Winston-Salem, North Carolina
|City of license||High Point, North Carolina|
|Branding||Fox 8 (general)
Fox 8 News (newscasts)
TV 8.2 (DT2)
|Slogan||The News Leader|
|Channels||Digital: 35 (UHF)
Virtual: 8 (PSIP)
8.2 Antenna TV
|Owner||Local TV (sale pending)
(Community TV Of North Carolina License, LLC)
|First air date||October 14, 1963|
|Call letters' meaning||Winston-Salem
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
8 (VHF, 1963–2009)
8 (VHF, 2009–2010)
|Former affiliations||ABC (1963–1995)|
|Transmitter power||1000 kW|
WGHP, channel 8, is the Fox-affiliated television station serving North Carolina's Piedmont Triad region, including the cities of Greensboro, Winston-Salem and its city of license, High Point. The station is owned by Local TV, the broadcasting subsidiary of private equity firm Oak Hill Capital Partners. The station maintains studio facilities in High Point, and its transmitter is located in Sophia, North Carolina. The station is carried on channel 10 on cable providers throughout much of the market.
As an ABC station 
In 1958, the Federal Communications Commission assigned a third VHF channel frequency to the Piedmont Triad area. The channel 8 allocation was freed up, by the switch of Florence, South Carolina's WBTW-TV, to channel 13, and was short-spaced to WCHS-TV in Charleston, West Virginia and WXEX-TV (now WRIC-TV) in Petersburg, Virginia. Applicants for the High Point channel 8 allocation included Jefferson Standard Broadcasting, owner of television stations in Charlotte, North Carolina and Florence, South Carolina. The owner of WTOB-TV (channel 26; whose channel space is now occupied by WUNL-TV) in Winston-Salem was also interested.
WGHP, then owned by Southern Broadcast Company, began broadcasting operations on October 14, 1963. It was originally the Piedmont Triad's ABC affiliate. The station occasionally decided not to carry network programming; for example, it chose to preempt the paranormal-themed drama series Dark Shadows during its network run on ABC and broadcast old movies instead. Likewise, it did not carry The Edge of Night, a soap opera run on ABC from 1975 to 1984.In its last years as an ABC affiliate, WGHP delayed Nightline delayed by 30 minutes for more profitable syndicated programming, mostly M*A*S*H.
WGHP was subsequently sold to Gulf Broadcasting in 1978. Gulf then sold the station to Taft Broadcasting as part of a group deal in 1984. On October 12, 1987, Taft was restructured into Great American Broadcasting after a hostile takeover. Former Taft president Dudley Taft formed a new company that took the Taft Broadcasting name and bought WGHP from Great American. The new Taft held onto channel 8 until 1992, when Great American repurchased the station. In December 1993, Great American Broadcasting filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and was restructured again to become Citicasters; it then put its stations up for sale.
As a Fox station 
In the winter of 1993, New World Communications (which acquired stations from SCI in a similar type of business reorganization to the one Citicasters had come out of) agreed to buy WGHP and three other stations owned by Citicasters: ABC affiliate WBRC (channel 6) in Birmingham, NBC affiliate WDAF-TV (channel 4) in Kansas City and CBS affiliate KSAZ-TV (channel 10) in Phoenix. Citicasters would keep WTSP (channel 10) in Tampa and WKRC-TV (channel 12) in Cincinnati – which were both ABC affiliates at the time. Both of those stations would later switch to CBS when Scripps-Howard Broadcasting signed a contract with ABC to move its programming to its Tampa Fox affiliate WFTS (channel 28) and its Cincinnati CBS affiliate WCPO (channel 9). Around the same time, New World had also agreed to buy Argyle Television's four television stations, including NBC affiliate WVTM-TV (channel 13) in Birmingham (the transfer applications of the Argyle stations to New World were not submitted to the FCC until after New World closed on the Citicasters purchase). The two purchases combined, along with New World's existing seven stations, left the company with 15 stations – three more than the FCC had permitted a single station owner to operate at the time – and left New World with an ownership conflict in Birmingham.
