|This article does not cite any sources. (March 2014)|
Phenix City/Opelika, Alabama
|City of license||Columbus|
|Branding||Fox 54 (general)
Fox 54 News (newscasts)
|Slogan||Your Primetime News|
|Channels||Digital: 49 (UHF)
Virtual: 54 (PSIP)
|Owner||American Spirit Media, LLC
(WXTX License Subsidiary, LLC)
|First air date||November 1984|
|Sister station(s)||WTVM, WSFA, WDFX-TV, WAFF, WBRC, WALB, WFXG, WTOC-TV|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
54 (UHF, 1984-2009)
|Former affiliations||Independent (1984-1987)
MyNetworkTV (secondary, 2006-2012)
The Tube (on DT2)
This TV (on DT2)
|Transmitter power||499.4 kW|
WXTX is the Fox-affiliated television station for the Chattahoochee Valley of West-Central Georgia and East-Central Alabama. Licensed to Columbus, Georgia, it broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 49 (or virtual channel 54.1 via PSIP) from a transmitter in the Vista Terrance section of South Columbus. The station can also be seen Mediacom and Knology channel 7 as well as Charter channel 8.
Owned by American Spirit Media, WXTX is operated thorough a shared services agreement (SSA) by Raycom Media as a sister outlet to ABC affiliate WTVM. However unlike other SSAs between American Spirit and Raycom, this station maintains separate studios and transmitter (home to its advertising sales and engineering staff) on Buena Vista Road (I-185) in East Columbus.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP short name||Programming|
|54.1||720p||16:9||WXTX-DT||Main WXTX programming / Fox|
The station signed-on in November 1984 as the market's second Independent television outlet after Opelika, Alabama's WSWS-TV. Three years later in 1987, it became a Fox affiliate and has remained with the network ever since. The station is the network's longest serving Georgia affiliate after Fox dropped WATL for New World-owned WAGA-TV in Atlanta. By 1993, WXTX grew to a seven night network affiliate after Fox expanded its programming offerings. The station was named a top ten affiliate with the network in November 1994 for its prime time audience share. It has subsequently been named to the "Fox Number One Club" several times, most recently in 2007, in recognition of the station's sweeps ratings.
On September 5, 2006, it became the area's secondary MyNetworkTV affiliate after The CW chose then-UPN station WLGA to become its affiliate in Columbus. The CW is currently seen on a second digital subchannel of NBC affiliate WLTZ. Originally, WXTX aired programming from MyNetworkTV on weeknights from 11 until 1 in the morning. For Saturday night prime time, that network was shown early Sunday mornings from 12:30 until 2:30. It eventually shifted to the Tuesday through Saturday time slot of midnight until 2 a.m. after the network transitioned to a programming service. As of 2012, WXTX no longer carries MyNetworkTV as a secondary affiliate as a part of an out given by the network in 2009 as part of its conversion from a conventional broadcast network to a syndicated programming service by voiding all affiliation agreements. There is currently no affiliate of the network in Columbus.
At one point, the station offered The Tube (a 24-hour automated music video network) on a second digital subchannel. This was dropped on October 1, 2007 when the service shut down due to a lack of advertising revenue. WXTX-DT2 now carries This TV (a 24-hour movie channel) which began airing in late-December 2008. WXTX's broadcasts became digital-only, effective June 12, 2009.
Since 2004 through a news share agreement, WTVM has been producing the Chattahoochee Valley's only prime time newscast on WXTX called Fox 54 News at 10, which airs weeknights for an hour (thirty minutes on weekends) from the ABC affiliate's facility on Wynnton Road/SR 22 Spur in the Diglewood section of Columbus. In 2007, the ABC outlet began airing an hour-long extension of its weekday morning show on WXTX under the name Fox 54 Morning News, this program aired for an hour starting at 7 and offered a local alternative to the national morning broadcasts on the big three stations in Columbus. The production was eventually cancelled most likely due to inconsistent viewership and/or low ratings.
WXTX's newscasts have a separate music package and graphics theme from WTVM and employs the use of the ABC affiliate's primary set but modified with duratrans indicating the Fox-branded show. Although WXTX features the majority of WTVM's on-air personnel, this station maintains a separate additional news anchor on weeknights that can fill-in on WTVM when necessary.
In late-October 2010, HD-ready graphics began to be seen in weather forecasting segments indicating WTVM and WXTX would be making the switch to high definition newscasts. The entire graphics package made a full switch to an updated theme in January 2011. On February 16, 2012, production of Fox 54 News at 10 moved to the newsroom while a temporary weather office was constructed in the hallway between the editing bay and the newsroom. The main set during this time was finally upgraded to high definition. The new HD set and transition to high definition news was completed on March 14 at which point WXTX retained the same graphics scheme and news music package. On July 25, 2012, WXTX debuted an updated set of Raycom Media corporate graphics and a new music package.
On September 17, 2012, the station launched a weeknight half-hour newscast at 7. Since Alabama (which is in the Central Time Zone) is an hour behind Georgia, this program is the only local news catering to viewers on the western side of the market airing at 6. Viewers in those areas also have access to stations from Dothan and Montgomery offering broadcasts geared for the Central Time Zone. In addition to WTVM's main studios, that station also operates an East Alabama Bureau on Executive Park Drive in Opelika offering coverage of that city (in addition to Auburn and Phenix City).
Since half of the viewing area includes East-Central Alabama, WTVM and WXTX are part of the "Raycom News Network". This is a system designed to rapidly share information among the company's widespread group of television stations and websites in Alabama. A regional network has developed among WSFA/WDFX-TV in Montgomery/Dothan, WAFF in Huntsville, and WBRC in Birmingham in which the outlets share information, equipment (such as satellite trucks), and video footage from reporters. Between them, these stations cover the entire state of Alabama (except for the Gulf Coast) and also comprise the regional "Raycom Weather Network".