||This article needs additional citations for verification. (June 2012)|
|New York, New York|
|Branding||ABC 7 or Channel 7 (general)
Channel 7 Eyewitness News (newscasts)
|Slogan||Number One in New York|
|Channels||Digital: 7 (VHF)
Virtual: 7 (PSIP)
(American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.)
|First air date||August 10, 1948|
|Call letters' meaning||W
American Broadcasting Company
|Sister station(s)||WEPN, WEPN-FM, WQEW|
|Former callsigns||WJZ-TV (1948–1953)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
7 (VHF, 1948–2009)
45 (UHF, 1999–2009)
|Transmitter power||34 kW|
|Height||405 metres (1,329 feet)|
|Public license information:||Profile
WABC-TV, channel 7, is the flagship station of the Disney-owned American Broadcasting Company, located in New York City. The station's studios and offices are located near Lincoln Square on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, adjacent to ABC's corporate headquarters, and its transmitter is atop the Empire State Building.
WABC-TV is best known in broadcasting circles for its highly successful version of the Eyewitness News format and for its morning show Live! with Kelly and Michael, syndicated nationally by corporate cousin Disney-ABC Domestic Television.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (June 2012)|
The station signed on August 10, 1948 as WJZ-TV, the first of three television stations signed on by ABC during that same year, with WENR-TV (now WLS-TV) in Chicago and WXYZ-TV in Detroit being the other two. Channel 7's call letters came from its then-sister radio station, WJZ (770 AM, now WABC). In its early years, WJZ-TV was programmed much like an independent station, as the ABC television network was still, for the most part, in its very early stages of development; the ABC-owned stations did air some common programming during this period, especially after the 1949 fall season when the network's schedule in prime time began to expand. The station's original transmitter site was atop The Pierre Hotel at 2 E.61st Street, before moving to the Empire State Building a few years later. The station's original studios were located at 77 West 66th Street, with studios at 7 West 66th Street. An underground tunnel linked ABC studios at 7 West 66th Street to the lobby of the Hotel des Artistes, a block north on West 67th Street. Another studio inside the Hotel des Artistes was used for Eyewitness News Conference.
The station's call letters were changed to WABC-TV on March 1, 1953,  after ABC merged its operations with United Paramount Theaters, a firm which was broken off from former parent company Paramount Pictures by decree of the U.S. government. The WJZ callsign was later reassigned to Westinghouse Broadcasting (the original owners of WJZ radio in New York) for their newly acquired television station in Baltimore in 1957 – a station that was an ABC affiliate by coincidence until 1995.
As part of ABC's expansion program, initiated in 1977, ABC built 7 Lincoln Square on the southeast corner of West 67th Street and Columbus Avenue, on a site of an abandoned moving and storage warehouse. At about the same time, construction was started at 30 West 67th Street, on the site of a former parking lot. Both buildings were completed in June 1979 and WABC-TV moved its offices from 77 West 66th Street to 7 Lincoln Square.
On September 11, 2001, the transmitter facilities of WABC-TV, as well as eight other local television stations and several radio stations, were destroyed when two hijacked airplanes crashed into and destroyed the World Trade Center towers. Transmitter maintenance engineer Donald DiFranco died in the attack. In the immediate aftermath, the station fed its signal to several UHF stations that were still broadcasting (notably WNYE-TV), before establishing temporary facilities at the Armstrong Tower in Alpine, New Jersey. The station eventually established transmission facilities at the Empire State Building.
On May 27, 2007, the station's studios at Columbus Avenue and 66th Street suffered major damage as the result of a fire that knocked the station off the air shortly before the start of the 11:00 p.m. newscast. According to preliminary reports, the fire may have been ignited by a spotlight coming into contact with a curtain inside the news studio; the station's website later reported the cause as an "electrical malfunction". The station's building was evacuated and the fire was brought under control, though the studio is said to be "badly damaged", including smoke and water damage, to the studio. WABC-TV resumed broadcasting at around 1:00 a.m. on May 28, 2007 (initially carrying the network's 10 p.m. West Coast feed of Brothers & Sisters, followed by the full version of World News Now).
Due to the fire, the station broadcast Eyewitness News from a temporary set in the newsroom, while Live with Regis and Kelly, whose set was also affected, moved to the set of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. Starting with the 5:00 p.m. newscast on June 20, 2007, the station resumed Eyewitness News and Live... broadcasts from its main studios at Columbus Avenue and 66th Street.
