|Branding||The Valley's CW|
|Channels||Digital: 14 (UHF)
(to move to 2 (VHF))
Virtual: 15 (PSIP)
|Affiliations||The CW (2006–present)|
|Owner||Lockwood Broadcast Group
(Huntsville TV, LLC)
|First air date||October 28, 1957|
|Call letters' meaning||Huntsville
|Former callsigns||WOWL-TV (1957–1999)|
|Former channel number(s)||15 (UHF analog, 1957–2009)|
|Former affiliations||NBC (1957–1999)
|Transmitter power||1000 kW|
|Height||431 m (1,414 ft)|
|Public license information:||Profile
WHDF is the CW-affiliated television station for the Tennessee Valley area of North Alabama in the United States. Licensed to Florence, the station 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 Lockwood Broadcast Group, WHDF maintains studios on Cypress Mill Road in Florence, with a Huntsville sales office on Andrew Jackson Way, in the Five Points neighborhood. The station 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 carried also some popular CBS shows like the soap opera As the World Turns.
WOWL-TV always faced competing NBC affiliates in Huntsville or Decatur or even Tupelo (WTVA), whose signals reached much of its broadcast area. However, it retained viewership in the Shoals region (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 TV newscasts concerned specifically with northwestern Alabama. Over time, though, with the Huntsville stations expanding news bureaus of their own into the Shoals, WOWL lost much of its traditional advantage in that regard, especially with Huntsville's WAFF strengthening their news operation and programming in the '80s and well into the '90s. With this duplication, the owners opted to sell to outside interests, who swapped network affiliation to UPN in the fall of 1999; 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 relocation was undertaken in order to re-position the station to serve the entire Huntsville-Decatur-Florence market, not just northwestern Alabama as in the past.
In 2004, Lockwood Broadcast Group acquired WHDF. Lockwood Broadcast Group'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.)
|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.