WJLA 24/7 News
|WJLA 24/7 News|
|Launched||October 7, 1991|
|Owned by||Sinclair Broadcast Group|
|Slogan||On Your Side|
northern Shenandoah Valley
NewsChannel 8 (1991–2010, 2011–2018)|
TBD TV (2010–2011)
|Sister channel(s)||WJLA-TV, TBD|
|DirecTV (Washington, D.C. area)||Channel 8 (SD only)|
|Dish Network (Washington, D.C. area)||Channel 8 (SD only)|
|Comcast (Washington, D.C.)||
|Comcast (outlying areas of D.C. area)||
|RCN (D.C. area)||308 (SD)|
|Verizon FiOS (Metro D.C.)||
WJLA 24/7 News is an American regional cable news television channel that is owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group, and managed by the company's ABC-affiliated station WJLA-TV (channel 7) in Washington D.C. The channel provides 24-hour news coverage primarily focused on Washington, D.C., northern Virginia and suburban areas of Maryland within the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. The channel shares studio facilities and offices with WJLA-TV and the Rosslyn-based Circa News in Arlington, Virginia. WJLA 24/7 News reaches more than 1.2 million cable television households within the D.C metropolitan area.
The channel was launched on October 7, 1991 as NewsChannel 8; the "8" branding was selected as a part of the name to attempt to get Washington-area cable providers to place the channel between its parent ABC-affiliated station, WJLA-TV (at channel 7), and local CBS affiliate WUSA-TV on channel 9. Allbritton also bundled the channel along with WJLA in carriage contracts. In 1995, the channel began airing timeshifted ABC News programs hours or days after their original broadcast.
NewsChannel 8 initially only had ad revenue stream until federal regulations required cable operators to pay for its carriage. In 1997, the channel was reported as profitable and started a streak of profitability by Allbritton.
As NewsChannel 8's carriage expanded to those areas, coverage was expanded to include Southern Maryland and Prince William County governmental meetings by the end of the 1990s. In July 2001, NewsChannel 8 beat CNN, Headline News, MSNBC and CNBC in the ratings, the highest viewership that the channel had ever accrued in its first 10 years. In August 2001, Comcast agreed to carry the channel for another 10 years.
On September 5, 2006, Comcast moved NewsChannel 8, at the channel's request, to channel 28 on the analog tiers of some of its systems, placing it next to sister station WJLA-TV on channel 27 (Comcast's systems in the immediate Washington, D.C. area slot the market's broadcast stations in the 20-29 channel range; this is an artifact from when television stations broadcast in analog prior to the 2009 digital television transition in order to avert co-channel interference with the broadcast signals).
Systems outside of Washington, D.C. proper carry it on channel 8, next to WJLA on channel 7. In all cases, however, the channel's high definition feed is carried on digital channel 808. On July 17, 2013, satellite provider DirecTV began carrying NewsChannel 8 on channel 8 within the Washington, D.C. market. On December 21, 2015, the channel was added to satellite provider Dish Network's D.C.-area broadcast lineup, also on channel 8.
On August 9, 2010, the channel was rebranded as TBD TV, in order to associate it with the recently established news website TBD.com, which provided news content for both the channel and WJLA. Allbritton subsequently reverted its news channel's branding to the original NewsChannel 8 name in February 2011.
On July 29, 2013, Allbritton Communications announced that it would sell its entire television group, including NewsChannel 8 and WJLA-TV, to Hunt Valley-based Sinclair Broadcast Group (owners of flagship station WBFF, as well as operators of two other stations in the adjacent Baltimore market). Sinclair had indicated that it may use NewsChannel 8 as a base to launch a national cable news channel.
On July 23, 2018, Sinclair announced that NewsChannel 8 will be rebranded as WJLA 24/7 News, aligning it further with the call letters of its sister broadcast station (WJLA-TV). The rebranding took effect at 5:00 p.m. on July 24th, 2018.
Through a fiber optic delivery system, WJLA 24/7 News provides programming and advertising targeted at three separate geographical regions of the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and was once known for airing specific "Zone Reports" on weeknights to these regions, including "The Washington Report" (featuring news stories affecting the District of Columbia), "The Virginia Report" (featuring news stories from northern Virginia) and "The Maryland Report" (featuring news from communities in adjacent suburban areas of Maryland). The appropriate edition was fed to each of the cable systems in the region. The newscasts were all the same, except for the second segment (aired between the first and second commercial breaks), which was specifically tailored to each "zone." The channel ended this practice in 2009.
WJLA 24/7 News employs its own anchors and certain meteorologists while sharing reporting and weather staffers with WJLA-TV. The two news operations share the same on-air news staffers for the weekend evening newscasts aired respectively by the cable channel and television station. The channel (along with its sister broadcast station) operates a bureau in Washington, D.C.
When it is not airing newscasts, WJLA 24/7 News airs encore presentations of ABC News programs as well as various local programs, including Let's Talk Live (an hour-long call-in talk show, airing at 10:00 a.m. with a repeat at 12:00 p.m.), "Government Matters" (a news show geared towards federal government employees and contractors and the "business of government"), and SportsTalk (a sports discussion program). Unlike most regional news channels which air newscasts during overnights and weekends on a recorded loop, WJLA 24/7 News airs some paid programming during certain timeslots within those periods.
Previous talk shows included Moms Talk (a Monday morning advice show hosted by two housewives), the Wednesday movie review Entertainment Forecast show, NewsTalk (a live hour-long daily call-in show featuring prominent newsmakers), Capital Insider (a political discussion program), Goss' Garage (a Saturday morning automotive program), The Arch Campbell Show (an entertainment news program) and Capital Golf Weekly (a program featuring golf instruction and feature reports on the sport).
In 2015, D.C. United of Major League Soccer reached a new multi-year deal with Sinclair Broadcast Group to broadcast all 26 of the team's regional matches on NewsChannel 8 and WJLA, succeeding CSN Mid-Atlantic.
WJLA 24/7 News operates a high definition simulcast feed, which broadcasts in the 720p resolution format; the HD feed launched on January 4, 2012 on Verizon FiOS channel 507. The following day on January 5, Comcast Xfinity (which began carrying NewsChannel 8 on its systems in the far western suburbs and the northern Shenandoah Valley on that date) began carrying the HD feed on digital channel 808.
Notable on-air staff
Notable former on-air staff
- Lisa Fletcher – anchor/reporter (was at Al Jazeera America, host of The Stream until the network's closure on April 12, 2016; returned to WJLA/NewsChannel 8 later that same year)
- Morris Jones – anchor/reporter (left network in May 2016)
- Britt McHenry – sports anchor/reporter (was at ESPN until April 26, 2017)
- Joe Witte – meteorologist (now a researcher at the Goddard Spaceflight Center)
- "8 is enough for viewers". The Washington Times. September 10, 2001. Retrieved 22 February 2015.
The channel originally seen only on cable systems in the District and its closet suburbs has 1.2 million subscribers today.
- "WJLA to take over TBD.com". Washington Post.
- Heath, Thomas; Wilgoren, Debbi (July 29, 2013). "Allbritton to sell 7 TV stations, including WJLA, to Sinclair for $985 million". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
- Eggerton, John (July 29, 2013). "Sinclair Buying NewsChannel 8 in D.C." Multichannel News. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
- Malone, Michael (July 30, 2013). "Sinclair Plans National Rollout for Allbritton Cable Channel". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved July 30, 2013.
- "D.C. United matches to appear on NewsChannel 8, ABC7". Washington Post. Retrieved December 20, 2015.