|Asheville, North Carolina/Greenville/
Spartanburg, South Carolina
|City of license||Asheville, North Carolina|
|Branding||ABC 13 (general)
News 13 (newscasts)
My 40 (on DT2)
|Slogan||Western North Carolina's
|Channels||Digital: 13 (VHF)
Virtual: 13 (PSIP)
|Owner||Sinclair Broadcast Group
(WLOS Licensee, LLC)
|First air date||September 18, 1954|
|Call letters' meaning||Wonderful Land Of Sky|
|Former callsigns||WLOS-TV (1954–1984)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
13 (VHF, 1954–2009)
Digital: 56 (UHF, –2009)
|Transmitter power||50 kW|
|Public license information:||Profile
WLOS, virtual and VHF digital channel 13, is an ABC-affiliated television station located in Asheville, North Carolina, United States. The station is owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group; Sinclair also operates MyNetworkTV affiliate WMYA-TV (channel 40) under a local marketing agreement with owner Cunningham Broadcasting. The two stations share studio facilities located on Technology Drive in Asheville near I-26/US 74; WLOS maintains transmitter facilities located on Mount Pisgah in Haywood County, North Carolina. On cable, the station is available on Charter Communications channels 3 (in North Carolina) and 13 (in South Carolina), and in high definition on Charter digital channels 703 (in North Carolina) and 713 (in South Carolina).
The station first signed on the air on September 18, 1954; broadcasting at 316,000 watts, it was founded by the Skyway Broadcasting Company, owners of WLOS radio (1380 AM, now WKJV; and 99.9 FM, now WKSF). Having been with the network since its sign-on, WLOS is the second-longest tenured primary ABC affiliate located south of Washington, D.C. (behind Lynchburg, Virginia's WSET-TV, also on channel 13). During the late-1950s, WLOS was also briefly affiliated with the NTA Film Network. The station's original studios and transmitter facilities were based alongside its radio sisters in West Asheville (the 300-foot (91 m) self-supporting tower with an analog batwing antenna atop it remains standing to this day). A few months after the station signed on, the television station relocated its operations to Battle House (a restored mansion on Macon Avenue, northeast of downtown Asheville, next to the historic Grove Park Inn).
At that same time, the transmitter was moved to the much-higher Mount Pisgah, 35 miles (56 km) miles away. Due to the higher elevation, Federal Communications Commission rules required channel 13 to reduce its transmitter power by half. But even with its power reduced to 178,000 watts, the station still more than doubled its coverage area to include most of Western North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina. Soon afterward, the FCC combined the western Carolinas into one large market. With its move to Mount Pisgah, WLOS could now boast the second highest transmitter location east of the Mississippi River at 2,804 feet (855 m) above average terrain (the valley floor) and 6,056 feet (1,846 m) above sea level. At the time, the highest transmitter elevation belonged to WMTW-TV atop Mount Washington, New Hampshire at 3,871 feet (1,180 m) above average terrain (the valley floor), and 6,374 feet (1,943 m) above sea level.
The new tower location gave WLOS one of the largest coverage areas in the nation. In addition to its primary coverage area of the Western Carolinas, the station also had significant viewership in several other nearby markets; WLOS also enjoyed at least secondary coverage in portions of eastern Tennessee, southwestern Virginia and southeastern Kentucky. It provided city-grade coverage to nearly all of the Tri-Cities market and Grade B coverage of most of the Knoxville market. Channel 13 could also be seen in portions of Georgia under certain atmospheric conditions. Before the mid to late-1960s, no other full-time ABC affiliate put a clear signal into much of these areas. Before WKPT-TV signed on as the Tri-Cities' ABC affiliate, WLOS claimed the Tennessee-Virginia border area as part of its primary coverage area. Even after WKPT signed on, WLOS was available on cable in that market well into the 1980s. Indeed, many viewers in the Tri-Cities and the eastern part of the Knoxville market received a better over-the-air signal from WLOS than Knoxville's WTVK (now CBS affiliate WVLT-TV) and WKPT. Both of those stations were on UHF and did not get much signal penetration in their largely mountainous coverage areas. UHF stations, then as now, do not provide adequate reception in rugged terrain. Until the 1990s, WLOS relayed its programming on several separately-owned municipal translator stations in Eastern Kentucky. As mentioned above, WLOS now owns and operates ten analog translators that rebroadcast its digital signal.
The station has also had significant and long-standing viewership in the Charlotte area, particularly in Hickory and points west. Its grade B signal can be seen as far east as Charlotte itself. Until WSOC-TV switched from NBC to ABC in 1978, it was the de facto primary ABC affiliate for the western portion of the Charlotte market. WLOS appeared in the Charlotte Observer's television listings for many years (though it was dropped from the weekly listings in the mid-1990s), and advertised its programs in Charlotte-area newspapers well into the 1970s. It is still available on some cable systems in the western portion of the Charlotte market.
WLOS' only competition for ABC programming came from WAIM-TV (channel 40, now WMYA) in Anderson, South Carolina, which also carried select CBS programs. WAIM had been the default ABC affiliate for the Upstate until WLOS' massive power boost. Unfortunately, WAIM-TV only provided a reliable signal to Anderson itself and nearby Pickens County. However, it still continued to air some ABC programming. Although WLOS was never seriously threatened by WAIM, it pressured ABC to drop its programming from WAIM from the 1960s onward finally succeeding in 1979.
