WSB-TV

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WSB-TV
WSBTV.png

MeTV 2.2 Atlanta.png
Atlanta, Georgia
United States
Branding WSB-TV, Channel 2 (general)
Channel 2 Action News (newscasts)
Slogan Coverage You Can Count On (primary);
Live. Local. Latebreaking. (secondary)
Channels Digital: 39 (UHF)
Virtual: 2 (PSIP)
Subchannels 2.1 ABC
2.2 Me-TV
Translators 31 (2.5/6) Athens
46 (2.7/8) Gainesville
17 (permit) Newnan
14 (application) Rome
Affiliations ABC (since 1980; also secondary, 1948–1951)
Owner Cox Media Group
(Georgia Television, LLC)
First air date September 29, 1948; 65 years ago (1948-09-29)
Call letters' meaning "Welcome South, Brother" (from AM sister station)
Sister station(s) WALR-FM, WSB, WSB-FM, WSBB-FM, WSRV
Former channel number(s) Analog:
8 (VHF, 1948–1950)
2 (VHF, 1950–2009)
Former affiliations Primary:
NBC (1948–1980)
Transmitter power 1,000 kW
Height 316 m (1,037 ft)
Facility ID 23960
Transmitter coordinates 33°45′51″N 84°21′42″W / 33.76417°N 84.36167°W / 33.76417; -84.36167 (WSB-TV tower)Coordinates: 33°45′51″N 84°21′42″W / 33.76417°N 84.36167°W / 33.76417; -84.36167 (WSB-TV tower)
Licensing authority FCC
Public license information: Profile
CDBS
Website www.wsbtv.com

WSB-TV, virtual channel 2 (UHF digital channel 39), is an ABC-affiliated television station located in Atlanta, Georgia, United States. The station maintains studios and offices located at the WSB Television and Radio Group building on West Peachtree Street in Midtown Atlanta, and its transmission tower is located on the border of the city's Poncey-Highland and Old Fourth Ward neighborhoods.

WSB-TV is the flagship television property of the Cox Media Group division of Cox Enterprises, which has owned the station since its inception. Cox also publishes The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and owns sister radio stations WSB (750 AM), WSB-FM (98.5 FM), WSBB-FM (95.5 FM), WSRV (97.1 FM), and WALR-FM (104.1 FM) − all of which are based out of WSB-TV's studio facilities.

History[edit]

As an NBC affiliate[edit]

WSB-TV first began broadcasting on September 29, 1948, originally broadcasting on channel 8. It is the second-oldest station south of Washington, D.C.; only Richmond, Virginia's WTVR-TV (channel 6) is older. The station was founded by James M. Cox, publisher of The Atlanta Journal, and who also owned WSB radio (AM 750 and 104.5 FM, now on 98.5 FM). Cox owned WSB AM-FM-TV under the banner of Miami Valley Broadcasting Inc., which later changed its name to the current Cox Enterprises. The station was originally a primary NBC affiliate, owing to its radio sister's longtime affiliation with NBC Radio. It also carried some ABC programming (from 1949, shared with WAGA-TV, channel 5) until WLWA-TV (channel 8; now WXIA-TV, channel 11) signed on in 1951.

At that time, its present channel 2 allocation was licensed to the Journal's rival newspaper The Atlanta Constitution, who had a construction permit for WCON-TV there. In 1950, the two newspapers merged. At the time, the Federal Communications Commission did not allow one entity to own two television stations in the same market. As a result, WSB-TV and WCON-TV merged. The merged station operated under WSB-TV's license but used the stronger channel 2. This proved to be a fortunate decision, as the FCC later collapsed a large and mostly mountainous swath of northern Georgia into the Atlanta market. The channel 8 allocation was eventually given to WLWA as an ABC affiliate. When that station moved to channel 11 in 1953, channel 8 was reserved as a non-commercial educational allocation by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and is now WGTV, the flagship television station of Georgia Public Broadcasting.

In 1956, the WSB stations moved into the noted "White Columns" building, designed and built according to the Colonial Revival style, a defining characteristic of Atlanta architecture. They would remain there for 43 years, until a much more modernist concrete and glass facility was built adjacent to it (on the same property) in 1998. The new building, which has been dubbed "Digital White Columns" by some, is located just off Atlanta's famed Peachtree Street, on the dead-end northern portion of West Peachtree Street which is actually east of Peachtree Street. This is near the Brookwood Hills area, and just east of the "Brookwood split", a highway interchange where the Downtown Connector splits into Interstates 75 and 85 on the north end. The older building was razed shortly after the new building was occupied. The original columns that stood on the front portico of the old building were placed in a garden area alongside the new building. Brand new white columns have been placed inside the glass-enclosed lobby of the newer building. WSB-TV is located less than one block south of the building formerly utilized by WXIA when that station moved its operations to WATL's studios in 2008.

