WDAZ-TV

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WDAZ-TV
(semi-satellite of WDAY-TV,
Fargo, North Dakota)
WDAZ-TV logo.png
Devils LakeGrand Forks, North Dakota
United States
CityDevils Lake, North Dakota
BrandingWDAZ 8 Television (general)
WDAY/WDAZ (alternate)
WDAY News newscasts
SloganYour Home Team
ChannelsDigital: 8 (VHF)
Virtual: 8 (PSIP)
Translators36.1 K16KE-D Baudette, MN
36.1 K36LW-D Williams, MN
8.1 K28PL-D Roseau, MN
Affiliations8.1: ABC (1983–present)
8.2: Justice Network
8.3: WDAY'Z Xtra
8.4: Ion Television
OwnerForum Communications Company
First air dateJanuary 29, 1967 (52 years ago) (1967-01-29)
Call letters' meaningdisambiguation from WDAY-TV as second station
Sister station(s)WDAY-AM, WDAY-TV
Former channel number(s)Analog:
8 (VHF, 1967–2009)
Digital:
59 (UHF, until 2009)
Former affiliationsAnalog/DT1:
NBC (1967–1983)
DT2:
CW+ (2009–2016)
Transmitter power19 kW
Height451 m (1,480 ft)
Facility ID22124
Transmitter coordinates48°8′18″N 97°59′36″W / 48.13833°N 97.99333°W / 48.13833; -97.99333
Licensing authorityFCC
Public license information
(
semi-satellite of WDAY-TV,
Fargo, North Dakota)
Profile

(
semi-satellite of WDAY-TV,
Fargo, North Dakota)
CDBS
Websitewww.wday.com

WDAZ-TV, virtual and VHF digital channel 8, is an ABC-affiliated television station serving Grand Forks, North Dakota, United States that is licensed to Devils Lake. The station is owned by Fargo-based Forum Communications, which also owns the Grand Forks Herald. WDAZ-TV's news bureau and advertising sales office are located on South Washington Street in Grand Forks, and its transmitter is located near Dahlen, North Dakota. On cable, the station is available on channel 8 in most areas. There is a high definition feed provided on Midcontinent Communications digital channel 608 and Polar Communications digital channel 601. WDAZ is widely carried on cable in the Canadian province of Manitoba, including Winnipeg, Portage la Prairie, Selkirk, Steinbach, Winkler, and Kenora, Ontario.

Although identifying as a separate station in its own right, WDAZ-TV is considered a semi-satellite of sister station and company flagship WDAY-TV (channel 6) in Fargo. As such, it simulcasts all network and syndicated programming as provided by WDAY-TV, and the two stations share a website. However, WDAZ-TV airs separate commercial inserts and legal identifications. Local newscasts, produced by WDAY-TV, are simulcast on both stations. WDAZ-TV serves the northern half of the Fargo–Grand Forks market while WDAY-TV serves the southern portion. Master control and some internal operations are based at WDAY-TV's studios on South 8th Street in Fargo.

History[edit]

WDAY-TV and WDAZ-TV used these logos in 1972–73 (top) and 1973–74 (bottom).

WDAZ went on the air for the first time on January 29, 1967. For its first 15 years on the air, WDAY-TV had significant coverage problems in the northern portion of the vast Fargo–Grand Forks market. Channel 6 was required to conform its signal to protect CBC Television station CBWT in Winnipeg, which was also on channel 6. While the other Fargo stations covered the northern portion of the market very well, WDAY-TV only provides grade B coverage to most of Grand Forks and cannot be seen at all in much of the northern part of the market. WDAZ was signed on to fill this coverage gap. (WDAY's 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.) It is one of the few stations west of the Mississippi River allowed to use a "W" call sign at sign-on. Most stations west of the Mississippi begin with the 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.

