|Charleston, South Carolina|
|Channels||Digital: 34 (UHF)|
Virtual: 4 (PSIP)
|Owner||Howard Stirk Holdings|
(HSH Charleston (WCIV) Licensee, LLC)
|First air date||October 23, 1962|
|Call letters' meaning||W Graham Williams Group|
(consulting firm co-owned by HSH owner Armstrong Williams)
|Former callsigns||WCIV (1962–2014)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:|
4 (VHF, 1962–2009)
|Transmitter power||630 kW|
|Height||522 m (1,713 ft)|
|Public license information||Profile|
WGWG is a Heroes & Icons-affiliated television station licensed to Charleston, South Carolina, United States and serving the Lowcountry area. Owned by Howard Stirk Holdings, it broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 34 (or virtual channel 4 via PSIP) from a transmitter in Awendaw.
From 1962 through 2014, what is now WGWG was the original home of WCIV, and had been Charleston's ABC affiliate since 1996; however, in August 2014, WCIV owner Allbritton Communications was acquired by Sinclair Broadcast Group, owner of MyNetworkTV affiliate WMMP (channel 36) and operator of Fox affiliate WTAT-TV (channel 24, owned by Cunningham Broadcasting). Due to ownership conflicts with WMMP and WTAT, and a recent crackdown on joint sales agreements by the FCC, Sinclair elected to sell the WCIV channel 4 license to Howard Stirk Holdings, and moved WCIV's ABC programming and news operation to a subchannel of WMMP's channel 36 signal. At the same time, the two stations also switched call signs, with WCIV moving to channel 36 and channel 4 becoming the new WMMP, though the MyNetworkTV affiliation remains on channel 36.1 and did not move to channel 4.
The FCC approved HSH Charleston's purchase of channel 4 on December 4, 2014; the call letters became WGWG on March 11, 2015. Howard Stirk Holdings operates WGWG independently of WCIV and WTAT, and has not entered into a local marketing agreement with Sinclair.
WGWG began operations on October 23, 1962 as WCIV, the third commercial outlet in Charleston. The original license was granted to WTMA-TV but the call letters were later changed to WCIV before it signed-on. It took the NBC affiliation from WCBD-TV (known as WUSN-TV at the time), leaving that station to become a full-time ABC affiliate. The station was originally owned by the Washington Star Company. In 1976, businessman Joe Allbritton bought the Star and sold off the non-television assets in 1978 to form Allbritton Communications.
In May 1994, Birmingham ABC affiliate WBRC was sold to New World Communications, which signed an affiliation agreement with eleven other stations which would become Fox affiliates. WBRC, along with Piedmont Triad ABC affiliate WGHP, were placed in a blind trust in the fall of 1994, as the FCC prohibited a company from owning more than twelve television stations at the time. Both stations were sold to Fox directly in July 1995, but Fox was forced to run WBRC as an ABC affiliate for over a year after the sale, as WBRC's affiliation contract with ABC did not expire until August 1996. Before WBRC became a Fox owned-and-operated station, Allbritton purchased WCFT-TV and WJSU-TV, and made them full power satellites of WBMA-LP; this prompted Allbritton to sign a groupwide affiliation deal with ABC (which caused WCIV and Brunswick sister station WBSG-TV (now Ion Television affiliate WPXC-TV) to become ABC affiliates, the latter having done so as a semi-satellite of WJXX, which replaced WJKS as Jacksonville's ABC affiliate upon its 1997 sign-on). WCIV became an ABC affiliate on August 19, 1996; the NBC affiliation subsequently returned to WCBD on that day.
Sale to Howard Stirk Holdings; ABC and MeTV move to channel 36
On July 29, 2013, Allbritton Communications announced that it would sell its entire television group, including WCIV, to Sinclair. As part of the deal, Sinclair was planning to sell the license assets of WMMP to Howard Stirk Holdings (owned by conservative talk show host Armstrong Williams), but would still operate the station through shared services and joint sales agreements. However, in December 2013, FCC Video Division Chief Barbara Kreisman ruled that "the proposed transactions would result in the elimination of the grandfathered status of certain local marketing agreements and thus cause the transactions to violate our local TV ownership rules."
While Sinclair attempted to sell WMMP and planned to terminate an SSA with the Cunningham-owned Fox affiliate WTAT, as well as foregoing any operational or financial agreements with the buyers of the stations being sold to other parties, on May 29, 2014, Sinclair informed the FCC that it had not found a buyer for WMMP and proposed surrendering the WCIV broadcast license; through the use of multicasting, WMMP would both carry its existing programming and inherit WCIV's ABC affiliation, syndicated programming, and news operation. Sinclair opted to retain WMMP because its facilities are superior to those of WCIV. However, following the closure of the Allbritton deal, Sinclair reached a deal to sell WCIV's license to Howard Stirk Holdings, and offer it studio space at WMMP's existing facilities.
