|Mobile, Alabama/Pensacola, Florida
|Branding||WKRG News 5|
|Slogan||Coverage You Can Count On|
|Channels||Digital: 27 (UHF)
Virtual: 5 (PSIP)
5.2 Ion Television
(possible sale pending)
(Media General Communications Holdings, LLC)
|First air date||September 5, 1955|
|Call letters' meaning||Kenneth R. Giddens
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
5 (VHF, 1955–2009)
Retro Television Network (2008–2011)
|Transmitter power||1000 kW|
WKRG-TV, virtual channel 5 (UHF digital channel 27), is a CBS-affiliated television station located in Mobile, Alabama, United States, that also serves Pensacola, Florida. The station is owned by Media General as part of a duopoly with CW affiliate WFNA (channel 55). WKRG's studios are located on Broadcast Drive in southwest Mobile, and its transmitter is located in unincorporated Baldwin County near Spanish Fort, Alabama.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|5.1||1080i||16:9||WKRG-HD||Main WKRG-TV programming / CBS|
|5.2||480i||4:3||ION TV||Ion Television|
WKRG-TV discontinued regular programming on its analog signal over VHF channel 5 on June 12, 2009, the official date on which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 27. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analog channel 5.
WKRG-TV first signed on the air September 5, 1955. The station was founded by the architect and movie theater owner Kenneth R. Giddens, who also put WKRG radio (710 AM, now WNTM, and 99.9 FM, now WMXC) on the air. WKRG has served as the market's CBS affiliate from its sign-on. The station originally operated from studios located on St. Louis Street in downtown Mobile until around 1982, when it relocated its operations to an area near the Bel Air Mall, which Giddens also had a hand in developing. WKRG-TV operates on the bottom floor and the radio stations operate on the second and third floors of the building.
For years, WKRG-TV was the only locally owned station in the Mobile-Pensacola-Pascagoula area. This changed after the death of Giddens in 1993. The radio stations were sold off in 1994, although they remain housed in the same building as the television station. Spartan Communications purchased WKRG-TV in 1998; the station then came under the ownership of Media General after it purchased Spartan in 2000. The station celebrated its 60th year of broadcasting in 2015.
In 2007, WKRG entered into a radio partnership with Clear Channel Communications, in effect re-establishing ties with former sister stations WNTM and WMXC, as well as WKSJ-FM (94.9 FM) and WRKH (96.1 FM). The radio stations were previously partnered with NBC affiliate WPMI-TV (channel 15), an association that ended as a result of Clear Channel selling its television stations (including WPMI) to Newport Television in 2008.
For many years, WKRG served as the default CBS affiliate for the Pascagoula/Biloxi, Mississippi market as that market did not have a CBS affiliate of its own; WKRG was available to cable subscribers in Biloxi and Gulfport, Mississippi, and usually serves the area's "B" CBS station behind New Orleans affiliate WWL-TV. This changed in 2012, when ABC affiliate WLOX signed an affiliation agreement to carry CBS programming on one of its digital subchannels. Now WKRG serves as the secondary CBS affiliate for the Biloxi market while WWL-TV is the primary affiliate.
On March 21, 2014, LIN Media entered into an agreement to merge with Media General in a $1.6 billion deal. Because LIN already owns Fox affiliate WALA-TV and CW affiliate WFNA (channel 55), and the two stations rank among the four highest-rated stations in the Mobile-Pensacola market in total day viewership, the companies were required to sell either WKRG or WALA (WFNA may either be retained by Media General to form a new duopoly with WKRG or remain part of the existing duopoly with WALA should both be kept or sold off) to another station owner in order to comply with FCC ownership rules as well as planned changes to those rules regarding same-market television stations which would prohibit sharing agreements. On August 20, 2014, Media General announced that it would keep WKRG and WFNA, and sell WALA to Meredith Corporation.
On September 8, 2015, less than eight months after the previous purchase was approved and finalized, Media General announced that it would acquire the Meredith Corporation for $2.4 billion, with the combined group to be renamed Meredith Media General once the sale is finalized. Because Meredith recently acquired WALA as a required divestment from the LIN Media acquisition, and the two stations continue to rank among the four highest-rated stations in the Mobile-Pensacola market in total day viewership, the companies will once again be required to sell either WKRG or WALA to comply with FCC ownership rules as well as recent changes to those rules regarding same-market television stations that restrict sharing agreements; sister station WFNA can legally be acquired by Meredith Media General either by maintaining its new duopoly with WKRG or reuniting it with WALA, as its total day viewership ranks below the top-four ratings threshold.
