WFXG

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WFXG
WFXG Fox 54 logo.png
Wfxg bounce.png
Augusta, Georgia
United States
BrandingWFXG Fox 54 (general)
Fox 54 News Now (newscasts)
SloganYour News Now
ChannelsDigital: 31 (UHF)
(to move to 36 (UHF))
Virtual: 54 (PSIP)
Subchannels
OwnerLockwood Broadcast Group
(Augusta TV, LLC)
FoundedOctober 31, 1989
First air dateMay 23, 1991 (28 years ago) (1991-05-23)
Call letters' meaningW FoX AuGusta or Georgia
Former channel number(s)
  • Analog:
  • 54 (UHF, 1991–2009)
  • Digital:
  • 51 (UHF, 2009–2016)
Former affiliationsPTEN (1993–1994)
Transmitter power413 kW
27.5 kW (CP)
Height384 m (1,260 ft)
362 m (1,188 ft) (CP)
ClassDT
Facility ID3228
Transmitter coordinates33°25′1″N 81°50′5″W / 33.41694°N 81.83472°W / 33.41694; -81.83472
Licensing authorityFCC
Public license informationProfile
CDBS
Websitewww.wfxg.com

WFXG, virtual channel 54 (UHF digital channel 31), is a Fox-affiliated television station licensed to Augusta, Georgia, United States. The station is owned by Lockwood Broadcast Group. WFXG's studios are located on Washington Road/GA 104 in the Lamkin section of Martinez (with an Augusta address), and its transmitter is located in Beech Island, South Carolina's Spiderweb section.

History[edit]

WFXG's logo until 2016

In July 1983, nine applications for a new TV station on channel 54 were received by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Augusta 54, LP was given approval in October 1989. The construction permit was sold to John Pezold (then owner of Columbus-based WXTX) in 1990. The station eventually signed-on in May 1991, and immediately picked up an affiliation with Fox.[1]

It was Augusta's first full-power commercial station not aligned with a Big Three network, as well as the first full-power commercial station in Augusta since WATU (channel 26, later WAGT, now defunct) returned to the air in 1974. Prior to the sign-on of WFXG, Fox was previously seen on low-powered W67BE (now NBC affiliate WAGT-CD). The station was owned by Augusta Family Broadcasting, Inc. For the 1993 and 1994 season, WFXG was also affiliated with the Prime Time Entertainment Network.[2] Retlaw Broadcasting purchased the station in May 1998. Fisher Communications purchased WFXG along with the other Retlaw owned stations in 1999.[1]

Fisher, based in Seattle, decided to concentrate on its broadcast properties in the Pacific Northwest and California. WFXG and Columbus based WXTX (also on channel 54) were sold to the Atlanta-based Galleria Broadcast Group, L.P. which purchased the two stations for $40.1 million. In December 2003, Community Newspaper Holdings acquired WFXG and WXTX as well as WSFX-TV in Wilmington, North Carolina) through its Southeastern Media Holdings subsidiary. Community planned on selling all four of its television stations to Thomas Henson in January 2011.[citation needed]

Henson, upon approval from the FCC, would then operate all four properties under a company called Southeastern Media Acquisitions.[3] When contacted about the proposed deal, WFXG's General Manager Barry Barth stated he could not confirm the specifics of the transaction but said the request was basically a licensing switch and would not affect the station's day-to-day operations.[4] The deal was consummated April 5, 2011. During the next month, Henson folded the Southeastern Media Acquisition stations into American Spirit Media, LLC (one of his other companies) with the merger being finalized on May 25.[citation needed]

At that time, Raycom exercised its option to purchase WFXG outright from American Spirit Media through a newly created indirect subsidiary. Essentially, the station would be directly owned-and-operated by the company as opposed through a managing agreement. Raycom's acquisition of the station was completed on August 31. WFXG recently added coverage of ACC football and basketball games as well as periodic airings of certain sporting events from Raycom Sports. WFXG turned-off its analog transmitter on February 17, 2009 in compliance with the DTV transition. It had plans to relocate its digital signal from channel 51 to channel 31 (formerly WRDW-DT) after the transition but ultimately remained on channel 51. Finally on August 1, 2016, WFXG moved to channel 31 and increased its power output back to 413 kW ERP.[5]

Gray Television announced its acquisition of Raycom Media on June 25, 2018; Gray immediately put WFXG on the market, as it already owned WRDW-TV (channel 12).[6] On August 20, 2018, Gray announced that WFXG, along with fellow Fox affiliates WTNZ in Knoxville, Tennessee, WPGX in Panama City, Florida, and WDFX-TV in Dothan, Alabama, would be sold to Lockwood Broadcast Group.[7] The sale was approved on December 20.[8] The sale was completed on January 2, 2019.[9]

Digital channels[edit]

The station's digital channel is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP short name Programming
54.1 720p 16:9 WFXG-DT Main WFXG programming / Fox
54.2 480i 4:3 Bounce Bounce TV
54.3 16:9 Grit TV Grit TV

Programming[edit]

Syndicated programming on the station includes Maury, How I Met Your Mother, Two and a Half Men and Family Feud among others.

