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|Branding||Fox 5 (general)
Fox 5 News (newscasts)
|Slogan||Washington's Best News (newscasts)|
|Channels||Digital: 36 (UHF)
Virtual: 5 (PSIP)
|Owner||Fox Television Stations
(Fox Television Stations, Inc.)
|First air date||January 3, 1947|
|Call letters' meaning||Thomas Toliver Goldsmith
(chief engineer of founding company DuMont)
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
5 (VHF, 1947–2009)
|Former affiliations||DuMont (1946–1956)
|Transmitter power||1000 kW|
WTTG, channel 5, is a Fox owned-and-operated television station located in the U.S. capital of Washington, D.C.. The station is owned by the Fox Television Stations subsidiary of 21st Century Fox, and is part of a duopoly with MyNetworkTV owned-and-operated station WDCA (channel 20). The station's studios/office facilities and its transmitter are co-located in the Tenleytown neighborhood on the northwest side of Washington.
The station's signal is rebroadcast on a low-powered translator station, W46BR-D, in Moorefield, West Virginia. (which is owned by Valley TV Cooperative, Inc.). On cable, the station is carried on Xfinity channel 25 in standard definition and on digital channel 213 in high definition.
The station traces its history to May 19, 1945, when television set and equipment manufacturer Allen B. DuMont founded W3XWT, the second experimental station in the nation's capital (after NBC's W3XNB, forerunner to WRC-TV). Later in 1945, DuMont Laboratories began a series of experimental coaxial cable hookups between W3XWT and its other television station, WABD (channel 5, later WNEW-TV and now WNYW) in New York City. These hookups were the beginning of the DuMont Television Network, the world's first licensed commercial television network. DuMont began regular network service in 1946. Almost a year later on January 3, 1947, W3XWT received a commercial license – the first in the nation's capital – as WTTG. The station was named for Thomas T. Goldsmith, Jr., the DuMont network's chief engineer and a close friend of Dr. DuMont.
Like its New York City sister station, WTTG was far more successful than the network as a whole. In 1956, after DuMont shut down network operations, WTTG and WABD became independent stations and were spun off from DuMont Laboratories as the DuMont Broadcasting Corporation. It later changed its name to Metropolitan Broadcasting in order to distance itself from its former parent company.
As an independent station
In 1958, Washington investor John Kluge bought controlling interest in Metropolitan Broadcasting from Paramount Pictures and installed himself as its chairman. He changed the company's name to Metromedia in 1961. Goldsmith sat on Metromedia's board for over a quarter-century. Channel 5 gained a sister station on radio when Metromedia purchased WASH (97.1 FM) in 1968. At first, WTTG ran on a low budget. However, in the late 1960s, it benefited from Metromedia's aggressiveness in acquiring top syndicated programming, giving it a significant leg up on WDCA, which signed on in 1966.
By the 1970s, WTTG was one of the leading independent stations in the country, running a broad lineup of cartoons, off-network sitcoms, first-run syndicated shows, older movies, local newscasts and locally produced programs. During this time period, and well into the early 1990s, WTTG was the flagship station for the Georgetown University men's basketball team. Its main claim to fame was Panorama, an afternoon talk show hosted by John Willis, and later Maury Povich.
When cable television began in the 1970s, WTTG became a regional superstation. At one point, it appeared on every cable provider in Maryland and Virginia, as well as most of Delaware and in parts of North Carolina, South Carolina and Pennsylvania.
Transition to Fox
Metromedia owned the station until 1986 when Rupert Murdoch, after buying 20th Century Fox, purchased the Metromedia television stations to form the nucleus of the Fox network. WTTG became one of Fox's six original owned-and-operated stations when the network launched on October 9, 1986, all the while retaining consistently high ratings, a rarity for a Fox station at the time (being the only independent station on the VHF dial in D.C. also played a part in its ratings and leading ahead of WDCA (channel 20) and WQSR (channel 50, now WDCW) before taking on the new network). Initially, its programming was similar to what it had run as a true independent station, since Fox only programmed for a few hours on weekends.
As channel 5 transitioned to an O&O and more independent stations signed on, it lost much of its cable audience. Though not distributed as widely as it once was, it is still available on several cable providers in Maryland and Virginia. For instance, it has long been available on cable in Harrisonburg, Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley; even though WHSV-TV launched a digital-only Fox affiliate in 2006 (which was supplanted by WSVF-CD in 2012), WTTG is still carried on basic cable in the Shenandoah Valley. Additionally, it is still carried on cable in Charlottesville, Virginia, even though the city has had its own Fox affiliate, WAHU-CD, since 2005; both stations are carried on basic cable in the Charlottesville area. It also served as the default Fox affiliate for Salisbury, Maryland until the debut of new default Fox affiliate, "Fox21 Delmarva", a subchannel of WBOC-TV, on August 21, 2006.
