WPGA-TV

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WPGA-TV
WPGA logoWPGA-DT2 Bounce Macon.png
PerryMacon, Georgia
United States
City of license Perry, Georgia
Branding Macon TV, WPGA
Channels Digital: 32 (UHF)
Virtual: 58 (PSIP)
Subchannels 58.1 Ind.
58.2 Me-TV
58.3 Bounce TV
Affiliations Independent
Me-TV (DT2)
Bounce TV (DT3)
Owner Register Communications
(Radio Perry, Inc.)
First air date March 1, 1995; 19 years ago (1995-03-01)
Call letters' meaning Perry, GeorgiA
(after the radio station)
Former channel number(s) Analog:
58 (UHF, 1995–2009)
Former affiliations Primary:
Fox (1995)
ABC (1996–2009)
Secondary:
RTV (2010–2011)
This TV (2010–2013)
Transmitter power 1,000 kW
Height 246 m
Facility ID 54728
Transmitter coordinates 32°45′4.3″N 83°33′26.7″W / 32.751194°N 83.557417°W / 32.751194; -83.557417
Licensing authority FCC
Public license information: Profile
CDBS
Website www.macon.tv

WPGA-TV, virtual channel 58 (UHF digital channel 32), is an Independent television station serving Macon, Georgia that is licensed to Perry. The station is locally owned by Register Communications, owners of This TV affiliate WPGA-LP (channel 50) and Perry-licensed radio stations WPGA (980 AM) and WPGA-FM (100.9 FM). The television and radio stations share studio facilities located on Forsyth Street in downtown Macon; WPGA-TV maintains transmitter facilities located on GA 87/U.S. 23/U.S. 129 Alternate (Golden Isles Highway), along the Twiggs-Bibb County line.

Syndicated programs broadcast on WPGA-TV include Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, The Office, Da Vinci's Inquest, Right This Minute, America's Court with Judge Ross and 30 Rock. In addition, the station carries select programs from the digital multicast networks Me-TV and Bounce TV, whose full schedules are carried on digital subchannels 58.2 and 58.3.

History[edit]

As a Fox affiliate[edit]

The station first signed on the air on March 1, 1995; it originally served as the Macon market's original Fox affiliate. Prior to the station's sign-on, Macon residents could only receive Fox network programing via Foxnet (the network's now-defunct national cable feed) or via Fox stations piped in from the nearby Atlanta market (network-owned WATL from the network's launch in October 1986 until December 1994, and then WAGA-TV from December 1994 until WPGA's sign-on). In addition, when Fox assumed the broadcast rights to the National Football Conference television package from CBS in 1994, ABC affiliate WGXA (channel 24) carried Fox's NFL telecasts on Sunday afternoons until December 1994.

ABC affiliation[edit]

On September 10, 1995, GOCOM Media announced that it had signed an agreement with Fox to affiliate with its Macon ABC affiliate WGXA, effectively ending WPGA's tenure with the network at the end of that year (after only ten months as a Fox station). Shortly afterward, Register Communications signed an affiliation agreement to make WPGA the Macon market's new ABC affiliate. The affiliation swap took place on January 1, 1996, with Fox moving to channel 24, and ABC moving to channel 58.[1] In July 2007, WPGA-TV changed its on-air branding from "ABC 58" to "ABC Macon".

WPGA-TV's logo as "ABC Macon", used from July 2007 to November 2009; the station's current logo is based on this design. For a time after this logo was dropped, the station's website used a modified version of this logo that omitted the ABC logo.

On October 29, 2009, Register Communications announced that WPGA-TV would terminate its affiliation contract with the network and become an independent station. Owner Lowell Register cited concerns that ABC's programming did not meet the station's family-oriented focus,[2] and also objected to the network's decision to begin requiring its affiliates to pay an annual fee of $500,000 to carry its programming.[3] WGXA owner Frontier Radio Management, Inc. signed an affiliation deal with the network to carry its programming on a second digital subchannel (the station had carried ABC programming as its primary affiliation from its sign-on in April 1982 until it switched to Fox in January 1996).[4]

As an independent station[edit]

Upon becoming an independent station on January 1, 2010, WPGA began cherry-picking select programs from the Retro Television Network (sharing the affiliation with sister station WPGA-LP) in addition to shows from This TV and retained the station's existing syndicated programming.[5] In preparation for the switch, WPGA began phasing out ABC network references from its branding in November 2009, changing its branding to "Macon TV".

The station's disaffiliation from ABC resulted in a dispute with Cox Communications over its channel 6 slot (as well as a high definition feed on channel 706, later moved to channel 1006), as Cox intended to drop WPGA in favor of WGXA-DT2, a move that Register contended the provider does not have the right to make.[6] On December 22, 2009, WPGA was granted a temporary restraining order requiring Cox to continue to carry the station on channels 6 and 706;[7] however, the court later dismissed WPGA's case on April 30, 2010. Register filed an appeal; in light of this, a judge ordered Cox to leave WPGA on its existing channel slots until an appeals court heard the case.[8] In addition, Register also filed a petition with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) over the status of WPGA's channel placement on Cox.[9] Satellite provider DirecTV would drop WPGA itself on January 1, though the station remains available on Dish Network, as well as cable providers that the station maintains must carry agreements with (Register considers Cox to have such an agreement, even though the cable provider claims it instead has a retransmission consent agreement).[7]

