|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)
5.2 NewsChannel 5+
5.3 This TV
|Translators||5 (VHF) Nashville|
This TV (DT3)
|Owner||E. W. Scripps Company
(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 E. W. Scripps Company. WTVF's studios are located on James Robertson Parkway in downtown Nashville, and its transmitter is located north of downtown along I-24 near Whites Creek.
- 1 History
- 2 Digital television
- 3 Famous programs and on-air staff
- 4 Current programming
- 5 News operation
- 6 Out of Market Coverage
- 7 References
- 8 External links
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. Life and Casualty's chairman of the board Paul Mountcastle and his investment group, also held a majority ownership of WATE-TV, Channel 6, Knoxville. 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.
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.
On July 30, 2014, less than two years after Landmark sold the station to Journal, it was announced that Journal Communications would be bought out by the E. W. Scripps Company in an all-stock transaction. Scripps retained the companies' broadcast holdings, including WTVF, and spun off their print holdings into Journal Media Group. This marks the second time that Scripps has owned a Tennessee television station, as it owned WMC-TV in Memphis from its 1948 sign-on until 1993. The FCC approved the deal on December 12, 2014. It was approved by the two companies' shareholders on March 11, 2015, and it closed on April 1.
|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. It began in September 1996 as a local cable-only news and information channel. It became available over-the-air on virtual channel 5.2 starting in late June 2009 when the station began utilizing multi-casting.
WTVF shut down its analog signal, over VHF 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 analog-era VHF channel 5 for post-transition operations.
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.
In 1998, WTVF-TV hired investigative reporter Phil Williams, who had previously been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize while working at The Tennessean and a recipient of the George Foster Peabody Award while working for WKRN-TV. As a result, WTVF created one of the country's most highly acclaimed investigative units, which it branded as its NewsChannel 5 Investigates team. As the team expanded, Williams assumed the title of chief investigative reporter. in 2001, Williams and photojournalist Bryan Staples received the prestigious IRE Medal for an investigation of police corruption that resulted in threats against Williams and his family. Williams and the NewsChannel 5 Investigates team also exposed questionable contracting by the administration of then-Gov. Don Sundquist, receiving a Peabody Award, a duPont-Columbia University Award and a George Polk Award. The team won its second duPont Award in 2010 for an investigation of corruption inside the Davidson County, Tenn., General Sessions Court system and a third duPont in 2012 for its "Policing for Profit" investigation of civil forfeiture abuses. In addition, the team (including Williams and investigative reporter Ben Hall) received a 2013 Peabody Award for its "Questions of Influence" investigation of shady deals by Gov. Bill Haslam's administration. The continuing "Policing for Profit" investigation later received the 2015 Hillman Prize for Broadcast Journalism.
Outside of the CBS network programming, WTVF’s syndicated programming on weekdays include Judge Faith, Inside Edition, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and Rachael Ray. As of May 1, 2015, additional syndicated programming is offered during the weekend, including Blue Bloods, CSI: Miami and Castle, along with in some occasions, movies from any syndication packages, depending on the scheduling of CBS Sports programming.
WTVF 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.
Talk of the Town premiered on WTVF on March 19, 1984. The show features information about upcoming events around middle Tennessee, interviews with local personalities (some national), as well as some recipes are featured on the show. In April 2014, the station celebrated the show's 30th anniversary by airing pieces of old episodes within the past 30 years of the show's run for a few weeks. With the show still on the air, Talk of The Town was declared the longest locally produced television show in the Nashville television market, and the whole nation. It currently airs every weekday at 11 a.m. on the main channel, with replays at various times on NewsChannel5+ (WTVF-DT2).
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 its 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. The old, existing news set is now currently used for some original programs aired on NewsChannel 5+ on virtual channel 5.2.
WTVF produced daily 90-second news updates for UniMás affiliate WLLC-LP (channel 42), anchored by Eva Melo. It was 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. As of 2011 WTVF no longer producess news updates for WLLC, as they were canceled.
Both "NewsChannel 5" and "NewsChannel 5 Network" are also used by stations in other markets. All news anchors also serve as reporters.
Notable former on-air staff
- Chris Clark - news anchor/reporter (retired; now works for Middle Tennessee State University in Mass communications.)
