|Greenville/Spartanburg/Anderson, South Carolina/Asheville, North Carolina
|City||Greenville, South Carolina|
|Branding||WYFF 4 (general)
WYFF News 4 (newscasts)
|Slogan||Live. Local. Breaking News.|
|Channels||Digital: 36 (UHF)
Virtual: 4 (PSIP)
|Translators||W09AS-D 9 Burnsville, NC
W11AH-D 11 Tryon & Columbus
(WYFF Hearst Television, Inc.)
|First air date||December 26, 1953|
|Call letters' meaning||We're Your Friend Four|
|Former callsigns||WFBC-TV (1953–1983)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
4 (VHF, 1953–2009)
59 (UHF, until 2009)
NBC Weather Plus (2006–2008)
|Transmitter power||1,000 kW|
|Public license information:||Profile
WYFF, virtual channel 4 (UHF digital channel 36), is an NBC-affiliated television station located in Greenville, South Carolina, United States. The station is owned by the Hearst Television subsidiary of the Hearst Corporation. WYFF maintains studio facilities located on Rutherford Street (west of Route 276) in northwest Greenville, and its transmitter is located near Caesars Head State Park in northwestern Greenville County.
The station first signed on the air on December 31, 1953 as WFBC-TV; it was the fifth television station to sign on in South Carolina, and transmitted its signal from a tower located on Paris Mountain. The station was founded by the News-Piedmont Publishing Company (owned by the Peace family), publishers of local newspapers The Greenville News and The Greenville Piedmont and owners of WFBC radio (1330 AM, now WYRD, and 93.7 FM). For its first two years on the air, the station operated from studio facilities located on Paris Mountain before moving to its current location on Rutherford Street in 1955. Norvin Duncan was the station's first news anchor, moving from the sister AM radio station.
One of the station's popular children's programs was Monty's Rascals, debuting in 1960, hosted by Monty DuPuy and Stowe Hoyle as Mr. Doohickey (wearing a hat with an old Santa's beard), both of whom served as weathermen at channel 4. The program continued as The Rascal's Clubhouse after DuPuy's departure in 1978 and continued until 1982; Hoyle retired two years later. An earlier version of the program, Kids Korral, was hosted by Johnny Wright.
The station began to transmit locally produced programming in color in February 1967. In 1968, the News-Piedmont Publishing Company merged with Southern Broadcasting to form Multimedia, Inc., with WFBC-AM-FM-TV as the company's flagship stations. In the mid-1970s, the station implemented the well-known "Arrow 4" as its logo, which was used in one form or another for many years until 1991.
In 1983, due to new rules set by the Federal Communications Commission restricting common ownership of newspapers and broadcasting outlets in the same market, Multimedia sold off the WFBC stations. In an unusual trade of one group's flagship station for another, WFBC-TV was traded to the Pulitzer Publishing Company in exchange for KSDK in St. Louis. On March 3, the station changed its call letters to WYFF-TV (standing for its slogan "We're Your Friend Four," which was used from 1979 to 1991). Pulitzer also acquired WXII-TV in Winston-Salem, North Carolina as part of the same deal. Although Pulitzer closed on its purchase of WXII later in the year, the acquisition of WYFF would not be finalized for another two years until January 1985, as Pulitzer had to sell off WLNE-TV in Providence in order to comply with FCC ownership limits of the time that limited the number of stations one company can own to twelve; in the interim, Pulitzer took over the operations of WYFF through a time brokerage agreement with Multimedia.
WYFF 4 became the first television station in the Greenville/Spartanburg/Asheville market to begin broadcasting on a 24-hour daily schedule in the fall of 1988. It ran NBC's early morning news program NBC News Overnight (later replaced by Nightside in 1991), and simulcasts of the Home Shopping Spree and CNN Headline News during the overnight hours around this time. The Home Shopping Spree simulcast was dropped in the mid-1990s with the CNN Headline News simulcast being discontinued in 2005 (as the channel transitioned from its news wheel format into a combination of discussion programs at night and rolling news programming during the day), in favor of a mix of NBC late night shows, drama reruns, lifestyle programs and paid programming during the overnight hours. In 1999 Hearst-Argyle bought Pulitzer's entire television division, including WYFF-TV.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|4.1||1080i||16:9||WYFF-DT||Main WYFF programming / NBC|
Digital subchannel 4.2 originally carried "WYFF 4 Weather Plus," which operated as an affiliate of NBC Weather Plus. After NBC Weather Plus ceased operations on December 1, 2008, WYFF converted the subchannel as a locally operated weather service, using the Weather Plus network's graphical user interface. On January 1, 2011, the subchannel changed its affiliation to This TV as a result of Hearst Television's affiliation agreement with the network.
WYFF signed on its digital signal on May 1, 2002. The station discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over VHF channel 4, 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 moved from its pre-transition UHF channel 59, which was among the high band UHF channels (52-69) that were removed from broadcasting use as a result of the transition, to UHF channel 36 (the UHF channel 36 allocation was previously used for the analog signals of WCNC-TV and WATL in the respective nearby markets of Charlotte and Atlanta). Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analog channel 4.
As part of the SAFER Act, WYFF kept its analog signal on the air until July 12 to inform viewers of the digital television transition through a loop of public service announcements from the National Association of Broadcasters.
