|Channels||Digital: 34 (UHF)|
Virtual: 8 (PSIP)
WVLT News (newscasts)
MyVLT (on DT2)
|Slogan||Making a Difference|
|Affiliations||8.1: CBS (1953–1956, 1988–present)|
8.3: Start TV
8.4: Circle (O&O)
|Owner||Gray Television |
(Gray Television Licensee, LLC)
First air date
|October 18, 1953|
Former call signs
Former channel number(s)
26 (UHF, 1953–1988)
8 (VHF, 1988–2009)
30 (UHF, 1999–2019)
ABC (1953–1979; secondary until 1956)
DuMont (secondary; 1953–1956)
Call sign meaning
|VoLunTeer State (nickname for Tennessee)|
|HAAT||551.5 m (1,809 ft)|
Public license information
WVLT-TV, virtual channel 8 (UHF digital channel 34), is a dual CBS/MyNetworkTV-affiliated television station licensed to Knoxville, Tennessee, United States. The station is owned by Gray Television, as part of a duopoly with Crossville-licensed CW affiliate WBXX-TV (channel 20). The two stations share studios on Papermill Drive (near I-40/I-75) on the west side of Knoxville; WVLT-TV's transmitter is located on Sharp's Ridge in North Knoxville.
WVLT-TV debuted on October 18, 1953 as WTSK-TV on channel 26. It was Tennessee's first UHF station, and the second television station in East Tennessee, signing on just a few hours after WROL-TV in Knoxville (channel 6, now WATE-TV). The station was a CBS affiliate, but also shared ABC programming with WROL-TV.
Channel 26 found the going difficult at first, since television manufacturers weren't required to build in UHF tuning capability at the time (it wasn't until the passing of the All-Channel Receiver Act in 1962 that all TVs were required to have them built in). Viewers needed an expensive converter to watch WTSK, and even then the picture quality was marginal at best. In addition, most of East Tennessee is very mountainous, and UHF signals at the time usually did not carry very well over its rugged terrain. In 1954, the station's original owners, Television Services of Knoxville, sold the station to South Central Communications, a radio company in Evansville, Indiana, who changed its calls to WTVK, standing for We're TeleVision in Knoxville.
When WBIR-TV signed on in 1956 and took the CBS affiliation, WTVK became a full-time ABC affiliate. However, it spent most of the next 20 years as a very distant third in the ratings. While this was due in part to ABC being a much weaker network (it wouldn't be on par with CBS and NBC in terms of programming until the 1970s), another problem was the aforementioned terrain issue. Many viewers didn't get a clear signal from channel 26 until cable arrived in Knoxville in the 1970s. In fact, many viewers got a better signal from WLOS-TV (channel 13) in Asheville, North Carolina; WLOS' transmitter is located almost 118 miles (190 km) east of Knoxville.
On September 17, 1979, the station swapped affiliations with WATE-TV and became an NBC affiliate. By this time, ABC had become the highest-rated network in the country, and was seeking to affiliate with stronger stations; NBC was in last place at the time. Under the circumstances, ABC jumped at the chance to move its programming to long-dominant WATE-TV. Even as NBC's ratings situation improved to the point where it became the #1 network during the 1980s, and as channel 26 increased its transmitter power from one million watts to the maximum allowable by the FCC for a UHF station at five million watts in late 1981, the station stayed in the local ratings basement. However, it did win the rights to broadcast a daily one-hour show from the 1982 World's Fair, held in Knoxville. The program was hosted by Jim Hess and Jim Hampton and featured news updates with WTVK news anchors including Melinda Kramer.
On September 10, 1988, the station returned to CBS, swapping affiliations with WBIR-TV; and three months later on December 1, the station changed its calls to WKXT-TV (The WTVK call letters were later used by WXCW in Naples/Fort Myers, Florida, which used the call sign from 1995 to 2007). and moved to channel 8, one of the last remaining VHF channel allocations in the U.S. The station used a directional antenna to protect Nashville's WDCN (later WNPT) and Athens, Georgia's WGTV, both of whom operated on VHF channel 8. WKXT became one of the few stations in America to have been a primary affiliate of all "Big 3" networks. Soon after the move to the VHF band, South Central sold the station to a local ownership group in 1992. Current owner Gray Communications (now Gray Television) bought the station in 1996. The new owners changed the callsign to the current WVLT-TV on February 10, 1997.
