|Kannapolis/Charlotte, North Carolina
|City of license||Kannapolis, North Carolina|
Eyewitness News on TV64 (newscasts)
|Channels||Digital: 50 (UHF)
Virtual: 64 (PSIP)
|Translators||36 WAXNTV1 China Grove
42 W42DR-D Marion
30 WSOCTV1, Shelby
46 WSOCTV2, Statesville
|Owner||Cox Media Group
(WSOC Television, Inc.)
|First air date||October 15, 1994|
|Call letters' meaning||AXN = "action" (from former on-air name "Action 64"; not to be confused with the unrelated Sony-owned television channel AXN)|
|Former callsigns||WKAY (1994–1996)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
64 (UHF, 1994–2009)
Pax TV (1998–2000)
|Transmitter power||150 kW (directional)|
|Public license information:||Profile
WAXN-TV, virtual channel 64 (UHF digital channel 50), is an independent television station serving Charlotte, North Carolina, United States that is licensed to Kannapolis. The station is owned by the Cox Media Group subsidiary of Cox Enterprises, as part of a duopoly with ABC affiliate WSOC-TV (channel 9). The two stations share studio facilities located on North Tryon Street (U.S. 29/NC 49) north of Downtown Charlotte; WAXN's transmitter is located near Reedy Creek Park in the Newell section of Charlotte. Syndicated programs broadcast on WAXN-TV include The Wendy Williams Show, The Insider, The Middle and Cops Reloaded.
The station's programming is simulcast on fill-in digital repeaters operating on UHF channel 36 (virtual channel 64.7 in HD) in China Grove, channel 30 (virtual channel 64.5) from Crowder's Mountain, W42DR-D (UHF channel 42, virtual channel 6.2) in Marion (from a transmitter southwest of Connelly Springs), and in Statesville on channel 46 (virtual channel 64.9) from Cool Springs.
The station first signed on the air on October 15, 1994 as WKAY-TV. It was originally owned by Kannapolis Television Company, a subsidiary of Truth Temple in Kannapolis. It had originally received a construction permit as WDZH, but changed the call letters to WKAY on November 15, 1989. The pastor of Truth Temple, Garland Faw, named the station WKAY after his wife Kay. The station aired a mix of religious programming, older movies, and barter syndicated programs. Kannapolis Television entered into a joint sales agreement (JSA) with WSOC-TV owner Cox Enterprises, and formally changed the call letters to WAXN-TV in August 1996.
Under the agreement, channel 9 took over channel 64's operations and re-branded the station as "Action 64" – the "Action" branding had also been used at the time on Cox's two other independent stations, KICU-TV in San Jose and WRDQ in Orlando. Cox invested over $3 million toward relaunching the station and making other improvements. The station underwent a significant technical overhaul, boosting its transmitting power to a level comparable with other Charlotte area stations. Previously, it could only be seen on cable television in most of the market, as its over-the-air analog signal barely made it out of Cabarrus County.
WSOC-TV owned the rights to a large amount of syndicated programming, but due to increased local news commitments it no longer had enough time in its broadcast day to air it all. It placed much of this programming on WAXN, giving channel 64 a much stronger schedule. One of these shows was The Andy Griffith Show, which had aired on channel 9 for many years. From 2001 to 2012, WAXN had also been the Charlotte home of the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon, which had aired on WSOC-TV since 1974; WAXN's rights to the telethon ended with the 2012 edition, as the Muscular Dystrophy Association decided to move the telethon from syndication to ABC beginning with the 2013 broadcast, effectively bringing the program back to WSOC locally.
From 1998 to 2000, WAXN aired many programs from Pax TV (now Ion Television), although the station was never formally affiliated with the network. Charlotte is the largest market in the United States that has not had an owned-and-operated station or affiliate of Pax/i/Ion. WAXN later began airing repeated episodes of Dr. Phil and The Oprah Winfrey Show that were seen earlier in the day on WSOC in primetime.
On August 5, 1999, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reversed its long standing regulations against duopoly ownerships in the same television market. As stipulated in the original joint sales agreement, Cox was now able to acquire the station outright, doing so for the purchase price of $3 million. The sale was officially approved by the FCC in 2000. In 2007, WAXN dropped the "Action" moniker and rebranded as "TV64".
