|Baton Rouge, Louisiana
|Branding||WBRZ News 2|
|Slogan||Turn to Us.|
|Channels||Digital: 13 (VHF)
Virtual: 2 (PSIP)
2.2 WBRZ News Rebroadcast
2.3 WBRZ Weather
|Affiliations||ABC (sole affiliate since 1977; secondary 1955–1971)|
(Louisiana Television Broadcasting, LLC)
|First air date||April 14, 1955|
|Call letters' meaning||W
|Sister station(s)||KBTR-CA, KRGV-TV|
|Former callsigns||WBRZ (1955–1981)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
2 (VHF, 1955–2009)
|Transmitter power||30 kW|
|Public license information:||Profile
WBRZ, virtual channel 2 (digital channel 13), is an ABC affiliate television station serving Baton Rouge, Louisiana, south-central and southeastern Louisiana and southwestern Mississippi. It is owned by the Manship family, who formerly published the Baton Rouge daily newspaper, The Advocate. Its transmitter is located in Sunshine, Louisiana, and the station's studios are located on Highland Road in Baton Rouge, just south of downtown. On cable, WBRZ is seen on Cox Communications channel 5 in standard definition, and in high definition on digital channel 1005, as well as on AT&T U-verse. The station is also seen via satellite through DirecTV and Dish Network.
At first, the Manships wanted to call the station WBRA-TV, for the Baton Rouge Advocate, but went with the reverse "Z" at the end instead, avoiding the implications of having calls which could be understood to also mean the women's undergarment. Station founder Douglas L. Manship, Sr. still wanted "BR" in the station's calls, explaining the choice of "Z" at the end that "it was a good choice. 'Z' is a phonetically good sound on the air. It's distinctive." The "Z" was later expanded to mean "2" (similar to WGRZ-TV in Buffalo, New York). The WBRA call letters are currently used on the PBS member station in Roanoke, Virginia (standing for the Blue Ridge Mountains), though that entity emphasizes their "Blue Ridge PBS" branding over call letters except where required by the FCC. Until 1989, WBRZ was a sister station to WJBO-AM and WYNK-FM, until the Manships sold both radio stations. From the late 1960s until the late 1970s, WYNK was considered an affiliate of WBRZ.
It dropped ABC in 1971 after WRBT-TV (now WVLA) signed on. This made WBRZ a sole NBC affiliate. Because ABC was seeking out new affiliates with stronger signal coverage at the time, WBRZ swapped affiliations with WRBT and became an ABC affiliate again on September 5, 1977. In that same timeframe, NBC sunk to third and last place while ABC moved up to first place in the ratings.
In July 1987, the station started broadcasting 24 hours a day, except on Sundays. In September 1988, the station became the first in Louisiana to close-caption its newscasts. In 1991, Manship's son Richard took over the station as its new president, and would later be named "Broadcaster of the Year" by the Louisiana Association of Broadcasters. In 1993, WBRZ joined approximately 50 ABC affiliates in not airing the pilot episode of NYPD Blue due to local protests; the station decided on a week-by-week basis, at first, to air or not air episodes but eventually settled with airing episodes (including a rerun of the pilot). WBRZ became the first station in Baton Rouge to begin broadcasting in high definition on channel 13 on April 22, 2002.
In November 2004, WBRZ, along with many other ABC affiliates in the country, opted not to air the movie Saving Private Ryan when the network broadcast it uncut on Veterans Day. During Hurricane Katrina, the station worked with New Orleans ABC affiliate WGNO (channel 26) to provide coverage of the storm and its aftermath.
In late Summer 2007, the Manships acquired a low-powered, independent television station, KBTR (WBTR), from Veritas Broadcasting Company. In late 2012, WBRZ and WBTR took the This TV affiliation from a subchannel of WVLA. WBTR airs This TV on a secondary basis, and WBRZ airs This TV programming on a secondary basis during early morning weekend hours.
WBRZ launched its own Web site, WBRZ.com, on the week of September 14, 2009. Prior to that, WBRZ and The Advocate shared a website, 2TheAdvocate.com.
The station is a funding partner in The Cinderella Project of Baton Rouge, a charity that provides free prom dresses to public high school students who cannot otherwise afford them. The charity held its third annual prom dress giveaway in 2010.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|2.1||720p||16:9||WBRZ-HD||Main WBRZ-TV programming / ABC|
|2.2||480i||4:3||NEWS 2||WBRZ News Rebroadcast|
WBRZ-TV shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 2, on June 12, 2009, the official date in which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition VHF channel 13. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analog channel 2. Due to its transmitter tower location, WBRZ can be seen over the air in most of the cities in the Lafayette and New Orleans viewing area's.
In 2004, the station dropped its twenty-year slogan of "On Your Side" and started describing their news as "Balanced. Fair. Accurate," which was inspired by Fox News's "Fair and Balanced" slogan. Today, WBRZ refers to itself as "News 2" with the slogan "Turn to Us."
As of July 29, 2007, WBRZ morning show 2une In and its noon, 4, 5, 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts can now be viewed in high-definition. WBRZ is the second station in the Baton Rouge area and the fourth in Louisiana to broadcast their newscasts in high definition.
WBRZ was Baton Rouge's "news leader" in the ratings for much of its early history until the mid-1990s, given its history of always broadcasting on channel 2 (rival WAFB did not move to the VHF band until 1960) and its ties to the Baton Rouge newspapers, "The Morning Advocate" and "The State-Times." The station experienced a ratings decline when Ed Buggs, the first African-American anchor in Baton Rouge, and many of its veteran anchors left the station in the mid-to-late 1990s amidst several format changes. This allowed CBS affiliate WAFB to overtake the lead in local news ratings, after competing with WBRZ for the first place rating throughout the decade.
On November 17, 2014, WBRZ introduced their new state of the art upgrades set on their 5 p.m. newscasts, while maintaining the news theme "Extreme" by Stephen Arnold Music, which the station has used since its 2007 HD upgrade.
Notable former on-air staff
- Kip Holden - public relations specialist (now mayor-president of Baton Rouge)
- Margaret Orr - now at WDSU-TV New Orleans
- Jay Young - news anchor
- Broadcasting Yearbooks, various
- RabbitEars TV Query for WBRZ
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24.
- CDBS Print