||This article needs additional citations for verification. (December 2012)|
|Branding||Fox 5 Atlanta (general)
Fox 5 News (newscasts)
|Slogan||Dedicated, Determined, Dependable; The Most Powerful Name in Local News (news)
So Fox 5 (general)
|Channels||Digital: 27 (UHF)
Virtual: 5 (PSIP)
|Owner||Fox Television Stations
(New World Communications of Atlanta, Inc.)
|First air date||March 8, 1949|
|Call letters' meaning||Atlanta, GeorgiA|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
5 VHF, 1949-2009)
|Transmitter power||1000 kW (digital)|
|Height||332 m (1,089 ft) (digital)|
|Public license information:||Profile
WAGA-TV, virtual channel 5.1 (RF digital channel 27) is a Fox owned-and-operated television station located in Atlanta, Georgia, United States. The station is owned by the Fox Television Stations subsidiary of News Corporation. Its studios and transmitter are co-located together on Briarcliff Road in unincorporated Druid Hills in DeKalb County near Emory University, immediately northeast of the Atlanta city limits.
As a CBS affiliate
WAGA-TV first began operations on March 8, 1949. It was originally owned by Storer Broadcasting along with WAGA radio (AM 590, now WDWD; and WAGA-FM 102.9, now WVEE at 103.3), all colloquially called "Wagga". It is Atlanta's second-oldest television station, signing on seven months after WSB-TV (channel 2). Originally a CBS affiliate, channel 5 also carried a secondary affiliation with the DuMont Television Network from 1949 to 1956. It also shared the ABC affiliation with WSB-TV until WLWA-TV (channel 11, now WXIA-TV) signed on in 1951. During the late 1950s, the station was also briefly affiliated with the NTA Film Network.
WAGA was the only VHF commercial station in Atlanta that was on the same channel from its launch, with WSB and WXIA both having started on channel 8. That allocation was later occupied by WGTV, with the mentioned stations using channels 2 and 11 respectively later on. Storer sold the WAGA radio stations in 1959; however, channel 5 retained the "-TV" suffix for almost four decades longer until Fox dropped it in 1998 (only to restore the suffix in 2009).
WAGA-TV originally broadcast from studios and transmission facilities located at 1018 West Peachtree Street NW. This building would later became home to pioneering superstation and leading Atlanta independent station WTBS (channel 17, now WPCH-TV). Sometime in the mid-1960s, channel 5 moved to its current facilities on Briarcliff Road. The studio resembles an antebellum Southern mansion, a type of architecture that was typical for Storer's broadcasting facilities. While this design was somewhat out of place in most of Storer's other markets, it was a perfect fit for Atlanta.
WAGA's original trasnmitter tower was later the site of a different tower for WPCH-TV's analog channel 17 signal, and a backup for WWWQ (99.7 FM). Because Storer Cable became part of Comcast, the tower (owned by competing cable television provider Time Warner, along with WPCH) was to be removed by October 2009, ending the land lease.
In 1985, WAGA, along with the other Storer stations, was sold in a group deal to Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., a New York-based private equity firm. Two years later, KKR sold the Storer stations to Gillett Communications. After bankruptcy, Gillett restructured in the early 1990s, selling several stations, and changing its name to SCI. The station's studios were used on location in the Matlock episode, "The Reporter", broadcast in 1987. In 1992, SCI filed for bankruptcy and put its stations on the market. In 1993, New World Communications acquired the SCI stations, including WAGA, with the purchase becoming final on May 25. At the time, New World happened to be based in Atlanta; because of this, WAGA became New World's flagship station.
As a Fox station
In 1994, New World announced an affiliation agreement with Fox; as part of that agreement, Fox's parent company News Corporation acquired a 20% ownership stake in New World. This deal resulted in most of New World's stations, including WAGA, switching to Fox beginning in September 1994. However, as in most New World markets, Fox Kids children's programming stayed on former Fox O&O WATL-TV (channel 36), because WAGA was interested in airing more local news programming. All but one station would retain its existing syndicated programming lineup. The lone exception was WGNX (channel 46, now WGCL-TV), which became the new CBS affiliate despite turning it down at first, and sold many of its syndicated shows over to WVEU (channel 69, now WUPA), which became a charter affiliate of UPN in January 1995 (eventually becoming an owned-and-operated station of that network). In the meantime, WATL would become independent until it became a charter affiliate of The WB in 1995. At that time, Fox finalized the sale of WATL to Qwest Broadcasting (which was controlled by musician Quincy Jones), which merged with The WB's part-owner, the Tribune Company in 2000 (WATL is now owned by the Gannett Company as part of a duopoly with WXIA-TV).
