WALB

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WALB
Walb 2010.png

Walb dt2abc 2010.png
Albany, Georgia
City of license Albany, Georgia
Branding WALB NBC (general)
WALB News 10 (newscasts)
WALB ABC (on DT2)
Slogan Live. Local. Latebreaking.
Your ABC For South Georgia (on DT2)
Channels Digital: 10 (VHF)
Virtual: 10 (PSIP)
Subchannels 10.1 NBC
10.2 ABC
Affiliations NBC, ABC
Owner Raycom Media
(WALB License Subsidiary, LLC)
First air date April 7, 1954; 60 years ago (1954-04-07)
Call letters' meaning ALBany
Former callsigns WALB-TV (1954-2003)
Former channel number(s) Analog:
10 (VHF, 1954-2009)
Digital:
17 (UHF, 2001-2009)
Former affiliations ABC (secondary, 1954-1980)
DuMont (secondary, 1954-1955)
NBC Weather Plus (DT2, 2005-2008)
This TV (DT2, 2008-2011)
Transmitter power 22 kW
Height 297 m
Facility ID 70713
Transmitter coordinates 31°19′52″N 83°51′43″W / 31.33111°N 83.86194°W / 31.33111; -83.86194
Website walb.com

WALB is the NBC- and ABC-affiliated television station for Southwestern Georgia licensed to Albany. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on VHF channel 10 from a transmitter in Doerun along the Colquitt and Worth County line. The NBC and ABC stations can also be seen in high definition on DirecTV, Dish Network, and Mediacom, as well as standard definition on Dish Network and Mediacom. Owned by Raycom Media, WALB has studios on Stuart Avenue in Albany.

Digital television[edit]

The station's digital signal is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming
10.1 1080i 16:9 WALB-DT Main WALB programming / NBC
10.2 720p 16:9 WALB AB WALB-DT2 / ABC

WALB provides satellite and cable providers with a 1080i upconverted feed of WALB-DT2.

WALB-DT2[edit]

It was announced November 19, 2010 WALB would begin airing ABC on its second digital subchannel beginning New Year's Day 2011. The actual launch occurred April 27, 2011 at which point This TV was dropped. The addition of the network brings back ABC to an Albany-based station since WVGA was closed down. If not for the delay, WALB-DT2 would have represented the network's 240th affiliate.[1][2][3] However, NBC affiliate KSBW in Salinas, California launched its own ABC second digital subchannel on April 18 as the network's actual 240th affiliate just one week ahead of WALB-DT2. That station is the second subchannel affiliate of ABC established in the state of Georgia after WGXA-DT2 in Macon. On Saturday mornings from 2:30 until 5, WALB-DT2 airs as a weather channel known as "WALB 24/7 Weather".

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

On June 12, 2009, WALB shut-off its analog signal on channel 10 and relocated its digital signal from channel 17 back to channel 10 on the same day.

History[edit]

Early Years[edit]

The station signed-on April 7, 1954 as WALB-TV and was sister to WALB-AM 1590 as well as The Albany Herald. When the radio station's studios were built back in 1953, Stuart Avenue was a dirt road running through a pecan grove. For its first three years on-air, WALB-TV transmitted an analog signal on VHF channel 10 from a tower at its studios. As the first television outlet in Albany, it was a primary NBC affiliate with secondary relations with ABC and DuMont.

The latter network was dropped in 1955 when it shut down and ABC remained on WALB until 1980 when WVGA (now WSWG) started up in Valdosta. The station's first tower near Doerun was built in 1957. The radio station was sold in 1960 to Allen Woodall, Sr. and became known as WALG to distinguish itself from the television station. In March 1976, a fire destroyed WALB's main broadcasting facilities but did not damage its offices.

Until 1983, it was the default NBC affiliate for Tallahassee, Florida. Although WTWC-TV has been that area's affiliate since then, WALB still provides city-grade coverage to almost all of the Georgia side of the Tallahassee market and Grade B coverage to the city itself. WALB dropped the -TV suffix in 1993.

During the floods of 1994, WALB stayed on the air with non-stop 24-hour coverage to alert citizens and provide a vital link between the public and government agencies. The station operated as the flagship of the Gray Communications Corporation (now Gray Television) until Cosmos Broadcasting bought the station in 1998. This later became known as the Liberty Broadcasting Corporation. Although Gray no longer operates WALB, the company still has administrative offices in Albany today and operates WSWG in Moultrie that serves Albany as the local CBS, CW and MyNetwork stations. Its digital signal on UHF channel 17 started operating from the Doerun site in 2001, later changing to Channel 10.

