WREG-TV

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WREG-TV
WREG 2011 logo.png
Memphis, Tennessee
United States
BrandingWREG News Channel 3
SloganOn Your Side
ChannelsDigital: 28 (UHF)
Virtual: 3 (PSIP)
Affiliations
OwnerTribune Broadcasting
(sale pending to Nexstar Media Group or another owner to be determined[1][2])
(WREG License, LLC)
First air dateJanuary 1, 1956 (62 years ago) (1956-01-01)
Call letters' meaningVariation of original calls
Former callsignsWREC-TV (1956–1975)
Former channel number(s)
  • Analog:
  • 3 (VHF, 1956–2009)
Transmitter power906 kW
Height313 m (1,027 ft)
Facility ID66174
Transmitter coordinates35°10′52″N 89°49′56″W / 35.18111°N 89.83222°W / 35.18111; -89.83222
Licensing authorityFCC
Public license information:Profile
CDBS
Websitewreg.com

WREG-TV, virtual channel 3 (UHF digital channel 28), is a CBS-affiliated television station licensed to Memphis, Tennessee, United States. Its third digital subchannel serves as an owned-and-operated station of the classic TV network Antenna TV. The station is owned by the Tribune Broadcasting subsidiary of the Tribune Media Company. WREG's studios are located on Channel 3 Drive (off of I-55) near the Mississippi River on the west side of Memphis, and its transmitter is located between I-40 and Whitten Road, approximately 5 miles (8 km) southeast of Bartlett.

History[edit]

The station first signed on the air on January 1, 1956 as WREC-TV, and began regular broadcasts the following day on January 2. It was originally owned by electrical engineer and radio dealer Hoyt Wooten (who had applied for one of the first television licenses in the country in 1928), along with WREC radio (AM 600 and FM 102.7, now WEGR). The call letters stood for Wooten's radio store, the Wooten Radio-Electric Company, where he had founded WREC radio in 1922. It took the CBS affiliation from WHBQ-TV (channel 13, which had been a CBS affiliate since it signed on in September 1953), as WREC-AM had been a CBS Radio affiliate since 1929. WREC-TV's original studios were located inside the Peabody Hotel in downtown Memphis.

For its first six years, WREC-TV was the only locally owned station in Memphis (WHBQ-TV was owned by General Tire and NBC affiliate WMC-TV was owned by Scripps-Howard). However, in 1963, Wooten sold WREC-AM-FM-TV to Cowles Communications, earning a handsome return on his original investment of 40 years earlier. In turn, Cowles sold WREC-TV to The New York Times Company in 1971. Cowles later sold the radio stations to other interests.[3] Four years later, the Times Company built new studio facilities for WREC on one of the highest points on Chickasaw Bluff, overlooking the Mississippi River. The station had long since outgrown the Peabody Hotel, and management felt that building a new studio near the Mississippi would be appropriate since Memphis has long been identified with the river. On March 2, 1975, channel 3 signed off from the Peabody Hotel for the last time as WREC-TV, and signed back on 45 minutes later, re-branded as WREG-TV, with its first transmission from the new studios on Channel 3 Drive.[4] The station also maintained studio space in the Peabody Place shopping center, adjacent to the Peabody Hotel, marking a partial return of sorts to its early years. The studio was shut down in 2011 when Peabody Place closed.

On September 12, 2006, The New York Times Company announced its intention to sell its nine television stations. On January 4, 2007, the company entered into an agreement with private equity group Oak Hill Capital Partners to sell the stations to the Oak Hill-operated holding company Local TV,[5][6] the sale was finalized on May 7.[7] On July 1, 2013, Local TV announced that it would sell its stations to Tribune Broadcasting (which formed a management company that operated both Tribune and Local TV's stations in 2008) for $2.75 billion.[8] The sale was completed on December 27.[9]

Aborted sale to Sinclair Broadcast Group[edit]

On May 8, 2017, Hunt Valley, Maryland-based Sinclair Broadcast Group entered into an agreement to acquire Tribune Media for $3.9 billion, plus the assumption of $2.7 billion in debt held by Tribune.[10][11][12][13][14] Three weeks after the FCC's July 18 vote to have the deal reviewed by an administrative law judge amid "serious concerns" about Sinclair's forthrightness in its applications to sell certain conflict properties, on August 9, 2018, Tribune announced it would terminate the Sinclair deal, intending to seek other M&A opportunities. Tribune also filed a breach of contract lawsuit in the Delaware Chancery Court, alleging that Sinclair engaged in protracted negotiations with the FCC and the U.S. Department of Justice's Antitrust Division over regulatory issues, refused to sell stations in markets where it already had properties, and proposed divestitures to parties with ties to Sinclair executive chair David D. Smith that were rejected or highly subject to rejection to maintain control over stations it was required to sell. The termination of the Sinclair sale agreement places uncertainty for the future of Fox's purchases of KSTU and the other six Tribune stations included in that deal, which were predicated on the closure of the Sinclair–Tribune merger.[15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22][23][24][25][26]

