|City of license||Birmingham, Alabama|
|Branding||Fox 6 (general)
Fox 6 News (newscasts)
|Slogan||On Your Side|
|Channels||Digital: 50 (UHF)
Virtual: 6 (PSIP)
6.2 Bounce TV
|Owner||Raycom Media, Inc.
(WBRC License Subsidiary, LLC)
|First air date||July 1, 1949|
|Call letters' meaning||Bell Radio Company
(original owner of WBRC radio)
|Sister station(s)||WSFA, WAFF, WDFX|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
4 (VHF, 1949-1953)
6 (VHF, 1953-2009)
|Former affiliations||NBC (1949-1954)
ABC (1949-1996; secondary until 1961)
DuMont (secondary, 1949-1953)
|Transmitter power||1000 kW|
WBRC is the Fox-affiliated television station serving the Birmingham, Alabama television market. Owned by Raycom Media, it broadcasts a high-definition digital signal on UHF channel 50 (or virtual channel 6.1 via PSIP) from a transmitter located at its studios atop Red Mountain, between Vulcan Trail and Valley View Drive in southeastern Birmingham (located to the immediate west of the studios of NBC affiliate WVTM-TV).
Early history 
WBRC-TV began operations on July 1, 1949, originally broadcasting on VHF channel 4. It is Alabama's second-oldest television station, signing on a few months after WAFM-TV (channel 13, now WVTM-TV). The station was originally owned by Eloise D. Hanna's Birmingham Broadcasting Company, along with WBRC radio (960 AM). The station's call letters stand for Bell Radio Company, after J.C. Bell, the founder of WBRC radio. It was a primary NBC affiliate, and also carried secondary affiliations with ABC and DuMont; during the late 1950s, the station was also briefly affiliated with the NTA Film Network.
In 1953, WBRC-TV moved to channel 6 as part of frequency realignment ordered by the Federal Communications Commission resulting from the 1952 Sixth Report and Order. This move was made in order for WBRC-TV to avoid interference with Nashville's WSM-TV (now WSMV), which also operated on channel 4; the two stations' respective signals suffered from interference problems in northern Alabama. Later that year, Eloise Hanna also sold the WBRC stations to Storer Broadcasting. George B. Storer, the company's founder and chairman, was a member of the CBS board of directors, and most of his stations operated as CBS affiliates. Storer may have used his leverage to secure a primary CBS affiliation for WBRC-TV in 1954. NBC moved to channel 13, then known as WABT, and both stations retained a secondary affiliation with ABC. Also in 1954, the WBRC stations moved to a new studio built by Storer, where channel 6 remains today. The studio, like many of those built by Storer, resembled an antebellum mansion. While it may have been out of place in most of Storer's other markets, it was a perfect fit for Birmingham. Unusually for commercial broadcasters, Storer supported educational television, and the company gave two transmitters and frequencies in the Birmingham market (channels 7 and 10) to Alabama Educational Television.
In 1957, Storer sold the WBRC stations to Radio Cincinnati Inc., the forerunner of what would become Taft Broadcasting. Storer had to sell its Birmingham holdings after it purchased WIBG (now WNTP) in Philadelphia and its television sister, WPFH in Wilmington, Delaware (whose frequency is now occupied by WHYY-TV) in order to comply with the FCC's ownership limits of that time period.
In 1961, WBRC-TV took the ABC affiliation full-time, leaving channel 13 (by then known as WAPI-TV) to share CBS and NBC. This was very unusual for a market with only two commercial stations; usually, one or both stations carried ABC as a secondary affiliation, since ABC would not be on anything resembling an equal footing with CBS and NBC until the 1970s. However, Taft was establishing good relations with ABC: Taft's flagship station, WKRC-TV in Cincinnati, had also switched from CBS to ABC that same year, and the company's chairman was a personal friend of ABC's president Leonard Goldenson. Taft later bought ABC's former syndication arm, Worldvision Enterprises, in 1979 (ABC spun off this division in 1973 as a result of fin-syn laws, which have since been repealed). Another factor, though supposedly not as important as the Taft-Goldenson relationship, was CBS News' apparent strong support of the Civil Rights Movement, which did not sit well with a large segment of WBRC's audience. ABC had very few full-time affiliates south of Washington, D.C. at the time, but now it had the full benefit of one of the South's strongest signals, best antenna locations and largest coverage areas.
