|Branding||Fox 31 (general)|
Fox 31 News at 10pm (newscast)
|Channels||Digital: 12 (VHF)|
Virtual: 31 (PSIP)
|Affiliations||31.1: Fox (1986–present)|
31.2: TBD (O&O)
31.3: Comet (O&O)
31.4: Charge! (O&O)
|Owner||Sinclair Broadcast Group|
(WFXL Licensee, LLC)
|First air date||February 14, 1982|
|Call letters' meaning||We're FoX ALbany|
|Sister station(s)||cable: Fox Sports South, Fox Sports Southeast|
|Former callsigns||WTSG-TV (1982–1989)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:|
31 (UHF, 1982–2009)
|Transmitter power||60 kW|
110 kW (application)
|Height||253 m (830 ft)|
|Public license information||Profile|
WFXL, virtual channel 31 (VHF digital channel 12), is a Fox-affiliated television station licensed to Albany, Georgia, United States and serving Southwestern Georgia. The station is owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group. WFXL's studios are located on Stuart Avenue in Albany, and its transmitter is located east of Doerun along the Colquitt–Worth county line. The station transmits Fox programming in the network's native 720p high definition format but airs local newscasts and syndicated programming in unconverted standard definition.
The station signed on February 14, 1982 as WTSG-TV, Southwestern Georgia's first independent station. It was founded by black physician Carl Gordon Jr. The station's original studio facilities were located on North Slappey Boulevard/US 82 in Albany. It became a charter Fox affiliate on October 6, 1986. Gordon sold the station to NewSouth Broadcasting in 1987. The station changed its call letters to the current WFXL in 1989.
Clarion Broadcasting purchased the station in 1996. Clarion then sold WFXL to the Wicks Broadcast Group (which also owned fellow Fox affiliates KCIT in Amarillo, Texas, KJTL in Wichita Falls, Texas–Lawton, Oklahoma, and WPGX in Panama City, Florida as well as NBC affiliate KMTR in Eugene, Oregon). in 1998. In March 1999, Waitt Broadcasting bought the station from Wicks. Raycom Media acquired the outlet in December 2003 through its purchase of most of Waitt Media's stations. In March 2006, Raycom announced the sale of WFXL and eleven other stations to Barrington Broadcasting in order to meet Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules regarding station ownership. The company had just acquired the Liberty Corporation, owner of NBC affiliate WALB, which it decided to keep.
On June 1, 2006, a MH-47 Chinook military chopper traveling from Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Georgia to Fort Rucker in Alabama for a training mission hit a guy wire connected to WFXL's 1,000-foot-tall (300 m) tower resulting in a crash. While the tower and WALB's one nearby remained standing other than some guy wires, the stations were forced to temporarily cease over-the-air signals; broadcasts on cable were not affected. If the WFXL tower had collapsed, this could have also caused WALB's to topple as both were only 150 feet (46 m) apart. As a result, Raycom (which at that time still operated WFXL while the sale to Barrington awaited FCC approval) acquired auxiliary transmitters and antennas for both WFXL and WALB which were installed at a backup tower at WALB's studios in Albany.
On June 7, the WFXL tower was demolished, but in doing so one of the tower's guy wires wrapped around one for WALB's tower, as feared. As a result, that station's tower collapsed in an incident shown on live television. Since both stations were already transmitting their signals from the tower at the WALB studios they were still on the air but at low-power. Thirteen months later, a new tower for both WFXL and WALB was constructed and began broadcasting on July 3 at 11:35 p.m.
On February 28, 2013, Barrington Broadcasting announced the sale of its entire group, including WFXL, to the Sinclair Broadcast Group. The sale was completed on November 25. The station's second digital subchannel began carrying programming from Sinclair's American Sports Network syndication package starting with its inaugural broadcast on August 30, 2014. As a result of subsequent acquisitions by the Sinclair Broadcast Group, WFXL is sister to company-owned station clusters in Pensacola, Florida–Mobile, Alabama, Gainesville, Florida, and Tallahassee, Florida.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|31.1||720p||16:9||WFXL-DT||Main WFXL programming / Fox|
WFXL shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 31, 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 VHF channel 12. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 31.
As a typical Fox affiliate with a weeknight prime time newscast, WFXL airs five hours of local news a week. Along with WALB, WFXL is one of two stations in Albany to produce local news that actually focus on the city (WSWG, the market's CBS affiliate, simulcasts newscasts from WCTV in Tallahassee and provides no news coverage of Albany).
In order to offer comprehensive severe weather coverage, WFXL purchased the most technologically advanced and powerful computerized weather system available in 2007. This included access to live Doppler weather radar capabilities from the National Weather Service site at Moody Air Force Base and an automated severe weather warning system.
In September 2008, WFXL gave its newscasts a new look by means of updating it graphic package and the construction of a new set. At the same time, it added a half hour to its weeknight prime time news at 10. It had aired, at one point, a weeknight newscast at 6:30 that competed with the national news shows on the big three stations. However, on September 19, 2011, WFXL replaced this newscast with a two-hour comedy block of syndicated programming. On October 24, 2011, it added a fourth hour to its weekday morning show which can now be seen from 5 until 9 a.m.
On January 22, 2016, WFXL dropped its four-hour morning show and replaced it with syndicated and E/I programming. This was followed in April 2016 with the cancellation of the station's half-hour weekend newscasts. Concurrently, production of the station's weeknight primetime newscasts were shifted to Macon sister station WGXA; all news and weather duties are now handled at WGXA, while local reporters are still assigned to Albany to provide coverage of the Southwestern Georgia area.
- Miller, Mark K. (August 23, 2019). "Sinclair Closes $10.6B Disney RSN Purchase". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheckMedia. Retrieved August 23, 2019.
- "Army locks down crash scene, searches debris". WALB.
- "Tower vigil, crash probe both continue". WALB.
- "Specialists measure damaged tower". WALB.
- "WFXL antenna mounted on WALB city tower". WALB.
- "Demolition attempt brings down both TV towers". WALB.
- "Expert dissects tower collapse". WALB.
- Malone, Michael (February 28, 2013). "Sinclair's Chesapeake TV Acquires Barrington Stations". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved March 1, 2013.
- "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-12-03. Retrieved 2013-11-25.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Minium, Harry (August 27, 2014). "ODU's opener with Hampton to be televised in 66 markets". HamptonRoads.com. The Virginian-Pilot. Retrieved September 8, 2014.
- "Digital TV Market Listing for WFXL". Rabbitears.info. Retrieved September 9, 2014.
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24.
- WFXL will no longer have a “Good Day.” It has stopped airing weekday morning news. The Changing Newscasts Blog, January 26th, 2016. Retrieved June 17th, 2016.
- WFXL has dropped its ONLY weekend newscast. Say it ain’t so. The Changing Newscasts Blog, April 25th, 2016. Retrieved June 17th, 2016.