WDRB News (newscasts)
|Channels||Digital: 49 (UHF)
Virtual: 41 (PSIP)
41.2 Antenna TV
|Owner||Block Communications, Inc.
(Independence Television Company)
|First air date||February 28, 1971|
|Call letters' meaning||DeRBy|
|Sister station(s)||WMYO, WBKI-TV|
|Former callsigns||WDRB-TV (1971–1997)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
41 (UHF, 1971–2009)
|Former affiliations||independent (1971–1987)|
|Transmitter power||1000 kW (digital)|
|Height||390.4 m (digital)|
WDRB, virtual channel 41 (UHF digital channel 49), is a Fox-affiliated television station located in Louisville, Kentucky, United States. The station is owned by Block Communications, as part of a duopoly with MyNetworkTV affiliate WMYO (channel 58) and is also a sister station to L.M. Communications, LLC-owned CW affiliate WBKI-TV (channel 34), which is operated by Block through a local marketing agreement. WDRB maintains studios on West Muhammad Ali Bloulevard (near Route 150) in downtown Louisville, and its transmitter is located in Floyds Knobs, Indiana.
WDRB signed on the air on February 28, 1971 as the first independent television station in the Louisville market. Airing low-budget afternoon children's programming and occasional news updates from anchor Wilson Hatcher, the station was best known in its early years for its shock-theater program Fright Night and afternoon children's host "Presto the Magic Clown." Fright Night showed low-budget horror movies (similar to The Shroud on WFFT-TV in Fort Wayne, Indiana); the program was hosted by local theater actor Charlie Kissinger and was unique in that it ran during Saturday prime time, directly competing against high-rated network programming. Presto the Magic Clown was a daily mix of cartoons, magic tricks, viewer participation and birthday greetings, all hosted by Bill "Presto" Dopp and his puppet sidekicks, J. Fred Frog and Hunny Bunny.
By 1976, WDRB was still signing on at 3 p.m. and had been running cartoons, westerns, outdoor shows and classic movies. By 1977, the station expanded its schedule earlier in the daytime by adding religious programs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. By 1979, WDRB began signing on daily at 7 a.m. By then, the station aired cartoons from 7 to 9 a.m., religious programs from 9 a.m. to noon, movies or westerns from noon to 3 p.m., cartoons from 3 to 5 p.m., classic sitcoms from 5 to 8 p.m., movies from 8 to 10 p.m. and a mix of sitcoms and drama shows after 10 p.m. until signoff.
After being acquired by Block Communications, Inc. of Toledo, Ohio in 1984, WDRB began adding stronger, more recent off-network sitcoms and dramas to its schedule, becoming a stronger independent station. On April 5, 1987, WDRB became a charter affiliate of the Fox network, on the date that the network expanded its programming nationally to primetime (prior to WDRB joining the network, Fox carried only a late night talk show, The Late Show, during its first year-and-a-half in existence). The station remains a Fox affiliate to this day, although between 1990 and 1999 WDRB shared the Fox affiliation in the Louisville market with Campbellsville-based WGRB (now CW affiliate WBKI-TV), which served the southern portions of the market before it moved its transmitter north to service more of the Louisville metropolitan area.
For many years, WDRB held the broadcast rights to University of Louisville football and basketball. WDRB currently broadcasts a number of games for University of Kentucky basketball. In the 1990s, WDRB moved away from older movies and classic sitcoms in favor of more talk and reality shows, due to changes in the industry. The cartoons would be dropped when Fox stopped offering its weekday kids lineup at the end of 2001, moving over to WFTE/WMYO until the discontinuation of 4KidsTV at the beginning of 2009.
On April 21, 2007, WDRB became the first Louisville station to televise the Kentucky Derby Festival's all-day "Thunder Over Louisville" air and fireworks show in high definition – at the time, one of the largest technical undertakings ever attempted by an American television station. That was followed by a second – even more elaborate – "Thunder" telecast in HD in April 2008.
The station began phasing out its longtime "Fox 41" branding in favor of simply branding by the WDRB call letters in May 2011. While this occurred shortly after sister station KTRV-TV in Boise, Idaho lost its Fox affiliation, the station chose to make the move in order to bring it in line with the other stations in Louisville (which have long branded with their call letters) and to distinguish the station from Fox News Channel; this deviates from the branding conventions required by Fox for its stations, although a few other Fox affiliates (such as KTVU and WSVN) forego use of the Fox brand within their on-air branding for news, general purposes or both.
