WAFB

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WAFB-TV
Wafb 2008.png

WAFB-DT2 Bounce Baton Rouge.png

WBXH logo, late 2012.jpg
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
United States
City of license Baton Rouge
Branding 9 News
WBXH Channel 16 (on DT4)
Slogan Louisiana's News Channel
Channels Digital: 9 (VHF)
Virtual: 9 (PSIP)
Subchannels 9.1 CBS
9.2 Bounce TV
9.4 MyNetworkTV
Affiliations CBS
Owner Raycom Media, Inc.
(WAFB License Subsidiary, LLC)
First air date April 19, 1953; 61 years ago (1953-04-19)
Call letters' meaning derived from former sister radio station WAFB-AM and -FM
Sister station(s) WBXH-CA
Former callsigns WAFB-TV (1953-1988)
Former channel number(s) Analog:
28 (UHF, 1953-1960)
9 (VHF, 1960-2009)
Digital: 46 (UHF)
Former affiliations NBC (secondary, 1953-1955)
DuMont (secondary, 1953-1955)
ABC (secondary, 1953-1971)
The Tube (DT3)
Transmitter power 5.57 kW
Height 511 m
Facility ID 589
Transmitter coordinates 30°21′58″N 91°12′47″W / 30.36611°N 91.21306°W / 30.36611; -91.21306
Licensing authority FCC
Public license information: Profile
CDBS
Website www.wafb.com

WAFB is the CBS-affiliated television station for Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on VHF channel 9 from a transmitter southwest of Arlington. Owned by Raycom Media, WAFB is sister to Class A MyNetworkTV affiliate WBXH-CA. The two share studios on Government Street in downtown Baton Rouge. Syndicated programming on WAFB includes: Access Hollywood, Friends, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, and The Dr. Oz Show. The station is seen via satellite through DirecTV, Dish Network and AT&T U-verse and on cable Cox Communications.

History[edit]

The station began broadcasting on April 19, 1953 as the second television station in the state of Louisiana. It launched as a television counterpart to local radio stations WAFB-AM and WAFB-FM, which both signed on in 1948 and were affiliated with MBS. Louis S. Prejean and associates (Modern Broadcasting of Baton Rouge) were the first owners of the station, and they sold it to Royal Street Corporation of New Orleans in 1956. In 1957, they sold the radio stations, with the AM station changing its format to black music and the FM station going off the air until being relaunched in 1968. The sale of WAFB-TV to Royal Street Corporation made it a sister station to Louisiana's first television station, WDSU-TV. Royal Street owned the station until 1964, when it sold the station to locally-based Guaranty Corporation.[1] In 1965, the station moved its transmission tower from Zachary to south of LSU's campus, allowing viewers in a 90 mile radius to receive its signal; it was also in that year that the station started broadcasting in color.

Originally broadcasting an analog signal on UHF channel 28, WAFB moved to VHF channel 9 in 1960. WDAM-TV in Hattiesburg, Mississippi moved to channel 7 to accommodate this switch. The station has always been a CBS affiliate but carried some NBC programming until WBRZ-TV signed-on in 1955. WAFB also carried some ABC programming until WRBT (now WVLA) signed-on in 1971 and some programming from DuMont until that network folded. The station also aired Time for Beany during its early years on the air from the Paramount Television Network and was briefly affiliated with the NTA Film Network, airing programs Sheriff of Cochise, How to Marry a Millionaire, and This is Alice.

In 1988, Guaranty sold the station to Aflac. Under new ownership, the station underwent many changes. During 1988, Aflac invested $2 million in redesigning the studio, dropped the -TV suffix from its call letters and began branding itself as "Louisiana's News Channel," a slogan the station continues to use today. In addition, the new owners cancelled the station's beloved 33-year old half-hour local weekday program Storyland, then the longest-running children's program, hosted by Buckskin Bill Black and rechristened it as "Buckskin and Friends," an hour-long show that aired on Saturday mornings. It was also in 1988 that the owners petitioned CBS to air the network's daytime programs in a different order—airing syndicated programming at 10 a.m., The Price is Right at 11 a.m., and The Young and the Restless at 3 p.m. (later 4 p.m.) as a way to boost ratings as a lead-in to the noon and 5 p.m. newscasts. WAFB began broadcasting 24 hours a day on September 12, 1990.

In 1997, Aflac sold its entire broadcasting division, including WAFB, to current owner Raycom Media. In 2003, Raycom acquired former The Box affiliate WBXH, which became a sister station to WAFB when the channel became Baton Rouge's third UPN affiliate and later MyNetworkTV affiliate in 2006. It originally aired a digital signal on UHF channel 46 from a transmitter at its studios.

