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Mount Clemens-Detroit, Michigan
United States
City of license Mount Clemens, Michigan
Branding WADL-TV 38
Slogan Detroit's TV Station
Channels Digital: 39 (UHF)
Virtual: 38 (PSIP)
Subchannels 38.1 Main programming
38.2 Antenna TV
38.3 The Word Network
38.4 Titan Sports Network
Affiliations independent
Owner Kevin Adell/Adell Broadcasting Corporation
Founded September 25, 1985
First air date May 20, 1989
Call letters' meaning A D E L L Broadcasting
Sister station(s) WFDF
Former channel number(s) Analog:
38 (UHF, 1989–2009)
38.4 (2011)
Former affiliations CBS/Fox Kids (1992–2002)
FoxBox (2002–2003)
HSN Spree/America's Store*
Shop at Home*
Network One*
* – all of the above networks had been seen on the station during the 1990s and 2000s
Universal Sports (2008–2012)
Transmitter power 1000 kW
Height 170 m
Facility ID 455
Transmitter coordinates 42°33′12.2″N 82°53′14.6″W / 42.553389°N 82.887389°W / 42.553389; -82.887389
Licensing authority FCC
Public license information: Profile
Website www.wadldetroit.com

WADL, virtual channel 38 (UHF digital channel 39), is an independent television station serving Detroit, Michigan, United States that is licensed to Mount Clemens. The station is locally owned by the Adell Broadcasting Company, which is operated and owned by CEO Kevin Adell. WADL maintains studio and transmitter facilities located on Adell Drive in Clinton Township.[1]


Early history[edit]

Although Adell Broadcasting filed for an application for the channel 38 license on September 25, 1985, it took four years for WADL to begin broadcasting, signing on the air for the first time on May 20, 1989. The station was founded by Franklin Z. Adell with little to no help from his son, Kevin Adell. Its original programming blocks were filled with mostly Home Shopping Network programs, religious shows and other paid programming, classic movies and hourly blocks of the syndicated music video show Hit Video USA. In 1990, it began running several hours of syndicated programs. WADL had long been considered "The 5 Million Watt Powerhouse", because it has one of the strongest broadcast signals in the Detroit market.

In 1992, channel 38 began running CBS shows that were preempted by that network's then-affiliate WJBK-TV (channel 2). Despite its relationship with WJBK, WADL was barely competitive in the ratings at first. Most of the stronger syndicated programs had been acquired by Fox affiliate WKBD-TV (channel 50; which, for all intents and purposes, was programmed as an independent as Fox did not carry a full week's worth of programming until 1993) and fellow independent station WXON (channel 20, now WMYD). There simply was not enough programming to go around, even for a market as large as Detroit. Channel 38 faced an additional problem in the form of CBC-owned CBET (channel 9) in Windsor, which owned the Detroit market rights to other syndicated programs. It relied mostly on paid programming; the few entertainment shows seen on WADL's schedule consisted of barter programming.

In May 1994, WJBK's then-owner, New World Communications signed a groupwide deal with Fox to switch the network affiliations of twelve of the company's 14 stations to Fox (two of which New World would sell to Fox outright as it could not keep them due to ownership conflicts).[2][3] One of the stations due to switch was WJBK. CBS approached all of Detroit's major stations--WDIV-TV, WXYZ-TV, WKBD and WXON--but all of them turned CBS down. Fearing it would be left without an affiliate in Detroit, CBS began talks with WADL. As a measure of how desperate CBS was at the time, it approached WADL even though most Detroit-area viewers didn't even know the station existed. However, Franklin Adell and CBS could not come to a mutual agreement, due to what CBS called unreasonable demands on Adell's part. CBS eventually bought Detroit's other low-profile independent, WGPR-TV (channel 62), changing its calls to WWJ-TV and moved the network's programming there on December 11, 1994, months before its purchase was finalized.

On August 31, 1998, WADL began carrying children's programming from Fox Kids (later FoxBox and 4KidsTV), after picking up the rights to the block from then-UPN affiliate WKBD, which had continued to air the Fox Kids weekday and Saturday blocks even after losing its Fox affiliation to WJBK. The station also acquired several syndicated children's programs. After Fox discontinued the Fox Kids weekday block in 2002, WADL continued running the revamped Fox Box until the fall of 2003, when Fox's 4Kids TV Saturday morning block moved to then-WB affiliate WDWB (now MyNetworkTV affiliate WMYD). During this time, until October 2007, WADL was the only other station besides WKBD and WMYD to continuously air children's programming. From the program's 1999 debut until 2002, WADL also broadcast the NBC daytime soap opera Passions, which NBC affiliate WDIV (channel 4) originally declined to broadcast, before adding the serial to its schedule in the fall of 2002.


In September 2007, WADL began to cement its standing as a major player among the Detroit market's television stations with the acquisition of popular syndicated shows, including older series such as The Nanny, Mad About You, The Jeffersons and Good Times; the station also kept many religious programs and a few infomercials as well, and eliminated the remaining animated shows. Over the years, WADL began positioning itself as being a voice of Detroit's urban community, with local programs including a weekly feature with the Mayor of Detroit and former player for the Detroit Pistons, Dave Bing.

