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|Petersburg - Richmond, Virginia
|Branding||WRIC-TV 8 (general)
8 News (newscasts)
|Slogan||News Where You Live|
|Channels||Digital: 22 (UHF)
Virtual: 8 (PSIP)
|Owner||Nexstar Media Group
(Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc.)
|First air date||August 15, 1955|
|Call letters' meaning||W-RIChmond|
|Former callsigns||WXEX-TV (1955–1990)|
|Former channel number(s)||
|Transmitter power||850 kW|
|Public license information:||Profile
WRIC-TV, UHF digital channel 22 (virtual channel 8, is an ABC-affiliated television station located in Richmond, Virginia, United States. It is owned by Nexstar Media Group. The station is licensed to nearby Petersburg, while its studios are located on Arboretum Place (State Route 76) in Chesterfield County (with a Richmond mailing address). Its transmitter is located in Bon Air.
The station began operation in 1955 as WXEX-TV, an NBC affiliate. It was owned by Thomas Tinsley along with WLEE radio. 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, a suburb of Richmond.
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 in 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 September 28, 2011, WRIC-TV became the third commercial station (behind WWBT and WTVR) in Richmond to broadcast local news in high definition.
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 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 January 27, 2016, it was announced that the Nexstar Broadcasting Group would buy Media General for $4.6 billion. WRIC is now part of "Nexstar Media Group."
On May 30, 2015 at 4:00am, 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.
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|8.1||720p||16:9||WRIC TV||Main WRIC-TV programming / ABC|
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.
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; now with NBC News and host of Today)
- Mara MacDonald - reporter
- 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.
- RabbitEars TV Query for WRIC
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24.
- "UPDATED List of Participants in the Analog Nightlight Program" (PDF). Federal Communications Commission. June 12, 2009. Retrieved June 4, 2012.