|Branding||The Valley's CW|
|Channels||Digital: 14 (UHF)
Virtual: 15 (PSIP)
|Owner||Lockwood Broadcast Group
(Huntsville TV, LLC)
|First air date||October 28, 1957|
|Call letters' meaning||Huntsville
|Former callsigns||WOWL-TV (1957–2000)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
15 (UHF, 1957–2009)
|Former affiliations||NBC (1957–2000)
|Transmitter power||1000 kW|
WHDF's studios are located in Florence, and the station maintains a Huntsville sales office on Andrew Jackson Way, in the Five Points neighborhood. The station's transmitter is located southeast of Minor Hill, Tennessee, just 500 yards (450 m) north of the Alabama state line.
The station began on October 28, 1957 as WOWL-TV, based in Florence. The station was owned by Richard "Dick" Biddle. Up until late 1999, that station broadcast NBC programs to northwestern Alabama and portions of southern middle Tennessee and northeastern Mississippi; it carried also some popular CBS shows like the soap opera As the World Turns.
WOWL-TV always faced competing NBC affiliates in Huntsville or Decatur, whose signals reached much of its broadcast area. However, it retained viewership in the Shoals region (Florence, Sheffield, Muscle Shoals, Tuscumbia and areas known as "The Shoals" recently and referred to as "The Quad Cities" years ago) by offering local newscasts, which for most of the station's 40-plus years were the only TV newscasts concerned specifically with northwestern Alabama. Over time, though, with the Huntsville stations expanding news bureaus of their own into the Shoals, WOWL lost much of its traditional advantage in that regard. Put together with NBC's ratings declines of the 1990s, the owners opted to sell to outside interests, who swapped network affiliation to the upstart United Paramount Network (UPN) and moved the transmitter and tower to Giles County, Tennessee. The relocation was undertaken in order to re-position the station to serve the entire Huntsville-Decatur-Florence market, not just northwestern Alabama as in the past.
In 2004 Lockwood Broadcast Group acquired WHDF. Lockwood Broadcast Group's Broadcast Operation Service Solution provides content delivery and back-office function from Lockwood's Richmond, Virginia Operation Headquarters. Completed in 2007, the "hub" facility has remotely operated WHDF since that year. The state-of-the-art system employs an IP-based delivery method of HD broadcast, using proprietary ACT-L3 codec to convey a signal stream with technical accuracy and aesthetic clarity. Lockwood utilizes advanced IP-centric, multi-protocol label switching (MPLS)-based solutions to build its private IP cloud.
In September 2006, both UPN and The WB television network ceased operations. A single new network, The CW, replaced those two struggling entities. WHDF, the UPN affiliate, was granted the northern Alabama affiliation rights for the new network earlier that year, and rebranded as The Valley's CW at Midnight on July 27, 2006. (The former WB affiliate, meanwhile, became WAMY-TV, affiliated with My Network TV.)
Local employees at WHDF's Florence and Huntsville facilities total fewer than ten, according to census business statistics in 2010.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|15.1||1080i||16:9||WHDF-DT||Main WHDF programming / The CW|
WHDF shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 15, on June 12, 2009, as part of the federally mandated transition from analog to digital television. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 14, using PSIP to display WHDF's virtual channel as 15 on digital television receivers.
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WHDF
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WHDF-TV