|Devils Lake/Grand Forks, North Dakota|
|Branding||WDAZ 8 Television (general)
WDAZ 8 News (newscasts)
|Slogan||Your Home Team|
|Channels||Digital: 8 (VHF)
Virtual: 8 (PSIP)
|Subchannels||8.1 ABC HD
8.2 The CW
8.3 Storm Tracker/WDAY Radio audio
|Affiliations||ABC (1983 – present)|
|Owner||Forum Communications Company|
|First air date||February 8, 1967|
|Call letters' meaning||disambiguation from WDAY-TV as second station (possibly to denote "DevilZ Lake")|
|Sister station(s)||WDAY (AM), WDAY-TV|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
8 (VHF, 1967–2009)
|Former affiliations||NBC (1967–1983)|
|Transmitter power||19 kW|
WDAZ-TV, channel 8, is the ABC-affiliated television station for Grand Forks, North Dakota. Licensed to Devils Lake, it broadcasts a high definition digital signal on VHF channel 8 (or virtual channel 8.1 via PSIP) from a 1,460.2-foot (445.1 m) tall transmitter tower near Dahlen, located roughly between Grand Forks and Devils Lake. The station can also be seen on cable channel 8 in most areas including Grand Forks and Devils Lake, Polar cable channel 10, and in high definition on Midcontinent and NDTC digital channel 608 and Polar digital channel 601. WDAZ is widely carried on cable in the Manitoba province south of the Interlake including Winnipeg, Portage la Prairie, Selkirk, Steinbach, Winkler and Kenora, Ontario. The station can be seen on Shaw cable channel 7 and MTS TV cable channel 13.
Owned by Forum Communications of Fargo, which also owns the Grand Forks Herald, WDAZ has facilities on South Washington Street in Grand Forks near Kmart and a news bureau and sales office on U.S. Highway 2 in Devils Lake.
Although operated as a separate station in its own right, WDAZ is actually considered a semi-satellite of WDAY-TV in Fargo. It clears all network and syndicated programming as provided through its parent but airs separate newscasts, station identifications, and commercial inserts. WDAY serves the southern portion of the Fargo/Grand Forks market while WDAZ serves the northern portion. The two stations often share news stories. Master control and some internal operations are based at WDAY's facilities in Fargo. The two stations are counted as a single unit for ratings purposes. DirecTV and Dish Network offer both WDAY and WDAZ.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|8.1||720p||16:9||WDAZABC||Main WDAZ-TV programming / ABC|
|8.3||WDAZ-WX||Storm Tracker/WDAY Radio|
Fargo CW, a CW affiliate is carried on a digital subchannel of WDAY (channel 6.2 PSIP) and WDAZ (channel 8.2 PSIP). Fargo CW is offered on CableOne cable channel 8 in the Fargo-Moorhead area. It can be seen on Midcontinent cable channel 14 in Fargo, Moorhead, Devils Lake and most other areas. It can be seen on Midcontinent cable channel 7 in the Grand Forks area.
WDAZ has broadcast exclusively in digital since February 17, 2009.
WDAZ went on the air for the first time on February 8, 1967 as a semi-satellite of WDAY-TV. Unlike the other Fargo stations, WDAY-TV does not put a strong signal into Grand Forks and the northern part of the market. It must conform its signal to protect CBC Television station CBWT in Winnipeg, which is also on channel 6. As a result, WDAY-TV only provided grade B coverage to most of Grand Forks, and could not be seen at all in much of the northern part of the market. WDAZ was signed on to fill this coverage gap.
Originally an NBC affiliate, it switched to ABC along with sister station WDAY-TV in May 1983; KTHI-TV (now KVLY-TV) became the new NBC affiliate. As a result, KTHI was removed from the terrestrial cable television service in southwestern Manitoba (which already had an NBC affiliate in KMOT in Minot), and Saskatchewan (which carried NBC via KUMV in Williston). WDAZ continues to be carried on Canadian cable along with the PBS member Prairie Public Television network (via Grand Forks outlet KGFE) in southern Manitoba, while other North Dakota broadcasts were replaced with Detroit and/or Toledo, Ohio stations. WDAZ even maintained a sales office in Winnipeg. In 1986, WDAZ was nearly dropped from cable in Winnipeg. After the crisis, WDAZ and KGFE/Prairie Public set up a fixed microwave link to carry stronger signals into Winnipeg.
WDAY/WDAZ began operating cable-only WB affiliate "WBFG" in 1998. This was on channel 8, 7 or 14 on most systems in eastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota. WDAY/WDAZ replaced "WBFG" with new digital broadcast subchannels WDAY 6.2 and WDAZ 8.2 simulcasting The CW after the new network launched in the fall of 2006. The CW was only available over the air on WDAY until WDAZ switched to digital in 2009. Fargo CW also carries programming from The CW Plus.
Programming & Sports coverage
WDAZ is also known for its coverage of University of North Dakota athletics. The station produces telecasts in conjunction with the University of North Dakota both for its own airwaves and a cable network known as the University of North Dakota Sports Network (formerly the Fighting Sioux Sports Network). This network, also known as UNDSN (formerly FSSN), broadcasts UND hockey, football, and basketball games which are distributed on cable television by Midcontinent Communications and other cable systems in North Dakota, Minnesota, and South Dakota. The UND Sports Network is also available all across the North American continent via Free-To-Air satellite. WDAZ Sports Director Pat Sweeney handles play-by-play commentating on UNDSN.
A weekly program based on the athletics of the University of North Dakota, called Sioux Sports Extra, plays highlights and analysis for the school's football and basketball teams, along with interviews and previews. WDAZ formerly broadcast a political talk show called Agenda, which was primarily on local and regional issues.
