|This article needs additional citations for verification. (November 2012)|
|Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas
|City of license||Dallas, Texas|
|Branding||WFAA-TV Channel 8,
News 8, News 8 HD (newscasts)
|Slogan||The Spirit of Texas|
|Channels||Digital: 8 (VHF)
Virtual: 8 (PSIP)
8.2 The Local AccuWeather Channel
8.3 Justice Network
|First air date||September 17, 1949|
|Call letters' meaning||"Working For All Alike"|
|Former callsigns||KBTV (1949–1950)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
8 (VHF, 1949–2009)
9 (VHF, 1998–2009)
Paramount Television Network (1949)
|Transmitter power||55 kW|
|Public license information:||Profile
WFAA, virtual channel and VHF digital channel 8, is an ABC-affiliated television station serving the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex that is licensed to Dallas, Texas, United States. The station is owned by the Gannett Company. WFAA maintains offices and primary studio facilities located at the WFAA Communications Center Studios on 606 Young Street in downtown Dallas (next to the offices of former sister newspaper The Dallas Morning News); the station operates a secondary studio facility (which is used for WFAA's newscasts) located at the Victory Park development next to the American Airlines Center; the station maintains transmitter facilities located south of Belt Line Road in Cedar Hill.
WFAA is the largest ABC affiliate by market size that is not owned and operated by the network, as well as one of only two television stations in the Dallas-Fort Worth market (along with CW affiliate KDAF (channel 33)) that is not owned by its affiliated network and the largest affiliate of any of the "Big Four" networks (ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox) not to be owned by that respective network.
The station formerly served as a default ABC affiliate for the Sherman-Ada market from April 1998 to May 2010, when NBC affiliate KTEN (which dropped its secondary affiliation with the network in the former month) launched an ABC-affiliated digital subchannel; despite this, WFAA remains available on cable providers in the southern half of the market (including Ardmore, Durant and Hugo, Oklahoma).
The station first signed on the air on September 17, 1949 as KBTV; it originally operated as a primary affiliate of the DuMont Television Network and a secondary affiliate of the short-lived Paramount Television Network (which the station agreed to air 4.75 hours of that network's programming each week in 1949). The station was founded by the Lacy-Potter TV Broadcasting Company, which was partially controlled by Texas oil magnate Tom Potter. It was the third television station to sign on in Texas (behind Fort Worth's WBAP-TV (channel 5, now KXAS-TV); and Houston's KLEE-TV (now KPRC-TV)), the second station in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, and the first to be licensed to Dallas. Local businessman Karl Hoblitzelle, owner of Interstate Circuit Theatres, originally filed an application to operate a station on channel 8 on October 23, 1944; he planned to operate the station out of the Republic Bank Building in downtown Dallas, before the FCC awarded Potter the channel 8 license. At its launch, KBTV had broadcast for only four hours a day.
On March 21, 1950, in the midst of a four-year television license freeze imposed by the Federal Communications Commission that began in 1948, the A.H. Belo Corporation purchased KBTV from Lacy-Potter for $575,000; the sale received FCC approval on March 13, 1950. On March 21, three days after the company took control of the station, Belo changed its call letters to WFAA-TV to match its new radio partner WFAA (570 AM, now KLIF). The WFAA calls reportedly stood for "Working For All Alike," although the radio station later billed itself as the "World's Finest Air Attraction" (the KBTV call letters were later used from 1953 to 1983 by what is now present-day sister station KUSA in Denver, Colorado, and are currently used by a Fox-affiliated station in Beaumont). WFAA is one of the few television stations located west of the Mississippi River whose call letters begin with a "W"; the FCC normally assigns call letters that begin with the "K" prefix to stations west of the river, and "W" as a prefix east of the Mississippi; the radio station's callsign, where the WFAA calls for the television station came from, predated this FCC policy. The station was Belo's first television property and until it merged with the Gannett Company in 2013, served as the Dallas-based company's flagship station. WFAA originally operated from studios located at Harry Hines and Wolf Street, north of downtown.
