|Branding||WTVY News 4
My 4 (DT2)
Dothan's CW (DT3)
|Channels||Digital: 36 (UHF)
Virtual: 4 (PSIP)
|First air date||February 12, 1955|
|Sister station(s)||WRGX-LD, WJHG-TV, WECP-LD, WCTV/WSWG|
|Former channel number(s)||9 (VHF analog, 1955–1960?)
4 (VHF analog, 1960–2009)
|Former affiliations||UPN (DT2, 2005–2006)|
|Transmitter power||1,000 kW|
|Height||573 m (1,879 feet)|
|Public license information:||Profile
WTVY is the CBS-affiliated television station for the Wiregrass Region of Southeastern Alabama and the Florida Panhandle. Licensed to Dothan, Alabama, it broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 36 (or virtual channel 4.1) from a transmitter in Bethlehem, Florida. Owned by Gray Television, WTVY is sister to low-powered NBC affiliate WRGX-LD. The two outlets share studios on North Foster Street in Downtown Dothan.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP short name||Programming |
|4.1||1080i||16:9||WTVY TV||Main WTVY programming / CBS|
|4.2||480i||4:3||WTVY MY||MyNetworkTV & MeTV|
|4.3||WTVY CW||Dothan's CW|
|4.4||Simulcast of WRGX-LD / NBC|
WTVY's first broadcast was on February 12, 1955, originally on channel 9, as a CBS affiliate. During the late-1950s, the station was also briefly affiliated with the NTA Film Network. In a massive reallocation of signals in Alabama and Georgia mandated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to minimize signal interference, the station moved to channel 4 around 1960.
At the time of the reallocation, WTVY also moved to new studios with a 1,209 ft (368.5 m) tower in Webb, five miles (8 km) east of Dothan. At the time, the tower was the tallest structure in the state of Alabama. WTVY-FM still utilizes the tower to transmit its signal. In the early-1970s, WTVY became one of the first stations in the country to broadcast 24 hours a day.
In 1978, WTVY moved to its current 2,035 ft (ASL) tower in Bethlehem (28 miles/45 km southwest of Dothan). The tower is the tallest structure in the state of Florida and one of the tallest broadcasting towers in North America. The tower is so tall that on clear nights the strobe warning lights on the tower have been seen as far as 50 miles away in certain locations. The move was made in part to improve its signal in Panama City and along the Florida Gulf Coast, where it had been the default CBS affiliate since 1961.
The new tower gave WTVY one of the largest coverage areas in the Southeastern United States. It provides at least grade B coverage as far east as the Florida side of the Mobile/Pensacola market (including Fort Walton Beach and Destin) and as far northwest as the fringes of the Montgomery market.
In 1993, WTVY moved its studios to the historic Houston Hotel building in downtown Dothan (now known as the Woods Building) and operates on the first two floors. The news studio is actually located in what used to be the grand ballroom of the hotel. The building is tall enough (eight stories) that the station's studio-to-transmitter microwave dish is located on top of the building, not requiring a smaller tower to be built on the property.
For many years Charles Woods, a perennial aspirant to the governorship of Alabama and occasional minor-party presidential candidate, owned WTVY via Woods Communication Group. Not to be confused with Woods Communications Corporation(WCOV-TV in Montgomery) owned by his son David Woods. In the early 1990s ownership of WTVY was transferred to Chemical Bank and operated under the corporate name of Dothan Holdings, LLC. Benedek Broadcasting bought WTVY from Chemical Bank/Dothan Holdings in 1995 for a price of $28 million. WTVY was one of the Benedek stations that was purchased by Gray Television in 2002.
For much of its history, WTVY was the designated CBS affiliate for the Panama City market where Gray also owns that city's NBC affiliate, WJHG-TV. In exchange, WJHG had long been available in Dothan on cable since the area did not have its own NBC affiliate. In fact, WTVY's transmitter is located in the Panama City market even though it is only 28 miles from Dothan. This status ended on September 24, 2012 when Gray launched WECP-LD as a Panama City-based CBS affiliate. However, most cable systems in that market continued to carry WTVY in lieu of WECP until October when the latter replaced WTVY on area systems. Gray likewise launched WRGX-LD as a Dothan-based NBC affiliate on June 1, 2013 replacing WJHG and Montgomery's WSFA on area cable systems.
Syndicated programming includes Wheel of Fortune, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Rachael Ray, and Live! with Kelly and Michael among others. When Panama City relied on WTVY for a CBS station, all syndicated programming that was duplicated on WJHG and ABC outlet WMBB was still shown on WTVY on Panama City's cable systems. This is in contrast to SyndEx laws which gives local stations the option to restrict importing of syndicated programming that is already available on an in-market station. After WECP replaced WTVY, the former station is able to air shows that WJHG cannot and does not have to rely on an out-of-market station to fill an affiliation slot.
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WTVY has historically been a ratings powerhouse in the Wiregrass Region winning every time slot. This is partly because its only local competition, ABC affiliate WDHN, has a coverage area only half as large and does not even produce newscasts on weekends. Although Fox outlet WDFX-TV also airs local news, most coverage focuses on other areas of Alabama (it simulcasts a weekday morning show from WBRC in Birmingham; there is also an hour-long weekday program at 4 and a nightly half-hour prime time newscast at 9 from WSFA in Montgomery). During the prime time broadcast on WDFX, there is limited coverage of the Wiregrass provided by WSFA reporters based in Dothan.
On weekdays, WTVY produces two thirty-minute newscasts (at 4 and 5:30 p.m.) that are exclusive to WRGX. As a result, the NBC station airs NBC Nightly News taped delayed at 6 unlike most NBC outlets in the Central Time Zone. The WRGX news programs broadcast from a secondary set at the North Foster Street facility. Although it features additional reporters from WTVY, the NBC station maintains separate news anchors and a meteorologist. It does not simulcast any newscasts from WTVY.
Since WJHG and WTVY had traditionally been available on cable in both Dothan and Panama City, WJHG has run WTVY stories that take place in those parts of northwestern Florida that are in northern part of the Panama City market. Meanwhile, WTVY has run WJHG stories focusing on Panama City and the coast. Sometimes, WTVY will run its own stories on Panama City but WJHG did not cover Dothan at all.
The building that WTVY broadcasts from in Downtown Dothan also has a Doppler weather radar dome that is specifically made for the station. On June 4, 2012, WTVY became the first station in the Dothan market to broadcast local newscasts in high definition. One notable former personality of WTVY is Mitch English who was a weather anchor and news reporter at the station. He was a co-host of the nationally syndicated weekday morning show, The Daily Buzz, from 2002 until 2012.
- Channel 4 virtual TV stations in the United States
- Channel 10 branded TV stations in the United States
- Channel 36 digital TV stations in the United States
- "Require Prime Evening Time for NTA Films", Boxoffice: 13, November 10, 1956, archived from the original on June 14, 2009
- Helgoth, Ali (July 17, 2012). "CBS station to go on air in Bay County". The News Herald. Retrieved July 18, 2012.
- "New CBS station on air Monday". Archived from the original on September 26, 2012. Retrieved September 24, 2012.
- Phillips, Greg (May 6, 2013). "Dothan getting NBC affiliate". Dothan Eagle. Retrieved May 13, 2013.