Like many network affiliates, WBRC-TV would pre-empt ABC programming occasionally or regularly, in some cases. For example, the station initially turned down the sitcom Bewitched, not because it was concerned about witchcraft, but because it concerned a mixed marriage (between a witch and a mortal); there were fears that Bewitched would encourage what some segregationists referred to as "cross-breeding"; WBRC only started to clear Bewitched for broadcast on the station in 1967.
In 1972, Taft sold the WBRC radio stations, which changed their call letters to WERC-AM-FM. Meanwhile, WBRC-TV had become one of ABC's strongest affiliates, a position it retained for the next quarter-century. For a time, it incorporated the ABC circle logo inside its own "6" logo (just as it had done with the CBS eye in the 1950s). In late 1987, Taft was restructured into Great American Broadcasting after a hostile takeover. In December 1993, Great American Broadcasting was restructured again after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and became known as Citicasters. Citicasters then decided to put most of its television stations up for sale.
As a Fox station 
In early 1994, Citicasters agreed to sell four of its stations – WBRC, WDAF-TV/Kansas City, KSAZ-TV/Phoenix and WGHP/High Point, North Carolina – to New World Communications. However, a month before, New World agreed to buy four stations owned by Argyle Communications, including Birmingham's WVTM (although the transfer/assignment applications of the Argyle stations were not filed with the FCC until after New World's purchases of the Citicasters stations had already been completed). FCC rules at the time forbade one company from owning two stations in the same market. In addition, the acquisitions put New World over the FCC-mandated 12-station limit in effect at the time by three television stations. As a result, Citicasters decided to instead sell WBRC and WGHP directly to Fox. However, since Fox was unable to immediately purchase the two stations outright due to questions over the American citizenship of parent company News Corporation's Australian-born CEO Rupert Murdoch, New World decided to acquire the stations but place them in an outside trust company.
In May 1994, New World agreed to affiliate all except three of its stations with Fox, one of which was WVTM. New World placed WBRC-TV and WGHP in a trust in October, resulting New World owning the licenses of both stations while Citicasters continued to control operations. Fox then took over the operations of WBRC and WGHP from Citicasters in September 1995 through time brokerage agreements, before its purchase of the stations was finalized on January 17, 1996. Since WBRC's affiliation agreement with ABC did not expire until September 1996, Fox had to run channel 6 as an ABC affiliate for over a year. This also gave ABC time to find another affiliate to serve central Alabama – those stations would eventually be the triple-simulcast of Birmingham low-power station WBMA-LP (channel 58) and two former CBS affiliates, Anniston's WJSU-TV (channel 40) and Tuscaloosa's WCFT-TV (channel 33). The "-TV" suffix was dropped from WBRC's legal call sign in June 1999.
WBRC was originally going to run the Fox Kids weekday block from 1 to 4 p.m., but once it was determined that soon to be former Fox affiliate WTTO (channel 21) would end up as an independent station, it opted to let WTTO keep the Fox Kids programming. As a Fox affiliate, WBRC has aired only the prime-time and weekend sports programming provided by Fox. Children's programming on Fox was replaced by the Weekend Marketplace infomercial block in January 2009, but WBRC still declined to pick it up; it currently airs on MyNetworkTV affiliate WABM (channel 68). Soon after WBRC switched to Fox, it stopped producing and broadcasting the local segments of the United Cerebral Palsy Telethon; WBRC was the first station to broadcast the telethon starting back in the 1940s. National celebrities would fly in to appear on this telethon and it was from WBRC that it moved to national prominence. Even in its waning moments at WBRC, the UCP Telethon would air locally produced mini-documentaries from WBRC (produced by Randy Mize and Tom Stovall).
When Media General completed its acquisition of WVTM from NBC on June 26, 2006, WBRC became the Birmingham/Tuscaloosa/Anniston market's only remaining network-owned station. However on December 22, 2007, Fox announced that it had entered into an agreement to sell WBRC and seven other Fox O&O stations to Oak Hill Capital Partners' Local TV, which was built around the former television division of The New York Times Company; the sale was finalized on July 14, 2008. On January 6, 2009, Local TV announced that it would swap WBRC to Raycom Media in exchange for that company's Richmond, Virginia station WTVR-TV. Raycom is headquartered in Montgomery, the market just to the south of Birmingham, and also owns that market's NBC affiliate WSFA as well as Huntsville NBC affiliate WAFF. The transfer closed on March 31, 2009.
