|Branding||Fox 30 (general)
Action News (newscasts)
My TV Jax (on DT2)
|Slogan||So Fox 30 (general)
Your Questions Answered (newscasts)
|Channels||Digital: 32 (UHF)
Virtual: 30 (PSIP)
30.2 MyNetworkTV (primary)
|Owner||Cox Media Group
(Cox Television Jacksonville, LLC)
|First air date||February 15, 1981|
|Call letters' meaning||sequentially assigned
by the FCC
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
30 (UHF, 1981-2009)
|Former affiliations||Independent (1981-1986)
UPN (secondary, 2002-2006)
MyNetworkTV (secondary, on main feed, 2006-2007)
VTV (secondary, on DT2, 2007-2009)
|Transmitter power||1,000 kW|
|Public license information:||Profile
WAWS is the Fox-affiliated television station for Florida's First Coast that is licensed to Jacksonville. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 32 (virtual channel 30.1 via PSIP) from a transmitter on Hogan Road in the city's Southside section. The station can also be seen on Comcast channel 10 and in high definition on digital channel 434. Owned by Cox Media Group, WAWS operates CBS affiliate WTEV-TV (owned by Bayshore Television, LLC) through a shared services agreement. The two outlets share studios on Central Parkway in Jacksonville's Southside section. Syndicated programming on this station includes Modern Family, How I Met Your Mother, Friends, Seinfeld, American Dad, Futurama, The Cleveland Show, King of the Hill, Family Feud, Two and a Half Men, and The Doctors. It also broadcasts programming that airs on its affiliate, Fox, which includes Family Guy, and The Simpsons.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP short name||Programming|
|30.1||720p||16:9||WAWS-DT||Main WAWS programming / Fox|
|30.2||WAWS-MY||WAWS-DT2 / Me-TV / MyNetworkTV|
The station signed-on February 15, 1981 as Jacksonville's first Independent outlet. Airing an analog signal on UHF channel 30, it used the call sign WAWS-TV which were sequentially assigned by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The station's original owner was Malrite Television and it had a general entertainment format of cartoons, movies, sitcoms, and drama shows. The call letters were modified by dropping the use of the -TV suffix on October 8, 1981. On October 9, 1986, WAWS became a charter affiliate of Fox.
In 1989, Malrite sold the station to Clear Channel Communications, a fast-growing broadcasting conglomerate based in San Antonio, Texas. That company had earlier purchased the first Independent station in the nearby Pensacola/Mobile, Alabama market, WPMI-TV (now an NBC affiliate) and was Clear Channel's first television station. As was the trend for many Fox affiliates throughout the mid to late-1990s, WAWS began moving toward talk and reality shows and away from classic sitcoms. In 1993, Clear Channel began managing rival station WNFT (now WTEV-TV) through a local marketing agreement (LMA) in which the two outlets pooled programming and resources while running the strongest shows on WAWS. WNFT became a UPN affiliate at the network's launch on January 16, 1995 and Clear Channel bought the station outright in 2001.
In 2002, WJXT (the longtime CBS affiliate in Jacksonville) decided to end its long relationship with the network after a squabble between CBS and WJXT's owners, Post-Newsweek Stations, over an affiliation contract. WTEV quickly dropped its UPN affiliation so it could become the new CBS affiliate, the end result being two media companies controlling each of Jacksonville's Big Four network affiliates (Gannett owns both ABC affiliate WJXX and NBC affiliate WTLV), as well as making Jacksonville one of the only television markets in the United States with all six major broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, and at the time, UPN and The WB) having affiliations with only five stations in a six station-market (which remains true in the present day with UPN and WB successors The CW and MyNetworkTV). WAWS then added UPN in a secondary nature running the network's two-hour prime time programming on a delayed basis from 11 at night until 1 the next morning.
On January 24, 2006, The WB and UPN announced the two networks would end broadcasting and merge. The new combined service would be called The CW. The letters would represent the first initial of corporate parents "C"BS (the parent company of UPN) and the Warner Bros. unit of Time "W"arner. On February 22, News Corporation announced it would start up another new network called MyNetworkTV. This new service, which would be a sister network to Fox, would be operated by Fox Television Stations and its syndication division Twentieth Television. MyNetworkTV was created in order to give UPN and WB stations, not mentioned as becoming CW affiliates, another option besides becoming independent stations. It was also created to compete against The CW. In March, it was announced WB affiliate WJWB would become The CW affiliate for Jacksonville and change its call letters to WCWJ. On July 12, it was confirmed WAWS would carry MyNetworkTV on a new second digital subchannel instead of as a secondary affiliation.
