High Point, North Carolina
|City||Winston-Salem, North Carolina|
|Branding||WXII 12 (general)
WXII 12 News (newscasts)
|Slogan||The Triad's #1 News|
|Channels||Digital: 31 (UHF)
Virtual: 12 (PSIP)
(WXII Hearst Television, Inc.)
|First air date||September 30, 1953|
|Call letters' meaning||XII = Roman numeral 12|
|Former callsigns||WSJS-TV (1953–1972)
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
12 (VHF, 1953–2009)
This TV (2009–2012)
|Transmitter power||815 kW|
|Public license information:||Profile
WXII-TV, virtual channel 12 (UHF digital channel 31), is an NBC–affiliated television station serving Greensboro, High Point and its city of license Winston-Salem, North Carolina, United States. The station is owned by the Hearst Television subsidiary of the Hearst Corporation. WXII maintains studio facilities located on Coliseum Drive in Winston-Salem, and its transmitter is located on Sauratown Mountain in Stokes County. The station is carried on cable channel 11 in most parts of the market.
The station first signed on the air on September 30, 1953 as WSJS-TV. It is the third-oldest surviving television station in North Carolina, behind Charlotte's WBTV and channel 12's rival in the Greensboro market, WFMY-TV. The station at first was owned by a partnership of Piedmont Publishing, publishers of the Winston-Salem Journal and Twin City Sentinel, and Hollywood star Mary Pickford and her husband Charles "Buddy" Rogers. It took its calls from Piedmont Publishing's WSJS radio (600 AM and 104.1 FM, now WTQR). The original call letters stood for Winston-Salem Journal Sentinel.
Johnny Beckman, an early employee, recalled working at WSJS-TV in those early years:
|“||There were three of us, and we all did multiple jobs -- the weather, commercials, a teenage dance party. We were all scrambling around trying to make a living. Broadcasting was not high-paying then. The pay has certainly improved, but it was a more enjoyable career than it has become now.||”|
The station has always been affiliated with NBC. ABC programming was shared (through a secondary affiliation) with WFMY until WGHP (channel 8) signed on in October 1963. The station's operations were originally housed from the basement of the WSJS studios on Spruce Street in Winston-Salem. The first broadcast was of the first game of the 1953 World Series between the New York Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers. Channel 12 originally broadcast its signal from an antenna near Kernersville. WSJS-TV opened its new transmitter site atop Sauratown Mountain in 1955. In 1959, Piedmont exercised an option agreement to buy out Pickford and Rogers, and gained complete control of the station. The matter ended up in court when Pickford and Rogers felt that Piedmont had undervalued the amount of their shares, but was eventually resolved in Piedmont's favor.
Piedmont Publishing was sold to Media General in 1968. By this time, the Federal Communications Commission was giving serious thought to barring common ownership of newspapers and broadcast outlets. Gordon Gray, the longtime publisher of both papers, thus formed Triangle Broadcasting to hold onto WSJS-AM-FM-TV. Gray also received the franchise for the city's cable system, Summit Cable. However, soon afterward, the FCC ruled that media companies could not own both a television station and a cable system in the same market. Gray was thus forced to sell WSJS-TV in 1972 to Multimedia Inc., earning a handsome return on his purchase of the Journal and Sentinel in 1937. The new owners changed the station's call letters to WXII-TV (the letters "XII" from "WXII" are the Roman numerals for the station's channel number, "12"). At the time of the call letter change, the station ran a promotional ad parodying the death of Julius Caesar to amplify the Roman numeral theme. Two other stations in the market later switched to Roman numeral call letters (WXLV-TV, channel 45 and WLXI-TV, channel 61; WGSR-LD's previous incarnation also used Roman numerals as WXIV).
Multimedia swapped WXII and WFBC-TV (now WYFF) in Greenville, South Carolina to Pulitzer in 1983 in exchange for KSD-TV (now KSDK) in St. Louis. Pulitzer sold its entire broadcasting division, including WXII, to Hearst-Argyle Television, now Hearst Television, in 1997.
On July 9, 2012, Hearst Television became involved in a carriage dispute with Time Warner Cable, resulting in WXII being pulled from the provider's Piedmont Triad systems and being temporarily replaced with Nexstar Broadcasting Group-owned WBRE-TV from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania; Time Warner opted for such a distant signal like WBRE, as it did not have the rights to carry any NBC affiliate closer in proximity. The substitution of WBRE in place of WXII lasted until July 19, 2012, when Hearst and Time Warner reached a new carriage agreement.
