|This article needs additional citations for verification. (January 2013)|
|Charlotte, North Carolina
|Branding||WCCB, Charlotte's CW (general)
WCCB News (newscasts)
|Channels||Digital: 27 (UHF)
Virtual: 18 (PSIP)
|Subchannels||18.1 The CW
(North Carolina Broadcasting Partners)
|First air date||Original incarnation:
December 31, 1953
November 1, 1964
|Call letters' meaning||Charlotte
(the station's founder and owner)
|Former callsigns||WAYS-TV (1953–1954)
WUTV (licensed, 1957)
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
36 (UHF, 1953–1954, 1964–1966)
18 (UHF, 1966–2009)
|Former affiliations||NBC (primary, 1953–1954; secondary, 1964–1967)
ABC (secondary, 1953–1954 and 1964–1967; primary, 1967–1978)
CBS (secondary, 1964–1967)
Independent (1964–1967 and 1978–1986)
|Transmitter power||1,000 kW|
|Public license information:||Profile
WCCB, virtual channel 18 (UHF digital channel 27), is a CW-affiliated television station located in Charlotte, North Carolina. United States. It serves as the flagship station of owner Bahakel Communications. WCCB maintains studio facilities just outside Uptown, off Independence Boulevard across from Bojangles' Coliseum, and its transmitter is located in Newell, an unincorporated area of Mecklenburg County just northeast of the Charlotte city limits. Syndicated programming on WCCB includes Ellen, The Big Bang Theory, The Simpsons, How I Met Your Mother and TMZ on TV.
- 1 History
- 2 Digital television
- 3 Out-of-market cable carriage
- 4 News operation
- 5 References
- 6 External links
WCCB traces its roots to WAYS-TV, a primary NBC and secondary ABC affiliate, which signed on December 31, 1953. Broadcasting on UHF channel 36, it was North Carolina's second UHF station (after Raleigh's WNAO-TV), as well as the second television station in Charlotte. It was owned by George Dowdy and his company, Intercity Advertising, along with WAYS radio (610 AM, now WFNZ). Hugh Deadwyler became co-owner of the station in 1954 and its sole owner in 1955. In January 1955, its call letters were changed to WQMC-TV.
Channel 36 had a very weak 100,000-watt signal which was spotty further than 10 miles from the transmitter, making it virtually unviewable even in some parts of Mecklenburg County. Even then, like most UHF stations, it was only viewable on most sets with an expensive UHF converter. Television set manufacturers were not required to include UHF tuners at the time. As a result, it made almost no headway against CBS affiliate WBTV, which continued to cherry-pick some NBC programming.
The station left the air on March 15, 1955, in what was intended to be a temporary hiatus while it underwent technical improvements, including building a more powerful transmitter at a new location. However, the station went into receivership in 1956. After further delays, Deadwyler sold its construction permit in 1957 to Century Advertising, which planned to relaunch it as ABC affiliate WUTV, with a much more powerful signal than its predecessor. However, these plans were not successful, as Charlotte's second VHF station, WSOC-TV, channel 9, went on the air in the same year, and even with the stronger signal, WUTV would have still been all but unviewable in most of the market. For this reason, ABC told Century that it would continue to split its programming between WBTV and WSOC-TV. This would have forced WUTV to make a go of it as an independent—an unenviable task given that Charlotte was not big enough to support an independent station at the time. In addition, most of the market (particularly the western portion) got a fairly decent signal from WLOS-TV out of Asheville, which was included in the Charlotte television listings for many years and even ran ads for its programs in Charlotte newspapers.
