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8 News (newscasts)
StormTracker 8 Weather
|Slogan||News Where You Live|
|Channels||Digital: 22 (UHF)|
(to move to 28 (UHF))
Virtual: 8 (PSIP)
|Owner||Nexstar Media Group|
(Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc.)
|First air date||August 15, 1955|
|Call letters' meaning||RIChmond|
also the airport code
|Former callsigns||WXEX-TV (1955–1990)|
|Former channel number(s)|
|Transmitter power||850 kW|
851 kW (CP)
|Height||328.2 m (1,077 ft)|
345.7 m (1,134 ft) (CP)
|Public license information||Profile|
WRIC-TV, virtual channel 8 (UHF digital channel 22), is an ABC-affiliated television station serving Richmond, Virginia, United States that is licensed to nearby Petersburg. Owned by Nexstar Media Group, WRIC-TV maintains studios in Chesterfield County (with a Richmond mailing address), overlooking Powhite Parkway just south of the Midlothian Turnpike interchange. Its transmitter is located in Bon Air, on an antenna installation shared with local PBS member stations WCVE (channel 23) and WCVW (channel 57).
The station began operation in 1955 as WXEX-TV, an NBC affiliate. It was owned by Thomas Tinsley, along with WLEE radio, via the Petersburg Television Corporation. Channel 8's transmitter was located in the Bermuda Hundred area of eastern Chesterfield County, while the main studios were in Petersburg. Originally, it didn't cover Richmond nearly as well as did WTVR-TV (channel 6) and WRVA-TV (channel 12, now WWBT). At first, a Richmond sales office was located at WLEE's studios on West Broad Street in Richmond; later, satellite studios were established just off Midlothian Turnpike in Bon Air.
The station swapped affiliations with channel 12 in 1965 and became an ABC affiliate. It has been with that network ever since. In 1968, Tinsley sold WXEX-TV and WLEE to Nationwide Communications. In 1969, a fire destroyed its original Petersburg studios. For a few weeks, the station had to broadcast from its transmitter, then set up temporary offices and studios in a vacated store in Petersburg. The station later moved to a brand new facility on Crater Road that it named Blandford Manor. In 1981, Nationwide sold off sister station WLEE.
On April 23, 1990, the station moved its studios to the current location on Arboretum Place in Chesterfield County. With the new studios came new call letters, WRIC-TV. However, it is still licensed to Petersburg; unlike the other stations in the market, it identifies as "Petersburg/Richmond." Nationwide would sell all three of its ABC-affiliated television stations, including WRIC, to Young Broadcasting in 1993.
The station's owner, Young Broadcasting, went into Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2009. The station was part of a bankruptcy auction scheduled for July 14, 2009 but cancelled at the last minute. On July 22, a bankruptcy judge approved a plan in which Young's secured lenders would take over the company.
On June 6, 2013, Young Broadcasting announced that it would merge with Richmond-based Media General. Upon consummation, the merger made WRIC-TV one of two flagships of Media General (WFLA-TV in Tampa serves as the home base of Media General's broadcast division). It was the first legal opportunity for Media General in years to own a station in its hometown. Its predecessor, Richmond Newspapers, lost out in the bidding for WWBT's forerunner, WRVA-TV, in 1956 due to the FCC's preference for a non-newspaper owner. Media General merged with WTVR's then-parent company, Park Communications, but had to immediately put WTVR on the market due to cross-ownership restrictions involving the flagship Richmond Times-Dispatch, which was sold with Media General's newspaper business in 2012 to BH Media. The merger would also make WRIC a sister station to Roanoke's NBC affiliate, WSLS-TV. The merger was approved by the FCC on November 8, after Media General shareholders approved the merger a day earlier; it was completed on November 12.
On September 8, 2015, Media General announced that it would acquire the Des Moines, Iowa-based Meredith Corporation for $2.4 billion with the intention to name the combined group Meredith Media General if the sale were finalized. However, on September 28, Irving, Texas-based Nexstar Broadcasting Group made an unsolicited cash-and-stock merger offer for Media General, originally valued at $14.50 per share. On November 16, following opposition to the merger with Meredith by minority shareholders Oppenheimer Holdings and Starboard Capital (primarily because Meredith's magazine properties were included in the deal, which would have re-entered Media General into publishing after it sold its newspapers to BH Media in 2012 to reduce debt) and the rejection of Nexstar's initial offer by company management, Media General agreed to enter into negotiations with Nexstar on a suitable counter deal, while the Meredith merger proposal remained active; the two eventually concluded negotiations on January 6, 2016, reaching a merger agreement for valued at $17.14 per share (an evaluation of $4.6 billion, plus the assumption of $2.3 billion debt).
