WUGA-TV

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WUGA-TV
WUGA32.png
Toccoa/Athens, Georgia
United States
Branding WUGA-TV
Slogan Serving Northeast Georgia
Channels Digital: 24 (UHF)
Virtual: 32 (PSIP)
Subchannels 32.1 World / GPB Knowledge
Affiliations World / GPB Knowledge
Owner University of Georgia
First air date September 9, 1984 (1984-09-09)
Call letters' meaning University of GeorgiA
Sister station(s) WUGA
Former callsigns WNEG-TV (1984–2011)
Former channel number(s) Analog: 32 (UHF, 1984–2009)
Former affiliations independent (1984–1995)
CBS (1995–2008)
This TV (2008–2010)
America One (2008–2011)
Transmitter power 240 kW
Height 235 m (771 ft)
Facility ID 63329
Transmitter coordinates 34°36′36″N 83°22′13.7″W / 34.61000°N 83.370472°W / 34.61000; -83.370472
Licensing authority FCC
Public license information: Profile
CDBS
Website www.wugatv.org

WUGA-TV, virtual channel 32 (UHF digital channel 24), is a educational television station serving Athens, Georgia, United States that is licensed to Toccoa. The station is owned by the University of Georgia, under a programming agreement with Georgia Public Broadcasting. WUGA maintains studio facilities located on the University of Georgia campus on South Lumpkin Street in Athens, and its transmitter is located northwest of Camp Toccoa in northwestern Stephens County.

The station broadcasts programming from World through Georgia Public Broadcasting's GPB Knowledge multicast service, as well as some local programming. Its signal is receivable as far as the extreme east-northeastern portions of the Atlanta market, including Athens, Gainesville and Braselton. The station broadcasts national and international news, informational programs as well as UGA and community-focused local shows.

History[edit]

The station first signed on the air on September 9, 1984, as WNEG-TV (the call letters representing northeast Georgia); operating as a commercial independent station at the time, the station was originally owned by the Stephens County Broadcasting Company, owners of Toccoa radio station WNEG (630 AM). The station's founder, Roy Gaines, felt that northeast Georgia received very little local news coverage from stations in the adjacent Atlanta, Augusta, and Greenville/Spartanburg/Asheville markets, and launched WNEG in order to fill this void.[1] However, the station struggled to make money, as there were barely enough advertisers in the predominately rural area for it to be viable. The station was only kept afloat due to revenues accrued by the more profitable WNEG radio and WNEG TV's popular Billy Dilworth Show. Gaines campaigned tirelessly to have WNEG added to area cable systems. Often buying antennas and offering technical assistance in exchange for adding WNEG to their channel line-ups.

Gaines ultimately gave up on trying to make the station viable in 1990, and decided to put channel 32 up for sale.[2] However, he was unable to find any buyers until August 1995, when it entered into a time brokerage agreement with Spartan Communications, making WNEG a sister station to Spartan's television flagship, WSPA-TV (channel 7) in Spartanburg. Spartan bought the station outright two years later[2] (WNEG radio still exists, but operates separately from and maintains different ownership than the former WNEG-TV).

WNEG's logo as CBS affiliate, used from 1995 to 2008.

Through the LMA with Spartan, WNEG was able to reach an affiliation deal with CBS, which the network available once again to areas of northeast Georgia that had lost access to CBS programming one year earlier, when the network's longtime Atlanta affiliate WAGA-TV switched to Fox as a result of then-owner New World Communications's groupwide affiliation agreement with Fox; the new Atlanta CBS affiliate, WGNX (now WGCL-TV), did not have as wide a signal coverage reach as WAGA had in northeast Georgia.[2] Spartan also beefed up WNEG's news department,[2] and changed the station's (and by extension, its newscasts) branding to "NewsChannel 32", using a logo similar to the one that WSPA used from 1994 to 2001 (which was also used by another sister station, WJBF in Augusta, Georgia, around the same time period). WNEG and the rest of Spartan's television properties were acquired by Media General in 2000. WNEG kept the Spartan-era logo, while WSPA and WJBF switched to Media General's standardized logo design.

