|Slogan||Your News and
Information Leader (primary)
Tennessee's First Local News in High Definition (secondary)
Only NewsChannel 5 (localized version of CBS ad campaign)
|Channels||Digital: 25 (UHF)
Virtual: 5 (PSIP)
|Translators||5 (VHF) Nashville|
This TV (DT3)
|Owner||Journal Broadcast Group
(NewsChannel 5 Network, LLC)
|First air date||August 6, 1954|
|Call letters' meaning||TeleVision Five|
|Former callsigns||WLAC-TV (1954–1975)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
5 (VHF, 1954–2009)
56 (UHF, 1999–2009)
5 (VHF, 2009–2012)
|Transmitter power||1000 kW|
|Height||425 metres (1,394 ft)|
WTVF, virtual channel 5 (UHF digital channel 25), is a CBS-affiliated television station located in Nashville, Tennessee, United States. The station is owned by the Journal Broadcast Group division of Journal Communications. WTVF's studios are located on James Robertson Parkway in Nashville, and its transmitter is located north of downtown along I-24. Syndicated programming on WTVF includes Inside Edition, The Ellen DeGeneres Show and Rachael Ray.
WTVF first signed on the air August 6, 1954 as WLAC-TV; it was owned by the Life and Casualty Insurance Company, along with Nashville businessmen Guilford Dudley, Al Beaman and Thomas Baker. Ever since its inception, its analog signal was short-spaced to Memphis' WMC-TV also on VHF channel 5 (coincidentally, WMC-TV began on channel 4 and was immediately short-spaced to WSM-TV in Nashville, now WSMV). WLAC-TV was owned alongside WLAC radio (1510 AM) and later WLAC-FM (105.9 FM, now WNRQ). The call sign reflected the initials of the insurance company. It immediately took the CBS affiliation from WSIX-TV (channel 8, eventually WKRN-TV on channel 2) because WLAC (AM) had been Nashville's CBS Radio affiliate since 1928. With WLAC-TV, Nashville became the smallest city in the United States to have three network-affiliated commercial television stations. American General Corporation, a Houston-based insurer, bought L&C and WLAC-AM-FM-TV in the 1960s.
WLAC-TV was sold in 1975 to the Hobby family (owners of KPRC AM-TV and the now-defunct Houston Post), who changed the station's call sign to the current WTVF. American General/L&C eventually sold WLAC-AM-FM to other interests and the other stations have had several owners over the years. In 1983, the Hobbys reorganized their broadcast holdings as H&C Communications after the Post was sold. Landmark Communications, based in Norfolk, Virginia, bought WTVF from the Hobbys in 1994.
In 1998, WTVF became the primary home station for the Tennessee Titans, then still known as the Oilers for that season, when the rights to air road games of the National Football League's American Football Conference moved to CBS. For many years, WTVF had a decades-long monopoly in providing CBS programming to certain counties in Southern Kentucky as that area was not served by a CBS station within the area. This came to an end on February 1, 2007, when Bowling Green NBC affiliate WNKY launched a new second digital subchannel to serve as the area's CBS affiliate. In spite of this, WTVF remains available on most Bowling Green-area cable systems.
On January 30, 2008, Landmark announced its intention to sell WTVF, along with sister station KLAS-TV in Las Vegas and cable network The Weather Channel. This was followed on July 14, 2008 with an announcement that WTVF would be sold to Bonten Media Group, which already owned 16 broadcast television stations in five states. However, the deal was called off due to the economic crisis of 2008 as Bonten informed Landmark that it could not close on the purchase after its key financial backer for that purchase, Lehman Brothers, went bankrupt. Landmark Communications changed its name to Landmark Media Enterprises in September 2008.
Although the sale of The Weather Channel and some other assets was eventually completed, Landmark took most of its other properties off the market in October 2008. As a result, WTVF and KLAS remained owned by Landmark. WTVF would have become the largest station owned by Bonten, as well as the first CBS affiliate in its portfolio.
On May 1 and 2, 2010, WTVF's newsroom was flooded with three feet of water, and became non-operational for three months as it was being rebuilt. During the flooding, equipment was hastily moved to other locations around the building to prevent disruption of the station's news operation.
