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Coordinates: 36°51′21.62″N 76°18′9.37″W / 36.8560056°N 76.3026028°W / 36.8560056; -76.3026028

WVEC logo.png

Me-TV WVEC.png
Virginia Beach, Virginia
United States
Branding ABC 13 (general)
13 News Now (newscasts)
Me-TV Hampton Roads (On DT3)
Channels Digital: 13 (VHF)
Virtual: 13 (PSIP)
Subchannels 13.1 ABC
13.2 Justice Network
13.3 Me-TV
Affiliations ABC (primary 1959-present; secondary 1953-1957)
Owner Gannett Company
(Pacific and Southern, LLC)
First air date September 19, 1953
Call letters' meaning We
Former channel number(s) Analog:
15 (UHF, 1953–1959)
13 (VHF, 1959–2009)
41 (UHF, 1997–2009)
Former affiliations NBC (1953–1959)
Transmitter power 35 kW
Height 363 m
Facility ID 74167
Transmitter coordinates 36°48′59″N 76°28′6″W / 36.81639°N 76.46833°W / 36.81639; -76.46833
Licensing authority FCC
Public license information: Profile
Website www.13newsnow.com

WVEC is the ABC affiliate television station for the Hampton Roads area of Virginia, which includes Norfolk, Portsmouth, Newport News, and the surrounding area. It is licensed to Hampton, with its main studio located on Woodis Avenue in downtown Norfolk. Its transmitter is located in Suffolk, Virginia. The station broadcasts on channel 13, and is owned by Gannett Company. Syndicated programming on WVEC includes Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy!, Live! with Kelly and Michael, among others.

It also serves the Albemarle Region of the northern Inner Banks of North Carolina, and the Outer Banks.


The station began operations on September 19, 1953, on UHF channel 15 as an NBC affiliate.[1] It was co-owned originally by Hampton businessman Thomas P. Chisman and several other stockholders, along with WVEC radio (1490 AM, now WXTG; and 101.3 FM, now WWDE-FM). The station switched affiliations to ABC in 1959, when WAVY-TV took the NBC affiliation two years after signing on. During the late 1950s, WVEC-TV was also briefly affiliated with the NTA Film Network.[2]

In those days, UHF stations were not as successful as VHF stations, and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) did not yet make requirements for television sets to have UHF tuners. So on November 13, 1959,[3] WVEC-TV moved to its current location on VHF channel 13. Two years later, the channel 15 position would be occupied by current PBS affiliate WHRO-TV.

In 1980, Chisman sold the station to Corinthian Broadcasting,[4] a unit of Dun & Bradstreet. At the time of the sale, it was the last locally owned and operated "Big Three" station in Hampton Roads. Four years later, Dun sold Corinthian to Belo, which owned the Dallas Morning News and WFAA-TV in its home city.

"The Spirit of Hampton Roads", 1987

In 1997, WVEC (along with The Virginian-Pilot and Cox Communications) launched LNC4 (later LNC5), a 24-hour local cable news television channel, featuring repeats of WVEC newscasts and a live 10:00 pm newscast. It was carried by Cox Communications on channel 5 within Hampton Roads. "Pilot 13-News at 10" ceased production on January 30, 2009, however, the partnership with the Virginian-Pilot is expected to continue on a lesser level. LNC5 was closed on December 31, 2010.

On January 12, 2008, WVEC started producing local newscasts in digital widescreen 16x9. Though not truly high definition, the digital widescreen broadcasts were rescanned and up-converted from standard definition to 1080i before transmission to match the ratio of HD television screens.[5] It remained the only major station in the Hampton Roads market to continue to air its newscasts in enhanced definition widescreen rather than true high definition until it upgraded to full HD in 2013.

On June 13, 2013, the Gannett Company announced that it would acquire Belo.[6] The sale was completed on December 23.[7] WVEC began using Gannett's graphics and "This Is Home" package on July 24, 2014. Ironically, the conversion happened during storms and debuted in "Storm Mode."[8]

Digital television[edit]

Digital channels[edit]

The station's digital channel is multiplexed

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[9]
13.1 1080i 16:9 WVEC-HD Main WVEC programming / ABC
13.2 480i WVEC-JN Justice Network
13.3 4:3 Me TV Me-TV[10]

On November 8, 2010, WVEC added ABC's Live Well Network on channel 13.2. On January 23, 2013, WVEC added Me-TV to a new subchannel, 13.3. On January 20, 2015, WVEC removed Live Well Network and replaced it with the new Justice Network.

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

WVEC discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over VHF channel 13, on June 12, 2009, as part of the federally mandated transition from analog to digital television.[11] The station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 41 to VHF channel 13.

