|Branding||WTOC 11 (general)
The News (newscasts)
|Channels||Digital: 11 (VHF)|
11.2 Antenna TV
11.3 Bounce TV
|Network||CBS (primary until 1970; exclusive 1970-present)|
(WTOC License Subsidiary, LLC)
|First air date||February 14, 1954|
|Call letters' meaning||Welcome To Our City (from former radio sister)|
|Former channel number(s)||11 (VHF analog, 1954-2009)
15 (UHF digital, 2002-2009)
|Former affiliations||NBC / DuMont / ABC (1954-1956)|
|Transmitter power||24.4 kW|
WTOC-TV is the CBS-affiliated television station for Southeastern Georgia's Coastal Empire and Southern South Carolina's Lowcountry. Licensed to Savannah, it broadcasts a high definition digital signal on VHF channel 11 from a transmitter along Fort Argyle Road/SR 204 in unincorporated Chatham County, Georgia. The station can also be seen on Comcast channel 6 as well as Time Warner Cable and Charter channel 11. There is a high definition feed offered on Comcast digital channel 433, Charter digital channel 711, and Time Warner Cable digital channel 1110. Owned by Raycom Media, WTOC has studios located off Chatham Center Drive in Savannah's Chatham Parkway section. Syndicated programming on WTOC-TV includes Everybody Loves Raymond and Entertainment Tonight, among others.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|11.1||1080i||16:9||WTOC-TV||Main WTOC-TV programming / CBS|
WTOC-TV discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over VHF channel 11, 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 relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 15 to its former analog VHF channel 11 for post-transition operations.
In October 1929, WTOC-AM 1290 signed on as the first radio station in the Savannah area. It was an enterprise of civic group Junior Board of Trade that was the forerunner of the Savannah Jaycees. It was later purchased by William Knight, Jr., who eventually added an FM station in 1946.
On February 14, 1954, Knight took a great financial risk and established WTOC-TV as the first television station in the Savannah area. WTOC-AM-FM had long been the area's CBS Radio affiliate, so WTOC-TV joined CBS and has been with the network ever since. It carried programming from all four networks for two years until WSAV-TV signed-on in 1956 and took the NBC affiliation. WTOC then shared ABC with WSAV until WJCL-TV signed-on in 1970.
Shortly thereafter, WTOC moved its transmitter to a new 1,500 foot. tower along Fort Argyle Road in Southwestern Chatham County. This significantly increased its coverage area. Knight sold WTOC-AM-FM-TV to Aflac in 1979. That company sold off the radio stations with the AM station becoming WTKS and the FM station WQBT In 1996, Aflac sold its entire television group, including WTOC, to a group headed by Retirement Systems of Alabama which merged it with Ellis Communications to form Raycom Media. As a condition of the Aflac-Ellis broadcast merger, Raycom had to sell off WSAV, which Ellis had just bought a year earlier.
For many years, WTOC broadcast from studios on Abercorn Street in Downtown Savannah. In 1995, it moved to new facilities (known as "The News Place") on the west side of Savannah at Chatham Parkway in 1995. Since that time, the downtown building has become offices for the President of Savannah College of Art and Design. The station's original triangle-shaped tower, now used as a backup, can still be seen today along Abercorn Street.
A station editorial, a rarity on many American television stations since the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine, continues to be presented by WTOC General Manager William Cathcart after the 11 p.m. newscast usually every two weeks. Cathcart's viewpoints are very conservative in nature. While WTOC's regular mail and website address are offered after each of these editorials, counterpoint responses by other parties are never offered on-air.
WTOC has led the local Nielsen ratings in Savannah for most of the time since records have been kept. While WSAV and WJCL made a serious threat in the 1970s, WTOC has won every timeslot since 1980, often garnering more viewers than its rivals combined. Its dominance is so absolute that the station currently calls its newscasts simply "THE News". WTOC airs more than seven hours of news a day, a considerable amount for a station in the 97th market and far more than any other station in Savannah. Unlike most stations which change their graphics and music after a few years of use, WTOC has used versions of Frank Gari's "Newschannel" music package since 1987. Also, WTOC is the only station in Savannah to air a midday newscast.
The station won both Emmy and Edward R. Murrow awards for news gathering efforts in 2003. In addition, the station pulled in eleven Georgia Associated Press Awards in 2004. In 2005, Chris Clark won an Emmy for his football special and an Edward R. Murrow award for his story about a high school football player. In 2006, an Emmy was awarded to Mike Manhattan and Zach Powers for Freedom Fighters, a story about 3rd-ID Soldiers in Iraq. In 2007, Zach Powers, Alex Monarch, and Chris Clark won an Emmy for editing a special series on Rosa Parks. The same year, Chris Clark won the Emmy for best sports reporter.
On October 10, 2010, WTOC became the second station in Savannah after WJCL to upgrade local newscasts to high definition level. Its half-hour weekday afternoon show at 4 is streamed live online. Since network programming can sometimes preempt the 6 o'clock hour on Saturdays, WTOC also airs a newscast at 7. The station operates its own weather radar (known as "Doppler Max 11") at its studios.
On September 26, 2011, sister outlet Fox affiliate WFXG in Augusta, Georgia launched its first ever in-house news operation. In partnership with a News Director based at WTOC in Savannah, WFXG hired multimedia journalists to shoot, edit, and report coverage in the Augusta area. At this point, five personalities have joined that station and work out of WFXG's facility. All anchors for news, weather and sports are provided by WTOC and the nightly prime time broadcast at 10 originates live from this station's studios. WFXG also features unique, regionalized coverage provided by Raycom Media sister outlets including WTOC, WIS and WCSC.
The partnership is comparable to the existing "Raycom News Network", another regional network among the company's widespread group of television stations in the state of Alabama (WSFA in Montgomery, WDFX-TV in Dothan, WAFF in Huntsville, WBRC in Birmingham and WTVM/WXTX in Auburn/Phenix City/Opelika). The six stations share information, equipment (such as satellite trucks) and stories from reporters. WFXG became the third Fox affiliate in Raycom's portfolio to have its newscasts produced in-house joining Birmingham's WBRC and Cincinnati, Ohio's WXIX. Local newscasts on the remainder of the company's Fox outlets are produced through news share agreements by a big three network affiliate in the respective market. There is no regularly scheduled sports report seen on WFXG's broadcast.
WTOC broadcasts CBS This Morning from 8:00-10:00 a.m. unlike other CBS stations in the Eastern Time Zone, instead airing an extended version of "THE News at Daybreak" from 4:30 a.m. to 8 a.m.
- Your Esso Reporter (1954-1956)
- The Savannah & Southeast Georgia Report (1956-1962)
- Television 11/TV-11/Channel 11 News (1962-1970)
- Eleven Country News (1970-1980)
- News 11 (1980-1984)
- WTOC News (1984-1987)
- THE News (1987–present)
Out of Market Carriage
In Georgia, WTOC is carried in Brunswick in the Jacksonville DMA.