This station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|41.1||720p||16:9||WDRB-DT||Main WDRB programming / Fox|
|41.2||480i||4:3||Ant. TV||Antenna TV|
In late 2010, Block Communications began testing digital subchannels on both WDRB and WMYO, and on or about January 30, 2011, launched Tribune Broadcasting's Antenna TV network over digital subchannel 41.2. WDRB-DT2 was added to Insight Communications systems in the area on digital channel 187 on April 20, 2011.
WDRB discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over UHF channel 41, 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 49. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 41.
WDRB presently broadcasts 43 hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with seven hours on weekdays and four hours each on Saturdays and Sundays); in regards to the number of hours devoted to news programming, it is the highest local newscast output among all broadcast television stations in the Louisville market as well as in the commonwealth of Kentucky in general. The station also produces an additional 2½ hours of local newscasts each week for CW affiliate WBKI in the form of a half-hour weeknight 7:00 p.m. newscast.
On March 12, 1990, WDRB launched its news department with the debut of The News at 10, a half-hour weeknight broadcast (which was later renamed Fox News at 10 and expanded to one hour[when?]), with weekend newscasts later added.[when?] Additional newscasts were added as the station's market position strengthened: first with the launch of the four-hour long Fox in the Morning and a midday newscast at 11:30 a.m. in 1999, followed by the debut of an hour-long 4:00 p.m. newscast in 2001.
The station is also one of the few stations in the nation to run a regular editorial segment, titled "Point of View", which is usually delivered twice weekly by WDRB/WMYO President and General Manager Bill Lamb. "Point of View" premiered in June 2002, introduced a weekly segment featuring phone responses from viewers in 2007 and has evolved into one of the community's most prominent opinion forums, featuring frequent guest editorials by a wide cross-section of community members.
In 2006, WDRB – in partnership with Norton Healthcare – became the first and only station in Louisville to offer real-time closed captioning on all of its newscasts, making 100% of the station's news content available to over 147,000 deaf or hard of hearing viewers in the market. Prior to this, only pre-written studio-originated content was closed-captioned, while reports from the field and breaking news stories were not.
On April 17, 2010, WDRB-TV became the second Louisville station to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition, although it is the first in the market with all aspects of the newscasts, including field reporting, studio and weather segments airing completely in the format. WAVE – which broadcasts from the studio in HD – continues to produce field pieces in widescreen standard definition, while WHAS and WLKY still broadcast in standard definition with the picture expanded to fill 16:9 widescreen dimensions.
On January 17, 2011, WDRB launched a weeknight-only early evening newscast at 6:30 p.m., which brought the station's weekday newscast output to seven hours a day (it is the only station in the U.S. to carry newscasts at 4:00 and 6:30 p.m. without newscasts in the 5:00–6:30 p.m. time period). On January 26, 2013, the station expanded its morning newscasts to weekends, with the debut of three-hour long newscasts on Saturdays and Sundays from 6:00 to 9:00 a.m.
In June 2013, WDRB gained notice in the television industry for a promo criticizing the broad, constant, general use of the term "breaking news" by other news stations (both in the market and around the United States); in the promo, WDRB explains that that "breaking news" has been overused as a "marketing ploy" by other stations, who tend to apply the term to stories that are low in urgency and/or relevance. To coincide with the promo, WDRB posted on its website "Contracts" with its viewers and advertisers, with the former list promising to judiciously use "breaking news" (applying the term to stories that are "both 'breaking' and "news'"), as well as a general promise to deliver news in a truthful, balanced, and informative manner and without overt hype and sensationalism.
- 41 Report (newsbriefs; 1971–1989)
- The News at 10 (1990–1996)
- Fox News aka Fox 41 News (1996–2011, still used sparingly)
- WDRB News (2011–present)
- WDRB Local Evening News (6:30 p.m. newscast; 2011–present)
- WDRB News on WBKI (7:00 p.m. newscast on WBKI, 2012–present)
- Lindsay Allen - weeknights at 6:30 and 7:00 p.m. (WBKI)
- Valerie Chinn - weekdays at 11:30 a.m.
