WWL-TV

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WWL-TV
WWL logo
New Orleans, Louisiana
Branding WWL-TV Channel 4 (general)
Channel 4's Eyewitness News (newscasts)
Slogan The Spirit of Louisiana (primary general)
Always On (secondary general)
Louisiana's News Leader (newscasts)
Channels Digital: 36 (UHF)
Virtual: 4 (PSIP)
Subchannels 4.1 WWL / CBS HD
4.2 Live Well Network
Affiliations CBS
Live Well Network (DT2)
Owner Gannett Company
(WWL-TV, Inc.)
First air date September 7, 1957
Call letters' meaning World
Wide
Loyola
(after Loyola University New Orleans, founder and former owner)
Sister station(s) WUPL
Former channel number(s) Analog:
4 (VHF, 1957–2009)
Former affiliations Secondary:
NTA Film Network (1957–1961)
Transmitter power 957.8 kW
Height 311 m
Facility ID 74192
Transmitter coordinates 29°54′22.9″N 90°2′22.1″W / 29.906361°N 90.039472°W / 29.906361; -90.039472
Website www.wwltv.com

WWL-TV, virtual channel 4 (UHF digital channel 36), is a CBS-affiliated television station located in New Orleans, Louisiana, United States. The station is owned by Gannett Company, as part of a duopoly with MyNetworkTV affiliate WUPL (channel 54). The two stations share studios and offices located on Rampart Street in the historic French Quarter, WWL's transmitter is located at 4 Cooper Road in Gretna, Louisiana. The station also operates a North Shore bureau located on North Causeway Boulevard in suburban Mandeville.

The station can also be seen on Cox Communications channel 3 in standard definition and digital channel 1003 in high definition. The station serves as the primary CBS station for South and Coastal Mississippi, and formerly served as the default CBS affiliate for the Biloxi market, until ABC affiliate WLOX launched a CBS-affiliated digital subchannel in 2012.

Digital television[edit]

The station's digital signal on UHF 36, is multiplexed:

Digital channels[edit]

Channel Video Aspect Name Programming[1]
4.1 1080i 16:9 WWL-TV Main WWL-TV programming / CBS
4.2 480i LIVEWEL Live Well Network

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

WWL-TV shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 4, on June 12, 2009, the official 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 36.[2] Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display WWL-TV's virtual channel as its former VHF analog channel 4.

History[edit]

WWL-TV signed on the air on September 7, 1957 as, oddly enough, the fourth television station in New Orleans, behind WDSU-TV, WJMR-TV (now WVUE-DT), and WYES-TV. It was owned by Loyola University New Orleans, along with radio station WWL (870 AM). WWL has been an affiliate of the CBS television network since its inception, as WWL radio had been an affiliate of the CBS Radio Network since 1935. It competed head to head with NBC affiliate WDSU in the 1960s and 1970s. However, after WDSU was sold to out-of-town owners, it began deemphasizing local features in favor of its highly regarded news format. By comparison, WWL, as the only locally-owned station, heavily stressed its local roots. By the early 1980s, WWL had emerged as the market's ratings leader.

In 1988, WWL and Cox Communications, the cable company serving the Greater New Orleans area south of Lake Pontchartrain, began a joint venture called NewsWatch 15. It was one of the first regional cable news channels in the United States at the time. Carried on cable channel 15, the network airs rebroadcasts of WWL's newscasts, along with simulcasts of live newscasts and breaking news coverage.

In 1989, Loyola sold its media properties to different owners. WWL radio (and its FM sister, WLMG) went to Keymarket Communications, while WWL-TV's employees formed a group called Rampart Broadcasting (named after the station's studios on Rampart Street), led by general manager J. Michael Early and longtime news director and station editorialist Phil Johnson, and bought the station. It was the first (and thus far, only) time an employee-investor group acquired a local television station. Belo Corporation bought the station in 1994.

