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|Columbia, South Carolina|
|Branding||News 19 WLTX|
|Slogan||On Your Side|
|Channels||Digital: 17 (UHF)
Virtual: 19 (PSIP)
|Subchannels||19.1 CBS HD
19.2 Weather Radar
19.3 WeatherNation TV
(Pacific and Southern Company, Inc.)
|First air date||September 1, 1953|
|Call letters' meaning||Lewis Television
(former owner, used same callsign format for other stations, such as WLTZ)
|Former callsigns||WNOK-TV (1953-1977)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
|Former affiliations||Both secondary:
|Transmitter power||1000 kW|
WLTX, is the CBS-affiliated television station in Columbia, South Carolina. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 17 from a transmitter located in Lugoff, South Carolina. Syndicated programming on the station includes: Inside Edition, The Doctors, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and The Dr. Oz Show.
- 1 Digital television
- 2 History
- 3 News operation
- 4 References
- 5 External links
WLTX carries a 24-hour feed of their weather radar on 19.2 and carries a 24/7 weather channel, which used to be called News 19 Weather NOW, under its affiliation with The Local AccuWeather Channel from 2005 until 2013, when it changed affiliations to WeatherNation TV and was renamed to News 19 WeatherNation.
|Channel||PSIP short name||Video||Aspect||Programming|
|19.1||WLTX-HD||1080i||16:9||Main WLTX programming / CBS HD|
|19.2||WLTX-RD||480i||4:3||True View Live Radar|
|19.3||WX-NOW||News 19 WeatherNation|
In 2009, WLTX left channel 19 and moved to channel 17 when the analog to digital conversion completed.
WLTX is the second oldest continuously operating TV station in South Carolina, having begun on September 1, 1953 as WNOK-TV. It signed on two months ahead of Columbia's WIS-TV, and originally broadcast on channel 67. It has always been a CBS affiliate, but carried a secondary DuMont affiliation until that network's demise in 1955. Its studios were located in the Jefferson Hotel in downtown Columbia, along with WNOK radio (1230 AM, now WOIC, and 104.7 FM). It moved to the much stronger channel 19 on June 30, 1961.
In June 1967, WNOK-AM-FM-TV moved to a new studio on Garners Ferry Road, 5 miles east of downtown Columbia and one mile from Interstate 77 and the University of South Carolina School of Medicine. In 1977, WNOK-TV was sold to Lewis Broadcasting and became the present WLTX.
Historically, channel 19 has been a very distant second to long-dominant WIS, especially in news programming. Part of the problem was a weak signal. The Columbia market is a fairly large market geographically, and at first UHF stations were not strong enough to cover large areas. Although channel 19 decently covered Columbia itself as well as Lexington and Sumter counties, it was practically unviewable in the outlying areas of the market. Until cable television arrived in the Columbia area in the 1970s, viewers in the outlying portions of the market had to rely on grade B signals from WRDW-TV in Augusta or WBTV in Charlotte. However, in 1985, WLTX activated a new tall tower in Lugoff that nearly doubled the station's signal and expanded its over-the-air coverage to 24 counties.
Also in the early 1990s, WLTX launched a weekly program titled "News 19: Player of the Week". This program recognized high school student athletes accomplishments in the classroom and on the fields. Future NBA star Ray Allen won the award several times while playing at Hillcrest High School (now Middle School) in Dalzell. The loss of NFL broadcast rights to Fox in 1994 cost CBS and WLTX major revenue sources as advertising rates suffered because of the loss of ratings. From 1995 to 1998, WLTX was a secondary UPN affiliate, airing that network's programming on weekend afternoons when CBS had only limited sports programming (golf, tennis, NASCAR, and an expanded college basketball schedule).
In 1998, the current owner, Gannett, purchased WLTX from Lewis. Gannett invested heavily in making WLTX competitive against the traditionally dominant WIS, building a new set and hiring new station management and news talent. Soon after taking control, Gannett hired Jim Gandy, long-time meteorologist at WIS. While Gandy initially could not appear on the air in Columbia until the expiration of a one-year non-compete agreement, Gannett used him as a consultant in Columbia and substitute weathercaster at the company's other stations, including WXIA-TV in Atlanta and WUSA-TV in Washington, D. C..
In 2002, WLTX became the flagship broadcaster of the South Carolina Education Lottery. In May 2002, WLTX was the first commercial station in Columbia to broadcast in digital. It has been able to take advantage of the multi-casting and High Definition broadcasting technology to air various special events, including the Super Bowl and the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. The station's broadcasts its own 24-hour local weather channel on digital channel 19.3 and on Time Warner Cable channel 111 and 112.