In 1950, WFAA switched its primary affiliation to NBC, and also affiliated with ABC on a secondary basis. DuMont shut down in 1955 after various issues that arose from its relations with Paramount; WFAA lost its NBC affiliation on September 1, 1957 when WBAP-TV boosted its signal to cover Dallas; Belo had attempted to get an exclusive NBC affiliation first, but it was awarded to WBAP-TV, leaving WFAA as an exclusive ABC affiliate. In 1958, WFAA became the first station in the market to use a videotape recorder for broadcasting purposes, eventually becoming one of the first television stations in the U.S. to convert its news footage to videotape in the 1970s. During the 1958–59 television season, WFAA served as the taping location for Jack Wyatt's ABC crime/police reality show, Confession, in which assorted criminals explain why they rejected the mores of society and turned to crime. The station's operations moved downtown on April 2, 1961 to the state-of-the-art WFAA Communications Center Studios on Young Street (the former studio facilities were subsequently purchased for use by educational station KERA-TV (channel 13)). In 1974, Texas state senator Jim Wade unsuccessfully tried to convince the FCC to strip Belo of its license to operate WFAA-TV and have the channel 8 license awarded to him.
In 1984, WFAA debuted one of the most successful station image campaigns in the United States with its "Spirit of Texas" promotions that focused on the region's cultural heritage, accompanied by a news music package that was composed by James R. Kirk of TM Productions. The "Spirit" theme was used for the station's newscasts until 1991. All of the news themes WFAA commissioned after that carried the TM Productions theme's seven-note musical signature (including the "WFAA 1992 News Theme" used from 1992 to 1996; "The Spirit" from 1996 to 2000, the "Custom WFAA-TV News Package" from 2000 to 2004, a variation of the Arnold's "News Matrix" from 2004 to 2005 and "Evolution" from 2004 to 2007 – all four of which were composed by McKinney-based Stephen Arnold Music; and the 615 Music-composed "Propulsion" since 2006). In addition to its use by WFAA, the "Spirit" image campaign and slogan was adapted by some of its Belo-owned sister stations (such as KHOU, KIII, WVEC, WWL-TV and KXTV) and by television stations owned by other companies, sometimes in conjunction with its accompanying theme (Houston sister station KHOU used the original TM-composed theme from 1986 to 1989 with its themes since then also using the "Spirit" signature including the custom John Hegner-composed "American Spirit", which was used from 1994 to 2000). The signature was dropped after three decades on August 27, 2014; when WFAA switched to Gannett's standardized "This is Home" package.
WFAA became the first television station in the United States to broadcast a digital signal on a VHF channel (on channel 9) on February 27, 1997 at 2:17 p.m.; the following day, it became the nation's first television station to broadcast a local news program in high definition. When the station's digital signal signed on, its channel 7 frequency was already in use by Dallas hospitals, causing interference with medical equipment. Most of WFAA's news programming (with the exception of the 10:00 p.m. newscast) is broadcast from a secondary studio facility in the Victory Park district that opened in 2000.
In 2008, Belo decided to split its broadcasting and newspaper interests into separate companies. WFAA remained with the broadcasting side, which retained the Belo Corporation name, while the newspapers (including The Dallas Morning News) were spun off to the similarly named A.H. Belo Corporation. Former corporate cousins WFAA and The News maintained a news partnership through the end of 2013.
On June 13, 2013, the Gannett Company announced that it would acquire Belo for $2.2 billion. The deal was granted FCC approval on December 20, and was finalized on December 23. As a result, WFAA became Gannett's largest television station by market size (supplanting Washington, D.C. sister station WUSA-TV, which has been owned by the company since 1986); it also marked channel 8's first ownership change in 63 years. Despite the news graphics package overhaul in late August 2014 to match Gannett's mandated look, the station's long-time slogan The Spirit of Texas is still used sparingly in some of their commercials.