The station was the original local television broadcaster of the relocated Atlanta Braves baseball team, carrying the games from 1966 to 1972, until the Braves telecasts moved to WTCG (now WPCH-TV) in 1973. Its sister AM station was the longtime radio flagship of the Braves, carrying the broadcasts for 38 out of the 46 years that the franchise has been in Atlanta, dating back to 1966. Ernie Johnson, Sr., a former Braves pitcher and father of his namesake Turner Sports broadcaster, with future Hall of Fame announcer Milo Hamilton (who simultaneously pulled double-duty anchoring Channel 2's sportscasts during this time) were the main announcers for what was then the largest television network in baseball.

In 1972, the station aired the name of a murdered rape victim in violation of Georgia's shield law. The station successfully overturned the law before the U.S. Supreme Court in Cox Broadcasting Corp. v. Cohn.

As an ABC affiliate[edit]

ABC was the highest-rated network for most of the late 1970s and, at that time, was looking for stronger affiliates across the country, including Atlanta. ABC's longtime Atlanta outlet, WXIA, frequently traded second place with WAGA. However, WSB-TV was the far-and-away market leader despite being affiliated with last-place NBC. During the summer of 1980, both stations conducted an experiment unusual for a large market: WXIA aired NBC daytime shows in the morning and ABC daytime shows in the afternoon, while WSB aired ABC shows in the morning and NBC shows in the afternoons. By the time the experiment ended in September 1980, WSB-TV officially swapped affiliations with WXIA, and joined ABC.

On March 12, 2011, WSB-TV and WGCL-TV turned on their ATSC-M/H signals for the first time, becoming the first stations in the Atlanta area to offer Mobile DTV broadcasts.

With the loss of NFL football on ABC in 2006, WSB-TV has aired Atlanta Falcons preseason games in recent years, making it one of two stations in Atlanta that air Falcons games not televised on the broadcast networks despite not having weekly regular-season network coverage (the other is regional sports network Fox Sports South, which simulcasts the Falcons' ESPN Monday Night Football and NFL Network Thursday Night Football appearances).

Digital television[edit]

Digital channels[edit]

The station's digital channel is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[1]
2.1 / 2.5 / 2.7 720p 16:9 WSB-HD Main WSB-TV programming / ABC
2.2 / 2.6 / 2.8 480i 4:3 WSB-SD Me-TV

WSB-DT went on the air on April 17, 1998, making it one of the first regular-service digital television stations in the country (the -DT suffix is not mandated by the FCC, thus it is WSB-TV even for digital). The over-the-air digital subchannel 2.2 started carrying the Retro Television Network on January 28, 2008.[2] Prior to this, the channel was blank, or later with a small station ID in the lower corner. RTV programming was replaced with Me-TV on June 1, 2011.

WSB-TV also has a mobile DTV feed of subchannel 2.1, labelled "WSB MH", broadcasting at 1.83 Mbit/s.[3][4]

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

WSB-TV shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 2, on June 12, 2009 at 12:30 p.m., during a live broadcast from the station's transmitter room on the noon newscast, 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 39,[5][6] using PSIP to display WSB-TV's virtual channel as 2 on digital television receivers. Don McClellan, celebrating 50 years at the station.

During late August and into September 2009, the station removed its analog transmitter from the top of the tower, and moved its side-mounted digital antenna up from its previous lower location on the tower.

