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Upper Peninsula CBS TV affiliation changes

MARQUETTE — Upper Peninsula residents may have noticed a change in their regularly scheduled CBS programming last week as Pennsylvania-based Lilly Broadcasting took over as the local affiliate of the network.

The change comes after years of U.P.-based WJMN Local 3 carrying CBS content, which included the NFL and NCAA basketball and its yearly March Madness tournament. WJMN, which is owned by the publicly traded Nexstar Media Group, announced Jan. 20 that it will no longer be carrying CBS content after its parent company and ViacomCBS agreed to renew their entire portfolio of affiliation agreements except one-WJMN. It is currently unclear why WJMN was the lone station left out of the agreement.

WJMN now becomes an independent station, which will remain on channel 3, and will “continue to provide the news, weather, sports and entertainment that we have for over 50 years across the Upper Peninsula,” according to the station.

CBS programming now will be featured on WZMQ CBS 19, which is owned by Lilly Broadcasting. Lilly owns stations in several locations, including Pennsylvania, New York, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

“We were approached by CBS and they wondered if we were interested in becoming the CBS affiliate in this marketplace,” said John Christianson, chief operating officer of Lilly Broadcasting. “We had some discussions with them and said that we’d love to be more involved with that community.”

While Lilly Broadcasting has owned and operated WZMQ since 2017, it understands that being the new CBS affiliate has an added responsibility in an area where residents rely so heavily on local news.

“We understand the importance of local information. Hyper-local, specific to the community, while this happened pretty quickly, the local investment here is important to us,” Christianson said. “It’s about community to us.”

“This is the starting point. It’s so fresh and so new but it’s really important that we get to know the community, that we give back,” said Brian Trauring, executive vice president of Lilly Broadcasting. “That we advocate for the U.P. and we will find ways to do that.”

One of the changes that jarred many people was that the start time of several programs changed slightly. Trauring and Christianson explained that the change was due to the source of the feed.

“There’s one change that people need to be aware of. You were previously receiving the feed from Green Bay, which is the Midwest feed,” Christianson said. “A few of the typical programs that people are familiar with have shifted a little bit. ‘The Price is Right’ shifted, ‘The Young and the Restless’ has shifted. We are taking the East Coast feed because we are in that time zone.”

WZMQ can be found on channel 3 for Spectrum customers, channel 5 for DISH Network and channel 20 on DirecTV.

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