West Point, Mississippi
|City of license||Tupelo|
ABC WTVA (on DT2)
|Slogan||Live, Local, Latebreaking.|
|Channels||Digital: 8 (VHF)
Virtual: 9 (PSIP)
|First air date||March 18, 1957|
|Call letters' meaning||Tennessee Valley Authority (Tupelo was
first city in corporation)
|Former callsigns||WTWV (1957-1979)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
9 (VHF, 1957-2009)
|Former affiliations||ABC (secondary, 1957-1983)|
|Transmitter power||16 kW|
WTVA is the NBC-affiliated television station for Northern Mississippi that is licensed to Tupelo. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on VHF channel 8 (or virtual channel 9.1 via PSIP) from a transmitter in Woodland. Locally-owned by the Spain family, WTVA operates Fox affiliate WLOV-TV through a local marketing agreement (LMA). The two outlets share studios on County Road 681 in Saltillo. Syndicated programming on the station includes Wheel of Fortune, Dr. Phil, Inside Edition, and Jeopardy!.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|9.1||1080i||16:9||WTVA-DT||Main WTVA programming / NBC|
|9.2||720p||ABCWTVA||WTVA-DT2 / ABC|
WTVA shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 9, on February 17, 2009, the original date in which full-power television stations in the United States were to transition from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition VHF channel 8. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analog channel 9.
WTVA was the brainchild of Frank K. Spain, an engineering graduate of Mississippi State University, who had helped build NBC-owned station WNBW (now WRC-TV) in Washington D.C.. While serving as Technical Director at WHEN-TV (now WTVH) in Syracuse, New York in the early-1950s, he dreamed of bringing a television station to Tupelo, where he had spent most of his childhood. Spain applied for a license in 1953 which was granted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 1956. The station began airing on March 18, 1957 with the call letters WTWV. Its equipment (antenna, transmitter, cameras etc.) were all hand-built in Spain's garage, backyard, and basement in Syracuse.
Spain hoped to parlay his good relations with NBC officials into getting his new station an affiliation with the network. However, several NBC executives believed Tupelo was not a desirable place for a local station because of its rural location, even though most viewers in northern Mississippi could only get NBC via grade B coverage from WMC-TV in Memphis, Tennessee and WAPI-TV (now WVTM-TV) in Birmingham, Alabama). Nonetheless, they told Spain that if he could figure out a way to obtain a network signal, he could carry it.
Spain allegedly negotiated under-the-table deals with WMC-TV and set up a network of microwave relays and repeater systems to carry the WMC-TV signal to Tupelo. Station engineers then switched to and from the signal when network programming aired. This setup, necessary in the days before satellites, enabled WTWV to bring NBC programming to northeastern Mississippi and northwestern Alabama. The station also carried a secondary affiliation with ABC.
In the mid-1960s, WTWV was approached by ABC about becoming a full affiliate of that network. Spain, who was still receiving "bootleg" NBC programming, told NBC executives about ABC's offer to pay him the customary rates. This prompted NBC to finally negotiate a formal deal with Spain, which made WTWV an official NBC affiliate, one of only three in Mississippi at the time. It still carried some ABC programming in off-hours (namely, college football on Saturdays) until WVSB (now WLOV) in nearby West Point began operating in 1983. Starting in 1972, WTWV operated a full-time satellite for eastern central Mississippi, WHTV (now WMDN) in Meridian on channel 24; WHTV operated as such until 1980, when Spain decided to make it a stand-alone station, with a CBS affiliation. WTWV built a new tower in the 1970s that not only brought a city-grade signal to Columbus for the first time, but gave the station one of the largest coverage areas in the country.
On July 4, 1979, it changed its call letters to WTVA in honor of Tupelo's recognition as the first Tennessee Valley Authority city in the Southeast. The WTWV call sign was later used on WFRQ, a radio station in Mashpee, Massachusetts. The WTWV call sign is presently in use by a Memphis-based TV station. Neither the Massachusetts nor the Memphis station are related to the current WTVA. The Spains continued to own WHTV until it was sold to Meridian Media (now Waypoint Media) in January 2008.
The station is still locally-owned by the Spain family today. Frank Spain served as CEO of WTVA, Inc. until his death on April 25, 2006. He continued to visit the station regularly well into his seventies. His widow Jane has assumed the CEO position and continues the Spain family ownership. The outlet was the first commercial television station in Mississippi to devote its entire morning broadcast schedule to educational programming. The station also made history as the first in Mississippi to broadcast a live basketball game.