Eastern Shore translators[edit]

There is one low-powered translator of WVEC that is located in the Eastern Shore of Virginia and is municipally-owned by Accomack County rather than Gannett.[12] WVEC and Gannett does not own and operate any translators in the Greater Hampton Roads area.

Branding and image[edit]

Spirit of Hampton Roads[edit]

In the late 1980s, WVEC introduced its most well-known promotional campaign, "The Spirit of Hampton Roads" – a campaign which has been customized and used by several other Belo Corporation stations (most notably the originator, WFAA-TV's "Spirit of Texas" campaign). The campaign was revamped in September 1992 with a new logo and song composed by Nashville-based 615 Music. WVEC originally dropped it in 1996 and replaced it with another slogan, "Working for You". "The Spirit of Hampton Roads" would finally return in 2003 on New Year's Eve. WVEC phased out the "Spirit" image for the second time in 2008.

News staff[edit]

In 1978 upon the resignation of news anchor Tony Burden, WVEC hired ABC News correspondent Jim Kincaid as its main news anchor.[13] Kincaid's signature became his "Jim's notes," short commentaries which ended the station's nightly newscasts. Compilations of these essays were published in several books authored by Kincaid, including "Notes from Elam," referring to the small town in Prince Edward County, Virginia, where his farm was located. During the Vietnam War, Kincaid was a war correspondent for ABC. He returned to Vietnam in 1994 and reported from the same locations he had covered in the 1960s, producing an award-winning documentary and series of news stories. Kincaid retired from WVEC in 1997. He died in July 2011.[14]

Another well known news anchor for WVEC was Terry Zahn, who was hired from WAVY-TV in 1994.[15] Zahn was very active with the American Cancer Society and helped establish the Relay for Life in the area. He produced two videos about Relay for Life which were distributed nationally, and served as chairman of the local Relay, which at the time was the largest in the U.S. Zahn was diagnosed with bone cancer in 1997 and died in January 2000.[15] Each year, the American Cancer Society presents the Terry Zahn Award to a supporter of the Relay for Life.

Barbara Ciara was the 5 pm and 11 pm co-anchor from 1988 until 2000 when she left for cross-town WTKR.

On March 7, 2003, former investigative reporter, Craig Civale, and former general assignment reporter, Michelle Louie were engaged during a live segment of "Joe's Job" on 13News Daybreak. Michelle was filling in for fellow reporter, Joe Flanagan, where she was to visit a jewelry shop. During a live shot, out pops Craig Civale with ring in hand, where he proposes to Michelle. They both, at the time, had been dating for 5 years. They were married in September 2004.[16]

Beginning with the 6pm newscast, on August 17th, 2013, WVEC began broadcasting their news in High Definition.

Starting on the early morning broadcasts, on July 24th, 2014, WVEC began airing the Gannett graphic package.

Notable former on-air staff[edit]

  • Sharyn Alfonsi, reporter from 1995–97; currently with CBS News and 60 Minutes Sports
  • Barbara Ciara, worked there for two stints, first in the early 1980s until leaving for WAVY in 1983; returned in late 1988 and stayed until 2000, now at WTKR.[17] Was President of the National Association of Black Journalists from 2007–2009. Elected interim President of Unity: Journalists of Color in 2009.[18]
  • Simeon Coxe, reporter specializing in off-beat stories in the 1970s and 1980s. Lead singer for the 1960s and 1990s Silver Apples.
  • Jim Kincaid, hired from ABC News in 1978, served as anchor from 1978–96,[19] retired in 1997. (deceased)
  • John Miller, news anchor and news director in the 1970s and 1980s, morning and noon anchor in the 1990s. Elected Virginia state senator in November 2007[20]
  • Hank Plante, Emmy & Peabody Award-winning broadcaster, now retired in Palm Springs, California
  • Robyne Robinson, former Military Affairs reporter. Later with KMSP-TV in Minneapolis until 2010. Retired from broadcasting to become Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party lieutenant gubernatorial candidate in the 2010 Minnesota DFL Gubernatorial primary.
  • Stan Verrett, now an anchor at ESPN and ESPNEWS, also worked for rival WAVY.
  • Terry Zahn, hired from WAVY in 1994, served as anchor until death from bone cancer in January 2000.

Programs produced by WVEC[edit]

  • Dialogue- 30-minute public affairs program hosted by WVEC news anchor Lasalle Blanks. Airs Sunday at 12:00 pm.

See also[edit]

  • LNC 5 a defunct Local News Channel.

External links[edit]