|New Orleans, Louisiana
|Branding||Fox 8 (general)
Fox 8 News (newscasts)
|Slogan||Louisiana's Home Team|
|Channels||Digital: 29 (UHF)
Virtual: 8 (PSIP)
8.2 Bounce TV
Bounce TV (DT2)
|Owner||Louisiana Media Company
(operated through SSA by
(Louisiana Media Company, LLC)
|First air date||November 1, 1953|
|Call letters' meaning||"Vue" is the French word for "View"|
|Former callsigns||WJMR-TV (1953–1959)
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
61 (UHF, 1953–1956)
20 (UHF, 1956–1959)
13 (VHF, 1959–1962)
12 (VHF, 1962–1970)
8 (VHF, 1970–2008)
8 (VHF, 2008–2010)
ABC (1953–1995, secondary until 1957)
NTA Film Network (1957–1961)
RTV (8.2, 2010–2011)
|Transmitter power||850 kW|
|Public license information:||Profile
WVUE-DT, virtual channel 8 (UHF digital channel 29), is a Fox-affiliated television station located in New Orleans, Louisiana, United States. The station is owned by the Louisiana Media Company (a company controlled by Tom Benson, owner of the New Orleans Saints NFL franchise) and operated by Raycom Media.
WVUE maintains its main studios in New Orleans' Gert Town section, with a secondary studio (branded as "Window on New Orleans") located on the second floor of the Benson Tower overlooking Champions Square and the Mercedes-Benz Superdome that is utilized for the station's morning newscast and sports events coverage; WVUE's transmitter is located in Chalmette. On cable, WVUE is carried on Cox Communications channel 9 in standard definition, and in high definition on digital channel 1009.
- 1 Digital television
- 2 History
- 3 News operation
- 4 References
- 5 External links
The station's digital signal on UHF 29, is multiplexed:
|8.1||720p||16:9||FOX8 HD||Main WVUE-DT programming / Fox|
|8.2||480i||4:3||FOX8 SD||Bounce TV|
Digital subchannel 8.2 is available over the air and can also be found on Cox Communications in the New Orleans viewing area on channel 115 and Charter Communications in the surrounding parishes on channel 108 (Northshore), and on channel 137 (Southshore). AT&T has yet to offer this on their U-verse service for the area. WVUE announced the addition of a subchannel carrying the Retro Television Network on August 23, 2010. WVUE dropped the Fox 8 Newschannel format in favor of RTV weekdays, as well as similar general entertainment programming on weekends. On November 11, 2011 WVUE signed an affiliation agreement with Bounce TV, replacing RTV. It is available on digital subchannel 8.2 and Cox digital channel 115.
On December 15, 2008, WVUE became the first New Orleans television station to begin broadcasting a digital signal exclusively, shutting down the station's analog signal on VHF channel 8. On December 22, 2008, WVUE moved its digital broadcasts to its former analog channel allocation, on VHF 8. This made WVUE the second station in the New Orleans market, after Telemundo affiliate KGLA-DT (which was launched without an analog signal), to become a digital-only station prior to the analog television shutdown that occurred on June 12, 2009. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display WVUE-TV's virtual channel as "8".
After the Louisiana Media Company acquired WVUE from Emmis, a high definition feed of the station's digital signal was finally added to Cox Communications's New Orleans system in August 2008, and to Charter Communications systems in the Northshore and Tri-Parish area in September of that year (both Charter and Cox carry WVUE-DT on channel 708). WVUE's high definition feed has since been added to other cable providers in southeastern Louisiana, and southern Mississippi, as well as in the New Orleans area on AT&T U-verse.
VHF digital transmission troubles
After WVUE switched to digital-only broadcasts, the station originally broadcast its digital signal on VHF channel 8. Due to reception problems reported by viewers following the transition, WVUE petitioned the FCC to have its digital broadcasts return to UHF channel 29. The station opted to do this instead of increasing its transmitter power, which would have caused interference with a Baton Rouge station. WVUE resumed digital operations on UHF channel 29 on November 30, 2010.
