|Branding||The Valley's CW|
|Slogan||Dare to Defy|
|Channels||Digital: 14 (UHF)|
(to move to 2 (VHF))
Virtual: 15 (PSIP)
|Affiliations||The CW (2006–present)|
|Owner||Nexstar Media Group|
(possible resale to another owner to be determined if Nexstar's purchase of Tribune Media is approved)
(Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc.)
|First air date||October 28, 1957|
|Call letters' meaning||Huntsville|
|Sister station(s)||WZDX, WDHN, WIAT, WKRG-TV, WKRN-TV|
|Former callsigns||WOWL-TV (1957–1999)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:|
15 (UHF, 1957–2009)
|Former affiliations||NBC (1957–1999)|
|Transmitter power||1000 kW|
|Height||431 m (1,414 ft)|
|Public license information:||Profile|
WHDF is a CW-affiliated television station licensed to Florence, Alabama, United States, serving Huntsville and North Alabama's Tennessee Valley. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 14 (or virtual channel 15 via PSIP) from a transmitter located southeast of Minor Hill, Tennessee, just 500 yards (457 m) north of the Alabama state line. Owned by Nexstar Media Group, WHDF is part of a duopoly with Huntsville-licensed Fox affiliate WZDX (channel 54) and the two stations share studios on North Memorial Parkway (US 72/231/431) in Huntsville. WHDF is carried on channel 6 on most cable systems in the market.
The station began on October 28, 1957 as WOWL-TV, based in Florence. The station was owned by Richard "Dick" Biddle. Up until late 1999, that station broadcast NBC programs to northwestern Alabama and portions of southern middle Tennessee and northeastern Mississippi; it also carried some popular CBS shows like the soap opera As the World Turns.
WOWL-TV always faced competing NBC affiliates in Huntsville/Decatur (WAFF, channel 48) or even Tupelo (WTVA), whose signals reached much of its broadcast area. However, it retained viewership in northwest Alabama (Florence, Sheffield, Muscle Shoals, Tuscumbia and areas known as "The Shoals" recently and referred to as "The Quad Cities" years ago) by offering local newscasts, which for most of the station's 40-plus years were the only newscasts concerned specifically with northwestern Alabama. Over time, though, with the Huntsville stations, especially WAFF, expanding news bureaus of their own into the Shoals in the 1980s and 1990s, WOWL-TV lost much of its traditional advantage.
By the late 1990s, this duplication had progressed to the point that the station could no longer focus solely on northwest Alabama and remain viable. The owners opted to sell to outside interests, who dropped NBC in favor of UPN in the fall of 1999, making WAFF the sole NBC outlet in north Alabama. Shortly before that, on July 19, the call letters were changed to the current WHDF, with a move of the transmitter and tower to Giles County, Tennessee. The new tower transmitted from a location high enough to provide a coverage area comparable to the other north Alabama stations, while remaining within 15 miles (24 km) of Florence as required by FCC regulations.
In 2004, Lockwood Broadcast Group acquired WHDF. Lockwood's Broadcast Operation Service Solution provides content delivery and back-office function from Lockwood's Richmond, Virginia Operation Headquarters. Completed in 2007, the "hub" facility has remotely operated WHDF since that year.
In September 2006, both UPN and The WB ceased operations. A single new network, The CW, replaced those two struggling entities. WHDF, the UPN affiliate, was granted the northern Alabama affiliation rights for the new network earlier that year, and rebranded as The Valley's CW at midnight on July 27, 2006. (The former WB affiliate, meanwhile, became WAMY-TV, affiliated with MyNetworkTV.)
On July 15, 2018, Lockwood Broadcast Group reached an agreement to sell WHDF to Nexstar Media Group for $2.25 million; Nexstar concurrently took over the station's operations through a time brokerage agreement. The sale was completed on November 9, creating a duopoly with Fox affiliate WZDX (channel 54).
On December 3, 2018, Nexstar announced it would acquire the assets of Chicago-based Tribune Media—which has owned CBS affiliate WHNT-TV (channel 19) since December 2013—for $6.4 billion in cash and debt. Nexstar is precluded from acquiring WHNT directly or indirectly, as FCC regulations prohibit common ownership of more than two stations in the same media market, or two or more of the four highest-rated stations in the market. (Furthermore, any attempt by Nexstar to assume the operations of WHNT through local marketing or shared services agreements may be subject to regulatory hurdles that could delay completion of the FCC and Justice Department's review and approval process for the acquisition.) As such, Nexstar will be required to sell either WHNT or WZDX to a separate, unrelated company to address the ownership conflict. (As that station does not rank among the top four in total-day viewership and therefore is not in conflict with existing FCC in-market ownership rules, WHDF optionally can be retained by Nexstar regardless of whether it chooses to retain ownership of WZDX or sell WZDX in order to acquire WHNT or, should it be divested, be sold to the prospective buyer of WZDX.)
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|15.1||1080i||16:9||WHDF-DT||Main WHDF programming / The CW|
WHDF shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 15, 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 14, using PSIP to display WHDF's virtual channel as 15 on digital television receivers.
- "Nexstar Media Group Enters into Definitive Agreement to Acquire Tribune Media Company for $6.4 Billion in Accretive Transaction Creating the Nation's Largest Local Television Broadcaster and Local Media Company". Nexstar Media Group. December 3, 2018. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
- "Nexstar Media Group Enters Into Definitive Agreement To Acquire Tribune Media Company". Tribune Media. December 3, 2018. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
- Nelson, Bob (2008-10-18). "Call Letter Origins". The Broadcast Archive. Retrieved 2008-10-31.
- "Application for Consent to Assignment of Broadcast Station Construction Permit or License". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved July 24, 2018.
- "Consummation Notice". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved November 13, 2018.
- "Acquisition of Tribune Media Company" (PDF). Nexstar Media Group. December 3, 2018.
- Mark K. Miller (December 3, 2018). "Nexstar Buying Tribune Media For $6.4 Billion". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheck Media.
- Peter White; Dade Hayes (December 3, 2018). "Nexstar Confirms $4.1B Tribune Media Acquisition To Become Leading Local TV Station Owner". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Media Corporation.
- Gerry Smith; Nabila Ahmed; Eric Newcomer (December 3, 2018). "Nexstar to buy WGN owner Tribune Media for $4.1 billion". Chicago Tribune. Tribune Publishing. Bloomberg News.
- Arjun Panchadar; Sonam Rai (December 3, 2018). "Nexstar to buy Tribune Media for $4.1 billion". Reuters.
- Jon Lafayette (December 3, 2018). "Nexstar Announces Deal to Buy Tribune for $6.4B". Broadcasting & Cable. NewBay Media.
- Adam Jacobson (December 3, 2018). "It's Official: Nexstar Takes Tribune In Billion-Dollar Stock Deal". Radio-Television Business Report. Streamline-RBR, Inc.
- Harry A. Jessell; Mark K. Miller (December 3, 2018). "Nexstar To Spin Off $1B In Stations". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheck Media.
- RabbitEars TV Query for WHDF
- List of Digital Full-Power Stations
- CDBS Print