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Woay 2011.png
Oak Hill - Beckley -
Bluefield, West Virginia
United States
City Oak Hill, West Virginia
Branding WOAY Television (general)
NewsWatch (newscasts)
Slogan The heart of southern West Virginia.
Channels Digital: 50 (UHF)
Virtual: 50 (PSIP)
Subchannels 50.1/.2 ABC
Affiliations ABC
Owner Thomas Broadcasting Company
Founded June 2, 1954[1]
First air date December 14, 1954; 61 years ago (1954-12-14)
Call letters' meaning derived from former sister station WOAY radio
Former channel number(s) 4 (VHF analog, 1954–2009)
Former affiliations DuMont (1954–1956)
CBS (secondary, 1959–1967, per program 1967–early 1970s)
UPN (secondary)
Transmitter power 1,000 kW
Height 237.1 m (778 ft)
Facility ID 66804
Transmitter coordinates 37°57′26.7″N 81°9′2″W / 37.957417°N 81.15056°W / 37.957417; -81.15056
Licensing authority FCC
Public license information: Profile
Website www.woay.com

WOAY-TV is a television station located in Oak Hill, West Virginia, USA. WOAY-TV has been locally-owned by the Thomas family since its inception, and is the ABC affiliate for the Beckley-Bluefield-Oak Hill television market. The station's studio and transmitter are co-located on Legends Highway in Scarbro, West Virginia, just outside Oak Hill's city limits.

Digital channels[edit]

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming
50.1 720p 16:9 WOAY-HD Main WOAY-TV programming / ABC
50.2 480i 4:3 WOAY-SD


Logo used until October 2009.

The first television station in southern West Virginia, WOAY-TV began operations on December 14, 1954 on channel 4.[2] The station was founded by local businessman Robert R. Thomas, Jr., and operated as a sister to WOAY radio (860 AM and 94.1 FM, now WAXS). The station has always been a primary ABC affiliate, but in its early years maintained a secondary relationship with the DuMont Television Network. It lost DuMont when that network shut down in 1956, but picked up a secondary affiliation with CBS in 1959. This was very unusual for what was then a two-station market, especially one of Bluefield-Beckley-Oak Hill's size.

Channel 4 became a full ABC affiliate in February 1967 and dropped most of its remaining CBS programs,[3] though it initially continued to air the CBS Evening News for some time afterwards, mainly because the nearest CBS affiliate to the area, WCHS-TV (channel 8) in Charleston, did not carry it. Another CBS series, Captain Kangaroo, was also retained for some time.[4]

In previous decades, the station was known throughout the area for a very theatrical professional wrestling show that it produced with local "talent" in an arena adjacent to its studios. However, this ended on September 30, 1977 when WOAY's main studio, control room, offices, and transmitter building burned to the ground.[5][6] The stations' facilities were relocated and rebuilt in the former wrestling arena, where they remain today.

Three months prior to the fire, in July 1977 station owner and founder Robert R. Thomas Jr. died, and ownership of the WOAY stations was passed onto his wife Helen and their five children. The Thomas family attempted to exit broadcasting in 1990, successfully selling the radio stations[7] but ultimately retained WOAY-TV after a failed sale to Withers Broadcasting Companies, owner of CBS affiliate WDTV in Bridgeport.[8][9]

WOAY-TV turned off its analog signal at 11:35 p.m. on June 12, 2009 and remained on digital channel 50. On that date, WOAY dropped its longtime on-air moniker of "TV 4". It now verbally identifies as "WOAY Television", although its logo identifies it as "TV 50". Unusually, it did not use PSIP to remap its signal to its former analog channel 4.

In 2009, WOAY-TV revamped its technical infrastructure to become the first high-definition station in West Virginia. The station clears the majority of the ABC programming schedule.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "For the record: Actions of the FCC–New TV stations–Grants." Broadcasting - Telecasting, June 7, 1954, pg. 91.
  2. ^ "Two TVs commence, two others prepare." Broadcasting - Telecasting, December 27, 1954, pg. 71.
  3. ^ "WOAY-TV an ABC affiliate." Broadcasting, February 20, 1967, pg. 55.
  4. ^ http://www.flickr.com/photos/ghs1922/5208681163/in/set-72
  5. ^ Grubb, Barbara. "$3 million fire to idle TV station 2 to 4 weeks." The Raleigh Register (Beckley, W. Va.), September 30, 1977, pg. 1.[1]
  6. ^ "In brief." Broadcasting, October 3, 1977, pg. 32.
  7. ^ "Changing hands." Broadcasting, April 23, 1990, pg. 62. (sale of radio stations)
  8. ^ "Changing hands." Broadcasting, March 12, 1990, pg. 56. (proposed sale of WOAY-TV to Withers Broadcasting)
  9. ^ "For the record: Ownership changes." Broadcasting, August 13, 1990, pg. 75. (dismissal of Withers Broadcasting's application to acquire WOAY-TV)

External links[edit]