|Branding||Macon TV, WPGA|
|Channels||Digital: 32 (UHF)|
(to move to 23 (UHF))
Virtual: 58 (PSIP)
(Radio Perry, Inc., Debtor-in-possession)
|Founded||September 20, 1991|
|First air date||March 1, 1995|
|Call letters' meaning||Perry, GeorgiA|
(after the radio station)
|Former channel number(s)||58 (UHF analog, 1995–2009)|
|Transmitter power||100 kW|
82.2 kW (CP)
|Height||185.7 m (609 ft)|
190 m (623 ft) (CP)
|Public license information:||Profile|
WPGA-TV, virtual channel 58 (UHF digital channel 32), is an independent television station serving Macon, Georgia, United States that is licensed to Perry. The station is locally owned by Register Communications, which also owns Macon-licensed This TV affiliate WPGA-LP (channel 50) and Perry-licensed radio stations WPGA (980 AM) and WNEX-FM (100.9 FM). The television and radio stations share studios on Forsyth Street in downtown Macon; WPGA-TV's transmitter is located on GA 87/U.S. 23/U.S. 129 Alternate (Golden Isles Highway), along the Twiggs–Bibb County line.
As a Fox affiliate
The station first signed on the air on March 1, 1995 as the Macon market's original Fox affiliate. Prior to the station's sign-on, Macon residents could only receive Fox network programing via Foxnet (the network's now-defunct national cable feed) or via Fox stations piped in from the nearby Atlanta market (network-owned WATL from the network's launch in October 1986 until December 1994, and then WAGA-TV from December 1994 until WPGA's sign-on). In addition, when Fox assumed the broadcast rights to the National Football Conference television package from CBS in 1994, ABC affiliate WGXA (channel 24) carried Fox's NFL telecasts on Sunday afternoons until December 1994.
As an ABC affiliate
On September 10, 1995, GOCOM Media announced that it had signed an agreement with Fox to move its affiliation to WGXA, effectively ending WPGA's tenure with the network at the end of that year (after only ten months as a Fox station). Shortly afterward, Register Communications signed an affiliation agreement to make WPGA the Macon market's new ABC affiliate. The affiliation swap took place on January 1, 1996, ending WGXA's fourteen-year tenure with ABC.
WPGA started in April 2001 a newscast dropped in January 2002. In July 2007, WPGA-TV changed its on-air branding from "ABC 58" to "ABC Macon". In July 2007, Register Communications contracted with Independent News Network (INN) for news production which lasted until the original owner of INN filed bankruptcy in January 2009. WPGA's broadcasts became digital-only, effective June 12, 2009.
On October 29, 2009, Register Communications announced that WPGA-TV would terminate its affiliation contract with the network and become an independent station. Owner Lowell Register cited concerns that ABC's programming did not meet the station's family-oriented focus, and also objected to the network's decision to begin requiring its affiliates to pay an annual fee of $500,000 to carry its programming. WGXA owner Frontier Radio Management, Inc. signed an affiliation deal with the network to carry its programming on a second WGXA digital subchannel (the station had carried ABC programming as its primary affiliation from its sign-on in April 1982 until it switched to Fox in January 1996).
As an independent station
Upon becoming an independent station on January 1, 2010, WPGA began cherry-picking select programs from the Retro Television Network (sharing the affiliation with sister station WPGA-LP) in addition to shows from This TV and retained the station's existing syndicated programming. In preparation for the switch, WPGA began phasing out ABC network references from its branding in November 2009, changing its branding to "Macon TV".
The station's disaffiliation from ABC resulted in a dispute with Cox Communications over its channel 6 slot (as well as a high definition feed on channel 706, later moved to channel 1006), as Cox intended to drop WPGA in favor of WGXA-DT2, a move that Register contended the provider does not have the right to make. On December 22, 2009, WPGA was granted a temporary restraining order requiring Cox to continue to carry the station on channels 6 and 706; however, the court later dismissed WPGA's case on April 30, 2010. Register filed an appeal; in light of this, a judge ordered Cox to leave WPGA on its existing channel slots until an appeals court heard the case. In addition, Register also filed a petition with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) over the status of WPGA's channel placement on Cox. Satellite provider DirecTV would drop WPGA itself on January 1, though the station remains available on Dish Network, as well as cable providers that the station maintains must carry agreements with (Register considers Cox to have such an agreement, even though the cable provider claims it instead has a retransmission consent agreement). On June 23, 2011, the Georgia Court of Appeals upheld the ruling that would enable Cox to drop WPGA from its lineup, effective July 28. On that date, WGXA-D2 would begin to be carried on both channel 6 and its existing channel 15 position; with the subchannel being carried exclusively on channel 6 starting August 28 (channel 15 would then be used for bandwidth for the system's high-definition channels).