On January 27, Meredith formally broke off the proposed merger with Media General and accepted the termination fee of $60 million previously negotiated under the original merger proposal; Media General subsequently signed an agreement to be acquired by Nexstar, in exchange for giving Meredith right of first refusal to acquire any broadcast or digital properties that may be divested (a clause that Meredith did not exercise). The transaction was approved by the FCC on January 11, 2017; the sale was completed on January 17, at which point the existing Nexstar stations and the former Media General outlets that neither group had to sell in order to rectify ownership conflicts in certain markets became part of the renamed Nexstar Media Group; this brought WRIC as well as NBC affiliate WAVY-TV and Fox affiliate WVBT in Norfolk (which became sister properties to WRIC through Media General's 2015 acquisition of LIN Media) under common ownership with the Roanoke duopoly of Fox affiliate WFXR and CW affiliate WWCW (which necessitated Media General to sell WSLS-TV to Graham Media Group in order to alleviate said ownership conflict with the two existing Nexstar-owned stations). On September 20, 2017, the station dropped its longtime brand of WRIC-TV 8 and is now branded on-air as "ABC 8".
On December 3, 2018, Nexstar announced it would acquire the assets of Chicago-based Tribune Media—which has owned CBS affiliate WTVR since 2009—for $6.4 billion in cash and debt. Nexstar is precluded from acquiring WTVR directly or indirectly, as FCC regulations prohibit common ownership of two or more of the four highest-rated stations in the same media market. (Furthermore, any attempt by Nexstar to assume the operations of WTVR 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 WTVR or WRIC to a separate, unrelated company to address the ownership conflict. On March 20, 2019, it was announced that Nexstar would keep WRIC-TV and sell WTVR to Cincinnati-based E. W. Scripps Company, as part of the company's sale of nineteen Nexstar- and Tribune-operated stations to Scripps and Tegna Inc. in separate deals worth $1.32 billion; the transaction will mark Scripps' entry into Virginia.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|8.1||720p||16:9||WRIC TV||Main WRIC-TV programming / ABC|
On November 1, 2011, WRIC-TV ceased to carry The Country Network on the station's 8.2 sub-channel after Young terminated their deal with TCN and dropped the channel on all of its stations that carried it. After Young made a deal to carry ABC's Live Well Network, it launched on June 1, 2012 on WRIC's 8.2 virtual sub-channel. On May 30, 2015 at 4:00 a.m., WRIC-TV (along with all other former-Young Broadcasting stations who were carrying it) ceased to carry Live Well Network on the station's 8.2 sub-channel. On November 1, 2015, WRIC-TV began carrying Ion Television on its 8.2 sub-channel. On February 3, 2016, WRIC-TV began carrying GetTV on its 8.3 sub-channel. On October 25, 2017, WRIC-TV began carrying Laff on its 8.4 sub-channel.
WRIC-TV shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 8, on June 12, 2009, the official date in which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 22. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers continues to display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analog channel 8.1.
As part of the SAFER Act, WRIC-TV kept its analog signal on the air until June 26 to inform viewers of the digital television transition through a loop of public service announcements from the National Association of Broadcasters.
On September 28, 2011, WRIC-TV became the third commercial station (behind WWBT and WTVR) in Richmond to broadcast local news in high definition.
Notable former on-air staff
- Ed Hughes - anchor and news director during the mid-1960s; later anchor at WTKR in Norfolk, VA from 1967 until his death in 2004
- Matt Lauer - host of PM Magazine (1980s; formerly of NBC News and former co-host of Today; was fired in November 2017 due to sexual misconduct allegations against him)
- Wilma Smith - 6 p.m. newscaster and Wilma Smith Show host (1970s; later at WEWS-TV, then at WJW in Cleveland; retired from broadcasting on March 2013)
- Gretchen Carlson - began her career as a political reporter with WRIC, former Fox News Channel anchor
- A vulture's eye view of Young
- Media General, Young Broadcasting To Merge, TVNewsCheck, June 6, 2013.
