|Natchez, Mississippi/Alexandria, Louisiana
|Channels||Digital: 49 (UHF)|
|Translators||K47DW-D Alexandria, LA
K51FO-D Leesville, LA
|Owner||Nexstar Broadcasting Group
(Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc.)
|First air date||November 16, 1985|
|Call letters' meaning||NaTcheZ|
|Former channel number(s)||48 (UHF analog, 1985–2009)|
(1991–1995 on K47DW )
|Transmitter power||1000 kW|
WNTZ-TV is the Fox affiliate television station for the Alexandria, Louisiana Designated Market Area (DMA). It is licensed to Natchez, Mississippi, which is in actuality part of the Jackson, Mississippi DMA. The station also has a secondary affiliation with MyNetworkTV. The station is owned by Nexstar Broadcasting Group.
WNTZ's base of operation is located on Parliament Drive in Alexandria, and its main transmitter is located in Frogmore, Louisiana, with two translator transmitters in Alexandria and Leesville, Louisiana. WNTZ's master control operation was co-located in Lafayette, Louisiana with sister station operations of KADN-TV and KLAF-LD from 1991 until July 2015, when it was moved to the Baton Rouge, Louisiana sister operations of WVLA-TV, WGMB-TV, WBRL-CD and KZUP-CD.
- 1 Unique station characteristics
- 2 History
- 3 Secondary affiliation with MyNetworkTV
- 4 Attempts to broadcast news
- 5 Transition to digital television
- 6 See also
- 7 External links
- 8 References
Unique station characteristics
WNTZ's broadcasting is a loosely defined "network" of one main transmitter and two translator transmitters that serve residents in three television markets – Alexandria (the DMA that gets officially rated by Nielsen Media Research); the southernmost portion of the Monroe, Louisiana–El Dorado, Arkansas market (where the station's main transmitter tower is located); and the westernmost portion of the Jackson market (the location of Natchez, the station's Federal Communications Commission (FCC)'s city of license).
WNTZ manages its operation from rented office space on Parliament Drive in Alexandria.
Delta Media Corporation, owners of WNTZ at the time, moved administrative, sales and marketing operations in 1991 to Pineville, Louisiana, in order to have its main base of operation within the footprint of the Alexandria DMA. Later in 1996, Delta Media purchased office space and moved operations to Jackson Street in Alexandria's Garden District, with the intent to move the station's broadcast capability from its sister station, KADN in Lafayette, to the newly purchased building. Even as administrative, sales, and marketing moved to Alexandria, broadcasting WNTZ's signal from the building never materialized, as Delta Media sold the station's operation in 1997 to White Knight Broadcasting (transferred ten years later to parent company Communications Corporation of America). In an unusual situation, the office space in Alexandria remained in control of Delta Media. White Knight paid monthly rent to Delta Media to remain in the building until 2007, when the WNTZ operation moved a third time to rented space along Parliament Drive in the Noles-Frye building, a local real estate agency.
WNTZ was launched in 1985 from its original studios located at 26 Colonel John Pitchford Parkway in Natchez, Mississippi, by the Perkins family of Natchez, the station's first owner. Since Natchez is the official FCC city of license, Delta Media maintained a satellite office within the studios in Natchez, even though the station began shifting its focus to the Alexandria market in 1991, and removed or sold all non-essential broadcasting equipment from the studio. Similar to the operations occurring in Alexandria, Delta Media, then later White Knight and Communications Corporation of America, paid monthly rent for use of the original studio to the building's owners. The Natchez location was used for WNTZ sales operations until 2011, then held the station's special projects and social media staff until the station was purchased by Nexstar Broadcasting Group. Nexstar management officially closed the Natchez studio on May 27, 2015, with no formal announcement made of its closure.
First incarnation of WNTZ
WNTZ was granted its license on January 31, 1985, to the Perkins family of Natchez, Mississippi, and Louisiana state senator Bill Adkins of Jonesville. This would be their first and only foray into television.
WNTZ began as an independent station, airing local programming exclusively to the Miss-Lou area, which covered a larger broadcasting footprint into Mississippi than exists today. This included a fully staffed newscast operation.