Digital television[edit]

Digital channels[edit]

The station's digital signal is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[2]
9.1 1080i 16:9 WAFB-DT Main WAFB programming / CBS
9.2 480i 4:3 Bounce Bounce TV
9.4 WBXH DT Digital Simulcast of WBXH-CA

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

WAFB shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 9, 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 relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 46 to VHF channel 9.[3] With the new digital channel, WAFB rebroadcasts WBXH on channel 9.4 and, before the launch of Bounce TV affiliate September 2011, weather on channel 9.2.

Programming[edit]

WAFB is one of a handful of stations that shifts the air times of various CBS programming. The Price Is Right airs at 11 a.m. instead of 10 a.m. when The Doctors can be seen and The Young and The Restless airs at 4 p.m. instead of 11 a.m. The station made this change in 1988 to give its noon and 5 p.m. newscasts a strong lead-in.[4] The station aired Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune until 1995 when the shows moved to WBRZ. Live with Regis and Kelly and The Oprah Winfrey Show was seen until the late 1990s. Oprah moved to WBRZ but since then has aired on WVLA while Regis & Kelly was the other way around. The People's Court also once aired on WAFB before going to WBRZ and later WGMB. From 2000 to 2011, the station aired Family Feud at 10 a.m., with the exception of 2002-2003 when it aired on KZUP; that show currently airs on WVLA at 11 a.m. It used to also air The Phil Donahue Show, Hard Copy The Rosie O'Donnell Show, Baywatch, Pensacola: Wings of Gold, The Montel Williams Show, Cheers, Married... with Children, Taxi, The Untouchables, The Martha Stewart Show, Relic Hunter, Friends, Soul Train, The Montel Williams Show, ER, The New Price is Right with Doug Davidson, and Sally Jesse Raphael among other syndicated fare.[5] One locally produced show that brought years of enjoyment to children was hosted by Buckskin Bill Black ("William Black") that ran from 1955 until 1990. There were several characters that were regulars on the show including "Senor Puppet" (a marionette voiced by Sid Crocker) and "Whatsyourname" (another puppet voiced by Mary Hillen).

The show had a way of educating young children while making it fun to learn. Two games many adults can remember Buckskin playing were called "Hully Gully" which helped to teach counting numbers and the "Monday Morning March". The two shows he hosted were called Storyland (for younger children during a.m. broadcasting) and The Buckskin Bill Show (for older children during the afternoons). Buckskin was also one of the first shows in the United States to have a sign-language interpreter for hearing-impaired viewers prior to closed-captioning. Through two gracious campaigns from his show, Buckskin Bill helped to start the Baton Rouge Zoo. During this campaign, he asked children to bring in their pennies to buy an elephant. The penny campaign was successful enough to purchase two. He is now involved with the East Baton Rouge Parish Public Schools Board. WAFB also airs the Sunday services from the First United Methodist Church in the city.

WAFB currently airs most of CBS network programming in High Definition (except for the tape-delayed episodes of "The Price is Right" and "The Young and the Restless") and most of its syndicated programming such as The Dr. Oz Show in HD.

News operation[edit]

WAFB newscast title card; seen nightly at 10

Its newscasts have had the second-highest ratings at 10 p.m. in any of the country's biggest television markets according to The Des Moines Register in Iowa. Nielsen Media Research ratings showed that 16.2% of all households in the Baton Rouge area watched the show. The only station to get a bigger share of the local audience was KCCI, the CBS affiliate in Des Moines, which was watched by 17.9% of area households.

Currently, WAFB is the top-rated station in the Baton Rouge viewing area and has been so since 1994. In the recent ratings period, it beat the others stations' combined weeknights at 5, 6, and 10. In total, the station's news department produces 25 hours of news programming each week. This includes two newscasts on sister station WBXH-CA (weeknights at 9, which began on January 8, 2007, and Saturday mornings). WAFB's weekday morning news is repeated on that station.

On March 3, 2008, WAFB became the first in Baton Rouge and the third in Louisiana to broadcast its local broadcasts in high definition. The WBXH broadcasts were included in the upgrade.

Despite becoming rarer among other television news stations, WAFB occasionally broadcasts an editorial that is usually delivered by the station manager.

