|Branding||Fox 40 (general)|
Fox 40 News (newscasts)
|Slogan||Mississippi News Now|
|Channels||Digital: 14 (UHF)|
Virtual: 40 (PSIP)
|Owner||American Spirit Media|
(WDBD License Subsidiary, LLC)
|First air date||November 30, 1984|
|Sister station(s)||WLBT, WLOO, WLOX,|
|Former channel number(s)|
|Transmitter power||675 kW|
|Height||598 m (1,962 ft)|
|Public license information||Profile|
WDBD is a Fox-affiliated television station licensed to Jackson, Mississippi, United States. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 14 (or virtual channel 40 via PSIP) from a transmitter on Thigpen Road in Raymond.
Owned by American Spirit Media, WDBD is operated by Gray Television through a shared services agreement (SSA) in a virtual triopoly with NBC affiliate WLBT (channel 3) and Vicksburg-licensed MyNetworkTV outlet WLOO (channel 35). Although technically owned by Tougaloo College, WLOO is actually controlled by American Spirit through a separate joint sales agreement (JSA), and in turn Gray provides limited engineering support. All three stations share studios on South Jefferson Street in downtown Jackson.
The station began broadcasting on November 30, 1984 as the market's first independent outlet. It was also the first television station in Mississippi to not be affiliated with a network. Jackson Family Television owned the station while Media Central, Inc. of Chattanooga, Tennessee operated it under a local marketing agreement (LMA); Media Central took over ownership of the station in 1985. On July 6, 1987, WDBD became the area's first Fox affiliate, although the fourth broadcast network had launched back in October 1986. For the first nine months of the network's existence, the network's only affiliate in Mississippi was Gulfport-based WXXV-TV, which had signed on the air in February 1987 and had a decent signal that was able to cover most of southern Mississippi, but not the city of Jackson. As a result, Fox programming was not available in a large part of Mississippi for the network's first four months of operations. In 1989, the station was sold to Donatelli & Klein of Bethesda, Maryland, making it a sister station to WDSI in Chattanooga. Pegasus Broadcasting brought out Donatelli & Klein in 1993.
In October 2001, due to a payment dispute between Pegasus and Fox, WDBD became an affiliate of the WB, leaving Jackson without an over-the-air Fox affiliate for the next 23 months; sister station WPXT of Portland, Maine also made the switch at the same time as Pegasus and Fox failed to agree on an affiliation agreement for the two stations. It would not be until September 2003 when WUFX (now sister station WLOO) signed-on in nearby Vicksburg and became the area's second Fox affiliate. In the interim, programming from the network was provided on cable via WNTZ-TV for those who lived in the Natchez area and via Foxnet for those living in the Jackson-Vicksburg area.
In January and February 2006, respectively, it was announced that the UPN and WB networks would merge and form The CW while News Corporation (owner of Fox) made public another new programming service called MyNetworkTV would start up as well. UPN affiliate WRBJ was announced as Jackson's CW affiliate while WUFX eventually joined MyNetworkTV. In advance of switching to the latter network, WUFX and WDBD swapped affiliations. On July 3, 2006, the former picked up The WB but began identifying itself on-air as "My 35" in anticipation of joining the new service. Meanwhile, WDBD rejoined Fox and became known as "Fox 40".
WDBD and WUFX were sold by previous owner Jackson Television, who began operating the two stations and WXMS-LP in 2003, to Roundtable Broadcasting in early 2010. However, its licensee listing with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) still says Jackson Television. Marc Jaromin is the station's current President/General Manager. Fellow Fox affiliate WNTZ-TV in nearby Natchez technically serves the Alexandria, Louisiana market (through a low-powered repeater) but shares some of its coverage territory with WDBD. WNTZ also maintains a secondary MyNetworkTV affiliation and therefore encroaches on WUFX's home territory as well.
Roundtable Broadcasting filed to sell WDBD and WXMS-LP to American Spirit Media in July 2012. As part of the deal, the station's operations were taken over by Raycom Media, owner of WLBT, under a shared services agreement; American Spirit also acquired WUFX and WBMS-CA from Vicksburg Broadcasting, but spun off the WUFX license to Tougaloo College (though it operates that station under a joint sales agreement). The transaction was consummated on November 13.
2017–18 American Spirit Media/DirecTV and AT&T U-verse dispute
WDBD's parent company, American Spirit Media, failed to renew its retransmission contract with DirecTV/AT&T U-verse upon its expiration on August 31, 2017. After a three-week extension period passed with both parties failing to agree on a new contract, American Spirit Media withdrew permission for DirecTV/AT&T U-verse to retransmit the signals of its stations as of 11:59 p.m. EDT on September 21. As of January 2018, no resolution to the dispute has been reached.