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|8.1||1080i||16:9||WFAA||Main WFAA programming / ABC|
|8.2||480i||WFAA-2||The Local AccuWeather Channel|
WFAA also operates a Mobile DTV feed of subchannel 8.1, broadcasting at 1.83 Mbit/s. The station is one of a handful of ABC affiliates that transmits its main channel in the 1080i high definition resolution format; most of ABC's other owned-and-operated stations and affiliates broadcast their main channels in the network's designated 720p format.
Digital subchannel 8.2 previously carried "News 8 Now" (formerly known as "Xpress 8.2"), which featured weather radar imagery, regular news updates and headlines on a crawl, and occasional live programming (including content from ABC News Now). The subchannel was also used for special programming, especially during hurricane season; it was used to relay coverage from New Orleans sister station WWL-TV for Hurricanes Katrina in August 2005 and Gustav in 2008; and Houston sister station KHOU for Hurricane Ike in 2008. In addition to the weather radar feed, it broadcast audio from local NOAA Weather Radio station KEC56, with fellow NOAA stations KEC55 in Fort Worth and KXI87 in Corsicana used as alternate feeds. On April 30, 2011, the subchannel became an affiliate of The Local AccuWeather Channel.
Digital subchannel 8.3 originally carried This TV until November 8, 2010. WFAA placed the Live Well Network in the 8.3 slot the following day (This TV was moved to KDAF digital subchannel 33.3 on December 7, 2010 as a result of its affiliation deal with Tribune Broadcasting – which now owns 50% of the network).
WFAA shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 8, at 12:03 p.m., 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 relocated from its pre-transition VHF channel 9 to former VHF analog channel 8. Immediately before WFAA's analog signal shut down, a retrospetive of the station's history (as narrated by Pete Delkus) aired, followed by a video of the station's sign-off used in the 1970s.
On December 23, 2009, WFAA filed an application to the FCC to increase its effective radiated power (ERP) from a 45 kW with an omni-directional antenna to a 55 kW with a directional antenna. The reason for the power increase is because some over-the-air viewers are having difficulty receiving the station's signal on channel 8.
Syndicated programs broadcast by WFAA include Inside Edition, Family Feud, The Insider, Private Practice and Entertainment Tonight. Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune aired on channel 8 for several years starting in the 1980s. After 18 years in the 6:30 p.m. slot, WFAA dropped Wheel, as well as Jeopardy!, in the fall of 2005 (both moved to CBS owned-and-operated station KTVT (channel 11)), with the latter being replaced by Entertainment Tonight (which had aired following Nightline prior to the change). The station also produces the talk and lifestyle program Good Morning Texas, which airs weekday mornings at 9:00 a.m.; the program, which debuted in 1998, served as the basis for other similarly formatted late morning talk shows that debuted on its sister stations while under Belo ownership.
WFAA carries the majority of ABC's network schedule; however, as an affiliate that is not owned by the network itself, WFAA may occasionally preempt some ABC primetime shows to run locally produced specials; ABC programs that were preempted or otherwise interrupted by breaking news or severe weather coverage are tape delayed to air in overnight timeslots, although the station's personnel gives viewers the option to watch the shows on ABC's website the following day. Historically, the station has either pre-empted certain network programs or aired them out of pattern. Under the stewardship of general manager Mike Shapiro during the 1960s and 1970s, WFAA pre-empted certain films broadcast by ABC that management deemed too risque for broadcast; beginning in 1970, it was one of a handful of ABC stations that did not carry American Bandstand opting to air public service programming instead. Because of its hour-long midday newscast – which airs at 12:00 p.m. – WFAA has aired programming scheduled during that hour nationally on a day-behind basis at 11:00 a.m.: All My Children aired in that slot until September 27, 2011, when it was replaced by current 11:00 a.m. slotholder The Chew.