Early years with ABC and CBS
WVUE began broadcasting on November 1, 1953 as WJMR-TV; it was the second television station in New Orleans (behind WDSU-TV, channel 6) and the third in Louisiana (behind WDSU and Baton Rouge's WAFB). Originally broadcasting on UHF channel 61, it then moved to channel 20 on July 20, 1955. It was originally a CBS affiliate with a secondary ABC affiliation. During 1957 and 1958, WJMR-TV had simulcast its signal on channel 12, using the call sign KK2XFW. When WWL-TV (channel 4) signed on in 1957, WWL took over the CBS affiliation because of WWL radio's longtime affiliation with CBS radio, leaving WJMR with ABC.
The station moved to VHF channel 13 on January 13, 1959 and changed its call letters to WVUE on February 1. The station moved to channel 12 on September 6, 1962 due to interference with Biloxi, Mississippi station WLOX, which also broadcasts on channel 13. Screen Gems, the television arm of Columbia Pictures, bought the station in 1965. On June 8, 1970 at 8 p.m., it made a highly publicized switch of channel positions with the city's PBS member station, WYES-TV, and moved to its current frequency on channel 8. This was done to give WVUE a larger broadcast signal range that it could not have on channel 12, as Jackson, Mississippi's WJTV had also broadcast on that channel. The channel 61 allocation was assigned to the now defunct WLPN-LP and the channel 20 allocation was assigned to religious station WHNO.
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, the station would consistently rank at a distant third place in the ratings behind WWL-TV and WDSU-TV, even as ABC topped the national ratings for a time in the mid-1970s. One of the primary reasons for WVUE's third-place position was the station's heavy preemptions of network programs. For example, during much of the 1970s, WVUE preempted portions of ABC's daytime soap opera lineup and aired westerns, cartoons and off-network sitcoms in their place. Additionally, WVUE preempted many of the network's Saturday morning cartoons, as well as American Bandstand. WVUE also preempted ABC's late night programming, which prior to the debut of Nightline, consisted of movies and reruns of prime-time shows. Viewers in the New Orleans market that wanted to see most of ABC's programming in full could turn their sets to the network's other affiliates in surrounding markets: WRBT (now WVLA, channel 33) and later WBRZ (channel 2) from Baton Rouge, west of New Orleans, or to WLOX from Biloxi, to the east. WVUE started broadcasting 24 hours a day in June 1986, becoming the last commercial station in New Orleans to transition to a round-the-clock schedule.
Columbia Pictures sold WVUE to Oklahoma City-based Gaylord Broadcasting Company in 1977. Under the new ownership, WVUE reinstated ABC's full daytime drama lineup to its schedule in the fall of 1978. In spite of ownership changes and programming modifications, WVUE was still unable to improve its place in the ratings. When Gaylord Broadcasting began a gradual paring down of its station group in 1987, WVUE was sold to Burnham Broadcasting. The station continued to underperform in the ratings into the 1990s.
In early 1994, after the Fox Broadcasting Company won the television rights to the National Football Conference of the National Football League, it arranged to have Savoy Pictures purchase WVUE and Burnham's three other stations: WALA-TV (channel 10) in Mobile, Alabama; WLUK-TV (channel 11) in Green Bay, Wisconsin and KHON-TV (channel 2) in Honolulu, Hawaii. As part of the deal, the stations would all drop their affiliations with the "Big Three" networks (WVUE being the only one of the four stations that was not affiliated with NBC) to become Fox affiliates. Fox would own a minority voting stock in these stations and their holding company would be called "Savoy Fox" (however, in 1995, Fox opted not to have voting stock in the company, although it would still hold an interest).
The transaction was completed in the summer of 1995. On January 1, 1996, WVUE became the area's new Fox affiliate, with the ABC affiliation in New Orleans moving to WGNO (channel 26), which had been an affiliate of The WB for just shy of a year prior to the switch. WNOL-TV (channel 38), which had been the market's original Fox affiliate, took the WB affiliation. As a result of WVUE switching to Fox, the station became the unofficial "home" station of the New Orleans Saints. The Saints are part of the NFC, of which Sunday afternoon road games are aired on Fox. Unlike the New World Communications-owned stations that joined Fox at around the same time, the Savoy stations, including WVUE, carried Fox's children's programming on weekday mornings and afternoons. Fox's ratings increased slightly from when it was on WNOL, but WVUE's news ratings still stayed well behind WWL-TV and WDSU.