Pending sale to Nexstar Media Group and possible resale[edit]

On December 3, 2018, Irving, Texas-based Nexstar Media Group—which has owned ABC affiliate WATN-TV (channel 24) and CW affiliate WLMT (channel 30) since December 2012—announced it would acquire the assets of Tribune Media for $6.4 billion in cash and debt. Nexstar is precluded from acquiring WREG directly or indirectly, as FCC regulations prohibit common ownership of more than two stations in the same media market, or two or more of the four highest-rated stations in the market. (Furthermore, any attempt by Nexstar to assume the operations of WREG through local marketing or shared services agreements may be subject to regulatory hurdles that could delay completion of the FCC and Justice Department's review and approval process for the acquisition.) As such, Nexstar will be required to sell either WREG-TV or WATN-TV to a separate, unrelated company to address the ownership conflict. (As WLMT does not rank among the top four in total-day viewership and therefore is not in conflict with existing FCC in-market ownership rules, that station optionally can be retained by Nexstar regardless of whether it chooses to retain ownership of WATN or sell WATN in order to acquire WREG or, should it be divested, be sold to the prospective buyer of WATN.)[27][28][29][30][31][32][33][34][1][2]

Digital television[edit]

Digital channels[edit]

The station's digital channel is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[35]
3.1 1080i 16:9 WREG-DT Main WREG-TV programming / CBS
3.2 480i NC3A-DT News Channel 3 Anytime
3.3 4:3 Antenna TV Antenna TV

The station became a charter affiliate of Antenna TV upon its launch on January 1, 2011 and is carried on digital subchannel 3.3.[36]

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

WREG-TV discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over VHF channel 3, on June 12, 2009, as part of the federally mandated transition from analog to digital television.[37] The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 28, using PSIP to display WREG-TV's virtual channel as 3 on digital television receivers.

Programming[edit]

Syndicated programs seen on WREG-TV include Inside Edition, Jeopardy!, and Entertainment Tonight. WREG is one of the few CBS stations that preempts CBS This Morning Saturday, airing a three-hour Saturday morning newscast in its place. Over the years, WREG has produced many local programs, such as News Channel 3 Knowledge Bowl and Mid-South Outdoors (later known as News Channel 3 Outdoors). The station also currently produces Live at 9, a weekday morning program that maintains a talk show-style format and the public affairs program Informed Sources, which airs on Saturday evenings and sometimes Sunday nights and discusses current local issues.

Throughout the early 1960s into the late 1980s, WREC/WREG claimed to possess the largest feature film library of any television station in the United States, which was evidenced in its daily (late afternoons and late nights) and weekend programming lineup at the time. The station used some of those features for theme weeks (such as "Godzilla Week" and "John Wayne Week"), which proved to be very popular with viewers. However, like most major network affiliates in the early 1980s, WREG-TV began cutting back on the large number of movies that occupied much of its off-network schedule, a move prompted by the presence of cable, VCRs, and the emergence of then-independent competitors WPTY (channel 24, now ABC affiliate WATN-TV) in 1978 and WMKW (channel 30, now CW affiliate WLMT) in 1983.

News operation[edit]

The station presently broadcasts 40½ hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 6½ hours on weekdays, 4½ hours on Saturdays and 3½ hours on Sundays). For more than two decades, WREG has been in a Nielsen ratings war for first place with longtime powerhouse WMC-TV. WREG did not actually win a ratings period, however, until February 2006 after it paired former WHBQ anchor Claudia Barr and former WMC morning anchor Richard Ransom as its main evening anchors. Since that time, WREG has gradually built on its wins in the all-important 10 p.m. slot and now consistently dominates that time period. Since the February 2014 sweeps period, the station's newscasts have placed first in all time slots.

On June 13, 2011 beginning with the 10 p.m. newscast, WREG-TV became the third station in the Memphis market (behind WMC-TV and WHBQ-TV) to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition. The switch came with a refresh of the newsroom set and new graphics, however major technical glitches occurred during the week following the conversion. In mid-2011, the WREG news studio received a major overhaul with the unveiling of a "newsplex" set (designed by FX Group) that occupies a large studio with loft areas and continues into a smaller newsroom area in the back and includes numerous live areas and a set for the Live at 9 program.

