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Charlottesville, Virginia
United States
BrandingCBS19 (general)
CBS19 News (newscasts)
SloganCharlottesville News First
ChannelsDigital: 19 (UHF)
(to move to 32 (UHF))
Virtual: 19 (PSIP)
OwnerGray Television
(sale to Lockwood Broadcast Group pending)
(Gray Television Licensee, LLC)
First air dateAugust 15, 2004 (14 years ago) (2004-08-15)
Call letters' meaningCAValier (UVA mascot)
Albemarle County
Sister station(s)WVAW-LD, WAHU-CD, WHSV-TV, WSVF-CD
Former channel number(s)Analog:
19 (UHF, 2004–2009)
Transmitter power155 kW
210 kW (CP)
Height325.6 m (1,068 ft)
329 m (1,079 ft) (CP)
Facility ID363
Transmitter coordinates37°59′3″N 78°28′52″W / 37.98417°N 78.48111°W / 37.98417; -78.48111
Licensing authorityFCC
Public license information:Profile

WCAV is a CBS-affiliated television station licensed to Charlottesville, Virginia, United States. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on virtual and UHF channel 19 from a transmitter on Carters Mountain south of Charlottesville. The station can also be seen on Comcast Xfinity channel 6 and in high definition on digital channel 806. Owned by Gray Television, WCAV is a sister station to low-powered ABC affiliate WVAW-LD (channel 16) and Class A Fox affiliate WAHU-CD (channel 27). All three stations share studios on 2nd Street Southeast in downtown Charlottesville.


WCAV began broadcasting on August 15, 2004 becoming the market's first CBS affiliate and first station to mount a challenge against established NBC affiliate WVIR-TV (channel 29). Previously, the analog UHF channel 19 allocation was considered to bring Richmond a primary WB station. That area had lacked such an affiliation since the switch of WUPV to UPN in 1997.

Before WCAV's sign-on, Charlottesville had been one of the few markets in the Eastern Time Zone without a CBS affiliate. The area had previously received CBS programming on cable from Richmond's WTVR-TV and Washington, D.C.'s WUSA. When it launched, WCAV immediately replaced WUSA on local cable systems.

During 2007, the station first swapped analog cable channel allocations with WTVR. After that, the Richmond station moved to the digital tier. Shortly after WCAV's sign-on, owner Gray Television signed on ABC affiliate WVAW-LP on UHF channel 16. That station was formerly a low-powered repeater (on UHF channel 64) of Harrisonburg's WHSV and it replaced that station on Charlottesville-area cable systems. In early 2005, the two stations were joined by new Class A Fox affiliate WAHU-CA (now digital WAHU-CD) on UHF channel 27.

Since 2006, the three have been the official flagships of University of Virginia sports.

On June 17, 2013, the WAHU Fox 27 simulcast on WCAV 19.3 was upgraded to high definition.

On October 1, 2018, Ion Television was added on 19.4.[1]

Gray announced the sale of WCAV and WVAW-LD to Lockwood Broadcast Group on March 4, 2019. The sale is concurrent with Gray's purchase of rival WVIR-TV from Waterman Broadcasting. WAHU-CD was not included in the sale and would be retained by Gray as a sister station to WVIR-TV.[2][3][4]

Digital television[edit]

Digital channels[edit]

The station's digital signal is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[5]
19.1 1080i 16:9 CBS19 Main WCAV programming / CBS
19.3 720p FOX27 Simulcast of WAHU-CD / Fox
19.4 480i IONTV Ion Television

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

WCAV shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 19, on February 16, 2009, the day to the prior to the original date in which full-power television stations in the United States were set to transition from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate (which was later rescheduled for June 12, 2009). The station "flash-cut" its digital signal into operation UHF channel 19.[6] Of all of the Richmond and Washington, D.C. stations replaced on the main tier for the new Charlottesville ABC, CBS, and Fox affiliates, only WTTG survived. On Comcast digital cable, Richmond channels include WRIC-TV, WTVR and WWBT. Other Comcast systems north and west of Charlottesville do pick up Washington and Richmond locals either on the main tier or digital lineup.


Syndicated programming on the station includes: Entertainment Tonight, Judge Judy, Family Feud, and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.

News operation[edit]

WCAV and its sister stations employ the largest television news team dedicated exclusively to the Charlottesville market. While WVIR dedicates some staff to adjacent areas, WCAV focuses its coverage solely on the counties that comprise the Charlottesville viewing area. In June 2006, WCAV received the runner-up award for "Outstanding News Operation" by the Virginia Association of Broadcasters. WWBT in Richmond was the winner in that category. In 2007, the station received the "Outstanding Sports Coverage" award for a commercial television station from the Virginia Association of Broadcasters.

That same year, its website was the runner up to WVEC in Norfolk for an outstanding website award. Beth Duffy, formerly of WVIR, returned to the airwaves on WCAV on April 16, 2007. She left the station on November 25, 2009. On September 21, 2007 WCAV launched The Local AccuWeather Channel on a new second digital subchannel and live streaming video on its website and mobile phone app. Known on-air as "CBS19 Weather Now", it was added to Comcast digital channel 209 in December. In the fall of 2015, the channel was given a new look and the "CBS19 Weather Now" branding was changed to "NEWSPLEX NOW." The updated channel featured a daily simulcast of all Newsplex newscasts, previously recorded broadcasts and weather information provided by AccuWeather.

As the primary station in the "Charlottesville Newsplex" operation, WCAV airs the most newscasts, with the first hour of Good Morning Charlottesville and a noon newscast exclusive to the station. WVAW simulcasts the second hour of Good Morning Charlottesville on weekday mornings (6:00-7:00 a.m.), CBS19 News weeknights at 5:00, 5:30 and 6:00 and 19News Nightcast weeknights at 11:00 p.m. WAHU airs an hour-long extension of Good Morning Charlottesville weekday mornings at 7:00 a.m. and nightly prime time newscasts at 10:00 p.m. that competes with CW affiliate WVIR-DT3.

WCAV shares its resources with its Gray sister stations throughout Virginia, including WWBT, WHSV-TV, and WDBJ (and WDTV in Weston, West Virginia), along with the Commonwealth's other CBS affiliates through CBS Newspath.


  1. ^ https://www.instagram.com/p/BoZjBCSFa9g/
  2. ^ Aycock, Jason (March 4, 2019). "Gray Television changing stations in Virginia". Seeking Alpha. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
  3. ^ "Gray Television to acquire NBC 29 from Waterman Broadcasting". The Daily Progress. March 4, 2019.
  4. ^ "Application for Consent to Assignment of Broadcast Station Construction Permit or License". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. March 4, 2019. Retrieved March 6, 2019.
  5. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WCAV
  6. ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24.

External links[edit]