Until it was discontinued by ABC in September 2011, WFAA aired several programs within the ABC Kids Saturday morning block significantly out of pattern. A double run of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers aired on a one-week delay from 5:00 to 6:00 a.m. until ABC dropped the program on August 28, 2010, instead of the network's "live"-fed slot of 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. The Emperor's New School and The Replacements aired during the 11:00 a.m. hour instead on a three-hour delay from its recommended 8:00-9:00 a.m. timeslot; the remaining two hours aired in pattern "live" from the ABC feed. The station now carries the Litton's Weekend Adventure block on a one-hour delay from its "live feed", due the Saturday edition of News 8 Daybreak. Until September 12, 2011, WFAA aired Jimmy Kimmel Live! a half-hour later than its then-recommended 11:00 p.m. Central timeslot, due to syndicated programs that the station aired in the timeslot. The station currently airs This Week on a half-hour delay as its Sunday morning newscast runs for 90 minutes and airs the Saturday edition of Good Morning America one hour earlier than most ABC stations (airing it at 6:00 a.m. via the live Eastern Time Zone feed rather than on tape delay).
WFAA presently broadcasts 35½ hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with six hours on weekdays, three hours on Saturdays and 2½ hours on Sundays). In addition, the station produces two Sunday evening sports programs: the highlight program Dale Hansen's Sports Special (hosted by longtime sports director Dale Hansen), and High School Sports Special (hosted by weekend sports anchor Joe Trahan and airing during the school year). WFAA also operates a news helicopter called HD Chopper 8 (formerly known as Telecopter 8), which still features the 1984 to 1996 dual-outlined "8" logo on its underside. The station maintains bureaus in Collin County at Dr. Pepper Ballpark, and in Tarrant County near downtown Fort Worth; both bureaus house a few reporters, but are rarely used for filming. WFAA is one of the few television stations not using the First Warning broadcast weather alert system; a text display of the warning type and the affected counties is instead shown at the top of the screen when severe weather alerts are in effect for the viewing area.
WFAA's 10:00 p.m. newscast, known as The News 8 Update, is typically the market's most-watched late evening newscast, and its 5:00 and 6:00 p.m. newscasts are typically the area's most-watched early evening local newscasts. However, the station's ratings have suffered in recent years; WFAA's 10:00 p.m. newscast slid from first place for the November 2010 sweeps to a relatively distant second during the February 2011 sweeps period with total viewers and with adults 25-54 (its first fall from first place in that slot as well as at 6:00 p.m. in total viewers for the first time in at least three decades). WFAA's only #1 finish during the latter period was at 5:00 p.m. in total viewers (it lost to KDFW in the adult 25-54 demographic), aided by its Oprah lead-in. The station was in last place overall in among adults 25 to 54 for the first time in at least 30 years.
During the May 2011 sweeps period, the 10:00 p.m. news regained its position as the market's #1 late newscast in total viewers and adults 25-54; its morning newscast placed third in both demographics, while the 5:00 and 6:00 p.m. newscasts placed first in the early evening slot (aided by the outgoing Oprah) in total viewers and second (behind KDFW) in the 25- to 54-year-old demographic.
WFAA was the first station to break the news of President John F. Kennedy's assassination on November 22, 1963, which occurred about two blocks north of the station's studios near Dealey Plaza, outside the Texas School Book Depository. The station conducted the first live television interview with Abraham Zapruder, who shot the famous film of the assassination. During the course of the interview with Zapruder, WFAA announcer Jay Watson intimated that the film was to be developed in the station's film lab; however, WFAA did not possess the ability to process the Kodachrome II 8 mm safety film from Zapruder's camera. WFAA and its live remote unit fed much of the coverage of the assassination and its aftermath to ABC over the next four days. The shooting of accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald by Jack Ruby in the basement of Dallas police headquarters, however, was not broadcast live (as on NBC) or on tape (as on CBS one minute later) by WFAA and ABC as their live truck was positioned elsewhere at the time. ABC was therefore only able to show delayed newsreel footage of the historic event. WFAA had purchased a fully equipped, live broadcast studio truck prior to the assassination of JFK, but the truck was not rolled out for the parade through downtown Dallas. In the aftermath of the murder, the staff was told the cost would have been too great for the news department to compensate the production facility for its use.
