|This article does not cite any references or sources. (June 2010)|
|City of license||Meridian|
|Branding||Channel 11 (general)
NewsCenter 11 (newscasts)
myTOK2 (on DT2)
Meridian CW 8 (on DT3)
|Slogan||Your News Leader for Eastern Mississippi
and Western Alabama
|Channels||Digital: 11 (VHF)
Virtual: 11 (PSIP)
11.3 The CW
|Affiliations||Jewelry Television (overnight on DT2)|
(Gray Television Licensee, LLC)
|First air date||September 27, 1953|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
11 (VHF, 1953-2009)
49 (UHF, ?-2009)
|Former affiliations||CBS (1953-1980)
DuMont (secondary, 1953-1955)
NBC (secondary, 1953-1972)
Fox (secondary mid-1990s, primary on DT2 2006-2009)
The Sportsman Channel (overnight on DT2, 2006-2009)
|Transmitter power||40 kW|
WTOK-TV is the ABC-affiliated television station for Meridian, Mississippi. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on VHF channel 11 from a transmitter south of Meridian on Crestview Circle (along MS 145/Roebuck Drive) in unincorporated Lauderdale County. The station can also be seen on Comcast channel 6 and in high definition on digital channel 431. Owned by Gray Television, WTOK has studios on 23rd Avenue in Meridian's Mid-Town section. Syndicated programming on the station includes Wheel of Fortune, The Dr. Oz Show, Judge Judy, and Jeopardy! among others.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|11.1||720p||16:9||WTOK-HD||Main WTOK-TV programming / ABC|
|11.2||480i||4:3||myTOK2||MyNetworkTV / Jewelry Television|
|11.3||WTOK-CW||Meridian CW 8|
WTOK-TV shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 11, at 9:00 a.m. 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 49 to its former analog VHF channel 11.
It began broadcasting on September 27, 1953 as the second television station in Mississippi and the first on the VHF band. WJTV in Jackson had started broadcasting in January of that year on a UHF frequency. WTOK started as a primary CBS affiliate but carried programming from ABC, NBC, and DuMont as well. DuMont folded in 1955 and NBC went to WHTV (now WMDN) in 1972 (via its status as a satellite of Tupelo's WTWV now WTVA). It became an exclusive ABC affiliate in 1980 sending CBS to WHTV. ABC had become the highest-rated network in the nation by this time and wanted a station that would clear all of its programming.
WTOK also served as a partial Fox affiliate in the mid-1990s carrying NFL broadcasts as well as selected Fox programming in late night time-slots. At one point, WTOK was co-owned with KARK-TV in Little Rock, Arkansas. In 1988, then-owner United Broadcasting was taken over by investment firm Merrill Lynch who then sold its three stations off to separate buyers. That year, Benedek Broadcasting bought WTOK. When Benedek's parent company went bankrupt in 2002, current owner Gray Television bought most of the Benedek stations including WTOK.
In early-2006, WTOK began broadcasting a Fox affiliate (known as "Fox Meridian") on a new second digital subchannel. For Meridian viewers, WTOK-DT2 replaced Foxnet and WDBB in Tuscaloosa, Alabama on cable. Starting September 5, 2006, it began airing programming from Fox's new sister network MyNetworkTV. Shows from that network aired Monday through Saturday nights from 9 to 11. Gray Television signed a deal to add The CW (the other new network created by the merger of The WB and UPN) on new digital subchannels of four company-owned stations including WTOK. WTOK-DT3 began airing The CW on the network's launch of September 18.
After WGBC acquired the Fox affiliation in late-2008, WTOK-DT2 was rebranded "myTOK2" to reflect the channel's shift to primary MyNetworkTV affiliation. It also moved from Comcast channel 10 to channel 2.
It has long been the dominant station in Eastern Mississippi due to its status as the only VHF station in the area. For a time in the early-1990s, WTOK was even the only over-the-air commercial station in town by default after both of its rivals went off-the-air. After WMDN shut down its news department in 2005, WTOK became the only station in the market to offer local news. Unlike most ABC affiliates, it does not air full two-hour morning or midday newscasts during the week. WTOK-DT2 rebroadcasts the 6 a.m. hour of Good Morning Meridian weekday mornings at 7:30 and NewsCenter 11 at 10 every night at midnight. On Wednesday, April 25, 2012, WTOK-TV began broadcasting local newscasts in high definition for the first time.
- Your Esso Reporter (1953-early 1960s)
- Newsnight (late 1960s-early 1970s)
- TV 11 News (late 1970s-early 1980s)
- NewsCenter 11 (late 1980s-present)
- Andrea Williams - Weekday mornings from 5:30 to 7.
- Wade Phillips - Weeknights at 5 and 6. Also Executive Producer.
- Deana Day - Weeknights at 6 and 10.
- Chip Scarborough - Weekends at 6 and 10. Also Weekend Producer.
- John Johnson - Director of News and Community Relations.
Newscenter 11 Weather
- Brian Hutton, Jr. - Chief Meteorologist, weeknights at 5, 6, and 10.
- Aaron Morrison - Morning Meteorologist, weekday mornings from 5:30 to 7.
- Will Harkins - Weekend Meteorologist, Saturdays at 6 and 10, Sundays at 10. Also Reporter.
Newscenter 11 Sports
- Lindsey Hall - Sports Director, weeknights at 5 and 6. Monday and Tuesday at 10. Also Football Friday host.
- Louis Montesi, III - Sports Anchor/Reporter, Wednesday - Sunday at 10, Saturday at 6.
- Christian Monsour - Chief Photographer
- Jeffrey May - 10 producer/Photographer
- Candace Barnette - General Assignment Reporter
- Rebecca Ward - Morning Producer
- Austin Culpepper - Production Assistant/Photographer
- Gary Bachman - Southern Gardening
Notable former staff
- Lindsey Brown - 6 and 10 PM anchor, now at WMC-TV in Memphis, Tennessee
- Gina Neville - 6 and 10PM producer/anchor, 1997-1998
- Charles Daniel - weekday morning meteorologist and news reporter (now at WBMA in Birmingham, Alabama)
- George McDonald - reporter and photographer (now at WAKA in Montgomery, Alabama)
- Josh Johnson - Chief Meteorologist (now at WSFA in Montgomery)
- Bill Evans - now at WABC-TV in New York City
- Stan Torgerson - reporter (deceased)
- Art Ginsburg - Mr. Food (deceased)
- RabbitEars TV Query for WTOK
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24.
- WTOK.com (Official WTOK-TV Website)
- MeridianCW.com (Official CW Meridian Website)
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WTOK-TV