|Channels||Digital: 35 (UHF)|
|Branding||WBBJ ABC 7 (general)|
WBBJ CBS 7 (on DT3)
WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News
|Affiliations||7.1: ABC (1967–present)|
7.3: CBS (2012–present)
7.4: MeTV (2021–present)
|Owner||Bahakel Communications |
(Tennessee Broadcasting Partners)
First air date
|March 6, 1955|
Former call signs
Former channel number(s)
7 (VHF, 1955–2009)
43 (UHF, 1999–2020)
Doppler weather radar & NOAA Weather Radio (until 2012)
MeTV (secondary, 2012–2021)
Call sign meaning
|HAAT||303 m (994 ft)|
Public license information
WBBJ-TV, virtual channel 7 (UHF digital channel 35), is a dual ABC/CBS-affiliated television station licensed to Jackson, Tennessee, United States. The station is owned by Bahakel Communications. WBBJ-TV's studios are located on Muse Street in Jackson, and its transmitter is located on Potts Chapel Road in unincorporated eastern Madison County.
The station signed on March 6, 1955 as WDXI-TV, Jackson's first television station. It operated an analog signal on VHF channel 7, and was a CBS affiliate owned by Aaron Robinson along with WDXI radio (1310 AM). Cy Bahakel bought the station in 1966 and changed the call letters to the current WBBJ-TV in 1967 (as Robinson's estate held on to WDXI radio). Since then, WBBJ has had the longest ownership tenure of any station in Tennessee, surpassing stations in much larger markets in the state.
Soon after Bahakel took over, in January 1967, the station dropped CBS in favor of ABC (which WDXI-TV had carried as a secondary affiliation for some time beforehand); since then (and until the launch of WBBJ's CBS-affiliated subchannel), Jackson has received CBS programming from WREC-TV/WREG-TV in Memphis. Like many of the stations that operated in analog on channel 7, the station has used various versions of the circle 7 logo over the years; since 2003, WBBJ has used the original, ABC-trademarked version. Area viewers can also see ABC programming over-the-air in some areas from WATN-TV in Memphis, but that outlet is not carried by local cable providers.
WBBJ-TV shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 7, on June 12, 2009, as part of the federally mandated transition from analog broadcasts to digital broadcasts. On January 1, 2012, WBBJ-DT3 became the area's CBS affiliate bringing the network back to the market (and back to WBBJ, which carried the network until 1967). Outside of CBS programming, WBBJ-DT3 also carries programming from MeTV, syndicated programming, and WBBJ newscasts (either simulcast with the main channel or shown exclusively on the subchannel). Prior to this launch, WBBJ-DT3 served as a 24-hour live feed of a NOAA National Weather Service Doppler weather radar with audio from NOAA Weather Radio. As of September 2021, WBBJ-DT3 has been airing in 720p high definition (upgraded from its original 16:9 widescreen standard definition picture format), downconverted from the native resolution of 1080i for the CBS network. A direct-to-cable full 1080i high definition feed of WBBJ-DT3 is available on select cable providers.
On August 1, 2007, WBBJ debuted new graphics, logo, music, and an updated weather set. The station, which had been using Frank Gari's "Image News" music package since 1999, switched to "In-Sink" by Nashville-based company 615 Music. Also on this date, the weeknight 5 o'clock newscast dropped the Live at 5 branding and returned to ABC 7 Eyewitness News at 5 which local radio station WFHU-FM 91.5 simulcasts. The ninety-minute weekday morning show became Good Morning West Tennessee.
In addition to network and syndicated programming, there are local newscast offerings on WBBJ-DT3 through simulcasts with the main channel and broadcasts in new time slots. It offers local news weekdays at noon for thirty minutes as well as weeknights at 5:30 and 6:30 seen exclusively on the CBS subchannel. As a result, CBS Evening News airs weeknights at 6:00, which is a half-hour later than most affiliates in the Central Time Zone.
On January 23, 2013, the station debuted a brand new set that has a working newsroom behind the main anchor desk. Also, the new set shows the Circle 7 logo, but no longer features the ABC logo, since the station is affiliated with both ABC and CBS.
Notable former on-air staff
- Courtney Friel – news anchor
- Lew Jetton – reporter, weather, and sports anchor
- Anne Pressly – reporter (one month at WBBJ; now deceased)
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP short name||Programing |
|7.1||720p||16:9||WBBJABC||Main WBBJ-TV programming / ABC|
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- "For the record" (PDF). Broadcasting. November 7, 1966. p. 107. Retrieved November 8, 2011.
- "WDXI-TV switches to fulltime ABC-TV" (PDF). Broadcasting. December 5, 1966. p. 50. Retrieved November 8, 2011.
- "The Switch from Analog to Digital TV". www.nielsen.com. Retrieved 2017-04-10.
- Knox, Merrill (November 7, 2011). "Jackson, TN Will Get CBS Affiliate In January 2012". TVSpy. Retrieved November 8, 2011.
- Malone, Michael (November 7, 2011). "CBS Coming to Jackson, Tenn". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved November 8, 2011.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on April 3, 2012. Retrieved November 8, 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)