Shows that aired on WKRG in the past include Woman's World; The Popeye Show, Rosie's Place and Small Fry News, a show featuring local fifth graders. WKRG-TV was also the longtime home of Congressional Report from 1973 to 2006, billed as the longest-running program of its kind in the nation, featuring local congressmen giving viewers a local perspective of Washington, D.C. and the central Gulf Coast from their congressman's standpoint.
|This section requires expansion with: further information on the history of WKRG's news operation. (September 2011)|
WKRG-TV presently broadcasts 22 hours of local newscasts each week (with four hours on weekdays, and one hour each on Saturdays and Sundays).
In 2002, the focus of the station's programming switched to weather and news, and the station's branding was changed to reflect it: it rebranded from "WKRG 5" to WKRG News 5 (based on the station's NewsCenter branding in the 1980s and 1990s) and its slogan touted it as Mobile's "Weather Authority". On October 18, 2010, starting with its 6:00 p.m. newscast, WKRG became the second television station in the Mobile-Pensacola market and the first Mobile-based station to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition.
At one time, WKRG ran an expanded morning newscast until 8:00 a.m. on weekdays, which pre-empted the first hour of The Early Show, as well as a weekday 9:00 a.m. newscast. The 7:00 a.m. newscast was cancelled in 2008 at CBS's request for its affiliates to air both hours of The Early Show and the 9:00 a.m. newscast was cancelled in 2009 due to low viewership and staff reductions by parent company Media General. This newscast returned to the 9am slot on March 30, 2015 as a half hour newscast on weekdays. Future newscast expansion has been touted by the station by way of news promos.
WKRG is one of the two remaining stations in the market to start their daily morning newscast at 5am, along with WPMI, which ran a 4:30am show from September 2013 to June 2015.
On April 20, 2015, the morning newscast began to be simulcast on WFNA, mainly as a stopgap solution due to the sudden cancellation of that station's syndicated morning show, The Daily Buzz.
WKRG became the first Mobile station (second in market overall) to launch weekend morning newscasts on June 20, 2015 from 5-6 am Saturdays and 6-8 am Sundays.
- National Edward R. Murrow Award for Continuing Coverage - "Mobile's Makeover", the changing economic landscape of Mobile.
- Crash of the Sunset Limited: 10 Years Later - Associated Press Large Market Best Documentary
- Rosie Seaman - Press Club of Mobile John Harris Lifetime Achievement Award
- Alan Sealls - Associated Press Large Market Best Meteorologist
Notable former on-air staff
- Broadcasting & Cable Yearbook 1999 (PDF). 1999. p. B-51. Retrieved February 24, 2012.
- RabbitEars TV Query for WKRG
- Where to watch Me-TV: WKRG
- Me-TV Beefs Up Roster With 10 New Stations, TVNewsCheck, September 15, 2011.
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24.
- TV Station Mega Merger: Media General, LIN Set $1.6 Billion Deal from Variety (March 21, 2014)
- Media General acquiring LIN Media for $1.6 billion, Los Angeles Times, March 21, 2014.
- Media Gen/LIN To Sell/Swap In Five Markets, TVNewsCheck, March 21, 2014.
- "Media General, LIN Sell Stations In 5 Markets". TVNewsCheck. August 20, 2014. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
- Malone, Michael (August 20, 2014). "Media General, LIN Divest Stations in Five Markets". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
- "Media General Acquiring Meredith For 2.4 Billion". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheck Media. September 8, 2015.
- Cynthia Littleton (September 8, 2015). "TV Station Mega Merger: Media General Sets $2.4 Billion Acquisition of Meredith Corp.". Variety. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved September 9, 2015.
- http://www.mobilechamber.com/view/2005/5-2005.pdf page 7, 8 The Business View May 2005 Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce
- Lanier, Kim. "Television cook Estella Payton dies at age 95." Mobile Press-Register [Mobile, Alabama] 16 December 1999: B1.
- "The Mobile version of Julia Child and Martha Stewart. Had a long run cooking show on channel Five (formerly one of only two channels in the City)." Culture "Cul-cha"; How to Speak Mobile Connie Bea and Estelle Mobile Bay Convention and Visitor's Bureau
- Herman W. Land Associates Inc. Television and the Wired City a Study of the Implications of a Change in the Mode of Transmission 1968, July (1111) ASIN: B000RL0X18
- page 8 The Business View May 2005 Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce
- "The 2013 Nappie Awards – Lagniappe readers choose their favorite bay area amenties". Lagniappe. July 24, 2013. Retrieved August 20, 2015.
- Official website
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WKRG
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WKRG-TV