Originally an NBC affiliate, WDAZ switched to ABC along with sister station WDAY-TV in August 1983. WDAZ continues to be carried on Canadian cable systems, while other North Dakota broadcasts were replaced with Detroit and/or Toledo, Ohio stations. WDAZ even maintained a sales office in Winnipeg. In 1986, WDAZ was nearly dropped from cable in Winnipeg.[1] After the crisis, WDAZ and Prairie Public Television set up a fixed microwave link to carry stronger signals into Winnipeg.

WDAZ HD logo used until 2016.

WDAY/WDAZ began operating cable-only WB affiliate "WBFG" in 1998. WDAY/WDAZ replaced "WBFG" with the Justice Network (which launched in early 2016) on new digital broadcast subchannels WDAY 6.2 and WDAZ 8.2 and WDAY'Z Xtra (which launched in 2013) on digital subchannel 6.3 in the Fargo area and 8.3 in the Grand Forks area. WDAZ-DT4 returned to the air in 2017 as an affiliate of Ion.

Digital television[edit]

Digital channels[edit]

The station's digital signal is multiplexed:

Channel Video aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[2]
8.1 720p 16:9 WDAZABC Main WDAZ-TV programming / ABC
8.2 480i WDAZ-SD Justice Network
8.3 720p XTRA WDAY'Z Xtra
(Syndicated/Local Sports/Weather Radar)
8.4 480i ION Ion Television

Justice Network is carried on a digital subchannel of WDAY 6.2 in Fargo, WDAZ 8.2 in Devils Lake/Grand Forks, KBMY 17.2 in Bismarck and KMCY 14.2 in Minot. This channel is available on Cable One channel 28 in the Fargo-Moorhead area. It can also be seen on Midco cable channel 14 in Fargo, Moorhead, Devils Lake and most other areas, and on Midco cable channel 7 in the Grand Forks area.

WDAY'Z Xtra (Per The WDAZ-DT3 Feed)[edit]

WDAY'Z Xtra is a digital subchannel carried on WDAY 6.3, WDAZ 8.3, KBMY 17.3, and KMCY 14.3, airing as a secondary affiliation to MyNetworkTV on KBMY and KMCY but without interruption on WDAY-TV and WDAZ-TV. This subchannel airs syndicated programming, North Dakota and Minnesota high school sports, North Dakota high school state tournaments, Minnesota State University Moorhead Athletics, ACC football and basketball and select University of North Dakota athletic events. It airs Doppler weather radar and "Storm Tracker" weather loop with easy listening music during overnights. It is offered on Midco cable channel 596 and Cable One channel 29.

WDAY'Z Xtra became available in HD in 2014, and in 2016, MyNetworkTV programming began airing in primetime, although on KBMY and KMCY only[3][4][5] (in Bismarck and Minot respectively) but not on WDAY or WDAZ[6][7] (the most likely reason being that both of those stations broadcast to a viewing area that is currently being serviced by MyNetworkTV affiliate, KCPM).[8]

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

WDAZ-TV shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 8, on February 17, 2009, the original target date in which full-power television stations in the United States were to transition from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate (which was later pushed back to June 12, 2009). The station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 59, which was among the high band UHF channels (52-69) that were removed from broadcasting use as a result of the transition, to its analog-era VHF channel 8.[9][10]

News operation and programming[edit]

Until December 21, 2018, WDAZ aired its own locally produced newscasts from Grand Forks on weekdays at 6 and 10 p.m. (five hours each week), and simulcast WDAY-TV's other newscasts with resources from WDAZ. From 1997 until 2011, WDAZ broadcast nine hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 1½ hours each weekday, one hour on Saturdays, and the 30-minute Sunday 10 p.m. newscast).

