Beckley, West Virginia
|Branding||CBS 59 or WVNS (general)
59 News (newscasts)
Fox 59 (on DT2)
|Slogan||Working For You|
|Channels||Digital: 8 (VHF)
Virtual: 59 (PSIP)
59.2 Fox (primary)
|Owner||West Virginia Media Holdings|
|First air date||August 12, 1995|
|Call letters' meaning||West Virginia's News Station|
|Sister station(s)||WOWK, WTRF, WBOY|
|Former callsigns||WVGV-TV (1995-1996)
|Former channel number(s)||59 (UHF analog, 1995-2009)|
|Former affiliations||The WB (1995-1996)
|Transmitter power||3.68 kW|
|Public license information:||Profile
WVNS-TV, channel 59, is a television station licensed to Lewisburg, West Virginia, USA. Owned by West Virginia Media Holdings, WVNS is the primary CBS affiliate for the Bluefield/Beckley/Oak Hill television market, which also covers portions of southwestern Virginia. WVNS also carries programming from Fox and MyNetworkTV over its second digital subchannel (59.2). The station's studios are located on Old Cline Road in Ghent, West Virginia, and its transmitter is near Alderson, West Virginia.
WVNS-TV is one of four West Virginia television stations owned by West Virginia Media Holdings; the other outlets are fellow CBS affiliates WOWK-TV in Huntington and WTRF-TV in Wheeling; and NBC-affiliated WBOY-TV in Clarksburg.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|59.1||1080i||16:9||WVNSCBS||Main WVNS-TV programing / CBS 59|
The station began broadcasting on August 12, 1995 as The WB affiliate WVGV-TV. It was the first station in the market not affiliated with one of the big three networks. The station was originally set to sign-on in 1994 as a Fox affiliate. However, after the station's launch was delayed past the start of the 1994-95 season, Fox canceled the affiliation. WVGV was not successful due to difficulty in selling advertising time in the primarily urban-oriented programming that dominated The WB's schedule at the time as well as the difficulty competing with a UHF signal in a market used to receiving VHF stations. Furthermore, the late sign-on made it difficult to get carriage on the area's cable systems. This was a serious problem since cable is a must for acceptable television in this market, most of which is very mountainous.
By May, when cable systems in the area were ready to carry the station, WVGV had agreed to be sold to High Mountain Broadcasting. The new owners took the station dark in order to relocate the studios from Lewisburg to Ghent (between Beckley and Bluefield) and move the transmitter site from Cross Mountain to a more central location to better serve Beckley and Bluefield as well as Lewisburg. The station returned to the air on December 24, 1996 as Fox affiliate WVSX. However, due to problems with the transmitter's unique power supply design, it did not transmit regularly until after January 1, 1997. The station continued to struggle financially.
Relief really didn't come until WVSX changed its affiliation to CBS on September 29, 2001. Prior to 2001, Bluefield/Beckley/Oak Hill was one of the few markets in the Eastern Time Zone without full service from the Big Three networks. In fact, CBS programming hadn't been available over-the-air at all in the area since ABC affiliate WOAY-TV dropped the CBS Evening News and Captain Kangaroo from its schedule in the early 1970s; it had dropped most of its CBS programming in 1967. Since the arrival of cable in the market in the late 1970s, Huntington/Charleston's CBS affiliate--WCHS-TV until 1986, and future sister WOWK since 1986—had served as the default CBS affiliate for the West Virginia side of the market while WDBJ in Roanoke served the Virginia portion. Both WOWK and WDBJ are still available on most of the area's cable systems. On February 28, 2003, the station was again sold, this time to West Virginia Media Holdings. As a result, the company owns three of the four CBS affiliates serving the state. The call sign was changed on June 7 to the current WVNS-TV. Recent personnel moves allowed WVNS to move past WOAY-TV as the market's number-two station, though it is still well behind long-dominant WVVA.
The Fox affiliation on a new second digital subchannel was acquired September 13, 2006 following a summer 2006 retransmission dispute between Charleston's WVAH-TV and Suddenlink Communications (the cable system serving Beckley). The demise of the Foxnet cable network on September 12 also played a role. Although it is carried on a digital subchannel, this is practically a return of Fox to WVNS after a five year absence. WVNS turned off its analog signal on UHF channel 59 at 12:30 P.M. on February 17, 2009. Although WVNS transmits its digital signal on channel 8, it remaps to channel 59 using PSIP.
Soon after West Virginia Media bought the station, it launched a news department. The station also takes advantage of the statewide network to share news content from sister stations WOWK(for state government coverage and Marshall University sports) and WBOY (for West Virginia University sports). During all WVNS newscasts, weather forecasts are provided from WOWK's studios in Charleston. West Virginia Media produces a half-hour evening newscast that airs at 5:30pm. The newscast, titled West Virginia Tonight Live, is broadcast live from the Charleston studios in high definition on all 4 station and is anchored by April Kaull. It features stories from all four stations. In addition, there is a public affairs program called Decision Makers hosted by company president and CEO Bray Cary. This is simulcast on Saturday mornings at 9 and Sunday mornings at 8 on all West Virginia Media Holdings stations. Every night at 10, WVNS-DT2 offers a live, hour-long, 10 o'clock newscast known as Fox 59 News. Weekday mornings at 7, there is a rebroadcast of the second hour of the main channel's weekday morning show.
On March 28, 2013, WVNS became the first station in the market and the third station owned by West Virginia Media Holdings to upgrade its local newscasts to high definition. With the upgrade came new graphics and a new set.
Notable current on-air staff
- Bray Cary - Decision Makers host; also West Virginia Media Holdings President and Chief Executive Officer