During the 1990s, the station added more syndicated talk shows and reality shows. It continued to air afternoon cartoons from Fox Kids until the fall of 2001, when the block moved to WDCA (only to be reduced to just Saturdays nationwide in 2002); WTTG brought back Fox children's programming later on in 2003, under the banner 4Kids TV. On October 29, 2001, Fox bought WDCA from Viacom's Paramount Stations Group, creating a duopoly with WTTG. The station continued to run top rated off-network sitcoms in the evenings.
WTTG has been the primary station for the Washington Redskins since 1994, when Fox obtained the rights to air NFL games in which a team from the National Football Conference (the NFL division that the Redskins are in) played a road game. All Redskins home games since 1965 have sold out (though the Redskins have had to deal with numerous no-shows), allowing them to be televised on WTTG (along with the Redskins' entire slate of road games) provided they are against an NFC team and are not being played at night, under such instances the game may be aired on WRC-TV for Sunday Night Football, ESPN (WDCA locally) for Monday Night Football or WUSA when a team from the American Football Conference is the visiting team. This relationship is limited to regular season and postseason games, since WRC airs preseason games. Prior to 1994, WTTG aired the Redskins preseason games and training camp scrimmages during the majority of the 1980s into the early 1990s.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|5.1||720p||16:9||WTTG DT||Main WTTG programming / Fox|
WTTG shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 5, on June 12, 2009, as part of the federally mandated transition from analog to digital television. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 36, Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analog channel 5.
In 2004, the inner operations of WTTG during the station's first years under News Corporation's ownership were scrutinized in Robert Greenwald's documentary Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism. The documentary, through a panel of former WTTG journalists and staffers, claimed that following News Corporation's acquisition, WTTG's news reporting became biased and sensationalist, much in the style of the Fox News Channel, which News Corporation also owns and which the film primarily criticizes. Former WTTG employees claimed that:
- they were told "from the top" to air a tribute to Ronald Reagan, as seen at the 1988 Republican National Convention, uncut;
- they were told to run a piece from A Current Affair that "rehashed the whole matter of [Senator Ted Kennedy's deadly car accident at] Chappaquiddick" which had "zero news value"; and
- an obsessive attitude over airing stories related to wedge issues such as race relations and AIDS.
WTTG presently broadcasts 45 hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with eight hours on weekdays, two hours on Saturdays and three hours on Sundays); in regards to the number of hours devoted to news programming, it is the highest local newscast output of any television station in the Washington, D.C. market. As is standard with Fox stations that carry early evening weekend newscasts, WTTG's Saturday and Sunday 5 p.m. newscasts are subject to preemption or delay due to sports coverage.
WTTG has carried local news programming since shortly after the station launched; for many years, the only news program on the station was a nightly primetime broadcast at 10 p.m. Then on June 25, 1990, channel 5 became the second Fox-owned station and the fourth or fifth Fox affiliate with a weekday morning news program, with the debut of the two-hour Fox 5 Morning News, which replaced a block of cartoons that previously aired during the program's timeslot. In the late 1990s, a noon newscast was added to the schedule. In 2002, early evening newscasts were brought to the station with the launch of an hour-long newscast at 5 p.m. on weekdays; a half-hour newscast at 6 p.m. on weekends followed soon after. WTTG then launched a half-hour 11 p.m. newscast called NewsEdge (previously titled The Edge until October 2006) on July 31, 2006. Concurrent with the launch of the 11 p.m. broadcast, the station expanded its 6 p.m. broadcast to weekdays. NewsEdge also later expanded to a seven-day-a-week schedule, with the weekend editions of the newscast running for 15 minutes, with the remainder of the timeslot being padded out by the sports highlight program Sports Extra.
On September 4, 2006, WTTG began simulcasting its weekday morning and nightly 10 p.m. newscasts on then-Baltimore sister station WUTB (now owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group partner company Deerfield Media), under the banner of My 24 News. Management at both stations cited the decision to simulcast as a by-product of cross-regional news interests and increasing overlap between the Baltimore and Washington media markets. In October 2006, while WTTG aired Fox Sports' coverage of the 2006 Major League Baseball postseason, the first half-hour of the 10 p.m. newscast was broadcast by sister station WDCA under the title Fox 5 News at Ten: Special Edition; this also occurred in 2007, with the WDCA broadcast of the program being titled My 20 News at 10.
On July 2, 2007, WTTG discontinued its noon newscast and replaced it with an hour-long newscast at 11 a.m., titled Fox 5 News Midday. On September 10, 2007, the station reformatted its 6 p.m. newscast into an early evening edition of NewsEdge; the addition of NewsEdge at 6 p.m. was due in part to the success of its current 11 p.m. counterpart. On January 14, 2009, WTTG and WRC-TV entered into a Local News Service agreement in which the two stations pool video and share news helicopter footage.
