Jacksonville, North Carolina
WITN News (newscasts)
WITN 7.2 (DT2)
|Slogan||Your Breaking News
& Weather Authority
|Channels||Digital: 32 (UHF)
Virtual: 7 (PSIP)
(Gray Television Licensee, LLC)
|First air date||September 28, 1955|
|Call letters' meaning||WashIngToN or
|Former callsigns||WITN (1955–1978)|
|Former channel number(s)||7 (VHF analog, 1955–2009)|
|Former affiliations||ABC (secondary, 1955–1963)
local weather (DT2)
|Transmitter power||795 kW|
|Height||594 m (1,949 ft)|
WITN-TV is the NBC-affiliated television station for Eastern North Carolina's Inner Banks. Licensed to Washington, it broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 32 (or virtual channel 7.1 via PSIP) from a transmitter in Grifton Township along NC 118. Owned by Gray Television, WITN-TV has studios on East Arlington Boulevard in Greenville.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP short name||Programming |
|7.1||1080i||16:9||WITN-DT||Main WITN-TV programming / NBC|
|7.2||480i||WITN-MY||WITN-DT2 / MyNetworkTV|
The station signed-on September 28, 1955 from facilities on U.S. 17 in Chocowinity (outside Washington, though with a Washington mailing address). It was the area's second television outlet to launch after Greenville's WNCT-TV. It was an NBC affiliate from the start but shared secondary ABC relations with WNCT until the 1963 sign-on of WNBE-TV (now WCTI-TV) in New Bern.
WITN aired an analog signal on VHF channel 7 from the region's highest transmitter at that time; its current tower was also one of the tallest structures in the United States. The station was originally owned by North Carolina Television, a consortium of radio stations from Northeastern North Carolina. Majority ownership was held by the owners of WITN radio (930 AM, now WDLX; and FM 93.3, now WERO).
The company held onto the television station until 1985 when it was sold to Aflac. It added the -TV suffix to its call sign on July 31, 1978. In 1997, Aflac sold its broadcasting group to Retirement Systems of Alabama which merged with Ellis Communications to form Raycom Media. However, Raycom could not keep WITN due to a significant signal overlap with Wilmington's WECT (an Ellis property that was part of the deal). WITN's city-grade signal reaches the northern portion of the Wilmington market. What was then known as Gray Communications (now Gray Television) bought the station in 1997. It has been broadcasting a full-power digital signal since June 2006.
On January 7, 2009, a high definition feed of WITN was launched on DirecTV and can now also be obtained on Dish Network. It switched to digital-only broadcasting on June 12. However, WITN has been digital-only since February 19, 2009. In June 2013, the station moved from its longtime home outside Washington to new high definition-ready studios in Greenville.
In addition to offering network and syndicated programming, WITN was also a multimedia rights partner for East Carolina University Athletics from 1998 to 2014. In addition to hosting the weekly coaches' shows for football and basketball, the station produced live broadcasts of select games that were not picked up nationally by ESPN as part of its deal with Conference USA. Even though most of the broadcasts were limited to its own market, WITN got other television outlets throughout North Carolina to carry a football game in 2003 which saw ECU competing against in-state rival University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. WNCT-TV recently picked up the ECU sports package, just as the school moved its programs to the American Athletic Conference
Originally, WITN-DT2 served as a 24-hour local weather channel. It picked up MyNetworkTV on September 28, 2009 after the area's Ion Television owned-and-operated station WEPX-TV (and its full-time satellite, WPXU-TV) dropped the programming service. At that point, local weather programming was reduced to overnights and mornings while syndicated offerings made up the rest of WITN-DT2's schedule. A further addition to that service occurred April 18, 2011 when it added MeTV and dropped all remaining weather-related programming with the new network taking up most of the weekend and daytime schedule.
