WBRZ-TV

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WBRZ-TV
WBRZ Logo 2013.png
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
United States
Branding WBRZ News 2
Slogan Balanced. Fair. Accurate.
Channels Digital: 13 (VHF)
Virtual: 2 (PSIP)
Subchannels 2.1 ABC/This TV
2.2 WBRZ News Rebroadcast
2.3 WBRZ Weather
Affiliations ABC (sole affiliate since 1977; secondary 1955-1971)
Owner Manship family
(Louisiana Television Broadcasting, LLC)
First air date April 14, 1955 (1955-04-14)
Call letters' meaning We're
Baton
Rouge's
Z (2)
Sister station(s) KBTR-CA, KRGV-TV
Former callsigns WBRZ (1955-1981)
Former channel number(s) Analog:
2 (VHF, 1955-2009)
Former affiliations NBC (1955-1977)
PBS (per-program, 1970-1975)
Transmitter power 30 kW
Height 515 m
Facility ID 38616
Transmitter coordinates 30°17′48.4″N 91°11′36.6″W / 30.296778°N 91.193500°W / 30.296778; -91.193500
Licensing authority FCC
Public license information: Profile
CDBS
Website www.wbrz.com

WBRZ, virtual channel 2 (digital channel 13), is an ABC affiliate television station serving Baton Rouge, Louisiana, south-central and southeastern Louisiana and southwestern Mississippi. It is owned by the Manship family, who formerly published the Baton Rouge daily newspaper, The Advocate. Its transmitter is located in Sunshine, Louisiana, and the station's studios are located on Highland Road in Baton Rouge, just south of downtown. The station is seen via satellite through DirecTV, Dish Network and AT&T U-verse and on cable Cox Communications.

History[edit]

WBRZ signed on the air on April 14, 1955 as a primary NBC affiliate, sharing ABC with WAFB.

At first, the Manships wanted to call the station WBRA-TV, for Baton Rouge Advocate. However, they concluded that the call letters would cause confusion and controversy. Station founder Douglas L. Manship, Sr. still wanted "BR" in the station's calls, and decided to go to the other end of the alphabet for the fourth letter, picking "Z." He explained, "It was a good choice. 'Z' is a phonetically good sound on the air. It's distinctive." The "Z" was later expanded to mean "2" (similar to WGRZ-TV in Buffalo, New York), and the "W" was expanded to mean "We're". However, the WBRA call letters are currently used on the PBS member station in Roanoke, Virginia. Until 1989, WBRZ was a sister station to WJBO-AM and WYNK-FM, until the Manships sold both radio stations. From the late 1960s until the late 1970s, WYNK was considered an affiliate of WBRZ.[1]

It dropped ABC in 1971 after WRBT-TV (now WVLA) signed on. This made WBRZ a sole NBC affiliate. Because ABC was seeking out new affiliates with stronger signal coverage at the time, WBRZ swapped affiliations with WRBT and became an ABC affiliate again on September 5, 1977. In that same timeframe NBC sunk to third and last place while ABC moved up to first place in the ratings.

In July 1987, the station started broadcasting 24 hours a day, except on Sundays. In September 1988, the station became the first in Louisiana to close-caption its newscasts. In 1991, Manship's son Richard took over the station as its new president, and would later be named "Broadcaster of the Year" by the Louisiana Association of Broadcasters. In 1993, WBRZ joined approximately 50 ABC affiliates in not airing the pilot episode of NYPD Blue due to local protests; the station decided on a week-by-week basis, at first, to air or not air episodes but eventually settled with airing episodes (including a rerun of the pilot). WBRZ became the first station in Baton Rouge to began broadcasting in high definition on channel 13 on April 22, 2002.

In November 2004, WBRZ, along with many other ABC affiliates in the country, opted not to air the movie Saving Private Ryan when the network broadcast it uncut on Veterans Day. During Hurricane Katrina, the station worked with New Orleans ABC affiliate WGNO (channel 26) to provide coverage of the storm and its aftermath.

In late Summer 2007, the Manships acquired a low-powered, independent television station, KBTR (WBTR), from Veritas Broadcasting Company. In late 2012, WBRZ and WBTR took the This TV affiliation from a subchannel of WVLA. WBTR airs This TV on a secondary basis, and WBRZ airs This TV programming on a secondary basis during early morning weekend hours.

WBRZ launched its own Web site, WBRZ.com, on the week of September 14, 2009. Prior to that, WBRZ and The Advocate shared a website, 2TheAdvocate.com.

