|Branding||NBC 26 (general)
NBC 26 News (WAGT newscasts)
News 12 (WRDW simulcasts)
CW Augusta (on CD2)
|Slogan||On Your Side
Dare to Defy (on CD2)
|Channels||Digital: 30 (UHF)
Virtual: 26 (PSIP)
(Gray Television Licensee, LLC)
|Founded||March 28, 1985|
|Call letters' meaning||taken from WAGT|
|Former callsigns||W67BE (1985–1995)
WBEK-CD (May–October 2015)
|Former channel number(s)||67 (UHF analog, 1987–2001)
16 (UHF analog, 2001–2015)
16 (PSIP virtual, 2015–2017)
|Former affiliations||Independent (1985–1986, 1991–1995)
The WB (1995–1998)
America One (2004–2015)
Youtoo America (2015–2017)
|Transmitter power||15 kW|
|Height||483 m (1,585 ft)|
|Public license information:||Profile
WAGT-CD, virtual channel 26 (UHF digital channel 30), is a low-power, Class A NBC-affiliated television station licensed to Augusta, Georgia, United States. The station is owned by Atlanta-based Gray Television, and is sister to CBS affiliate WRDW-TV (channel 12). While the two stations are licensed to Augusta, their combined studio/office facility and transmitters are located across the Savannah River in South Carolina, respectively in North Augusta and Beech Island.
The license for W67BE (the call letters reflected its original location on UHF channel 67) was first granted on March 28, 1985. It was Augusta's first independent station, airing a collection of public domain black-and-white western movies, infomercials and programming such as Sewing with Nancy (unusual as that program was mainly offered for public television). It later became Augusta's first Fox affiliate before the emergence of WFXG (channel 54) in 1991. The station would eventually re-make itself, and on January 2, 1995, the station became WBEK-LP, an affiliate of The WB. During this period, the station was known locally as "The WB on WBEK 67".
In 1999, WBAU, a local affiliate of The WB 100+ Station Group, signed on, appearing on cable systems in the Augusta area; as a result, WBEK lost its WB affiliation. The station then became an affiliate of UPN, and for a few years sold advertising on WBAU, before these rights went to WRDW-TV (channel 12; this changed hands once more before The WB 100+ was replaced with The CW Plus). In 2001, WBEK moved to its present channel location, channel 16, and obtained Class A status (modifying its call sign to WBEK-CA).
After the affiliation switch, the station attempted to maintain its status as a "top" local affiliate. The station's move to channel 16 had come with a loss in power, and viewership began to decline. The station picked up a secondary affiliation with America One during this period. In 2004, the station lost the UPN affiliation to WRDW's digital subchannel 31.2 (UPN Augusta), and continued on with America One programming to very little viewer interest. In 2015, the station converted to digital broadcasting and became WBEK-CD. That same year, America One and cable network Youtoo TV merged to become Youtoo America.
On August 27, 2015, longtime owner AVN agreed to sell WBEK-CD to Gray Television, owner of WRDW-TV, for $550,000. The sale did not include the station's existing cable carriage on Comcast or the WBEK call letters; Gray thus applied to change the station's call letters to WRDW-CD. The sale was completed on October 27, 2015, at which time the call sign change to WRDW-CD took effect.
In September 2015, Gray announced its purchase of the television properties of Schurz Communications, including Augusta NBC affiliate WAGT. Gray proposed to merge the two stations' operations at WRDW's facilities (replacing a previous shared services agreement with Media General), and offer its wireless spectrum during the FCC's upcoming spectrum reallocation auction. Gray could not legally own both WRDW and WAGT; FCC rules do not allow one entity to own two of the four highest-rated stations in a market, and Augusta had only five full-power stations—not enough to legally permit a duopoly in any event. To solve the problem, Gray had proposed a waiver in which it would shut down WAGT upon closure of the deal. In January 2016, Gray requested special temporary authority for WRDW-CD to immediately move to the same operating facilities and UHF channel 30 as WAGT. As it would cause interference, Gray stated that WAGT would simultaneously discontinue its full-power signal, practically replacing it with WRDW-CD. This request implied that Gray intended to transfer the WAGT intellectual unit (programming, NBC affiliation and staff) to the low-power signal upon the completion of its purchase, as they are not subject to FCC duopoly rules. On February 1, 2016, the station's call letters changed to WAGT-CD.
The FCC approved the sale of Schurz's television properties to Gray on February 12, 2016, and approved Gray's waiver for the duopoly restrictions concerning WRDW and WAGT. However, it ruled that Gray had to continue operating WAGT through the auction. Gray went on with its plans to end the SSA and JSA with Media General; the company was granted an injunction restricting removal of the JSA or sale of the station after accusing Gray of violating the agreement, but it was struck down by the Supreme Court on March 23, 2016. In the auction, WAGT's broadcast spectrum was sold for $40,763,036. The FCC stated that WAGT planned to go off-air, and not share spectrum with another channel. This happened on May 31, 2017, when Gray Television returned the license of WAGT to the FCC; upon doing so, WAGT-CD assumed the channel 26 virtual channel and WAGT's subchannels, and Youtoo America-sourced programming was entirely discontinued.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP short name||Programming |
|26.1||1080i||16:9||WAGT-CD||Main WAGT-CD programming / NBC|
- "Application for Consent to Assignment of Broadcast Station Construction Permit or License". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. August 28, 2015. Retrieved October 7, 2015.
- "Media Bureau Call Sign Actions" (PDF). Federal Communications Commission. October 7, 2015. Retrieved October 7, 2015.
- "Consummation Notice". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. October 28, 2015. Retrieved November 4, 2015.
- "Call Sign History". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved November 4, 2015.
- "Gray Buying Schurz For $442.5 Million". TVNewsCheck. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
- "Engineering Statement - Request For Special Temporary Authority". Chesapeake RF Consultants, LLC/Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved 20 January 2016.
- "What To Make Of The Strange Case Of WAGT?". TVNewsCheck. Retrieved 11 March 2016.
- "Georgia Supreme Court strikes down Superior Court injunction over WAGT". Augusta Chronicle. Retrieved 24 March 2016.
- FCC Approves Gray-Schurz TV Station Deal. Broadcasting & Cable, February 12, 2016, Retrieved February 13, 2016.
- "FCC Broadcast Television Spectrum Incentive Auction - Winning Bids" (PDF). FCC. Retrieved 13 April 2017.
- "WAGT article about spectrum notice". 25 May 2017. Retrieved 25 May 2017.