|Branding||NBC 4 (general)
News 4 (newscasts)
|Slogan||"Washington's news leader!"
"Working for you!"
|Channels||Digital: 48 (UHF)
Virtual: 4 (PSIP)
4.2 Cozi TV
(NBC Telemundo License LLC)
|First air date||June 27, 1947|
|Call letters' meaning||Radio Corporation of America
(NBC's former parent)
|Sister station(s)||Comcast Network
Comcast SportsNet Washington
|Former callsigns||WNBW (1947–1954)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
4 (VHF, 1947–2009)
|Transmitter power||813 kW|
|Height||242 m (794 ft)|
|Public license information:||Profile
WRC-TV, channel 4, is an NBC owned-and-operated television station located in the American capital city of Washington, District of Columbia. The station is owned by the NBC Owned Television Stations subsidiary of NBCUniversal. WRC-TV's studios and transmitter are co-located in the Tenleytown neighborhood on the northwest side of Washington.
The station traces its roots to experimental television station W3XNB, which was put on the air by the Radio Corporation of America, the then-parent company of NBC, in 1939. On June 27, 1947, the station received a commercial station license and signed on the air as WNBW (standing for "NBC Washington"). Channel 4 is the second-oldest licensed television station in Washington, after WTTG (channel 5), which signed on six months earlier in January 1947. WNBW was also the second of the five original NBC-owned television stations to sign-on, behind New York City and ahead of Chicago, Cleveland and Los Angeles. The station was operated alongside WRC radio (980 AM, frequency now occupied by WTEM; and 93.9 FM, now WKYS).
On October 18, 1954, the television station's callsign changed to the present WRC-TV to match its radio sisters. The new calls reflected NBC's ownership at the time by RCA. It has retained its "-TV" suffix to this day, more than two decades after the radio stations were sold off.
The second presidential debate between candidates John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon was broadcast from the station's studios on October 7, 1960. David Brinkley's Washington segment of the Huntley-Brinkley Report originated at WRC-TV between 1956 and 1970, as did Washington reports or commentaries by Brinkley or John Chancellor on NBC Nightly News in the 1970s.
The earliest color videotape in existence is a recording of the dedication of NBC/WRC's Washington studios on May 22, 1958. As Dwight D. Eisenhower spoke at the event, introduced by Brinkley, it was also the first time a president had been videotaped in color.
At the time of its sign-on, channel 4 was one of two wholly network-owned stations in Washington, the other being DuMont's WTTG. DuMont was shut down in 1956, and for the next 30 years WRC-TV was the only owned-and-operated station in Washington. That distinction ended when WTTG was sold to the News Corporation and became a charter station for the Fox network in 1986; it has since been accompanied by WDCA (channel 20) and WBDC (channel 50, now WDCW) in that order, respectively as UPN and WB stations with their respective owners having ownership stakes in those new networks (former WDCA owner Chris-Craft with UPN until 2000 and current owner News Corporation with MyNetworkTV, and WDCW owner Tribune Company with The WB throughout its run). Today, WRC is one of three network-owned stations in the nation's capital, alongside the Fox Television Stations-owned duopoly of WTTG and WDCA.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||PSIP Short Name||Video||Aspect||Programming|
|4.1||WRC-HD||1080i||16:9||Main WRC-TV programming / NBC|
On June 12, 2009, WRC-TV terminated its analog signal, on VHF channel 4, as part of the federally mandated transition from analog to digital television. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 48. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display WRC-TV's virtual channel as 4. The station participated in the "Analog Nightlight" program, with its analog signal carrying information on the digital transition until analog signal broadcasts were permanently discontinued on June 26, 2009.
Beginning in 1996, WRC-TV's studios were the home of WHD-TV, an experimental high definition television station owned by a consortium of industry groups and stations which carried the nation's first program in the format transmitted by a television station, an episode of Meet the Press, and aired on UHF channel 34 to provide the FCC and the National Association of Broadcasters a channel to conduct many experiments in the new format. WHD-TV was discontinued around 2002.
WRC-TV also has a Mobile DTV feed of subchannel 4.1, labelled "WRC NBC Mobile", broadcasting at 1.83 Mbit/s. This is the lowest bitrate of any D.C.-area television station mobile feed. In July 2009, the Washington, D.C. market's television stations became a test market for Mobile DTV, with WRC-TV as one of the participating stations. Like all of the D.C.-area Mobile DTV broadcasters, WRC-TV commenced full-time ATSC-M/H broadcasting on February 27, 2011.
