||A major contributor to this article appears to have a close connection with its subject. (January 2010)|
|Slogan||Depend On Us|
|Channels||Digital: 9 (VHF)
Virtual: 9 (PSIP)
9.2 This TV
|Affiliations||ABC (secondary 1953-1957; primary 1958-present)|
|Owner||Sinclair Broadcast Group
(WTVC Licensee, LLC)
|First air date||March 13, 1953
February 11, 1958
|Last air date||1957
|Call letters' meaning||We're TeleVision Chattanooga|
|Former callsigns||WROM-TV (1953-1957)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
9 (VHF, 1953-2009)
Digital: 35 (UHF)
|Transmitter power||45 kW|
|Public license information:||Profile
WTVC is the ABC television affiliate in Chattanooga, Tennessee. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on VHF channel 9 from a transmitter on Signal Mountain in the community of Walden. Owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group, the station has studios on Benton Drive in Chattanooga.
On Comcast cable systems, the station is aired on channel 10. On EPB Fiber Optics, it airs on channel 9 and 309.
The station signed on-the-air in 1953 as WROM-TV, licensed to Rome, Georgia. It transmitted a full-powered analog signal on VHF channel 9 at 316,000 watts from a tower on Horseleg Mountain west of Rome. WROM-TV also had secondary affiliations with CBS, ABC, and DuMont. The station lost CBS when WDEF-TV signed on in 1954. WROM-TV then carried NBC, ABC, and DuMont until 1956 when Dumont went off-the-air and WRGP-TV (now WRCB-TV) signed on and took the NBC affiliation. At that time, ABC opted for secondary affiliations with WDEF and WRGP because the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) had reduced WROM-TV's Grade A signal, which made it difficult to be picked up in Chattanooga. WROM-TV continued as an independent station until late 1957. During its tenure as a Rome station, it claimed to be "Dixie's Largest Independent." The station ran a late-afternoon and prime-time schedule of old movies, "hillbilly" music performances (which were common on southern TV stations in the 1950s) and occasionally, ABC TV network fare such as "Omnibus." WROM-TV's sign-on and its subsequent move to Chattanooga, Tennessee years later changed Atlanta TV history and caused a fruit-basket turnover of southeast TV frequencies.
Martin Theaters (forerunner of Carmike Cinemas) bought the station in 1957 and in December of that year, took it off the air to move the transmitter 70 miles (110 km) north to Chattanooga. Martin had purchased WTVM in Columbus, Georgia in late 1956, and was granted permission to switch that station from channel 28 to channel 9, but ran into government regulations. FCC rules mandated a certain amount of separation for stations on the same channel and WROM's Grade-B signal reached Columbus. Also, the FCC normally did not allow common ownership of two stations with overlapping signals, though the FCC has since relaxed this particular restriction. The Chattanooga-Columbus channel reallocation was part of the last huge FCC national channel reallocation that saw channel numbers in the Southeast switch not only in Chattanooga and Columbus, but also in Dothan and Montgomery, Alabama; Greenwood, Tupelo, and Laurel, Mississippi; Florence, South Carolina; and High Point, North Carolina.
In 1948, Atlanta's television market included pioneer station WSB-TV, owned by the Atlanta Journal newspaper, operating on channel 8. The more desirable channel 2 frequency was reserved for crosstown newspaper rival Atlanta Constitution and its station WCON-TV. When the Journal and Constitution merged in 1951, WSB TV moved to channel 2. WCON-TV never took to the air, and its sister radio station, WCON 550 AM, was reassigned to Gainesville, Georgia, where it is now WDUN-AM.
That left room for a new channel 8 in Atlanta. A group of Atlanta businessmen, including an executive from the Davison's department store chain, pooled their capital and launched WLTV as Atlanta's first full-time ABC TV affiliate. WLTV's studios were installed in a small building directly behind WSB TV because that move allowed the station to utilize WSB's old channel 8 transmitting tower. WLTV operated on a very tight budget and offered little in the way of local programming or news coverage.
By 1953, WROM-AM had launched its new Rome TV station on channel 9, and Cincinnati-based Crosley Broadcasting had purchased Atlanta's channel 8 WLTV, changing its call letters to WLWA TV. As soon as both stations were operating, viewers in northwest Atlanta and to the south of Rome began experiencing trouble watching either station. Crosley also wanted to increase transmitting power at its new station, which necessitated a change to present-day channel 11 (now WXIA-TV).
By 1958, WROM's owners were making moves to cash in on their investment. The station began carrying a full prime time slate of ABC Network programs, overlapping programming with WLWA.
In 1959, WROM's owners accepted an offer to sell their TV outlet to a group of Chattanooga-based investors. Chattanooga had only two VHF stations at the time, WRGP-TV (now WRCB-TV) channel 3 (NBC) and WDEF-TV channel 12 (CBS). Chattanooga offered channel 9's investors a better economic model than Rome. The station received FCC approval to move and became Chattanooga ABC affiliate WTVC. That move 70 miles to the north opened opportunities for other television broadcasters to the south.
