WFAA

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WFAA
WFAA 2013 Logo.png
DallasFort Worth, Texas
United States
City of license Dallas, Texas
Branding WFAA-TV Channel 8, Channel 8, WFAA-TV (general)
News 8, News 8 HD (newscasts)
Slogan The Spirit of Texas (primary)
Start Here (secondary)
Channels Digital: 8 (VHF)
Virtual: 8 (PSIP)
Subchannels (See article)
Affiliations ABC
The Local AccuWeather Channel (DT2)
Live Well Network (DT3)
Owner Gannett Company
(WFAA-TV, Inc.)
First air date September 17, 1949; 64 years ago (1949-09-17)
Call letters' meaning "Working For All Alike"[1]
Former callsigns KBTV (1949–1950)
Former channel number(s) Analog:
8 (VHF, 1949–2009)
Digital:
9 (VHF, 1998–2009)
Former affiliations Primary:
DuMont (1949–1950)
NBC (1950–1957)
Secondary:
Paramount Television Network (1949)
DuMont (1950–1955)
ABC (1950–1957)
Transmitter power 55 kW
Height 512 m
Facility ID 72054
Transmitter coordinates 32°35′6.00″N 96°58′41.00″W / 32.5850000°N 96.9780556°W / 32.5850000; -96.9780556
Licensing authority FCC
Public license information: Profile
CDBS
Website www.wfaa.com

WFAA, VHF digital channel 8, is an ABC-affiliated television station located in Dallas, Texas, United States which also serves Fort Worth and the surrounding metropolitan area. Owned by Gannett Company, WFAA maintains offices and primary studios located at the WFAA Communications Center Studios on 606 Young Street in downtown Dallas[2] (next to the offices of The Dallas Morning News), and secondary studios (which are used for its newscasts) located at the Victory Park development next to the American Airlines Center; the station's transmitter is located in Cedar Hill.

From 1950 to 2013, WFAA was the flagship station of locally-owned Belo Corporation.

WFAA is the largest ABC affiliate by market size that is not owned and operated by the network, 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).

History[edit]

The station signed on the air on September 17, 1949, as KBTV, 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).[3] The station was owned by Lacy-Potter TV Broadcasting Company, which was partially controlled by Texas oil magnate Tom Potter. It was the third television station 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.

The WFAA Telecruiser in use during DuMont affiliation.

On March 21, 1950, the A.H. Belo Corporation purchased the station from Lacy-Potter for $575,000 (with the sale receiving Federal Communications Commission approval on March 13, 1950) in the midst of a FCC television license freeze from 1948 to 1952, and renamed the call letters to WFAA-TV to match its new radio partner WFAA radio (570 AM, now KLIF). It was Belo's first television property and served as the flagship station under ownership.

The WFAA call letters reportedly stood for "Working For All Alike," although the radio station later billed itself the "World's Finest Air Attraction" (the KBTV call letters have since been used by two stations; presently by channel 4 in Beaumont and from 1953 to 1983 by KUSA in Denver, Colorado, which is now a sister station to Channel 8). 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.

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 arising from its relations with Paramount,[4] WFAA lost its NBC affiliation in 1957 when WBAP-TV boosted its signal to cover Dallas, leaving WFAA as an exclusive ABC affiliate. During the 1958-1959 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 lawlessness.[5]

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 Zapruder film. 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 a 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, 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 American 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 (current 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 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.

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, 1998, at 2:17 p.m. and holds the distinction of broadcasting the nation's first local news program in high-definition. When the station's digital signal signed on, its frequency was already in use by Dallas hospitals and there was interference with the medical equipment.[6] Most of WFAA's news programming (with the exception of the 10 p.m. newscast) is broadcast from a secondary studio facility in the Victory Park district.[7]

In 2008, Belo decided to split its broadcasting and newspaper interests into separate companies. WFAA remained with the broadcasting side, which retained the Belo Corp. name, while the newspapers (including The Dallas Morning News) became the similarly named A.H. Belo Corporation. However, the former corporate cousins still maintain a news partnership. On June 13, 2013, the Gannett Company announced that it would acquire Belo for $2.2 billion.[8] On December 20, the FCC granted approval of the deal, with the deal being closed on December 23.[9][10] This not only marks channel 8's first ownership change in 63 years, but this is Gannett's largest television station by market size.