In 1958, Skyway Broadcasting merged with Wometco Enterprises of Miami, Florida (a movie theater company and former owner of the Blue Circle hamburger chain). Wometco promptly sold the AM station, but operated both the television and FM stations as Wometco-Skyway Broadcasting until 1984, when it was sold to investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts. The FM station was also sold at this time and its antenna remained co-located on the Mount Pisgah tower. Channel 13 was later sold to Anchor Media, which in turn was later sold to River City Broadcasting. WLOS signed off on weeknights until the debut of World News Now in August 1992, when its sign-offs were scaled back to late Friday and Saturday overnights before being reduced further to Saturday mornings from 5:00 to 6:00 a.m., after the station's weekend overnight movie presentations, in the early 2000s. The channel began broadcasting a 24-hour daily schedule between late-2005 and early 2006 (the station still displays color bars for a few minutes in instances where the movie ends early, but otherwise fills overnight hours on Fridays and Saturdays with paid programming). River City merged with the Sinclair Broadcast Group in 1996.
In 2000, the station moved its operations to new studio facilities on Technology Drive, about 10 miles (16 km) south of Downtown Asheville, which allowed station personnel to make a much shorter driving distance for sales calls and news team coverage to Greenville and Spartanburg, South Carolina. On January 5, 2007, cable provider Mediacom (which serves much of Western North Carolina, with the exception of Asheville itself) dropped all Sinclair-controlled stations, including WLOS and WMYA, from its systems due to a retransmission consent compensation dispute. As a result, much of WLOS' viewing area was left unable to view ABC programming until the dispute was resolved a month later. Additionally, Charter also briefly dropped WLOS's high definition feed due to a compensation dispute.
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|13.1||720p||16:9||WLOS-DT||Main WLOS programming / ABC|
|13.2||480i||4:3||WMYA-MN||SD simulcast of WMYA-TV|
|13.3||WLOS-SD||SD simulcast of 13.1|
WMYA's over-the-air signal. To improve that station's over-the-air coverage, WLOS offers an SD simulcast on their second digital subchannel. Even though WMYA has a digital signal of its own, that station's broadcasting radius only provides Grade B coverage to the North Carolina side of the market. Therefore, the station is simulcast over WLOS' second digital subchannel in order to reach the entire market. WLOS also carries a standard-definition simulcast of its main channel on digital subchannel 13.3.
On February 2, 2009, Sinclair told cable and satellite television providers via e-mail that regardless of the exact mandatory switchover date to digital-only broadcasting for full-power stations (which Congress rescheduled for June 12 days later), the station would shut down its analog signal on the original transition date of February 17, making WXLV and WMYV the first stations in the market to convert to digital-only broadcast transmissions. After the DTV Delay Act postponed the federal transition date to June 12, WLOS intended to convert to digital-only broadcast on February 17; but on February 12, the Federal Communications Commission said that stations must justify using the early cutoff date. On February 13, WLOS general manager Jack Connors announced that the FCC would also require WLOS to discontinue the analog signals of its translators, which would leave many residents in mountainous areas of the region without a signal.
WLOS discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over VHF channel 13, on February 17, 2009, the original date in which full-power television stations in the United States were to transition from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate (which Congress had moved the previous month to June 12). The station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 56, 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 VHF channel 13 (as a result of this, as of November 5, 2010, WLOS is the only Sinclair-owned television station that broadcasts on the VHF band post-transition).
Out-of-market cable carriage
In recent years, WLOS has been carried on cable systems in areas of North Carolina within the Charlotte and Chattanooga, Tennessee markets, as well as the Aiken and Columbia markets in South Carolina, the Atlanta market in Georgia, the Knoxville market in Tennessee, and the Tri-Cities market in Tennessee and Virginia.
Syndicated programs broadcast on WLOS include Maury, The Queen Latifah Show, This Old House, Private Practice, Bones, Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune (the latter two of which moved to the station from WYFF in September 1985). The station also produced a local children's show called Mr. Bill and Bozo, featuring now-retired weathermen Bill Norwood and Bob Caldwell (who celebrated his 40th anniversary on the air at WLOS in June 2006). Another popular program on WLOS was Shock Theater, a Saturday afternoon showcase of 1950s black-and-white science fiction films from the Warner Bros., Columbia Pictures and Universal Studios. This show was also hosted by Bill Norwood dressed as a Dracula-type character similar to the "Doctor Shock" character of the same era at WTVC-TV in Chattanooga.
WLOS has pre-empted a fair amount of ABC network programming over the years: the station originally aired Dark Shadows on a one-day delay until it dropped the cult soap opera in 1967 (the program returned to WLOS on April 1, 1968 and aired until it ended in 1971); it also pre-empted fellow soaps The Edge of Night (throughout its 1975-1984 run), One Life to Live (during its early years, replacing it with reruns of The Flintstones; the station began clearing the program in 1973 and remained until it ended on January 13, 2012; Peabo Bryson, who sang the theme song used from 1985 to 1991, is a native of Greenville) and Ryan's Hope (during the later years of the show). From the late 1960s until the newscast was cleared in 1970, the station aired I Love Lucy reruns in place of the ABC Evening News.