Out-of-market cable carriage
In recent years, WYFF has been carried on cable in multiple areas outside of the Greenville media market. That includes cable systems within the Aiken and Columbia markets in South Carolina, areas of North Carolina within the Charlotte and Chattanooga, Tennessee markets, and the Atlanta market in Georgia.
Syndicated programs broadcast on WYFF include Live! with Kelly, Access Hollywood, The Dr. Oz Show, Harry, Steve Harvey, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Entertainment Tonight and Inside Edition among others. The earlier three are distributed by the network's sister company NBCUniversal Television Distribution, while the latter two are distributed by CBS Television. The station carries the majority of the NBC network schedule; however, it pre-empts the fourth hour of Today which is hosted by Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb which is shown only on late nights at 2am since 2011 but dropped in 2014 in favor of repeats of Meredith Vieira. But Kathie Lee and Hoda's 4th hour repeat was re-added to the line-up in Summer 2015, and the late night rebroadcast of CNBC's Mad Money. It delays the Saturday edition of Today for one hour due to its morning newscast.
WFBC was one of the few NBC affiliates that didn't clear The Monkees during its initial first-run on NBC from 1966 to 1968 meaning Western Carolina and Northeast Georgia viewers missed out on the popular TV band starring Michael Nesmith, Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork and the late Davy Jones.
WFBC/WYFF also pre-empted certain NBC programs over the years (most of which ended up on WAXA-TV (channel 40, now WMYA-TV); consisting mostly of children's programs including Alvin and the Chipmunks (which briefly aired on the station until 1986, when it moved to WAXA until it returned to WYFF in the late 1980s), Underdog, Kidd Video, Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends and Foofur (all four of which aired instead on WAXA-TV throughout their runs). It also declined to carry Saturday Night Live (then known as NBC's Saturday Night) from its debut in 1975 to early 1978, NBC's daytime reruns of The Facts of Life from during the 1984-1985 season (which aired on WAXA-TV), game shows The Who, What, or Where Game (in favor of the local talk show Today in The Piedmont), Super Password and Time Machine (both of which aired throughout their runs on WAXA-TV) and the soap opera Santa Barbara (which was initially cleared by the station during its first few years on January 6, 1986, after the low-rated syndicated TV show America aired its final episode on January 3, 1986). WYFF continued to air Santa Barbara until its 1993 demise.
WYFF has acquired the rights to the preseason games of Carolina Panthers starting in the 2014-15 NFL season.
WYFF presently broadcasts 33 hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with five hours on weekdays and four hours each on Saturdays and Sundays). During the 1960s, channel 4 personalities included Dave Partridge, who succeeded Duncan as anchor of the station's 6:00 and 11:00 p.m. newscasts, and Jim Phillips (who died in 2003, was also known as "the voice of the Clemson Tigers" radio broadcasts). In 1976, Kenn Sparks joined WFBC-TV as its evening anchor; that year, the station expanded its 6:00 p.m. newscast to one hour and renamed the program as The Scene at Six. The 1980s brought new talent to the station including anchor James Baker, sportscasters J.D. Hayworth (later an Arizona Congressman), Roger Berry and Mark Marino, and weatherman Charlie Gertz. The station rebranded its newscasts from Action News 4 to NewsCenter 4 in the early 1980s.
Following the Pulitzer purchase, new arrivals at WYFF included Carl Clark, Kim Brattain and Carol Anderson – now Carol Goldsmith and co-anchor of the 5:00, 6:00 and 11:00 p.m. newscasts. In the late 1980s, Anderson was replaced by Annette Estes, who had previously worked at rival CBS affiliate WSPA-TV (channel 7). Stan Olenik also joined the station from WSPA-TV; Goldsmith returned when Estes left the station in 1992. In 1989, the station rebranded its newscasts as News 4. Charlie Gertz retired as evening meteorologist in 1991.
On January 26, 2010, WYFF began broadcasting its local newscasts in widescreen standard definition. On April 22, 2012, beginning with the station's weekend 6:30 p.m. newscast, the station began upgraded its newscasts to high definition; the station also upgraded its weather and news graphics systems to HD with the transition. This was followed the next day by the debut of a new set for its newscasts.
Notable current on-air staff
- Carol Goldsmith – anchor
- Jane Robelot – contributing/special assignment reporter
- Michael Cogdill - anchor
Notable former on-air staff
- J.D. Hayworth – sports anchor (later a Representative from Arizona)
- Mike Seidel – meteorologist (now at The Weather Channel)
- Marty Snider – sports reporter (now at NBC Sports and TNT Sports)
- Stephen Stock – investigative reporter (now with KNTV in San Jose, California)
- Tony Aiello - general assignment reporter, 1988-1991 (now with WCBS-TV New York
Nan Banks - producer and morning news anchor, 1980-1988 (now with Toyota North America, Inc.) created weekly reports "Back Roads" and "TGIF".
- Huff, Jr., Archie Vernon, Greenville: The History of the City and County in the South Carolina Piedmont, University of South Carolina Press, Columbia, S.C., 1995, Library of Congress card number 95-4363, ISBN 1-57003-045-6, page 391.
- RabbitEars TV Query for WYFF
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24.
- FCC DTV status report for WYFF
- "UPDATED List of Participants in the Analog Nightlight Program" (PDF). Federal Communications Commission. June 12, 2009. Retrieved June 4, 2012.
- http://www.tvpredictions.com/localhd042212.htm WYFF Switches to HD News
- WYFF4.com - WYFF official website
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WYFF-TV