WNTZ's fortunes quickly eroded, as it was placed in bankruptcy for the first time around 1986. Due to the bankruptcy proceedings, the station changed hands and was managed by MLSA Broadcasting before going off the air on April 8, 1988. The station remained silent for 3 years until the license for the station was sold in 1991 to Lafayette, Louisiana businessman Charles Chatelain and his company, Delta Media Corporation, based in Lafayette, Louisiana.
Today, the Perkins family owns and operates radio stations in the Natchez area under the company name First Natchez Radio Group.
WNTZ returns under Delta Media ownership and Fox affiliation
Under Delta Media ownership, the goal was to give the Alexandria, Louisiana DMA a full Fox network affiliation. However, a few challenges were ahead.
WNTZ's license is designated to Natchez, Mississippi, where its transmitter and tower are located behind the original studios for the station.
Executives at Fox were concerned to give WNTZ its affiliation because they did not want to grant a second affiliation in the Jackson, Mississippi DMA. In order to alleviate the problem, the original transmitter and broadcast equipment was sold to future WNTZ owner Communications Corporation of America and moved to sign on WGMB-TV in Baton Rouge. This was done in order to build a new tower and transmitter site in the small farming community of Frogmore, in neighboring Concordia Parish, Louisiana.
Furthermore, WNTZ's broadcasting operation would be relocated to Lafayette, Louisiana, housed at its sister station, KADN-TV. The license would remain in Natchez, even though its tower and transmitter site were moved across to the Louisiana side of the Mississippi River and base of operation would also move.
Fox then, in turn, granted WNTZ the Fox affiliation for the Alexandria market. The original tower which transmitted WNTZ's signal in 1985 still remains behind its original studio building in Natchez, but it now only relays a live microwave transmission signal to the main transmitter tower in Frogmore for Emergency Alert System (EAS) broadcasts, per FCC requirement.
Repeater stations change WNTZ's reach
WNTZ serves as a full-power station licensed to Natchez, Mississippi, located 65 miles east of Alexandria - and thus, uses a network of translators in order to alleviate weak spots in coverage in the western part of the Alexandria DMA.
Two translators are currently on the air.
The following two translators had their licenses cancelled, due to the transition from analog to digital transmission.
1 – An application has been filed for a separate "-LD" digital repeater on channel 42.
Prior to Delta Media's purchase of WNTZ's license in 1991, the company signed on K47DW on analog channel 47 in the late 1980s, relaying the programming of Delta Media's flagship station, Fox affiliate KADN-TV in Lafayette, for the Alexandria market.
Shortly after signing on, K47DW began airing commercials and legal identification separately from KADN, renaming its brand as "Fox 47".
After Delta Media purchased the WNTZ license, moved the transmitter and tower site, and signed it back on for the second time, the Fox affiliation officially moved to WNTZ's designated analog channel 48.
K47DW then became an affiliate of the Channel America network until 1995, when it began simulcasting WNTZ to serve portions of Alexandria where channel 48's signal is weak.
The call sign was changed to K47DW-D on July 5, 2012, following the transition to digital transmission.
Under White Knight/ComCorp ownership
Delta Media sold its television properties in Alexandria and Lafayette.
In 1997, WNTZ sold to Sheldon Galloway's White Knight Broadcasting, an offspring company of Communications Corporation of America (CCA or ComCorp for short), owned by Sheldon's father, Thomas Galloway.
Thomas created CCA when he signed on Fox affiliate WGMB in Baton Rouge from the purchase and move of the original transmitter for WNTZ. White Knight was born by Sheldon in 1996 after the purchase of NBC affiliate WVLA-TV in Baton Rouge. CCA eventually purchased KADN in Lafayette from Delta Media outright in 2004, after a long-term LMA.
WNTZ, WGMB, WVLA and KADN make up the "core four" of which both CCA and White Knight companies were built upon. Under White Knight, WNTZ saw many of its biggest changes, most notably in the mid-2000s.
WNTZ, as a Fox affiliate, struggled for a number of years to catch hold to viewers in the Alexandria, Louisiana market, mostly due to longtime Alexandria television stations KALB-TV and KLAX-TV. That changed in 2003, with the popularity of Fox first-run programming, sports programming and aggressive marketing tactics (see Cenla Idol).
In May 2006, WNTZ ranked #1 in adult viewers 18-49 during common prime time programming (7:00-9:00 p.m. Central Time) for the first time in the station's history, beating longtime rival KALB. The feat was repeated a second time in February 2007, and has remained as a strong second place hold in the Alexandria market since.