WWL Building on Rampart Street

WWL-TV preempted moderate amounts of CBS programming from the 1960s through the 1980s. These included, most notably, the 9-10 a.m. weekday timeslot, and, prior to the debut of Late Show with David Letterman in 1993, CBS' late night lineup. Also, WWL-TV preempted the last hour of the network's Saturday children's programming, between 12 and 1 p.m., during the 1970s. In the late 1980s, WWL-TV dropped CBS' weekday morning news programs (which are now seen on WUPL), in favor of an additional hour of local news and Live with Regis and Kathie Lee at 8 a.m. Eventually the local morning newscast was expanded into the 8 a.m. hour.

In 1990, WWL began running one of the most successful station image campaigns in the United States with its "Spirit of Louisiana" promotions. The one-minute spots feature the region's musical and cultural heritage as well as showcase life in southeastern Louisiana. Many of the ads feature well-known area musicians and singers. The campaigns continue today. [2]

In 2005, Viacom, which owned WUPL at the time, made an offer to buy WWL-TV. After Belo rejected Viacom's offer, Viacom instead made a deal to sell WUPL to Belo; this would have created a duopoly with WWL and WUPL. However, due to uncertainty created by Hurricane Katrina concerning the New Orleans market, Belo delayed the deal to purchase WUPL. As a result, CBS Corporation (which took over WUPL after Viacom split into two companies in December 2005) filed a lawsuit against Belo in February 2006 for breach of contract. The litigation was later settled and Belo agreed to complete the purchase of WUPL in late February 2007.[3] The deal had already received regulatory approval, and closed on February 26, 2007. In April 2007, Belo moved WUPL's operations into the WWL facility. WWL-TV celebrated 50 years of broadcasting on September 7, 2007; it observed its 55th anniversary half a decade later, in 2012.

On June 13, 2013, the Gannett Company announced that it would acquire Belo for $1.5 billion.[4] The sale was completed on December 23.[5]

Hurricane Katrina[edit]

WWL began 24-hour continuous coverage of Hurricane Katrina on August 27, 2005 from its New Orleans studio. At 10:45 p.m. on August 28, its operations moved to the Manship School of Mass Communications at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. LSU students and staff helped produce the telecast with WWL-TV staff in a 'bare bones' fashion.

The station briefly returned to its Rampart Street studios in New Orleans on August 29 at 4 p.m. Flooding forced the station to again move operations back to the LSU campus, as well as a makeshift studio at the transmitter site in Gretna. The station relayed its signal via fiber optics and the use of a satellite truck from sister station KHOU-TV in Houston. On September 1, the station moved operations again, this time to the studios of Louisiana Public Broadcasting in Baton Rouge. This provided WWL with a much larger facility and expanded its audience to include LPB's statewide network; this coverage was also aired by many PBS stations. WWL would finally return to New Orleans about six weeks later.

WWL's coverage of Hurricane Katrina earned the station its sixth Peabody Award in early April 2006. WWL's coverage of Katrina was featured on an episode The Weather Channel's Storm Stories.

Post-Katrina[edit]

After Hurricane Katrina, some of the station's most visible talent – including weekend anchor/reporter Josh McElveen and reporter Stephanie Riegel – left the station to pursue other opportunities. The 10 p.m. anchor Karen Swensen also left the station to work at Boston-based regional news channel New England Cable News. Meteorologists David Bernard and John Gumm also left the station (Bernard was already scheduled to leave before the storm).

The station brought back an old WWL-TV tradition, the editorial. Modeled after the editorials of Phil Johnson, the station's longtime and very popular news director/station manager, editorials seen in the present day are in the form of WWL-TV's political analyst Clancy Dubos reading from a script, speaking about current political issues related to the post-Katrina redevelopment of New Orleans. The segments aired during WWL-TV's 6 p.m. newscast on Tuesday nights.

