Jacksonville, North Carolina
|City of license||Washington|
WITN News (newscasts)
|Slogan||Your Breaking News
& Weather Authority
|Channels||Digital: 32 (UHF)
Virtual: 7 (PSIP)
|First air date||September 28, 1955|
|Call letters' meaning||WashIngToN or
|Former callsigns||WITN (1955-1978)|
|Former channel number(s)||7 (VHF analog, 1955-2009)|
|Former affiliations||ABC (secondary, 1955-1963)
local weather (on DT2)
|Transmitter power||795 kW|
WITN-TV is the NBC-affiliated television station for Eastern North Carolina's Inner Banks. Licensed to Washington, it broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 32 (or virtual channel 7.1 via PSIP) from a transmitter in Grifton Township along NC 118. Owned by Gray Television, it has studios on East Arlington Boulevard in Greenville. Syndicated programming on WITN includes Jeopardy!, Wheel of Fortune, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Rachael Ray, and among others.
|Channel||PSIP short name||Video||Aspect||Programming|
|7.1||WITN-DT||1080i||16:9||Main WITN programming / NBC|
|7.2||WITN-MY||480i||4:3||WITN-DT2 / MyNetworkTV|
Originally, WITN-DT2 served as a 24-hour local weather channel. It picked up MyNetworkTV on September 28, 2009 after the area's Ion Television owned-and-operated affiliate WEPX-TV (and its full-time satellite, WPXU-TV) dropped the programming service. At that point, local weather programming was reduced to overnights and mornings while syndicated offerings made up the rest of WITN-DT2's schedule. A further addition to that service occurred April 18, 2011 when it added Me-TV and dropped all remaining weather-related programming with the new network taking up most of the weekend and daytime schedule.
Eventually, a new third digital subchannel signed-on and began offering a 24-hour live feed of WITN's own Doppler weather radar. On January 17, 2013, it separated programming from MyNetworkTV and MeTV onto dedicated digital subchannels (with Me-TV relocating to the third subchannel). However, WITN-DT2 simulcasts WITN-DT3 during overnight periods. WITN-DT2 is seen on Time Warner Cable digital channel 121, Suddenlink digital channel 138, and Charter digital channel 198. WITN-DT3 is seen exclusively on Suddenlink digital channel 139.
For a period of time, WITN-DT2 could also be seen on the digital tier of Time Warner Cable in the greater Wilmington area since that market's MyNetworkTV affiliate, W47CK, was technically ineligible for carriage on cable providers due to its low-powered status. As a result, the clearance allowed WITN-DT2 to unofficially serve as Wilmington's Me-TV outlet (since, at that time, there was no television outlet affiliated with the network in that area at the time). Eventually, Time Warner Cable picked up W47CK and subsequently dropped WITN-DT2 from the lineup.
The station signed-on September 28, 1955 from facilities on U.S. 17 in Chocowinity (outside Washington, though with a Washington mailing address). It was the area's second television outlet to launch after Greenville's WNCT-TV. It was an NBC affiliate from the start but shared secondary ABC relations with WNCT until the 1963 sign-on of WNBE-TV (now WCTI-TV) in New Bern.
WITN aired an analog signal on VHF channel 7 from the region's highest transmitter at that time; its current tower was also one of the tallest structures in the United States. The station was originally owned by North Carolina Television, a consortium of radio stations from Northeastern North Carolina. Majority ownership was held by the owners of WITN radio (930 AM, now WDLX; and FM 93.3, now WERO).
The company held onto the television station until 1985 when it was sold to Aflac. It added the -TV suffix to its call sign on July 31, 1978. In 1997, Aflac sold its broadcasting group to Retirement Systems of Alabama which merged with Ellis Communications to form Raycom Media. However, Raycom could not keep WITN due to a significant signal overlap with Wilmington's WECT (an Ellis property that was part of the deal). WITN's city-grade signal reaches the northern portion of the Wilmington market. What was then known as Gray Communications (now Gray Television) bought the station in 1997. It has been broadcasting a full-power digital signal since June 2006.
On January 7, 2009, a high definition feed of WITN was launched on DirecTV and can now also be obtained on Dish Network. It switched to digital-only broadcasting on June 12. However, the station had planned to end analog transmissions on February 19 as originally scheduled. WITN's digital broadcast remained on UHF channel 32 when the conversion was completed. In June 2013, the station moved from its longtime home outside Washington to new high definition-ready studios in Greenville.
In addition to offering network and syndicated programming, WITN was also a multimedia rights partner for East Carolina University Athletics from 1998 to 2014. In addition to hosting the weekly coaches' shows for football and basketball, the station produced live broadcasts of select games that were not picked up nationally by ESPN as part of its deal with Conference USA. Even though most of the broadcasts were limited to its own market, WITN got other television outlets throughout North Carolina to carry a football game in 2003 which saw ECU competing against in-state rival University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. WNCT-TV recently picked up the ECU sports package, just as the school moved its programs to the American Athletic Conference
In terms of Nielsen ratings, Eastern North Carolina is usually not very competitive during sweeps periods. Historically, WITN has generally traded the highest viewership crown with WNCT and WCTI. In July 2008, the CBS outlet became the most watched television station in the market after taking first place weeknights at 6 and 11. However, since then, WNCT has fallen to 3rd place weeknights at 6. As of May 2010, WITN has won the sign-on to sign-off honors for two consecutive ratings periods. More specifically, the station won all time periods except for the weekday noon news.
While broadcasting from its original facility in Chocowinity, WITN maintained secondary studios in Greenville on East Arlington Street (within the Square Shopping Center) less than two blocks from its current base of operations. This location began broadcasting a weekday morning newscast in 1997 featuring a news anchor, meteorologist, and photographer based out of there. In addition, weeknight interview segments were conducted from the old secondary studios.
After moving into its brand new facility in Greenville on June 5, 2013, WITN became the area's second television outlet to upgrade news production to high definition level. Although it no longer broadcasts from Chocowinity, WITN still operates its own Doppler weather radar that is located on the property. It also features live, VIPIR data during weather forecasting segments originating from several regional NOAA National Weather Service radar sites. In addition to its main studios in Greenville, the station operates news bureaus in Washington (on Main Street), Jacksonville (on Western Boulevard), and in New Bern (on Middle Street).
Notable former on-air staff
- John Beard - news anchor (1972-1976; now at WGRZ in Buffalo, New York)
- David Crabtree - anchor/reporter (1985–1988; now at WRAL-TV in Raleigh, North Carolina)
- Stand by: Digital TV transition postponed, Ginger Livingston, The Daily Reflector, February 04, 2009
- ECU Media Relations, WNCT.com, July 22, 2014
- http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/CA6579887.htmlLink 3
- WITN-TV (can be entered into wireless device for mobile access)
- WITN-DT2 MyNetworkTV
- WITN-DT3 Me-TV
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WITN-TV