On October 29, 2007, Media General announced that it was exploring the sale of WNEG.[3] This was followed on June 25, 2008 with an announcement that the station would be sold to the University of Georgia Research Foundation, with plans to use channel 32 as a training facility for students in the University's Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.[4] The University took control on October 15; at that time, CBS programming was dropped[5] and replaced with programming from the America One and This TV networks.[6] UGA moved the operations of WNEG-TV from its studios in Toccoa to the university campus in Athens in the fall of 2009, and also added more locally produced programming.[7] As a result of WNEG dropping CBS, WSPA now serves as northeast Georgia's default CBS affiliate, while WGCL became the exclusive CBS affiliate for the Atlanta market.

WNEG logo, used from 2008 to 2011.

Among the syndicated programs acquired by the station after the University of Georgia took over operations included reruns of Degrassi: The Next Generation and Family Feud (the latter of which had aired on MyNetworkTV affiliate WMYA-TV (channel 40) for seven years at the time of its move).

On December 23, 2010, University of Georgia announced it would enter into a programming partnership with the Georgia Public Telecommunications Commission, which would provide programming from Georgia Public Broadcasting to WNEG, with most of the content coming from its GPB Knowledge subchannel.[8] The university subsequently filed an application to the Federal Communications Commission to convert the station's license to non-commercial status,[9] The station also announced its intention to change its call letters to WUGA-TV.[10] due to a reduction of advertising dollars, resulting from the economic downturn and the loss of the station's CBS affiliation.[11] On January 6, 2011, WNEG announced that it would undergo a staff reorganization, with twelve permanent staff members and five temporary staffers being laid off in the restructuring;[12] the station also eliminated its news operation, with a student-produced newscast, UGA Newssource, replacing it on January 31[13] (in the interim, the only news programming on WNEG was an America One-provided national newscast produced by Independent News Network). In addition, WNEG's This TV affiliation ended on January 1, 2011, with the movie-focused network moving to a subchannel of NBC affiliate WYFF (channel 4). WUGA-TV is operated in conjunction with WUGA radio (91.7 FM), whose license is owned by the Georgia Public Telecommunications Commission, but is operated by the University of Georgia.[14]

At 5:30 a.m. on May 1, 2011, the station began broadcasting programming from World through GPB's "GPB Knowledge" network. The station's call letters were officially changed to WUGA-TV the following day on May 2.[15][16] In October 2012, DirecTV, Dish Network and AT&T U-verse began to carry WUGA-TV on channel 32 within the Atlanta market. WUGA-TV was later added to Comcast systems on channel 96 in Barrow, Jackson, Hall and northern Gwinnett Counties.

Digital television[edit]

Digital channels[edit]

The station's digital channel is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[17]
32.1 480i 4:3 WUGA TV Main WUGA-TV programming / World & GPB Knowledge

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

WUGA-TV (as WNEG-TV) discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over UHF channel 32, on Feb. 17, 2009, the first 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 remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 24.[18] Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 32.

Out-of-market cable and satellite coverage[edit]

Although the station is licensed to a city within the Greenville/Spartanburg/Asheville market, WUGA-TV's satellite coverage in that market is limited to Dish Network. On cable, the station is only available outside of Georgia on Northland Communications' systems in Pickens and Oconee counties in South Carolina. In October 2012, the station was added to the local channel tier of DirecTV within the Atlanta market.

News operation[edit]

News/station presentation[edit]

Newscast titles[edit]

  • NewsChannel 32 (1995–2008)
  • WNEG News (2008–2011)
  • UGA Newssource (2011–present)

Station slogans[edit]

  • "Serving Northeast Georgia" (2006–2008 and 2010–present)
  • "We are Northeast Georgia" (2008–2010)
Television.svg This film, television or video-related list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it with reliably sourced additions.

