|Branding||Fox 54 (general)
Fox 54 News (newscasts)
|Slogan||Fun Starts Here
Your News One
|Channels||Digital: 51 (UHF)
Virtual: 54 (PSIP)
54.2 Bounce TV
54.3 Grit TV
|First air date||May 23, 1991|
|Call letters' meaning||We're FoX Georgia|
|Sister station(s)||WCSC-TV, WTOC-TV,
WIS, WSFX-TV, WECT, WMBF-TV, WBTV
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
54 (UHF, 1991-2009)
|Former affiliations||PTEN (1993-1994)|
|Transmitter power||413 kW|
WFXG is the Fox-affiliated television station for the Central Savannah River Area of East-Central Georgia and West-Central South Carolina. Licensed to Augusta, Georgia, it broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 51 (or virtual channel 54.1 via PSIP) from a transmitter in Beech Island, South Carolina's Spiderweb section. Owned by Raycom Media, WFXG has studios on Washington Road/GA 104 in the Lamkin section of Martinez (official address is Augusta). Syndicated programming on the station includes Friends, How I Met Your Mother, Two and a Half Men and The Dr. Oz Show among others.
|54.1||720p||16:9||Main WFXG programming / Fox|
|54.3||480i||16:9||Grit (October 2014)|
In July 1983, nine applications for a new TV station, channel 54 are received by the FCC. Augusta 54, LP was given approval in October 1985. The station is sold to John Pezold (then owner of Columbus based Channel 54, WXTX) in 1990. The station signs on in May 1991 affiliates with Fox and makes it first broadcast. Prior to the sign-on of WFXG, Fox was previously seen on W67BE. For the 1993 and 1994 season, WFXG was also affiliated with the Prime Time Entertainment Network. Retlaw Broadcasting purchased the station in May 1998. Fisher Communications purchased WFXG along with the other Retlaw owned stations in 1999.
Fisher, based in Seattle, decided to concentrate on its broadcast properties in the Pacific Northwest and California. WFXG and Columbus based WXTX (also on channel 54) were sold to the Atlanta-based Galleria Broadcast Group, L.P. which purchased the two stations for $40.1 million. In December 2003, Community Newspaper Holdings acquired WFXG and WXTX as well as WSFX-TV in Wilmington, North Carolina) through its Southeastern Media Holdings subsidiary. Community planned on selling all four of its television stations to Thomas Henson in January 2011.
Henson, upon approval from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), would then operate all four properties under a company called Southeastern Media Acquisitions. When contacted about the proposed deal, WFXG's General Manager Barry Barth stated he could not confirm the specifics of the transaction but said the request was basically a licensing switch and would not affect the station's day-to-day operations. The deal was consummated April 5, 2011. During the next month, Henson folded the Southeastern Media Acquisition stations into American Spirit Media, LLC (one of his other companies) with the merger being finalized on May 25.
At that time, Raycom exercised its option to purchase WFXG outright from American Spirit Media through a newly created indirect subsidiary. Essentially, the station would be directly owned-and-operated by the company as opposed through a managing agreement. Raycom's acquisition of the station was completed on August 31. WFXG recently added coverage of ACC Football and basketball games as well as periodic airings of certain sporting events from Raycom Sports. The station signed-off its analog signal on February 17, 2009 in compliance with the DTV transition. It had plans to move its digital signal from channel 51 to channel 31 (formerly WRDW-DT) after the transition but ultimately remained on channel 51. With FCC changes on the horizon, it's channel could change in the near future.
After ABC affiliate WJBF (owned by Media General) renovated its studios in 2004, the station entered into a news share agreement with WFXG. The outsourcing arrangement resulted in a nightly prime time newscast to debut on this station. Known as Fox 54 News at 10, the thirty-minute program originated from WJBF's facility on Reynolds Street in Downtown Augusta. The broadcast featured different on-air graphics and modified WJBF's existing set with separate duratrans in order to conceal that station's logo. The principal look of the set and on-air graphics for Fox 54 News at 10 remained the same since the newscast's launch and the program always used Gari Media Group's "The X Package" as its music theme.
Meanwhile, NBC affiliate WAGT decided to establish its own weeknight prime time newscast at 10 in 2004 to go up against this station's effort. The production launched a few days after WFXG's show and was initially seen on Independent outlet WBEK-CA through a similar arrangement. Known as WBEK 16 News at 10, the program was soon cancelled due to low ratings and inconsistent viewership. The broadcast was unable to directly compete against WFXG's news because this program has been very successful in the time slot from its start. After being retooled, WAGT's weeknight prime time newscast was relaunched on cable-only WB affiliate "WBAU" and was known as WB 23 News at 10.
On September 26, 2011 after terminating its seven-year news share agreement with WJBF, WFXG launched its first ever in-house news operation. In partnership with sister outlet WTOC-TV in Savannah, WFXG hired multimedia journalists to shoot, edit, and report coverage in the Augusta area. Currently, five personalities have joined the station and work out of Augusta. All anchors for news, weather and sports are provided by WTOC and the broadcast originates live from that station's facility on Chatham Center Drive in Savannah's Chatham Parkway section.
WFXG also features unique, regionalized coverage provided by Raycom Media sister outlets including WTOC, WIS in Columbia and WCSC-TV in Charleston. The partnership is comparable to the existing "Raycom News Network", another regional network among the company's widespread group of television stations in the state of Alabama (WSFA in Montgomery, WDFX-TV in Dothan, WAFF in Huntsville, WBRC in Birmingham and WTVM/WXTX in Auburn/Phenix City/Opelika). The six stations share information, equipment (such as satellite trucks) and stories from reporters. WFXG became the third Fox affiliate in Raycom's portfolio to have its newscasts produced in-house joining Birmingham's WBRC and Cincinnati, Ohio's WXIX. Local newscasts on the remainder of the company's Fox outlets are produced through news share agreements by a big three network affiliate in the respective market.
With the change, WFXG upgraded its newscasts to full high definition level becoming the second station in Augusta to do so (CBS affiliate WRDW-TV was the first). According to television listings, Fox 54 News at 10 expanded to an hour on weeknights and 35 minutes on Sundays. The show remains a half-hour production on Saturdays. There is no regularly scheduled sports report seen in the broadcast.
WFXG only produces 6 hours of local news a week, the least of any station with a news department in the Augusta area. Plans are underway for a building expansion and production/studio upgrades to produce all content locally.
- Witsil, Frank (November 16, 1999). "Fox station changes hands". The Augusta Chronicle. Retrieved 20 July 2012.
- Whiteside, Lee (1995-04-06). "B5: Babylon 5 TV Station List/Times updated!". rec.arts.sf.tv. Google Groups. Retrieved 2006-11-27.
- Malone, Michael. "Report: Southeastern Media Stations Sold". Broadcasting & Cable. Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved 1 March 2011.
- Zureick, Erin (January 3, 2011). "WFXG awaits OK on acquisition". The Augusta Chronicle. Retrieved 1 March 2011.