Savoy sold the station (along with the other three former Burnham stations) in 1997 to Silver King/USA Broadcasting. Emmis Communications became the owner of these stations in 1999. In recent years, WVUE has added stronger syndicated shows, including acquiring the local syndication rights to Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! as part of a group deal with Emmis' Fox affiliates, a rarity for a Fox station (prior to airing on channel 8, they aired for about two decades on WWL-TV).
Hurricane Katrina struck Greater New Orleans on August 29, 2005. WVUE's operations were temporarily moved to the studios of then-sister station WALA in Mobile, Alabama. WVUE's studio on Jefferson Davis Parkway is located in a low-lying part of the city that was badly flooded due to the levee failures caused by Katrina. The damage was so severe that Emmis released much of the station's on-air staff from their non-compete clauses, allowing them to seek employment outside of the market without penalty. Soon, meteorologist Crystal Wicker left for Indianapolis ABC affiliate WRTV, where she began work on October 3. Weekend meteorologist Jeff Baskin went to Portland, Oregon's KOIN-TV. Reporter Summer Jackson went to Chicago to work at CLTV, while reporter Kerry Cavanaugh took a job at WBAL-TV in Baltimore, Maryland.
Following the storm, WVUE presented a rotating 15-minute newscast that were streamed on its website and produced out of WALA's studios, slowly restoring the regular station schedule as developments faded and reconstruction on WVUE's news operations continued. In mid-June 2006, construction of the station's permanent news set and weather center was completed. Before then, a temporary news set and newsroom were set up in the station's production room. Station manager Vanessa Oubre said that remodeling/reconstruction of the rest of the building was expected to be completed by November 2006. The sale of the station was also affected and was delayed for two years because of the rebuilding; Emmis had intended to divest all its television assets by the start of 2007, but retained ownership of WVUE until it was sold to Louisiana Media Company.
Purchase by Tom Benson and SSA with Raycom
On May 5, 2008, Emmis Communications announced an agreement to sell the station to the Louisiana Media Company, a new media group founded by New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson, for a purchase price of $41 million. Benson stated that he planned for the new company to acquire several radio and television stations nationwide and to be involved in movie production. The FCC approved the sale on July 14, 2008. Louisiana Media Company took over operations of the station on July 18, 2008.
In October 2013, Retirement Systems of Alabama (RSA) stated in its newsletter, The Advisor, that Raycom Media (a company which RSA invests in), would purchase WVUE for $55.6 million, pending FCC approval. A spokesperson for Tom Benson called The Advisor item "inaccurate" and that the station is not for sale; RSA CEO David Brenner called the report a "mistake."
However, on November 20, 2013, Raycom announced that it would take over WVUE under a shared services agreement effective December 16, 2013; under the agreement, Louisiana Media retain WVUE's ownership and license, but all of WVUE's staff will become Raycom employees, except for station general manager Joe Cook, who will relinquish his GM duties and remain president of Louisiana Media Company. Cook commented that the deal allows WVUE to benefit from the regional presence Raycom provides; the Alabama-based station group has a well-established presence in the Southeastern United States, including ownership of three other Louisiana stations (in Baton Rouge, Lake Charles and Shreveport). Upon the takeover, WWL-TV's former news director Sandy Breland became the new vice president and general manager of WVUE, joining other WWL and Belo alumni among its staff.
The partnership was the result of a near-acquisition of the station by Raycom; Benson had considered expanding his broadcast holdings into other nearby markets, but noticed that Raycom had a presence in all of the markets he considered. Raycom, along with several other companies, had also made offers to buy the station, but Benson was not prepared to completely sell WVUE, leading to the negotiation of the SSA. Raycom president Paul McTear also noted that the story in The Advisor was the result of human error, and that there was not a deal to acquire the station.