On January 9, 2011, channel 8's 11 p.m. newscast became the first in the Knoxville market to originate in high definition. On April 20, 2013, WVLT became the last station in the market to add a weekend morning newscast.
WVLT-DT2 is the MyNetworkTV-affiliated second digital subchannel of WVLT-TV, broadcasting in 720p high definition on UHF channel 30.2 (or virtual channel 8.2 via PSIP). On cable, the subchannel is available on Spectrum channel 15, Xfinity and WOW! channel 8, and U-verse channel 21.
WVLT-DT2 began broadcasting in 2003 as UPN Knoxville, affiliated with UPN and replacing the now-defunct WEEE-LP. It then affiliated with MyNetworkTV in September 2006, as WBXX-TV (which would become a sister station to WVLT-TV in 2015) took The CW affiliation. WVLT-DT2 branded as My VLT-2 for several years before switching simply to My VLT. In mid-2011, the subchannel began to transmit in 720p high definition.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|8.1||1080i||16:9||WVLT-DT||Main WVLT-TV programming / CBS|
|8.2||720p||MYVLT||WVLT-DT2 / MyNetworkTV|
Analog to digital conversion
WVLT-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 30. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analog channel 8.
As part of the SAFER Act, WVLT-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.
Syndicated programming on WVLT-TV includes The Dr. Oz Show, The Kelly Clarkson Show, Inside Edition, Entertainment Tonight, and Extra. Syndicated programming on WVLT-DT2 includes Mike & Molly and Seinfeld, among others. WVLT-DT2 also runs some programming shared with the main channel. Beginning in September 2016, Antenna TV programming is aired on WVLT-DT2 in the overnight hours from 1 to 8 a.m. ET.
In 1998, when CBS regained National Football League rights, it became the primary American Football Conference broadcaster. WVLT has aired most Tennessee Titans (formerly Oilers) games since. The team's magazine program, Titans All Access also airs on the station.
The station also previously broadcast Southeastern Conference football and basketball games originated from Raycom Sports (formerly Jefferson Pilot/Lincoln Financial Sports) via syndication from the 1990s until 2009, when ESPN Plus-oriented SEC Network (now SEC TV) took over from 2009 until 2014. The package was previously run on WBIR and/or WTNZ (then WKCH) throughout the 1980s and the early half of the 1990s until WVLT acquired local rights. WVLT carried the SEC TV package throughout its entire 2009-2014 existence, although it was shared with WVLT-DT2. However, due to the launch of the new cable-exclusive SEC Network as part of a multi-year contract between the Southeastern Conference and ESPN, SEC TV was dissolved because of the new cable network's launch. WVLT still airs a large number of SEC football games through CBS' SEC package. WVLT later served as an affiliate of Raycom's ACC Network, which brings Atlantic Coast Conference football and basketball, sharing the affiliation with co-owned WBXX-TV.
Vol Network affiliation
In 2007, WVLT and the Vol Network, the broadcasting arm of the University of Tennessee's athletic department, entered into a new 10-year agreement for WVLT and MyVLT to be the exclusive home of all Vol TV Network programing in the Knoxville area. WVLT paid UT $4.95 million for the 10-year contract. This gives the two stations the exclusive rights to the weekly highlights shows featuring the head coaches of the football, men's basketball, and women's basketball teams, as well as other UT athletic-related programs in the Knoxville market. With this, the Vol TV Network ended a 10-year relationship with NBC affiliate WBIR-TV.
Former on-air staff
- WVLT Adds Weekend Morning Newscast TVSpy, April 12th, 2013
- Local 8 Now MyVLT | Knoxville, East Tennessee | MyVLT - Home WVLT. Retrieved November 8, 2014.
- Morrow, Terry (September 4, 2006).Morrow: Local UPN morphs into My Network Knoxville News Sentinel. Retrieved January 8, 2015.
- Breaking News - MyNetworkTV Adds 30 New Affiliates | TheFutonCritic.com
- RabbitEars TV Query for WVLT
- "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.
- CDBS Print
- "UPDATED List of Participants in the Analog Nightlight Program" (PDF). Federal Communications Commission. June 12, 2009. Retrieved June 4, 2012.
- TitanTV Query for WVLT
- Jefferson-Pilot Sports: SEC Syndication Package brochures (1993, 1994 & 1995). Archived from the original April 30, 2016.
- Official website
- WVLT-TV in the FCC's TV station database
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WVLT-TV