WAXN had been Charlotte’s home to Southeastern Conference football and basketball games from Jefferson-Pilot/Raycom Sports from the SEC’s addition of the University of South Carolina in 1991 until 2009, and SEC games syndicated through ESPN Plus-oriented SEC TV from 2009 to the end of the 2013-14 basketball season. This would end in 2014 due to all those games being moved to the new SEC Network that is to launch in August 2014 due to a new contract between the Southeastern Conference and ESPN to launch that new network. 
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|64.1||720p||16:9||WAXN-TV||Main WAXN-TV programming|
On February 14, 2014, WAXN-TV began testing of a new second digital subchannel, which initially displayed color bars. On April 1, 2014, at 4:00 a.m., WAXN began carrying programming from GetTV on the subchannel. WAXN-TV began airing Escape TV at 12 noon on August 18, 2014.
WAXN-TV shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 64, on February 17, 2009, the original date in which full-power television stations in the United States were to transition from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 50. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 64, which was among the high band UHF channels (52-69) that were removed from broadcasting use as a result of the transition.
On May 10, 2009, WAXN increased the effective radiated power of its digital transmitter from 50 to 91 kilowatts, with the addition of a larger transmitter. On July 13, 2011, WAXN saw a further power increase to 150 kW, with the installation of a new directional antenna designed to protect from interfering with the signal of WFMY-TV in Greensboro.
Out-of-market cable coverage
In recent years, WAXN has been carried on cable in multiple areas outside of several areas outside of the Charlotte television market, including cable systems within the Greensboro-Winston-Salem-High Point market in North Carolina and the Tri-Cities market in Tennessee.
WSOC-TV produces 17 hours of locally produced newscasts each week for WAXN-TV (with three hours on weekdays and a half-hour each on Saturdays and Sundays). Although WSOC had operated WAXN since the station's inception, it did not produce a newscast for channel 64 until 1999, when it began producing a nightly 10:00 p.m. newscast. The program launched shortly after WSOC ended a news share agreement with then-Fox affiliate WCCB (channel 18), not long after that station announced plans to take over production responsibilities of its 10:00 p.m. newscast through the formation of its own news department (the second in that station's history). The primetime newscast on WAXN currently places first in the 10 o'clock timeslot, beating rival news programs airing on CW affiliate WCCB and Fox owned-and-operated station WJZY (channel 46), which are both produced respectively by those stations. The strong lead-ins from rebroadcasts of Dr. Phil and The Dr. Oz Show have been cited as a contributing factor for the program's success.
In October 2008, WAXN began broadcasting the 10:00 p.m. newscast in high definition, becoming the first primetime news broadcast in the Charlotte market to be televised in HD; WSOC had been producing its own newscasts in HD since it upgraded to the format on April 22, 2007, however the primetime newscast on WAXN was downconverted to standard definition in the stations' shared master control facility for the next year-and-a-half. In September 2010, WAXN added a two-hour long extension of WSOC's weekday morning newscast, running from 7:00 to 9:00 a.m. On December 2, 2013, WSOC expanded the weeknight edition of the WAXN 10:00 p.m. newscast to one hour, citing the program's high ratings and viewership increases as the reason for the expansion.
- "Call Sign History". Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved 2007-01-31.
- Spanberg, Erik (2000-05-05). "The little (TV) station that could". The Charlotte Business Journal (American City Business Journals). Retrieved 2007-01-31.
- Spanberg, Erik (1997-12-19). "Patient Cox money will let WAXN keep up fight". The Charlotte Business Journal (American City Business Journals). Retrieved 2007-01-31.
- ‘MDA’ Telethon Heads to Primetime on ABC, Variety, June 17, 2013.
- "FCC Revises Local Television Ownership Rules" (Press release). Federal Communications Commission. 1999-08-05. Retrieved 2007-01-31.
- "Television Application For Assignment Of License Granted". Federal Communications Commission. 2000-01-31. Retrieved 2007-01-31.
- RabbitEars TV Query for WAXN
- GetTV Diginet Expanding Into 4 New Markets, TVNewsCheck, April 1, 2014.
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24.
- Charlotte, NC - OTA - Page 119
- SkyBest TV channel lineup
- Eyewitness News Expands To Mornings On TV64, WSOC-TV, June 7, 2010.
- Eyewitness News at 10:00 p.m. on WAXN-TV 64 expanding to 1-hour WSOC.com, November 21, 2013.
- www.wsoctv.com/tv64 - WAXN-TV official website
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WAXN-TV
- Query the FCC's TV station database for W42DR-D