Digital television[edit]

Digital channels[edit]

The station's digital channel is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[11]
8.1 1080i 16:9 WFAA Main WFAA programming / ABC
8.2 480i WFAA-2 The Local AccuWeather Channel
8.3 WFAA-3 Live Well Network

WFAA also operates a Mobile DTV feed of subchannel 8.1, broadcasting at 1.83 Mbit/s.[12][13] The station is one of a few ABC affiliates to broadcast high definition programming in the 1080i format; other ABC affiliates broadcast in 720p.[14]

Digital channel 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).[15] The subchannel was also used for special programming, especially during hurricane season, when it was used to relay coverage from New Orleans sister station WWL-TV for Hurricanes Katrina in 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 NOAA's KEC55 in Fort Worth and KXI87 in Corsicana used as alternate feeds. On April 30, 2011, WFAA's secondary channel switched to The Local AccuWeather Channel.

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[16] (This TV was moved to KDAF digital subchannel 33.3 on December 7, 2010).[17]

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

WFAA shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 8, at 12:03 p.m.,[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 relocated from its pre-transition VHF channel 9 to its analog-era VHF channel 8.[19][20] 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.[21]

Programming[edit]

Outside of its newscasts and ABC's network programs, WFAA fills much of its schedule with syndicated newsmagazines and talk shows (such as Katie, The Dr. Oz Show 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 and Jeopardy! in the fall of 2005 (both moved to CBS owned-and-operated station KTVT, channel 11), the latter being replaced by Entertainment Tonight (which had aired following Nightline prior to the change). 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 delayed by breaking news coverage are tape delayed to the overnight hours.

WFAA airs The Chew on a day-behind basis at 11 a.m. instead of the recommended timeslot of 12 noon (All My Children aired in that slot prior to September 27, 2011), this is due to the station's hour-long midday newscast which airs during the noon hour. Until September 2011, WFAA aired the ABC Kids children's programming block significantly out of pattern compared to many ABC stations. Until ABC dropped the program on August 28, 2010, a double run of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers aired on a one-week delay from 5-6 a.m., instead of the network's recommended "live"-fed timeslot of 11 a.m. to 12 noon. The Emperor's New School and The Replacements aired during the 11 a.m. hour instead on a same-day delay, rather than their recommended 8-9 a.m. timeslot; the remaining two hours aired in pattern "live" from the ABC feed. Litton's Weekend Adventure replaced ABC Kids in September 2011, with the block's programs airing on a same-day one-hour delay from its "live feed", following 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 p.m. Central timeslot, due to syndicated programs that the station aired in the timeslot.

News operation[edit]

WFAA newscast title card.

WFAA presently broadcasts 34 hours of locally produced newscasts each week (6 hours on weekdays, three hours on Saturdays and 3½ 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 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; instead when severe weather alerts are in effect for viewing area, a text display of the warning type and the counties the alert is in effect for is shown at the top of the screen.

Since 1986, WFAA's news department has won six Peabody Awards,[22] with a seventh awarded personally to H. Martin "Marty" Haag, WFAA's executive news director from 1973 to 1989 and a Belo Corporation executive after that.[23] WFAA's Peabody Awards were for:

  • 1986: The SMU Mustangs were given the NCAA's "death penalty" because of the Southern Methodist University football scandal.
  • 1995: The Peavy Investigation was 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."[24]
  • 2002: Fake Drugs, Real Lives was recognized for an investigative series which "revealed that confidential informants working with Dallas police planted powdered Sheetrock or billiard chalk near unsuspecting Mexican immigrants to contrive drug cases."[25]
  • 2004: State of Denial was a long-running series into improprieties in the Texas Workers Compensation Commission, part of the Texas Department of Insurance.[26]
  • 2007: Money for Nothing, "The Buried and the Dead", "Television Justice", "Kinder Prison", awarded for four separate investigative stories revealing that a major U.S. financial institution is making loans to non-existent companies in Mexico, that regional law-enforcement officers had collaborated with news crews to produce a prime-time TV program, that conditions in a prison housing children were deplorable, and that pipelines carrying gas into homes are unsafe.[27]
  • 2010: "Bitter Lessons," an investigation into government-funded career schools.[28]

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[29] 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[30] and Roosevelt High School.[31] 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."

WFAA began broadcasting its newscasts and other local programs in high definition on February 2, 2007. 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.[32]

Ratings[edit]

WFAA's 10 p.m. newscast is typically the market's most-watched late evening newscast, and its 5 and 6 p.m. newscasts are typically the area's most-watched early evening local newscasts.[citation needed] However, the station's ratings have suffered in recent years; WFAA's 10 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 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 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.[33]

During the May 2011 sweeps period, the 10 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 and 6 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.[34]

News/station presentation[edit]

WFAA/NEWS 8 Current 'HD' Logo

Newscast titles[edit]

  • Hamm's Beer Evening Edition/Final Edition (1949–1950)
  • KBTV Newsreel/WFAA-TV Newsreel (1950–1953)
  • News Roundup (1953–1964)
  • Channel 8 News (1964–1974; still used in the present day in lower thirds and in reporter outcues)
  • News 8 (1974–present; alternately titled News 8 HD since 2007)[35]
  • The News 8 Update (1974–2013; 10 p.m. newscast)

Station slogans[edit]

  • "KBTV, Your Steady Date on Channel 8" (1949–1950)
  • "You Can Count on Us" (late 1970s)
  • "The Spirit of Texas" (1984–present; originally created in anticipation of the sesquicentennial of the founding of the state of Texas in 1986)[36]
    • Variations: "Working in the Spirit of Texas", "In the Spirit of Texas", "(Depend on) News 8 Leadership: It's Working in the Spirit of Texas"
  • "If It's Dallas-Fort Worth, It Must Be Channel 8" (1992–1994; local version of ABC network slogan)
  • "First in News, First in HDTV" (2007–present; sub-slogan is unofficial)
    • Variation: "First in HDTV"
  • "Trust Troy, Trust News 8 Weather" (used in promotion of former chief weather anchor, Troy Dungan)
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News music packages[edit]

From 1984 to 1991, WFAA used the "Spirit" news music package, composed by James R. Kirk of TM Productions, for its newscasts. All of WFAA's news music packages since then have carried the seven-note "Spirit" musical signature: including an unnamed theme used from 1992 to 1996, three themes by McKinney-based Stephen Arnold Music ("The Spirit" from 1996 to 2000, a package commissioned by the station that was used from 2000 to 2004, a variation of the News Matrix package from 2004 to 2005, the "Evolution" package from 2004 to 2007), and the 615 Music-composed "Propulsion" since 2006; all of which carry the same signature that TM Productions' package used.

In addition to its use by WFAA, the Spirit signature was also used in a John Hegner-composed news theme commissioned by its CBS-affiliated Houston sister station KHOU (which also used the original TM Productions "Spirit" theme from 1986 to 1989), called "American Spirit", which was used from 1994 to 2000. WFAA's "Spirit" campaign has been the basis for campaigns at sister stations such as KHOU, KIII-TV, WVEC-TV, WWL-TV and KXTV.

