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Wwbt-tv

WWBT
Petersburg, Virginia
Branding NBC 12 (general)
NBC 12 News (newscasts)
Slogan On Your Side and Richmond's #1 Choice. Morning to Night.
Channels Digital: 12 (VHF)
Subchannels 12.1 NBC
12.2 Me-TV Richmond
Owner Raycom Media
(WWBT License Subsidiary, LLC)
First air date April 29, 1956
Call letters' meaning taken from sister stations WBT-AM and WBTV in Charlotte, North Carolina
Sister station(s) WUPV
Former callsigns WRVA-TV (1956-1968)
Former channel number(s) Analog:
12 (VHF, 1956-2009)
Digital: 54 (UHF)
Former affiliations CBS (1956–1960)
ABC (1960–1965)
The WB (secondary, 2001–2006)
NBC Weather Plus (on DT2)
Transmitter power 26 kW
Height 242 m
Facility ID 30833
Transmitter coordinates

37°30′23″N 77°30′12″W / 37.50639°N 77.50333°W / 37.50639; -77.50333

Website nbc12.com

WWBT is the NBC-affiliated television station for Richmond, Virginia. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on VHF channel 12 from a transmitter at its studios on Midlothian Turnpike (U.S. 60) in the city. Owned by Raycom Media, the station operates CW affiliate WUPV (owned by American Spirit Media [formerly Southeastern Media Holdings]) through a shared services agreement (SSA). Syndicated programming on WWBT includes: Inside Edition, America Now, Entertainment Tonight, Live! with Kelly and Michael, Katie and Rachael Ray.

History

In the 1950s, there was competition for the market's third television frequency. WTVR-TV had been on-the-air since 1948 while WXEX-TV (now WRIC-TV) had been on-the-air from Petersburg since 1955. The main competitors for the analog VHF channel 12 license were Larus and Brothers Tobacco Company (owner of WRVA-AM 1140 and WRVB-FM now WRVQ-FM 94.5) and Richmond Newspapers (owner of WRNL and forerunner of Media General). Larus later merged its application with Neighborhood Theaters' Richmond Television Corporation, assuming controlling interest. Both applicants had good records and were financially qualified, but RTVC won the license since it did not own a newspaper. At the time, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was concerned about co-ownership of newspaper and broadcast outlets and preferred separation.

WRVA-TV signed-on for the first time on April 29, 1956. It was initially a CBS affiliate due to WRVA-AM's long affiliation with CBS Radio. That station was one of the broadcasting powerhouses of the South, but that success did not transfer to its television sister. In 1960, CBS opted to return to long-dominant WTVR. Since WXEX was already affiliated with NBC, WRVA was left with struggling ABC. Ratings improved in the next five years leading Larus to try to seek the NBC affiliation, a switch which occurred in 1965. The station is one of only a few in the country to have been affiliated with all three of the original major American television networks.

In 1966, the family-owned Larus and Brothers (which had acquired full control of channel 12 in 1960) decided to split its various interests after the company's longtime president died. Jefferson Standard Insurance Company of Greensboro, North Carolina emerged as the winner for WRVA-TV. It would have bought the radio stations as well, but at the time, the FCC did not allow common ownership of two clear-channel stations with overlapping nighttime coverage. Jefferson Standard-owned WBT-AM in Charlotte and Larus-owned WRVA both covered much of the eastern half of North America at night. As part of the application, Jefferson Standard requested a call letter change to the current WWBT, which occurred on November 28, 1968. The new owners immediately went to work overhauling the station's look. It was already in second place in the Richmond ratings by then, but by the early-1980s, was the highest rated station in the market and one of the strongest NBC stations in the country.

By this time, Jefferson Standard had changed its name to Jefferson-Pilot Corporation. WWBT added a secondary WB affiliation in 2001 which ended on August 31, 2006, in anticipation of The WB and UPN merged to form The CW. On October 10, 2005, Jefferson-Pilot announced a merger with Lincoln Financial Group. The sale became final on April 3, 2006, with the Jefferson-Pilot stations assuming the new corporate name of Lincoln Financial Media. On November 12, 2007, that company announced the sale of WWBT along with its two other television stations and Lincoln Financial Sports to Raycom Media for $583 million. Raycom already owned rival station WTVR which had to be put on the market because the FCC does not allow one company to own two of the four largest stations in a market.