As local television news grew into a more polished presentation, WFAA became known as a groundbreaking station in broadcast journalism as well as for many technological advancements including the first computerized newsroom; and being the market's first station to use a helicopter for newsgathering, live trucks, microwave for live broadcast and the use of satellite uplink trucks for broadcasts from around the state and nation. WFAA was the first U.S. television station to make use of international satellite capacity, broadcasting a live program (anchored by the late Murphy Martin) from Paris, France in 1969, consisting of interviews with wives of American POWs in Vietnam. It was perhaps the first in the nation to broadcast videotaped field reports (film was used almost exclusively in local news until the late 1970s and early 1980s), televising the arrival of President Richard Nixon at Dallas Love Field within 30 minutes of his arrival in 1969 (a Sony reel-to-reel video recorder made for home use was pressed into service for this broadcast presented on a regular, midnight newscast). WFAA uncovered significant stories in the 1980s including information that would lead to the Southern Methodist University football team being given the "death penalty" in the mid-1980s, as well as the first major media investigation into the America's Savings & Loan scandal rooted in Texas.
WFAA-TV began its rise to news dominance in Dallas during the late 1960s and early 1970s under the leadership of news manager Travis Linn, who had previously served as news director for WFAA radio. Linn later became Dallas bureau chief for CBS News before becoming professor and dean of the journalism program at the University of Nevada–Reno. Under Linn, the station expanded news to 4½ hours per day, including a large morning block (before the creation of Good Morning America by ABC) and an unprecedented one-hour program at 10 p.m. each weeknight as well as a 15-minute newscast at midnight four nights a week. Building on this success, WFAA dominated the market's local news ratings from the mid-1970s through the late 1990s, with anchors including Tracy Rowlett, Iola Johnson, Bob Gooding, Murphy Martin, Judi Hanna, John Criswell, Chip Moody, John McCaa, Gloria Campos, Lisa McRee, Verne Lundquist, Dale Hansen and Troy Dungan. Channel 8's approach to news during this period was characterized by an aggressive, all-out commitment to get the story and to present it in graphic, visual detail. The station was rewarded with some of the highest ratings of any local station in a major media market.
Other notable people who once worked at Channel 8 include Scott Pelley (now anchor of the CBS Evening News), the late David Garcia (who went on to become a network reporter for ABC News), Mike Lee (who covered news in Europe for many years at ABC News' London bureau), Doug Terry (who became a founding reporter/producer at NPR's All Things Considered and created several Washington-based television news services), and the late Don Harris (who, while working for NBC News at the time, was killed at the start of the Jonestown massacre and mass suicides in Guyana in 1978). Former news director turned Belo vice president/news H. Martin "Marty" Haag is credited with leading the station's news department to ratings dominance and national prominence, as well as convincing the Dallas Morning News ownership to allow much greater spending on news at WFAA than ever seen before, far surpassing the budgets of other local rival stations. Haag was honored with a special Lifetime Achievement George Foster Peabody Award shortly before his death in 2004. WFAA pioneered community outreach with town hall meetings all over north Texas through its Family First (F1) program. Family First began in 1994 and remains a significant part of the station's commitment to community service.