Cable and satellite carriage
|Cablevision||Comcast||DirecTV||Dish Network||RCN||Time Warner Cable||Verizon FiOS|
- * Parts of Connecticut
- ** HD in Mercer County, NJ
- *** HD in Putnam County, NY
- **** Available to DirecTV subscribers in portions of the eastern United States who are unable to receive ABC programming from a local affiliate.
- ***** Available to qualified Dish Network subscribers through My Distant Network's distant network package.
Disputes with Cablevision and Time Warner Cable
On March 1, 2010, the station announced that it would likely end its services with Cablevision on March 7, 2010. It warned Cablevision that if it could not come up with a retransmission consent agreement by March 7, the station would remove itself from Cablevision's systems, which would affect up to three million Cablevision subscribers in the station's viewing area, currently on a subscription with iO Digital Cable and Cablevision services.
On March 7, 2010, at 12:02 a.m., the station turned off its signal and was unviewable to Cablevision customers; the station was replaced by either a blank screen or a looping video containing a message from Cablevision about the removal. To avoid interruption of programming, the station urged viewers to begin switching to other services, such as Verizon FiOS and DirecTV, or simply view the station over the air. Viewing the station over the air typically requires the purchasing an over-the-air digital antenna and, if necessary, a digital-to-analog converter box, for older television sets. WABC's sister station, WPVI-TV in Philadelphia was also pulled from Cablevision service in the central New Jersey counties of Mercer County and parts of Ocean County, Middlesex County and Monmouth County.
Later that same day at approximately 8:50 p.m., twenty minutes into ABC's broadcast of the 82nd Annual Academy Awards, Cablevision and ABC had reached a deal; WABC-TV and WPVI-TV came back on for Cablevision subscribers. The station had been off the cable for nearly 21 hours.
- Time Warner Cable
In July 2010, ABC's parent company Disney announced that it was involved in another carriage dispute with Time Warner Cable for the first time in ten years. This dispute involved four ABC owned-and-operated stations (WABC-TV and sister stations KABC-TV in Los Angeles, WTVD in Durham, North Carolina, and WTVG in Toledo, Ohio), the Disney Channel and the networks of ESPN. If a deal was not in place, the broadcast stations and cable channels would have been removed from Time Warner and Bright House cable systems across the country. On September 2, 2010, Disney and Time Warner Cable reached a long-term agreement to keep the channels on Time Warner Cable systems.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Content|
|7.1||1280x720p||16:9||WABC-DT||Main WABC-TV/ABC scheduling|
|7.2||LivWell||Live Well Network|
Initially, over-the-air digital signals from WABC were difficult to receive in New York City. The explanation given is that WABC was requested by Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to broadcast at less power; WABC is among many stations which have found it necessary to increase power to restore coverage to the same level as its old analog signal. On June 29, 2009, WABC did file an application to the FCC to increase power from 11.69 kW to 27 kW. At this time,[when?] it has yet to be granted. On January 31, 2010, the FCC granted an special temporary authority (STA) for the station to increase power to 26.9 kW.
WABC-TV is best known for popularizing the Eyewitness News format, in which reporters present their stories directly to the viewers. News director Al Primo brought the format to WABC-TV in 1968 from KYW-TV in Philadelphia, but added a twist—a degree of conversational chatter among the anchors, known as "happy talk." Primo used the "Tar Sequence" cue from the musical score from the 1967 film Cool Hand Luke, composed by Lalo Schifrin, as the theme music. The score included a telegraphic-like melody appropriate for a newscast. The Eyewitness News format and theme music were quickly adopted by ABC's other four owned-and-operated stations at the time—WLS-TV in Chicago, WXYZ-TV in Detroit, KABC-TV in Los Angeles, and KGO-TV in San Francisco (though KGO-TV and WXYZ-TV did not use the Eyewitness News title for their programs).
The format quickly rejuvenated a station that had long been an also-ran to WCBS-TV and WNBC-TV. Within a year, channel 7 had shot to first place in the ratings for the first time in its history, displacing longtime leader WCBS-TV. It spent most of the decade going back and forth with WCBS-TV for first place. For a time in the 1980s, it fell into last place, but still fought with WNBC-TV for second place.
In 1985, the station lured WLS-TV's news director, Bill Applegate, from Chicago to New York. Applegate claimed credit for taking WLS-TV from last to first in only two years, and ABC hoped he could work the same magic at the flagship station. Their hopes were rewarded in 1987 when Channel 7 surged back into first place. It has been the ratings leader in New York since then, and has grown to become the most watched broadcast television station in the United States.
