|This article needs additional citations for verification. (September 2011)|
|Florence/Myrtle Beach, South Carolina/
Lumberton, North Carolina
|Branding||WBTW News 13
My TV (on DT2)
Can Count On
|Channels||Digital: 13 (VHF)|
13.2 MyNetworkTV & Antenna TV
(Media General Communications Holdings, LLC)
|First air date||October 18, 1954|
|Call letters' meaning||derived from former
sister station WBTV
|Former channel number(s)||8 (VHF analog, 1954-1963)
13 (VHF analog, 1963-2009)
56 (UHF digital)
|Former affiliations||ABC (secondary, 1954-1980)
RTV (on DT2, 2006-2011)
|Transmitter power||31.6 kW|
WBTW is the CBS-affiliated television station for the Pee Dee and Grand Strand areas of South Carolina that is licensed to Florence. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on VHF channel 13 from a transmitter southeast of Dillon on Pee Dee Church Road. Owned by Media General, the station has studios on McDonald Court in the Socastee section of Myrtle Beach. Syndicated programming on WBTW includes: The Doctors, Dr. Phil, Ellen, Inside Edition, Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|13.1||1080i||16:9||13-News||Main WBTW programming / CBS|
|13.2||480i||4:3||13-myTV||Antenna TV / MyNetworkTV|
In 2006, WBTW launched a new subchannel branded as My TV, carrying programming from MyNetworkTV and RTV. It is carried on Time Warner digital channel 1215, on HTC Cablevision channel 99 in Conway, and in Brunswick County, North Carolina on ATMC channel 13. In 2011, RTV was replaced with Antenna TV.
The station went on-the-air October 18, 1954 on VHF channel 8 from a transmitter at its original studios on TV Road in the Back Swamp section of Florence. It was owned by Jefferson Standard Life Insurance Company (later becoming Jefferson-Pilot, now part of Lincoln Financial Group). It was Jefferson Standard's second television station behind WBTV in Charlotte. WBTW's call sign was derived from "W" being the next letter in the alphabet after "V." The two stations were programmed separately, but shared a microwave system built in 1959. In 1962, it moved to VHF channel 13 and its previous location was re-allocated to High Point, North Carolina as WGHP.
In 1968, the station was sold to the Shott family of Bluefield, West Virginia (publishers of the Bluefield Daily Telegraph). The move came because WBTV and WBTW had a fairly significant grade B signal overlap, and neither station would have been able to expand its signal if Jefferson Standard had kept them both.
WBTW's current tower was built in rural Dillon County east of SC 57 in 1979. This more than doubled its coverage area giving it at least secondary coverage as far north as Fayetteville, Raeford and Pinehurst; as far west as Polkton and Pageland; as far south as Georgetown and Summerton and as far east as Leland and Elizabethtown. Only Fayetteville and Pinehurst do not currently carry WBTW, but did until the 1980s and early-1990s. For many years, it was the only commercial television station located between Wilmington and Charleston. This was because of a quirk in the Federal Communications Commission's allocation of VHF channels. Most markets got at least two VHF allocations. However, Florence/Myrtle Beach is sandwiched between Wilmington to the north, Charleston to the south and Columbia to the west. This created a "doughnut" in northeastern South Carolina where there could be only one VHF license.
The station has always been a CBS affiliate, but carried some ABC shows until WPDE-TV signed-on in 1980. The Shotts sold most of their media holdings in 1984. Their two television stations, WBTW and KIMT in Mason City, Iowa; went to Spartan Radiocasting Corporation (later Spartan Communications) of Spartanburg. In the late-1980s and early-1990s, it branded itself on-air as the "Best of Two Worlds" playing off the "BTW" in its call letters. In 2000, Spartan merged with current owner Media General.
From 1995 to 2000, WBTW served as the de facto CBS affiliate for parts of the Wilmington market because former affiliate WJKA-TV switched to Fox and became WSFX-TV. That market got another CBS affiliate in 2000 when WILM-LP (now WILM-LD) picked up the affiliation. However, WBTW still serves some parts of the Wilmington area that does not receive the low-powered WILM signal over-the-air or on cable. After being known as "TV 13" for most of its history, this station re-branded itself as "News 13" in 2002. In 2009, WBTW left digital channel 56 and moved to channel 13 when the analog to digital conversion was completed.
On May 2, 2011 a letter was submitted to the FCC requesting that WBTW be authorized to abandon its channel 13 frequency (213 MHz) and move to channel 41 (635 MHz), and transmit a non-directional signal with a strength of 1 million watts—equivalent to 5 million watts in analog (it is 31,600 watts on channel 13). The letter requests also that the height of the transmitter elements on the tower be the same as now on channel 13.
Cable and Satellite Coverage outside of the DMA
During the CATV period of the 1970s and 1980s, WBTW had even more significant coverage in North Carolina. It was once carried in Anson (Wadesboro system), Montgomery, Moore and Lee counties. As of 2011, it is only carried in Polkton (Anson County), the counties of Richmond, Hoke, Columbus, Bladen, Brunswick and New Hanover. WBTW is not carried on Satellite outside of the market.
Historically, WBTW has been one of the most dominant stations in the country. This is in part because it was the only station in town for a quarter-century; until WPDE signed on, viewers had to rely on cable to get programming from the other networks.
In 2004, WBTW established a news share agreement with Fox affiliate WFXB. It then began producing a weeknight 10 o'clock newscast for that station known as Fox 43 News at 10. In 2006, the title switched to Fox News at 10.
During August 2007, WBTW moved the majority of its operations to new studios in Myrtle Beach. A smaller facility at that same site had been serving as a news bureau since 1989 and was demolished in 2007. The station continued to operate some news and operations at its old facilities in Florence. A physical Lumberton Bureau closed in 2007. In March 2008, WBTW converted its news operation to all-digital. The revamp included new graphics, news set, robotic studio cameras, and newscasts in High Definition. The new HD broadcasting (Along with NBC Affiliate WMBF) leaves ABC affiliate WPDE the only local news station still broadcasting in Standard Definition 16:9.
In early 2009, the station shifted to the "digital journalism" model. It reduced the use of 2 person newsgathering teams. Now each reporter must shoot the majority of their own video. While sounding like something new, it is actually a return to the days of yesteryear for WBTW, which often used "one-man-band" reporters in the 1980s and 1990s.
On December 1, 2011, WBTW began producing an hour-long weekday morning show on WFXB. Known as Fox Morning News, the broadcast is seen from 7 until 8 offering a local alternative to the big three network morning shows. On May 19, 2012, WBTW launched an hour-long newscast on Saturday and Sunday mornings from 8-9 a.m.
Notable former staff
- WBTW Adds Antenna TV To Subchannel, TVNewsCheck, October 6, 2011.
- Toby Eddings, "The difference in rating and share," The Sun News, Mar. 5, 2000.
- WBTW Producing Morning News For WFXB, TVNewsCheck, November 29, 2011.
- WBTW Adding New Weekend Morning Newscasts, TVNewsCheck, May 9, 2012.