Shortly after the Citicasters purchase, Fox agreed to affiliate with all the New World stations – except for NBC affiliates KNSD (channel 39) in San Diego and WVTM-TV, and Boston independent station WSBK-TV (channel 38), the latter of which was sold to the Paramount Stations Group subsidiary of Viacom and became a UPN station. New World finalized its purchases of WDAF and KSAZ on September 9, 1994. But it was determined due to the ownership conflicts and the fact New World would be over the FCC's ownership limit, that WGHP and WBRC would be sold to Fox directly. At the same time, Fox was under fire because of the fact Rupert Murdoch was not a U.S. citizen when he bought the former Metromedia stations that joined Fox back in 1986. Since Fox was not able to immediately acquire WGHP, WBRC and Memphis's WHBQ-TV), WGHP was placed in an outside trust on the same day that WDAF and KSAZ were transferred to New World, WBRC was also put in this trust the following month on October 12. But while WDAF switched to Fox and KSAZ became an interim independent station (in preparation for its December switch to Fox) three days after the deal was consummated, ABC still had one year left on its affiliation contract with WGHP (likewise, the network's affiliation contract with WBRC would not run out for two years). These factors also led to New World's decision to sell the two stations to Fox almost immediately.
Fox took over the operations of both stations under local marketing agreements in the summer of 1995. WGHP then affiliated with Fox on September 3, 1995. It carried all Fox programs, including Fox Kids (whose weekday afternoon block ran from 1-4 p.m., replacing ABC soap operas, as well as on Saturday mornings where a local newscast previously ran). Fox affiliate WNRW (channel 45, now WXLV-TV) would assume the ABC affiliation. WGHP added a few more talk/reality shows, as well as some off-network sitcoms such as I Love Lucy and Seinfeld. The station's newscasts also expanded to just under 40 hours each week. Fox completed its purchases of WGHP and WBRC on January 17, 1996, with WGHP becoming a Fox owned-and-operated station, and the only commercial station in the Piedmont Triad area to be owned by a major network (WBRC had to wait another 7½ months, until September 1996, to switch from ABC to Fox). The move gave WGHP its fifth owner in a little over a decade.
In February 1996, Pappas Telecasting Companies approached WGHP about acquiring Fox Kids programming for its newly acquired WB affiliate WBFX (channel 20; now CW affiliate WCWG). Upon gaining new affiliates through New World, Fox executives at the time, decided to change the carriage policies for Fox Kids, to allow a station to choose to keep airing it or be granted the right to pass the block to another station in the market. WGHP decided to let the Fox Kids block move to channel 20 beginning in March 1996, becoming first Fox-owned that did not run the kids block, and only one of two (along with WBRC) to do so, until New World merged with Fox in 1997. WGHP added more talk and court shows in the afternoon. WTWB dropped Fox's children's programming in late 2001, when Fox canceled the weekday block nationwide; WGHP chose not to pick up Fox's new Saturday morning cartoon block, Fox Box (later 4Kids TV), which replaced Fox Kids in 2002. As a result, Fox's 4Kids TV did not air in the Piedmont Triad until then-UPN affiliate WUPN (now MyNetworkTV affiliate WMYV) began airing the block in 2003. Fox discontinued children's programming on December 28, 2008, replacing it with a two-hour Saturday morning infomercial block called Weekend Marketplace, which WGHP declined to air; it airs instead on WMYV.
On September 10, 2007, WGHP debuted a new logo and graphics package as part of a standardized on-air look that was rolled out all of Fox's owned-and-operated stations. On December 22, 2007, Fox sold WGHP and seven other Fox O&O stations to the Oak Hill Capital Partners subsidiary Local TV, which had earlier bought nine stations from The New York Times Company; the sale was finalized on July 14, 2008.
Digital television 
The stations digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|8.1||720p||16:9||WGHP||Main WGHP programming / Fox|
WGHP broadcasts programming from Antenna TV on digital subchannel 8.2, the subchannel launched on January 1, 2011 as a charter affiliate of the network through an affiliation agreement related to network owner Tribune Broadcasting's management agreement with Local TV. The subchannel uses the on-air branding "TV8.2", a reference to the longtime "TV8" branding used by WGHP during the late 1970s and early 1980s, and uses a modified version of the logo that the station used during that period. The 8.2 subchannel is also carried on Time Warner Cable digital channel 126, Charter Communications digital channel 175 in North Wilkesboro and Windstream digital channel 510 in Lexington.
Analog-to-digital transition 
On June 12, 2009 at approximately 11:05 p.m., WGHP shut down its analog signal on VHF channel 8 and began digital-only broadcasting, relocating the frequency of its digital signal from UHF channel 35 (using its analog assignment of channel 8 as its virtual digital channel via PSIP) to channel 8. The signal had broadcast at full power from an auxiliary tower until the analog transmitter on the main tower was converted two weeks after the transition.