For sixteen years starting in 1970, Roger Grimsby and Bill Beutel were the faces of Eyewitness News. Grimsby came to channel 7 in 1968 from KGO-TV, and was the station's lead anchor when Eyewitness News was introduced. He was known for his opening tagline, "Good Evening, I'm Roger Grimsby, here now the news", and his closing line, "Hoping your news is good news, I'm Roger Grimsby." Beutel had previously anchored at channel 7 from 1962 to 1968 (shortly before ABC moved Grimsby to New York City) before spending two years as the network's London bureau chief. The duo were split up for the first ten months of 1975, as ABC had reassigned Beutel to its new morning show AM America. The station brought in WXYZ-TV's Bill Bonds and veteran Boston anchor Tom Ellis to help replace Beutel; both Bonds and Ellis co-anchored at 11 p.m. for a time. When AM America was cancelled and replaced with Good Morning America, Beutel was re-teamed with Grimsby at 6 p.m. and Bonds returned to Detroit. Ellis remained until 1977 and was replaced by Larry Kane, who lasted only one year as sole 11 p.m. anchor. Kane's successor, Ernie Anastos, began his New York career at the station; he co-anchored at 11 p.m. for his entire 12-year tenure there.
In the wake of declining ratings, Grimsby was fired on April 16, 1986, a move for which Applegate drew considerable fire, and Grimsby was quickly hired by rival WNBC-TV. Beutel stepped down from the anchor desk in 2001, two years before his retirement, which concluded the longest tenure for a main anchor in New York television history, at that time. His record has since been surpassed by WNBC's Chuck Scarborough and WXTV's Rafael Pineda. Scarborough's uninterrupted run behind the desk is second in New York television to WXTV's Rafael Pineda, who started with his station in 1972.
WABC's news department is respected for its straightforward presentation (especially during breaking news). For the last decade, it has waged a spirited battle for first place, but for most of the time has held onto the lead, helped in part by lead-ins from highly rated talk and entertainment shows. For over 24 years (December 1986 until May 2011) the 5 p.m. Eyewitness News lead-in had been The Oprah Winfrey Show at 4 p.m., and its strong ratings brought viewers along to the 5 p.m. newscast.
The station cooperates with sister station WPVI-TV in Philadelphia—popularizer of the Action News format—in the production and broadcast of statewide New Jersey political debates. When the two stations broadcast a statewide office debate, such as for governor or U.S. Senate, they will pool resources and have anchors or reporters from both stations participate in the debate. Additionally, the two stations cooperate in coverage of news from New Jersey where their markets overlap, sharing reporters, live trucks, and helicopters.
The newscasts were replayed on one of channel 7's digital subchannels, another which also carried a local weather and news channel. WABC-TV's website had a link for live streaming video of "Eyewitness News Now", which offered live local and national weather updated from AccuWeather. Local news headlines and updates were also provided. The format of "Eyewitness News Now" was similar to the defunct NBC Weather Plus. In February 2011, ABC pulled ENN off the air and cable, not just in New York but also similar channels on its Los Angeles and Chicago sister station as well, and replaced them with a standard definition, letterboxed simulcast of the Live Well Network in all three cities.
On December 2, 2006, the station began broadcasting newscasts in high definition, becoming the second station in the New York market to do so. On September 7, 2010, WABC-TV expanded its weekday morning newscast, now airing at 4:30 a.m.; ABC's national early morning newscast America This Morning was moved a half-hour earlier as a result. Three days earlier on September 4, 2010 WABC added an hour-long extension of its Saturday morning newscast from 9 to 10 a.m. On May 26, 2011, WABC-TV added another hour of local news at 4 p.m., replacing Oprah, which aired its final original episode the previous day.
On September 24, 2011, the station began broadcasting its newscasts and public affairs programs from a new street-level window studio at a former Disney Store location in the ABC building on 66th Street and Columbus Avenue. The space previously used for news broadcasts will be used to expand the Live with Kelly studio. In January 2012, the station also expanded its weekend 11 p.m. newscasts to an hour.