In the fall of 2007, WADL was relaunched as "Detroit's Urban Station" in order to appeal to the African-American community and acquired syndicated programs such as The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, American Chopper, Reno 911, The Montel Williams Show, In the Heat of the Night, Chappelle's Show, A Different World, Magnum P.I. and Sanford and Son.[4] In 2009, the station added classic television series such as The Brady Bunch, I Love Lucy, Happy Days, M*A*S*H, The Jeffersons and Laverne and Shirley to its schedule. By this time, WADL began running a mix of both recent and older syndicated programs. WADL also increased its local public affairs programming with shows such as Real Talk (hosted by political activist Rev. Horace Sheffield)).WADL has further cemented its presence in the community broadcasting political debates with all candidates and inviting the community to attend.

On June 18, 2014, WADL named broadcasting veteran David Bangura as its new president; Bangura had formerly held a similar position at WMYD, which was recently sold to the E.W. Scripps Company, owners of WXYZ-TV.[5][6]

Digital television[edit]

Digital channels[edit]

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[7]
38.1 1080i 16:9 WADL-DT Main WADL programming
38.2 480i 4:3 Antenna TV[8]
38.3 The Word Network
38.4 Titan Sports Network

WADL began carrying Antenna TV on its second digital subchannel, replacing Universal Sports on October 1, 2011 (Universal Sports subsequently moved to a temporary digital subchannel 38.4 until its discontinuation as a broadcast service and conversion to cable and satellite-only distribution on January 1, 2012)[9]

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

WADL shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 38, on June 12, 2009, the official date in which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 39.[10] Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 38.


Syndicated programs carried on WADL include Seinfeld, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Everybody Loves Raymond, The Cleveland Show, and South Park, among others. WADL continues to carry religious programming weekdays from 7-7:30 a.m. and early mornings on Sunday.

On June 24, 2013, WADL televised game six of the Stanley Cup Finals in order to allow Detroit's NBC station, WDIV-TV, to televise the local annual Target Fireworks show.[11] Through 2014 NBC established a relationship with WADL that provided airing programming that local TV station WDIV could not carry. This was an opportunity for WADL to run prime time first run NBC programming such as Grimm, The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Growing Up Fisher, Kathie Lee and Hoda, The Michael J. Fox Show and Revolution.


In 1992, WADL began airing a same-night rebroadcast of WJBK's 6 p.m. newscast, typically airing in primetime at 8 p.m.; this continued until that station switched from CBS to Fox in December 1994.

On January 5, 2012, WADL announced that it would debut half-hour newscasts at noon and 9 p.m. on weekdays, which were produced by the Journal Register Company (owners of the Macomb Daily, Oakland Press and Southgate News-Herald),[12] in association with the Independent News Network. The station canceled the noon and 9 p.m. newscasts after only four months on May 23, 2012, filling the time slots with syndicated programming. In June 2012, WADL began producing daily five-minute local news updates airing four times each day during the evening hours.

Out-of-market cable coverage[edit]

WADL is not currently available on Cogeco Cable in Windsor, Ontario, though the cable provider has expressed interest in adding the station to its digital tier, pending approval by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.[citation needed] WADL and its The Word Network digital subchannel are carried on GosfieldTel in Essex County, Ontario, as well as Cogeco Cable systems in some rural areas of Southwestern Ontario, primarily in areas formerly served by other cable providers that were purchased by Cogeco around 2000.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Contact Us." WADL. Retrieved on December 8, 2012. "© 2012 WADL Detroit ~ 35000 Adell Drive Clinton Township, MI 48035"
  2. ^ Carter, Bill (May 24, 1994). "FOX WILL SIGN UP 12 NEW STATIONS; TAKES 8 FROM CBS". The New York Times. Retrieved October 22, 2012. 
  3. ^ Lowry, Brian (July 18, 1996). "New World Vision : Murdoch's News Corp. to Buy Broadcast Group". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 22, 2012. 
  4. ^ "‘Detroit’s Urban Station’ to Debut Chopper, Cribs". Broadcasting and Cable. July 16, 2008. 
  5. ^ Scripps Buying Granite TVs in Buffalo, Detroit, TVNewsCheck, Retrieved 10 February 2014
  6. ^ "WADL Detroit Names David Bangura GM". TVNewsCheck. Retrieved 18 June 2014. 
  7. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WADL
  8. ^ Antenna TV Affiliates
  9. ^ WADL Detroit To Launch Antenna TV, TVNewsCheck, August 29, 2011.
  10. ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24. 
  11. ^ http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130618/SPORTS0103/306180080/1128/sports0103/Channel-4-picks-fireworks-over-Game-6-Stanley-Cup-Finals
  12. ^ http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20120105/FREE/120109961/wadl-channel-38-to-start-9-p-m-newscast

External links[edit]