Bluefield, West Virginia
|Channels||Digital: 50 (UHF)
Virtual: 50 (PSIP)
|Owner||Thomas Broadcasting Company|
|First air date||December 14, 1954|
|Former channel number(s)||4 (VHF analog, 1954-2009)|
|Former affiliations||DuMont (1954-1956)
CBS (secondary, 1954-1967, per program 1967-early 1970s)
|Transmitter power||1,000 kW|
|Public license information:||Profile
WOAY-TV is a television station located in Oak Hill, West Virginia, USA. WOAY-TV has been locally-owned by the Thomas family since its inception, and is the ABC affiliate for the Beckley/Bluefield/Oak Hill television market. The station's studio and transmitter are co-located on Legends Highway in Scarbro, West Virginia, just outside of Oak Hill's city limits.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|50.1||720p||16:9||WOAY-HD||Main WOAY-TV programming / ABC|
The first television station in southern West Virginia, WOAY-TV began operations on December 14, 1954 with an analog signal on VHF channel 4. It was owned by local businessman Robert R. Thomas, Jr. and was a sister to WOAY radio (AM 860 and 94.1 FM, now WAXS). The station has always been a primary ABC affiliate, but in its early years maintained secondary relations with CBS and DuMont Television Network. It lost DuMont when that network shut down in 1956, but continued to air select CBS shows. This was very unusual for a then two-station market, especially one of Bluefield/Beckley/Oak Hill's size.
The Sept. 15, 1956, TV Guide reported, “Bob Kent, Ch. 4’s Saturday Night Wrestling host, may be moved to more spacious quarters because of the backlog of ticket requests. Mail is coming in from many outlying areas.”
Channel 4 dropped most of its remaining CBS programs in 1967, though it initially continued to air the CBS Evening News for some time afterwards, mainly because the nearest CBS affiliate to the area, WCHS-TV in Charleston, didn't carry it. Captain Kangaroo was also retained for some time.
In previous decades, the station was known throughout the area for a very theatrical professional wrestling show that it produced with local "talent" in an arena adjacent to its studios. However, this ended on September 30, 1977 when WOAY's main studio, control room, office, and transmitter building burned to the ground. The stations' facilities were relocated and rebuilt in the former wrestling arena, where they remain today. The radio stations were sold off by the Thomases in 1990.
WOAY-TV turned off its analog signal at 11:35 in the evening on June 12, 2009 and remained on digital channel 50. On that date, WOAY dropped its longtime on-air moniker of "TV 4". It now verbally identifies as "WOAY Television", although its logo identifies it as "TV 50". Unusually, it did not use PSIP to remap its signal to its former analog channel 4.
In 2009, WOAY-TV revamped its technical infrastructure to become the first high-definition station in West Virginia. The station clears the majority of the ABC programming schedule.
- Channel 50 digital TV stations in the United States
- Channel 50 virtual TV stations in the United States
- Grubb, Barbara. "$3 million fire to idle TV station 2 to 4 weeks." The Raleigh Register (Beckley, W. Va.), September 30, 1977, pg. 1.