Since 1986, WFAA's news department has won six Peabody Awards, with a seventh awarded personally to Marty Haag, WFAA's executive news director from 1973 to 1989 and a Belo Corporation executive afterward. WFAA was honored with Peabody Awards in 1986 (for an investigative report that led to the Southern Methodist University Mustangs' "death penalty" sanction by the NCAA), 1995 (for The Peavy Investigation, a "revealing series of reports into insurance purchases involving the Dallas Independent School District... centered on the chairman of the Board of Education's Committee on Insurance"), 2002 (for the investigative report series Fake Drugs, Real Lives, about confidential informants who worked with Dallas police that planted powdered Sheetrock or billiard chalk near unsuspecting Mexican immigrants to "contrive drug cases"), 2004 (for State of Denial, a long-running series into improprieties in the Texas Workers Compensation Commission, part of the Texas Department of Insurance), 2007 (for four separate investigative stories Money for Nothing (about a major U.S. financial institution that made loans to non-existent companies in Mexico), "The Buried and the Dead" (on the safety issues of pipelines carrying gas into homes), "Television Justice" (about regional law-enforcement officers who collaborated with news crews to produce a primetime television program) and "Kinder Prison" (on the deplorable conditions at a juveline detention facility)) and 2010 (for "Bitter Lessons," an investigation into government-funded career schools).
WFAA began broadcasting its newscasts and other local programs in high definition on February 2, 2007, becoming the first station in the market to regularly air its newscasts in HD. In 2009, WFAA became the first local station to receive the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award's Gold Baton, for its commitment to Investigative journalism; reporters Byron Harris and Brett Shipp were recognized for investigative reports about corruption and waste at the Export-Import Bank of the United States, grade changing for failing high school athletes, and dangers posed by aging gas pipeline couplings. Among the Dallas Independent School District high schools exposed by their investigations were South Oak Cliff High School and Roosevelt High School. The pipeline-couplings investigation was featured in an episode of the PBS documentary series, Exposé: America's Investigative Reports, entitled "Beneath the North Texas Dirt." On September 12, 2013, WFAA debuted an hour-long weekday 4:00 p.m. newscast, competing with KXAS and KTVT's hour-long newscasts in that slot.
On Wednesday August 27, 2014, News 8 debut a new set of graphics as mandated by the station's new owner Gannett, along with the new This Is Home theme.
Notable current on-air staff
- Ron Corning – weekday mornings anchor
- John McCaa – weeknights anchor; also reporter
- Pete Delkus (AMS and NWA Seals of Approval) – chief meteorologist; weeknights
- Julie Bologna – weekend mornings meteorologist
- Dale Hansen – sports director; weeknights; also host of Dale Hansen's Sports Special
Notable former on-air staff
- Ralph Baker Jr. - host of The Group And Chapman and Sump'n Else (1964–1970; was also was at KLIF-AM during the same years; later with KRLD radio and KTEN in Sherman, Texas, also was a model for Sanger-Harris and the Kim Dawson Agency)
- Ron Chapman - host of The Group And Chapman and Sump'n Else (1964–1968; was with KLIF-AM at the same, left WFAA for KVIL)
- Aaron Chimbel - mobile journalist (2006-2009; now a journalism professor at TCU)
- Lin Sue Cooney - anchor/reporter (1980–1984; now at KPNX in Phoenix)
- Troy Dungan - chief weathercaster (1976–2007; later at KTXD-TV)
- Bill Evans - meteorologist (1987–1989; now at WABC-TV in New York City)
- Shon Gables - Daybreak weekend co-anchor (2010-2014)
- Chris Gailus - Daybreak co-anchor (2000–2003; now at CHAN-DT in Vancouver)
- David Garcia - weekend anchor/reporter (1965–1968; later with ABC and KPSP-TV in Palm Springs, California; deceased)
- Leeza Gibbons - reporter (early 1980s)
- Don Harris - reporter/anchor (1967-?; became NBC News reporter, killed in Guyana in 1978)
- Brad Hawkins - Daybreak anchor (now with Southwest Airlines)
- Jerry Haynes - host of Peppermint Place, WFAA's local morning show The Early Show, Dallas Bandstand and The Julie Bennell Show (1949–1970 and 1975–1996)
- Jackie Hyland - Daybreak anchor/reporter (2005–2007; now an anchor at WRAL-TV in Raleigh, North Carolina)
- Iola Johnson - anchor (1973–1985; last with KTXA as host of Positively Texas)
- Andrea Joyce - sports reporter (1987–1988; later with ESPN, CBS Sports and NBC Sports)
- Verne Lundquist - sports anchor (1967–1983; now at CBS Sports)
- Bill Macatee - sports anchor - now at CBS Sports
- Lisa McRee - anchor/reporter (1989–1991)
- Russ Mitchell - anchor (1983–1985, now with WKYC in Cleveland)
- Bill O'Reilly (now host of Fox News Channel's The O'Reilly Factor)
- Scott Pelley - reporter (1982–1989; now at CBS News as anchor of the CBS Evening News)
- Pablo Pereira - meteorologist (now with KTTV in Los Angeles)
- Robyne Robinson - reporter (1985–1987; last at KMSP-TV in Minneapolis)
- Dan Ronan - reporter (2003–2007; now senior director of communications at the American Bus Association in Washington D.C.)
