|Channels||Digital: 31 (UHF)|
Virtual: 30 (PSIP)
|Slogan||This is Home|
|Owner||Waypoint Media, LLC|
(sale to Standard Media pending)
First air date
|June 2, 1982|
Former call signs
Former channel number(s)
30 (UHF, 1982–2009)
Call sign meaning
|GloBal Communications (former owner)|
|HAAT||165.3 m (542 ft)|
Public license information
WGBC, virtual channel 30 (UHF digital channel 31), is a dual Fox/NBC-affiliated television station licensed to Meridian, Mississippi, United States. It is one of two flagship television properties of the locally based Waypoint Media, LLC, alongside duopoly partner and CBS affiliate WMDN (channel 24). The two stations share studios and transmitter facilities on Crestview Circle, in unincorporated Lauderdale County, south of Meridian. Together, WGBC and WMDN are known as "The Meridian Family of Stations."
The first channel 30 to operate in Meridian began broadcasting as WCOC-TV in 1953. It was owned by the Crystal Oil Company along with WCOC radio (910 AM, now WMOG). The station had hoped to pick up the CBS affiliation for the area due to its radio sister's long affiliation with CBS Radio. However, the network ended up affiliating with WTOK-TV on the more powerful VHF channel 11. This resulted in WCOC going dark after only a few months on-the-air.
The analog channel 30 allotment remained dark until WLBT in Jackson filed for a new station to serve eastern Mississippi in December 1980; a construction permit was issued on September 14, 1981. The station took to the air on June 2, 1982, as WLBM-TV, a low-powered semi-satellite. Previously, NBC programming had been available to eastern Mississippi viewers on WTOK-TV part-time from 1953 until 1972 or on WHTV (now WMDN) from 1972 to 1980. WLBM's studios caught fire in 1990, knocking the station off-the-air and leaving much of Eastern Mississippi without an over-the-air NBC affiliate. Cable systems provided network programming from either Hattiesburg's WDAM-TV or WLBT for subscribers.
NBC returned to the market when Global Communications brought the station back on-the-air as WGBC in September 1991. Thus, Meridian became one of the last markets in the nation with a local full-time NBC affiliate. It entered into a local marketing agreement (LMA) with CBS affiliate WMDN. In January 2008, local businessman Michael Reed bought WGBC and renewed the LMA with WMDN.
In late 2008, WGBC picked up the Fox affiliation for Meridian on its first digital subchannel with the Retro Television Network (RTV) airing during non-network time periods. This change resulted in NBC moving to a new second digital subchannel in high definition while remaining on the analog signal. On January 5, 2009, "Fox Meridian" premiered on WGBC-DT1. Fox had previously aired on WTOK-DT2 while RTV was new to the market. The move allowed Fox programming to be offered in HD for the first time in the market.
This creative arrangement resulted in NBC being moved to a new second digital subchannel. It is a similar case to CBS affiliate WAGM-TV in Presque Isle, Maine, which also moved its original affiliation to a new second digital subchannel so that its main signal could join Fox. In fall 2010, WGBC's main signal had acquired enough current-day syndicated programming that Retro TV was dropped from the station, and took on a full-time branding of "Fox 30."
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|30.1||720p||16:9||FOX HD||Main WGBC programming / Fox|
WGBC shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 30, on June 12, 2009, the official date when 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 UHF channel 31. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 30.
From 1991 until 1994, WGBC aired local newscasts during the week that were known as WGBC News 30. This was the first attempt in the market to provide an alternative news source to WTOK. The broadcasts ended, though, after local businessman Alex Shields bought majority control of WGBC.
With WMDN's third launch in 1994, local newscasts weeknights at 6:00 and 10:00 p.m. were included on the station's schedule. It also aired an hour-long weekday morning show at 6:00 a.m. for a short period of time. Since the LMA existed between WMDN and WGBC at this point, the former began simulcasting newscasts on this station. As a result, the shows were branded as 24/30 News. The title changed to WMDN News when the broadcasts were subsequently dropped from WGBC's lineup. As was the case with WGBC's earlier attempt at operating a news department, WMDN was forced to shut down its own newscast production efforts in 2005, being unable to compete with WTOK and maintain consistent viewership.
A few years later, WGBC and WMDN began airing five-minute local weather cut-ins during the NBC and CBS national morning shows on weekdays. Although this would be discontinued, the two outlets continue to air a cut-in branded as The Morning Report with Angie Denney featuring a listing of community events. There is also a cooking segment seen during the update on Mondays known as Local Flavor.
On September 20, 2015, Waypoint Media announced that WGBC would expand its news programming with the addition of a half-hour prime time newscast at 9:00 p.m.—the first such program in the Meridian market—to premiere on October 5. Despite maintaining an LMA with WMDN, the WGBC newscast was the only full-scale newscasts seen on the two stations, with WMDN continuing to only air news and weather cut-ins. This changed, however, on September 25, 2017, when WGBC-DT2 and WMDN launched 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. newscasts.
- "Standard Media to acquire nine stations". Standard Media. November 25, 2019. Retrieved November 26, 2019.
- RabbitEars TV Query for WGBC
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved March 24, 2012.
- "WGBC Fox30 to provide new choice in local news". The Meridian Star. Community Newspaper Holdings. September 20, 2015. Retrieved October 5, 2015.
- More newscasts have been added… one in Nebraska and two in Mississippi.