WSOC-TV

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WSOC-TV
Wsoctv.png
Charlotte, North Carolina
United States
Branding Channel 9 (general)
Channel 9 Eyewitness News (newscasts)
Slogan Covering the Carolinas
Live. Local. Late-breaking.
Channels Digital: 34 (UHF)
Virtual: 9 (PSIP)
Subchannels 9.1 ABC
9.2 Severe Weather Center 9 Now
Translators 30 (UHF) (9.5) Shelby
46 (UHF) (9.9) Statesville
W42DR-D 42 (UHF) (6.1) Marion
Affiliations ABC
Owner Cox Media Group
(WSOC Television, Inc.)
First air date April 28, 1957; 57 years ago (1957-04-28)
Call letters' meaning We Serve Our Community
-or-
Sounds Of Charlotte
(both from WSOC radio)
Sister station(s) WAXN-TV
Former channel number(s) Analog:
9 (VHF, 1957–2009)
Former affiliations Primary:
NBC (1957–1978)
Secondary:
ABC (1957–1967)
Transmitter power 1000 kW
Height 348 m
Facility ID 74070
Transmitter coordinates 35°15′41″N 80°43′38″W / 35.26139°N 80.72722°W / 35.26139; -80.72722
Licensing authority FCC
Public license information: Profile
CDBS
Website www.wsoctv.com

WSOC-TV, virtual channel 9 (UHF digital channel 34), is an ABC-affiliated television station located in Charlotte, North Carolina, United States. The station is owned by the Cox Media Group subsidiary of Cox Enterprises, as part of a duopoly with independent station WAXN-TV (channel 64). The two stations share studio facilities located on North Tryon and 23rd Streets, just north of Uptown Charlotte; WSOC's transmitter is located in the Newell-Hickory Grove neighborhood, just outside Charlotte's northeastern city limits. Syndicated programs broadcast on WSOC-TV include Dr. Phil, Inside Edition and Entertainment Tonight.

History[edit]

The station first signed on the air on April 28, 1957[1] as Charlotte's third television station, after WBTV (channel 3) and WAYS-TV (channel 36, which operated from 1954 to 1955); it was also Charlotte's second station on the VHF band. WSOC-TV currently holds the distinction of being Charlotte's second-oldest continuously operating station, behind WBTV.

WSOC was originally locally owned by Carolina Broadcasting, operated by the Jones family, along with WSOC radio (1240 AM, now WYFQ on 930 AM and; and 103.7 FM). WSOC-AM was the second radio station to sign on in Charlotte, having made its debut in 1929, seven years after the debut of WBT (1110 AM). Channel 9 originally operated as a primary NBC affiliate, and maintained a secondary affiliation with ABC, sharing the network with WBTV. In 1959, WSOC-AM-FM-TV were sold to Cox Enterprises under its forerunner, Miami Valley Broadcasting Company.

Channel 36 returned to the air in November 1964 as WCCB. WCCB moved to the stronger UHF channel 18 allocation in November 1966, but it continued to be at a competitive disadvantage because many Charlotte-area households did not yet have television sets with UHF tuning capability. As a result, ABC retained a secondary affiliation with WSOC and WBTV, while WCCB aired programs from all three networks (ABC, NBC and CBS) that WSOC and WBTV declined to air. In 1967, WSOC became an exclusive NBC affiliate, while WCCB became a full-time ABC affiliate.

By 1978, ABC had become the highest-rated broadcast television network in the United States for the first time; the network wanted a stronger affiliate in Charlotte than WCCB. WSOC switched its affiliation back to ABC on July 1, 1978, this time as a full-time affiliate. NBC programming was moved over to former independent station WRET (channel 36, now WCNC-TV), due to a promise by then-owner Ted Turner to make $2.5 million in upgrades to that station, including the planned launch of a news department and upgrades to its transmitter;[2] WCCB became an independent station by default, remaining so for the next nine years until it affiliated with Fox when that network launched in October 1986. The WSOC radio stations were sold off in the early 1990s (the AM station that is now WYFQ is now owned by Bible Broadcasting Network; WSOC-FM is currently owned by Beasley Broadcast Group).

By the mid-1990s, WSOC-TV had a problem. It owned the rights to a large amount of syndicated programming, but increased local news commitments left it without enough time in its broadcast day to air it all. In 1996, it found a solution in the form of a joint sales agreement with independent station WKAY-TV (channel 64). As part of the deal, WKAY moved its operations to WSOC-TV's studios and changed its call letters to WAXN-TV. Under the JSA, much of channel 9's inventory of syndicated programming was acquired by WAXN. One of those programs was The Andy Griffith Show; it had been a mainstay on channel 9 for decades on weekday afternoons at 5 pm before being bumped in favor of a 5 pm newscast. Cox purchased WAXN outright for $3 million in 1999, shortly after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reversed its long-standing ban on television station duopolies,[3] The sale was officially approved by the FCC in 2000.[4] WSOC-TV served as the Charlotte "Love Network" affiliate of the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon from 1974 to 2001; the program moved to WAXN thereafter, before returning to WSOC in 2013 (by this point, known as the MDA Show of Strength) after the telethon abandoned its syndicated format and became a network telecast on ABC.

On December 21, 2010, a distraught 51-year-old woman armed with a gun entered the WSOC-TV studios, forcing the station to temporarily go off the air just after the start of that evening's 5 p.m. newscast. After a one-hour standoff, the woman was taken into custody; it was later determined that the gun was not loaded. No injuries were reported in the incident.[5]

Digital television[edit]

Digital channels[edit]

The station's digital channel is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[6]
9.1 720p 16:9 WSOC-TV Main WSOC-TV programming / ABC
9.2 480i 4:3 WSOC-WX Severe Weather Center 9 Now

Mobile DTV channel[edit]

Channel PSIP Short Name Programming
9.1 WSOC-MH Mobile DTV simulcast of WSOC-TV

Analog to digital conversion[edit]

WSOC-TV shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 9, 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 34.[7] Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analog channel 9.