This improvement is in despite of many challenges as a station using a network of broadcast towers and the long-standing thoughts of WNTZ from its competitors and some Alexandria viewers being a "non-local" station, due to its license in Natchez and being corporate-owned. In actuality at the time, WNTZ was owned by White Knight, a Louisiana-based company, where both KALB and KLAX were and are still owned by companies not based in Louisiana. WNTZ used the "Louisiana Home Grown" slogan in 2004 as a demonstration of this fact. WNTZ officially lost this designation in 2015 with the sale of the station to Nexstar Broadcast Group.
WNTZ experiences second bankruptcy
Even though the television ratings improved for WNTZ, the station faced financial difficulty.
In June 2006, White Knight Broadcasting filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. In a press release from the company, viewers and staff would "see no changes at the station". White Knight emerged from bankruptcy in October 2007. During the bankruptcy proceedings, White Knight requested to merge many of the stations it owned, including WNTZ, into the fold of its parent company, Communications Corporation of America.
The license change was granted by the FCC, and WNTZ was officially changed over to ComCorp of Alexandria License Corporation, named after the station's market designation.
Sale to Nexstar Broadcasting Group
Secondary affiliation with MyNetworkTV
On January 24, 2006, The WB and UPN networks announced they would merge into a new singular network, The CW. In turn, Fox owner News Corporation announced the creation of MyNetworkTV for those stations left out in the cold due to The CW merger.
WNTZ became MyNetworkTV's home under a secondary affiliation agreement, officially launched on September 4, 2006. The network began to air on a timed tape-delay basis from 9:00 to 11:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, immediately after Fox prime time programming airs. In the early years of the network, when nightly soap programs aired, the Saturday recap episodes were preempted to air on WNTZ Sunday nights after Fox prime time. Occasionally, due to time overruns of Fox programs, MyNetworkTV will run later than its scheduled time on WNTZ, but does run in its entirety.
On September 9, 2013, due to the return of The Arsenio Hall Show to late night television on WNTZ, MyNetworkTV was moved to air from 11:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. This changed again in September 2014 due to the well-publicized Arsenio cancellation. MyNetworkTV programs now and currently air from 10:00 p.m. until midnight Monday through Friday.
KBCA, which held The WB affiliation a mere six months prior to the announced CW merger, was announced as the Alexandria affiliate of The CW, which commenced operations on September 18, 2006. Former UPN station KWCE-LP (channel 36 at the time), became an affiliate of Retro Television Network (now a Me-TV affiliate), and moved to channel 27 on the television dial.
Attempts to broadcast news
WNTZ aired a newscast for a brief time in 1985, during its first ownership by the Perkins family. After going off the air and returning in 1991, the station didn't broadcast news.
In August 2007, WNTZ made a debut of Fox News Louisiana AM in Alexandria to counter KALB and KLAX's national morning shows. Produced out of sister station WGMB in Baton Rouge, the newscast featured "local" news segments and eight weather updates an hour. Even though Fox News Louisiana AM was more "localized", content direct from the Alexandria area rarely aired. On December 2, 2008, WGMB cancelled the newscast due to cost-saving measures.
Transition to digital television
At 9:03 p.m. on February 17, 2009, WNTZ signed off analog 48 and began broadcasting exclusively on digital 49. Immediately after American Idol ended, WNTZ ran the "Star-Spangled Banner" (the footage was dated from 1940, so the flag in the clip had only 48 stars, ironically coinciding with the channel number) and the analog signal shut off. Digital antenna and cable viewers went immediately into scheduled MyNetworkTV programming.
The station's digital signal continued to broadcast on its pre-transition UHF channel 49. Digital television receivers, including the low-power translator stations K47DW-D and K51FO-D, display WNTZ-TV's virtual channel as 48 through the use of PSIP.
The low-power translators surrounding Alexandria will remain operational for the foreseeable future, even though two of the four have been shut off due to the remaining two translators being converted to low-power digital broadcast.
- Cenla Idol -- annual singing contest conducted by WNTZ-TV
- Official website
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WNTZ
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WNTZ-TV
- Tvnewsday - Comcorp Ready For Its Next Chapter
- Consummation Notice, CDBS Public Access, Federal Communications Commission, Retrieved 6 January, 2015.