|Myrtle Beach–Florence, South Carolina/|
Lumberton, North Carolina
|City||Myrtle Beach, South Carolina|
|Channels||Digital: 32 (UHF)|
|Slogan||Live. Local. Latebreaking.|
|Owner||Gray Television |
(Gray Television Licensee, LLC)
|WBTV, WITN-TV, WECT, WIS, WCSC-TV, WTOC-TV|
|Founded||April 20, 2006|
First air date
|August 7, 2008|
|NBC Weather Plus|
Call sign meaning
|Myrtle Beach / Florence|
|HAAT||183 m (600 ft)|
Public license information
WMBF-TV, virtual and UHF digital channel 32, 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. The station is owned by Gray Television. WMBF-TV's studios are located on Frontage Road East (along US 17) in Myrtle Beach, with a secondary studio and news bureau on West Cheves Street in Florence; its transmitter is located on Flossie Road in Bucksville, South Carolina.
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. 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-TV 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. 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, while 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. In 1989, WIS began operating a "virtual station" for cable subscribers in the Florence region, which featured a separate slate of syndicated programs; this change was prompted by the syndication exclusivity rule.
With WMBF-TV'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-TV 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-TV 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-TV's over-the-air fringe area. This is because it was required to conform its signal in order to protect the digital signal of WRLK-TV (previously also on channel 32) in Columbia. However, the station is available on all of the market's cable systems. According to its website, WMBF-TV now holds the channel 10 position on the South Carolina Charter Spectrum cable system where WIS was located. WMBF-TV'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-TV is also seen on Metrocast (formerly Northland Cable) in Bennettsville.
In Georgetown County, part of the Charleston market, WMBF-TV 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-TV 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.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP short name||Programming |
|32.1||1080i||16:9||WMBF DT||Main WMBF-TV programming / NBC|
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (December 2019)
WMBF-TV presently broadcasts 36 hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 6 hours, 30 minutes each weekday and two hours each on Saturdays and Sundays).
The station 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-TV shares regional news content with other Gray Television stations in the Carolinas and throughout the Southeast. In addition to its main studios, it operates a news bureau on South Cashua Drive in Florence. The station uses a mobile weather vehicle, known as the "WMBF News Storm Chaser", that was obtained from a local dealership.
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- "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.
- RabbitEars TV Query for WMBF