In August 1964, Charlotte businessman Cy Bahakel bought the dormant channel 36 license. He returned the station to air on November 1 of that year as WCCB-TV (for Charlotte Cy Bahakel), operating from its current studios off Independence Boulevard. Logically, it should have returned as a full-time ABC affiliate. However, WCCB's signal was scarcely stronger than that of its predecessor, at 200,000 watts, essentially limiting its coverage area to Charlotte itself and the inner suburbs. The FCC also began requiring television sets to have all-channel tuning only a few months before, and most Charlotte homes did not yet have UHF-capable sets. Even though Charlotte had been big enough to support three full-time major network affiliates since the early 1950s, ABC decided to retain its secondary affiliation agreements with WBTV and WSOC. This forced WCCB to settle for a secondary affiliation with all three networks, airing most of the network shows that WBTV and WSOC turned down. For the next three years, it split both NBC and ABC's programming roughly equally with WSOC; a few ABC shows also continued to air on WBTV, and WCCB aired some CBS programs in turn.
On November 1, 1966, WCCB moved from channel 36 to channel 18, broadcasting from a new tower located on Newell Hickory Grove Road in northeast Charlotte. The new tower was capable of 1.35 million watts of power, giving WCCB a coverage area comparable to those of WBTV and WSOC-TV. The station's former tower was located adjacent to the studio in the parking lot of the old Charlotte Coliseum. This facility was originally planned for WUTV in 1957. In 1967, NBC informed WSOC-TV that since there were three stations in the area, it would take its affiliation elsewhere unless it dropped all ABC programming from its schedule. Since ABC's ratings were still not on par with NBC at the time, WSOC-TV complied with NBC's demands and became a full-time NBC affiliate. More or less by default, WCCB exclusively aligned with ABC. Ironically, the state's largest market got a full-fledged ABC affiliate after the state's two smallest markets, Greenville/New Bern/Washington and Wilmington, picked up ABC affiliates. However, despite the stronger signal, it remained a distant third in the ratings.
By 1978, ABC had become the nation's most-watched network and wanted a stronger station in Charlotte. ABC moved its programming to WSOC. Ted Turner, then-owner of WRET (now WCNC-TV) – which had been on the verge of closing down earlier in the decade, acquired the NBC affiliation for channel 36, leaving WCCB as an independent. Turner won the affiliation on the basis of a commitment to invest significant resources in upgrading WRET's signal and forming a substantially larger local news department than that of WCCB. Bahakel ran his stations on a tight budget, and was unwilling to match Turner's offer.
With WCCB left to fend for itself as an independent station, it bought a large chunk of syndicated programming from WRET, including cartoons and older sitcoms. For a time in the late 1970s and early 1980s, after-school cartoons were hosted by the costumed Sonic Man space alien character, played by Larry Sprinkle, who has been a staple in Charlotte radio and television, including serving as a weatherman for channel 36 since the 1980s. WCCB carried on for almost a decade as a typical UHF general entertainment independent station.
In 1986, WCCB became the last station in a Top 50 market to join Fox as one of the upstart network's charter affiliates. For most of the next quarter-century, WCCB was one of the strongest Fox stations in the country. It even claimed to be the highest-rated Fox affiliate in the nation during the 2008-09 season. The station reaped a major windfall after the NFL moved its National Football Conference television package from CBS to Fox in 1994. By coincidence, this made WCCB the unofficial "home" station of the Carolina Panthers upon the team's 1995 inception. WCCB carried most Panthers regular season games during the team's first 18 seasons, and later acquired the local rights to the team's preseason games from WBTV. Panthers games have generally been the most-watched programs in the market during the NFL football season. After being known as "TV18" since sign-on, WCCB changed its branding to "Fox 18" in 1988 and then to "Fox Charlotte" in 2002.
Cy Bahakel was an original partner in the NBA's Charlotte Hornets, and WCCB served as the team's flagship station for the Hornets' first four seasons in Charlotte from 1988 to 1992. Bahakel owned WCCB until his death on April 20, 2006, with his family having run the station since that point. In 2007, WCCB's website switched to Fox Interactive Media's "MyFox" platform (originally intended for Fox's owned-and-operated stations), with the domain transitioning from foxcharlotte.tv to myfoxcharlotte.com; however, the station de-emphasized the "MyFox" corporate reference within a year, with the URL simply known as foxcharlotte.com. The revamped page continued to use the "MyFox" webpage template (sans the "MyFox" branding) until 2010, when Broadcast Interactive Media became WCCB's site host.