News team[edit]

Current on-air staff [37][edit]

Anchors
  • Alexa Conomos - Weekdays on "News 8 Daybreak" (4:30-7:00 a.m.)
  • Ron Corning - weekday mornings on News 8 Daybreak (4:30-7:00 a.m.) and weekdays at noon
  • Shon Gables - weekend mornings on News 8 Daybreak (7:00-9:00 Saturdays and 8:00-9:30 a.m. Sundays); also weekday reporter
  • Cynthia Izaguirre - weeknights 5 & 10 PM; also "Wednesday's Child" feature reporter
  • John McCaa - weeknights at 5:00, 6:00 and 10:00 p.m.; also reporter
  • Casey Norton - Sundays at 5:00 and 10:00 p.m.; also Fort Worth bureau reporter
  • Shelly Slater - weeknights at 4:00 and 6:00 p.m.; also reporter
  • Jason Wheeler - TBA.; also reporter
  • Carla Wade - Saturdays at 6:00, Sundays at 5:00 and weekends at 10:00 p.m.
  • Teresa Woodard - Saturdays at 6:00 and 10:00 p.m.
Good Morning Texas
  • Mike Castellucci - co-host
  • Amy Vanderoef - co-host
Weather team
  • Pete Delkus (AMS and NWA Seals of Approval) - chief meteorologist; weeknights at 5:00, 6:00 and 10:00 p.m.
  • Colleen Coyle (AMS and NWA Seals of Approval) - meteorologist; weekdays at 4:00 p.m.
  • Greg Fields (AMS Seal of Approval) - meteorologist; weekday mornings on News 8 Daybreak (4:30-7:00 a.m.) and weekdays at noon
  • Ashton Altieri (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist and NWA Seals of Approval) - meteorologist; Saturdays at 6:00, Sundays at 5:00 and weekends at 10:00 p.m.
  • Julie Bologna - meteorologist; weekend mornings on News 8 Daybreak (7:00-9:00 Saturdays and 8:00-9:30 a.m. Sundays)
  • Steve McCauley (AMS Seal of Approval) - Social Media Meteorologist
Sports team
  • Dale Hansen - sports director; weeknights at 6:00 and 10:00 p.m., also host of Dale Hansen's Sports Special
  • Joe Trahan - sports anchor; Saturdays at 6:00, Sundays at 5:00 and weekends at 10:00 p.m., also host of High School Sports Special
  • George Riba - senior sports reporter
  • Ted Madden - sports reporter and photographer
Traffic
  • Shane Allen - traffic reporter; weekday mornings on News 8 Daybreak (4:30-7:00 a.m.)
  • Michael Scott - airborne traffic reporter
  • Mike Shannon - traffic reporter; afternoons, weekends, and fill-in
Reporters
  • Craig Civale - general assignment reporter
  • Wendy Corona - general assignment reporter
  • Jim Douglas - senior reporter
  • Chris Hawes - Fort Worth bureau reporter
  • Byron Harris - investigative reporter (News 8 Investigates)
  • Rebecca Lopez - senior reporter
  • Gary Reaves - senior reporter
  • David Schechter - senior reporter
  • Brett Shipp - investigative reporter (News 8 Investigates)
  • Janet St. James - senior reporter and health reporter
  • Steve Stoler - Collin County reporter
  • Hasti Taghi - general assignment reporter
  • Todd Unger - general assignment reporter
  • Brad Watson - Dallas City Hall reporter
  • Jason Whitely - senior reporter
  • Walt Zwirko - "Computer Corner" and WFAA.com reporter

Notable former on-air staff[edit]

Radio[edit]

Former sister radio station WFAA-AM signed on the air on June 26, 1922,[38] and used the WFAA call letters until July 2, 1983 (thereafter, it was known as KRQX until Belo sold it, along with sister station KZEW-FM – the former WFAA-FM – on January 1, 1987). 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 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 stations on at night, reducing interference).

WFAA-AM was the first network-affiliated station in Texas (initially aligning with NBC 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; "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; then to the Morning News library thereafter; and later moved to the Baker Hotel in Mineral Wells on October 1, 1925; atop the Santa Fe Railroad Warehouse on Jackson Street from June 20, 1941 (the building still has "WFAA" clearly painted along a panel on the top floor), until April 4, 1961 when it moved to Communications Center at Young and Record Streets.

