|Branding||News Channel 3|
|Slogan||On Your Side (general)
Here for Breaking News (promotional)
|Channels||Digital: 28 (UHF)
Virtual: 3 (PSIP)
3.2 News Channel 3 Anytime
3.3 Antenna TV
|Translators||K62DA Malden, Missouri|
(sale pending to Tribune Broadcasting)
(Local TV Tennessee License, LLC)
|First air date||January 1, 1956|
|Call letters' meaning||Variation of original calls|
|Former callsigns||WREC-TV (1956–1971)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
3 (VHF, 1956–2009)
|Transmitter power||906 kW|
|Public license information:||Profile
WREG-TV, virtual channel 3 (UHF digital channel 28), is a CBS-affiliated television station located in Memphis, Tennessee, United States. The station is owned by Local TV (a broadcast holding company operated by private equity firm Oak Hill Capital Partners). WREG maintains studios located near the Mississippi River at Channel 3 Drive and West Virginia Avenue (off of Interstate 55) on the west side of Memphis, and its transmitter is located between I-40 and Whitten Road, approximately 5 miles (8.0 km) southeast of Bartlett.
- 1 History
- 2 Digital television
- 3 Programming
- 4 News operation
- 5 References
- 6 External links
The station first signed on the air on January 1, 1956 as WREC-TV, and began regular broadcasts the following day on January 2. It was originally owned by electrical engineer and radio dealer Hoyt Wooten (who had applied for one of the first television licenses in the country in 1928), along with WREC radio (AM 600 and FM 102.7, now WEGR). The call letters stood for Wooten's radio store, the Wooten Radio-Electric Company. It took the CBS affiliation from WHBQ-TV (channel 13, which had been a CBS affiliate since it signed on in September 1953), as WREC-AM had been a CBS Radio affiliate since 1929. WREC-TV's original studios were located inside the Peabody Hotel in downtown Memphis.
For its first six years, WREC-TV was the only locally-owned station in Memphis (WHBQ-TV was owned by General Tire and WMC-TV was owned by Scripps). However, in 1963, Wooten sold WREC-AM-FM-TV to Cowles Communications. In turn, Cowles sold WREC-TV to The New York Times Company in 1971, which changed the call letters to the current WREG-TV; it later sold the radio stations to other interests. Four years later in 1975, the Times Company built new studio facilities for WREG on one of the highest points on Chickasaw Bluff, overlooking the Mississippi River. The station also maintained studio space in the Peabody Place shopping center, adjacent to the Peabody Hotel, marking a partial return of sorts to its early years. The studio was shut down in 2011 when Peabody Place closed.
On September 12, 2006, The New York Times Company announced its intention to sell its nine television stations. On January 4, 2007, the company entered into an agreement with private equity group Oak Hill Capital Partners to sell the stations to the Oak Hill-operated holding company Local TV, the sale was finalized on May 7. On July 1, 2013, Local TV announced that it would sell its stations to the Tribune Company (which formed a management company that operated both Tribune and Local TV's stations in 2008) for $2.75 billion.
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|3.1||1080i||16:9||WREG-DT||Main WREG-TV programming / CBS|
|3.2||480i||4:3||NC3A-DT||News Channel 3 Anytime|
WREG-TV shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 3, 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 28. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analog channel 3.
Syndicated programs seen on WREG-TV include Inside Edition, Jeopardy! Entertainment Tonight and The Amazing Race. WREG is one of the few CBS stations that pre-empts CBS This Morning Saturday, airing a three-hour Saturday morning newscast in its place. Over the years, WREG has produced many local programs, such as News Channel 3 Knowledge Bowl and Mid-South Outdoors (later known as News Channel 3 Outdoors). The station also currently produces Live at 9, a weekday morning program that maintains a talk show-style format and the public affairs program Informed Sources, which airs on Sunday mornings and discusses current local issues.
Throughout the early 1960s into the late 1980s, WREC/WREG claimed to possess the largest feature film library of any television station in the United States, which was evidenced in its daily (late afternoons and late nights) and weekend programming lineup at the time. The station used some of those features for theme weeks (such as "Godzilla Week" and "John Wayne Week"), which proved to be very popular with viewers. However, like most major network affiliates in the early 1980s, WREG-TV began cutting back on the heavy amount of movies that occupied much of its off-network schedule, a move prompted by the presence of cable, VCRs, and the emergence of then-independent competitors WPTY (channel 24, now WATN-TV) in 1978 and WMKW (channel 30, now WLMT) in 1983.
WREG-TV presently broadcasts 40 hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 6½ hours on weekdays, 4½ hours on Saturdays and three hours on Sundays). For more than two decades, WREG has been in a Nielsen ratings war for first place with longtime powerhouse WMC-TV. WREG did not actually win a ratings period, however, until February 2006 after it paired former WHBQ anchor Claudia Barr and former WMC morning anchor/reporter Richard Ransom as its main evening anchors, replacing longtime anchors Jerry Tate and Pam McKelvy. Since that time, WREG has won the all-important 10 p.m. ratings battle three times, more often than WMC. The station is also dominant in morning and weekend news viewership. During the May 2013 sweeps period, the station's newscasts placed first at 5 a.m., 6 a.m., noon, 4, 4:30 and 10 p.m. in total viewers, while placing second at 6 p.m. to WMC by .3 of a point.
