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|Semi-satellite of WJTV,|
|Channels||Digital: 22 (UHF)|
Virtual: 22 (PSIP)
|Branding||WHLT 22 (general)|
WHLT 22 News (newscasts)
WJTV 12 News (during WJTV newscast simulcasts)
|Slogan||Focused on the Pine Belt|
Getting You Answers
Dare to Defy (on DT2)
|Owner||Nexstar Media Group |
(Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc.)
|WJTV, WIAT, WKRG-TV|
First air date
Former channel number(s)
Call sign meaning
|Hattiesburg & Laurel Television|
|HAAT||243 m (797 ft)|
Public license information
"Mississippi's CW" (DT2)
WHLT, virtual and UHF digital channel 22, is a dual CBS/CW+-affiliated television station licensed to Hattiesburg, Mississippi, United States and serving Southeastern Mississippi's Pine Belt. The station is owned by Nexstar Media Group. WHLT's studios are located on US 49 in Hattiesburg, and its transmitter is located in unincorporated northeastern Forrest County (northeast of Leeville). On cable, the station is available on Comcast Xfinity channel 10 and in high definition on digital channel 433.
Although identifying as a separate station in its own right, WHLT is considered a semi-satellite of sister station WJTV (channel 12) in Jackson. As such, it clears all network programming as provided through its parent and simulcasts most of WJTV's newscasts, but airs a separate offering of syndicated programming; there are also separate station identifications and local commercial inserts. WHLT's master control, as well as some internal operations, are housed at WJTV's studios on TV Road in southwest Jackson.
In February 1987, the News-Press & Gazette Company (then owner of WJTV) launched WHLT in order to take advantage of local advertising and news opportunities in the Pine Belt region. It also allowed the Jackson-based station's signal coverage area to be expanded in Southeastern Mississippi. In 1993, News-Press & Gazette sold several of its outlets (including WHLT and WJTV) to the first incarnation of New Vision Television.
In turn, the company sold its entire station group to Ellis Communications in 1995. Ellis was subsequently merged into Raycom Media in 1996 after it was bought out by a media group led by the Retirement Systems of Alabama (who bought AFLAC's broadcasting group a few months earlier). In 1997, Media General acquired WHLT and WJTV (as well as Savannah, Georgia's WSAV-TV) from Raycom in a swap for Richmond, Virginia's WTVR-TV.
The trade was made in part due to Raycom's acquisition of rival WDAM-TV in Laurel and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules of the time did not permit duopolies. On April 16, 2009, WHLT "flash-cut" its signal after discontinuing analog broadcasts and began digital-only transmission. It originally applied to flash-cut earlier on February 17 but the FCC denied the station's request.
As part of a long-term affiliation renewal with The CW, Media General announced on December 23, 2014 that WHLT would add the network to their digital subchannel. This displaced The CW's previous home on WHPM-LD2. Comcast offers WHLT-DT2 in high definition on channel 1024 for Hattiesburg viewers. By spring 2017, the over-the-air feed for WHLT-DT2 was upgraded into 720p to allow for 16:9 high definition viewing for non-cable or satellite subscribers.
On January 27, 2016, Nexstar Broadcasting Group announced its acquisition of Media General; the deal was completed on January 17, 2017.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP short name||Programming|
|22.1||1080i||16:9||WHLT-HD||Main WHLT programming / CBS|
|22.2||720p||THE CW||Mississippi's CW|
|22.3||480i||4:3||ION TV||Ion Television|
|22.4||ESCAPE||Court TV Mystery|
In February 1987, the station launched its fledgling two-man news operation, covering a major local news story, a deadly tornado in neighboring Jones County. That small beginning led to personnel growth and the production of half-hour newscasts airing weekdays at 6 and 10 p.m. This evolution grew out of the station's early practice of gathering local news stories and feeding them to sister station WJTV daily (via the back haul of a terrestrial microwave link) for inclusion in one block of WJTV's 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts.
WHLT (in 1998) relaunched a full news department with shows known as 22 Daily News, had the same branding and slogan ("It's About Time") as the product at sister station WIAT in Birmingham, Alabama. Despite attaining decent ratings and winning numerous awards, it was unable to attract local advertising through consistent viewership. As a result, its newscasts were canceled after just two years.
As a semi-satellite of WJTV, WHLT simulcasts its parent outlet's weekday morning show.
On October 2013, WHLT began offering a thirty-minute local newscast which airs weeknights at 10 p.m. This program features full local news coverage of the Hattiesburg–Laurel market, anchored by Melanie Christopher, Byron Brown, and chief meteorologist Ken South. Content for the local newscast is collected by three local Hattiesburg journalists on the WHLT 22 team and is supplemented by news content from WJTV. During the second block, there is a local weather segment (branded as "Storm Team 22") focusing on the Pine Belt viewing area.