On June 24, 2008, the Sinclair Broadcast Group announced its agreement to purchase WTVR and sell Fox affiliate WRLH-TV.[1] However, the United States Justice Department, under provisions of a consent decree with Raycom Media, denied that company permission to sell WTVR to Sinclair in August 2008.[2] As a result, Raycom sought and was eventually granted a temporary waiver for the purchase of WWBT to buy the company more time to find a suitable buyer for WTVR. The FCC approved the sale on March 25, 2008, and Raycom formally took control on April 1. WTVR was eventually swapped to Local TV.

On June 12, 2009, WWBT's digital broadcasts are now on channel 12. Following the switch, it applied to increase power to 26 kW stating in the application that more than 10,000 viewers complained of a sudden inability to receive the station’s digital signal. The problem was especially pronounced with antennas located indoors. Although complaints came most prominently from certain heavily populated portions of the service area (including Western Richmond, Glen Allen, Mechanicsville, and Hanover), these reception problems were not limited to specific regions within WWBT's service area. This was also not unique to this station as viewers of other stations that switched to high-VHF band channels for post-transition operation have reported reception problems.

Digital channels

Channel Video Aspect PSIP short name Programming
12.1 1080i 16:9 NBC12HD Main WWBT programming / NBC
12.2 480i 4:3 12-2 Me-TV

Prior to February 6, 2012, WWBT aired a 24-hour local weather channel called "NBC 12 First Warning Weather Plus". It has since been replaced with Me-TV.

News operation


The channel started offering local newscasts on the second day of broadcasting in April 1956. News department personnel initially worked out of cramped offices. In the early-1970s, renovations at the studios allowed the channel's personnel to be expanded. News operations were expanded again into a new addition to the facilities in 1978. In the late-1980s, WWBT received a comprehensive on-air upgrade featuring an updated news set and graphics package. It was the first station in Richmond to use a satellite broadcasting truck called "LiveStar 12" and a helicopter identified as "Sky 12".[3]

On September 19, 1994, WWBT entered into a news share agreement with WRLH-TV (then owned by Abry Communications). This resulted in the area's first nightly prime time broadcast known as Fox News at 10. On January 8, 2001, the weeknight show was expanded to a full hour. Friday nights at 10:45, there is a fifteen-minute sports highlight program that airs called Fox First Sports. The prime time newscasts did not face competition until March 5, 2007, when WUPV launched a 35-minute weeknight show at 10 produced by WTVR. Weekend news on WUPV began October 20, 2007, and ended a year later on October 19. The final weeknight newscast on that channel was November 7. Three days later, WTVR management announced that the WUPV operation had been canceled due to high financial costs of production.

On March 23, 2007, "Sky 12" crash landed in a Rehoboth Beach, Delaware field after it appeared to hit power lines. Two of the four passengers were taken to a local hospital for evaluation. The helicopter was being used for non-news purposes by owner Heloair. WWBT became the first station in Richmond to air local newscasts in high definition on July 27, 2008. Unlike rival WTVR (who upgraded to high-definition newscasts two years later and whose video is in true high definition both in the studio and in the field), the field video shown on WWBT is still in 16:9 enhanced definition widescreen. However, the WRLH shows were not initially included in the upgrade because that station lacked a modern master control to receive the newscast in HD; this lasted until September 2012 when that station upgraded its master control so that the WWBT newscasts and some syndicated programming on that channel are now shown in HD. On December 17, WWBT eliminated twelve positions citing poor economic conditions. Included in the layoffs were Sports Director Ben Hamlin, news anchor Gene Lepley, along with Henrico and Hanover Counties reporter Rob Richardson.

After NBC Weather Plus shut down on December 31, 2008, WWBT-DT2 switched to a local weather channel known as "NBC 12 First Warning Weather". It was replaced by Me-TV on February 6, 2012. On January 5, 2009, WWBT began producing a weeknight newscast in high definition for WUPV called The CW News at 6:30 originating from a secondary set. The show goes up against national newscasts seen on the big three networks. In addition to operating a weather radar of its own known as "First Warning Live Doppler" at its studios, the station also uses a live feed from the National Weather Service radar based at the Local Forecast Office on U.S. 460 (General Mahone Highway/South County Drive) in Wakefield next to the municipal airport.

