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WDHN News (newscasts)
|Slogan||First in Local News|
|Channels||Digital: 21 (UHF)|
Virtual: 18 (PSIP)
|Owner||Nexstar Media Group|
(Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc.)
|First air date||August 7, 1970|
|Call letters' meaning||DotHaN|
|Sister station(s)||WMBB, WKRG-TV, WFNA, WHNT-TV, WIAT, WRBL|
|Former callsigns||WDHN-TV (1970–1998)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:|
18 (UHF, 1970–2009)
|Transmitter power||1000 kW|
|Height||190.4 m (625 ft)|
|Public license information||Profile|
WDHN, virtual channel 18 (UHF digital channel 21), is an ABC-affiliated television station licensed to Dothan, Alabama, United States and serving the Wiregrass Region of southeastern Alabama. The station is owned by Nexstar Media Group. WDHN's studios and transmitter are located on AL 52 in Webb.
WDHN-TV launched August 7, 1970 as the area's second television station and aired an analog signal on UHF channel 18. It was owned by Dothan businessman Betts Slingluff, Jr. and a partnership of other local investors. Before that time, Dothan relied on WTVY to carry all three major broadcast networks. WTVY was primarily a CBS affiliate, so conventional wisdom suggested that WDHN, as the second station in a small, two-station market, should have opted to affiliate with the NBC network rather than with ABC, because ABC was the smallest and weakest network and would not be anywhere near par with CBS and NBC in terms of ratings until later in the decade. However, geography played a decisive part in WDHN joining ABC. The Alabama side of the Dothan media market received a fairly strong signal from WSFA-TV, Montgomery's NBC station. Further, at the time the station signed on, no ABC affiliate provided even a grade B signal to the Wiregrass. The only nearby ABC programs were on WJHG-TV in Panama City, Florida on a part-time basis.
In 1979, reflecting an era when small, locally owned stations were losing profitability, Slingluff's group sold WDHN to Hi Ho Television, which also owned WVGA in Valdosta, Georgia. In 1986, Hi Ho sold WDHN and WVGA to Morris Multimedia. It dropped the -TV suffix in 1998. In 2003, Nexstar purchased WDHN along with KARK-TV in Little Rock, Arkansas from Morris.
On January 27, 2016, it was announced that Nexstar would buy Media General for $4.6 billion. WDHN, along with recently acquired Fox affiliate WZDX in Huntsville, became a part of "Nexstar Media Group" and joined a cluster of stations Nexstar would own in Alabama including WIAT in Birmingham and WKRG-TV in Mobile, as well as WRBL in Columbus, Georgia, which covers much of east Alabama including Opelika and Auburn. All three of these stations are CBS affiliates.
On June 15, 2016, Nexstar announced that it had entered into an affiliation agreement with Katz Broadcasting for the Escape, Laff, Grit, and Bounce TV networks (the last one of which is owned by Bounce Media LLC, whose COO Jonathan Katz is president/CEO of Katz Broadcasting), bringing one or more of the four networks to 81 stations owned and/or operated by Nexstar, including WDHN (Bounce TV and Grit are already available in the area on digital subchannels of WDFX-TV).
Historically, WDHN has been behind WTVY in the ratings. This is partly because WDHN has a coverage area only half the size of WTVY due to its short transmitter tower, which is only a third as tall as that of WTVY. It also had to deal with competition from Montgomery's WSFA, which was available on Wiregrass cable systems from the early 1980s until WRGX-LD began operations in June 2013.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP short name||Programming|
|18.1||720p||16:9||WDHN-DT||Main WDHN programming / ABC|
WDHN produces two and a half hours of news each weekday starting with Wake Up Wiregrass at 6 a.m. and then in the evening with WDHN News 18 at 5, 6 and 10 p.m. Wake Up Wiregrass replacedTop of the Morning with Charlie Platt after its cancellation. The newscast airs weekday mornings from 6 to 7 a.m. Unlike most ABC outlets and other big three network-affiliated stations, it does not offer local news on weekends.
On December 19, 2017, WDHN unveiled a brand new set and began broadcasting local news in high definition.
- CDBS Print
- "Bounce TV, Grit, Escape, Laff Multicast Deal Covers 81 Stations, 54 Markets". Broadcasting & Cable. June 15, 2016. Retrieved July 16, 2016.