WDAY's morning show First News has been broadcast on WDAZ since its inception, although the broadcast went statewide in April 2014 as it debuted on sister ABC affiliates KBMY in Bismarck and KMCY in Minot. 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, which had been anchored by long-time personality Terry Dullum, 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. General manager Mari Ossenfort defended the cutbacks at WDAZ, believing that the stations were to focus more on producing "content" rather than "shows".[11][12]

WDAZ is noted for being nationally honored with the prestigious Edward R. Murrow Award for Continuing Coverage during the Red River Flood of 1997. WDAZ received two Upper Midwest Regional Emmy Awards in 2014.[13]

On February 22, 2012, WDAZ began presenting its local newscasts in 16:9 widescreen standard definition, while the morning and weekend newscasts originating from WDAY were presented in high definition. WDAZ began presenting its locally produced newscasts in high definition on October 15, 2013.[14]

WDAZ signs off briefly in the overnight hours; as a result, ABC's overnight news program, World News Now, is not broadcast. It goes off the air at 3:37 a.m. and signs on again at 4 a.m. to broadcast America This Morning. The station also preempts the network's NBA pre-game show NBA Countdown to carry paid programming. WDAZ previously broadcast a weekly political talk show called Agenda, which was primarily on local and regional issues.

Starting on August 29, 2016, WDAY'Z Xtra and the Justice Network aired WDAY'Z Xtra News weekdays at 9 p.m.

WDAZ began airing a 4 p.m. weekday newscast on September 11, 2017, that originates from Fargo–based sister station WDAY-TV. It was the first afternoon newscast ever to air in the market.[15]

On November 30, 2018, it was announced that WDAZ would merge its news department with that of WDAY-TV, resulting in the cancellation of WDAZ's separate 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts, effective December 21. General manager Joshua Roher cited "changes to distribution of television, emerging technologies and economic factors in our area" as reasons for the consolidation, in a statement to the Grand Forks Herald. WDAY-TV continues to maintain a news bureau and sales office in Grand Forks.[16][17]

Sports coverage[edit]

WDAZ was known for its coverage of University of North Dakota athletics, with former longtime sports director Pat Sweeney handling play-by-play commentating. The station produced telecasts in conjunction with the University of North Dakota for its own airwaves, often simulcasted on its sister ABC stations statewide, from 1984 until 2012. UND play-by-play coverage began being simulcast on WDAZ's airwaves and a cable network known as the University of North Dakota Sports Network (formerly the Fighting Sioux Sports Network), which was launched in 2002. This network, also known as UNDSN (formerly FSSN), broadcast UND hockey, football, and basketball games which were distributed on cable television by Midcontinent Communications and other cable systems in North Dakota, Minnesota, and South Dakota. The UND Sports Network was also available all across the North American continent via free-to-air satellite. Pat Sweeney also handled play-by-play commentating on UNDSN. UNDSN was folded into the regional Midco Sports Network in 2012, and UND athletics play-by-play broadcast rights were taken over by the new regional network.

Out-of-market and Canadian coverage[edit]

Although WDAZ reaches only 82,000 American television households, the station is also carried on Shaw Communications and MTS TV in southern Manitoba, including the Winnipeg area, reaching an additional 256,000 homes. Winnipeg is the center of a market with over 1 million people—more than three times the entire population of WDAZ's American coverage area (and indeed double the entire population of the Fargo/Grand Forks market).

WDAZ and Prairie Public Television (through KGFE) are the only stations from this region that still air in Manitoba, after KVLY-TV (formerly KTHI) and KXJB-TV were replaced with other network affiliates in March 1986. This was due to a Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) decision that allowed the Winnipeg cable companies to replace the CBS and NBC affiliates with Detroit stations (WJBK (later WWJ-TV) and WDIV-TV, respectively) because of complaints about poor reception, but denied them the ability to replace WDAZ with WXYZ or KGFE/PPT with WTVS (although the latter station would later be added as a second PBS station to cable customers).[18] Shaw Cable airs WDAZ on cable channel 7 and MTS TV airs WDAZ on cable channel 13. For several years in the 1980s, WDAZ was also fed in Saskatchewan as a replacement for KTHI on its Telecable (Saskatoon) (now Shaw Communications) and Cable Regina (now Access Communications) systems, before it (along with two Williston stations and PPT) were also replaced by Detroit stations in the aftermath of a similar CRTC decision in October 1984.[19]

WDAZ can also be seen over the air in extreme southern Manitoba, and in southern parts of Winnipeg, with a rooftop antenna. WDAZ's over-the-air signal is spotty at best in Manitoba, as its transmitter is more than 100 miles (160 km) from Winnipeg.