However until January 2007 when the new second digital subchannel was actually launched, WAWS's website listed MyNetworkTV programming as airing at 11 p.m. after the WTEV-produced newscast at 10. With the sign-on of WAWS-DT2, MyNetworkTV began airing at its regular time (8 to 10 p.m.) on a dedicated channel known on-air as "VTV". During the daytime, this also aired programming from the now defunct Variety Television Network. On April 20, 2007, Clear Channel entered into an agreement to sell its entire television stations group to Newport Television, a broadcaster controlled by Providence Equity Partners.  Since WTEV was also included in the deal this would have violated FCC rules preventing common ownership of two of the four largest stations in a single market. As a result, the FCC granted Newport Television a temporary waiver for the acquisition of WAWS and WTEV providing Newport sold-off either station within six months of consummation. The group deal closed on March 14, 2008 and the company originally planned to sell-off WAWS to another company while keeping WTEV.
In mid-May 2008, High Plains Broadcasting agreed to purchase the FCC assets of WTEV and six other stations from Newport Television due to ownership conflicts in the affected markets (including Jacksonville).  But since this latest group deal was a sale in name only, Newport continues to operate the stations (and thus WTEV effectively remains a sister outlet to WAWS) after the sale closed on September 15. It effectively made High Plains Broadcasting a front company or "shell corporation" for Newport Television similar to the relationship existing between Mission Broadcasting and the Nexstar Broadcasting Group as well as the Sinclair Broadcast Group and Cunningham Broadcasting. This arrangement also placed WAWS in the unusual position of being the senior partner as a Fox-affiliated station in a virtual duopoly with a CBS affiliate (most virtual or legal duopolies involving a Fox affiliate and a Big Three-affiliated station result in the Fox affiliate serving as the junior partner). WAWS is the only Jacksonville television station that has never changed its primary network affiliation.
On July 19, 2012, Newport Television announced the sale of WAWS and WTEV-TV (along with Tulsa sister duopoly of KOKI-TV and KMYT-TV) to Cox Media Group. The sale to Cox Media would place WAWS and WTEV under common ownership with Cox's radio station cluster in Jacksonville (WOKV-AM/FM, WFYV-FM, WJGL, WXXJ and WAPE-FM). Due to the very same duopoly rule that forced the license of one of the stations to be transferred to a separate licensee back in 2008, Cox will acquire WAWS outright and transfer the license for WTEV to Bayshore Television, LLC who will then enter into a management agreement with Cox. The FCC approved the transaction on October 24, and it was finalized on December 3.
WAWS's original venture into local newscasts was in the early-1990s through a news share agreement with then-ABC affiliate WJKS (at the time owned by Media General). That station produced a nightly prime time broadcast at 10 known as Fox 30 First Coast News (not related to the current shared First Coast News operation seen on WTLV and WJXX). After WJKS shut down its news department on December 29, 1996, the WAWS shows were dropped. The station established its own in-house news department one day later on December 30, 1996 and began airing nightly 10 o'clock and weeknight 11 o'clock shows (the latter broadcast would eventually be moved to 10:30).
Through the years, more newscasts would be added weeknights at 6:30 (on sister station WTEV in the late-1990s), weekday mornings, and weekdays at 4 (discontinued in 2007). After WTEV's switch from UPN to CBS in 2002, that station expanded local news offerings from WAWS's existing news department essentially taking over primary newscast production from this station. Initially, the station maintained certain primary personnel (such as news anchors) that would only appear on WAWS. In addition, there was separate branding, graphics packages, and news sets used to distinguish the two outlets and retain separate on-air identities. On WTEV, the 6:30 broadcast was canceled (it had been off-the-air for a couple of weeks before the affiliation switch) and replaced by a full slate of weekday morning (effectively "moved" over from WAWS), weekday noon, and weeknight newscasts as well as weekend broadcasts.
The stations hired Mark Spain (previously news anchor of First Coast News at 7 on WJXX) and he debuted as a news anchor for Fox 30 News at 10 on August 27, 2007. Ironically, the station also hired First Coast News weekday morning traffic reporter Michelle Jacobs just weeks earlier (she would eventually return to WTLV and WJXX in October 2008). Shortly after she left, WAWS hired Julie Watkins (who previously worked at First Coast News before moving on to WFTV in Orlando) as a weekend meteorologist.