- Candyce Clifft - weekday mornings on WDRB News in the Morning (5:00-9:00 a.m.)
- Rachel Collier - weekdays at 11:30 a.m.
- Gilbert Corsey - weekdays at 4:00 and 4:30 p.m.
- Kelly Davis - weekend mornings on WDRB News in the Morning (6:00-9:00 a.m.)
- Tamara Evans - weekends at 10:00 p.m.
- Ryan Cummings - weekends at 10:00 p.m.
- Sterling Riggs - weekday mornings on WDRB News in the Morning (5:00-9:00 a.m.)
- David Scott - weeknights at 6:30, 7:00 (WBKI) and 10:00 p.m.
- Chris Sutter - weekend mornings on WDRB News in the Morning (6:00-9:00 a.m.)
- Elizabeth Woolsey - weekdays at 4:00 and 4:30 and weeknights at 10:00 p.m.
- WDRB Weather
- Marc Weinberg (AMS Seal of Approval) - chief meteorologist; weekdays at 4:00 and 4:30 and weeknights at 6:30, 7:00 (WBKI) and 10:00 p.m.
- Rick DeLuca - meteorologist; weekend mornings on WDRB News in the Morning (6:00-9:00 a.m.)
- Jeremy Kappell (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval) - meteorologist; weekends at 10:00 p.m.; also general fill-in
- Jude Redfield (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist and NWA Seals of Approval) - meteorologist; weekday mornings on WDRB News in the Morning (5:00-9:00) and weekdays at 11:30 a.m.
- Sports team
- Tom Lane - sports director; weeknights at 6:30, 7:00 (WBKI) and 10:00 p.m.
- Steve Andress - sports anchor; weekends at 10:00 p.m., also sports reporter
- Rick Bozich - sports journalist; web stories and commentary, plus unspecified on-air duties
- Eric Crawford - sports journalist; web stories and commentary, plus unspecified on-air duties
- John Lewis - sports journalist; reporter and anchor
- Bill Francis - general assignment reporter
- Courtney Godfrey - general assignment reporter
- Stephan Johnson - general assignment reporter
- Keith Kaiser - weekday morning reporter
- Mike Marshall - weekday morning and afternoon traffic reporter
- Emily Mieure - general assignment reporter
- Lawrence Smith - general assignment reporter
- Danielle Lama - general assignment reporter
- Emily Mieure - general assignment reporter
- Chris Turner - general assignment reporter; also 10:00 p.m. executive producer
WDRB had previously been carried on many cable systems in nearby areas outside of the Louisville market, including the state capital of Frankfort. On January 1, 2012, WDRB was removed from most out-of-market cable systems when a new rule from Fox as part of their newest affiliation agreement forbade WDRB from being distributed on providers outside of the station's home market to protect the network's ratings, a source of conflict in several other market which have lost their secondary Fox affiliates from nearby markets. A few months after this, the outlines of Anderson and Franklin counties in Kentucky (the westernmost counties in the Lexington, Kentucky market) and Switzerland County in Indiana (in the Cincinnati, Ohio market) were removed from the station's weather mapping and alerts, making WDRB the only station in Louisville not recognizing the state capital as part of its viewing area.
- Bullard, Gabe (May 20, 2011). "WDRB Attempts to Renew Contract With Fox, Establish Own Identity". WFPL News. Retrieved May 21, 2011.
- RabbitEars TV Query for WDRB
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24.
- Louisville’s WDRB Adding 6:30 P.M. News, TVNewsCheck.com. Retrieved October 23, 2010.
- WDRB to Add Weekend Morning Newscasts, TVNewsCheck, October 30, 2012.
- "Louisville Station Stops Using 'Breaking News,'" from TVSpy, 6/4/2013
- WDRB-TV 1998 Open
- WDRB TV – WDRB LOCAL Evening News (6:30 PM) – News Open – 8/19/2011
- WDRB News Staff, WDRB.com. Retrieved July 20, 2013.
- "Bozich, Crawford leaving CJ and joining WDRB Sports" (Press release). WDRB. June 4, 2012. Retrieved June 5, 2012.
- Cable rates may go up, Frankfort State-Journal. Retrieved December 21, 2011.
- Official website
- Fright Night program info
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WDRB
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WDRB-TV