The station and Belo announced plans to construct a new multi-million dollar broadcasting facility for WWL-TV and WUPL at 700 Loyola Avenue in downtown New Orleans. It was originally scheduled to be completed in late 2007-early 2008 and was to be called the J. Michael Early Broadcast Center, after the station's former general manager. Ground was actually broken for the new facility on July 25, 2005 (before Katrina hit); however, its construction has been delayed (as of recently, the site is still a parking lot). As a result, WWL-TV and WUPL will remain at their Rampart Street studio location for the foreseeable future.

Hurricane Gustav[edit]

The same agreement for the use of LPB studio facilities and the statewide LPB simulcast listed above was also utilized for coverage of Hurricane Gustav in early September 2008. WWL's coverage also aired on the second digital subchannels of fellow Belo sister stations WFAA-TV (channel 8) in Dallas and KHOU-TV (channel 11) in Houston for the convenience of evacuees.

News operation[edit]

WWL-TV presently broadcasts 35 hours of local newscasts each week (with 6½ hours on weekdays, 1½ hours on Saturdays and one hour on Sundays); in regards to the number of hours devoted to news programming, it is the second-highest local newscast output of any television station in the New Orleans market, behind Fox affiliate WVUE-DT (which produces 39½ hours each week). The station has used the Eyewitness News format since February 26, 1968 (having altered its title from "Evening News"); WWL has had the top-rated local newscasts in New Orleans for nearly 30 years, according to Nielsen. The November 2007 sweeps period – the first major ratings period in New Orleans reported to Nielsen since Hurricane Katrina – affirmed that WWL continued to lead its nearest competitors, WDSU and WVUE, by a wide margin.

In March 2006, WWL began producing a half-hour newscast called "I-News", featuring more in-depth reporting on topics important to viewers, and also featured live interviews with local, state and national officials. The newscast aired weekday evenings on the station's website after the 6 p.m. newscast and was rebroadcast on WWL-TV; the webcast has since been cancelled.

On June 4, 2007, WWL-TV began airing a half-hour weeknight newscast on MyNetworkTV-affiliated sister station WUPL called Eyewitness News at 9; it was anchored by Eyewitness News Nightwatch anchors Lucy Bustamante and Mike Hoss, until Bustamante departed WWL-TV for sister station WVEC-TV in Hampton, Virginia on October 1, 2010. Bustamante was replaced by the woman she replaced, Karen Swensen, on February 24, 2011 as anchor of the 10 p.m. and the WUPL 9 p.m. newscast; in the interim, Mike Hoss anchored the newscast on WUPL with rotating co-anchors.

Since the anchor changes, WWL-TV has lost its significant ratings lead, according to Nielsen Media reports, but its newscasts remain the highest-rated in New Orleans. Where it once doubled the ratings of each of its competitors in every time period, WWL-TV's lead declined to as little as one household rating point (at 6 p.m.) in the July 2011 Nielsen sweeps period, where WDSU placed second. At 5 p.m., WWL-TV led WDSU by 2 household ratings points; at 10 p.m., WWL-TV led WVUE by 1.9 household ratings points.

In April 2010, the station became the second in the market to install a new HD-based weather system. Former WDSU morning anchor Melanie Hebert joined the station in January 2012 and did not make any on-air appearances until July of that year.

On October 25, 2012, WWL-TV introduced a new news set for the first time in over 15 years after upgrading the prior set a few times in that time period. This new set was designed by FX Group and gives meteorologists a full-size weather center for the first time in the station's history. WWL currently broadcasts its local newscasts in 16:9 widescreen standard definition and is one of three major stations who presents their local news programming in the format (alongside WDSU and WGNO), only WVUE broadcasts its local news programming in true high definition.