- Tracy Rowlett - anchor (1974–1999; later at KTXD-TV)
- Rene Syler - anchor/reporter (1992–1997; left for KTVT, last with CBS' The Early Show)
- Doug Terry - reporter/anchor (1966-1970; a founding reporter/producer at NPR in Washington, D.C., writer, technologist, photographer, poet)
- Paula Zahn - reporter (1978–1979; later went to CNN)
Radio station WFAA-AM signed on the air on June 26, 1922. Moving around the AM dial, as most stations did in the 1920s and 1930s, the station settled into a permanent spot at 570 AM by 1938, while splitting time with WBAP at its clear-channel frequency of 820. It was the longest timeshare agreement in the U.S., starting in 1929 and concluding on April 27, 1970 and was a somewhat bizarre situation that had the stations switching back and forth between the 570 and 820 frequencies at various times of the day. WBAP radio would broadcast on 820 AM from midnight to 6:00 a.m., with WFAA taking over until noon. WBAP returned to the 820 signal for a few hours, before WFAA once again took over the frequency. WFAA had the signal during prime evening hours when the 50,000 watt signal could often be heard as far west as California and as far east as New York (there were many fewer radio stations on at night, reducing interference).
WFAA-AM was the first network-affiliated station in Texas (initially aligning with the NBC Blue Network on April 2, 1923; later with Texas Quality Network, then to ABC – until August 1, 1975 – and CBS thereafter), the first U.S. station to carry educational programs, the first to produce a serious radio drama series, the first to air a state championship football game, and the first to broadcast a presidential inaugural ceremony. WFAA-AM was home to the long-running morning program, "The Early Birds", hosted by John Allen; as well as programs such as "Hymns We Love"; "Saturday Night Shindig"; "The Big D Jamboree"; "Murray Cox RFD"; "Slo-and-Ezy"; and later, "57 Nostalgia Place." After many years of an entertainment/variety format, the station flipped to Middle of the Road in 1970, before later switching to a Top 40 format. On November 9, 1976, the station made its final format change to news/talk (as "Newstalk 570").
WFAA-AM was initially located in a 9' x 9' tent on the roof of The Dallas Morning News, before moving to the Morning News library. It later moved to the Baker Hotel in Mineral Wells on October 1, 1925. The station then moved to facilities atop the Santa Fe Railroad Warehouse on Jackson Street in June 20, 1941 (the building still has "WFAA" clearly painted along a panel on the top floor); on April 4, 1961, it moved to the WFAA Communications Center at Young and Record Streets. On July 2, 1983, its calls were changed to KRQX.