Sister station WFAA-FM signed on the air on October 5, 1946 as KERA-FM (no relation to the current radio and television station using the same 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 in the center of the dial 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 side, it programmed MOR and Beautiful Music until 1973, then flipped to album oriented rock (AOR) as KZEW-FM (known to listeners 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 studio locations with WFAA-AM on the second floor of the facility. The FM station currently maintains an urban contemporary format under the KBFB-FM callsign.

References[edit]

Specific references:

  1. ^ Nelson, Bob (2008-10-18). "Call Letter Origins". The Broadcast Archive. Retrieved 2011-3-18.
  2. ^ "Closed Captioning." WFAA. Retrieved on September 30, 2012. "Mailing Address WFAA-TV Channel 8 606 Young St Dallas, TX 75202"
  3. ^ "Para Mapping Kine Network". Billboard: 13, 43. 1949-09-17. 
  4. ^ White, Timothy R. (1992). Hollywood's Attempt to Appropriate Television: The Case of Paramount Pictures. Ann Arbor, MI: UMI. pp. 107–131. 
  5. ^ 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. 
  6. ^ http://www.tvtechnology.com/features/news/n_the_last_empty_channel.shtml
  7. ^ WFAA-TV Fiftieth Anniversary
  8. ^ "Gannett to buy TV station owner Belo for $1.5B". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Associated Press. June 13, 2013. Retrieved June 13, 2013. 
  9. ^ "FCC OKs Gannett-Belo And Tribune-Local". TVNewsCheck. Retrieved 20 December 2013. 
  10. ^ Gannett Completes Its Acquisition of Belo, TVNewsCheck, Retrieved 23 December, 2013
  11. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WFAA
  12. ^ http://www.rabbitears.info/market.php?request=atscmph
  13. ^ http://www.mdtvsignalmap.com/
  14. ^ HDTV of WFAA |WFAA.com
  15. ^ http://www.belo.com/pressRelease.x2?release=20040803-526.html
  16. ^ "Belo Adds ABC's Live Well Network" from broadcastingcable.com, 9/29/2010
  17. ^ http://dallas.thistv.com/
  18. ^ Channel 8 switches to digital signal - WFAA (released June 12, 2009)
  19. ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24. 
  20. ^ CDBS Print
  21. ^ http://licensing.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/ws.exe/prod/cdbs/forms/prod/prefill_and_display.pl?Application_id=1348515&Service=DT&Form_id=301&Facility_id=72054
  22. ^ List of WFAA Peabody Awards from the Peabody Award website
  23. ^ 2000 Personal Award to Marty Haag from the Peabody Award website
  24. ^ 1995 The Peavy Investigation from the Peabody Award website
  25. ^ /details.php?id=1316 2002 Fake Drugs, Real Lives from the Peabody Award website
  26. ^ 2004 State of Denial from the Peabody Award website
  27. ^ 2007 Money for Nothing, "The Buried and the Dead", "Television Justice", "Kinder Prison" from the Peabody Award website
  28. ^ 2010 Winners Tribute from the Peabody Award website
  29. ^ Program Descriptions of 2009 duPont-Columbia Awards Winners from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism website
  30. ^ DISD's Ron Price goes to DA about Channel 8 investigations from the Dallas ISD blog of The Dallas Morning News
  31. ^ Grade-changing at Roosevelt High was widespread, says report from the WFAA website
  32. ^ WFAA 8 readying first-ever 4 p.m. newscast opposite established hours on NBC 5 & CBS 11 Uncle Barky's Bytes, June 17, 2013.
  33. ^ CBS11 and Fox4 dominate Feb. sweeps while once dominant WFAA8 takes a beating, UncleBarky.com, March 3, 2011.
  34. ^ 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.
  35. ^ WFAA ABC Dallas Weekend 10PM Open
  36. ^ WFAA Dallas-Fort Worth - 1988 6pm Open
  37. ^ News Team Bios
  38. ^ WFAA, Texas turns on the radio

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