WVUE-DT presently broadcasts 39½ hours of locally produced newscasts each week (7½ hours on weekdays, and one hour each on Saturdays and Sundays); in regards to the number of hours devoted to news programming, it is the highest local newscast output of any television station in the New Orleans market (more than WWL-TV (channel 4) and WDSU-TV (channel 6), which both carry 27½ hours each week) and the state of Louisiana in general. WVUE is the only station in the market that airs a local newscast at 5:30 p.m., although it does not run a newscast at 6 p.m. on weeknights. Unlike most Fox stations that produce their newscasts in-house, WVUE's 9 p.m. newscast previously did not air for an hour seven nights a week, the weekend edition of the 9 p.m. news instead aired for a half-hour; WVUE had been among the largest Fox affiliates in terms of market size to air its prime-time newscast in such a fashion. As of 2012 or 2013, the 9 p.m. weekend newscast has now expanded to an hour.
Once an also-ran among the New Orleans market's television news outlets, WVUE's news ratings slowly increased throughout the 2000s (particularly following the station's purchase by Louisiana Media Company). By the middle part of the decade, the station overtook WDSU for the #2 position in the local news ratings, placing behind WWL-TV in the 5 p.m. timeslot. The station retained the #2 ranking through 2008 and a see-saw period followed. In May 2011, the station again ranked third in the time period. The station has consistently ranked third in morning and afternoon newscasts with three or more local options since that time, while posting its best ratings at night. The station bests many network primetime shows at 9 p.m. (WVUE's ratings for its primetime newscast outperformed WNOL-TV and WUPL's newscasts in the same timeslots, with both stations eventually cancelling their 9 p.m. newscasts), and at 10 p.m., WVUE has generally held second position in the market.
On May 31, 1982, WVUE launched a half-hour 5 p.m. newscast called Live At Five. After the Fox affiliation switch in 1996, WVUE initially kept its 6 p.m. newscast, in addition to the 5 p.m. newscast. The 10 p.m. newscast it had as an ABC affiliate was relocated to 9 p.m. newscast and expanded to one hour; ten months later, it was split into separate half-hour newscasts at 9 and 10 p.m., with the 9:30 p.m. timeslot being filled with syndicated sitcoms. The late evening newscasts continued in this format until 2001, when the weeknight 9 p.m. newscast reverted to an hour-long broadcast, and the 10 p.m. newscast was dropped for a second time due to the lack of a strong program lead-in.
Even after becoming a Fox affiliate, the station did not carry a newscast on weekday mornings throughout the 1990s; this changed in 2002, when WVUE debuted what was originally a two-hour morning newscast, airing from 6-8 a.m. In 2005, WVUE cancelled its weeknight 6 p.m. newscast and expanded its 5 p.m. newscast to one hour, creating an hour-long block of news that competes against the local and national evening newscasts on WWL-TV, WDSU and WGNO; this was in concert with the station acquiring the popular Sony game show block of Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune, and the station's choice to utilize the traditional hour block scheduling of the two shows before network primetime seen by stations in the coastal time zones, but usually not so by Central and Mountain time zone affiliates.
On April 29, 2007, WVUE became the first television station in New Orleans to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition. In January 2010, WVUE underwent a major production upgrade that included the transition of field video to high definition, and the introduction of the first HD-based weather system in the New Orleans market. As of October 2010, WVUE remains the first station in the New Orleans market to broadcast its local newscasts in high definition; this is in contrast to WWL-TV, WDSU and WGNO, all of which broadcast their newscasts in 16:9 widescreen standard definition.
On February 1, 2010, WVUE expanded its weekday morning newscasts from three hours to four by adding a new weather-based newscast from 5-6 a.m. called Fox 8 Morning Call, the program was replaced in 2012 by a traditional newscast in the 5 a.m. timeslot. The 10 p.m. newscast returned for the third time in the station's history on that same date; initially only airing as a test run, the 10 p.m. newscast became a full-time program on May 5, 2010, after former WWL-TV anchor Lee Zurik joined channel 8. In July 2010, the station expanded the 10 p.m. newscast to weekend evenings, making WVUE one of the few Fox stations nationwide with a newscast in the traditional late news timeslot that airs seven nights a week. On May 23, 2011, WVUE-TV debuted an hour-long midday newscast at noon on weekdays. This was followed on September 12 of that year, with the debut of an hour-long newscast at 4 p.m.
