|Greenville/Spartanburg/Anderson, South Carolina/Asheville, North Carolina
|Branding||Fox Carolina (general)
Fox Carolina News (newscasts)
|Channels||Digital: 21 (UHF)
Virtual: 21 (PSIP)
21.2 Weather radar
|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|
|Public license information:||Profile
WHNS, virtual and UHF digital channel 21, is a Fox-affiliated television station located in Greenville, South Carolina, United States. The station is owned by the Meredith Corporation. WHNS maintains studio facilities located on Interstate Court (just northwest of Interstate 85) in Greenville, and its transmitter is located atop Slick Rock Mountain in Transylvania County, North Carolina (five miles southeast of Brevard).
The Federal Communications Commission issued a construction permit to build a television station on UHF 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 to receive permission to build a station. Technical issues were also played a role – the Greenville/Spartanburg/Asheville market is within a vast and mountainous area, UHF television signals usually do not get good reception in rugged terrain. In the meantime, Christian station WGGS used channel 21 as a low-powered relay to improve its coverage in Asheville.
After several false starts, Fresno, California-based Pappas Telecasting Companies bought the channel 21 license in 1979. In 1981, after numerous delays, Pappas found a transmitter site in the Spartanburg area that was close enough to Greenville to meet FCC requirements which stated that a broadcast station's transmitter be located no more than 15 miles away from its city of license. Construction on the transmitter tower began in 1982.
The station first signed on the air on April 1, 1984; originally operating as the first general entertainment independent station that served the entire Greenville/Spartanburg/Asheville market. By contrast, its main competition, Anderson-based WAXA-TV (channel 40, now WMYA-TV), was practically unviewable in most of the North Carolina side of the market. The Greenville/Spartanburg/Asheville market is one of the largest east of the Mississippi River, and several parts of it are very mountainous. WHNS needed every watt of its five million watts of effective radiated power--the maximum allowed for a full-power analog station--to cover it. The WHNS call letters stand for Harry 'N (representing "and") Stella, after company founder Harry Pappas and his wife.
WHNS initially ran a schedule typical of an independent on the UHF band, consisting of cartoons, sitcoms, classic movies, drama series and select sporting events. It became the dominant independent station in the region, placing well ahead of WAXA in the ratings. As a result of the station's sign-on, religious independent WGGS-TV (channel 16) reached a deal with the owners of WASV-TV (channel 62, now WYCW) in Asheville to convert it into a satellite station to serve areas not covered by WGGS's signal. WHNS transmitted at an effective radiated power of five million watts, the maximum allowed by the FCC for full-power analog stations.
WHNS's original slogan, "It's Your Station" (which was later changed to "We're Your Station" in 1988), would also be used on then-sister stations KMPH-TV in Fresno and KPTM in Omaha. WHNS's first logo, which was used until 1988, consisted of the call letters in a logo resembling Subway's logo of the time period, with the channel number placed at the bottom-center.
Despite a stronger signal and wealthier ownership, WAXA beat out WHNS for a charter affiliation with the upstart Fox Broadcasting Company, which launched in October 1986. However, WAXA was forced to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the fall of 1988 due to financial and management problems that occurred after the death of owner Frank Outlaw; Pappas Telecasting quickly snapped up the Fox affiliation for WHNS (the loss of the Fox affiliation and the financial problems forced WAXA to cease operations on August 31, 1989, only to resume operations as a satellite of ABC affiliate WLOS (channel 13) in 1991 under the ownership of River City Broadcasting). After joining the network, WHNS abandoned its "TV21" brand and changed its on-air branding to "Fox 21".
In 1990, Pappas sold WHNS to Cannell Communications (a broadcast group owned by television producer and author Stephen J. Cannell), earning a handsome return on its original investment. Cannell sold WHNS to First Media Television in 1994. On January 16, 1995, WHNS took on a secondary affiliation with United Paramount Network (UPN), airing the network's programming during late night time periods. First Media merged with Meredith Corporation in 1997. In October of that year, UPN's programming moved to WASV – which ironically had been acquired by Pappas Telecasting Companies two years earlier in 1995. The station became exclusively affiliated with Fox as a result, only to add a secondary affiliation with Pax TV when that network launched on August 31, 1998; WHNS carried select programs from the network until 2003. In the fall of 2002, WHNS began branding itself as "Fox Carolina".
