|Branding||NBC 26 (general)
NBC 26 News (newscasts)
CW Augusta (DT2)
|Slogan||On Your Side
TV Now (on DT2)
|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)
WAGT-CD is a low-power television station in Augusta, Georgia (United States), broadcasting locally on UHF channel 30, displayed as virtual channel 26 as an affiliate of NBC. Owned and operated by Atlanta-based Gray Television, the station is sister to CBS affiliate WRDW-TV and their combined studio/office facility and transmitters are located across the Savannah River in South Carolina, respectively in North Augusta and Beech Island.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP short name||Programming |
|26.1||1080i||16:9||WAGT-CD||Main WAGT-CD programming / NBC|
The license for W67BE (the call letters reflected its original location on UHF channel 67) was first granted on March 28, 1985, airing, at first, a collection of grainy black-and-white cowboy movies, infomercials, syndicated (and not well known) shows and series such as 'Sewing with Nancy.' 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+, signed on, appearing on cable systems in the August 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). 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 Schurz Communications and its NBC affiliate WAGT. Gray proposed to consolidate the station into 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. However, as Gray could not own both WRDW and WAGT because they are within the top 4 stations of the market, 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 WAGT's NBC programming 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 to Gray on February 12, 2016, and approved Gray's waiver for the duopoly restrictions, but 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; it can be assumed that the Youtoo America affiliation was not retained, even as a subchannel.
- "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.