Due to the number of complaints from those unable to pick up the signal on channel 8, WGHP received temporary authorization to broadcast an alternate digital signal on UHF channel 35 on August 19, 2009. While technical issues with the channel 8 signal were being worked out, WGHP transmitted digitally on both 8 and 35 beginning on August 19, 2009. On October 14, WGHP requested the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) change its digital signal's physical channel from 8 to 35. After the station lost "a sizeable number" of its viewers, the FCC agreed with WGHP's assessment that it would be "best served" by staying on channel 35. On December 15, 2009, the FCC issued a Report & Order, approving WGHP's move from channel 8 to channel 35. At 11:02 a.m. on March 8, 2010, WGHP terminated operations on channel 8, operating solely on channel 35 on a permanent basis.
WGHP clears most of the Fox network schedule (nightly primetime, Saturday late night and Fox Sports programming, along with the political talk show Fox News Sunday); however, the station does not air Fox's Saturday morning infomerical block, Weekend Marketplace, which airs instead on MyNetworkTV affiliate WMYV. Syndicated programming on WGHP includes Divorce Court, Judge Alex, Judge Judy, Access Hollywood and TMZ on TV.
News operation 
WGHP presently broadcasts 46½ hours of locally produced newscasts each week (8½ hours on weekdays, and two hours each on Saturdays and Sundays); in regards to the number of hours devoted to news programming, it is the highest local newscast output of any television station in the Piedmont Triad and the state of North Carolina in general. Local news has been a stable product on WGHP since it went on the air in 1963. During the 1960s and 1970s, the station aired local newscasts at noon, 6 and 11 p.m., and occasionally at 7 p.m. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, WGHP sporadically maintained a 24-hour broadcast schedule so 11 p.m. newscast rebroadcasts during the early morning hours were only scheduled when ABC network programming was extended long enough to warrant its scheduling; in 1994, the station began programming 24 hours a day.
During the 1980s, channel 8 ran various long-form morning news programs, eventually settling towards five-minute updates during ABC's Good Morning America, along with a noon newscast (that was dropped in the late 1980s). In the early 1990s, the morning newscast began as an hour-long 6 a.m. newscast, along with a half-hour 5 p.m. newscast that expanded to a full hour in 1994. When WGHP affiliated with Fox in 1995, the station began placing more emphasis on its local newscasts: WGHP then aired three hours of daily newscasts with news on weekday mornings expanding to 3½ (later four) hours to occupy Good Morning America's former timeslot on the station, along with the addition of a 5:30 p.m. newscast, and the move of the station's 11 p.m. newscast to 10 p.m. and its expansion to one hour.
Daily newscasts expanded to 4½ hours – with a half-hour expansion of its morning news and the return of a noon newscast – immediately after it became a Fox owned-and-operated station in 1996. The morning newscast would eventually expand over time to five hours by 2011. WGHP is of only two ex-New World stations that were acquired by Fox and sold by the network in 2008, that did not relaunch a newscast in the traditional late news timeslot – in WGHP's case, 11 p.m. in the Eastern Time Zone – as Fox did with some of its other O&Os (Cleveland's WJW is the other). On September 13, 2009, WGHP began broadcasting its newscasts in 16:9 widescreen standard definition.
On September 12, 2010, WGHP became the first station in the Piedmont Triad to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition. It remained the only station in the Piedmont Triad with high-definition newscasts until WFMY upgraded its newscasts from widescreen enhanced definition to full high definition on November 13, 2011. However, WGHP remains the only station in the market that broadcasts all of its field video in high definition. On September 12, 2011, WGHP expanded its weekday morning newscast by one hour, adding a fifth hour from 9 to 10 a.m. In December 2011, the station began rebroadcasting its 6 p.m. newscast on its Antenna TV-affiliated second digital subchannel at 7 p.m. On January 9, 2012, WGHP's weekday morning newscast expanded a half-hour early to 4:30 a.m.
News/station presentation 
Newscast titles 
- WGHP-TV News (1963–1964)
- Channel 8 News (1964–1967)
- City Camera News (1967–1970)
- Television 8 News (1970–1974)
- TV-8 Eyewitness News (1974–1986)
- The Piedmont News (1986–1990)
- The Piedmont NewsChannel (1990–1994)
- NewsChannel 8 (1994–1995)
- Fox 8 News (1995–present)
Station slogans 
- "Channel 8" / "8WGHP-TV" (1963–1967)
- "Channel ei8ht" (1967–1976; the name "ei8ht" has also been used by KOMU, WJW, KAIT, and a few others)
- "The Piedmont's Favorite News Team" (1984–1988)
- "WGHPiedmont" (1987–1990; used with a triangle 8 logo also used by KSBW)
- "The Piedmont NewsChannel" (1990–2005)
- "The News Leader" (2005–present)
News team 
- Kerry Charles - weekday mornings on Fox 8 Morning News (4:30-7:00 a.m.)