The affiliation switch occurred on December 11, 1994, ending WAGA's 45-year stint as a CBS affiliate. It was originally scheduled for November 27, but was pushed back two weeks while negotiations between New World Communications, Fox and CBS were ongoing. Before the switch, WAGA was the longest-tenured CBS affiliate south of Washington, D.C.; an honor now held by Charlotte, North Carolina's WBTV.
With the affiliation switch, WAGA poured more resources into its news department. It added local newscasts in morning and early evening timeslots, along with the move of the 11 p.m. newscast to 10 p.m., and the station also ran first-run syndicated talk/reality shows, game shows and movies. It did not run any children's programming except for some educational shows on weekends. Also, with the affiliation switch, WAGA remained the home station for the Atlanta Falcons; a year before the affiliation changeover, Fox had then-recently won the television rights to the National Football Conference of the NFL – a major reason why it sought an affiliation deal with New World. Since the Falcons play in the NFC, channel 5 had carried most Falcons games since the team's inception. In 2005, WAGA and the Falcons celebrated 40 years together.
Early in 1997, New World merged with Fox. Upon becoming a Fox-owned station (the second in Atlanta), the station rebranded itself as "Fox 5 Atlanta", per the network's branding guidelines. However, as with the other former New World stations that are still owned by Fox, the New World name lives on as channel 5's licensee.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|5.1||720p||16:9||WAGA-HD||Main WAGA-TV programming / Fox|
Channel 5.2 originally was for the benefit of smaller cable providers which were taking the fullscreen SD signal straight from the air, and did not want problems due to the widescreen or scan conversion on 5.1; this lasted until the end of April 2009. The channel then stayed blank with no electronic program guide data for several weeks until late June, when it again had identical programming, but this time in widescreen. The 704×480i anamorphic format is unusual, as most standard definition digital channels use a fullscreen 640×480i format (by comparison, widescreen NTSC DVDs use 720×480p). Channel 5.2 again went blank in late July, but continued to have the same program data as 5.1, until it was deleted entirely on December 3.
WAGA shut down its analog signal, on June 12, 2009, as part of the digital television transition. The station remained on its pre-transition channel 27, using PSIP to display WAGA's virtual channel as 5. The station's first chief broadcast engineer from 1949, Paul Cram (99 years of age at the time; now deceased), was given the duty of permanently turning off the analog transmitter live on the air at 12:30 p.m. on June 12. WSB-TV, WXIA-TV, and WATL also went off the air at the same time, with WSB and WXIA also live in their transmitter rooms like WAGA.
Out-of-market cable carriage
WAGA is carried in parts of Cherokee and Macon counties of western North Carolina, both bordering Georgia. Cherokee is part of the Chattanooga media market of southeast Tennessee and northwest Georgia, while Macon is part of the Asheville/Greenville/Spartanburg DMA of the western Carolinas and northeast Georgia. Although clearly outside of the must-carry obligations that apply within the Atlanta DMA, both counties are popular with visitors and summer-home residents from the Atlanta area. WSB-TV 2.1 is also carried in those counties.
|This section requires expansion with: further information on WAGA's news department history. (August 2010)|
WAGA presently broadcasts 55 hours of locally produced newscasts each week (ten hours on weekdays, four hours on Saturdays and 3½ hours on Sundays), this gives the station the largest local news output of any television station in the Atlanta market and the state of Georgia in general. As is standard with Fox stations that carry early evening weekend newscasts, WAGA's Saturday and Sunday 6 p.m. newscasts are subject to delay due to network sports coverage. WAGA also provides news reports and weather forecasts for news radio station WYAY (106.7 FM), through a partnership between WAGA and WYAY's owner Cumulus Media struck in May 2012.
For many years as a CBS affiliate, the station called its newscasts 5 News Scene. In the 1980s, this changed to Eyewitness News. In 1992, WAGA dropped CBS This Morning in favor of a locally produced morning show called Good Day Atlanta. With the 1994 affiliation switch to Fox, WAGA poured more resources into its news department. Channel 5's news department was already very well respected; for most of its history it was a solid runner-up to longtime leader WSB-TV, but from the 1970s until early 2009 had to fend off a spirited challenge from WXIA-TV. As of mid-2009, with plummeting ratings at WXIA, WAGA-TV has returned to a solid second-place position in the Atlanta news ratings. After affiliating with Fox, channel 5 increased its news output to 40 hours a week.
