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WDEF logo
Chattanooga, Tennessee
Branding WDEF News 12
Slogan Local, Quick and to the Point
Channels Digital: 12 (VHF)
Subchannels 12.1 CBS
12.2 Bounce TV
Owner Morris Multimedia, Inc.
(WDEF-TV, Inc.)
First air date April 25, 1954; 59 years ago (1954-04-25)
Former channel number(s) Analog:
12 (1954-2009)
47 (2004-2009)
Former affiliations All secondary:
DuMont (1954–1955)
NBC (1954-1956)
ABC (1954-1958)
UPN (2004-2006)
Tuff TV (ON DT 2) 2009-2011
Transmitter power 26 kW
Height 384 m
Facility ID 54385
Transmitter coordinates 35°8′6″N 85°19′25″W / 35.13500°N 85.32361°W / 35.13500; -85.32361
Website www.wdef.com

WDEF–TV, channel 12, is the CBS affiliate television station for Chattanooga and the Tennessee Valley. The station, whose call letters came from its former AM and FM sister stations, is owned by Morris Multimedia. Its transmitter is located in Signal Mountain, Tennessee. On cable, WDEF-TV is carried on Comcast channel 13. Syndicated programming on WDEF includes: Judge Judy, Dr. Phil, The Insider, and The Andy Griffith Show.

Digital television[edit]

Channel Video Aspect Programming
12.1 1080i 16:9 Main WDEF-TV programming / CBS
12.2 480i 4:3 Bounce TV

WDEF's broadcasts have been digital-only since February 17, 2009.[1][2][3]


The station signed on the air on April 25, 1954, carrying programming from all four networks, though it has always been a primary CBS affiliate. It was owned by Joe Engel, who owned the Chattanooga Lookouts baseball team as well as WDEF radio (AM 1370 and FM 92.3). It took the CBS affiliation from WROM-TV (now WTVC, (channel 9). It lost NBC to WRGP-TV (now WRCB-TV) in 1956, and lost ABC to WTVC (the former WROM) in 1958. During the late 1950s, the station was also briefly affiliated with the NTA Film Network.[4]

For many years, WDEF was owned by Park Communications, which was bought by Media General in 1997. In 2006, Media General sold the station to Morris Multimedia.[5]


In its early years, WDEF was locally oriented, offering a mix of children's shows, talk and variety programs, including Point Of View, one of the longest–running local public–affairs programs in the United States.[6]

WDEF has been the local home of Tennessee Titans (based in Nashville) games since 1998 (when the team was still called the Oilers). This comes with its CBS affiliation, as CBS carries all National Football League games played in the afternoon that feature a road team from the American Football Conference, which the Titans play in.

News operation[edit]

WDEF newscast open seen nightly at 11

Luther Masingill is the station's best–known personality. He was discovered by Engel in 1940 and has been a fixture in Chattanooga broadcasting ever since. While hosting the morning show on WDEF-FM (as he has since 1941), he hosts the "Community Calendar" segment on WDEF–TV's morning newscast; he also advertises lost pets on channel 12's noon newscast.

Mort Lloyd was the station's top anchor from the station's inception in 1954 until 1958, when he moved to rival NBC affiliate WRGP-TV. He returned to the anchor chair at channel 12 from 1970 until he stepped down to run for Congress in 1974. He won the Democratic nomination, but died in a plane crash while en route to a victory celebration. His widow, Marilyn Lloyd, replaced him on the ballot and won in November, serving twenty years until 1995.

On April 4, 2009 beginning with the station's 11 p.m. newscast, WDEF-TV became the first station in the Chattanooga market to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition.

News/station presentation[edit]

Newscast titles[edit]

  • Chattanooga Newsreel (1950s)
  • The Tri-State Report (1969-1985)
  • NewsCenter 12 (1985-1992)
  • (WDEF) News 12 (1992–present)[7]

Station slogans[edit]

  • "New Tall Tower, More Picture Power" (1960s)
  • "Chattanooga's News Source" (1980s)
  • "People You Can Count On" (1995-1997)
  • "When Local News Comes First" (1997-2002)
  • "Local, Quick and to the Point" (2002–present)
Television.svg This film, television or video-related list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it with reliably sourced additions.

On-air staff[edit]

Current on-air staff[8][edit]


  • Alisha Searl - weekdays at noon; also reporter
  • Dreanne Newton - weekday mornings; also reporter
  • Joe Legge - weekday mornings; also reporter
  • John Mercer - weeknights at 6, 7 and 11 p.m.; also reporter
  • Amy Katcher - weeknights at 6, 7 and 11 p.m.
  • Erik Avanier - weekends at 11 p.m.; also reporter

Storm Team 12

  • Patrick Core (AMS Seal of Approval) - chief meteorologist; weeknights at 6, 7 and 11 p.m.
  • Chip Chapman - weather anchor; weekday mornings and weekdays at noon
  • Megan Wise - meteorologist; weekends at 11 p.m.

Sports team

  • Rick Nyman - sports director; weeknights at 6, 7 and 11 p.m.
  • Webb Wright - sports anchor; weekends at 11 p.m., also sports reporter


  • Luther Masingill - "Community Calendar" feature reporter
  • Bill Mitchell - general assignment reporter
  • Mandy Odom - general assignment reporter
  • Caitlyn Jones - general assignment reporter
  • James P Mahon - general assignment reporter


External links[edit]