On January 30, 2009, starting with its 6 p.m. newscast, WTTG became the third television station in the Washington, D.C. market (behind CBS affiliate WUSA and ABC affiliate WJLA-TV) to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition. On September 14, 2009, WTTG expanded its weekday morning newscast to five hours by adding an additional hour at 9 a.m.; in turn, its hour-long 11 a.m. midday newscast was discontinued. In early 2010, WTTG became the second station in the market (behind WUSA) to expand its weekday morning newscast to 4:30 a.m.
In late August 2013, WTTG's newscasts switched to a 16:9 letterbox presentation, becoming the second station in the Washington, DC market (behind WUSA) to do so.
Current on-air staff
WTTG's primary news anchors are Melanie Alnwick (Sunday mornings from 8-9 a.m.; also special projects reporter), Shawn Yancy (weeknights at 6, 10 and 11 p.m.), Will Thomas (weekends at 6, 10 and 11 p.m.; also consumer reporter), Wisdom Martin (weekday mornings on Fox 5 Morning News from 4:30-7 a.m.), Steve Chenevey (weekday mornings on Fox 5 Morning News from 7-10 a.m.), Allison Seymour (weekday mornings on Fox 5 Morning News from 7-10 a.m.), Sarah Simmons (weekday mornings on Fox 5 Morning News from 4:30-7 a.m.), Laura Evans (weeknights at 5 p.m.), Maureen Umeh (weekends at 6, 10 and 11 p.m.) and Tony Perkins (weeknights at 5 and 10 p.m.).
The Fox 5 AccuWeather team includes chief meteorologist Sue Palka (NWA Seal of Approval; weeknights at 6, 10 and 11 p.m.), and meteorologists Tucker Barnes (weekday mornings on Fox 5 Morning News from 4:30-10 a.m.), Gary McGrady (AMS Seal of Approval; weeknights at 5 p.m.) and Gwen Tolbart (Sunday mornings from 8-9 a.m. and weekends at 6, 10 and 11 p.m.).
The station's sports team includes sports director Scott Smith (weeknights at 6, 10 and 11 p.m.), sports anchor Lindsay Murphy (weekends at 6, 10 and 11 p.m.; also sports reporter) and sports producer Dave Ross (occasionally seen on Fox 5 Morning News from 4:30-10 a.m.).
The station's reporting staff includes Matt Ackland (general assignment reporter), Bob Barnard (general assignment reporter), Audrey Barnes (general assignment reporter), Claudia Coffey (general assignment reporter), Stacey Cohan (general assignment reporter), Tom Fitzgerald (general assignment reporter), John Henrehan (general assignment reporter), Karen Gray Houston (general assignment reporter), Sherri Ly (general assignment reporter), Holly Morris (weekday morning feature reporter), Beth Parker (general assignment reporter), Paul Wagner (general assignment reporter), Allyson Wilson (general assignment reporter) and Julie Wright (weekday morning traffic reporter).
Notable former on-air staff
- Steve Buckhantz - sports anchor (1987–2001; now with Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic)
- Connie Chung - reporter (1970–1971)
- Jack Conaty - reporter (1986–1987)
- Brett Haber - sports anchor/reporter (1997–2000; later with WUSA-TV)
- Hillary Howard (Statter) - meteorologist (1990s–2000; now at WTOP-FM)
- Gus Johnson - weekend sports anchor/reporter (1991–1992; now with Fox Sports)
- Morris Jones - anchor/reporter (1983–2001; now at News Channel 8)
- Pat Mitchell - anchor/Panorama host (1977–1979)
- Maury Povich - anchor/reporter/Panorama host (1967–1976 and 1983–1986; now hosting the syndicated talk show Maury)
- Amy Robach - anchor/reporter (1998–2003; now with ABC News)
- Al Roker - weather anchor (1976–1978; now with NBC News' Today)
- Bob Schieffer - reporter (1969–1977; now chief Washington, D.C. correspondent for CBS News and host of Face the Nation)
- Bob Sellers - weekday morning anchor (2006–2008; later at WSMV-TV/Nashville)
- Brian Williams - anchor/reporter/Panorama host (1985–1986; now anchor/managing editor for NBC Nightly News)
- Brian Wilson - anchor/reporter (1996–2000)
- "Digital Signal Sources". The Washington Post. 2008-05-20.
- "RabbitEars.Info". RabbitEars.Info. Retrieved 2012-03-24.
- RabbitEars TV Query for WTTG
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24.
- "Fox And NBC To Share In DC". Retrieved 2009-01-14.
- Fox 5 People
- Official website
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WTTG
- Query the FCC's TV station database for W46BR-D
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WTTG-TV
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on W46BR-TV
- WTTG Fox 5 at the Wayback Machine (archived January 15, 2006)
- WTTG Fox 5 at the Wayback Machine (archived April 7, 2000)