Syndicated programs broadcast by WRC-TV include Access Hollywood, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and Steve Harvey, among others. Because of its ownership by the network, WRC-TV generally carries the entire NBC network schedule, though NBC Nightly News is broadcast a half-hour later (at 7 p.m.) than most NBC stations in the Eastern United States, due to an hour-long 6 p.m. newscast.
WRC-TV's building is home to Meet the Press, the longest-running program in U.S. broadcast television history, which debuted on November 6, 1947 and It's Academic, which premiered in 1961 and is the longest-running game show in television history according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Sam and Friends, Jim Henson's late-night precursor to Sesame Street and The Muppet Show, got its start on WRC-TV on May 9, 1955. WRC-TV is over-the-air home of Washington Redskins pre-season games since 2009, though before the NBC/Comcast merger, games only were carried in standard definition on WRC, with actual rightsholder CSN Mid-Atlantic airing the high definition broadcast.
|This section requires expansion with: further information on the history of WRC-TV's news department. (June 2013)|
WRC-TV presently broadcasts 40 hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 6½ hours on weekdays, 3½ hours on Saturdays and four hours on Sundays). By 2001, WRC's newscasts had all been rated number one in the market, with the long-running anchor team of Jim Vance and Doreen Gentzler. In the May 2010 sweeps, it placed first at 5:00 a.m., 6:00 a.m., 6:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. in total viewers, and first at 6:00 a.m., 6:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. in the 25–54 demo. It still leads most time slots today, although WTTG's morning news and WJLA's 11:00 pm news have given it much competition in the 25-54 demo.
On January 14, 2009, WRC-TV and WTTG entered into a Local News Service (called LNS) agreement in which the two stations pool video and share news helicopter footage. The agreement is similar to ones already made between Fox and NBC owned-and-operated stations in Chicago (WMAQ-TV and WFLD) and Philadelphia (WCAU and WTXF). WUSA later joined that agreement. In 2012, News Director Camille Edwards announced the station would no longer participate in LNS, but the stations would continue to share the helicopter.
On April 8, 2010, the station began test broadcast of its news programming in high-definition during local news updates seen during Today; regular newscasts continued to be broadcast in standard definition. WRC-TV started broadcasting its newscasts from a temporary set on February 8, 2010 while "upgrades" were being made on its main set and the station made final adjustments for its switch to high definition. On April 22, 2010, WRC became the fourth (and final) English-language television station in the Washington, D.C. market to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition. It is the only station in the Washington market that shoots most of its remote field video in 16:9 widescreen; other stations still shoot live field video in 4:3 and then either pillarbox or stretch this content to widescreen—though WRC's field video is shot in standard definition.
Notable former on-air staff
- Wally Bruckner - sports anchor/reporter (1990–2006)
- Dan Hellie - sports director (2006–2013; now with NFL Network 
- George Michael - sports anchor/reporter; former host of The George Michael Sports Machine (1980–2008; deceased)
- "Digital Signal Sources". The Washington Post. 2008-05-20.
- "RCA replaces NBC in O&O calls." Broadcasting - Telecasting, October 4, 1954, pg. 78. 
- RCA-NBC Firsts in Color Television
- Eisenhower WRC-TV 1958 (oldest known colour videotaping)
- RabbitEars TV Query for WRC
- List of Digital Full-Power Stations
- Brinkley, Joel (March 3, 1997). "Warts and Wrinkles Can't Hide From High-Definition TV". The New York Times.
- DTV section of The Broadcast Archive
- Dickson, Glen (2009-07-13). "Special Report: Mobile DTV Heats Up". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved 2009-07-15.
- "Fox And NBC To Share In DC". Retrieved 2009-01-14.
- Shapiro, Leonard (October 4, 2006). "For Bruckner, Time to Chase a Dream". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 5, 2010.
- "Leonard Shapiro: Loss of Michael Is a Truly Deep Cut". The Washington Post. December 29, 2008.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to WRC-TV.|
- Official website
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WRC
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WRC-TV
- NBC-4 Washington at the Wayback Machine (archived December 10, 1997)