On January 14, 2008, WAGA debuted a new 11 p.m. newscast called Fox 5 News Edge, returning a newscast to that timeslot since the station was still affiliated with CBS. On March 16, 2009, WAGA became the last major network station in the market (behind WGCL, WSB, and WXIA) to begin broadcasting its locally produced newscasts in high definition.
On September 14, 2009, WAGA expanded its weekday morning newscast to five hours from 5-10 a.m., with the addition of an hour-long 9 a.m. extension of the program called Good Day Xtra. On April 1, 2010, WAGA expanded its morning news by an extra half-hour, with the start time moved a half-hour earlier to 4:30 a.m., becoming the first Atlanta station to expand its morning newscast into that slot; the extension was made in order to attract those who wake up go to work earlier than most; the additional half-hour competes against national early morning newscasts airing on WXIA, WGCL and WSB. As of September 2010, WAGA dropped the Fox 5 Morning News and Good Day Xtra titles, in favor of using the Good Day Atlanta branding throughout the morning newscast.
- The World On Flight (1949–1953)
- The Texaco Newscast (1953–1963)
- Panorama News (1960–1969)
- The BIG News with Jim Axel (1963–1965)
- Marlboro News Report (1963–1967)
- TV-5 News (1967–1969)
- 5 News Scene (1969–1981)
- TV-5/Channel 5 Eyewitness News (1981–1997)
- Good Day Atlanta (morning newscast; 1992–present)
- Eyewitness News Primetime (10 p.m. newscast; 1994–1999)
- Fox 5 Eyewitness News (1997–1998)
- Fox 5 News (1998–present)
- "5 Belongs" (mid-1970s–1980)
- "The News Specialists" (1982–1986)
- "Good News, Atlanta!" (1986–1988; used during period station used Frank Gari's "Good News")
- "Dedicated, Determined, Dependable" (1988–present)
- "It's All Right Here" (1993–1994; promotional slogan)
- "Just Watch" (1994–1996; promotion for the switch to Fox)
- "Don't Look, Just Watch" (1996–1999)
- "The Most Powerful Name in Local News" (2007–present)
Notable former on-air staff
- John Doyle (previously with WGCL-TV)
- Jeff Hullinger (now political reporter/anchor at WXIA)
- Sachi Koto (previously with CNN Headline News)
- Don Naylor (deceased)
- Deborah Norville (currently host of syndicated newsmagazine Inside Edition)
- Robin Roberts (currently co-host of Good Morning America on ABC)
- Dan Ronan (retired from broadcasting in 2008; now Senior Director of Communications, American Bus Association, Washington D.C.)
- Forrest Sawyer (later with ABC News and NBC News, now founder and president of Freefall Productions)
- Richard Warner (now host of Georgia's Business on Georgia Public Television)
- Judy Woodruff (now with the PBS NewsHour)
- "Require Prime Evening Time for NTA Films", Boxoffice, November 10, 1956: 13
- Fox Inc., New World Communications Group Inc. Announce Largest Affiliation Switch in Network Television History
- WAGA-TV, Channel 5 to Start Fox Programming on Sunday, December 11
- Fox Broadcasting Company Awarded NFC Broadcast Rights
- Mobile DTV Signal Map from the National Association of Broadcasters
- CDBS Print<! – Bot generated title – >
- Carter, Bill. "THE MEDIA BUSINESS; CBS's Ruptured Ties To Affiliates. New York Times 14 September 1992: 1.
- WAGA Atlanta Launching 11 p.m. News, Broadcasting & Cable, November 28, 2007.
- ‘Good Day Extra’ debuts on WAGA-TV today, Atlanta Journal Constitution, September 14, 2009.
- WAGA-TV Fox 5 starts news at 4:30 a.m., Atlanta Journal Constitution, April 5, 2010.
- WAGA TV 5 News Scene 1979
- WAGA 1989 Open
- WAGA-TV Good Day Atlanta Open/First 10 minutes 8-25-97
- WAGA (FOX) Atlanta - 10PM News Open
- WAGA TV News Specialists Promo
- MyFoxAtlanta.com - Official website
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WAGA
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WAGA-TV