WREG often works together with Local TV-owned sister station, WHNT-TV in Huntsville, Alabama; the two often share resources on major news stories, such as the April 2007 trial of Mary Winkler. For the first week of the trial, WREG staffers worked out of a WHNT satellite truck. During the second week, WHNT staff worked out of WREG's truck. In addition, reporters from one station often do live reports for the other. WHNT also airs News Channel 3 Knowledge Bowl on its digital subchannel.
On June 13, 2011 beginning with the 10 p.m. newscast, WREG-TV became the third station in the Memphis market (behind WMC-TV and WHBQ-TV) to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition. The switch came with a refresh of the newsroom set and new graphics, however major technical glitches occurred during the week following the conversion. In mid-2011, the WREG news studio received a major overhaul with the unveiling of a "newsplex" set (designed by FX Group) that occupies a large studio with loft areas and continues into a smaller newsroom area in the back and includes numerous live areas and a set for the Live at 9 program.
- "Hello Memphis" (1982–1985; during period station used Frank Gari's "Hello News")
- "Memphis & Channel 3" (1987–1992)
- "The Look of Memphis is Channel 3" (1991–1992; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
- "Where Local News Comes First" (1997–1998)
- "Your 21st Century Starts Here" (1998–2000)
- "On Your Side" (2000–present)
- "Here for Breaking News" (2012–present; promotional slogan)
- Claudia Barr - weeknights at 5:00, 6:00 and 10:00 p.m.
- Alex Coleman - weekdays on Live at 9 a.m. (9:00-10:00 a.m.) and weekdays at 4:00 and 4:30 p.m.; also reporter
- Marybeth Conley - weekdays on Live at 9 a.m. (9:00-10:00 a.m.)
- Elise Preston - weekend mornings on Daybreak; also reporter
- Richard Ransom - weeknights at 5:00, 6:00 and 10:00 p.m.
- Markova Reed - weekday mornings on Daybreak (4:30-7:00 a.m.)
- Stephanie Scurlock - Saturdays at 6:00 and weekends at 5:00 and 10:00 p.m.; also reporter
- April Thompson - weekdays at 4:00 and 4:30 p.m.; also reporter
- Dennis Turner - weekend mornings on Daybreak; also weekday Mississippi newsroom reporter
- On Your Side Weather
- Tim Simpson (NWA Seal of Approval) - chief meteorologist; weekdays at 4:00 and 4:30 and weeknights at 6:00 p.m.
- Todd Demers - meteorologist; weekday mornings on Daybreak (4:30-7:00) and Live at 9 a.m. (9:00-10:00 a.m.) and weekdays at noon
- Jim Jaggers (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist and NWA Seals of Approval) - meteorologist; weeknights at 5:00 and 10:00 p.m.
- Austen Onek (member, AMS) - meteorologist; weekend mornings on Daybreak, Saturdays at 6:00 and weekends at 5:00 and 10:00 p.m.
- Sports team
- Glenn Carver - sports director; weeknights at 6:00 and 10:00 p.m.
- Mike Ceide - sports anchor; Saturdays at 6:00 and weekends at 5:00 and 10:00 p.m.
- George Brown - general assignment reporter; also web content manager
- Wayne Carter - general assignment reporter
- Sabrina Hall - general assignment reporter
- Adam Hammond - general assignment reporter
- Jessica Gertler - general assignment reporter
- Zaneta Lowe - chief consumer investigator
- Candace McCowan - weekday morning reporter
- Melissa Moon - weekday morning reporter
- Michele Reese - general assignment reporter
- Otis Sanford - commentator
- Corie Ventura - weekday morning traffic reporter (5:30-7:00 a.m.); also assignment editor
Notable former on-air staff
- "New York Times buys first TV." Broadcasting, November 2, 1970, pg. 161. 
- NY Times CO. Sell TV Group to Equity Firm for $530M; Second equity group to buy a media business in two weeks., NewsInc. (via HighBeam Research), January 8, 2007.
- "New York Times Company : Investors : Press Release". Phx.corporate-ir.net. Retrieved 2011-03-24.
- "The New York Times Company Reports April Revenues" (The New York Times Company Financial Report) (Press release). Business Wire. 2007-05-07. Retrieved 2008-08-23.
- Channick, Robert (July 1, 2013). "Acquisition to make Tribune Co. largest U.S. TV station operator". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved July 1, 2013.
- RabbitEars TV Query for WREG
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24.
- WREG 10pm Weekend Newscast 1979
- WREG 6pm news open 7/91
- WREG News Channel 3 10pm Open 2000
- WREG NEWS OPEN - MEMPHIS, TENNESSE - 1988
- WREG.com - Official website
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WREG
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WREG-TV