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|Fargo, North Dakota/Moorhead, Minnesota
|Branding||WDAY 6 Television (general)
WDAY News (newscasts)
Fargo CW (on DT2)
|Slogan||Your News Leader|
|Channels||Digital: 21 (UHF)
Virtual: 6 (PSIP)
6.2 The CW
6.3 WDAY'Z Xtra
6.4 Justice Network
|Affiliations||ABC (primary since 1983; secondary 1953–1959)|
|First air date||June 1, 1953|
|Call letters' meaning||taken from sister radio station, which was randomly assigned by the FCC |
|Sister station(s)||WDAY-AM, WDAZ-TV, KBMY-TV/KMCY-TV|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
6 (VHF, 1953–2009)
|Former affiliations||NBC (1953–1983)|
|Transmitter power||1000 kW|
|Public license information:||Profile
WDAY-TV, channel 6, is the ABC-affiliated television station licensed to Fargo, North Dakota. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 21 (or virtual channel 6.1 via PSIP) from a 1,000-foot (300 m) tall transmitter tower near Amenia. On cable, the station can be seen on channel 6 in most areas, and on Midcontinent Communications digital channel 606 and Cable One digital channel 1006 in high definition.
The station is owned by Forum Communications of Fargo, which also owns WDAY radio (970 AM) and The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. The facilities for WDAY-AM-TV are on South 8th Street in downtown Fargo. WDAY also operates a semi-satellite, WDAZ-TV in Grand Forks, which airs local advertising and weekday newscasts focusing on the Grand Forks metro and northern portion of the Fargo/Grand Forks market, but otherwise airs the same programming as WDAY. WDAZ also has significant viewership in southern Manitoba, Canada, including Winnipeg, which has double the population of the Fargo/Grand Forks market as a whole. The two stations are counted as a single unit for ratings purposes.
WDAY-TV went on the air for the first time in 1953 as the second television station in North Dakota (after KCJB-TV, now KXMC-TV, in Minot), and the first in Fargo and the eastern part of the state. It was owned by a group of Fargo investors, the largest of which was Norman Black, owner and publisher of The Forum. Black bought the remaining shares in 1958.
It was originally an NBC affiliate, but shared ABC programming with KXJB-TV until KXGO-TV (channel 11, later KTHI-TV and now KVLY-TV) signed on in 1959. It swapped affiliations with KTHI and became an ABC affiliate in 1983, at the same time former sister station KSFY-TV switched from NBC to ABC.
Unlike rivals KXJB and KVLY, WDAY-TV's analog signal did not cover the northern portion of this vast market very well. It was required to conform its signal to protect CBC Television's Winnipeg station, CBWT, which took to the air on channel 6 a year after WDAY-TV signed on. As a result, it was barely viewable in northern Grand Forks and could not be seen at all in much of the northern part of the market. To solve this problem, it signed on semi-satellite WDAZ-TV in 1967. WDAZ-TV identifies as a station in its own right, producing its own newscasts and airing its own commercials. However, it rebroadcasts most of WDAY-TV's syndicated programming, and the two stations along with CBS affiliates KXMB-TV in Bismarck and KXMC-TV in Minot often share news stories. WDAZ serves the northern part of the Fargo-Grand Forks market, while WDAY-TV serves the southern portion. (The coverage problem would become moot with the 2009 digital television transition in the United States and the 2011 transition in Canada, in which WDAY would broadcast its digital signal on channel 21 and CBWT broadcast theirs on channel 27.)
WDAY/WDAZ began operating cable-only WB affiliate "WBFG" in 1998. This was on channel 8, 7 or 14 on most systems in eastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota. WDAY/WDAZ replaced "WBFG" with new digital broadcast subchannels WDAY 6.2 and WDAZ 8.2 simulcasting The CW after the new network launched in the fall of 2006. The CW was only available over the air on WDAY until WDAZ switched to digital in 2009. Fargo CW also carries programming from The CW Plus.