WBRC is one of only a few stations in the country to have had primary affiliations with all of the Big Three networks, and the only one in the country to have had primary affiliations with all four current major networks. The station was also one of the first Fox-owned stations to launch a website using the MyFox platform originally developed by Fox Interactive Media – which featured more streaming video and user-contributed content. In January 2009, the websites of most of the former Fox O&Os that became owned by Local TV switched to the Tribune Interactive platform as a result of the broadcast management agreement between Local TV and Tribune Broadcasting that began in 2008. However, WBRC's website remained on the MyFox platform until June 2009, when the site (still using its MyFox address) was migrated to Raycom's interactive partner, WorldNow.
Digital television 
Digital channels 
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|6.1||720p||16:9||WBRC||Main WBRC programming / Fox|
Syndicated programming featured on WBRC includes Judge Judy, Divorce Court, America Now, America's Funniest Home Videos and Inside Edition. WBRC produces a weekly law advice program, Fox 6 WBRC Law Call; the program is a call-in format, in which viewers phone in and ask legal advice from a legal panel (usually personal injury attorneys). It is hosted by former WBRC reporter Tiffany Bittner, and airs live after the station's 10 p.m. newscast on Sunday nights.
News operation 
|This section requires expansion with: further information on WBRC's news department, especially prior to the Fox affiliation switch. (August 2010)|
WBRC presently broadcasts 45½ hours of locally produced newscasts each week (7½ hours on weekdays, 3½ hours on Saturdays and 4½ hours on Sundays); in regards to the number of hours devoted to news programming, it is the highest local newscast output among the Birmingham market's television stations and the most of any station in the state of Alabama. For most of the time since it joined Fox in 1996, the station's 9 p.m. newscast has been one of the highest-rated primetime newscasts in the country. WBRC has been the ratings leader in the market for most of the last quarter-century, dating back to its affiliation tenure with ABC.
After WBRC became a Fox station, the station has placed more emphasis on its newscasts, maintaining a newscast schedule very similar to the one it had as an ABC affiliate, along with the additions of newscasts in the 7-9 a.m. and 5:30-6 p.m. timeslots, as well as what was originally a 30-minute primetime newscast at 9 p.m.; the 9 p.m. newscast was expanded to one hour by 1999. The station is one of several Fox stations with a newscast in the traditional late news timeslot (at 10 p.m. Central time, in WBRC's case; and one of the few that runs a 10 p.m. (or 11 p.m.) newscast seven nights a week), in addition to the primetime (9 p.m.) newscast, along with one of the few to continue their Big Three-era 10 p.m. newscast after the affiliation switch.
WBRC is part of the Raycom News Network, a service designed to share news information among Raycom's television stations and websites; the regional network also involves Columbus/Phenix City ABC affiliate WTVM, Montgomery NBC affiliate WSFA and Huntsville NBC affiliate WAFF in which stations share information, equipment such as satellite trucks or even reporters' stories. The four stations also comprise the Raycom Weather Network and the Raycom Alabama Weather Blog, where meteorologists from all four stations post forecasts and storm reports, as well as providing live feeds from all of the cameras that the four stations operate; the site also has live feeds of the four stations' doppler radar systems. The only Raycom-owned station in Alabama that does not participate in the arrangement is Dothan's WDFX-TV, whose news programming is produced by WSFA under a news share agreement.
On July 14, 2009, the Saturday evening 6 p.m. newscast was eliminated due to budget cutbacks at the station. On October 26, 2009, WBRC became the second television station in the Birmingham-Tuscaloosa-Anniston market (after WVTM-TV) – and the third station in Alabama – to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition. The news set and the graphics were also redesigned in the transition to HD.