During the 1980s and early 1990s, WLTX (later followed by Columbia's ABC affiliate, WOLO-TV) aired reruns of old sitcoms instead of local news at 11 p.m. Management at the time felt that it could not hope to compete with WIS, even with a taller tower. WLTX began a five-minute late newscast in 1993 and expanded to a full 35-minute newscast in 1995. After coming under Gannett ownership, the station also created new segments such as "On Your Side", "Restaurant Report Card", and "Big Money Monday."
In 2001, WLTX added a 7 p.m. newscast to its lineup (coinciding with its flagship station status with the state lottery), competing head-on against WIS' flagship news program. J.R. Berry and Darci Strickland, the popular morning news duo at WLTX, also became the evening news anchors that year. In the May 2007 ratings books, WLTX continued to win its newscast at noon (traditionally having the same lead-in since 1979) as well as winning the first half-hour of the morning news program.
WLTX launched a new 5 p.m. newscast on August 20, 2007 titled News 19: Friends @ Five. The new newscast features Darci Strickland, Andrea Mock, and Chief Meteorologist Jim Gandy. On June 23, 2008, Friends @ Five won the Southeast Regional Emmy Award for its innovative approach to connecting with viewers. Their 11 p.m. newscast also won an Emmy Award for "Best Newscast" for the second year in a row. On June 26, 2010, the stations 6 p.m. newscast took home the Emmy Award for "Best Newscast."
On January 24, 2011, WLTX became the third television station in Columbia to regularly broadcast their newscasts in high definition and the fourth in any widescreen format. In July 2013, WLTX became the second station in Columbia to begin its morning newscast at 4:30 a.m., and on October 5, 2013, WLTX began a Saturday morning newscast at 11 a.m., becoming the second station in Columbia to air a weekend morning news program.
- Your Esso Reporter (1953-1961)
- Big City News (1961-1965)
- The 6th Hour Report & The 11th Hour Report (1965-1971)
- Dateline News (1971-1983)
- News 19 (1983-2011)
- News 19 HD (2011–present)
- "On Your Side" (1996–present)
News music packages
- Production Music: Victory Run by Network Music (?-1996)
- Wall to Wall News by Stephen Arnold (1996–2001)
- Overture by Stephen Arnold (2001–2006)
- Alive by 615 Music (2006–2008)
- Gannett News Music Package by Rampage Music New York (2008–2013)
- This Is Home by Gari Music Group (2013–present)
- J.R. Berry - weeknights at 6:00, 7:00 and 11:00 p.m.
- Andrea Mock - weeknights at 5:00 (Friends at 5:00) and 11:00 p.m.
- Darci Strickland - weekdays at noon and weeknights at 5:00 (Friends at 5:00) and 6:00 p.m.
- Lionel Moise - weekday mornings (4:30-7:00 a.m.)
- Lauren Talarico - weekday mornings (4:30-7:00 a.m.)
- Michelle Frizalone - weekends at 6:00 and 11:00 p.m.
- Clark Fouraker - Saturday mornings (11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.), also general assignment reporter
- Jim Gandy (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval) - chief meteorologist; weeknights at 5:00 (Friends at 5:00), 6:00, 7:00 and 11:00 p.m.
- Amy Aaronson (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist) - meteorologist; weekday mornings (4:30-7:00 a.m.) and weekdays at noon
- Daniel Bonds - meteorologist; Saturday mornings (11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.) and weekends at 6:00 and 11:00 p.m.
- Christine Gallagher - meteorologist; fill-in
- Reggie Anderson - sports anchor; weeknights at 6:00 and 11:00 p.m.
- James Starks - sports snchor; weekends at 6:00 and 11:00 p.m.
- Van Lott - sports photographer, editor and producer
- Jennifer Bellamy - general assignment reporter
- Steven Dial - general assignment reporter
- Ashleigh Messervy - general assignment reporter
- Jasmine Styles - general assignment reporter
- Dakarai Turner - general assignment reporter
- Jenny Wirtzberger - general assignment reporter, weekend producer
Former on-air staff
- Gene Upright
- Joel Connable (deceased)
- Ainsley Earhardt (now at FOX News)
- Natasha Curry (now at HLN)
- Todd Santos (now at The Weather Channel)
- Curtis Wilson (now at WWDM), (now doingBenedict Collegesports)
- Camille Bradford Hugg (Former Weather Anchor and Executive at WLTX)
- Dee Dee Sharp (Former anchor)
- Tabitha Kitchens
- Nat Roers (Former anchor)
- Syndey Cummins (former reporter)
- Scott Ryan (Former AM Meteorologist), (now at Weather Services International)
- WLTX.com (Official Website)
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WLTX
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WLTX-TV