- FCC Approves Media General-Young Merger Broadcasting & Cable, Retrieved 8 November 2013
- "Media General, Young Now Officially One". TVNewsCheck. November 12, 2013. Retrieved November 12, 2013.
- "Media General Acquiring Meredith For 2.4 Billion". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheck Media. September 8, 2015.
- Cynthia Littleton (September 8, 2015). "TV Station Mega Merger: Media General Sets $2.4 Billion Acquisition of Meredith Corp". Variety. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved September 9, 2015.
- "Media General, Meredith To Combine To Create Meredith Media General: A New Powerful Multiplatform And Diversified Media Company" (Press release). Meredith Corporation. PR Newswire. September 8, 2015.
- "Meredith will be acquired by Media General in a television merger". Kansas City Star. The McClatchy Company. September 8, 2015. Retrieved September 9, 2015.
- "KCTV, KSMO will get new owner". Kansas City Business Journal. American City Business Journals. September 9, 2015.
- "Meredith, Media General stand by deal despite report". The Des Moines Register. Gannett Company. October 8, 2015. Retrieved October 8, 2015.
- "Media General Rejects Nexstar's $1.9B Offer, But Agrees To Talk". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Media Corporation. November 16, 2015.
- "Nexstar-Media General: It's A Done Deal". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheck Media. January 27, 2016. Retrieved March 4, 2016.
- Leslie Picker (January 27, 2016). "Nexstar Clinches Deal to Acquire Media General". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved January 27, 2016.
- "NEXSTAR BROADCASTING GROUP ENTERS INTO DEFINITIVE AGREEMENT TO ACQUIRE MEDIA GENERAL FOR $4.6 BILLION IN ACCRETIVE CASH AND STOCK TRANSACTION". Media General (Press release). January 27, 2016. Archived from the original on January 30, 2016.
- "Prather Buys 5 TVs From Nexstar-Media Gen". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheck Media. June 13, 2016. Retrieved March 14, 2017.
- "Nexstar Broadcasting Group Completes Acquisition of Media General Creating Nexstar Media Group, The Nation's Second Largest Television Broadcaster". Nexstar Media Groupdate=January 17, 2017 (Press release). Retrieved March 14, 2017.
- Harry A. Jessell (January 11, 2017). "FCC OKs $4.6B Nexstar-Media General Merger". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheck Media. Retrieved March 14, 2017.
- Harry A. Jessell (January 17, 2017). "Nexstar Closes On Media General Purchase". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheck Media. Retrieved March 14, 2017.
- "Acquisition of Tribune Media Company" (PDF). Nexstar Media Group. December 3, 2018.
- Mark K. Miller (December 3, 2018). "Nexstar Buying Tribune Media For $6.4 Billion". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheck Media.
- 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.
- 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.
- Arjun Panchadar; Sonam Rai (December 3, 2018). "Nexstar to buy Tribune Media for $4.1 billion". Reuters.
- Jon Lafayette (December 3, 2018). "Nexstar Announces Deal to Buy Tribune for $6.4B". Broadcasting & Cable. NewBay Media.
- Adam Jacobson (December 3, 2018). "It's Official: Nexstar Takes Tribune In Billion-Dollar Stock Deal". Radio-Television Business Report. Streamline-RBR, Inc.
- Harry A. Jessell; Mark K. Miller (December 3, 2018). "Nexstar To Spin Off $1B In Stations". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheck Media.
- "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.
- "Nexstar Media Group Enters Into Definitive Agreement To Acquire Tribune Media Company". Tribune Media. December 3, 2018. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
- "Nexstar Selling 19 TVs In 15 Markets For $1.32B". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheckMedia. March 20, 2019. Retrieved March 20, 2019.
- Nabila Ahmed; Anousha Sakoui (March 20, 2019). "Nexstar to Sell Stations to Tegna, Scripps for $1.32 Billion". Bloomberg News. Bloomberg, L.P.
- RabbitEars TV Query for WRIC
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-08-29. Retrieved 2012-03-24.
- "UPDATED List of Participants in the Analog Nightlight Program" (PDF). Federal Communications Commission. June 12, 2009. Retrieved June 4, 2012.