WFAA-FM signed on October 5, 1946 as KERA-FM (no relation to the current radio and television station using those call letters); it was the first FM station to sign on in Texas; although its roots can be traced back to experimental FM station W5X1C, which signed on October 15, 1945, and another experimental trial dating back to 1939. By 1947, it had moved from its original frequency at 94.3 FM to a preferred location at 97.9 FM. With FM broadcasting in its infancy, WFAA-FM signed on and off the air for months and even for two years at a time before settling on a permanent broadcast schedule by 1965. Initially a simulcast of the AM station, it programmed a MOR and Beautiful Music format until 1973, when it changed to album oriented rock (AOR) as KZEW-FM (branded as "The Zoo") on September 16, 1973. Featuring talent such as John LaBella and John Rody ("LaBella and Rody"), George Gimarc, Charley Jones, Dave Lee Austin, John B. Wells, Nancy Johnson, John Dew, John Dillon, Doc Morgan and Tempie Lindsey, the station's concept and programming were initially under the direction of Ira Lipson. The FM station shared facilities with WFAA-AM on the second floor of the Communications Center building. Belo sold both KRQX and KZEW-FM on January 1, 1987; the FM station has since changed its calls to KBFB and maintains an urban contemporary format.
- Nelson, Bob (2008-10-18). "Call Letter Origins". The Broadcast Archive. Retrieved 2011-3-18.
- "Closed Captioning." WFAA. Retrieved on September 30, 2012. "Mailing Address WFAA-TV Channel 8 606 Young St Dallas, TX 75202"
- "Para Mapping Kine Network". Billboard: 13, 43. 1949-09-17.
- White, Timothy R. (1992). Hollywood's Attempt to Appropriate Television: The Case of Paramount Pictures. Ann Arbor, MI: UMI. pp. 107–131.
- Hal Erickson, Encyclopedia of Television Law Shows: Factual and Fictional Series about Judges, Lawyers and the Courtroom, 1948-2008. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland and Company, Inc., 2009. Retrieved December 7, 2010.
- WFAA-TV Fiftieth Anniversary
- Jean, Sheryl (2013-12-19). "The Dallas Morning News and Channel 5 form partnership". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved 2014-09-01.
- "Gannett to buy TV station owner Belo for $1.5B". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Associated Press. June 13, 2013. Retrieved June 13, 2013.
- "FCC OKs Gannett-Belo And Tribune-Local". TVNewsCheck. Retrieved 20 December 2013.
- Gannett Completes Its Acquisition of Belo, TVNewsCheck, Retrieved December 23, 2013
- RabbitEars TV Query for WFAA
- HDTV of WFAA |WFAA.com
- "Belo Adds ABC's Live Well Network" from broadcastingcable.com, 9/29/2010
- Channel 8 switches to digital signal - WFAA (released June 12, 2009)
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24.
- CDBS Print
- CBS11 and Fox4 dominate Feb. sweeps while once dominant WFAA8 takes a beating, UncleBarky.com, March 3, 2011.
- Fox4 paces May "sweeps" local newscast ratings, with WFAA8 also scoring points (with some sleight-of-hand trickery at 10 p.m.), UncleBarky.com, May 26, 2011.
- A list of WFAA's Peabody Awards, September 2014.
- 60th Annual Peabody Awards, May 2001.
- 46th Annual Peabody Awards, May 1987.
- 55th Annual Peabody Awards, May 1996.
- 62nd Annual Peabody Awards, May 2003.
- 64th Annual Peabody Awards, May 2005.
- 68th Annual Peabody Awards, May 2008.
- 70th Annual Peabody Awards, May 2011.
- Program Descriptions of 2009 duPont-Columbia Awards Winners from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism website
- DISD's Ron Price goes to DA about Channel 8 investigations from the Dallas ISD blog of The Dallas Morning News
- Grade-changing at Roosevelt High was widespread, says report from the WFAA website
- WFAA 8 readying first-ever 4 p.m. newscast opposite established hours on NBC 5 & CBS 11 Uncle Barky's Bytes, June 17, 2013.
- WFAA, Texas turns on the radio
- WFAA.com - Official website
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WFAA
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WFAA-TV
- Renovation of KBTV/WFAA Telecruiser vehicle
- DFW Radio/TV History