News/station presentation[edit]

Newscast titles[edit]

  • Your Esso Reporter (1953-1960)
  • The Big News (1960-1970)
  • News Scene (1970-1974)
  • Channel 9 News (1974-1976)
  • Newsline 9 (May 1976 – 1991)[6]
  • Daybreak (late 1980s–late 1990s, morning newscast)
  • Sportsline Friday Nite (early 1990s–present, weekly show discussing high school sports)
  • WAFB News (1991–1999)[7]
  • 9 News (1999–present)

Station slogans[edit]

  • "Shows are Great on 28" (1953)[8]
  • "Tiger in the Sky" (1965–early 1970s)
  • "Dial 9: WAFB–TV" (early 1970s)
  • "Stay on Top of it All" (1976-1978)
  • "It All Shows Up on 9" (late 1970s)
  • "Bringing it Home to You" (1979-early 1980s)
  • "Your Guaranty Income Life Station" (mid 1960s–1988)
  • "Newsline 9, Always Looking Out for You" (early–1980s)
  • "At Newsline 9, When It Concerns You, It Concerns Us" (mid–1980s)
  • "Louisiana's News Channel" (1988–present)
  • "Here When You Need Us, WAFB Channel 9, Your 24 Hour News Channel" (1990–1991)
  • "Don't Forget, Family Works" (1992–1993)
  • "The Power of 9" (2006–2008)
  • "Now More than Ever, We're WAFB Channel 9" (2006–2008)
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News Music Packages[edit]

  • "On Top of It All" by Mayoham Music (mid 1970s-1979)
  • "Bringing it Home to You" by Mayoham Music (1979-198?)
  • "Santa Cruzin'" by Grover Washington, Jr. (1980)
  • "The News Image & The News Image Plus" by Tuesday Productions (1982-November 1990 (was also used for newsbreaks until the mid 1990s))
  • "WAFB mid 1980s news theme" by unknown (1984-1987)
  • "Newschannel" by Gari Communications (November 1990 – present)
  • "The X Package" by Gari Communications (2007–October 2013, for WBXH My 9 News at 9)

News staff[edit]

Current on-air staff[9][edit]

Anchors

  • Johnny Ahysen - "9 News Traffic Center" anchor; weekday mornings 9 News This Morning (5-7 a.m.)
  • Donna Britt - weeknights at 6 and 10 p.m.
  • Cheryl Mercedes - weeknights at 5 p.m.; reporter
  • Greg Meriwether - weeknights at 5 p.m. on WAFB, and The Six30 on WBXH; reporter
  • André Moreau - weeknights at 6 and 10 p.m.
  • Graham Ulkins - weekend evenings; reporter
  • Lauren Westbrook - weekday mornings 9 News This Morning (5-7 a.m.) and noon
  • Matt Williams - weekday mornings 9 News This Morning (4:30-7 a.m.)
  • Tyana Williams - weekend mornings; also weeknight reporter

WAFB Storm Team

  • Jay Grymes (AMS Seal of Approval) - chief meteorologist; weeknights at 6 and 10 p.m.
  • Steve Caparotta (AMS Seal of Approval) - meteorologist; weeknights at 5 p.m. on WAFB and The Six30 on WBXH
  • Diane Deaton - forecaster; weekday mornings 9 News This Morning and noon
  • Jeff Morrow - forecaster; weekend mornings and evenings

Sports team

  • Steve Schneider - sports director; weeknights at 6 and 10 p.m.
  • Jacques Doucet - sports anchor; weekend evenings
  • Chris Hagan - sports reporter and fill-in sports anchor

Reporters

  • Kiran Chawla - general assignment reporter
  • Kelsey Davis - general assignment reporter
  • Nick Foley - general assignment reporter
  • Andrew Nomura - general assignment reporter
  • Jim Shannon - general assignment reporter
  • Elizabeth Vowell - 'Healthline' feature reporter

Former on-air staff[edit]

Station personnel[edit]

Management

  • Lee Meredith - General Manager
  • Robert Chandler - Operations Manager
  • Monica Craig - Special Projects Manager
  • Robb Hays - News Director
  • Chris Slaughter - Assistant News Director

Producers

  • Brett Glover - Morning show 5 - 7 a.m.
  • Heather Mason - Noon and 5 p.m. newscasts
  • Josh Meeks - The Six30 on WBXH
  • Chelsa Rainey - 4:30 AM newscast
  • Michael Simoneaux - Sunday AM newscast
  • Matt Smith - Weekend Newscasts
  • Matt Stanley - 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. newscasts

Photographers

  • Derron Daquano
  • James DeGraauw
  • Leah Ellsworth
  • Robert Hollins
  • Rick Portier
  • Brandon Shackelford
  • Byron Thomas

References[edit]

External links[edit]