Michigan station renovating building to serve as downtown studio

WZMQ, which carries CBS programming on a digital subchannel for the Marquette, Michigan, market, has announced it will open a downtown studio and office.

The station is taking over a building at 142 West Washington Street that was formerly an Irish pub-style restaurant. 

Plans call for a studio on the second floor along with office space throughout. A new entrance and windows will be added.

“We wanted a spot that’s in an iconic and convenient setting,” said John Christianson, chief operating officer for Lilly Broadcasting, in a statement. “We can look out and see the magnificent exterior of the Delft (Theater).”

Christianson also noted that the U.P. 200, a sled dog race, journeys near the building as well.

By locating the studio on the second floor, the station won’t be able to leverage the existing storefront-style windows as a background or way for pedestrians to glimpse inside of the operation.

The move gives the station a physical location with a Marquette mailing address as well as the potential for reporters and videographers to use the space as a home base when reporting from the city. The station could also opt to use the space for administration and advertising sales operations that would benefit from being in the local community. 

WZMQ’s 19.2 subchannel abruptly became the market’s CBS affiliate in early 2022.

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The market’s former CBS station, WJMN, announced Jan. 20, 2022, that it would switch to MyNetworkTV and Antenna TV programming within 24 hours. 

After the change, WZMQ’s owner, Lilly Broadcasting, announced it would launch local news at 6 and 11 p.m. on the channel under the name “19 News: This is Home.”

Production for the newscasts happens primarily at the company’s Erie, Pennsylvania, duopoly, WICUWSEE but the station has reporters who are based in Marquette. 

It wasn’t immediately clear if the station will continue that arrangement, with the Marquette location serving as a secondary location or if newscasts will start to originate from the space.

WZMQ carries a variety of digital networks on five of the seven channels it broadcasts, with MeTV airing on 19.1.

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