Newport News, Virginia
|City of license||Virginia Beach|
|Branding||Fox 43 (general)
WAVY News 10 (newscasts)
|Slogan||On Your Side (during WAVY-produced newscasts)|
|Channels||Digital: 29 (UHF)
Virtual: 43 (PSIP)
|Translators||36 WPMC-CA Mappsville
45 WNLO-CD Norfolk
|Owner||LIN Media, LLC
(sale to Media General pending)
(WAVY Broadcasting, LLC)
|First air date||March 22, 1993|
|Call letters' meaning||Virginia Beach Television|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
43 (UHF, 1993-2009)
|Former affiliations||Independent (1993-1995)
The WB (1995-1998)
|Transmitter power||1,000 kW|
|Public license information:||Profile
WVBT is the Fox-affiliated television station for the Hampton Roads area of Southeastern Virginia that is licensed to Virginia Beach. It is also the Fox station for the Outer Banks. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 29 from a transmitter in the Driver section of Suffolk. Owned by the LIN Media, the station is sister to NBC affiliate WAVY-TV and the two share studios with Ion Television owned-and-operated WPXV-TV on Wavy Street in Downtown Portsmouth.
Syndicated programming on WVBT includes: Maury, 30 Rock, TMZ on TV, and The Wendy Williams Show. It can also be seen on two Class A repeaters: analog WPMC-CA channel 36 in Mappsville from a transmitter along US 13/Lankford Highway in Bloxom and digital WNLO-CD channel 45 in Norfolk with a transmitter co-located with the main signal.
WVBT began operation on March 22, 1993 with Home Shopping Network programming along with infomercials and religious shows. It became a charter affiliate of The WB starting on January 11, 1995. Shortly thereafter, the station's original local owners signed a local marketing agreement (LMA) with LIN TV. Under that agreement, WAVY took over the station's operations, and WVBT moved to WAVY's studios in Portsmouth. In May 1996, WVBT began broadcasting from a new transmitter, giving it a coverage area comparable to the other major Hampton Roads stations. Before then, its over-the-air signal was effectively limited to Virginia Beach and parts of Norfolk.
WVBT found out in the fall of 1995 that it was going to lose its WB affiliation to the market's original Fox affiliate, WTVZ, due to an affiliation deal between The WB and WTVZ's owner, Sinclair Broadcast Group. LIN TV reached an affiliation agreement with Fox in November 1995, and WVBT swapped affiliations with WTVZ in August 1998.  LIN bought the station outright in 2002.
Until January 2007, WAVY operated a 24-hour local weather channel on WVBT's second digital subchannel taking advantage of its 720p signal to present the service without interfering with video quality on either WAVY or WVBT. Known on-air as the "WAVY Weather Station", it was made cable-only in 2007 for unknown reasons. It was seen on Mediacom channel 9, Charter channel 22, and Cox digital channel 227 before going dark in 2011. There were live current conditions, updated forecasts, and a live feed of "Super Doppler 10".
On March 21, 2014, it was announced that Media General would acquire LIN. This will bring WVBT, along with WAVY-TV, under common ownership with ABC affiliate WRIC in Richmond and NBC affiliate WSLS in Roanoke.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|43.1||720p||16:9||WVBT||Main WVBT programming / Fox|
WVBT discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over UHF channel 43, at 9 a.m. on June 12, 2009, as part of the federally mandated transition from analog to digital television. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 29, using PSIP to display WVBT's virtual channel as 43 on digital television receivers.
What is now WNLO-CD began as W45BG (call sign assigned November 1993) becoming WNLO-LP in November 2000 and WNLO-CA in January 2002. It went all-digital in January 2005 making it one of the first low-power stations in the country to begin digital broadcasting. Its calls became the current WNLO-CD ("CD" for "Class A Digital") in July 2009. This should not be confused with a CW-affiliated sister station in Buffalo, New York that uses the same call letters in full-power form. The channel could have used the calls WVBT-CA (as most of these situations in other markets do) but likely chose not to due to the mere two-channel separation between channels 43 and 45 to avert confusion.
WVBT is rebroadcast on two low-powered class A translators. While one translator (WNLO-CD) is licensed in Norfolk, Virginia with its digital transmitter located in Driver, Virginia the other one (WPMC-CA) is licensed in Mappsville, Virginia with its transmitter located in Bloxom, Virginia in Accomack County of which is in the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Both class A translators are owned and operated by WAVY Broadcasting, LLC and LIN TV. Unlike WNLO-CD, WPMC-CA is not yet in digital; the tower is municipally owned by Accomack County to broadcast four county-owned translators of the four major Hampton Roads stations (including WAVY), which have not yet been converted to digital, as has WPMC-CA by LIN.
When WVBT made the switch to Fox in 1998, WAVY started producing a nightly prime time newscast on this station known as Fox 43 News at 10. It was not the market's first broadcast in the time slot as CBS affiliate WTKR produced a short-lived show on WGNT from 1995 until 1997. ABC affiliate WVEC-TV aired its own prime time broadcast on low-powered WPEN-LP from 1995 until it started cable-only LNC 4 (eventually renamed LNC 5) in 1997. WVEC continued to produce a 10 o'clock show on the cable channel until January 30, 2009.
WVBT's news has been very successful over the years with consistent viewership and ratings and is the only offering of late, local news an hour earlier. The nightly 45 minute broadcast is followed by the Fox 43 Sports Wrap that airs for fifteen minutes featuring sports news and highlights. It is similar in format to a highlight program currently seen weeknights on sister station WNAC-TV. On July 21, 2008, the station's newscast and sports show started to be produced in high definition after WAVY made the upgrade.
On February 2, 2009, WVBT added Fox 43 News at 7 on weekday mornings with local news, weather, and traffic updates along with various entertainment/lifestyle features. This morning show (which was essentially an hour-long extension of WAVY's morning broadcast) ended January 8, 2010. The program was then replaced by The Hampton Roads Show which launched January 18, 2010 from a new secondary set complete with a fully functional kitchen. The Hampton Roads Show moved to WAVY at 11 in the morning on September 12, 2011. It is a similar broadcast to one currently seen on sister station WPRI-TV known as The Rhode Show.
In 2012, WVBT aired The Daily Buzz on weekdays from 6:00-7:00 and again from 8:00-9:00 a.m. Sandwiched in between those 2 hours, is the revised program of WAVY News 10 at 7:00 on FOX 43, which was originally cancelled back in 2010. As of 2013, The Daily Buzz no longer airs on WVBT and the morning newscast became a two-hour show. On October 28, 2013, WVBT's 10:00 newscast was renamed WAVY News 10 at 10 on FOX 43.
LIN TV-Cox dispute
On January 1, 2000, people in Hampton Roads lost connection on Channel 43 due to Cox placing the channel between 2 and 14 due to the pay channel HBO Family occupied Channel 43. It was not until February 6, 2000 that WVBT was again available on Channel 43.
- FOX TO CHANGE AFFILIATION IN SEPTEMBER 1998, FOX PLANS TO MOVE FROM WTVZ IN NORFOLK TO WVBT IN VIRGINIA BEACH
- Locals Still Buzzing About Fox Switch
- Sruthi Ramakrishnan (21 March 2014). "Media General to buy LIN Media for $1.6 billion". Reuters. Retrieved 21 March 2014.
- RabbitEars TV Query for WVBT
- List of Digital Full-Power Stations
- Same Stuff On Wtkr News And Wgnt
- Wvec, Wpen Team Up On Prime-Time Programming
- WVBT "Fox 43"
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WVBT
- Query TV Fool's coverage map for WVBT
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WVBT-TV