Although WTVA operates WLOV through local marketing agreement (LMA), and previously operated ABC affiliate WKDH through a similar arrangement from its 2001 sign-on until its final sign-off on August 31, 2012, each station has its own station manager and owner in accordance with FCC policy. WTVA, Inc. also previously owned and operated KTFL in Flagstaff, Arizona. During the majority of the time KTFL was broadcasting, it carried programing from FamilyNet. KTFL's transmitter was licensed as the most powerful television station its own market. On July 24, 2008, WTVA began its digital service on VHF channel 8 but is mapped via PSIP to virtual channel 9. By comparison, sister station WLOV broadcasts network programming in high definition over a low-powered digital transmitter. It is likely the allowable power levels on channel 8, WTVA's post-transition digital channel, will be severely limited due to potential interference to other stations.
Previously, FamilyNet was carried on WTVA-DT2 until December 31, 2011, when it was replaced by Me-TV. The subchannel again switched affiliations, this time to ABC, on September 1, 2012; the subchannel replaced WKDH as the ABC affiliate for the Columbus-Tupelo-West Point market, which ceased operations the night before on August 31. The Me-TV affiliation was moved to sister-station WLOV-DT 27.2.
In March 2000, WTVA began producing a Sunday through Friday night prime time newscast on WLOV-TV. Currently known as WLOV Fox News at Nine, this broadcast can be seen for thirty minutes. There has not been any plans made announced to launch a weekday morning show at 7 a.m. on WLOV (produced by WTVA) that would compete with a sixty minute show seen on MyNetworkTV affiliate WCBI-DT2. On April 20, 2009, WTVA became the first station in the market and second in the state to upgrade local news to high definition level (WLOV's show was included). Compared nationwide, it was the smallest market outlet that made the change.
With the addition of ABC network programming on WTVA-DT2, the subchannel also airs local news programming as per the terms of its affiliation agreement, featuring simulcasts of most local newscasts seen on the primary channel. More specifically, WTVA's half-hour midday newscast at noon on weekdays and one-hour news and talk program Kay Bain's Saturday Mornin' Show is not seen on WTVA-DT2.  There are currently no local broadcasts seen exclusively on WTVA-DT2. The station operates a weather radar at its facilities that is known on-air as "StormTrack Doppler".
- TV-9 News
- 9 Alive News (1980s)
- WTVA News (1980s–present)
- "The Spirit of Mississippi" (general, 1980s-2004)
- "Come Home To The Best, Only on Channel 9" (1988–1994)
- "Mississippi's News Channel" (1994–2004)
- "Your Digital Information Center" (2004–2006)
- "Live, Local, Latebreaking." (2006–present)
- Robert Byers - weekday mornings; also reporter
- Allie Ware - weekday mornings and noon
- Craig Ford - weeknights at 5, 6 and 10 p.m.; also assistant news director
- Sunya Walls - weeknights at 5 and 10 p.m.; also WLOV FOX News at 9:00
Local program hosts
- Kay Bain - Kay Bain's Saturday Mornin' Show host
- Stan Allen - West Point of View and Community Edition host
- Terry Smith - Focus host
The Weather Authority
- Matt Laubhan (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval) - chief meteorologist; weeknights
- Dick Rice (member, AMS) - chief meteorologist; emeritus; fill-in
- Kara James - (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval); weekday mornings and weekdays at noon
- John Dolusic - meteorologist; weekend evenings
- Nick Gunter (Member NWA & AMS) - meteorologist; weekend mornings
Sports (both seen on Friday Night Fever)
- Jim Holder - sports anchor; weeknights at 6, 9, and 10 p.m.
- Andy Lee - Sports Anchor; Weekend Evenings
- Wayne Hereford - general assignment reporter
- Susan Parker - general assignment reporter
- Drew Powell - general assignment reporter
- Emily Leonard - general assignment reporter
- Javanté Ingram - general assignment reporter
- Jessica Albert - general assignment reporter
- Tyler Hill - general assignment reporter
- Jeff Bryant
- Alvin Ivy
- RabbitEars TV Query for WTVA
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24.
- FCC third-round DTV allocations, DA-06-1675a1, allocate 9000 watts to WTVA.
- Where to Watch Me-TV: WTVA
- "ABC Getting New Outlet In Columbus-Tupelo". TVNewsCheck. August 28, 2012. Retrieved August 28, 2012.
- "WTVA to broadcast ABC-TV". WTVA.com. August 28, 2012. Retrieved August 28, 2012.
- ABC WTVA Information
- WTVA 6pm Newscast 11/7/94
- Meet the News Team