News/station presentation[edit]

Newscast titles[edit]

  • Shell News (1957–1959)
  • Newsroom (1959–1963)
  • TV-4 News (1963–1966)
  • News 4/Evening News (1966–1968)
  • Eyewitness News (1968–1989)[6]
  • Channel 4 Eyewitness News (1989–present)[7]

Station slogans[edit]

  • "The South's Most Complete and Comprehensive Coverage of News, Sports and Weather" (1970–1976?)
  • "The Best is Right Here on Channel 4"/"Channel 4 is Easy on the Eyes" (1973-1974; localized version of CBS slogan)
  • "See the Best...Channel 4" (1974-1975; localized version of CBS slogan)
  • "Catch the Brightest Stars on Channel 4" (1975-1976; localized version of CBS slogan)
  • "Channel 4, We're the Hot Ones" (1976-1977; localized version of CBS slogan)
  • "There's Something in the Air, on Channel 4" (1977-1978; localized version of CBS slogan)
  • "Channel 4, Turn Us On, We'll Turn You On" (1978-1979; localized version of CBS slogan)
  • "The Best Things in Life Are Here on 4" (1979–1984)
  • "Great Moments for You on Channel 4" (1982-1983; localized version of CBS slogan)
  • "We've Got the Touch, You and Channel 4" (1982-1983; localized version of CBS slogan)
  • "Louisiana's News Leader" (1984–present; news slogan)
  • "The Spirit of Louisiana" (1987–present; general slogan)[8]
  • "Get Ready for Channel 4" (1989-1991; localized version of CBS slogan)
  • "The Look of New Orleans is Channel 4" (1991-1992; localized version of CBS slogan)
  • "This is CBS, on Channel 4" (1992-1993; localized version of CBS slogan)
Television.svg This film, television or video-related list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it with reliably sourced additions.

Newscast Schedule[edit]

Weekdays
  • Channel 4's Eyewitness Morning News Early Edition - 4:30-6:00 a.m.
  • Channel 4's Eyewitness Morning News - 6:00-9:00 a.m.
  • Channel 4's Eyewitness News at Noon - 12:00-12:30 p.m.
  • Channel 4's Eyewitness News at 5:00 - 5:00-5:30 p.m.
  • Channel 4's Eyewitness News at 6:00 - 6:00-6:30 p.m.
  • Channel 4's Eyewitness News at 10:00 - 10:00-10:35 p.m.
Saturdays
  • Channel 4's Eyewitness News at 5:00 - 5:00-5:30 p.m.
  • Channel 4's Eyewitness News at 6:00 - 6:00-6:30 p.m.
  • Channel 4's Eyewitness News at 10:00 - 10:00-10:35 p.m.
Sundays
  • Channel 4's Eyewitness News at 5:30 - 5:30-6:00 p.m.
  • Channel 4's Eyewitness News at 10:00 - 10:00-10:35 p.m.
  • 4th Down on 4 10:35 p.m-11:05 p.m

On-air staff[edit]

Current on-air news staff[9][edit]

Anchors

  • Mike Hoss - weekday mornings on Eyewitness News Early Edition (4:30-6 a.m.)
  • Katie Moore - Saturdays at 5 and 6, Sundays at 5:30 and weekends at 10 p.m.; also weeknight reporter
  • Eric Paulsen - weekday mornings on Eyewitness Morning News (6-9 a.m.) and weekdays at noon
  • Sally-Ann Roberts [3] - weekday mornings on Eyewitness Morning News (6-9 a.m.) (sister of Good Morning America co-host Robin Roberts)
  • Natalie Shepard - weeknights at 6 and 10 p.m.
  • Karen Swensen - weeknights at 5 and 6 p.m.
  • Sheba Turk - weekday mornings on Eyewitness News Early Edition (4:30-6 a.m.); also host of "The 504" on WUPL at 9 p.m.
  • Dennis Woltering - weeknights at 5 and 10 p.m.; also host of Sunday Edition with Dennis Woltering

Eyewitness News Pinpoint Weather

  • Carl Arredondo (AMS Seal of Approval) - chief meteorologist; weeknights at 6 and 10 p.m.
  • Laura Buchtel - meteorologist; weekday mornings on Eyewitness News Early Edition (4:30-6) and Eyewitness Morning News (6-9 a.m.)
  • Alexandra Cranford - meteorologist; Saturdays at 5 and 6, Sundays at 5:30 and weekends at 10 p.m.
  • Dave Nussbaum - meteorologist; weekdays at noon and weeknights at 5 p.m.