- Your Esso Reporter (1956–1958)
- WJMR-TV News (1958–1962)
- The New Orleans Report (1962–1965)
- The Evening News (6 p.m. newscast; 1965–1970)
- NewsVue (6:05 and 10 p.m. newscasts; 1966)
- Alec Gifford News (6 and 10 p.m. newscasts; 1967–1974)
- 24 Hours (10 p.m. newscast; 1965–1976)
- NewsScene 8 (1974–1985)
- Live at Five (5 p.m. newscast; 1982–1984?)
- Channel 8 News (1985–1988))
- News 8 New Orleans (general) / News 8 Tonight (10 p.m. newscast; 1988–1995)
- Fox News Eight (1996–1998)
- Fox 8 News (1998–present)
- "Make the Switch to WVUE 8" (1970, when the station was changing its channel to 8 from 12)
- "This is the Place to Be!" (early 1970s)
- "There's More on NewsScene 8" (late 1970s)
- "On Your Side" (?)
- "Your Neighborhood Station" (mid-1980s-1987)
- "The Station That's Making Good Things Happen" (1987–1992)
- "The One to Watch" (1992–1995)
- "Your Weather Authority" (weather slogan, 2002–present; used as news slogan from 2002 to 2008)
- "Your Local News Channel" (2008–present; news slogan)
- "Louisiana's Home Team" (2008–present; general slogan)
- "Your First Choice For News" (2011–present)
- Shelley Brown - weekday mornings on Fox 8 Morning Edition (5-6 a.m.); also "Fox 8 Defenders" investigative reporter
- Meg Gatto - weekends at 9 and 10 p.m.; also reporter
- Kim Holden - weekdays at 4 and weeknights at 10 p.m.
- Nancy Parker - weekdays at 4 and weeknights at 5 and 5:30 p.m.
- Liz Reyes - weekday mornings on Fox 8 Morning Edition (6-9 a.m.) and weekdays at noon; also reporter
- John Snell - weeknights at 5, 5:30 and 9 p.m.
- Gerry Vaillancourt - weekday mornings on Fox 8 Morning Edition (5-9 a.m.) also sports analyst
- Lee Zurik - weeknights at 9 and 10 p.m.; also chief investigative reporter
- Fox 8 Weather Authority
- Bob Breck (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval) - chief meteorologist; weeknights at 5, 5:30, 9 and 10 p.m.
- Chris Franklin (AMS Seal of Approval) - meteorologist; weekday mornings on Fox 8 Morning Edition (5-9 a.m.)
- Bruce Katz (AMS Seal of Approval) - meteorologist; weekdays at noon and 4 p.m.
- Nicondra Norwood - meteorologist; weekends at 9 and 10 p.m.
- Sports team
- Sean Fazende - sports anchor; weekends at 9 and 10 p.m., also sports reporter
- Garland Gillen - sports reporter
- Fred Hickman - sports director; weeknights at 5:30, 9 and 10 p.m.
- Jennifer Hale - sports anchor; weekdays at 4 p.m., also sports reporter and fill-in sports anchor; station's first female sportscaster.
