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ABC 8 News (newscasts)
|Slogan||News Where You Live|
|Channels||Digital: 22 (UHF)
Virtual: 8 (PSIP)
8.2 Live Well Network
(Young Broadcasting of Richmond, Inc.)
|First air date||August 15, 1955|
|Call letters' meaning||W-RIChmond|
|Former callsigns||WXEX-TV (1955-1990)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
8 (VHF, 1955-2009)
|Former affiliations||NBC (1955-1965)|
|Transmitter power||850 kW (digital)|
|Height||328 m (digital)|
|Public license information:||Profile
WRIC-TV, virtual channel 8 (digital channel 22), is the ABC-affiliated television station for the Richmond, Virginia market. It is owned by Richmond-based Media General, as one of two flagship stations. The station is licensed to nearby Petersburg, while its studios are just off the Powhite Parkway extension (State Route 76) in the Arboretum office park in western Chesterfield County (though the mailing address is given as Richmond). Its transmitter is located in Bon Air. Syndicated programming on WRIC includes: Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy!, Dr. Phil, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, The Dr. Oz Show, and The 700 Club, among others.
The station began operation in 1955 as WXEX-TV, an NBC affiliate. It was owned by Thomas Tinsley along with WLEE radio. Channel 8's transmitter was located in the Bermuda Hundred area of eastern Chesterfield County. Originally, it didn't cover Richmond nearly as well as did WTVR-TV (channel 6) and WRVA-TV (channel 12, now WWBT). The main studios were located in Petersburg. At first, a Richmond sales office was located at WLEE's studios on West Broad Street in Richmond; later, satellite studios were established just off Midlothian Turnpike in Bon Air, a suburb of Richmond.
The station swapped affiliations with channel 12 in 1965 and became and ABC affiliate. It has been with that network ever since. In 1968, Tinsley sold WXEX-TV and WLEE to Nationwide Communications. In 1969, a fire destroyed its original Petersburg studios. For a few weeks, the station had to broadcast from its transmitter, then set up temporary offices and studios in a vacated store in Petersburg. The station later moved in a brand new facility on Crater Road that it named Blandford Manor. In 1981, Nationwide sold off sister station WLEE.
On April 23, 1990; the station moved its studios to the current location in Chesterfield County. With the new studios came new call letters, WRIC-TV. However, it is still licensed to Petersburg; unlike the other stations in the market, it identifies as "Petersburg/Richmond." Nationwide would sell all three of its ABC-affiliated television stations, including WRIC, to Young Broadcasting in 1993.
The station's owner, Young Broadcasting, went into Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2009. The station was part of a bankruptcy auction scheduled for July 14, 2009 but cancelled at the last minute. On July 22, a bankruptcy judge approved a plan in which Young's secured lenders would take over the company.
On September 28, 2011, WRIC-TV became the third commercial station (behind WWBT and WTVR) in Richmond to broadcast local news in high definition.
On November 1, 2011, WRIC-TV ceased to carry The Country Network on the station's 8.2 sub-channel after Young terminated their deal with TCN and dropped the channel on all of its stations that carried it. After Young made a deal to carry ABC's Live Well Network, it launched on June 1, 2012 on WRIC's 8.2 virtual sub-channel.
On June 6, 2013, Young Broadcasting announced that it would merge with Media General. Upon consummation, the merger made WRIC-TV one of two flagships of Media General (along with WFLA-TV in Tampa, Florida) since Media General is headquartered in Richmond. It was the first legal opportunity for Media General in years to own a station in its hometown. Its predecessor, Richmond Newspapers, lost out in the bidding for WWBT's forerunner, WRVA-TV, in 1956 due to the FCC's preference for a non-newspaper owner. Media General merged with WTVR's then-parent company, Park Communications, but had to immediately put WTVR on the market due to cross-ownership restrictions involving the flagship Richmond Times-Dispatch, which was sold with Media General's newspaper business in 2012 to BH Media. The merger would also make WRIC a sister station to Roanoke's NBC affiliate, WSLS-TV. The merger was approved by the FCC on November 8, after Media General shareholders approved the merger a day earlier; it was completed on November 12.
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|8.1||720p||16:9||WRIC TV||Main WRIC-TV programming / ABC|
|8.2||480i||4:3||Livewel||Live Well Network|
WRIC-TV shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 8, 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 22. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers continues to display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analog channel 8.1.
As part of the SAFER Act, WRIC-TV kept its analog signal on the air until June 26 to inform viewers of the digital television transition through a loop of public service announcements from the National Association of Broadcasters.
Notable former on-air staff
- Ed Hughes - anchor and news director during mid-1960s; later anchor at WTKR in Norfolk, VA from 1967 until his death in 2004
- Matt Lauer - host of "PM Magazine" (1980s; now with NBC News and host of Today)
- Mara MacDonald - reporter
- Wilma Smith - News Anchor and "Wilma Smith Show" host (1970s; later at WEWS-TV, then at WJW in Cleveland; retired from broadcasting on March 2013)
- A vulture's eye view of Young
- Media General, Young Broadcasting To Merge, TVNewsCheck, June 6, 2013.
- FCC Approves Media General-Young Merger Broadcasting & Cable, Retrieved 8 November, 2013
- "Media General, Young Now Officially One". TVNewsCheck. November 12, 2013. Retrieved November 12, 2013.
- RabbitEars TV Query for WRIC
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24.
- "UPDATED List of Participants in the Analog Nightlight Program" (PDF). Federal Communications Commission. June 12, 2009. Retrieved June 4, 2012.
- WRIC.com - Official Website
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WRIC-TV
- Query TV Fool's coverage map for WRIC
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WRIC-TV