Currently, Eyewitness News airs six hours daily as well as a 2 a.m. re-run of Eyewitness News at 11 p.m. and four and a half hours on weekends.
|Anchor||Time on air||Other|
|Sade Baderinwa||5:00 and 11:00 p.m.|
|Liz Cho||4:00 and 6:00 p.m.|
|David Novarro||4:00 p.m.|
|Bill Ritter||6:00 and 11:00 p.m.|
|Ken Rosato||4:30-7:00 a.m. and at noon||host of Viewpoint|
|Lori Stokes||4:30-7:00 a.m. and at noon|
|Diana Williams||5:00 p.m.||host of Up Close with Diana Williams|
|Anchor||Time on air||Other|
|Sandra Bookman||6:00 and 11:00 p.m.||host of Here and Now and weekday reporter|
|Michelle Charlesworth||6:00-8:00 and 9:00-10:00 a.m.||weekday reporter|
|Phil Lipof||6:00-8:00 and 9:00-10:00 a.m.||weekday reporter|
|Joe Torres||6:00 and 11:00 p.m.||host of Tiempo and weekday reporter|
|Anchor||Time on air||Other|
|Lee Goldberg||weekdays at 4:00 and weeknights at 5:00, 6:00 and 11:00 p.m.||chief meteorologist; AMS seal of approval|
|Bill Evans||weekday mornings (4:30-7:00 a.m.) and weekdays at noon||senior meteorologist; AMS seal of approval|
|Amy Freeze||weekend mornings (6:00-8:00 and 9:00-10:00 a.m.)||meteorologist; AMS CBM and NWA seals of approval|
|Jeff Smith||weekends at 6:00 and 11:00 p.m.||meteorologist; AMS CBM seal of approval|
- Sports team
- Rob Powers - sports director; weeknights at 6:00 and 11:00 p.m.
- Laura Behnke - sports anchor; weekends at 6:00 and 11:00 p.m.
- Debbie DuHaime - weekend mornings and back-up weekdays
- Joe Nolan - weekdays at 4:00 and weeknights at 5:00 p.m.
- Heather O'Rourke - weekday mornings (4:30-7:00 a.m.) and weekdays at 12:00 p.m.
- Dr. Jay Adlersberg - medical reporter
- NJ Burkett - general assignment reporter
- Lisa Colagrossi - business reporter; also fill-in anchor
- Jim Dolan - general assignment reporter
- Josh Einiger - Long Island reporter
- Dave Evans - political reporter
- Andy Field - general assignment reporter
- Tim Fleischer - Westchester County reporter
- Lauren Glassberg - general assignment reporter
- Jim Hoffer - investigative reporter
- Anthony Johnson - New Jersey reporter, fill-in sports anchor
- Sandy Kenyon - film critic and entertainment reporter
- Matt Kozar - general assignment reporter
- Carolina Leid - general assignment reporter
- Darla Miles - general assignment reporter
- Art McFarland - education reporter
- Dr. Sapna Parikh - medical reporter
- Jeff Pegues - general assignment reporter
- Nina Pineda - "7 On Your Side" consumer reporter
- Kemberly Richardson - general assignment reporter
- Stacey Sager - general assignment reporter
- Marcus Solis - Westchester County Bureau reporter
- Kristin Thorne - Long Island reporter
- Sarah Wallace - investigative reporter
- Lucy Yang - general assignment reporter
- Toni Yates - New Jersey reporter and back-up weekend morning anchor
- NewsCopter 7
- John Del Giorno - weekday morning photojournalist (4:30-7:00 a.m.)