David Neal lawsuit 
In May 2008, former chief meteorologist David Neal filed a breach-of-contract and fraud lawsuit against WBRC and members of the station's management team. The station had taken him off the air, firing him without explanation in March of that year. The station denied wrongdoing, and began defending the lawsuit. In July 2008, the station announced that James-Paul Dice, formerly of Huntsville CBS affiliate WHNT-TV, would replace Neal as chief meteorologist. On July 29, 2008, the parties to the lawsuit filed a stipulation of dismissal, stating that the dispute had been resolved in mediation. Terms of the settlement were not immediately disclosed.
News/station presentation 
Newscast titles 
- Your Esso Reporter (1949–1953)
- Alabama Newsreel (1953–1960)
- The Alabama Report (1960–1964)
- TV-6 News (1964–1976)
- Total News (1976–1981)
- Channel 6 News (1981–1983 and 1989–1996; presented on-air as "6 24 Hour News" from 1992 to 1996)
- BRC-6 News (1983–1986)
- WBRC 6 News (1986–1989)
- Fox 6 News (1996–present)
Station slogans 
- "You're Still Having Fun and TV-6's The One" (1977-1979)
- "Alabama's Number One News Station" (1977-1981)
- "You're On Top Of It All" (1979–1981)
- "Now is the Time, Channel 6 is the Place (1981-1982)
- "Come on Along with Channel 6" (1982-1983)
- "Movin' Ahead" (1981–1983)
- "The Station You've Grown To Trust" (1983–1986)
- "We're With You on BRC-6" (1984-1985)
- "You'll Love It on BRC-6" (1985-1986)
- "Alabama's Great!" (1985–1989; used during period station used Frank Gari's "Turn to News")
- "The Beat Belongs to 6" (1987–1989)
- "Something's Happening on Channel 6" (1987-1990)
- "Making A Difference" (1989–1991)
- "Alabama's Number One Source for News Live" (1989–1991; secondary newscast)
- "Alabama's First News"/"Alabama's News Channel"/"Alabama's First Team" (1989–1992; primary newscast)
- "Alabama's Watching WBRC" (1990–1992)
- "Your 24-Hour News Source" (1991–1994)
- "If It's Alabama, It Must Be Channel 6" (1992-1993)
- "Your 24-Hour News Team" (1994–1996)
- "Gotta Be Gotta Be Gotta Be Channel 6 News" (1994-1996)
- "Gotta Be Gotta Be Gotta Be Fox 6 News" (1996-present)
- "On Your Side" (1995–1996 and 2009–present)
- "Alabama's 24-Hour News Team" (1996–1998)
- "Coverage You Can Count On" (1998–2006)
- "The Most Powerful Name in Local News" (2006–2009)
- "So Fox 6" (2009–present)
News team 
- Karen Church - weekend mornings (7:00-9:00 a.m.)
- Steve Crocker - weeknights at 6:00 and 9:00 p.m.
- Mike Dubberly - weekday mornings on Good Day Alabama (4:30-9:00 a.m.) and weekdays at noon; also sports reporter
- Jonathan Hardison - weekends at 9:00 and 10:00 p.m.; also nightside reporter
- Janet Hall - weeknights at 5:00, 5:30 and 6:00 p.m.
- Ronda Robinson - weekends at 9:00 and 10:00 p.m.
- Janice Rogers - weekday mornings on Good Day Alabama (4:30-7:00 a.m.) and weekdays at noon
- Scott Richards - weeknights at 5:00, 5:30 and 10:00 p.m.
- Beth Shelburne - weeknights at 9:00 and 10:00 p.m.
- Sarah Verser - weekday mornings on Good Day Alabama (7:00-9:00 a.m.)
- Fox 6 StormWarn Weather
- J-P Dice (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist and NWA Seals of Approval) - chief meteorologist; weeknights at 5:00, 5:30, 6:00, 9:00 and 10:00 p.m.
- Mickey Ferguson - weather anchor; weekday mornings on Good Day Alabama (4:30-9:00 a.m.) and weekdays at noon
- Fred Hunter (NWA Seal of Approval) - meteorologist; weekends at 9:00 and 10:00 p.m.; also "Absolutely Alabama" feature reporter
- Wes Wyatt (AMS and NWA Seals of Approval) - meteorologist; weekend mornings (7:00-9:00 a.m.)
- Dennis Washington - meteorologist; fill-in
- Sports team
- Rick Karle - sports director; weeknights at 5:00, 6:00, 9:00 and 10:00 p.m.