This dispute has been particularly frustrating for viewers in the Jackson market, as it has coincided with the beginning of the 2017–18 television season, the Major League Baseball postseason, the National Football League regular season, and the college football regular season. Viewers in WDBD's market have been unable through DirecTV to watch Fox network coverage of New Orleans Saints games, the 2017 ALCS, the 2017 World Series, and numerous college football games.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|40.1||720p||16:9||WDBD-DT||Main WDBD programming / Fox|
|40.2||480i||4:3||ANT TV||Antenna TV|
WDBD increased the new digital signal's power to full-powered as opposed to the special temporary authority operation before the switchover. That change was needed because its previous VHF digital signal had a tough time reaching the outer suburbs of Jackson. The current UHF signal pushes well into the Monroe, Louisiana market to the west and the Greenwood/Greenville/Cleveland DMA to the north.
In the early-1990s, WDBD aired a local newscast called Mississippi News Tonight which was simulcasted on WXXV-TV in Gulfport. Likewise, it featured regionalized news and weather coverage despite being produced at this station's facility in Jackson. Due to low ratings and inconsistent viewership, the program was dropped from both outlets after only a year on-the-air.
In August 2008, WDBD established a second news department and began airing a thirty-minute prime time show. Known as Fox 40 News at 9, this was originally seen every night. After a short period of time, however, weekend broadcasts were dropped due to inadequate resources. On January 24, 2009, the weeknight newscast began airing in high definition resulting in this outlet becoming Jackson's first television station to make the upgrade. With the change came a new logo and an updated graphics package based on the standardized theme seen on Fox owned-and-operated stations.
In April 2010, WDBD added two weeknight newscasts, both half-hour in length. The early evening show, known as Fox 40 News at 6, directly competed with news programs seen on the area's big three stations. This would subsequently be dropped for a 5:30 p.m. broadcast, which currently airs against the national evening network newscasts. The late night program, called Fox 40 News at 10 on My 35, aired on WUFX and also competed with the area's big three outlets.
A further expansion occurred on January 17, 2011 after WDBD launched a weekday morning show called Fox 40 & Friends (name adapted from Fox & Friends which can be seen at the same time on Fox News Channel). The program, eventually renamed Fox 40 A.M., aired for two hours from 7 until 9 providing a local alternative to the national morning shows seen on the market's big three stations. To correspond with that addition, the weeknight prime time show at 9 was reformatted. It now included a fast-paced segment featuring the top stories of the day and a complete weather forecast in the first nine minutes before a commercial break.
After American Spirit Media completed its acquisition of WDBD and entered into the shared services agreement with WLBT, the station's news department was shut down resulting in several members of the WDBD staff being laid-off. Production of the station's newscasts was assumed by WLBT on November 12, 2012 with all of the news programming retained (except for the 10 p.m. show on WUFX since it would compete with WLBT). Its weekday morning show was renamed a third time to Fox 40 Morning News at this point.
All newscasts on this station currently originate from WLBT's primary set at its South Jefferson Street studios except with separate on-air duratrans and graphics indicating the Fox-branded newscasts. Although it shares a majority of on-air personnel with WLBT, WDBD maintains a separate additional news anchor for the weekday morning and weeknight shows. WLBT and WDBD operate a combined news department under the Mississippi News Now branding very similar to Raycom partnerships in Tucson, Arizona (with TEGNA-owned KMSB) and Toledo, Ohio (with American Spirit Media-owned WUPW).
- Broadcasting & Cable Yearbook 1999 (PDF). 1999. p. B-45. Retrieved August 3, 2012.
- WDBD Gets New Owners, The Clarion-Ledger, March 21, 1989, Page 6A
- "Another deal, another ownership situation for NAB graduate". Television Business Report. March 18, 2010. Retrieved March 19, 2010.
- Seyler, Dave (August 1, 2012). "TV dealings in the Jackson MS market". Television Business Report. Retrieved August 3, 2012.
- Farrell, Michael (September 22, 2017). "American Spirit Media Stations Go Dark to DirecTV". BroadcastingCable.com.
- RabbitEars TV Query for WDBD
- List of Digital Full-Power Stations
- The ClarionLedger: WDBD to start local newscasts
- Gates, Jimme E. (August 21, 2012). "Fox TV station WDBD sold". The Clarion-Ledger. Retrieved August 23, 2012.
- Gates, Jimmie (November 12, 2012). "Fox Affiliate WDBD Fox 40 begins joint news operation with WLBT". The Clarion Ledger. Retrieved November 12, 2012.