|Myrtle Beach/Florence, South Carolina/|
Lumberton, North Carolina
|City||Myrtle Beach, South Carolina|
|Slogan||Live. Local. Latebreaking.|
|Channels||Digital: 32 (UHF)|
Virtual: 32 (PSIP)
(Gray Television Licensee, LLC)
|Founded||April 20, 2006|
|First air date||August 7, 2008|
|Call letters' meaning||Myrtle Beach / Florence|
|Sister station(s)||WBTV, WITN-TV, WECT, WIS, WCSC-TV, WTOC-TV|
|Former affiliations||NBC Weather Plus|
|Transmitter power||530 kW|
|Height||183 m (600 ft)|
|Public license information||Profile|
WMBF-TV is an NBC-affiliated television station licensed to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, United States, serving the Grand Strand and Pee Dee regions of South Carolina. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on virtual and UHF channel 32 from a transmitter in Bucksville. Owned by Gray Television, the station has its main studio on Frontage Road East (along U.S. 17) in Myrtle Beach as well as one off West Cheves Street in Florence.
The station is carried on cable channel 10 in most parts of the market.
Raycom Media commenced construction on the station in late 2007. It was the only station that Raycom built and signed on. The company inherited the construction permit for the station when it merged with the Liberty Corporation, the owner of WIS in Columbia, which had operated a virtual station in the market since the 1990s. WMBF-TV signed on for testing in late-July 2008 with a station ID slide. On August 7, it officially signed-on at 11:59 p.m. with NBC welcoming the station on-air the following day on Today, NBC Nightly News, and Late Night with Conan O'Brien. The sign-on of WMBF occurred in time for the opening ceremony of the 2008 Summer Olympics.
Before WMBF's launch, the Florence/Myrtle Beach market was one of only a few areas along the East Coast without its own NBC affiliate, and was one of the few remaining markets in the country without full service from the three legacy networks. Traditionally, WECT in Wilmington, North Carolina was the default NBC affiliate for Myrtle Beach and the Grand Strand, and had been available on cable in the Grand Strand since cable arrived in the market in the 1970s. WIS was the default affiliate for Florence and the Pee Dee, but had been picked up by nearly every cable system in the Grand Strand by the mid-1980s.
With WMBF's sign-on, WECT and WIS were dropped from cable systems due to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules. WECT has long provided Grade B coverage to Myrtle Beach, but this ended on September 8, 2008 when Wilmington's early digital transition moved that station to the UHF band. While Myrtle Beach itself is just outside the fringe of WECT's digital signal, North Myrtle Beach is just inside it. WECT and WIS have been sister stations since Raycom's merger with Liberty in 2005. WMBF signed on without an analog signal joining several other digital-only television stations in the United States such as KPXJ in Shreveport, Louisiana, WMFD-TV in Mansfield, Ohio, and KVMD in Southern California. Since the sign-on, its digital signal had been multiplexed with NBC Weather Plus until the national network's demise on December 1, 2008. WMBF cost $10 million to build.
WMBF-DT2 previously carried a 24-hour local news and weather channel called "WMBF News XTRA," which launched in June 2009 on the same channel that was occupied by the defunct NBC Weather Plus, programming consisted of simulcasts and repeats of both newscasts and weather reports. It was replaced with Bounce TV on September 26, 2011.
Sale to Gray Television
On June 25, 2018, Atlanta-based Gray Television announced it had reached an agreement with Raycom to merge their respective broadcasting assets (consisting of Raycom's 63 existing owned-and/or-operated television stations, including WECT and the SSA for WSFX), and Gray's 93 television stations) under the former's corporate umbrella. The cash-and-stock merger transaction valued at $3.6 billion—in which Gray shareholders acquired preferred stock that was held by Raycom—would reunite WECT with former sister station and fellow NBC affiliate WITN-TV in Greenville, which Raycom immediately sold to Gray in 1997 due to contour overlaps which were not permitted at the time. The sale was approved on December 20 and completed on January 2, 2019.
Availability and replacement
Florence, the market's largest city in terms of population, is just outside WMBF's over-the-air fringe area. This is because it must conform its signal in order to protect the digital signal of WRLK-TV (also on channel 32) in Columbia. However, the station is available on all of the market's cable systems. According to its website, WMBF now holds the channel 10 position on the South Carolina Charter Spectrum cable system where WIS was located. WMBF's terrestrial digital signal does not reach the North Carolina side of the market including Lumberton. However, parts of that area once received WECT's analog signal from only 10–15 miles (16–24 km) away in nearby Bladen County. The digital signal in Delco in central Brunswick County, reaches Lumberton but not all of Robeson County. WMBF is also seen on Metrocast (formerly Northland Cable) in Bennettsville.
In Georgetown County, part of the Charleston market, WMBF is carried in most of the southern Grand Strand. The Surfside Beach area lost both WECT and WIS, but WCBD-TV in Charleston remained on the lineup until 2013. Cable systems in the southern end of the Grand Strand in DeBordieu Beach do not carry WMBF but it can be received by antenna there. Despite how young WMBF is, it was previously carried out of market in Cheraw on digital cable channel 805. That area is in Chesterfield County which is part of the Charlotte market.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP short name||Programming |
|32.1||1080i||16:9||WMBF-TV||Main WMBF-TV programming / NBC|
WMBF was the first in the market to broadcast its local newscasts in high definition. It used the "NBC - Flagship" theme from The NBC Collection by Frank Gari and Gari Communications, Inc. from its launch until about 2015, when its graphics package was changed to the standardized Raycom graphics. WMBF shares regional news content with other Raycom Media stations in the Carolinas and throughout the Southeast. In addition to its main studios, it operates a Florence Bureau on South Cashua Drive. The station uses a mobile weather vehicle, known as the "WMBF News Storm Chaser", that was obtained from a local dealership.
- "Myrtle Beach, SC - HDTV - Page 50 - AVS Forum - Home Theater Discussions And Reviews". avsforum.com.
- "Myrtle Beach Paper Salutes New Station". Archived from the original on September 28, 2012. Retrieved May 27, 2009.
- "GRAY AND RAYCOM TO COMBINE IN A $3.6 BILLION TRANSACTION". Raycom Media (Press release). June 25, 2018.
- Miller, Mark K. (June 25, 2018). "Gray To Buy Raycom For $3.6 Billion". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheckMedia. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
- John Eggerton (June 25, 2018). "Gray Buying Raycom for $3.6B". Broadcasting & Cable. NewBay Media.
- Dade Hayes (June 25, 2018). "Gray Acquiring Raycom For $3.65B, Forming No. 3 Local TV Group". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Media Corporation.
- "FCC OK with Gray/Raycom Merger", Broadcasting & Cable, December 20, 2018, Retrieved December 20, 2018.
- "Gray Completes Acquisition of Raycom Media and Related Transactions", Gray Television, January 2, 2019, Retrieved January 2, 2019.
- "Find us on TV - WMBF News Channel List". wmbfnews.com. August 5, 2008.