|Greenville/Spartanburg/Anderson, South Carolina/Asheville, North Carolina|
|Branding||Fox Carolina (general)
Fox Carolina News (newscasts)
|Channels||Digital: 21 (UHF)
Virtual: 21 (PSIP)
|First air date||April 1, 1984|
|Call letters' meaning||Harry 'N Stella (Pappas)
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
21 (UHF, 1984-2009)
57 (UHF, 1995-2009)
Pax TV (1998–2003)
|Transmitter power||160 kW (digital)|
|Height||761.4 m (digital)|
WHNS (known on-air as Fox Carolina) is the Fox affiliate television station for western North Carolina and upstate South Carolina. Licensed to Greenville, South Carolina, it is owned by the Meredith Corporation. It broadcasts its digital signal on UHF TV channel 21. Its TV studios are located just off Interstate 85 in Greenville, while its transmitter is located atop Slick Rock Mountain, five miles southeast of Brevard, North Carolina. The master control and commercial insertion has been located in the hub facility at Meredith's flagship station WGCL-TV in Atlanta, Georgia since autumn 2009.
A construction permit was issued for channel 21 in Greenville as early as 1953. Over the next quarter-century, the permit went through about a dozen owners who were unable to overcome numerous legal environmental hurdles. Technical issues were also at play as well. The Greenville/Spartanburg/Asheville market is a vast and mountainous market, and UHF stations have never been able to cover very large or very rugged stretches of territory very well. In the meantime, Christian station WGGS used channel 21 as a low-powered relay to improve its coverage in Asheville.
After several false starts, Pappas Telecasting of Fresno, California bought the channel 21 license in 1979. In 1981, after numerous delays, Pappas found a transmitter site in the Spartanburg area that was near enough to Greenville to meet Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requirements that a station's transmitter be no more than 15 miles from its city of license. Construction began in 1982 and the station went on the air on April 1, 1984. The call letters stand for Harry 'N Stella—after company founder Harry Pappas and his wife Stella. WGGS' repeater moved to WASV in Asheville (channel 62, now WYCW).
The station ran a typical UHF independent schedule consisting of cartoons, sitcoms, old movies, drama shows and some sports. It became the dominant independent station in the region, well ahead of WAXA-TV (channel 40, now WMYA-TV). This was because it was the first general-entertainment independent station that decently covered this vast market. WHNS broadcast at the maximum five million watts of effective radiated power (ERP), and needed every watt of it to cover this vast market. WAXA, in contrast, was practically unviewable in most of the North Carolina portion of the market.
Its first slogan was "It's Your Station", which was changed to "We're Your Station" (also used on then sister-stations KMPH-TV in Fresno and KPTM in Omaha). WHNS-TV's first logo consisted of the call letters in a Subway-esque logo with the channel number on the center bottom. That logo was used until the late 1980s.
Despite a stronger signal and wealthier ownership, WHNS was beaten out by WAXA to become the area's Fox affiliate in 1986. However, WAXA was forced into Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the fall of 1988, and WHNS quickly snapped up the Fox affiliation. The station quickly dropped its original on-air name of "TV21" in favor of "Fox 21". In 1990, the station was sold to Cannell Communications. First Media Television acquired the station in 1994, and it acquired a secondary UPN affiliation in January 1995, airing UPN programming in the late-night hours. The UPN affiliation moved in 1997 to WASV—ironically, by that time owned by Pappas. From around 1996 to 1999, WHNS carried a 10 pm newscast produced by WSPA-TV. The partnership between the two stations ended in 1999, when WHNS launched its own news department.
WHNS was acquired by Meredith Corporation in 1997 as part of a group deal. In 2002, it began calling itself "Fox Carolina".
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|21.1||720p||16:9||WHNS-DT||Main WHNS programming / Fox|
WHNS discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over UHF channel 21, 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 relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 57, which was among the high band UHF channels (52-69) that were removed from broadcasting use as a result of the transition, to its former analog-era UHF channel 21.
Out-of-market cable carriage
In recent years, WHNS has been carried on cable in multiple areas outside of the Greenville media market. That includes cable systems within the Aiken and Columbia markets in South Carolina, and the Atlanta market in Georgia.
The station began airing a 10pm newscast seven nights a week in 1996, produced by WSPA-TV and airing from that station's studios in Spartanburg. It was the first prime-time newscast in the area. Anchors and reporters would appear on both stations, but the newscast had a different identity and graphics from WSPA. In 1999, the station started its own news department. Connie LeGrand, who anchored the 10:00 p.m. newscast during the WSPA-produced era, was hired at WHNS to continue as anchor (she would later leave the station in 2004, and would later rejoin WSPA several years later).
In 2004, the station hired WSPA anchor/reporter Diana Watson, who became co-anchor of the 10:00 p.m. news.
In 2005, WHNS began airing a 4-hour local morning news show, from 5:00 a.m. until 9:00 a.m.
On May 14, 2007, Assignment Editor Joe Loy was killed while on assignment. On a local highway, he was filming the aftermath of one accident when another occurred right behind him. He managed to get it on video as a white van, possibly made out-of-control by a red pickup truck, spun towards him. Police are seeking information about the red pickup, a "vehicle of interest".
In 2009, WHNS added a 6:30 p.m. newscast to its schedule.
On February 2, 2011, WHNS began airing its newscasts in 16:9 enhanced definition widescreen along with a new set and graphics package. Although not truly high definition, the broadcasts are rescanned and upconverted from their native 480i standard definition to the signal's 720p resolution before transmission to match the aspect ratio of HD television screens. WHNS is now the only network affiliated station in this market that has not yet switched to high definition newscasts since WYFF completed its upgrade to HD on April 22, 2012.
Also in 2012, the station ended its 6:30 p.m. newscast, but started an 11:00 p.m. newscast that airs Monday through Friday.
The station is currently the #1 rated news show at 10:00 p.m., and touts its other newscasts as among the fastest growing in the market.
- FOX 21 News (1996–2002)
- FOX Carolina News (2002–present)
- It's Your Station! (1984–1988)
- We're Your Station! (1988–1992)
- Carolina's Only Primetime Newscast (1996–1999)
- Cody Alcorn - weeknights at 10:00 and 11:00 p.m.
- Lauren Elise - weekday mornings (5:00-9:00 a.m.)
- Ben Hill - weekday mornings (5:00-9:00 a.m.)
- Dana Wachter - weekends at 10:00 p.m. (also general assignment reporter)
- Diana Watson - weeknights at 10:00 and 11:00 p.m.
- Kendra Kent - chief meteorologist, weeknights at 10:00 and 11:00 p.m.
- Ted Phaeton - meteorologist, weekends at 10:00 p.m.
- Nicole Papay - meteorologist, weekday mornings
- Adrian Acosta - general assignment reporter
- Aaron Cheslock - general assignment reporter; also covers sports
- Ashley Daley - general assignment reporter
- Nikki Davidson - general assignment reporter
- Derek Dellinger - general assignment reporter
- Joe Gagnon - general assignment and features reporter
- Jennifer Phillips - general assignment reporter
- Andrew Reeser - general assignment reporter
- Chris Scott - traffic reporter (5:00-9:00 a.m.)
In order to reach viewers in valleys of North Carolina, WHNS has 6 low power repeater stations:
- W14AS channel 14 West Asheville
- W35AV channel 35 Black Mountain
- W57BG channel 57 Canton/Waynesville
- W64BO channel 64 Franklin
- W66BU channel 66 Sylva
- W69CN channel 69 Bryson City
- WHNS VIDEO MONTAGE 
- WHNS homepage
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WHNS
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WHNS-TV