Broadcast translators[edit]

City of license Callsign/channel Transmitter power Coordinates
Athens WSB-TV 31 5,000 watts 34°7′32″N 83°51′32″W / 34.12556°N 83.85889°W / 34.12556; -83.85889
Gainesville WSB-TV 46 9,000 watts 32°55′51″N 83°47′0″W / 32.93083°N 83.78333°W / 32.93083; -83.78333
Newnan WSB-TV 17 10,000 watts (CP) 33°24′43″N 84°50′3″W / 33.41194°N 84.83417°W / 33.41194; -84.83417 (CP)
Rome WSB-TV 14 1,000 watts (CP) 34°14′2″N 85°13′50″W / 34.23389°N 85.23056°W / 34.23389; -85.23056 (CP)

In March 2009, the station filed applications for two digital fill-in translators (both of which also carry the WSB-TV callsign), due to expected loss of signal strength toward the east and northeast of Atlanta as a result of the shortcomings of the ATSC digital broadcast standard. The station's Gainesville-licensed translator broadcasts on UHF channel 46, and began operations on June 26. It is located on the same radio tower as Cox's WSRV FM and WSBB-FM, and reaches as far into Atlanta's north-northeastern suburbs as Lilburn. The Athens-licensed translator broadcasts on UHF channel 31, with its transmitter located southwest of Winder, and its signal also reaches as far west as Lilburn. WSB-TV requested special temporary authority to begin immediate operation of these stations, pending approval of its regular applications.

The signal coverage of both stations largely overlap with one another, and are almost entirely within the estimated coverage area of the main station, however distributed transmission (on-channel boosters) will not be used. The translators are intended to overcome the terrain obstructions caused by Stone Mountain to the east of the WSB transmitter, and were in operation by January 2011. The Athens station uses virtual channels 2.5 and 2.6 instead of 2.1 and 2.2, while the Gainesville station uses 2.7 and 2.8, allowing viewers to choose whichever station whose signal is better receivable at a given time (certain ATSC tuners may have trouble with two stations using the same virtual channel, and even if not, the user would have to enter the channel number and press "channel-up" or "channel-down" buttons to access the alternates, which would not be separately labeled or identified by the tuner).

In late June 2009, the station also applied for a translator on channel 14 just southwest of Rome. That translator would cover a significant portion of northwest Georgia from the same tower as WQTU (102.3 FM) and WSRM (93.5 FM), and the same site as WGPB (97.7 FM), W212AR (90.3 FM), and W215BA (90.9 FM).[7] There is no STA request for this station however, and as of September 2011 it is still listed as only an application. In October 2010, WSB-TV applied for and later received a construction permit for another translator southwest of Atlanta in Newnan on channel 17. This translator will be co-located on the same tower as Cox-owned WALR-FM (104.1), and less than .25 miles (0.40 km) west of another tower holding WBZY (105.3 FM; which is not owned by Cox).[8]

News operations[edit]

WSB nightly newscast open.

WSB-TV presently broadcasts 41 hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with six hours on weekdays and Sundays, and five hours on Saturdays); as such, WSB-TV is one of the few Big Three network affiliates to offer more than 35 hours of local news content each week and one of the few Big Three affiliates to carry a midday newscast on weekends. In addition, WSB-TV's weekend newscast output is larger than that of Fox owned-and-operated station WAGA (channel 5), which offers a larger overall weekly (and weekday) newscast output than WSB-TV. Appropriately for a station with roots in a newspaper, local news programming has had a strong presence on channel 2 since its debut, and it has led the news ratings in Atlanta for as long as records have been kept.

One factor behind its dominance is talent continuity, as many of the station's personalities have been on the air for 15 years or more. Monica Pearson (known as Monica Kaufman until 2005) was the station's top anchorwoman from 1975 to 2012, longer than any female anchor in Atlanta television history. She was one of the first African-American female anchors in the South. From 1994 to 2010, her partner on the anchor desk was John Pruitt, who started at channel 2 in 1973 before beginning a 16-year run at WXIA. Glenn Burns has been the main weatherman since 1981. Chuck Dowdle served as the station's sports director from 1985 until his retirement in December 2009. Pearson, Pruitt, Burns and Dowdle served as channel 2's main anchor team from Pruitt's return in 1994 until 2009 – longer than any news team in Atlanta at the time. Pruitt anchored his last newscast on December 17, 2010. He is now semi-retired, but still works on special assignments. Pearson retired on July 25, 2012, ending a 40-year career.

WSB-TV became the second station in the Atlanta market (behind WXIA-TV) and the second Cox-owned station (behind Orlando's WFTV) to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition. The first HD broadcast was on September 27, 2006; during its noon broadcast. With the switch came a new HD-ready set and a graphics package designed by Giant Octopus.