On September 4, 2012, Milwaukee-based Journal Communications announced that it would purchase WTVF from Landmark for $215 million. The FCC approved the sale on October 22, and it was consummated on December 6. With the transaction's completion, WTVF became the largest Journal-owned station by market size (displacing flagship WTMJ-TV, which is now the second largest). It also made WTVF the sister station of KLAS's rival, KTNV-TV.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|5.1||1080i||16:9||WTVF-DT||Main WTVF programming / CBS|
WTVF-DT2 carries NewsChannel 5+, which features locally-produced programming, repeats of local news from the main channel, and additional syndicated shows. There is also live gavel-to-gavel coverage of high-profile criminal trials in the Nashville area including those of Paul Dennis Reid, Perry March, and Mary Winkler. WTVF-DT2 goes live during severe weather and will sometimes air local newscasts if CBS programming preempts the main channel, such as during the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. It also carries the Saturday edition of CBS This Morning, which WTVF does not run.
WTVF shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 5, 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 56, which was among the high band UHF channels (52-69) that were removed from broadcasting use as a result of the transition, to its former VHF analog channel 5.
Since WTVF's transition to that channel, some viewers in the immediate Nashville area were having reception problems of the VHF digital channel. On July 6, 2009, the station filed an application to operate a low-powered digital translator on UHF channel 50, broadcasting at 100 kW, to serve viewers that could not receive the VHF signal. The original application to operate this translator has yet to be granted but STAs have been approved. On July 31, 2009, WTVF began multicasting on its digital subchannels the over-the-air relaunch of "NewsChannel 5+" (originally a cable-only channel) on 5.2 and the addition of classic movie network, This TV on 5.3.
On September 7, 2012, WTVF relocated its main digital signal to UHF channel 25; it also shut down its UHF fill-in translator on channel 50 and converted its former full-power operations on VHF channel 5 to a fill-in translator to serve the far fringes of the station's viewing area.
Famous programs and on-air staff
As WLAC, the station helped launch the career of a young African-American reporter and native Nashvillian named Oprah Winfrey by making her a regular news anchor in the early 1970s. The station's Studio A, which was built in 1967 near the Tennessee State Capitol building, was also the home of the hit show Hee Haw for most of its 1968 to 1993 run. Its last few years were recorded at The Nashville Network's studios adjacent to the now-defunct Opryland USA theme park. The station's relation to WLAC-AM, which was known for many years for its nighttime soul music programming, led it to air a groundbreaking show on Friday and Saturday nights during the mid-and late-1960s called Night Train hosted by Noble Blackwell (a disc jockey on Nashville soul radio station WVOL (1470 AM)), which featured R&B performances and dancing similar to American Bandstand. From 1972 to 1975, Show Biz, Inc.'s The Bobby Goldsboro Show was recorded at the WLAC/WTVF studios.
Behind Winfrey, the station's most notable anchor is Greek-American Chris Clark (real name Christopher Botsaris), who served as the station's main anchor for 41 years from 1966 to 2007, longer than anyone in Nashville television history. In June 2006, Clark reduced his daily anchoring schedule to only the weeknight 6 p.m. newscast and announced his retirement at the end of his contract in 2007. Clark's final broadcast aired on May 23, 2007. The station ran a number of on-air tributes in the days leading up to Clark's departure. He signed-off with a tribute to his co-workers and friends and gave his closing line a final time: "I'll see you then...". Rhori Johnston, the co-anchor on the weeknight 5 and 10 p.m. broadcasts, succeeded Clark at 6 p.m. Before arriving at WLAC/WTVF, Clark, a graduate of the University of Georgia, worked for stations in his native Georgia in Atlanta and Albany. While at Albany's WALB-TV, Clark interviewed Martin Luther King, Jr.
WTVF presently broadcasts 37 hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 5½ hours on weekdays, 5½ hours each on Saturdays and 4 hours on Sundays); in addition, the station produces the half-hour news/interview program Talk of the Town on weekdays at 11 a.m. and a weekly sports wrap-up program Sunday Sports Central on Sundays at 10:25 p.m. as part of the 10 p.m. newscast. The station also produces five hours of newscasts each week for NewsChannel 5+ in the form of an hour-long extension of WTVF's weekday morning newscast at 7 a.m. Weekday morning newscasts lasts from 4-7 a.m (not counting the extension on NewsChannel 5+), and the 6:00pm newscasts last for a full hour. Since February 22, 2014, WTVF's weekend morning newscast started at 5 a.m., lasting from 5-9 a.m. on Saturday mornings and 5-8 a.m on Sunday mornings.