The transition process began on September 25, 2014, as a simulcast of WCIV was added to WMMP's second subchannel, along with MeTV on 36.3 (replacing ZUUS Country on that channel), and MyTV Charleston remaining on 36.1. The two stations then swapped licenses; WCIV's call sign was moved to the WMMP license and virtual channel 36, while WMMP's call sign was moved to the WCIV license which will be sold to Howard Stirk Holdings. The original WCIV signal went silent on September 30, 2014, making ABC exclusive to WCIV-DT2. Channel 4 subsequently returned to the air with programming from the ZUUS Country network, which had displaced on 36.3 by WCIV's former DT2 affiliation, MeTV. On March 11, 2015, WMMP changed its call letters to WGWG.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|4.1||720p||16:9||WGWG-DT||Heroes & Icons|
WGWG (as WCIV) shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 4, on June 12, 2009, as part of the federally mandated transition from analog to digital television. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 34, using PSIP to display WGWG's virtual channel as 4 on digital television receivers.
- "Official FCC Blog". Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Retrieved 13 December 2014.
- "FCC Broadcast Actions". Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Retrieved 13 December 2014.
- Geoffrey Foisie; Julie A. Zier (August 22, 1994). "Fox et al. to buy three stations; affiliation shuffle continues". Broadcasting & Cable. Cahners Business Information. Archived from the original on January 9, 2016. Retrieved December 5, 2015 – via HighBeam Research.
- Kim McAvoy (April 10, 1995). "The FCC last week approved New World's plans to transfer WGHP-TV Greensboro, N.C., and WBRC-TV Birmingham, Ala., into a trust for eventual sale to Fox". Broadcasting & Cable. Cahners Business Information. Archived from the original on October 16, 2015. Retrieved December 5, 2015 – via HighBeam Research.
- "Allbritton Communications Co. and ABC have signed a 10-year affiliation agreement". Broadcasting & Cable. Cahners Business Information. April 22, 1996. Archived from the original on January 9, 2016. Retrieved November 30, 2015 – via HighBeam Research.
- Charlie Patton (August 21, 1997). "Jags fans in lather over TV". The Florida Times-Union. Morris Communications. Retrieved May 20, 2011.
- Heath, Thomas; Wilgoren, Debbi (July 29, 2013). "Allbritton to sell 7 TV stations, including WJLA, to Sinclair for $985 million". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
- "Sinclair Buying Allbritton Stations For $985M". TVNewsCheck. July 29, 2013. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
- Halonen, Doug (December 6, 2013). "FCC Targets Sinclair Sidecar Deals In 3 Mkts". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheckMedia. Retrieved December 7, 2013.
- Hagey, Keach (December 6, 2013). "FCC Asks Sinclair to Revise Plans to Use 'Sidecar' Companies". The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company. Retrieved December 7, 2013.
- Eck, Kevin (March 21, 2014). "Sinclair Offers to Sell Stations Ahead of FCC Decision". TVSpy. Mediabistro. Retrieved July 26, 2014.
- "Sinclair Proposes Restructuring of Allbritton Transaction in Order To Meet Objections of the Federal Communications Commission" (Press release). Baltimore: PR Newswire. March 20, 2014. Retrieved July 26, 2014 – via The Wall Street Journal.
- Eggerton, John (May 29, 2014). "Sinclair Proposes Surrendering Three Licenses to Get Allbritton Deal Done". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved May 30, 2014.
- Jessell, Harry A. (May 29, 2014). "Sinclair Giving Up 3 Stations To Appease FCC". TVNewsCheck. Retrieved May 30, 2014.
- "Application For Consent To Assignment Of Broadcast Station Construction Permit Or License". CDBS Public Access, Federal Communications Commission. Charleston Television, LLC. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
- "Howard Stirk Holdings Grabs WCIV for $50,000". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved 19 September 2014.
- "DESCRIPTION OF TRANSACTION AND UNIQUE SERVICE TO BE PROVIDED". Howard Stirk Holdings. Retrieved 21 September 2014.
- "Time to rescan for ABC News 4's new channel". ABCNews4.com. Sinclair Broadcast Group. Retrieved 1 October 2014.
- "Call Sign History". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved March 11, 2015.
- RabbitEars TV Query for WGWG
- "Where to Watch H&I". Heroes and Icons. Retrieved 24 July 2015.
4.1 (Launches 8-1-15)
- Me-TV Beefs Up Roster With 10 New Stations, TVNewsCheck, September 15, 2011.
- List of Digital Full-Power Stations
- CDBS Print