End of Fox affiliation and switch to The CW
On January 28, 2013, Fox Television Stations announced the purchase of CW affiliate WJZY and MyNetworkTV affiliate WMYT-TV from Capitol Broadcasting Company for $18 million. As a result of the acquisition, WCCB's 27-year association with Fox ended on July 1, 2013. With WCCB's loss of its Fox affiliation, there are now no charter Fox affiliates remaining in North Carolina. While WCCB had been one of the network's strongest affiliates, Fox had been looking to buy a station in what had become the 25th-largest market. Another likely reason was an option by Fox to purchase Raleigh-Durham's WLFL and WRDC from Sinclair Broadcast Group, which would have resulted in WRAZ (a sister station to WJZY and WMYT at the time) losing its Fox affiliation.
Soon after the announcement, WCCB ceased promoting Fox shows outside of network programming hours. It resumed promoting Fox shows again around March 11, but dropped them for good in April. In February, WCCB began phasing out Fox network references from on-air use during its newscasts. A play button briefly replaced the Fox logo in one on-screen graphic before the branding was changed to WCCB News. However, most of the station's graphics continued to use Fox branding until late March. At that time, the station changed its branding to "WCCB Charlotte", but was referred to verbally by its call letters.
On April 18, one day after Fox completed its purchase of WJZY and WMYT, WCCB announced that it would replace WJZY as Charlotte's CW affiliate on July 1. On May 6, WJZY aired a promo announcing it will become a Fox owned-and-operated station on that date. On or about May 15, WCCB aired a promo announcing that it will rebrand as "WCCB, Charlotte's CW" when it officially became a CW affiliate. Earlier, Bahakel had reserved the domain CharlottesCW.com for two years. Given the station's strong performance as a Fox affiliate and its half-century of service to the area (in its current incarnation), WCCB was expected to become one of the ten strongest CW affiliates in the nation when it formally joined that network. The old "Fox Charlotte" logo remained at the entrance to the station's studios until mid-May when it was replaced with a "Charlotte CW" logo sign.
WCCB's relationship with Fox formally ended on June 30, with American Dad! as the final Fox program to air on the station. WCCB formally rolled out its new on-air branding and logo the next afternoon, July 1, 2013, its first day as a CW affiliate. However, most verbal references to the station are to its call letters, with any CW references used obliquely (e.g. "WCCB, Charlotte's CW"). It is the first time in a quarter-century that the station has used its call letters on a permanent basis in its branding.
CW programming airs mostly in pattern on WCCB, with an exception being The Bill Cunningham Show (the first CW program to air on WCCB), which airs at 1 p.m. on WCCB instead of the network's 3 p.m. time slot due to the station's syndicated commitments in that later time slot. Its news programming continues unabated (see below), and the station remains home to Panthers preseason football games. It currently fronts a 13-station network covering North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee and Virginia. WCCB also began airing Charlotte 49ers college football in September 2013, with WCCB carrying any 49er home games not carried by Conference USA's national and regional television partners.
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|18.1||720p||16:9||WCCB-DT||Main WCCB programming / The CW|
Previously, a standard-definition simulcast of the main channel was on the second digital subchannel, but was later changed to a high-definition simulcast of the main channel with SAP and DVS audio. In June 2012, the SAP/DVS feed was added to the main channel as well. The second subchannel was removed in December 2013, as well as the SAP/DVS feed from the main channel since it is unused by The CW.