WDAZ produces local newscasts on Monday through Fridays at 5 pm, 6 p.m., and 10 pm, The morning newscast, First News (Monday through Friday 5 am to 7 am), and weekend newscasts originate from WDAY-TV. Longtime WDAZ personalities include news anchors Milo Smith and Terry Dullum, and sports anchor Pat Sweeney. Chuck Bundlie was the station's first news director and anchor, serving from 1967–1992.
Since WDAZ does not operate an in-house weather department of its own, all weather segments are tape-delayed at WDAY's studios Unlike most ABC affiliates, WDAZ does not air midday news during the week. For many years, WDAZ also produced weekend newscasts. However, cutbacks in 2010 have resulted in WDAZ's weekend newscasts being merged with those of WDAY, and weekend newscasts are now simulcast with WDAY.
As a whole, as of November 2012, WDAY/WDAZ has been the ratings leader, with KVLY being the runner-up; WDAY and WDAZ counted as one station for ratings and regulatory purposes (Fargo and Grand Forks are in the same Nielsen TV market). However, WDAZ has historically been well ahead of KVLY in the ratings for the northern part of the market. This is largely because it is the only station airing local news for Grand Forks and the northern part of the market. The station has claimed to have more people in Grand Forks watching its newscasts than its competitors (KVLY/KXJB and KBRR) combined.
Other stations have attempted to gain a foothold in local news for the Grand Forks area. KXJC-LP 35, a former sister station to area CBS affiliate KXJB-TV, began airing 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. local newscasts on weekdays in 2001 until its shutdown in 2003.
WDAZ is noted for being nationally honored with the prestigious Edward R. Murrow Award for Continuing Coverage during the Red River Flood of 1997. In February 2007, the station became an internet meme on YouTube for its report on the emo music and clothing trend.
On February 22, 2012, WDAZ began presenting its local newscasts in 16:9 widescreen standard definition, while the morning and weekend newscasts originating from WDAY are presented in high definition. WDAZ has stated that its locally produced newscasts will become presented in high definition during the fall of 2013.
- The 10:00 Report (1980s)
- WDAZ NewsCenter 8 (1986–1999)
- WDAZ News (1999–2010)
- WDAZ 8 News (2010–present)
- "Your Home Team" (1999–present)
+ denotes WDAY-TV personnel
- + Travis Skonseng – weekday mornings First News
- Terry Dullum – weeknights at 5 pm; also producer
- Stacie Van Dyke – weeknights at 5 pm
- Rob Hudson – weeknights at 6 and 10 pm (starting August 27, 2012)
- Molly Thorvilson – weeknights at 6 and 10 pm; also producer
- + Katie Lange – weekend evenings; also weeknight reporter
- + Todd Kurtz – weekend evenings; also weeknight reporter
- + John Wheeler – chief meteorologist; weeknights at 5, 6 and 10 pm
- + Daryl Ritchison – meteorologist; weekday mornings First News
- + Aaron White- Weekend Meteorologist
- Pat Sweeney – sports director; weeknights at 6 and 10 pm
- Dan Corey – Assistant Sports Director
- + Jody Norstedt – sports anchor; weekend evenings
- Adam Ladwig – Devils Lake reporter
- Melanie Orlins
- David Schwab
- Kayla Strayer
- Rob Horken – station manager
- Brian Gendreau – sports photographer
- Rick Abbott – web producer
- Nate Millard – engineer
- Scott Gingerich – engineer
- Jeff Awes – engineer
- Jim Johnson – production director
- Darren Lien – production director
Although WDAZ broadcasts in a small market that reaches only 82,000 television households, the station is also carried on Shaw Communications and MTS TV in southern Manitoba, including the Winnipeg area, reaching an additional 256,000 homes. Winnipeg is the center of a market with over 1 million people—more than three times the entire population of WDAZ's American coverage area (and indeed double the entire population of the Fargo/Grand Forks market).
WDAZ and Prairie Public Television are the only stations from this region that still air in Manitoba, after KVLY-TV (formerly KTHI) and KXJB were replaced with other network affiliates in March 1986. This was due to a Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission decision that allowed the Winnipeg cable companies to replace the CBS and NBC affiliates with Detroit stations because of complaints about poor reception, but denied them the ability to replace WDAZ with WXYZ or PPTV with WTVS (although this station would later be added as a second PBS station to cable customers). Shaw Cable airs WDAZ on cable channel 7 and MTS TV airs WDAZ on cable channel 13.
WDAZ can also be seen over the air in extreme southern Manitoba, and in southern parts of Winnipeg, with a rooftop antenna. WDAZ's over-the-air signal is spotty at best in Manitoba, as its transmitter is more than 100 miles (160 kilometers) from Winnipeg.
Advertising from Winnipeg businesses sometimes air on the station, although this is sometimes ineffective due to simultaneous substitution. This practice requires Shaw and MTS to replace WDAZ's signal with that of a Winnipeg station (usually either CKY-TV or CKND-TV) whenever the same program and episode airs at the same time. Because WDAZ is carried on cable in southern Manitoba, it has become somewhat of a regional superstation.
WDAZ-TV tower mast
WDAZ-TV broadcasts from a 445.2 meter (1,460.2 feet) high guy-wired aerial mast, making it the third tallest tower in North Dakota after the KVLY-TV tower and KXJB-TV tower. The tower is located in Dahlen, North Dakota, roughly located between Grand Forks and Devils Lake. The tower was also used by KGFE of Grand Forks until an ice storm damaged equipment in 2004.
WDAZ serves its large coverage area with three translators. All are owned by local municipalities.
- WDAZ website
- Fargo CW
- Tower site photos on endmilled.com
- WDAZ-TV ABC Grand Forks - LyngSat Address
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WDAZ
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WDAZ-TV