WDAY-TV is one of the westernmost stations in the country whose callsign begins with W. Most stations west of the Mississippi begin with K; however, WDAY radio received its call letters before the U.S. government moved the K-W boundary in 1923 from the state borders between 102 and 104 degrees West longitude (including the North Dakota-Montana border) to the Mississippi River.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|6.1||720p||16:9||WDAYABC||Main WDAY-TV programming / ABC|
(Storm Tracker/WDAY Radio/Local Sports)
|6.4||480i||WDAY DT||Justice Network|
Fargo CW was a cable-only station with WB affiliation, and branded as "WBFG", a designation going back to its launch as a station transmitting The WB 100+ distant network schedule to the area over cable exclusively. When the CW launched in September 2006, WBFG switched over to the distant The CW Plus schedule and eventually moved to WDAY-DT2 and WDAZ-DT2 to provide all viewers CW service in the area.
Fargo CW is offered on Cable One cable channel 28 in the Fargo-Moorhead area. It can be seen on Midcontinent cable channel 14 in Fargo, Moorhead and most other areas. It can be seen on Midcontinent cable channel 7 in the Grand Forks area. The station moved on Cable One's lineup to from longtime channel 8 to channel 28 in 2014.
WDAY'Z Xtra is a digital subchannel carried on WDAY 6.3, WDAZ 8.3, KBMY 17.3 in Bismarck, and KMCY 14.3 in Minot. This subchannel airs Doppler weather radar and "Storm Tracker" weather loop with the audio of Fargo's WDAY radio, but also broadcasts area high school sports. It is offered on Midcontinent cable channel 596 and CableOne channel 29. The high definition feed of WDAY'Z Xtra on channel 6.4 became available in 2014.
WDAY-TV shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 6, 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 UHF channel 21. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analog channel 6.
News operation and programming
WDAY-TV presently broadcasts 19½ hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 3½ hours on weekdays, and one hour on Saturdays and Sundays). For the better part of the last two decades, WDAY's newscasts have traditionally led the ratings in the Fargo/Grand Forks market. WDAY and WDAZ are counted as one station for ratings and regulatory purposes. WDAZ has traditionally dominated the ratings for the northern part of the market, with their competitive advantage of being the only station airing local news from Grand Forks.
As a whole, as of November 2012, WDAY/WDAZ has been the ratings leader, with KVLY being the runner-up. Due to many of KVLY's newscasts being simulcast on KXJB (which has moved to KVLY-DT2), KVLY also claims to be the ratings leader in the Fargo/Grand Forks market when KVLY and KXJB's ratings were combined. However, until recently, KVLY and KXJB were not counted as one station due to different network and syndicated programming. CBS and KXJB's programming moved to KVLY's second subchannel in December 2014, therefore KVLY can now count all of its subchannels as one station for ratings purposes. Recently, KVLY has been the ratings leader for the immediate Fargo-Moorhead metro area and the southern part of the market, with WDAY slipping to second place; however, sister station WDAZ's dominance in the Grand Forks metro area and the northern part of the market make the WDAY/WDAZ combo the ratings leader for the entire Fargo/Grand Forks market as a whole.
WDAZ once had a larger news presence, as it aired separate 5 p.m. and weekend newscasts, with the only WDAY newscast airing being the morning First News. WDAZ's weekend news was taken over by WDAY in 2011 and its 5 p.m. weekday newscast was taken over in July 2014. The decision to replace the 5 p.m. broadcast was met with an immediate backlash from viewers, including those who circulated a petition on Change.org demanding that Forum restore the local 5 p.m. news to WDAZ.
On February 22, 2012, WDAY began broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition. KBMY and KMCY began airing some of WDAY's newscasts in 2014.
WDAY signs off in the overnight hours; as a result, ABC's overnight news program, World News Now, is not broadcast. It goes off the air at 3:43 am and signs on again at 4:27 am to broadcast America This Morning. The stations also pre-empt the network's NBA pre-game show NBA Countdown to carry paid programming.
Past on-air staff
- Channel 6 virtual TV stations in the United States
- Channel 7 branded TV stations in the United States
- Channel 8 branded TV stations in the United States
- Channel 21 digital TV stations in the United States
- RabbitEars TV Query for WDAY
- Congress delays digital TV conversion, The Forum, Fargo ND, February 5 2009
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24.
- "WDAY takes over 5 p.m. news in Grand Forks". Grand Forks Herald. July 15, 2014. Retrieved 16 July 2014.
- "WDAY Launching Statewide Morning Newscast". TVSpy.com. Retrieved 16 July 2014.
- "Backlash Grows Against Forum Communications' Decision to Dump WDAZ Newscast". Valley News Live. Grey Television. Retrieved 18 July 2014.