Eventually, a new third digital subchannel signed-on and began offering a 24-hour live feed of WITN's own Doppler weather radar. On January 17, 2013, it separated programming from MyNetworkTV and MeTV onto dedicated digital subchannels (with MeTV relocating to the third subchannel). However, WITN-DT2 simulcasts WITN-DT3 during overnight periods. WITN-DT2 is seen on Suddenlink digital channel 138 and Charter digital channel 121 or 198. WITN-DT3 is seen exclusively on Suddenlink digital channel 139.
For a period of time, WITN-DT2 could also be seen on the digital tier of Time Warner Cable in the greater Wilmington area since that market's MyNetworkTV affiliate, W47CK, was technically ineligible for carriage on cable providers due to its low-powered status. As a result, the clearance allowed WITN-DT2 to unofficially serve as Wilmington's MeTV outlet (since, at that time, there was no television outlet affiliated with the network in that area). Eventually, Time Warner Cable (now Charter Spectrum) picked up W47CK and subsequently dropped WITN-DT2 from the lineup.
In terms of Nielsen ratings, Eastern North Carolina is usually not very competitive during sweeps periods. Historically, WITN has been the #1 ranked newscast in the Greenville-Washington-New Bern market. WITN has been the #1 ranked news station in the market 6 of the last 7 years.
The station's direct competitors are WCTI-TV and WNCT-TV. There have been occasions that WITN has come in 2nd place in ratings. WITN News ranked 2nd in the market to WCTI in 2014, before regaining 1st place in 2015. In July 2008, WNCT was the most watched television station in the market after taking first place weeknights at 6 and 11. However, since then, WNCT has fallen to 3rd place weeknights at 6.
While broadcasting from its original facility in Chocowinity, WITN maintained secondary studios in Greenville on East Arlington Street (within the Square Shopping Center) less than two blocks from its current base of operations. This location began broadcasting a weekday morning newscast in 1997 featuring a news anchor, meteorologist, and photographer based out of there. In addition, weeknight interview segments were conducted from the old secondary studios.
After moving into its brand new facility in Greenville on June 5, 2013, WITN became the area's second television outlet to upgrade news production to high definition level. In addition to its main studios in Greenville, the station operates news bureaus in Washington (on Main Street), Jacksonville (on Western Boulevard), and in New Bern (on Middle Street).
Current news anchors
- Dave Jordan - Weeknights at 5:30, 6, and 11
- Heather King - WITN News at Sunrise anchor
- Lynnette Taylor - Weeknights at 6
- Lindsay Oliver - Weeknights at 5, 5:30, and 11
- Clayton Bauman - Weeknights at 5
- Stacia Strong - Weekdays at noon
- Elizabeth Bateson - Weekday mornings at 4:30
- Anna Phillips - Weekends at 6 and 11
- Cassandra Bell - Weekend mornings
- Matt Engelbrecht - Chief Meteorologist
- Jim Howard
- Charlie Ironmonger
- Phillip Williams
- Marvin Daugherty (retired)
Notable former on-air staff
- John Beard - news anchor (1972-1976; now at WGRZ in Buffalo, New York)
- David Crabtree - anchor/reporter (1985–1988; now at WRAL-TV in Raleigh, North Carolina)
- "WITN History: A Look At How We Began In 1955". Witn.com. Retrieved 2015-07-27.
- Stand by: Digital TV transition postponed, Ginger Livingston, The Daily Reflector, February 04, 2009
- http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-06-1082A2.pdf[permanent dead link]
-  ECU Media Relations, WNCT.com, July 22, 2014
- "WITN's Weather Channel Evolving To My TV - Eastern Carolina". Witn.com. 2011-03-15. Retrieved 2015-07-27.
- Chris Mossman (2011-05-10). "The Honeymooners, Twilight Zone, Rawhide, Bonanza and Cannon On WITN 7.2, Live Doppler 7 On WITN 7.3". Witn.com. Retrieved 2015-07-27.
- Malone, Michael (2012-09-24). "Market Eye: Good Night, Irene | Broadcasting & Cable". Broadcastingcable.com. Retrieved 2015-07-27.
- "WITN Starts HD Broadcasts From New Greenville Studio". Witn.com. 2013-06-05. Retrieved 2015-07-27.