On-air staff[edit]

Notable former on-air staff[edit]

  • Matt McClure - weekday morning anchor/reporter (now at NY1 in New York City)
  • Paul Rea - weekday morning anchor/reporter (later at WRWR-LD in Warner Robins)
  • Chuck Moore - anchor (currently retired)
  • Scott Myrick - anchor NewsChannel 32 Daybreak
  • Jennifer Cathey (now Arbitter) - anchor/news director, (currently teaches at Piedmont College)
  • Megan Heidlberg - anchor/reporter (currently host of Carolina now)
  • Noah Pransky - sports director/anchor (currently an investigative reporter at WTSP-TV Tampa, Florida)
  • Chris McAndrew - reporter (currently owner of McAndrew Lawn Care)
  • Heather Jensen - reporter (currently reporter for WKRN Nashville)
  • Alaina Anderson - Daybreak anchor/reporter (currently law clerk for AARP)
  • Bruce Frazier - sports reporter
  • Randy Scott - sports director/anchor (currently an anchor on ESPN)
  • Jason Maderer - sports director/anchor
  • Keeli Davidson - sports director/reporter
  • Jill Schroder - Daybreak anchor/reporter
  • Jason Mealey - anchor/reporter (currently news producer at WJXT)
  • Susanna Haynes - reporter
  • Lisa Warner - reporter/anchor
  • Lisa Costantino - reporter
  • Amy Cain - reporter
  • Adrian Helmick - anchor/reporter
  • Tony Teixiera - anchor/reporter
  • John Hart - sports director/anchor
  • Scott Hartman - sports reporter
  • Tracy Lee Vreeland - reporter/news director (currently executive producer at WPDE)
  • Joy Purcell - anchor/reporter/news director
  • Emily Sabatino - anchor/reporter
  • Kate Mundy - daybreak anchor/reporter
  • Michael Carvell - sports director/anchor
  • Mark Childress - sports director/anchor
  • Jeff Sharon - sports director
  • Mario Boone - reporter
  • Alisha Searl - reporter
  • Tracy Armbruster - anchor/reporter
  • Eric Elliott - weather anchor
  • Zac Glover - sports/news reporter
  • Laura-Ashley Harris - reporter/anchor - WNEG Daybreak
  • Ray Metoyer - anchor/producer
  • Cody Chaffins - Sports director
  • Amelia Hines - reporter
  • Rachel Garrett - reporter
  • Chip Scarborough - reporter
  • Tyler Mauldin - weather
  • Caroline Zager - weather

See also[edit]

  • WSPA-TV - WNEG-TV's former sister station

References[edit]

  1. ^ Thompson, Adam (July 6, 2008). "Toccoa news in the air". Athens Banner-Herald. Retrieved January 16, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d "MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER". Federal Communications Commission. October 30, 1997. Retrieved January 16, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Media General Exploring Sale of Five Television Stations" (Press release). Media General. October 29, 2007. Retrieved October 30, 2007. 
  4. ^ "Media General Announces Sale of WNEG in Toccoa, Ga., to University of Georgia Research Foundation" (Press release). Media General. June 25, 2008. Retrieved June 25, 2008. 
  5. ^ Armbruster, Tracy (August 19, 2008). "UGA Discusses the Sale of WNEG-TV". News Channel 32. Retrieved September 30, 2008. 
  6. ^ Blackwood, Harris (October 7, 2008). "College dean discusses plans for Channel 32". The Gainesville Times. Retrieved October 18, 2008. 
  7. ^ Armbruster, Tracy (June 27, 2008). "WNEG-TV Sold to UGA". News Channel 32. Retrieved June 28, 2009. 
  8. ^ "WNEG32 News | The latest Finance & Property News". Wneg32.com. Retrieved 2014-05-29. 
  9. ^ Call Sign History
  10. ^ Gainesville Times: "WNEG to join Georgia public broadcasting", December 24, 2010.
  11. ^ Associated Press, via Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "UGA TV station to join GA.'s state network", December 25, 2010.
  12. ^ "WNEG32 News | The latest Finance & Property News". Wneg32.com. Retrieved 2014-05-29. 
  13. ^ Shearer, Lee (January 7, 2011). "UGA closes WNEG news and lays off 17". Athens Banner-Herald. Retrieved January 11, 2011. 
  14. ^ Melancon, Merritt (January 20, 2011). "WUGA-TV aims to fit in with GPB, increase local focus". Athens Banner-Herald. Retrieved January 21, 2011. 
  15. ^ Station officially changes hands, The Red & Black, May 2, 2011.
  16. ^ APPLICATION FOR CONSENT TO ASSIGNMENT OF BROADCAST STATION CONSTRUCTION PERMIT OR LICENSE
  17. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WUGA
  18. ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24. 

External links[edit]