|Panama City, Florida/Dothan, Alabama|
|City of license||Panama City, Florida|
The CW Panama City (DT2)
|Slogan||Coverage You Can Count On!|
|Channels||Digital: 7 (VHF)
Virtual: 7 (PSIP)
7.2 The CW
|Affiliations||NBC (1953-1973 and since 1982)|
|Owner||Gray Television, Inc.
(Gray Television Licensee, LLC)
|First air date||December 1, 1953|
|Call letters' meaning||James Harrison Gray
(founder of Gray Communications)
|Sister station(s)||WECP-LD, WTVY, WRGX-LD|
|Former callsigns||WJDM-TV (1953-1960)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog: 7 (VHF) (1953-2009)|
|Former affiliations||Independent (1953)
ABC (secondary 1953-1973; primary 1973-1982)
DuMont (secondary 1953-1955)
CBS (secondary 1953-1961)
|Transmitter power||67 kW|
- 1 History
- 2 Digital television
- 3 Circle 7 logo & affiliation changes
- 4 News operation
- 5 References
- 6 External links
WJHG was founded in 1953 as WJDM-TV, owned by businessman J.D. Manley. At first, the station aired local programming such as church services and wrestling, and went as an independent for a short period of time before securing a primary affiliation with NBC and secondary affiliations with CBS and ABC. Mel Wheeler purchased the station in 1957, and in 1960, James Harrison Gray, the founder of Gray Communications, bought the station and changed the call letters to the current WJHG-TV, after his initials.
WJHG dropped CBS in the 1960s after WTVY in Dothan, Alabama became the default CBS affiliate for Panama City as well. In 1973, WJHG became an exclusive ABC affiliate when WDTB (channel 13, now WMBB) began, taking the NBC affiliation. In 1982, WMBB and WJHG switched networks. CBS would return to WJHG as a subchannel on 7.3, simulcasting the market's regular CBS affiliate, WECP-LD.
In 1998, WJHG was almost sold when the Phipps family sold WCTV to Gray Communications. This would have violated the pre-1996 ownership rules because WJHG's grade B signal covers the extreme western parts of the Tallahassee market. The 1996 Telecommunications Act allowed for overlapping fringe signals, so Gray kept WJHG. Instead, Gray ended up selling its flagship station, WALB-TV in Albany, Georgia, because its city-grade signal overlapped that of WCTV's in the Georgia portion of the Tallahassee market, still protected under Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules.
Then in 2002, Gray bought most of Benedek Broadcasting's stations, including WTVY, whose tower is located in Bonifay, Florida, providing a signal that covers all the way from Fort Walton Beach, Florida to Troy, Alabama. By this time, signal contours were no longer an issue and Gray could keep both stations.
Since both stations were long available on cable in both Dothan and Panama City, WJHG has run WTVY stories that take place in those parts of northwestern Florida that are in northern part of the Panama City market, and WTVY has run WJHG stories on Panama City and the coast. Sometimes, WTVY will run its own stories on Panama City, but WJHG did not cover Dothan at all (southeastern Alabama's default NBC affiliate was Montgomery's WSFA). Gray launched WRGX-LD as a Dothan-based NBC affiliate on June 1, 2013, ending WJHG's availability in the Dothan market.
On June 28, 2010, WJHG began broadcasting their newscasts in 16:9 widescreen SD format.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|7.1||1080i||16:9||WJHG-HD||Main WJHG-TV programming / NBC|
|7.2||480i||4:3||CW||The CW Panama City|
Circle 7 logo & affiliation changes
The station used the "Circle 7" logo as far back as the 1950s without objection from the ABC television network. At some point ABC had trademarked the logo for use by its owned and operated stations that shared the dial position (Channel 7) in several major television markets across the nation. In 1982, when Gray Communications switched WJHG-TV's network affiliation to NBC, ABC ordered WJHG to cease using the logo. Station manager Ray H. Holloway produced archival film and still photographs that showed the local station had been using the "Circle 7" logo longer than the network, but in order to bring the matter to a quick and satisfactory end the station elected to modify the logo. The modification was minor (the bottom of the circle was left open) but enough to pacify executives at ABC in New York who were upset over the station's decision to "defect" to NBC. However, non-ABC stations still use designs similar to the Circle 7 logo including Sunbeam Television's WHDH (NBC) in Boston, and WSVN (Fox) in Miami.
- The World Today/Panama City Today (1960s–1970s)
- Channel 7 Spotlight News (1960s, with the patriotic "Guadalcanal March" as the theme music")
- TV-7 News (1980s–1990)
- NewsChannel 7 (1990–present)
- "Working for You" (1990–1997)
- "Northwest Florida's News Leader" (1994–1997; news slogan)
- "Spirit of the Panhandle" (1997–2007)
- "Coverage You Can Count On" (2007–present)
- Donna Bell - Weekday Mornings and Noon
- Paris Janos - Weekday Morning Field Anchor
- Meredith TerHaar - Weekday Mornings / General Assignment Reporter
- Tom Lewis - Weeknights at 6pm and 10pm / Executive Producer
- Joe Moore - Weekdays at Noon and Weeknights at 5pm
- Neysa Wilkins - Weeknights at 6pm and 10pm
- SanWilmette, IL Dange - Weekends @ 5(Sun), 6(Sat), & 10 (Sat & Sun)
VIPIR 7 Weather Team
- Chris Smith (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist and NWA Seals of Approval) - Weeknights at 5pm, 6pm and 10pm / Chief Meteorologist
- Jim Loznicka (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval) - Weekday Morning/Noon Meteorologist
- Adam Klotz - Weekend Weather Anchor / General Assignment Reporter
- Scott Rossman - Weeknights at 6pm and 10pm / Sports Director
- Greg Brzozowski - Weekends @ 5(Sun), 6(Sat), & 10 (Sat & Sun)/ Sports Reporter / General Assignment Reporter
- Ashley Arnold - General Assignment Reporter
- Bergen Baucom - Jackson County Bureau Reporter
- Betsy Goldin - General Assignment Reporter / Producer
- Matt Horn- Tallahassee Bureau Reporter (through Capitol News Service)
- Cristina Pfeffer - Walton County Bureau Reporter
- Cameron Taylor - General Assignment Reporter
- Mike Vasilinda - Tallahassee Bureau Reporter (through Capitol News Service)
- Bragan Hughes
- Morgan Kyrklund
Notable former on-air staff
- Jake Bell - Sports Anchor/Reporter, Feature Reporter (2000–2002)
- Kristen Berset - Anchor/Producer (now at WUSA-TV in Washington)
- Earl Hutto - News/Sports Anchor (1960s/70s; retired U.S. Congressman)
- Shepard Smith - Anchor/Reporter (now at FOX News)
- David Steele - Sports Anchor (mid 1970s; now with Sun Sports and the NBA's Orlando Magic)
- Phillips, Greg (May 6, 2013). "Dothan getting NBC affiliate". Dothan Eagle. Retrieved May 13, 2013.
- WJHG NewsChannel 7 @ 6pm 7/10/09
- WJHG Bios
- Bell, Jake (30 November 2008). "E!'s True Children's Publishing Stories". Retrieved 26 September 2013.
- "Kristen Goes Fishing". WJHG. 12 February 2008. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
- "H.R. 5107". Government Printing Office. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
- "Shepard Smith biography". Fox News. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
- "Orlando Magic’s David Steele Named NSSA Florida Sportscaster of the Year". 28 April 2010. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
- WJHG Website
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WJHG
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WJHG-TV