A full broadcast of the August 8, 1974 6 p.m. newscast exists in the Vanderbilt Television News Archive in Nashville, the result of the Archive's staff inadvertently leaving recording equipment on after taping CBS News' coverage of the events leading to the resignation of President Richard Nixon at 5:30 p.m., in the wake of the Watergate scandal. The broadcast featured interviews with Nashville-area and Tennessee politicians about that day's events in Washington and was anchored by Harry Chapman, with Ron Kaiser doing the weather and Hope Hines the sports. Main anchor Chris Clark filed a telephone report from Washington concerning reaction from the senators and representatives in Tennessee's Congressional delegation. Since it was not the policy of the Archive to record local newscasts alongside network ones and this occurrence was quite accidental, this may well be the only preserved, full-length Nashville television news broadcast prior to the late 1970s (when video cassette recorders became widely marketed), other than local cut-ins to network election coverage and two 1973 special broadcasts of Today (on WSM-TV). It is available for public viewing at the Archive, but, because of the equipment at the time, the broadcast was recorded in black and white, although all live television by then was broadcast in color. Before the advent of satellite technology in the 1980s, the Archive taped all CBS News broadcasts from the airwaves of WLAC/WTVF.
During the 1970s and 1980s, the station used the Eyewitness News moniker for its newscasts. The current NewsChannel 5 branding and logo have been in use since 1989. In 1974, WLAC became the first network affiliate in the country to use Electronic News Gathering (ENG) to bring live field reports to its viewers. On February 2, 2007, WTVF unveiled a new on-air look complete with a new state-of-the-art news set, weather center, and graphics in tandem its official upgrade to high definition newscasts (becoming the 25th television station in the United States to broadcast their local news programming in high definition and one of only four at the time with an HD weather center and system). The new set was built in a separate studio from its existing news set minimizing disruptions of news operations.
WTVF produces daily 90-second news updates for UniMás affiliate WLLC-LP (channel 42), anchored by Eva Melo. It is the only Spanish-language newscast in Nashville, a market consisting of about 4% Spanish-speaking viewers, a fast-growing audience in the Middle Tennessee area. Both "NewsChannel 5" and "NewsChannel 5 Network" are also used by stations in other markets. All news anchors also serve as reporters.
- Newsbeat (6 p.m. newscast)/The Big News (10 p.m. newscast; 1954-1970)
- Channel 5 News (1970–1974)
- Eyewitness News (1974–1989)
- NewsChannel 5 (1989–present)
- "Tune In. Turn On. Take Five." (1968–1969)
- "5 Takes You There Live" (1975–1976)
- "The News People" (1977–1979)
- "Friends You Can Turn To" (1983–1986)
- "Share the Spirit on 5" (1986–1989; localized version of CBS ad campaign also used in image campaign using TM Productions' "Spirit of Texas")
- "Nashville's News Station' (1986–1989)
- "More News. More Experience. More Often." (1989–1998)
- "Your News and Information Leader" (1995–present)
- "Tennessee's First and Only Local News in High Definition" (2007–2008)
- "Tennessee's First Local News in High Definition" (2008–present)
Notable former on-air staff
- Chris Clark - news anchor/reporter (now retired)
- Oprah Winfrey - news anchor/reporter
- Hope Hines - sports director (now retired)
- "NewsChannel 5 owner looks to sell station". Nashville Business Journal. 2008-01-30. Retrieved 2008-02-01.
- "Bonten Buys WTVF-TV Nashville from Landmark". Broadcasting & Cable. 2008-07-14. Retrieved 2008-07-14.
- "WTVF Nashville Sale Is Off". Broadcasting & Cable. 2008-10-15. Retrieved 2008-10-15.
- "Journal Communications to Purchase NewsChannel 5, WTVF TV, Nashville, Tennessee from Landmark Media" (Press release). Journal Communications. 2012-09-04. Retrieved 2012-09-04.
- "Journal Communications to Acquire Landmark's WTVF NewsChannel5". Broadcasting & Cable. 2012-09-04. Retrieved 2012-09-04.
- RabbitEars TV Query for WTVF
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24.
- "DTV Transition Status Report". FCC.gov. 2008-03-18. Retrieved 2008-07-01.
- "Low Power DTV Channel Application" (PDF). FCC.gov. Retrieved 2009-07-06.
- "Legal Special Temporary Authority". FCC.gov. 2009-07-14. Retrieved 2010-06-05.
- "Electronic News Gathering project".
- WTVF Eyewitness News 10pm open 1986/87
- WTVF Newschannel 5 at 6 open April 1998-2001
- WTVF "We Share the Spirit" Promo 1986
- NewsChannel5.com - Official WTVF-TV website
- Nashville.ThisTV.com - Official This TV Nashville website
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WTVF