- Hope Hines - sports director (now retired)
- Charles Kennedy - Anchor (later turned actor and comedian on Saturday Night Live, Dumb and Dumber)
- Neil O'Donnell - Sports Analyst (former NFL Quarterback)
- Oprah Winfrey - news anchor/reporter
Out of Market Coverage
WTVF is actually a significantly viewed station in the Bowling Green market. For many years since its 1954 inception, WTVF had a decades-long monopoly in providing CBS programming to certain counties in south-central 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 area NBC affiliate WNKY launched a new second digital subchannel to serve as the area's CBS affiliate. In spite of the existence of WNKY-DT2, WTVF remains available on several cable systems in the Bowling Green market. Mediacom cable systems currently carry the station’s main channel in the Morgantown (Butler County) and Brownsville (Edmonson County) areas. Time Warner Cable in Bowling Green, as well as the two Glasgow, Kentucky-based cable systems of the South Central Rural Telephone Cooperative and the Glasgow Electric Plant Board currently carries all three of WTVF’s digital subchannels. The SCRTC in Glasgow also has been piping in WLKY in Louisville, Kentucky as a secondary option since 1990, and its Me-TV affiliated subchannel since its 2008 launch. Many areas of the Bowling Green market can still pick up WTVF via an outdoor antenna. Some users of indoor antennas in southern Kentucky, and the far reaches of the station’s coverage area can also pick up the signal thanks to their digital signal upgrade in 2013.
Mediacom also carries the station’s main channel in Caldwell and Crittenden Counties, including the communities of Princeton and Marion, both of which are in the Paducah, KY/Cape Girardeau, MO media market. The station is also carried on Murray Electric System cable in the Murray area of Calloway County, Kentucky, which is also in the Paducah market. WK&T Telecom also makes WTVF available to its Calloway County customers.
Other areas of Tennessee
WTVF is carried on several cable systems in other areas outside of the Nashville market. In Jackson, Tennessee, WTVF is currently the only Nashville-based station that is carried on Jackson Energy Authority’s E-Plus Broadband Cable Service. Other systems in the Jackson (TN) market carries the station, including WK&T Telecom's customers (under the Flite label) in the Trenton area of Gibson County, as well as two of the Paducah market counties in Tennessee, Weakley and Obion County, including the Martin and South Fulton areas.
The station is also available on cable in the Fayetteville area of Lincoln County, the only Middle Tennessee county that is in the Huntsville, Alabama media market. WTVF’s main channel is also carried on Spirit Broadcand Cable channel 5 for that provider’s customers in the Crossville area of Cumberland County, Tennessee, which is in the Knoxville media market.
From 1957 until the 1980s, WTVF, along with WSMV and eventually WKRN, were carried on cable systems in northern Alabama, including the Huntsville and Florence area. As new cable channels launched they were gradually dropped from those systems throughout the 1980s.
- "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.
- "Journal Communications, Inc. Closes On Purchase of NewsChannel 5, WTVF TV, Nashville, Tennessee From Landmark Media". Bloomberg.
- Glauber, Bill (30 July 2014). "Journal, Scripps deal announced". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 30 July 2014.
- Cornell, Joe (March 16, 2015). "Journal Communications, Scripps Spin/Merger set for April 1." Forbes. Retrieved March 16, 2015.
- 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.
- The Pulitzer Prize | Finalists (1990)
- The Peabody Awards - Under the Influence
- Investigative Reporters and Editors | 2000 IRE Award winners
- The Peabody Awards - NewsChannel 5 Investigates: Friends in High Places
- All duPont-Columbia Award Winners - Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism
- The George Polk Awards for Journalism - 2002 winners
- The Peabody Awards - NewsChannel 5 Investigates: Questions of Influence (WTVF-TV, Nashville)
- 2015 Hillman Prize for Broadcast Journalism | Hillman Foundation
- "Electronic News Gathering project".
- Mediacom Cable - Channel Lineup: Morgantown, Brownsville, Butler Co. & Edmonson Co., KY
- Murray Electric System - Cable TV - Channel lineup
- WK&T Telecom Cable Channel Lineup for Calloway County, KY
- WK&T Telecom Channel Lineup for Gibson County, TN
- WK&T Telecom - Cable Channel lineup for Weakley and Obion County, TN
- Fayetteville Public Utilities - Cable TV Channel Lineup
- Spirit Broadcand Cable Channel Lineup
- Huntsville Rewound - The History of Huntsville AL Television
- NewsChannel5.com - Official WTVF-TV website
- Nashville.ThisTV.com - Official This TV Nashville website
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WTVF
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WTVF-TV