In March 2009, the Meredith Corporation announced that WHNS and Nashville sister station WSMV-TV would have their master control operations moved to a new master contol hub based out of the studio facilities of Atlanta sister station WGCL-TV, which began operations in the fall of 2009. Three other Meredith-owned stations, in Kansas City, Hartford-New Haven and Bay City, Michigan, were later added to this hub in 2010. Meredith operates a similar hub at KPHO-TV in Phoenix to handle its stations in the Las Vegas and Portland, Oregon/Vancouver, Washington markets.
The station's digital channel 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 digital signal 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 analog-era UHF channel 21.
Out-of-market cable carriage
Syndicated programs broadcast by WHNS include Friends, The Simpsons, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, The Big Bang Theory, Divorce Court, How I Met Your Mother and The Doctors. In addition, WHNS produces Better Carolinas, which airs weekday mornings at 10:00 a.m. and features a mix of segments from the Meredith-distributed syndicated program The Better Show and segments produced locally at WHNS's Greenville studios.
WHNS presently broadcasts 29½ hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 6½ hours on weekdays and one hour each on Saturdays and Sundays). The station's 10:00 p.m. newscast is the highest-rated primetime newscast in the market in that timeslot (outranking the WLOS (channel 13)-produced newscast on WMYA-TV and the WSPA-produced newscast on WYCW); WHNS also touts its other local newscasts as among the "fastest growing" in the market. The station does not operate a full-time sports department, but does employ a sports reporter.
WHNS launched the first primetime newscast in the Greenville-Spartanburg market in September 1996, when CBS affiliate WSPA-TV (channel 7) began to produce a nightly half-hour newscast at 10:00 p.m. through a news share agreement. The program was produced from WSPA's main news set at its International Drive studio facility in Spartanburg, and utilized WSPA's anchors and reporters; however, the newscast had a different on-air identity and graphics package than that seen on WSPA's newscasts. Meredith Corporation terminated the news share agreement in 1999, when the station began developing its own in-house news department; its news operation launched that fall, with the debut of an hour-long 10:00 p.m. newscast.
Connie LeGrand, who had anchored the WSPA-produced 10:00 p.m. newscast, was hired by WHNS to continue as anchor of the station's new in-house newscasts; LeGrand left the station in 2004 (only to rejoin WSPA's news staff several years later), with another WSPA anchor/reporter, Diana Watson, being hired as her replacement as co-anchor. In September 2005, WHNS debuted a weekday morning newscast titled The Morning News, running for four hours from 5:00 to 9:00 a.m.
On May 14, 2007, assignment editor Joe Loy was filming the aftermath of a traffic accident on a local highway when another accident occurred right behind him. Loy managed to tape that accident as a white van, which possibly went out-of-control because of a red pickup truck, spun towards and hit him, killing him instantly. In September 2009, WHNS expanded its news programming into early evenings with the debut of a half-hour newscast at 6:30 p.m.; the program was cancelled in September 2012, due to low ratings.
On February 2, 2011, WHNS began broadcasting its local newscasts in widescreen enhanced definition; in-studio and field cameras, and other station camera feeds were upconverted to a 16:9 widescreen format in the control room. With the upgrade, the station introduced a new news set as well as a graphics package created by Renderon Broadcast Design (which is known primarily for its design work for Journal Broadcast Group's television stations). Since NBC affiliate WYFF (channel 4) began broadcasting its newscasts in HD on April 22, 2012, WHNS is the only remaining news-producing commercial television station in the Greenville/Spartanburg/Asheville market that has yet to upgrade its news production to high definition. In September 2012, the station expanded its late evening news programming with the debut of a 35-minute newscast at 11:00 p.m., airing Monday through Fridays.
|City of license||Callsign||Channel|
- WHNS official website
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WHNS
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WHNS-TV
- WHNS Video Montage