network. It is currently the ninth longest-tenured CBS affiliate. Channel 10 has used the on-air branding of 10TV since 1977. It is also one of only a few stations in the country to have had the same owner, call letters and primary network affiliation throughout its history, as well as the only major station in the city still owned by Ohio interests.
The WBNS stations maintained common ownership with The Columbus Dispatch, the city's lone remaining daily newspaper and the "N" in the station's call letters, until 2015 under a exemption of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)'s cross-ownership rules. The FCC has largely prohibited common ownership of co-located print and broadcast media since the middle-1970s. The Wolfe family, who purchased the Dispatch in 1905, sold the newspaper and related assets to New Media Investment Group in June 2015.
WBNS-TV was known for its locally produced shows Flippo the Clown, Luci's Toyshop, Franz the Toymaker, and programs hosted by popular Columbus Zoo and Aquarium personality Jack Hanna (Hanna's Ark). The station also featured "Fritz the Nite Owl," who hosted midnight movies during the 1970s, and the Sunday state government talk show called Capital Square in the 1990s. Throughout much of the 1990s and early years of the millennium, WBNS-TV was home to the 10TV Kids News Network (KNN); a local show, "produced by kids, for kids." The half-hour show aired Saturday mornings. Several KNN kids have gone on to pursue careers in television news or public relations in central Ohio.
In 1995, WBNS-TV replaced Cleveland's WJW-TV as the default affiliate in the Mansfield area (part of the Cleveland–Akron DMA) after WJW became a Fox broadcast outlet. The new Cleveland CBS affiliate, WOIO, unlike WBNS-TV, did not reach Mansfield with a Grade B signal. WBNS also replaced Toledo CBS affiliate WTOL on cable television in the Lima DMA.
The first live high-definition broadcast on the station's digital signal took place in September 1998 in which the broadcast was a football game between Ohio State and West Virginia, making the station a pioneer in American digital television. The station claims this to have been the first locally produced HD broadcast in the U.S.; however, as several other stations throughout the country also lay claim to this distinction, the veracity cannot be verified. It is widely considered the first ever live sports game in HD in the U.S. produced using a production truck and transmission vehicle from NHK, Japan's national public broadcasting organization.
The station has strong ties to the athletic department of Ohio State University. For many years, it has produced the coaches shows for both the football and men's basketball teams, along with other shows about Ohio State athletics. Additionally, its radio sister has been the flagship station of Ohio State football and basketball for decades. Prior to the launch of the Big Ten Network in September 2007, the station aired Ohio State games offered by ESPN Plus in both sports, including prime-time pre-emptions of CBS network programming for games. Because of the Big Ten Network's exclusive contracts to cover live Ohio State sports, WBNS now only carries selected CBS Big Ten basketball broadcasts on weekends and latter portions of the conference tourney, although the programming outside of live sports remains produced by WBNS-TV.
Working with sister company Radio Sound Network, WBNS-TV, WBNS (AM), and ONN, produced and distributed on a Streaming media platform the Ohio State spring football game in 2001. It was one of the first live sporting events in the U.S. to be streamed. The game was delivered on RealVideo, a compressed video format, on the RealPlayer media player platform on the station's website. It also was distributed to Windows Mobile mobile devices using the Windows Media Player format, including Compaq's IPAQ personal digital assistant which required an ExpressCard to connect to the Internet.
WBNS-TV has been the market's home of the syndicated runs of Wheel of Fortune since 1983 and Jeopardy! since 1984, one of the few stations to carry the entire run of both series.