|Slogan||Serving Northeast Georgia|
|Channels||Digital: 24 (UHF)|
|Subchannels||32.1 - PBS World / GPB Knowledge|
|Affiliations||PBS World / GPB Knowledge|
|Owner||University of Georgia|
|First air date||September 9, 1984|
|Call letters' meaning||University of GeorgiA|
|Sister station(s)||WUGA FM, WGTV TV|
|Former callsigns||WNEG-TV (1984-2011)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog: 32 (1984-2009)|
|Former affiliations||independent (1984-1995)
This TV (2008-2010)
America One (2008-2011)
|Transmitter power||240 kW|
|Height||235 m (771 ft)|
WUGA-TV is a non-commercial educational public television station having Toccoa, Georgia as its city of license. It serves several counties in northeast Georgia which are part of the Greenville/Spartanburg/Anderson, South Carolina and Asheville, North Carolina television market. The signal can also be seen in the extreme east-northeastern portions of the metro Atlanta media market, including Athens, Gainesville and Braselton. The station transmits its digital signal on UHF TV channel 24, and uses virtual channel 32.1. It is owned and operated by the University of Georgia.
The station broadcasts PBS World programming from Georgia Public Broadcasting, as well as local programming. Despite being in the Greenville/Spartanburg/Asheville market, WUGA-TV is available only on Dish Network and not available on the Upstate DirecTV feed. On cable, it is only available outside Georgia on Northland Communications' systems in Pickens and Oconee counties in South Carolina. At the beginning of October 2012, the station became available to DirecTV viewers in and around metro Atlanta.
WUGA-TV signed on air as commercial independent station WNEG-TV on September 9, 1984. Its first owner was the Stephens County Broadcasting Company, who also owned WNEG radio (630 AM). The station's founder, Roy Gaines, felt that northeast Georgia received little news coverage from stations in Atlanta, Augusta, and Greenville/Spartanburg, and that WNEG would fill this void. However, the station struggled to make money, as there were barely enough viewers in this rural area for it to be viable. Additionally, northeast Georgia is very mountainous, and UHF stations don't carry very well in mountainous terrain. This area of the country was one of the last where cable got significant penetration. Only the revenues from WNEG radio kept it afloat.
Finally, in 1990, Gaines gave up and put channel 32 up for sale. He was unable to find any buyers until August 1995, when it signed a time brokerage agreement with Spartan Communications, making WNEG a sister station to Spartan's flagship station, WSPA-TV in Spartanburg. Spartan bought the station outright two years later. (WNEG radio still exists in Toccoa today, but under different ownership from WNEG-TV.)
In becoming a sister station to WSPA, WNEG was able to obtain a CBS affiliation, restoring over-the-air CBS service to areas of northeast Georgia that had lost it a year earlier, when Atlanta's WAGA-TV switched to Fox; the new Atlanta CBS affiliate, WGNX (now WGCL-TV), did not have the broadcast range WAGA had in northeast Georgia. Spartan also beefed up WNEG's news department, and rebranded the station 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, along with the rest of the Spartan company, was acquired by Media General in 2000. WNEG kept the Spartan-era logo, while WSPA and WJBF switched to a standard Media General one.
On October 29, 2007, Media General announced that it was exploring the sale of WNEG. 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. The University took control on October 15; at that time, CBS programming was dropped and replaced with America One and This TV programming. UGA moved its studios from Toccoa to its campus in Athens in the fall of 2009, and also added more local programming. As a result of WNEG dropping CBS, WSPA now serves as Northeast Georgia's default CBS affiliate, while WGCL became the sole CBS affiliate for the Atlanta market.
It was the home of the syndicated reruns of Degrassi: The Next Generation in the Upstate when the station acquired the rights to the show from 2008 to 2009. Also, WNEG-TV acquired the local rights to the syndicated TV show Family Feud from WMYA-TV (formerly WBSC) after airing it for seven years.
On December 23, 2010, WNEG and the University of Georgia announced it will be starting a programming partnership with the Georgia Public Telecommunications Commission (also known as Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB), which would provide all programming to the station, with most of the content coming from its GPB Knowledge subchannel. The station has recently filed to the FCC to change to a non-commercial license. The station also announced its intention to change its call letters to WUGA-TV. This is due to a reduction of advertising dollars, resulting from the economic downturn and the loss of CBS affiliation.  On January 6, 2011, WNEG announced that the changes will include staff reorganization, with 12 permanent staff members and 5 temporary staff members laid off in that reorganization; the station also eliminated its news operation, with a student-produced newscast, UGA Newssource, replacing it on January 31 (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 affiliation moving to a subchannel of the market's NBC affiliate, WYFF. WUGA-TV will be operated in conjunction with WUGA radio (91.7 FM), which is owned by GPTC but operated by the University of Georgia.
On October 2012, WUGA-TV was picked up on Channel 32 to customers of DirectTV, Dish Network and AT&T U-verse in the Atlanta market. WUGA-TV also was recently added to the Comcast systems as Channel 96 in Barrow, Jackson, Hall and northern Gwinnett counties. The station broadcasts national and international news, informational programs as well as UGA and community-focused local shows.
Former news staff
- Matt McClure - Daybreak anchor/reporter
- Paul Rea - Daybreak anchor/reporter
- 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
- NewsChannel 32 (1995-2008)
- WNEG News (2008-2011)
- UGA Newssource (2011-present)
- Serving Northeast Georgia (2006-2008, 2010-present)
- We are Northeast Georgia (2008-2010)
- Thompson, Adam (July 6, 2008). "Toccoa news in the air". Athens Banner-Herald. Retrieved January 16, 2011.
- "MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER". Federal Communications Commission. October 30, 1997. Retrieved January 16, 2011.
- "Media General Exploring Sale of Five Television Stations" (Press release). Media General. October 29, 2007. Retrieved October 30, 2007.
- "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.
- Armbruster, Tracy (August 19, 2008). "UGA Discusses the Sale of WNEG-TV". News Channel 32. Retrieved September 30, 2008.
- Blackwood, Harris (October 7, 2008). "College dean discusses plans for Channel 32". The Gainesville Times. Retrieved October 18, 2008.
- Armbruster, Tracy (June 27, 2008). "WNEG-TV Sold to UGA". News Channel 32. Retrieved June 28, 2009.
- Gainesville Times: "WNEG to join Georgia public broadcasting", December 24, 2010.
- Associated Press, via Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "UGA TV station to join GA.'s state network", December 25, 2010.
- Shearer, Lee (January 7, 2011). "UGA closes WNEG news and lays off 17". Athens Banner-Herald. Retrieved January 11, 2011.
- Melancon, Merritt (January 20, 2011). "WUGA-TV aims to fit in with GPB, increase local focus". Athens Banner-Herald. Retrieved January 21, 2011.
- Official website
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WUGA-TV
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WUGA-TV