On January 16, 2012, WRLH-TV launched a new one-hour weekday morning newscast at 7am called Fox Richmond Morning News. [4] [5] [6] The show goes up against the national morning newscasts' first hour. It is anchored by Gray Hall, meteorologist Andrew Frieden and traffic reporter Tracy Lynn. All three appear on WWBT's morning and noon newscasts.

Newscast Titles

  • WRVA-TV News
  • The Scene at 6/The Scene Tonight (1970s-1980s)
  • (WWBT)12 News (1980s-1997)
  • NBC 12 News (1997-present)

News team

Anchors

  • Gray Hall - weekday mornings, 7am (on WRLH) and noon (also reporter)
  • Heather Sullivan - weekday mornings and noon (also business and economic reporter)
    • "Restaurant Report" segment producer
  • Ryan Nobles - weeknights at 4, 5:30, and WRLH-TV's "Fox News at 10" (also politics and government reporter)
  • Sabrina Squire - weeknights at 5, 5:30, 6, and 11
  • Curt Autry - weeknights at 5, 6, and 11 (also reporter)
  • Chris Thomas - weeknights at 6:30 (on WUPV), also reporter
  • Diane Walker - weeknights at 10 (on WRLH) also consumer and investigative reporter
  • Karla Redditte - Saturday mornings, also reporter
  • Sarah Bloom - Sunday mornings
  • Yvette Yeon - weekend evenings and reporter

NBC 12 First Warning Meteorologists

  • Jim Duncan - Weeknights
  • Andrew Freiden - weekday mornings, 7am (on WRLH) and noon
  • Ros Runner - Weekdays and Weekends
  • Kevin Jeanes - Weekends and Weekdays

Sports

  • Matt Estreich - Weekends
  • Marc Davis - Weeknights

Reporters

  • Laura Geller - Richmond
  • Jessica Jaglois - Reporter
  • Tracy Lynn - First Warning Traffic
  • Ashley Monfort - Henrico
  • Rachel DePompa - Investigative
  • Tayleigh Davis
  • Chris Thomas
  • Brent Solomon
  • Kelly Avellino
  • Mike Valerio - Mornings, Tri-Cities
  • Sarah Bloom Chesterfield

Notable past staff

  • Bill Oglesby - anchor/reporter; now assistant professor of mass communications at Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Aaron Gilchrist - now at WRC-TV NBC 4 Washington DC
  • Spencer Christian - now at KGO-TV
  • Campbell Brown - formerly at CNN
  • Scott Levin - morning/noon anchor (1990s); now at WGRZ in Buffalo, New York [7]
  • Gene Cox - anchor, later special correspondent (now at rival WRIC-TV) [8]
  • Christina Feerick - anchor/reporter (now at WRIC-TV)
  • Antoinette Essa - "12 About Town" reporter (now at rival WTVR-TV)
  • Julie Bragg - anchor/reporter (now at WTVR-TV)
  • Tara Morgan - reporter (now at WSYX in Columbus, Ohio)[9]
  • Ben Hamlin - Sports Reporter
  • Sean Lewis - weekend anchor (now weekend anchor at WGN-TV in Chicago)[10]
  • Terrell Brown - weekend anchor (now at CBS News)
  • Evrod Cassimy - reporter and "CW News at 6:30" (WUPV) anchor (later at KCNC-TV in Denver, now at WDIV-TV in Detroit)[11]
  • Gene Lepley - Reporter, now at The Richmond Police Department
  • Tom Patton - Meteorologist
  • Andy Jenks - anchor/reporter (now at Henrico County Public Schools)[12]
  • Nicole Bell - reporter (now at Petersburg Public Schools) [13]
  • Ben Garbarek - reporter (now at WSYX-TV in Columbus, Ohio)[14]
  • Beth Danziger - Chesterfield County Reporter (now at Groove Labs Entertainment and Video Production in Austin,Texas)
  • Melissa Correa - Reporter now at KRGV-TV Rio Grande Valley,TX
  • Jeff Hill - Meteorologist now at WAGA FOX 5 Atlanta
  • Matt Lincoln - sports director (now with WPEC in West Palm Beach, Florida) [15]
  • Jeremy Roland - motion graphics for shows (example: Richmond Renaissance) and graphic intensive commercial spots

References

External links

  • WWBT "NBC 12"
  • WUPV "CW Richmond"
  • WRLH-TV "Fox Richmond"
  • Query the FCC's TV station database for WWBT
  • Query TV Fool's coverage map for WWBT
  • BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WWBT-TV
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