WALB Today[edit]

In March 2006, the station was sold to Raycom Media after that company merged with Liberty. It violated Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules regarding station ownership because Raycom already owned Fox affiliate WFXL. As a result, the company announced the sale of that station and eleven others to Barrington Broadcasting.[4]

WALB/WFXL towers crash[edit]

On June 1, 2006, a MH-47 Chinook military chopper traveling from Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Georgia to Fort Rucker in Alabama for a training mission hit a guy wire connected to WFXL's 1,000-foot-tall (300 m) tower resulting in a crash. While the tower remained standing and intact (other than the guy wire), the station was forced to temporarily cease its over-the-air signal although broadcasts on cable were not affected. If its tower collapsed, this could have also caused the tower of WALB to topple as both were only 150 feet (45 m) apart.[5][6][7] As a result, Raycom (which at that time still operated WFXL while the sale to Barrington awaited FCC approval) acquired auxiliary transmitters and antennas for both WALB and WFXL which were installed at the tower at WALB's studios in Albany.[8]

On June 7, WFXL's tower was demolished but in doing so one of the tower's guy wires wrapped around one for WALB's tower as feared. As a result, this channel's tower collapsed in an incident shown on live television stations. Since both stations were already transmitting signals from the tower at the WALB studios, the two were still on the air at low-power. Thirteen months later, the new WALB and WFXL state of the art mega-tower was completed and began broadcasting on July 3 at 11:35 p.m.[9][10][11]

Programming[edit]

Syndicated programing on the station includes Entertainment Tonight, Inside Edition, The Doctors, and The Rachael Ray Show among others. All which are distributed by CBS Television Distribution, despite WALB is an NBC affiliated station.

News operation[edit]

WALB News open in 2012

In 2004, WALB gave its news operation a complete makeover renaming itself from NewsCenter 10 to WALB News 10. It also changed its logo as part of a graphics change. However, it kept the "little one, big zero" 10 which has been part of the logo since the late-1970s at the earliest. This is similar to sister station WIS in Columbia, South Carolina. The station also changed its music from a theme composed by Collier Concepts to "The Tower" composed by 615 Music used by many other NBC affiliates. Continuing its modernization, WALB built a new set in 2005 replacing the previous one used for at least twelve years.

The station launched NBC Weather Plus in 2005 on a new second digital subchannel. Known as "WALB 24/7 Weather", the service gave continuous forecasts for up to thirty cities around Southwestern Georgia. After NBC Weather Plus shut down in December 2008, WALB-DT2 became part of This TV. WALB's weekday morning show Today in Georgia was expanded to a full two-hours from 5 until 7 beginning September 10, 2007 coinciding with the expansion of Today to four hours. "WALB's Most Wanted" segment was launched the same year to showcase some of the area's most wanted fugitives.

With the introduction of ABC on WALB-DT2, there are simulcasts of local news from the main channel. Specifically, this includes the second hour of Good Morning Georgia, midday show at noon, as well as weeknight newscasts at 6 and 11. The area's first prime time broadcast at 7 was added on weeknights exclusive to the ABC subchannel. Weekend newscasts are simulcasted on both channels although there may be delays or pre-emptions on one due to network obligations. In addition to its main studios, WALB operates bureaus in Thomasville (on North Broad Street) and Valdosta (on North Patterson Street). The station operates its own weather radar known as "WALB 24/7 Radar" at Southwest Georgia Regional Airport.

WALB currently broadcasts 4 ½ hours of local newscasts and 3 ½ hours of national newscasts (NBC's The Today Show & NBC Nightly News) on the main channel on weekdays.[12] In addition to TV broadcasts, an audio simulcast of the 6pm weeknight newscast is aired on Clear Channel radio stations WOBB-FM and WJYS-AM.

In June 2011, News Anchors Dawn Hobby and Ben Roberts, and Executive Producer Matt Marshall received an EMMY award for Outstanding Achievement Television News Gathering Excellence for the Coastal Crisis News Special.

On August 4, 2012, WALB upgraded its newscasts to high definition. This change makes WALB the second station in HD in the Albany, GA market.

During the 6pm newscast on January 11, 2013, longtime news anchor Dawn Hobby signed off the news anchor desk to assume the position of News Director. For more than 20 years, Dawn Hobby worked as a reporter, anchor, and assistant news director for WALB. Her promotion to News Director became effective January 14, 2013. The former news director, Rick Williams, was promoted to Vice President and general manager of sister Raycom station, WLOX.[13][14]

Notable former staff[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]