Notable current on-air staff[edit]

  • Greg Hurst (July 4, 2017–present)
  • Markova Reed (2002–present)
  • Stephanie Scurlock (July 1991–present)
  • Tim Simpson (1994–present)
  • April Thompson (1992–present)

Notable former on-air staff[edit]

  • Claudia Barr (2005–2016; retired)
  • Sharon Crews
  • Pam Crittendon
  • Pam McKelvy (1995–2005)
  • Richard Ransom (2005–2017; now at WATN-TV)
  • Jerry Tate
  • Andy Wise (consumer reporter, 1997–2007)

Out-of-market coverage[edit]

WREG-TV, along with Little Rock's KTHV, previously served as the default CBS affiliates for the Jonesboro, Arkansas area. WREG's signal can reach at least the Jonesboro area, and it is available on Suddenlink cable,[38] as well as the cable system of Paragould Light Water and Cable in the Paragould area. This ended on August 1, 2015, when Jonesboro-based Fox affiliate KJNB-LD signed on the Jonesboro market's first locally based CBS affiliate on its second digital subchannel.[39] This has resulted in the displacement of KTHV from Suddenlink cable, and may also result in the displacement of WREG-TV.

WREG-TV also previously served as the default CBS affiliate for the Jackson, Tennessee media market, along with Nashville's WTVF. This ended on January 1, 2012, when ABC affiliate WBBJ-TV converted its WBBJ-DT3 subchannel into a primary CBS affiliate and secondary Me-TV affiliate for that area.[40] In spite of this, both WREG and WTVF remain on Jackson Energy Authority's E-Plus Broadband Cable system.[41]

