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|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)
Virtual: 11 (PSIP)
(Gray Television Licensee, LLC)
|First air date||September 26, 1953|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
11 (VHF, 1953–2009)
49 (UHF, until 2009)
Fox / The Sportsman Channel (2006–2009)
|Transmitter power||40 kW|
|Public license information:||Profile
WTOK-TV is the ABC-affiliated television station for Meridian, Mississippi. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on VHF channel 11 from a transmitter south of Meridian on Crestview Circle (along MS 145/Roebuck Drive) in unincorporated Lauderdale County. The station can also be seen on Comcast channel 6 and in high definition on digital channel 431. Co-owned by Gray Television and The Walt Disney Company (through its Disney-ABC Television Group division) as part of a local marketing agreement, WTOK has studios at 815 23rd Avenue in Meridian's Mid-Town section.
It 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 (now WMDN) 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 the Post was sold. H&C then sold WTOK to United Broadcasting who also owned KARK-TV in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1984.
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. At one point, WTOK was co-owned with KARK-TV in Little Rock, Arkansas. 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.
In early 2006, WTOK began broadcasting a Fox affiliate (known as "Fox Meridian") on a new second digital subchannel. For Meridian viewers, WTOK-DT2 replaced Foxnet and WDBB in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, on cable. Starting September 5, 2006, it began airing programming from Fox's new sister network MyNetworkTV. Shows from that network aired Monday through Saturday nights from 9 to 11. Gray Television signed a deal to add The CW (the other new network created by the merger of The WB and UPN) on new digital subchannels of four company-owned stations including WTOK. WTOK-DT3 began airing The CW on the network's launch of September 18.
After WGBC acquired the Fox affiliation in late 2008, WTOK-DT2 was rebranded "myTOK2" to reflect the channel's shift to primary MyNetworkTV affiliation. It also moved from Comcast channel 10 to channel 2.
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||4:3||myTOK2||MyNetworkTV / Jewelry Television (overnights)1|
|11.3||720p||16:9||WTOK-CW||Meridian CW 8|
WTOK-TV shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 11, at 9 a.m. 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 relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 49 to VHF channel 11.
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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 Wednesday, April 25, 2012, WTOK-TV began broadcasting local newscasts in high definition for the first time.
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