- Ed Hughes - fill-in photojorunalist
- Dan Rice - fill-in photojournalist
- Shannon Sohn - weekdays 4:00, weeknight 5:00 and 6:00 p.m. photojournalist
- Local program hosts
Notable former on-air staff
- Roz Abrams
- Ernie Anastos (now with WNYW-TV)
- Tex Antoine (deceased)
- Eddie Aruzza
- Jerry Azar
- Steve Bartelstein
- Bill Beutel (deceased)
- Bill Bonds
- Jim Bouton
- Ann Butler
- Sam Champion (now with ABC's Good Morning America)
- Spencer Christian (now with KGO-TV)
- Bertha Coombs (now with CNBC)
- Victoria Corderi (now with NBC News)
- Howard Cosell (later with ABC Sports) (deceased)
- Penny Crone (retired)
- Jay DeDapper
- Tom Dunn (deceased)
- Storm Field (retired)
- Ira Joe Fisher
- Linda Gialanella
- Frank Gifford (later with ABC Sports) (retired)
- Carlos Granda (now with KABC-TV)
- Roger Grimsby (deceased)
- Mark Haines (later with CNBC) (deceased)
- Robb Hanrahan (now with WHP-TV)
- Steve Hartman (now with CBS News)
- Edye Hill (Tarbox) (later with Fox News Channel)
- Magee Hickey (now with WPIX)
- Carol Iovanna
- Doug Johnson (reporter) (retired)
- John Johnson (retired)
- Larry Kane (later with KYW-TV and KYW radio)
- Bob Lape (now with WCBS-AM radio)
- Judy Licht
- Nancy Loo (now at WGN-TV)
- Dorothy Lucey (now with KTTV)
- Felipe Luciano
- Joan Lunden (later with Good Morning America)
- Sal Marchiano (retired)
- John Marler
- Corey McPherrin (now with WFLD-TV)
- Larry Mendte (now with WPIX)
- George Michael (later with WRC-TV; former host of The George Michael Sports Machine) (deceased)
- Mary Nissenson
- Gil Noble (deceased)
- Mike Parker (now at WBBM-TV)
- Jim Paymar
- Charles Perez
- Tappy Phillips
- Richie Powers
- Geraldo Rivera (now with Fox News Channel)
- Susan Roesgen
- Jeff Rossen (now with NBC News)
- Samantha ("Sam") Ryan (now with MLB Network)
- Rose Ann Scamardella
- John Schubeck (deceased)
- Marvell Scott
- Rosanna Scotto (now with WNYW)
- Joel Siegel (later with Good Morning America) (deceased)
- Tom Snyder (deceased)
- Lara Spencer (now with Good Morning America)
- Lee Thomas
- Spencer Tillman (now with KTRK-TV and CBS Sports)
- Melba Tolliver
- Kaity Tong (now at WPIX)
- John Bartholomew Tucker
- David Ushery (now with WNBC)
- Scott Vincent (staff announcer)
- Rolonda Watts (later with Inside Edition and talk show Rolonda)
- Joe Witte (now with WJLA-TV)
- Warner Wolf (retired)
- Jenna Wolfe (now with NBC's Today)
Live! with Kelly and Michael
||This section needs additional citations for verification. (December 2012)|
WABC-TV also produces the nationally-syndicated talk show Live with Kelly and Michael, broadcast live at 9 a.m. (Eastern time). The program originates in the same ground-floor studio at 7 Lincoln Square as Eyewitness News, thus creating a situation which forces local news updates broadcast during Good Morning America and Live to be produced from the WABC-TV newsroom, and the morning show's presence also limits the size of the Eyewitness News set.
The program's roots originated with A.M. New York, which debuted in 1970 as a local version of NBC's Today show; the program's first host was John Bartholomew Tucker who lasted until 1972, after which a succession of hosts came and went, the more successful of whom was Stanley Siegel who hosted from 1975 to 1978 (for a year beginning in 1977, the series was called The Stanley Siegel Show). After 1980, the show was retitled Good Morning New York, whose co-hosts in the last years of its run in that form included Spencer Christian, Andrea Kirby, Judy Licht, Dick Wolfsie, and longtime Eyewitness News reporter and anchor Doug Johnson. After years of a losing ratings battle against WNBC and Donahue, WABC cancelled Good Morning New York in early 1983. The current show began as the station's second attempt at a local morning show a month later, aptly titled The Morning Show (using the "Circle 7" logo in the actual text for one of the "o"s), and was originally hosted by Regis Philbin and Cyndy Garvey. In 1985, Kathie Lee Johnson (who would marry Frank Gifford a year later and become known professionally as Kathie Lee Gifford) became Philbin's co-host. Buena Vista Television (now Disney-ABC Domestic Television) began syndicating the show in 1988 as Live with Regis and Kathie Lee. Gifford left the show in 2000 and was eventually replaced by co-host Kelly Ripa. The franchise celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2008. Philbin left the show in November 2011, and the show aired for nearly a year as Live! with Kelly, with Ripa being paired with 60 guest co-hosts. In September 2012, one of the guest hosts, Michael Strahan, was announced as Ripa's permanent co-host, and the show's title was changed accordingly.
- Circle 7 logo
- List of television stations in New York (by region)
- Media in New York City
- WABC (AM) (770 kHz)
- WPLJ (95.5 MHz)
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- 7Online.com - Official Website
- WABC at the Internet Movie Database
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WABC-TV
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