Translators[edit]

The station operates three digital translators to improve coverage in areas where over-the-air service was lost after the June 2009 analog-to-digital conversion: W42DR-D in Valdese signed on the air on May 28, 2009 (simulcasting WSOC on digital channel 6.1 and a widescreen standard definition feed of WAXN on digital subchannel 6.2), in order to serve The Unifour region of the state. WSOCTV1 is a replacement translator on UHF channel 30 (virtual channel 9.5), which transmits from Crowders Mountain to serve Shelby,[8] it signed on the air on January 15, 2010. WSOCTV2, Statesville went on the air on June 23, 2012 at 5:58 p.m., broadcasting on UHF channel 46 (virtual channel 9.9).[8] WSOC previously operated a displacement translator for WAXN-TV in China Grove, on WAXNTV1 (UHF channel 36), which also carried a widescreen standard definition feed of WSOC-TV on virtual channel 9.7, until it was shut down on October 15, 2012.[9]

Digital channels[edit]

W42DR-D/Marion[edit]
Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming
6.1 720p 16:9 WSOC-TR Simulcast of WSOC-TV
6.2 480i WAXN-TR Simulcast of WAXN-TV
WSOC-CR/Shelby[edit]
Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming
9.5 720p 16:9 WSOC-CR Simulcast of WSOC-TV
64.5 480i WAXN-CR Simulcast of WAXN-TV
WSOC-ST/Statesville[edit]
Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming
9.9 720p 16:9 WSOC-ST Simulcast of WSOC-TV
64.9 480i WAXN-ST Simulcast of WAXN-TV

News operation[edit]

Channel 9 Eyewitness News at 12 p.m. newscast title card.

WSOC-TV presently broadcasts 34½ hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 5½ hours on weekdays, and four hours each on Saturdays and Sundays); in addition, the station produces an additional 17 hours of newscasts each week for sister station WAXN-TV (in the form of a two-hour extension of WSOC's weekday morning newscast and an hour-long 10 p.m. newscast). Since the early 1970s, WSOC-TV has used the Eyewitness News brand for its newscasts. However, its overall presentation of its news programming is very similar to the Action News format at Atlanta sister station WSB-TV. For many years, WSOC's newscasts placed a very distant second in the Charlotte market, behind the longer-established WBTV. However in 1981, the station scored a major coup when longtime WBTV anchorman Doug Mayes moved to WSOC after channel 3 declined to renew his contract. The move quickly paid off; in 1982, it overtook WBTV for the lead at 11 p.m., a lead it held for almost 25 years. It surpassed WBTV in most other timeslots beginning in 1990, but lost the lead in the noon time period to WBTV in 1994. Channel 9 has dominated the early evening news timeslots largely stemming from the former presence of Oprah as a lead-in to the 5:00 p.m. newscast; the syndicated talk show aired on channel 9 throughout its national run from 1986 to 2011. During the February 2011 ratings period, the station's newscasts won in every time slot except noon and 11 p.m., which were won by WBTV.[10]

Since 2000, WSOC-TV has produced a 10 p.m. newscast for sister station WAXN-TV. The program originated on then-Fox affiliate WCCB through a news share agreement established with that station in 1999, until the summer of 1999, when WCNC took over production of the primetime newscast shortly before WCCB launched its own news department in January 2000. During the February 2011 ratings period, WSOC's 10 p.m. newscast on WAXN placed second behind WCCB's in-house newscast; it also placed ahead of the WBTV-produced newscast on then-CW affiliate WJZY (channel 46, now a Fox owned-and-operated station), as well as the 11 p.m. newscast on WCNC.[10] Bill Walker served as WSOC's main anchor from 1971 until his retirement in 2005, the longest tenure of any news anchor in Charlotte television history.[citation needed]

On April 22, 2007, WSOC-TV became the first television station in the Charlotte market and the second station in North Carolina overall (after Raleigh CBS affiliate WRAL-TV) to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition (WSOC was also the fourth Cox-owned station to upgrade its newscasts to HD, following WSB-TV and Orlando's WFTV); the WAXN broadcasts were not included in the upgrade until October 2008.[1] In September 2010, WSOC began producing a two-hour extension of its morning newscast for WAXN, airing from 7:00-9:00 a.m. (which competes with WSOC's broadcast of Good Morning America).[11]

On August 26, 2012, starting with its 6 p.m. newscast, WSOC-TV debuted a brand new news set and graphics package as well as an updated version of the station's "Circle 9" logo, which has been in use since 1984 (and is similar in resemblance to the "9" logo long used by KUSA in Denver and formerly by KWTV-DT in Oklahoma City).[12] On December 2, 2013, WSOC expanded the WAXN 10:00 p.m. newscast to one hour, citing the growing audience for the program (which had been placing at #1, among the primetime newscast in the Charlotte market; ahead of WCCB's late evening newscast and a WBTV-produced program on WJZY, which has since been replaced with its own in-house newscast) as the reason for the expansion.[13]

Notable former on-air staff[edit]

Out-of-market cable and DirecTV carriage[edit]

In recent years, WSOC has been carried on cable in several areas outside of the Charlotte television market, including on cable systems within the Greensboro-Winston-Salem-High Point market in North Carolina, the Greenville and Myrtle Beach markets in South Carolina, and the Tri-Cities market in Tennessee. On DirecTV, WSOC has been carried in several counties that are part of the Greensboro-Winston-Salem-High Point market.[14]

References[edit]

External links[edit]