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|12.1||1080i||16:9||WXII-TV||Main WXII-TV programming / NBC|
WXII added This TV on digital subchannel 12.2 on June 1, 2009. On July 24, 2012, Hearst Television renewed its affiliation agreement with MeTV to maintain existing affiliations with eight Hearst-owned stations already carrying the digital multicast network through 2015. As part of the renewal, Hearst also signed agreements to add the network as digital subchannels of WXII-TV and four other stations in Sacramento, Baltimore, Boston and Oklahoma City. Digital subchannel 12.2 replaced This TV with MeTV on August 6, 2012.
WXII-TV shut down its analog signal on June 12, 2009, as part of the FCC-mandated transition to digital television for full-power stations. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 31, using PSIP to display WXII-TV's virtual channel as 12 on digital television receivers.
|This section requires expansion. (August 2010)|
WXII presently broadcasts 36½ hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 5½ hours on weekdays and three hours on Saturdays and Sundays). Long a distant runner-up to WFMY-TV, channel 12's newscast ratings began to increase following a series of severe weather events in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Since then, WXII has regularly traded the number one spot in the ratings with WFMY.
On February 12, 2010, after the Opening Ceremonies of the Winter Olympics, WXII began broadcasting its local newscasts in 16:9 widescreen standard definition, becoming the third station to do so after WGHP and WFMY. In-studio segments and news video was presented in widescreen. For a few months after the switch, weather graphics were still presented in the 4:3 format with blue-colored pillarboxing, but were later upgraded to the 16:9 widescreen format. In 2012, WXII began broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition.
On August 13, 2012, WXII debuted a half-hour 10 p.m. newscast on its Me-TV-affiliated subchannel on digital channel 12.2, to compete with the longer-established hour-long 10 p.m. newscast on Fox affiliate WGHP. On March 4, 2013, WXII started simulcasting its weeknight 6:00 p.m. newscast on its former sister radio station, WSJS. The two properties also entered into a news sharing agreement in which members of WSJS's reporting staff provide stories on WXII's newscasts while members of channel 12's news staff would also report for WSJS.
Notable former on-air staff
- John Beard – anchor/reporter (1976–1977); now at WGRZ in Buffalo
- Paul Dellegatto – chief meteorologist (1986–1990); now chief meteorologist at WTVT in Tampa
- Bonnie Schneider – meteorologist (joined CNN in 2005)
- Jennie Stencel – traffic reporter (resigned on May 14, 2010)
Out-of-market cable and satellite carriage
In recent years, WXII has been carried on cable in areas outside of the Greensboro television market including cable systems within the Charlotte market in North Carolina and the Roanoke market in Virginia. On DirecTV, WXII has been carried in multiple areas within the Roanoke market in Virginia.
- The Winston-Salem Journal, Magnolia Trees and Pulitzer Prizes, by Frank V. Tursi, page 182.
- Bill Montgomery, "What Ever Happened to ... Johnny Beckman", Atlanta Journal-Constitution, December 11, 2006.
- Jeri Rowe, "A Powerful AM Radio Station Gives NBC Affiliate WXII a Bigger Punch Regionwide", Greensboro News & Record, November 6, 1998.
- Winston-Salem Journal: "WXII off Time Warner Cable, due to contract dispute", July 10, 2012.
- Orlando Sentinel: "WESH off Bright House; Pennsylvania station is substitute", July 10, 2012.
- Broadcasting & Cable: "Hearst TV, Time Warner Cable End Viewer Blackout", July 19, 2012.
- RabbitEars TV Query for WXII
- "WXII Launching New 24-Hour Movie, Classic TV Network", wxii12.com, March 23, 2009.
- Me-TV Adds Five More Hearst Stations, TVNewsCheck, July 24, 2012.
- WXII 12 adds Me-TV!, WXII-TV, July 25, 2012.
- List of Digital Full-Power Stations
- WXII adds 10 p.m. newscast
- WXII 12 announces partnership with WSJS - 600 AM will air WXII 12 News at 6:00 p.m., WXII12.com, February 28, 2013.
- Clodfelter, Tim (February 28, 2013). "WXII's 6 p.m. newscast will be broadcast on WSJS radio". Winston-Salem Journal. Retrieved April 10, 2013.