- Sheldon Haygood - sports anchor; weekends at 9:00 and 10:00 p.m.
- Jeh Jeh Pruitt - sports anchor; weekdays at noon and host of "Jeh Jeh Live" on "Good Day Alabama"
- Scott Griffin - fill-in sports anchor
- Vanessa Araiza - general assignment reporter
- Terri Brewer - general assignment reporter
- Arielle Clay - general assignment reporter
- Alan Collins - general assignment reporter
- Sherea Harris - general assignment reporter
- Dixon Hayes - Anniston bureau videojournalist
- Katie Herrea - Gadsden bureau videojournalist
- Claire Huddleston - general assignment reporter
- John Huddleston - general assignment reporter
- Britton Lynn - weekday morning traffic anchor/sports reporter
- Doug Luzader - Fox News Washington D.C. correspondent
- Melanie Posey - general assignment reporter
- Max Reiss - Raycom political reporter (based out of WSFA in Montgomery)
- Kelvin Reynolds - Tuscaloosa bureau reporter
- Ronda Robinson - "Fox 6 On Your Side" investigative reporter/weekend anchor
Former on-air staff 
- Dave Bondy - reporter (2001-2010; now at WPXI in Pittsburgh)
- Wynette Byrd (Tammy Wynette) - was a regular performer on WBRC's Country Boy Eddie Show, prior to her move to Nashville (deceased)
- Fannie Flagg - co-host of The Morning Show (1960s)
- Eli Gold - sports anchor (1987-1989; currently the voice of University of Alabama football & hosts the weekly NASCAR Live radio call in show on MRN)
- Mike Hogewood - sports anchor (1981-1986; currently lead broadcaster for the Atlantic Coast Conference)
- Larry Langford - reporter (1970s; former mayor of Birmingham)
- Harry Mabry - anchor (1960s-1970s; deceased)
- James Spann - meteorologist (1989–1996; now at WBMA/WCFT/WJSU)
- Sally Wiggin - anchor/reporter (1977–1980; now at WTAE-TV in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
- Tom York - sports anchor/host of WBRC's long-running The Morning Show (1957-1989; retired)
- Nelson, Bob (2008-10-18). "Call Letter Origins". The Broadcast Archive. Retrieved 2008-10-31.
- "WBRC-TV To Debut July 1, First in Ala.". Billboard: 13. 1949-06-11.
- "Require Prime Evening Time for NTA Films". Boxoffice: 13. November 10, 1956.[dead link]
- "Storer options fifth TV as two others reach limit." Broadcasting - Telecasting, March 30, 1953, pg. 27. 
- "This week's receipts: $26 million." Broadcasting - Telecasting, April 8, 1957, pp. 31-32. 
- "Taft stations switch to ABC-TV." Broadcasting, February 27, 1961, pp. 36. 
- "Taft's WBRC-AM-FM sold for $2 million." Broadcasting, January 24, 1972, pp. 29. 
- News Corporation
- Raycom, Local TV to Swap Stations - 1/6/2009 6:28:00 PM - Broadcasting & Cable
- Local TV Closes on WTVR
- Bounce TV Reaches Distro Deal
- EXCLUSIVE: Fox 6 has another round of layoffs, drops Saturday 5 p.m. newscast, Media of Birmingham, July 14, 2009.
- "Still No Sign of David Neal on Fox 6," The Birmingham News, March 26, 2008, p. 3C
- "Meteorologist Sues Fox 6 Over Firing," The Birmingham News, May 13, 2008, p. 1B
- "Fox 6 Hires Dice as Chief Meteorologist," The Birmingham News, July 19, 2008, p. 2C
- Fox 6, David Neal Settle Lawsuit, The Birmingham News, July 30, 2008
- Total News 1981
- WBRC IMAGE 1995 ScottJanet
- WBRC Fox6 News at 10 Open (1999)
- WBRC Channel 6 "Alabama is Great"
- Beat belongs to 6 Promo from 1980s
- MyFoxAL.com (Official website)
- Birmingham Rewound: Radio-TV
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WBRC
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WBRC-TV
- Huntsville Rewound-Huntsville AL TV Memories
- Benny Carle-Classic Alabama TV(on WBRC from 1954-1964)