On June 23, 2011, the Georgia Court of Appeals upheld the ruling that would enable Cox to drop WPGA from its lineup, effective July 28. On that date, WGXA-DT2 would begin to carried on both channel 6 and its existing channel 15 position; with the subchannel being carried exclusively on channel 6 starting August 28 (channel 15 would then be used for bandwidth for the system's high-definition channels).[10]

On July 12, 2011, Register filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, seeking an injunction to prevent Cox from not only dropping WPGA, but from giving the channel 6 slot to WGXA-DT2. However, Cox announced that it would go forward with the channel shuffle despite the complaint, as the previous court case authorized them to make the changes.[11] In addition, the FCC ruled on December 5, 2011 that WPGA's contract with Cox rendered it a station that elected retransmission consent.[12]

Digital television[edit]

Digital channels[edit]

The station's digital channel is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[13]
58.1 720p 16:9 WPGA-DT Main WPGA-TV programming
58.2 480i 4:3 MEtv Me-TV
58.3 Bounce Bounce TV

On April 7, 2010, WPGA began carrying This TV on its second digital subchannel. In early spring 2011, the station began airing select Me-TV programs on its primary channel; the station would later begin carrying the complete Me-TV schedule on digital channel 58.2.[14] On September 26, 2011, WPGA became a charter affiliate of Bounce TV, carrying the network on digital subchannel 58.3.

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

WPGA-TV discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over UHF channel 58, at approximately noon 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 remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 32,[15][16] using PSIP to display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 58, which was among the high band UHF channels (52-69) that were removed from broadcasting use as a result of the transition.

Newscasts[edit]

WPGA has made some attempts to offer news programs. The station first aired short morning and evening News Briefs featuring news footage narrated by former WCWB (channel 41, now WMGT-TV), WMAZ-TV (channel 13) and WGXA news anchor Ron Wildman. In June 2001, the station launched a full-fledged local newscast,[17] anchored by former WMAZ anchor Tina Hicks. These newscasts aired each weeknight at 6:30 and 11:00 p.m., pushing ABC World News Tonight to 7:00 p.m. (most ABC stations in the Eastern Time Zone air World News in the 6:30 slot). However, due to inadequate sales/promotional strategies, personnel and leadership, the news operation (branded as 58 News) was unsuccessful, and the newscasts were discontinued in 2002. Afterwards, WPGA offered a daily sports news program called the 58 Sports Show; despite praise from middle Georgia sports fans, this program was eventually dropped as well.

Logo for ABC Macon News

On July 23, 2007, WPGA debuted twice-daily evening newscasts (titled ABC Macon News), airing weeknights at 7:00 and 11:00 p.m. (the latter broadcast was subsequently dropped due to economic reasons[17]) that were produced by the Independent News Network. WPGA hired locally based reporters in Macon to file news reports while in-studio segments were based out of INN's production facilities in Davenport, Iowa. In a January 5, 2009 Macon Telegraph report, it was announced that Independent News Network had filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on December 31, 2008; as a result, it ended all of its news productions, including those for WPGA, by January 9, 2009.[17] Most of INN's accounts were sold to another media company, LMG, Inc., part of the Davenport-based Fusion Communications. In the transfer, INN terminated 12 members of its 40-person staff, and kept its client stations, except for WPGA-TV. The station has since reached a new deal with INN, and the company began producing weeknight newscasts at 6:00 and 11:00 p.m.

News/station presentation[edit]

Newscast titles[edit]

  • 58 News (2001–2002)
  • ABC Macon News (2007–2009)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jessell, Harry A.. "ABC, Fox change partners again: ABC is switching to WCPO-TV in Cincinnati, Fox is moving to WGXA-TV in Macon, Ga.", Broadcasting & Cable. September 11, 1995. HighBeam Research. (February 17, 2011).
  2. ^ http://www.macon.com/local/story/943521.html
  3. ^ Macon Telegraph October 29, 2009 WPGA severing ties with ABC network
  4. ^ http://www.fox24.com/news/local/67337237.html
  5. ^ Stucka, Mike (October 30, 2009). "Changes ahead for Macon ABC affiliate". The Telegraph. Retrieved October 30, 2009. 
  6. ^ Ramati, Phillip (December 7, 2009). "Cox, WPGA at odds over channel placement". The Telegraph. Retrieved December 7, 2009. 
  7. ^ a b Ramati, Phillip (December 23, 2009). "http://www.macon.com/local/story/962889.html". The Telegraph. Retrieved December 23, 2009. 
  8. ^ Macon Telegraph: "Judge dismisses WPGA lawsuit against Cox", April 4, 2010.
  9. ^ Macon Telegraph: "Judge dismisses WPGA lawsuit against Cox", April 4, 2010.
  10. ^ Macon Telegraph: "Cox to drop WPGA in July", June 23, 2011.
  11. ^ Macon Telegraph: "WPGA takes cable company fight to federal court", July 12, 2011.
  12. ^ Ramati, Philip (December 8, 2011). "FCC clears way for Cox to drop WPGA from cable lineup". The Telegraph. Retrieved December 9, 2011. 
  13. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WPGA
  14. ^ Where to Watch Me-TV: WPGA
  15. ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24. 
  16. ^ http://www.macon.com/102/story/613036.html
  17. ^ a b c Macon Telegraph: "Future of Macon TV station’s nightly newscast uncertain", 1/5/2009.

External links[edit]