- Cindy Farmer - weekday mornings on Fox 8 Morning News (6:00-7:30 and 8:00-10:00 a.m.) and weekdays at noon
- Brad Jones - weekday mornings on Fox 8 Morning News (7:30-9:30 a.m.) and weekdays at noon
- Neill McNeill - weeknights at 5:00, 6:00 and 10:00 p.m.
- Katie Nordeen - weeknights at 5:00, 6:00 and 10:00 p.m.
- Melissa Painter - weekends at 6:00 and 10:00 p.m.; also consumer reporter
- Weather team
- Van Denton (AMS Seal of Approval) - chief meteorologist; weeknights at 5:00, 6:00 and 10:00 p.m.
- Emily Byrd - meteorologist; weekday mornings on Fox 8 Morning News (4:30-10:00 a.m.) and weekdays at noon
- Charles Ewing (AMS Seal of Approval) - meteorologist; weekends at 6:00 and 10:00 p.m.
- Randy Jackson (AMS Seal of Approval) - fill-in meteorologist
- Sports team
- Kevin Connolly - sports anchor; weeknights at 5:00, 6:00 and 10:00 p.m.
- Danny Harnden - sports anchor; weekends at 6:00 and 10:00 p.m.; also sports reporter
- Roy Ackland - "Roy's Folks" feature reporter
- Tom Britt - weekday morning traffic reporter; also fill-in weather anchor
- Bob Buckley - general assignment reporter
- Brent Campbell - Winston-Salem bureau chief
- Mitch Carr - general assignment reporter
- Carter Coyle - general assignment reporter
- Lindsey Eaton - general assignment reporter
- Nicole Ferguson - weekday morning reporter
- Brandon Jones - general assignment reporter
- Doug Luzader - Fox News Washington, D.C. correspondent
- Jasmine Spencer - general assignment reporter
- Shannon Smith - weekday morning reporter
- Chad Tucker - general assignment reporter
Former on-air staff 
- Dr. Paul Bearer (Dick Bennick) - host of Shock Theatre (mid-to-late 1960s; deceased)
- Rich Brenner - sports (1987–2008; deceased)
- Sharon Crews - news and weather anchor (1977–1980)
- Cynthia Smoot - anchor (1984–1997; went to WTVT, Tampa, FL)
- Jeff Varner - weekend evening anchor (now evening anchor with WNCT-TV in Greenville, NC)
Out-of-market cable and satellite carriage 
In recent years, WGHP has been carried on cable outside of the Greensboro media market, including carriage on cable providers within the Charlotte and Raleigh markets in North Carolina, and the Roanoke market in Virginia. On DirecTV, WGHP has been carried in parts of the Raleigh and Roanoke markets.
During the 1970s and 1980s through CATV, WGHP was carried in areas much farther south and east. In North Carolina, it was carried in Fayetteville, Wadesboro, Albemarle, Rockingham, Laurinburg, Raeford, Robbins, Rowland, Southern Pines and Lumberton. In South Carolina, it was carried in Cheraw and Bennettsville.
- Jack Scism, "Remember When?" Greensboro News & Record, July 27, 2008.
- "Program listings". North Carolina edition of TV Guide. February 1971.
- Fox Inc., New World Communications Group Inc. Announce Largest Affiliation Switch in Network Television History
- Citicasters Inc. Announces Completion of Sale of Three Television Stations
- News Corporation
- "Having Problems Picking Up WGHP's Signal?". MyFox8.com. 2009-06-18. Retrieved 2009-06-18.
- "FCC Document".
- Eggerton, John (2009-10-29). "FCC Allowing WGHP To Move Signal To Pre-DTV Transition Channel". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved 2009-10-30.
- Clodfelter, Tim (2010-03-07). "Watch WGHP with an antenna? You may need to rescan". Winston-Salem Journal. Retrieved 2010-04-01.
- Wirter, Staff (2011-09-08). "WGHP First To Broadcast Local News In High Definition". WGHP Webpage. Retrieved 2011-09-08.
- Clotfelter, Tim (2010-09-10). "WGHP/Fox8 to expand morning news show". Winston-Salem Journal. Retrieved 2010-09-10.
- Fox8 Morning News to Start at 4:30am
- WGHP News Open November 2007
- Rich Brenner, former Fox8 Sports anchor, dies
- Carpenter, Kara (Spring 2000). "Shattering TV's Glass Ceiling". Montpelier. Retrieved 11 December 2011.
- MyFox8.com (Official website)
- WGHP live streaming video page
- History of WGHP
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WGHP
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WGHP-TV