News operation[edit]

After ABC affiliate WJBF, channel 6 (owned by Media General) renovated its studios in 2003, the station entered into a news share agreement with WFXG. The outsourcing arrangement resulted in a nightly prime time newscast to debut on this station. Known as Fox 54 News at 10, the thirty-minute program originated from WJBF's facility on Reynolds Street in Downtown Augusta. The broadcast featured different on-air graphics and modified WJBF's existing set with separate duratrans in order to conceal that station's logo. The principal look of the set and on-air graphics for Fox 54 News at 10 remained the same since the newscast's launch and the program always used Gari Media Group's "The X Package" as its music theme.

Meanwhile, NBC affiliate WAGT decided to establish its own weeknight prime time newscast at 10 in 2004 to go up against this station's effort. The production launched a few days after WFXG's show and was initially seen on Independent outlet WBEK-CA (now WAGT-CD) through a similar arrangement. Known as WBEK 16 News at 10, the program was soon cancelled due to low ratings and inconsistent viewership. The broadcast was unable to directly compete against WFXG's news because this program has been very successful in the time slot from its start. After being retooled, WAGT's weeknight prime time newscast was relaunched on cable-only WB affiliate "WBAU" and was known as WB 23 News at 10.

In July 2011, WFXG announced that it would launch an in-house news operation by October, which was to be produced in collaboration with other Raycom stations to give it a "regional" feel.[10] In partnership with sister outlet WTOC-TV in Savannah, WFXG hired multimedia journalists to shoot, edit, and report coverage in the Augusta area. Currently, five personalities have joined the station and work out of Augusta. All anchors for news and weather are provided by WTOC and the broadcast originates live from that station's facility on Chatham Center Drive in Savannah's Chatham Parkway section.[citation needed]

WFXG also features unique, regionalized coverage provided by Raycom Media sister outlets including WTOC, WIS in Columbia and WCSC-TV in Charleston. The partnership is comparable to the existing "Raycom News Network", another regional network among the company's widespread group of television stations in the state of Alabama (WSFA in Montgomery, WDFX-TV in Dothan, WAFF in Huntsville, WBRC in Birmingham and WTVM/WXTX in Auburn/Phenix City/Opelika). The six stations share information, equipment (such as satellite trucks) and stories from reporters. WFXG became the third Fox affiliate in Raycom's portfolio to have its newscasts produced in-house joining Birmingham's WBRC and Cincinnati's WXIX. Local newscasts on the remainder of the company's Fox outlets are produced through news share agreements by a big three network affiliate in the respective market.

With the change, WFXG upgraded its newscasts to full high definition level becoming the second station in Augusta to do so (CBS affiliate WRDW-TV was the first). At that point, according to local program listings, Fox 54 News at 10 was expanded to an hour on weeknights and Sundays; the program continues to air for a half-hour on Saturday evenings. There is no regularly scheduled sports report featured during the broadcast.

In July 2016, WFXG announced plans to expand its news programming and launch a 3½-hour weekday morning newscast from 5:30 to 9:00 a.m. Remodeling to expand the studio building in Martinez to allow production of in-studio segments began later that month. Even after the program, titled Fox 54 Morning News Now, launched on February 6, 2017, WTOC continued to produce in-studio news and weather segments for the 10:00 p.m. newscast in the interim until WFXG hires anchors and meteorologists to helm the broadcast at its facility.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Witsil, Frank (November 16, 1999). "Fox station changes hands". The Augusta Chronicle. Retrieved 20 July 2012.
  2. ^ Whiteside, Lee (1995-04-06). "B5: Babylon 5 TV Station List/Times updated!". rec.arts.sf.tv. Google Groups. Retrieved 2006-11-27.
  3. ^ Malone, Michael. "Report: Southeastern Media Stations Sold". Broadcasting & Cable. Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved 1 March 2011.
  4. ^ Zureick, Erin (January 3, 2011). "WFXG awaits OK on acquisition". The Augusta Chronicle. Retrieved 1 March 2011.
  5. ^ http://www.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2011/db0316/DA-11-499A1.pdf
  6. ^ Miller, Mark K. (June 25, 2018). "Gray To Buy Raycom For $3.6 Billion". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheckMedia. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
  7. ^ Aycock, Jason (August 20, 2018). "Gray sets divestitures in eight more markets for Raycom deal". Seeking Alpha. Retrieved August 20, 2018.
  8. ^ "Gray Receives Regulatory Approvals for Raycom Media and Divestiture Transactions", Gray Television, 20 December, 2018, Retrieved 21 December 2018.
  9. ^ "Gray Completes Acquisition of Raycom Media and Related Transactions", Gray Television, 2 January 2019, Retrieved 2 January 2019.
  10. ^ "Fox station building its own news studio". The Augusta Chronicle. Retrieved 16 February 2016.
  11. ^ Roly Ortega (January 27, 2017). "WFXG is going to mornings for the very first time, finally giving the CSRA local morning news after 7:00 a.m." The Changing Newscasts Blog. Retrieved February 2, 2017.

External links[edit]