On July 12, 2011, Register filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, seeking an injunction to prevent Cox from not only dropping WPGA, but from giving the channel 6 slot to WGXA-D2. However, Cox announced that it would go forward with the channel shuffle despite the complaint, as the previous court case authorized them to make the changes. In addition, the FCC ruled on December 5, 2011 that WPGA's contract with Cox rendered it a station that elected retransmission consent.
On April 7, 2010, WPGA began carrying This TV on its second digital subchannel. In early spring 2011, the station began airing select MeTV programs on its primary channel; the station would later begin carrying the complete MeTV schedule on digital channel 58.2. In August 2011, the station had agreed to add KIN TV, an African-American subchannel network distributed by MGM Television, or some portion, to its primary subchannel (the network never launched). On September 26, 2011, WPGA became a charter affiliate of Bounce TV, carrying the network on digital subchannel 58.3. On July 2, 2015, This TV replaced Bounce TV on sub-channel 58.3, which was previously on WPGA-LP channel 50; Bounce TV was then taken up by WMGT-TV on digital channel 41.3.
WPGA first started a newscast in April 2001; it was dropped in January 2002. In July 2007, Register Communications contracted with Independent News Network (INN) for news production. Originally INN produced 30 minute newscasts at 7 and 11 p.m. For economic reasons, the 11 p.m. newscast was later dropped. In August 2008, WPGA and The Telegraph started a production partnership for a morning show, Kenny B and Charles E Your Mix in the Morning, on WPGA-FM 100.9 (6 a.m. to 9 a.m.) and on Channel 58 (6 a.m. to 7 a.m.). The original owner of INN filed bankruptcy in January 2009 which ended the 7 p.m. newscast.
- "Digital TV Market Listing for WPGA". RabbitEars.Info. Retrieved December 26, 2017.
- Jessell, Harry A.. "ABC, Fox change partners again: ABC is switching to WCPO-TV in Cincinnati, Fox is moving to WGXA-TV in Macon, Ga.", Broadcasting & Cable. September 11, 1995. HighBeam Research. (February 17, 2011).
- Burk, Jennifer (January 6, 2009). "WPGA's nightly newscast off the air, show's future uncertain". The Macon Telegraph. Retrieved June 30, 2016.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on February 8, 2009. Retrieved February 8, 2009.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on December 13, 2009. Retrieved December 28, 2015.
- Macon Telegraph October 29, 2009 WPGA severing ties with ABC network Archived February 13, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on November 2, 2009. Retrieved October 30, 2009.
- Stucka, Mike (October 30, 2009). "Changes ahead for Macon ABC affiliate". The Telegraph. Retrieved October 30, 2009.
- Ramati, Phillip (December 7, 2009). "Cox, WPGA at odds over channel placement". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on December 13, 2009. Retrieved December 7, 2009.
- Ramati, Phillip (December 23, 2009). "www.macon.com/local/story/962889.html". The Telegraph. Retrieved December 23, 2009.
- Macon Telegraph: "Judge dismisses WPGA lawsuit against Cox", April 4, 2010.
- Macon Telegraph: "Cox to drop WPGA in July", June 23, 2011.
- Macon Telegraph: "WPGA takes cable company fight to federal court", July 12, 2011.
- Ramati, Philip (December 8, 2011). "FCC clears way for Cox to drop WPGA from cable lineup". The Telegraph. Retrieved December 9, 2011.
- Where to Watch Me-TV: WPGA
- Morris, Linda S. (August 14, 2011). "WPGA adds black-focused networks". The Telegraph (Macon). The McClatchy Company. Retrieved December 26, 2017.