About WXMI FOX17The station signed on the air on March 18, 1982 as an independent station under the call sign WWMA. The call letters are said to have stood for "We're West Michigan Alternative". The station was originally owned by Heritage Broadcasting Company. Approximately a year after signing on, additional shareholders bought control of the station and changed the callsign to the current WXMI on August 15, 1983. The "XMI" at the time were said to stand for "EXtreme Michigan". In 1987, WXMI signed an affiliation deal to become the market's Fox affiliate; it joined the network on April 9, 1987 when Fox expanded its programming offerings to include primetime programming. In 1989, the station's stock was purchased by a New York-based company headed by Robert Dudley called Odyssey Television Partners.
Nine years later, WXMI was purchased by Indianapolis-based Emmis Communications, which traded the station with sister KTZZ in Seattle, Washington to Tribune Broadcasting in 1998 in exchange for FM station WQCD in New York City. In 2008, cartoons were dropped from WXMI's schedule with the discontinuance of 4KidsTV following a dispute between Fox and the block's lessee 4Kids Entertainment; the Saturday morning time period is currently split between the weekend edition of WXMI's morning newscast, and children's programming (either syndicated or from Fox's Xploration Station block) fulfilling the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)'s E/I guidelines.