- Jim Henderson - Saints analyst and commentator
- Chad Sabdie - sports reporter
- Allison Braxton - weekend evening reporter
- Leigh Isaacson - general assignment reporter
- Natasha Robin - general assignment reporter
- Rob Masson - general assignment reporter
- Scott Satchfield - general assignment reporter
- Carolyn Scofield - general assignment reporter and "Bayou Bureau" chief
- Sabrina Wilson - general assignment reporter
- Dave McNamara - "The Heart of Louisiana" feature reporter, airing weekly on the 9 p.m. newscast; also runs his own production company which contributes to these reports 
Notable former on-air staff
- Richard Anderson
- Ken Aucoin - meteorologist (October 1983–March 1999)
- Bernard "Buddy" Diliberto - sports director/anchor (1966–1981; later worked for WDSU and WWL AM/FM; died in 2005)
- Dawn Brown - morning and noon meteorologist; Fox 8's Morning Call (2010-2012)
- Margaret Dubuisson - anchor/reporter (March 1983-October 1998)
- Lynn Gansar - station's first female newscaster (1976-1983; later at WDSU-TV)
- Alec Gifford - news anchor/director (1967–1980, later with WDSU; died in 2013)
- Mike Herrera - meteorologist/announcer (1964–2007; later engineer at WWL-TV, died April 6, 2013 at age 66)
- Jim Kemp - anchor, reporter, managing editor, news director (later Senior Assignment Editor, CNN National Desk; retired)
- Arthel Neville - anchor/reporter (now with Fox News Channel)
- Bob Perrin - news photographer (Emmy winner and Oscar nominee)
- Nash Roberts - meteorologist (1973–1978; succeeded by Bob Breck, later at WWL-TV; deceased)
- George Ryan
- Norman Robinson - anchor/reporter (1976–1978; later at WWL-TV, now at WDSU)
- Chris Rose - provided an editorial weekly on-air and online (former long-time contributor to The Times-Picayune)
- Nancy Russo - first AMS sealed and degreed female meteorologist in New Orleans (1980–1983/1985-1987; later at WWL-TV)
- Ron Swoboda - sports anchor (now at Cox Sports Television)
- Leslie Sykes - anchor/reporter (now at KABC-TV/Los Angeles)
- Jim Turner - news reporter (1966-1968, later with CTV and CBC Television in Canada)
- Kim Vaughn - meteorologist (May 2006 – May 2012)
- "WVUE Fox 8 at Benson Tower". Woodward Design+Build. Retrieved 5 November 2013.
- "State-of-the-Art Production Studio Opening Adjacent To The Mercedes-Benz Superdome". New Orleans Saints. 16 August 2012. Retrieved 5 November 2013.
- "WVUE Adding Retro TV In The Big Easy". TVNewsCheck. August 23, 2010. Retrieved August 24, 2010.
- Bounce TV Adds WVUE New Orleans, TVNewsCheck, November 11, 2011.
- List of Digital Full-Power Stations
- Eggerton, John (2009-08-18). "FCC To Allow WVUE To Return To UHF Digital Channel". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved 2009-08-21.
- WYES, WVUE Stations Change Channel Numbers, June 10, 1970, The Times-Picayune
- On the Air, The Times-Picayune, June 3, 1986
- Emmis sells WVUE-TV, completes TV divestiture, Broadcast Engineering, July 23, 2008.
- , WDSU TV, "Group claims purchase of WVUE TV pending", Oct. 7, 2013.
- Monteverde, Danny (October 8, 2013). "Alabama-based Raycom media said to be purchaser of WVUE". The New Orleans Advocate. Retrieved October 8, 2013.
- Monteverde, Danny (October 8, 2013). "Group says report that Raycom is in talks to buy Fox 8 is a ‘mistake’". The New Orleans Advocate. Retrieved October 8, 2013.
- "WVUE enters into shared-services agreement with Raycom Media". NOLA.com. Retrieved 20 November 2013.
- "Harry Connick Jr. may be a player in the 10 p.m. race between WWL, WVUE -- both under new management". Nola.com. Retrieved 22 January 2014.
- Lee Zurik to anchor 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. newscasts for WVUE-TV, The Times-Picayune, April 13, 2010.
- Liz Reyes to anchor new midday newscast for WVUE-TV, The Times-Picayune, April 14, 2011.
- WVUE announces 4 p.m. newscast, Jennifer Hale's move to sports, The Times-Picayune, August 26, 2011.
- WVUE Channel 8 New Orleans, Louisiana News Open 1987 on YouTube
- WVUE News 8 New Orleans open 10 PM 1989 (Newscaster) on YouTube
- WVUE - Fox 8 News at 9 Open - 11/22/09 HD on YouTube
- News Team, Fox8Live.com. Retrieved April 21, 2012.
- Alec Gifford, former WDSU anchor and news director, has died, WDSU reports, The Times-Picayune, March 22, 2013. Retrieved May 11, 2013.
- New Orleans Broadcaster Mike Herrera Dies, TVSpy, April 9, 2013. Retrieved May 11, 2013.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to WVUE.|
- Fox8Live.com - Official website
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WVUE
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WVUE-DT