Sports team

  • Bradley Handwerger - WWLTV.com sports writer
  • Juan Kincaid - sports anchor and on-site reporter
  • Doug Mouton - sports director; weeknights 5, 6 and 10 p.m. [Link}
  • Bryan Salmond - sports anchor; Saturdays at 5 and 6, Sundays at 5:30 and weekends at 10 p.m., also sports reporter
  • Darren Sharper - Saints analyst; also analyst for NFL Network (former Saints and NFL free safety) [Link}

Reporters

  • Bill Capo - consumer reporter ("Action Report")
  • Tania Dall - general assignment reporter
  • Don Dubuc - feature reporter ("The Fishing Game"; Thursdays at 6 p.m.)
  • Meg Farris - health reporter ("Medical Watch")
  • David Hammer - investigative reporter
  • Monica Hernandez - general assignment reporter
  • Paul Murphy - general assignment reporter
  • Mike Perlstein - investigative reporter
  • Ashley Rodrigue - Northshore Bureau Chief reporter
  • Maya Rodriguez - general assignment reporter
  • Tamica Lee Smith - weekday morning traffic reporter (4:30-9 a.m.)

Notable former on-air staff[edit]

  • Jim Basquil - sports (now at ESPN)
  • Frank Davis - feature reporter ("In the Kitchen" Tuesday mornings, "Naturally N'Awlins" 6pm Wednesday mornings, died on December 9, 2013 at age 71 of complications due to CIDP)[10]
  • Susan Edwards - reporter (died on December 29, 2010 at age 34 of liver cancer)[11]
  • Bill Elder - anchor/investigative reporter (1965–2000; nicknamed the "Mike Wallace of Louisiana"; died September 17, 2003 at age 65 of complications from brain cancer treatment)
  • Hap Glaudi - sports anchor (1961–1978); subsequently moved to WWL(AM); died December 29, 1989; longtime on-air rival of Buddy Diliberto, who succeeded him at WWL-AM)
  • Hoda Kotb - anchor/reporter (1992–1997; now with NBC News as co-host of The Today Show)
  • Jim Henderson - Long-time sports director from May 1, 1978 to January 31, 2012. The radio voice of the New Orleans Saints and now at WVUE-DT as Saints analyst and commentator
  • Taylor Henry - reporter (1981-1986). Later with CNN and winner of the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award for investigative reporting.
  • Angela Hill - anchor (1975–2013; retired as an anchor on April 4, 2013; now works for WWL-TV's special projects department and hosts An Open Mind on WWL-AM/WWL-FM)[12]
  • Larry Matson - sports anchor (1981–1986; now with the St. Charles Parish Recreation Department)
  • Jim Metcalf - anchor/reporter/host of A Sunday Journal (1966–1977; died March 8, 1977 at age 49, the Jim Metcalf Memorial Award is named in his honor)
  • Chris Myers - sports reporter/anchor (1982–1986; now with Fox Sports)
  • Rob Nelson - anchor/reporter (2007–2010; later with ABC News as a correspondent and fill-in co-host of World News Now; now anchors weekends for Eyewitness News on WABC-TV)
  • Ed Renwick - political commentator
  • Susan E. Roberts - anchor/reporter (1995–1997; now with WPRI-TV)
  • Nash C. Roberts Jr. - meteorologist (1978–2001; died December 19, 2010 at age 92)
  • Garland Robinette - anchor/reporter (1970–1990; married to co-anchor Angela Hill from 1978–1987; now at WWL-AM/WWL-FM)
  • Norman Robinson - reporter (1978–1992; now at WDSU)
  • Charles Zewe - anchor/reporter (1971–1976; later at WDSU and CNN; now Vice President of Communications for the Louisiana State University System)

References[edit]

External links[edit]