On April 13, 2009, WAWS and WTEV completely revamped the two separate news departments. The outlets merged the operations into one entity and adopted the popular Action News branding presumably to compete with the First Coast News title used on rivals WTLV and WJXX (owned by the Gannett Company). The transition to new branding also introduced entirely new sets (WAWS still featured a separate one for its nightly prime time broadcast), on-air graphics, weather department, and website. On January 31, 2010, WAWS and WTEV became the second local news operation in Jacksonville that upgraded to high definition (the first was WJXT back on January 14, 2009). This was followed on February 1 by WTLV and WJXX after that shared operation completed an HD upgrade.
At some point in time, WTEV's weekday morning show began to be simulcasted on WAWS. Corresponding with the change, Action News This Morning was expanded to a full two-hours (from 5 until 7) as seen on other big three network affiliates. A two-hour extension of the show (from 7 until 9) would eventually be added to WAWS while WTEV airs The Early Show. Following a national trend, this station debuted an extra thirty minute segment of the weekday morning show at 4:30. This portion (known as Action News Early Morning) is not simulcasted on WTEV since it offers the CBS Morning News in the time slot.
On September 19, 2010, WAWS reverted to using its own distinct on-air branding, adopting a new logo and graphics resembling those used by Fox's owned-and-operated stations at the time.
- Fox 30 First Coast News (1991–1996; WJKS-produced 10 p.m. newscast)
- Fox 30 News (1996–2009)
- Action News (2009-2010)
- Fox 30 Action News (2010–present)
- "Don't Let Fox 30 Weekends Pass You By" (1987-1988)
- "It's on Fox 30" (1990-1991)
- "Jacksonville's Only Primetime News" (1991–1996; news slogan)
- "Just One First Coast...Just One Fox...Fox 30"(1999-2000)
- "Straight to the Point" (2001–2009)
- "So Fox 30"(2009-2012)
- "Coverage You Can Count On" (2009–2012 & 2013-present)
- "Your Questions Answered" (2012)
- Mike Barz - weekday mornings (5:00 - 9:00 a.m.)
- Tera Barz - weeknights at 10:00 p.m.
- Lynnsey Gardner - weekday mornings (4:30 - 9:00 a.m.)
- Dawn Lopez - weekday mornings (4:30 - 7:00 a.m.); also "Jacksonville's Children" segment producer
- Mark Spain - weeknights at 10:00 p.m.; also "Kid Care Report" segment producer
- Jamie Smith - Weekends at 10:00 p.m.
First Alert Weather
- Mike Buresh (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval) - weeknights at 10:00 p.m.
- Tom Johnston (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval) - weekday mornings (4:30 - 9:00 a.m.)
- Julie Watkins (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval) - weekends at 10:00 p.m.; also "Going Green" segment producer
- Arielle Nixon - meteorologist; Fill in various shifts
Sports team (also seen on Action Sports 360)
First Alert Traffic (utilizing staff from Total Traffic)
- Derrick Odom - weekday morning traffic reporter (4:30 - 9:00 a.m.)
- Leslie Coursey - general assignment reporter
- Deanna Bettineschi - general assignment reporter
- Brittany Jones - general assignment reporter
- Alyana Gomez - general assignment reporter
- Sam King - general assignment reporterer
- Catherine Varnum - general assignment reporter
- Amanda Warford - general assignment reporter
- Justin Gray - Washington D.C. Correspondent
- Kyla Campbell - Washington D.C. Correspondent
- Jacqueline Fell - Washington D.C. Correspondent
- Stations confirm changes, The Florida Times-Union, May 10, 2002.
- "Clear Channel Agrees to Sell Television Station Group to Providence Equity Partners". Clear Channel Communications. Retrieved 2007-11-21.
- "Newport stations drift to High Plains". Television Business Report. 2008-05-21. Retrieved 2008-09-28.
- "Application Search Details". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved 2008-09-28.
- Newport Sells 22 Stations For $1 Billion, TVNewsCheck, July 19, 2012.
- Action News Team
- Fox30Jax.com - Official WAWS-TV Website
- MyTVJax.com - Official MyTVJax Website
- MeTVJacksonville.com - Official Me-TV Jacksonville Website
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WAWS