The station is a funding partner in The Cinderella Project of Baton Rouge, a charity that provides free prom dresses to public high school students who cannot otherwise afford them. The charity held its third annual prom dress giveaway in 2010.

Digital television[edit]

Digital channels[edit]

The station's digital signal is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[2]
2.1 720p 16:9 WBRZ-HD Main WBRZ-TV programming / ABC
2.2 480i 4:3 NEWS 2 WBRZ News Rebroadcast
2.3 WBRZ-WX WBRZ Weather

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

WBRZ-TV shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 2, on June 12, 2009, the official date in which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition VHF channel 13.[3][4] Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analog channel 2.

Carriage controversies[edit]

2008 Dish Network carriage dispute[edit]

As of midnight, April 30, 2008, WBRZ was removed from Dish Network's local channel lineup for Baton Rouge.[5]

The relationship between WBRZ and the Dish Network began to deteriorate in the fall of 2007, when WBRZ realized that fees collected from Baton Rouge subscribers had not been paid to the station since the inception of Dish Network’s local-into-local service in May 2006, in violation of the carriage agreement.

WBRZ asked for a raise of compensation to under five percent of what Dish charges for local channels - it had been previously two percent. This amount, less than a penny per subscriber per day, is significantly smaller than the 20 cents/subscriber/day rate WBRZ charges local cable companies.

In July 2009, after more than a year, Dish Network and WBRZ reached a new agreement, and WBRZ once again became part of Dish Network's Local Channels package for Baton Rouge area customers.[6]

2014 DirecTV Carriage Dispute[edit]

As of January 20, 2014 a notice on satellite receivers channel 2.1 says that the channel is in danger of being discontinued.

Programming[edit]

The station airs syndicated programming, like Live with Regis and Kelly, Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!, the latter of which however, aired on CBS affiliate WAFB (channel 9) prior to 1995. It also airs reruns of former prime-time network shows, such as the ABC sitcom Mork and Mindy and the classic CBS hit M*A*S*H. In September 2006, it began airing Dr. Phil. The station was the first Baton Rouge station to air Sally Jessy Raphael, it was the second home of The Oprah Winfrey Show until it moved to WVLA in 2002, and The Rosie O'Donnell Show. Other syndicated programming WBRZ aired in the past included: The Arsenio Hall Show (which preempted Nightline from 1989 until WGMB acquired the rights to Arsenio in April 1993), Who's the Boss, The Jerry Springer Show (now on WBRL), Dear John, Inside Edition (now on WBXH), PM Magazine, Dallas, The Golden Girls, Murphy Brown, Three's Company, Degrassi Junior High, What's Happening, Dynasty, The Jeffersons, the Ray Combs syndicated version of Family Feud, Hard Copy, Geraldo, Hollywood Squares, Coach, In the Heat of the Night, The Weakest Link, The Jerry Springer Show, the Donny Osmond version of Pyramid, Judge Judy, Tyra, Judge Joe Brown, Thicke of the Night, and American Journal.[7] Prior to the launch of LPB in 1975, WBRZ aired episodes of Sesame Street in the mornings. On Sundays, it airs the services from the Healing Place Church, a local Christian megachurch.

WBRZ currently airs all of ABC network programming in high definition and most of its syndicated programming such as Live with Kelly and Michael, Dr. Phil, Jeopardy!, Wheel of Fortune, omg! Insider and Comics Unleashed with Byron Allen in HD.

News operation[edit]

WBRZ-TV 5 p.m. newscast title card

In 2004, the station dropped its twenty-year slogan of "On Your Side" and started describing their news as "Balanced. Fair. Accurate," which was inspired by Fox News's "Fair and Balanced" slogan.

As of July 29, 2007, WBRZ morning show 2une In and its noon, 4, 5, 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts can now be viewed in high-definition. WBRZ is the second station in the Baton Rouge area and the fourth in Louisiana to broadcast their newscasts in high definition.

WBRZ was Baton Rouge's "news leader" in the ratings for much of its early history until the mid-1990s. The station experienced a ratings decline when Ed Buggs, the first African-American anchor in Baton Rouge, and many of its veteran anchors left the station. This allowed CBS affiliate WAFB to overtake the lead in local news ratings, after competing with WBRZ for the first place rating throughout the decade.[8]

On November 17, 2014, WBRZ introduce their new state of the art upgrades set on there 5 p.m. newscasts. [9]

Notable former on-air staff[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]