In mid-November 2009, reporter Tom Jones and a cameraman escaped serious injury when the telescoping radio mast of their electronic news-gathering van (holding a microwave antenna for the remote pickup unit used for outside broadcasting) contacted 115-kilovolt high-voltage powerlines while leaving the Fulton County Jail. Georgia Power staff were surprised that anyone survived, but the two were treated for minor burns and smoke inhalation at Grady Memorial Hospital and released later in the day. The massive electric spark caused an explosion, left a crater underneath the van, arced to and broke a water main, and caused a brief power outage; the vehicle was a total loss.[9][10][11]

In July 2010, WSB-TV expanded its weekday morning newscast to 2½ hours, with the start time moved to 4:30 a.m. It announced a news partnership with Telemundo affiliate WKTB-LD on August 23, 2010.[12] On May 26, 2011, WSB-TV debuted an hour-long 4 p.m. newscast, which replaced Oprah when the daytime talk show ended its 25-year run.[13][14]

News/station presentation[edit]

Newscast titles[edit]

  • The Esso Reporter (1948–1959)
  • Newsroom/WSB News (1959–1965)
  • Channel 2 News (1965–1972)
  • The World Tonight/24 Hours (11 p.m. newscast; 1965–1968 and 1968–1972)
  • Channel 2 Action News (1972–present)[15]

Station slogans[edit]

  • "Channel 2, Proud As A Peacock!" (1979–1980; based on NBC image campaign)
  • "You and Me and Channel 2" (1980–1981; based on ABC image campaign)
  • "Now is the Time, Channel 2 is the Place" (1981–1982; based on ABC image campaign)
  • "Come on Along with Channel 2" (1982–1983; based on ABC image campaign)
  • "That Special Feeling on Channel 2' (1983–1984; based on ABC image campaign)
  • "We're With You on Channel 2" (1984–1985; based on ABC image campaign)
  • "You'll Love It on Channel 2" (1985–1986; based on ABC image campaign)[16]
  • "Together on Channel 2" (1986–1987; based on ABC image campaign)
  • "2 Steps Ahead" (1980–1983)
  • "Georgia's News Leader" (1986–1994)
  • "Something's Happening on Channel 2" (1988–1990; based on ABC image campaign)
  • "Georgia's Watching WSB" (1991–1992; based on ABC image campaign)
  • "Coverage You Can Count On" (1991–present)[15]
  • "If It's Georgia, It Must Be Channel 2" (1992–1993; based on ABC image campaign)
  • "Watched By More Georgia, Channel 2 ABC" (1993–1995; based on ABC image campaign)
  • "Nobody Does It Like Channel 2" (1996–1997; based on ABC image campaign)
  • "TV is Good on Channel 2" (1997–1998; based on ABC image campaign)
  • "Live, Local, Late-breaking" (1998–present; used in news opens)
  • "We Love TV on Channel 2" (1998–1999; based on ABC image campaign)
  • "WSB-TV Channel 2, Start Here" (2007–present)

On-air staff[edit]

Current on-air staff[edit]

The Severe Weather Team 2 weather staff includes chief meteorologist Glenn Burns (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval

Notable former on-air staff[edit]

Out-of-market coverage[edit]

Unlike the co-owned Atlanta Journal-Constitution, WSB-TV has not abandoned service to outlying counties. In northwest Georgia, it is carried in the counties covered by the Chattanooga DMA: Catoosa, Dade, Murray, Walker and Whitfield. WSB is also carried in the far northeast Georgia counties in the Greenville/Spartanburg/Asheville DMA in Elbert, Franklin, Hart and Stephens counties.

In central Georgia, WSB-TV is available to subscribers of co-owned cable provider Cox Communications in the Macon area, although ABC programming is usually blacked out by another local ABC affiliate, WGXA-DT2. Given the long distance to Middle Georgia, it is likely that WSB-TV is uplinked to the AMC-10 TV satellite. WSB is also carried in Vidalia in the Savannah DMA.

In south Georgia (as far south as the Florida border), it is carried on Cox Communications systems due to a historical lack of an ABC affiliate in the Albany media market covering southwest Georgia. Since the market's NBC affiliate WALB began carrying ABC on its 10.2 digital subchannel in 2010, blackouts for syndicated programming have become common. Given the long distance to South Georgia, it is likely that WSB-TV is uplinked to the AMC-10 TV satellite. Charter Communications also carries WSB for its subscribers in the town of Douglas in Coffee County.

In western North Carolina it was previously carried in the Cherokee County town of Murphy, alongside Asheville, North Carolina ABC affiliate WLOS.

References[edit]

External links[edit]