|City of license||Huntsville|
|Branding||Fox 54 (general)
Fox 54 News
.2: WAMY My 8
.3 ME TV-S
|Slogan||Fair. Balanced. Local.|
|Channels||Digital: 41 (UHF)
Virtual: 54 (PSIP)
|Subchannels||.1 720p 16:9 WZDX-DT
.2 480i 4:3 WAMY-DT
.3 480i 4:3 ME TV-S
|Owner||Nexstar Broadcasting Group
(Huntsville Television Acquisition Licensing, LLC)
|First air date||April 14, 1984|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
54 (UHF, 1984-2009)
|Former affiliations||Independent (1984-1990)|
|Transmitter power||700 kW|
WZDX is the Fox-affiliated television station for North Alabama's Tennessee Valley. Licensed to Huntsville, it broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 41 (or virtual channel 54.1 via PSIP) from a transmitter on Monte Sano Boulevard Southeast in Madison County (in Huntsville). Owned by Nexstar Broadcasting Group, WZDX is sister to MyNetworkTV affiliate "WAMY-TV" and the two share studios on North Memorial Parkway/US 72/US 231/US 431 in Huntsville.
WZDX first signed on April 14, 1984 as Northern Alabama's first independent station and the area's first new outlet to launch in nearly twenty years. The station originally broadcast in analog on channel 54. The inaugural program shown was an airing of the 1968 film Charly. The station's transmitter was on Green Mountain in Southeastern Huntsville while its studios were in the northwestern section of the city. During the first months after its beginning, WZDX used the slogan "We're Taking You to the Top!" and ran full page ads in The Huntsville Times with this tagline and with still pictures of old movies and syndicated TV shows that the station planned to air.
When Fox began broadcasting on October 6, 1986, WZDX abstained from affiliating with the network unlike many other independent TV stations across the country. However, the station did occasionally air Fox special broadcasts such as the Emmy Awards. Eventually in 1990 it became a full-time affiliate of the network. Also that year on March 29, WZDX became the first property owned by a new broadcasting group founded by Milton Grant.
In 2002, it launched the second digital signal of the market on UHF channel 41. A simulcast of cable-only WB affiliate "WAWB-TV" was then added to a second digital subchannel of WZDX. That offered non-cable viewers access to WB programming for the first time. In September 2003, the broadcast tower shared by WZDX and ABC affiliate WAAY-TV collapsed killing three men. Until it could be replaced, WZDX and WAAY temporarily aired from the nearby tower of CBS affiliate WHNT-TV.
The station's WAMY .2 subchannel was an initial affiliate of the American Sports Network with its first broadcast on August 30, 2014. WZDX is Nexstar's second station in Alabama, after Dothan's ABC affiliate, WDHN.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|54.1||720p||16:9||WZDX-DT||Main WZDX programming / Fox|
|54.2||480i||4:3||WAMY-DT||WAMY-TV / MyNetworkTV/ASN|
WZDX shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 54, 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 41, using PSIP to display WZDX's virtual channel as 54 on digital television receivers, which was among the high band UHF channels (52-69) that were removed from broadcasting use as a result of the transition. In order to adequately serve its area, its effective radiated power was increased to 700 kW on July 2.
In January 2007, WZDX launched a thirty minute prime time newscast known as Fox 54 Nine O'Clock News. Airing every night except Saturday, it was produced by the Independent News Network (INN) through an outsourcing agreement with Grant Broadcasting. News anchors, meteorologists, and sports anchors were provided by INN and other personnel from the newscast production company would fill-in as needed. WZDX maintained two locally-based news reporters which would contribute content to the show. It was taped in advance and then fed to the station through satellite.
The broadcasts originated from INN's facility on Tremont Avenue in Davenport, Iowa. In a report in the Macon, Georgia Telegraph, it was announced the Independent News Network filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy and the company would end all news productions (including those for WZDX) by January 9, 2009. However, all INN broadcasts would then be reinstated under ownership of Fusion Communications (also of Davenport) according to the newspaper. WZDX would not face local news competition until February 1, 2010 when WHNT added a nightly half-hour newscast at 9 to its Retro Television Network (RTV) subchannel (WHNT-DT2 dropped RTV for Antenna TV in 2011).
On September 20, this station terminated its outsourcing agreement with INN and entered into another news share arrangement with WAAY (owned by Calkins Media). This resulted in a local refocus of Fox 54 Nine O'Clock News which can now be seen every night from a secondary set at WAAY's studios on Monte Sano Boulevard Southeast. WZDX maintains separate news anchors and a meteorologist but they can report for and/or fill-in on WAAY. In addition to its main facility, the latter also operates bureaus in Decatur (on Lee Street Northeast) and The Shoals (in Florence on North Pine Street within the University of North Alabama campus). Although the previous INN newscasts were in high definition in later years, the newscasts on WZDX reverted to pillarboxed 4:3 standard definition when WAAY took over the production. WAAY upgraded to high definition newscasts on December 12, 2011 and the WZDX shows were included.
- Minium, Harry (August 27, 2014). "ODU's opener with Hampton to be televised in 66 markets". HamptonRoads.com (The Virginian-Pilot). Retrieved September 8, 2014.
- Malone, Michael (November 6, 2013). "Nexstar to Acquire Seven Grant Stations For $87.5 Million". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved November 6, 2013.
- Consummation Notice,CDBS Public Access Federal Communications Commission, Retrieved 3 December, 2014.
- RabbitEars TV Query for WZDX
- Me-TV Lands Affiliations In Three More Market. TVNewsCheck, March 30, 2012.
- List of Digital Full-Power Stations
- Macon Telegraph: "Future of Macon TV station’s nightly newscast uncertain", 1/5/2009.