Atlanta regained channel 8 as a frequency, though it was reclassified as a non-commercial facility, clearing the way for the University of Georgia's Athens-based educational station, WGTV (which, years later, relocated to Atlanta). Columbus, Georgia NBC affiliate WDAK TV 28 was able to move to VHF channel 9, while Dothan, Alabama CBS affiliate WTVY moved from channel 9 to the more desirable channel 4 and Columbus CBS affiliate WRBL moved from channel 4 to channel 3. In Birmingham, Alabama, WBRC-TV (an NBC affiliate) moved from channel 4 to channel 6.
Ironically, Rome lost a second television frequency 40 years later, when WZGA (UHF channel 14, now today's WPXA-TV) moved to Atlanta after several years of operation. WROM-AM is still on the air on AM 710.
Channel 9 returned to full-power as ABC affiliate WTVC in Chattanooga on February 11, 1958. Until the 2009 digital television transition, it continued to operate under WROM's old FCC license. Chattanooga also became one of the smallest television markets in the country to have three VHF stations. The station is the only station in Chattanooga to have never had a secondary affiliation with another network.
WTVC developed a strong reputation for local programming in its early years. Among the shows that WTVC pioneered was the children's educational show Funtime with Marcia Kling. Shock Theater which aired on Saturday nights developed a cult following with WTVC Programming Director Tommy Reynolds dressed up as Dracula with the moniker "Doctor Shock" alongside his irreverent sidekick "Dingbat". The Bob Brandy Show which aired in the afternoons featured cartoons and kids activities hosted by WTVC advertising executive Bob Brandy, his wife Ingrid, and their horse Rebel.
In 1969, Martin Theaters was sold to Augusta, Georgia businessman J.B. Fuqua. Fuqua also owned WJBF-TV in Augusta, WTVW-TV in Evansville, Indiana, and KTHI-TV (now KVLY-TV) in Fargo, North Dakota. Over the next few years each station was sold with WTVC being purchased in 1980 by the A.H. Belo Corporation of Dallas, Texas. In 1984, Freedom Communications bought the station along with KFDM in Beaumont marking the newspaper chain's second television acquisition. Belo had to put WTVC and KFDM on the market after it announced plans to purchase Corinthian Broadcasting from Dun & Bradstreet in order to comply with the FCC-mandated ownership limit of five VHF television stations which was in effect at the time.
The first studios for WTVC were located at its transmitter site on Signal Mountain. In 1960, it moved to new facilities in the Golden Gateway Shopping Center in downtown Chattanooga next to a Zayre department store. Over the years, however, the station outgrew the building. In 2000, WTVC moved into new digitally-equipped 26,000-square-foot (2,400 m2) studios located adjacent to the Highway 58 / Highway 153 interchange.
Syndicated programming on WTVC include Dr. Phil, The Doctors, Live with Kelly & Michael, Access Hollywood, The Outdoorsman, Jeopardy!, and Wheel of Fortune (the latter two formerly aired on WRCB until 1996).
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|9.1||720p||16:9||WTVC-DT||Main WTVC programming / ABC|
WTVC 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 relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 35 to VHF channel 9 for post-transition operations.
Currently, WTVC airs 24 hours and 30 minutes of news each week. That includes four hours and 30 minutes each weekday, and 2 hours on weekends. In the event of special sports coverage overlapping news time, the station streams a live newscast on its website. The station also airs a public affairs show, "This-N-That". Longtime personality Don Welch hosted the show until his retirement in 2014. Brian Smith was named the new host for the show that airs at 12:30 weekdays, which has a weather segment and news updates whenever necessary.
Through the late-1960s and mid-1970s, WTVC branded its newscasts under the Eyewitness News label. In 1975, this switched to Action News. In the late-1980s, it was one of the first stations in the country to adopt the NewsChannel branding.
In the early 1990s, WTVC produced a 10 P.M. newscast for then-independent WFLI-TV but that was eventually cancelled. In 1994, the station began airing a nightly 10 o'clock broadcast on Fox affiliate WDSI-TV using station meteorologists, sports anchors, news reporters and news video, while WDSI provided separate news anchors. In 2000, that station launched its own news department and aired local news on weekday mornings, weekday afternoons at 4, and nightly at 10. In 2004, the news department at WDSI closed down and a news share agreement with WTVC was re-established. Since then, this station has been producing Fox 61 First At 10 on WDSI. That station's website has video from the primetime show.
From the 1960s through the 1970s, WTVC newscasts were usually in last place, but it was not until new owners Belo took over, that the ratings began to favor WTVC. Since the mid-1980s, WTVC had waged a spirited battle with WRCB for first place in the local news ratings weekdays, while WDEF has usually trailed both stations. On March 1, 2014, WTVC launched the area's second-only weekend morning newscast. Named Good Morning Chattanooga Weekend, the broadcasts will air from 6:00-7:00 and from 8:00-9:00 a.m. The weekend editions of Good Morning America will be sandwiched in between at 7:00 a.m. 
- "Our New Home". WTVC. 1998-12-02. Archived from the original on 1998-12-03. Retrieved 2008-09-13.
- Milbourn, Mary Ann (November 2, 2011). "O.C. Register owner sells TV stations". Orange County Register. Retrieved November 2, 2011.
- RabbitEars TV Query for WTVC
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24.
- WTVC NewsChannel 9 To Launch Good Morning Chattanooga Weekend NewsChannel9.com, February 4, 2014.
- WTVC "NewsChannel 9"
- WTVC-DT2 "This TV Chattanooga"
- WDSI-DT "Fox 61"
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WTVC