Until March 1, 2011, WCCB carried a weather radar on its third subchannel, which provided NOAA Weather Radio feeds from Spencer Mountain, Columbia, SC and Rock Hill through SAP. On that date, Me-TV replaced the weather radar after being delayed for a month due to contractual issues. The weather radar remains available through WCCB's mobile DTV service, and the Spencer Mountain and Rock Hill NOAA feeds were initially retained on Me-TV through SAP. The Spencer Mountain feed was removed in mid-2012, and the Rock Hill feed was removed in December 2013.
Mobile DTV channels
|Channel||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|18.10||WCCB-MH||Mobile DTV simulcast of WCCB-DT1|
WCCB shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 18, 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 UHF channel 27. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 18. On February 4, 2010, WCCB started transmitting from a translator located near Connelly Springs on channel 20, W20DD-D. The translator was licensed to Marion as W08BJ. It was purchased from WSPA-TV and moved to Smith Mountain.
Out-of-market cable carriage
In recent years, WCCB has been carried on cable in multiple areas outside of the Charlotte media market. That includes cable systems within the Asheville and Greensboro markets in North Carolina, the Columbia market in South Carolina, and the Tri-Cities market in Tennessee.
The station currently carries a total of 28 hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with five hours on weekdays, and one hour each on Saturdays and Sundays); in addition, the station produces WCCB News Got Game, a half-half sports highlight show that airs on Saturday and Sunday evenings following the 10 p.m. newscast. WCCB's weather staff also provides forecast segments for Columbia sister station and ABC affiliate WOLO-TV. WCCB's studios also served as production facility for WOLO's local newscasts from 2002 to 2005 in one of the first instances of centralcasting, studio segments for WOLO's newscasts returned to Columbia afterward.
WCCB aired newscasts at various times between 1964 until it lost its ABC affiliation in 1978. It reduced its news department to a skeleton staff after going independent and did not carry a regularly scheduled newscast again until 1994, when it began airing a nightly 10 p.m. broadcast produced by WSOC-TV. In 1999, WCCB announced plans to launch its own news department. That summer, WSOC-TV relocated its primetime newscast to sister station WAXN-TV. WCNC then temporarily took over production of WCCB's newscasts until the launch of WCCB's in-house news department on January 1, 2000, with the debut of a half-hour 10 p.m. newscast. Ironically, the WCNC-produced newscast on WCCB drew a larger audience at the time than the newscasts that actually aired on WCNC.
On September 28, 2008, beginning with the 10 p.m. newscast, WCCB became the second station in Charlotte to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition. The upgrade included the debut of a brand new high-definition news set. On February 4, 2013, Ken White, who had been WCCB's news director since the 2000 launch of its current news department, was reassigned to Jackson, Tennessee sister station WBBJ-TV as its interim news director; assistant news director Angela Robbins was appointed as White's replacement at WCCB.
Weekday morning and nightly primetime newscasts have continued on WCCB after the station picked up CW affiliation on July 1, 2013. WCCB is the only CW station in the Southeastern U.S., and one of only two in the Eastern Time Zone (alongside the network's New York City flagship, WPIX), with a standalone news department. During the July 2013 sweeps ratings period, the station's weekday morning newscast, WCCB News Rising, placed a distant fourth behind WSOC, WBTV and WCNC. The loss of Fox lead-in programming sent the station's 10 p.m. newscast into second place behind the WSOC-produced newscast on WAXN, while the WBTV-produced program finished third after its move back from WMYT to WJZY. On November 9, 2013, WCCB debuted half-hour 6 p.m. newscasts on Saturday and Sunday evenings, making it one of the few television stations to have carried an early evening newscast on weekends without an existing newscast in that daypart on weekdays.
- Eyewitness News at 10 (produced by WSOC-TV; 1994–1999)
- Fox 18 News (2000–2002)
- Fox News (2002–2013; not to be confused with Fox News Channel)
- WCCB News (2013–present)
- "The News You Need When You Want It" (2000–2002)
- Rance Adams - host of WCCB News Edge (weeknights at 10:35 p.m.); also host of Fantasy Football (Saturdays at 10:30 p.m.)