Advertising from Winnipeg businesses sometimes air on the station, although this is sometimes ineffective due to simultaneous substitution. This practice requires Shaw and MTS to replace WDAZ's signal with that of a Winnipeg station (usually either CKY-DT or CKND-DT) whenever the same program and episode airs at the same time. Because WDAZ is carried on cable in southern Manitoba, it has become somewhat of a regional superstation.

WDAZ is also available on cable or IPTV providers in the northeastern portion of the Minot/Bismarck market (in Rolette, Pierce and Wells counties), and in Red Lake, Minnesota, (Beltrami County), located in the northern edge of the Minneapolis/St. Paul television market. Cable or IPTV providers in Belcourt, Rolla, Rugby, Harvey, and Fessenden have carried WDAZ for decades rather than sister ABC affiliate KMCY in Minot.

WDAZ-TV tower mast[edit]

WDAZ-TV broadcasts from a 445.2-meter (1,461 ft) high guy-wired aerial mast, making it the third tallest tower in North Dakota after the KVLY-TV tower and the KRDK-TV tower. The tower is located in Dahlen, North Dakota, roughly located between Grand Forks and Devils Lake. The tower was also used by KGFE of Grand Forks until an ice storm damaged equipment in 2004.

Translators[edit]

WDAZ serves its large coverage area with three translators. All are owned by local municipalities.

Active translators

City of license Callsign Channel
Baudette K16KE-D 36.1
Roseau K28PL-D 8.1
Williams K36LW-D 36.1

Defunct translators

City of license Callsign
Belcourt K51EX
Grygla K57AS
Norris Camp (Roosevelt) K67BC

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The CBC as a “cultural conduit connecting our coasts”? That’s so 1986! | The View from Seven
  2. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WDAZ
  3. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for KBMY
  4. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for KMCY
  5. ^ TitanTV TV Query for KBMY & KMCY & WDAY & WDAZ
  6. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WDAY
  7. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WDAZ
  8. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for KCPM
  9. ^ Fargo, ND - HDTV
  10. ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on August 29, 2013. Retrieved March 24, 2012.
  11. ^ "WDAY takes over 5 p.m. news in Grand Forks". Grand Forks Herald. July 15, 2014. Retrieved July 16, 2014.
  12. ^ "WDAY Launching Statewide Morning Newscast". TVSpy.com. Retrieved July 16, 2014.
  13. ^ http://www.wdaz.com/content/wdaz-receives-2-upper-midwest-regional-emmy%C2%AE-awards
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 2, 2014. Retrieved January 2, 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ Ortega, Roly (August 30, 2017). "WDAY/WDAZ will soon introduce North Dakota's first-ever afternoon newscast". The Changing Newscasts Blog. Retrieved September 1, 2017.
  16. ^ "WDAZ to merge broadcasts with WDAY". Grand Forks Herald. November 30, 2018. Retrieved December 1, 2018.
  17. ^ Ortega, Roly (December 3, 2018). "WDAZ is merging with WDAY, thus bringing dual news operations in one market to an end". The Changing Newscasts Blog. Retrieved December 4, 2018.
  18. ^ http://www.crtc.gc.ca/archive/eng/notices/1999/..%5C..%5CDecisions%5C1986%5CDB86-184.htm[dead link]
  19. ^ CRTC Decision, Oct. 23, 1984

External links[edit]