At one point in time during the 1980s and 90s, WREG operated a translator based in Malden, Missouri, K62DA, which served some northern sections of the Memphis market, as well as the far southern parts of the Paducah, KentuckyCape Girardeau, Missouri market.[42]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Nexstar Media Group Enters into Definitive Agreement to Acquire Tribune Media Company for $6.4 Billion in Accretive Transaction Creating the Nation's Largest Local Television Broadcaster and Local Media Company". Nexstar Media Group. December 3, 2018. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Nexstar Media Group Enters Into Definitive Agreement To Acquire Tribune Media Company". Tribune Media. December 3, 2018. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
  3. ^ "New York Times buys first TV." Broadcasting, November 2, 1970, pg. 161. [1]
  4. ^ "TV-3, Memphis builds on the banks of the Mississippi. RCA Broadcast News, Vol. 157, December 1975, pg. 19. [2]
  5. ^ NY Times CO. Sell TV Group to Equity Firm for $530M; Second equity group to buy a media business in two weeks., NewsInc. (via HighBeam Research), January 8, 2007.
  6. ^ "New York Times Company : Investors : Press Release". Phx.corporate-ir.net. Retrieved 2011-03-24.
  7. ^ "The New York Times Company Reports April Revenues" (Press release). Business Wire. 2007-05-07. Archived from the original (The New York Times Company Financial Report) on 2012-07-22. Retrieved 2008-08-23.
  8. ^ Channick, Robert (July 1, 2013). "Acquisition to make Tribune Co. largest U.S. TV station operator". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved July 1, 2013.
  9. ^ Company Completes Final Steps of Transaction Announced in July Archived December 28, 2013, at the Wayback Machine., Tribune Company, 27 December 2013
  10. ^ Stephen Battaglio (May 8, 2017). "Sinclair Broadcast Group to buy Tribune Media for $3.9 billion plus debt". Los Angeles Times. Tronc. Retrieved June 6, 2017.
  11. ^ Cynthia Littleton (May 8, 2017). "Sinclair Broadcast Group Sets $3.9 Billion Deal to Acquire Tribune Media". Variety. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved June 6, 2017.
  12. ^ Todd Frankel (May 8, 2017). "Sinclair Broadcast to buy Tribune Media for $3.9 billion, giving it control over 215 local TV stations". The Washington Post. Nash Holdings, LLC. Retrieved June 6, 2017.
  13. ^ Liana Baker; Jessica Toonkel (May 7, 2017). "Sinclair Broadcast nears deal for Tribune Media". Reuters. Retrieved June 6, 2017.
  14. ^ Harry A. Jessell; Mark K. Miller (May 8, 2017). "The New Sinclair: 72% Coverage + WGNA". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheck Media.
  15. ^ Todd Shields (July 16, 2018). "Sinclair and Tribune Fall as FCC Slams TV Station Sale Plan". Bloomberg News. Retrieved July 19, 2018.
  16. ^ Harper Neidig (July 16, 2018). "FCC chair rejects Sinclair-Tribune merger". The Hill. Capitol Hill Publishing Corp. Retrieved August 9, 2018.
  17. ^ Robert Feder (July 16, 2018). "FCC throws Sinclair/Tribune deal in doubt". RobertFeder.com. Retrieved August 9, 2018.
  18. ^ Benjamin Hart (July 16, 2018). "FCC Throws Wrench Into Sinclair Media Megadeal". New York. New York Media, LLC. Retrieved August 9, 2018.
  19. ^ Edmund Lee (July 18, 2018). "Sinclair Tries to Appease F.C.C., but Its Tribune Bid Is Challenged". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved August 9, 2018.
  20. ^ Lorraine Mirabella (July 18, 2018). "FCC orders hearing even as Sinclair changes plans to sell TV stations to address concerns about Tribune deal". Baltimore Sun. Tronc. Retrieved August 9, 2018.
  21. ^ "Tribune Terminates $3.9 Billion Sinclair Merger, Sues Broadcast Rival". The Wall Street Journal. News Corp. August 9, 2018.
  22. ^ Mark K. Miller (August 9, 2018). "Tribune Kills Sinclair Merger, Files Suit". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheck Media.
  23. ^ Christopher Dinsmore (August 9, 2018). "Tribune Media pulls out of Sinclair Broadcast merger". Baltimore Sun. Tronc.
  24. ^ Edmund Lee; Amie Tsang (August 9, 2018). "Tribune Ends Deal With Sinclair, Dashing Plan for Conservative TV Behemoth". The New York Times. The New York Times Company.
  25. ^ Jon Lafayette (August 9, 2018). "Tribune Ends Deal with Sinclair, Files Breach of Contract Suit". Broadcasting & Cable. NewBay Media.
  26. ^ Brian Fung; Tony Romm (August 9, 2018). "Tribune withdraws from Sinclair merger, saying it will sue for 'breach of contract'". The Washington Post. Nash Holdings LLC.
  27. ^ "Acquisition of Tribune Media Company" (PDF). Nexstar Media Group. December 3, 2018.
  28. ^ Mark K. Miller (December 3, 2018). "Nexstar Buying Tribune Media For $6.4 Billion". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheck Media.
  29. ^ Peter White; Dade Hayes (December 3, 2018). "Nexstar Confirms $4.1B Tribune Media Acquisition To Become Leading Local TV Station Owner". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Media Corporation.
  30. ^ Gerry Smith; Nabila Ahmed; Eric Newcomer (December 3, 2018). "Nexstar to buy WGN owner Tribune Media for $4.1 billion". Chicago Tribune. Tribune Publishing. Bloomberg News.
  31. ^ Arjun Panchadar; Sonam Rai (December 3, 2018). "Nexstar to buy Tribune Media for $4.1 billion". Reuters.
  32. ^ Jon Lafayette (December 3, 2018). "Nexstar Announces Deal to Buy Tribune for $6.4B". Broadcasting & Cable. NewBay Media.
  33. ^ Adam Jacobson (December 3, 2018). "It's Official: Nexstar Takes Tribune In Billion-Dollar Stock Deal". Radio-Television Business Report. Streamline-RBR, Inc.
  34. ^ Harry A. Jessell; Mark K. Miller (December 3, 2018). "Nexstar To Spin Off $1B In Stations". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheck Media.
  35. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WREG
  36. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on November 27, 2010. Retrieved March 4, 2016.
  37. ^ List of Digital Full-Power Stations
  38. ^ Suddenlink Cable Channel Lineup for Jonesboro, Arkansas Archived April 2, 2015, at the Wayback Machine.
  39. ^ "CBS makes debut in northeast Arkansas"
  40. ^ WBBJ to Add CBS to 7.3 in January 2012 Archived April 3, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.. WBBJ-TV (November 2011).
  41. ^ Jackson Energy Authority - E+ Broadband Cable Channel Lineup for Jackson, Tennessee
  42. ^ http://oldtvguides.com/all_thumbs/62-k62da%20%28wreg-3%29~%20%20%20malden,%20mo%20%20%20275%20mi%20%20%202.17%20kw.html

External links[edit]