|Branding||Channel 11 (general)|
NewsCenter 11 (newscasts)
myTOK2 (on DT2)
Meridian CW 8 (on DT3)
|Slogan||Your News Leader for East Mississippi and West Alabama|
|Channels||Digital: 11 (VHF)|
(to move to 13 (VHF))
Virtual: 11 (PSIP)
11.4: Ion Television
(Gray Television Licensee, LLC)
|First air date||September 26, 1953|
|Sister station(s)||WLBT, WDBD, WLOO, WDAM-TV, WLOX|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:|
11 (VHF, 1953–2009)
49 (UHF, until 2009)
Fox / The Sportsman Channel (2006–2009)
|Transmitter power||90 kW|
104 kW (CP)
|Height||160 m (525 ft)|
159.1 m (522 ft) (CP)
|Public license information||Profile|
WTOK-TV, virtual and VHF digital channel 11, is an ABC/MyNetworkTV/CW+-affiliated television station licensed to Meridian, Mississippi, United States. The station is owned by Gray Television. WTOK-TV's studios are located on 23rd Avenue in Meridian's Mid-Town section, and its transmitter is located on Crestview Circle (along MS 145/Roebuck Drive) in unincorporated Lauderdale County, south of Meridian. The station can also be seen on Comcast Xfinity channel 6 and in high definition on digital channel 431.
WTOK-TV began broadcasting on September 25, 1953 as the second television station in Mississippi and the first on the VHF band. WTOK was originally owned by Southern Television Corporation founded by Robert F. Wright. WJTV in Jackson had started broadcasting in January of that year on a UHF frequency. WTOK started as a primary CBS affiliate but carried programming from ABC, NBC, and DuMont as well. DuMont folded in 1955 and NBC went to WHTV (channel 24, now WMDN) when that station resumed broadcasting in 1972 (via its status as a satellite of Tupelo's WTWV now WTVA). It became an exclusive ABC affiliate in 1980 sending CBS to WHTV. ABC had become the highest-rated network in the nation by this time and wanted a station that would clear all of its programming. Wright sold the station to the Hobby family of Houston, Texas in 1981. In 1983, the Hobbys reorganized their broadcast holdings as H&C Communications after they sold off the Houston Post. H&C then sold WTOK to United Broadcasting who also owned KARK-TV in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1984.
Although most media markets were allocated two VHF commercial channels and one VHF noncommercial channel, what would become of the Meridian media market was sandwiched between Columbus–Tupelo (channels 2, 4, and 9) to the north, Jackson (channel 3 and later channel 12) to the west, Hattiesburg–Laurel (channel 9, later 7) and Mobile (channels 3, 5, and 10) to the south, and Birmingham (channels 6, 10, and 13) and Montgomery (channels 2, 8, and 12) to the east. This created a "doughnut" in East Central Mississippi where there was only one VHF license available. WTOK-TV was fortunate enough to gain that license, and consequently became the only station to serve the Meridian area until WHTV signed on in 1968 (however, that station went off the air in 1970); WMAW (an MPB station) would not sign on until 1972.
WTOK also served as a partial Fox affiliate in the mid-1990s carrying NFL broadcasts as well as selected Fox programming in late night time-slots. In 1988, then-owner United Broadcasting was taken over by investment firm Merrill Lynch who then sold its three stations off to separate buyers. That year, Benedek Broadcasting bought WTOK. When Benedek's parent company went bankrupt in 2002, current owner Gray Television bought most of the Benedek stations including WTOK.
WTOK-TV has been digital-only since June 12, 2009.
On June 25, 2018, Gray Television announced it would acquire Montgomery, Alabama-based Raycom Media for $3.65 billion. The deal would give WTOK-TV new sister stations in Raycom's virtual triopoly of NBC affiliate WLBT, Fox affiliate WDBD and MyNetworkTV affiliate WLOO in Jackson. In addition, the sale would give Gray ownership of at least one station in nearly every television market in Mississippi (the exceptions being Greenville and the adjacent Columbus-Tupelo market). The FCC approved the sale on December 20, and the sale was consummated on January 2.
WTOK-DT2, branded on air as myTOK2, is the MyNetworkTV-affiliated second digital subchannel of WTOK-TV, broadcasting in 16:9 widescreen standard definition on virtual and VHF channel 11.2. On cable, the subchannel is available on Xfinity channel 2.
The station signed-on in early 2006 as the market's first locally based Fox affiliate. Known on-air as "Fox Meridian", it could also be seen on Comcast channel 10 and in high definition on digital channel 434. WTOK had previously served as a partial Fox affiliate in the mid-1990s carrying NFL broadcasts as well as selected Fox programming in late night time-slots. Otherwise, access to the network was provided on cable first via WDBB in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, then via Foxnet after WDBB switched its affiliation to The WB in 1996.
Starting September 5, 2006, it began airing programming from Fox's new sister programming service MyNetworkTV. Shows from that service aired Monday through Saturday nights from 9 until 11 in a delayed arrangement. After NBC affiliate WGBC (channel 30) acquired the area's Fox affiliation in late 2008, WTOK-DT2 became known as "myTOK2" to reflect the station's shift to a primary MyNetworkTV affiliation. At this point, overnight programming from The Sportsman Channel was dropped and Jewelry Television took its place. It also moved from Comcast channel 10 to channel 2 and surrendered the digital channel 434 allotment to WGBC.
In October 2017, the over-the-air feed of "myTOK2" was upgraded into a 16:9 widescreen standard definition picture format; it could not be upgraded into 720p HD, most likely due to bandwidth limitations prohibiting WTOK from transmitting all three of their feeds in HD simultaneously. "myTOK2" had previously been offered in 480i 4:3 standard definition. In autumn 2018, Gray Television opted out of an HD upgrade to their 11.2 subchannel, instead deciding to add Ion Television to channel 11.4.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|11.1||720p||16:9||WTOK-HD||Main WTOK-TV programming / ABC|
|11.2||480i||myTOK2||MyNetworkTV / Jewelry Television (overnights)1|
|11.3||720p||WTOK-CW||Meridian CW 8|
Syndicated programming on WTOK-DT1 includes Wheel of Fortune, The Dr. Oz Show, Judge Judy, and Jeopardy! among others. Syndicated programming on WTOK-DT2 includes Family Guy, Two and a Half Men, Friends, and Family Feud among others. Overnight, WTOK-DT2 airs paid programming from Jewelry Television.
This section needs expansion with: further on its history of the news operation. You can help by adding to it. (September 2014)
WTOK-TV has long been the dominant station in Eastern Mississippi due to its status as the only VHF station in the area. For a time in the early-1990s, WTOK was even the only over-the-air commercial station in town by default after both of its rivals went off-the-air. After WMDN shut down its news department in 2005, WTOK became the only station in the market to offer local news. Unlike most ABC affiliates, it does not air full two-hour morning or midday newscasts during the week. WTOK-DT2 rebroadcasts the 6 a.m. hour of Good Morning Meridian weekday mornings at 7:30 and NewsCenter 11 at 10 every night at midnight. On April 25, 2012, WTOK-TV began broadcasting local newscasts in high definition for the first time.
In 2016, WTOK-TV was recognized by the Associated Press for best breaking news coverage and best breaking weather coverage.
Notable former on-air staff
- Stan Torgerson - reporter (deceased)
- Channel 8 branded TV stations in the United States
- Channel 11 digital TV stations in the United States
- Channel 11 virtual TV stations in the United States