- Audrina Bigos - weekends at 6 and 10 p.m.; also reporter
- Morgan Fogarty - weeknights at 10 p.m. and host of WCCB News Edge (Mondays at 10:30 p.m.); also reporter, news update anchor and The Get feature reporter
- Kirk Hawkins - weeknights at 10 p.m.; also reporter and news update anchor (3-8 p.m.)
- Derek James - weekday mornings on WCCB News Rising (5-9 a.m.); also staff meteorologist
- Christine Noel - weeknights at 10 p.m.
- Kristine Zell - weekday mornings on WCCB News Rising (5-9 a.m.)
- Weather team
- Reg Taylor - chief meteorologist; weeknights at 10 p.m.
- Jacinda Garabito - weather anchor; interim weekday mornings on WCCB News Rising (5-9 a.m.)
- Mark Johnson - meteorologist; weekends at 6 and 10 p.m.
- Sports team
- Kelli Bartik - sports anchor; Monday-Thursdays at 10 p.m.; also host of WCCB News Got Game (Sundays at 10:30 p.m.)
- Sean Bell - sports anchor; Fridays at 10 p.m., also host of WCCB News Got Game (Sundays at 10:30 p.m.) and Fantasy Football (Saturdays at 10:30 p.m.)
- Brandon Davidow - sports anchor; weekends at 6 and 10 p.m.; also host of WCCB News Got Game (weekends at 10:30 p.m.)
- Kenny Moore - Charlotte 49ers reporter
- Ryan Rose - Charlotte 49ers reporter
- Terrance Bates - weekday morning reporter; also fill-In anchor
- Marvin Beach - general assignment reporter
- Trip Harder - weekday morning traffic reporter
- Robert Wilder - Man on the Edge feature reporter; also producer
- Jon Wilson - weekday morning feature reporter (Wilson's World)
- Troy Gagliardo - chef (seen Tuesday mornings)
Notable former on-air staff
- Tera Blake- weekday morning meteorologist (now at WEWS News Channel 5 in Cleveland)
- Anna Kooiman - weekday morning anchor (now at Fox News Channel)
- Beth Troutman - weekday morning anchor (now at Right This Minute)
- Christopher "Brotha Fred" Frederick - host of FOX News Edge (now on Kiss 95.1)
- Cassiday Proctor- the edge anchor (now at 96.1 WNKS-Charlotte)
- The Charlotte Observer, Apr. 25 and 29, 1978.
- Malone, Michael (January 29, 2013). "Fox Affiliate Switch in Works for Charlotte". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved January 30, 2013.
- Halonen, Doug (January 28, 2013). "WCCB Charlotte To Lose Fox Affiliation". TVNewsCheck.com. Retrieved January 28, 2013.
- "Charlotte Move Puts Fox Affiliates On Edge". January 29, 2013. Retrieved October 24, 2013.
- Malone, Michael (April 18, 2013). "Fox Affiliate WCCB Charlotte Shifts to CW". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved April 18, 2013.
- Washburn, Mark. Charlotte stations revealing branding strategies. The Charlotte Observer, 2013-05-11.
- Will Fox Charlotte drop its news shows? No., Charlotte Observer, February 1, 2013.
- "WCCB to televise Charlotte 49ers home football games," from Charlotte Observer, 7/18/2013
- RabbitEars TV Query for WCCB
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24.
- News director change at Fox Charlotte, Charlotte Observer, February 4, 2013.
- WCCB Charlotte Becomes CW on July 1st
- About 140,000 lose WBTV in Dish dispute, Charlotte Observer, August 9, 2013.
- New ‘Rising’ host started in TV at age 14, Charlotte Observer, October 11, 2013.
- WCCB News Open April 2009
- WCCB News Open September 2007
- Our Team
- WCCBCharlotte.com - WCCB-TV official website
- MeTVCharlotte.com - Me-TV Charlotte official website
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WCCB
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WCCB-TV