By the 1990s, network pre-emptions were largely limited to select episodes of certain programs (such as Full House, America's Funniest Home Videos, Dinosaurs and The Critic, the latter of which was replaced with syndicated reruns of Murphy Brown), primarily to air local programs; however the station declined to air the daytime talk show Mike and Maty (replaced by Jerry Springer), the children's comedy Fudge, the sitcoms All American Girl and Thunder Alley as well as the first season of The Drew Carey Show (which was also replaced with Murphy Brown reruns). It also aired Jerry Springer in place of The View from its debut in September 1997 until its addition to the schedule in September 2000. It was one of several Sinclair-owned ABC affiliates that pre-empted a Nightline broadcast that paid tribute to soldiers killed in the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq (which aired instead on Fox affiliate WHNS (channel 21)) and a telecast of the film Saving Private Ryan in 2004; due to WLOS's commitment to airing the Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon, WHNS aired ABC Sports coverage of the final day of the 2004 Deutsche Bank Championship (with ABC's consent; ironically, Bill Haas who was in third place in that game is a Greenville resident).
Today, the station carries the majority of the ABC network schedule; however from its debut in September 2011, WLOS was one of few ABC affiliates that pre-empted the network-syndicated Saturday morning block Litton's Weekend Adventure, marking the first regular ABC program pre-emption on the station since the early 2000s. Even since WLOS began carrying the final 2½ hours of the block in September 2013, WMYA-TV carried the Weekend Adventure program Ocean Mysteries with Jeff Corwin in lieu of WLOS on a one-day delay (in addition to the block, channel 13 carries a half-hour of syndicated children's programs on Sunday mornings to fulfill the FCC's minimum three-hour E/I programming quota).
WLOS presently broadcasts 33½ hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 5½ hours on weekdays and three hours each on Saturdays and Sundays), which is the highest amount of news programming in the Greenville/Spartanburg/Asheville market. In addition, the station broadcasts the regionally syndicated public affairs program NC Spin on Sunday mornings at 5:00 a.m. In addition to its main studios, WLOS operates news bureaus in Spindale (at Isothermal Community College), Waynesville (on South Main Street/US 23 and Greenville, South Carolina (on Verdae Boulevard).
Traditionally, WLOS' newscasts have focused more on the North Carolina side of the sprawling Greenville/Spartanburg/Asheville market, as evidenced by its longtime slogan, "Western North Carolina's News Leader." While WSPA has long been the market's highest-rated station overall, WLOS has consistently trounced WSPA and WYFF on the North Carolina side of the market. In addition to its own newscasts, WLOS produces two weekday-only newscasts for WMYA: a half-hour broadcast at 6:30 p.m. (which competes against the national evening news programs aired by WLOS, WYFF and WSPA-TV) and an hour-long newscast at 10:00 p.m. (which competes against a WSPA-produced half-hour newscast on CW affiliate WYCW and an hour-long in-house newscast on Fox affiliate WHNS).
On April 7, 2008, WLOS began to incorporate traffic reports for the entire market during the station's weekday morning and 5:00 p.m. newscasts, which were originally led by veteran radio traffic reporter George Sheldon (formerly of WIOD in Miami) until his retirement on January 30, 2013. On September 17, 2008, WLOS began broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition becoming the second pair of stations in the area to upgrade after WSPA and WYCW. On March 28, 2011, WLOS expanded its weekday morning newscast to 2½ hours, with the addition of a half-hour broadcast at 4:30 a.m.
Notable former on-air staff
- Mike Bettes - chief meteorologist (now at The Weather Channel)
- Heather Childers - weekend anchor (1999–2002; now at Fox News Channel)
- David Steele - sports director (now with the Orlando Magic)
In addition to its main signal, WLOS operates a network of analog translators throughout the mountainous areas of Western North Carolina. Due to their low-powered status, these were exempt from having to transition to digital on June 12, 2009.
|City of license||Callsign||Transmitter location|
|Spruce Pine||W06AD||along US 19E|
|Bat Cave||W06AQ||Chimney Rock|
|Bryson City||W08AN||west of town|
|Marion||W10AP||south of downtown|
|Waynesville||W12AR||west of town|
|Black Mountain||W12AQ||west of downtown|
- "Asheville Citizen Times". Citizen-times.com. Retrieved 2012-09-09.
- "Sinclair Media Watch". Sinclairwatch.net. Retrieved 2012-09-09.
- RabbitEars TV Query for WLOS
- Hearn, Ted (February 2, 2009). "Sinclair Sticks To Feb. 17 Analog Cutoff". Digital Video Report. Retrieved February 24, 2009.
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24.
- "SVTV Stations - The things you care that others won't". Svtvstations.webs.com. Retrieved 2012-09-09.
- "Heather Childers bio". 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.
- WLOS.com - WLOS-TV official website
- My40.tv - WMYA-TV official website
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WLOS