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This article is about a local television station in Charlotte, North Carolinamarker. For other uses, see 'WBTV .


WBTV, channel 3 (digital 23), is the CBS affiliate in Charlotte, North Carolinamarker. It is one of two flagship stations of Raycom Media. WBTV's studios are located off Morehead Street just west of Uptown Charlotte, and its transmitter is located in Dallas, North Carolinamarker. The station is aired on cable channel 2 in Charlotte and surrounding areas, cable channel 5 in Yorkmarker and Lancastermarker counties, and cable channel 3 on most other cable systems in the Charlotte market.

History

WBTV signed on for the first time on July 15, 1949. It was the 13th television station in the United States and the first in the Carolinas, and is the oldest station between Richmondmarker and Atlantamarker. Veteran Charlotte broadcaster Jim Patterson was the first person seen on the station, and remained there until his death in 1986. It was owned by Jefferson Standard Insurance Company of Greensboromarker along with WBTmarker (1110 AM), the city's oldest radio station and the first fully licensed station in the South. Jefferson Standard had purchased WBT from CBS in 1947. Shortly before the TV station went on the air, its call letters were modified from WBT-TV to WBTV. Jefferson Standard merged with Pilot Life in 1968 (though it had owned controlling interest since 1945) and became Jefferson-Pilot Corporation. The station's studio address, One Julian Price Place, is named in honor of a longtime Jefferson Standard/Jefferson-Pilot executive.

WBTV received one of the last construction permits issued before the FCC's "freeze" on new television licenses, which lasted until the Commission released its Sixth Report and Order in 1952. As such, it was Charlotte's only VHF station for eight years, carrying affiliations with all three major networks. However, it has always been a primary CBS affiliate, owing to WBT radio's long affiliation with CBS Radio. It is the only commercial station in the market that has never changed its affiliation.

WBTV's only competition in the early years came from a UHF station on channel 36, known as WAYS-TV and then WQMC-TV, which broadcast briefly from 1954 to 1955. Charlotte's second VHF station, WSOC-TVmarker, signed on in 1957; it took the NBC affiliation. WBTV and WSOC-TV both held secondary affiliations with ABC until WCCBmarker became a primary ABC affiliate in 1967.

From 1958 to 1974, WBTV's studios were the home for Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling broadcasts.

Old WBTV logo, used between 1977 and 1983, with the "B" doubling as a "3".


When WAGA-TVmarker in Atlantamarker (which signed on four months before WBTV) switched to Fox in 1994, WBTV became the longest-tenured CBS affiliate south of Washington, D.C.marker WFMY-TVmarker in Greensboro, the second-oldest station in the Carolinas (which signed on three months after WBTV), is also second in this category. Two years later, after KPIXmarker in San Franciscomarker became a CBS owned and operated station (due to owner Westinghouse Electric Corporation's merger with CBS), WBTV became the second longest-tenured affiliate not owned by the network, behind only Washington's WUSAmarker.

Over the years, Jefferson Standard/Jefferson-Pilot acquired several other radio and television stations across the country, with WBTV as the flagship station.

In 2006, Jefferson-Pilot merged with Lincoln National Corporation of Philadelphiamarker. Lincoln Financial retained Jefferson-Pilot's broadcasting division, which was renamed Lincoln Financial Media. WBTV remained the flagship station. ([61113])

Sale to Raycom

On November 12, 2007, Lincoln Financial announced its intention to sell WBTV, sister stations WWBTmarker in Richmond and WCSC-TVmarker in Charleston, South Carolinamarker and Lincoln Financial Sports, to Raycom Media for $583 million. Lincoln Financial also sold its Charlotte radio stations to Braintree, Massachusettsmarker-based Greater Media, thus breaking up Charlotte's last co-owned radio/television combination. [61114]

According to Charlotte Observer TV critic Mark Washburn, Lincoln Financial was never really able to integrate its broadcast properties with the rest of the company, and had decided to sell them as soon as possible. Washburn also said that WBT-AM-FM and WLNK will continue to share the Julian Price Place facility with WBTV. The radio stations' sale closed on January 31, 2008. However, they still have a news partnership.

The FCC approved the sale of WBTV on March 25, 2008, and Raycom formally took control on April 1. WBTV is now Raycom's second-largest station, behind WOIOmarker/WUABmarker in Clevelandmarker. Since Raycom Sports is headquartered in Charlotte, WBTV will have a very important role in Raycom Media's operations, and now shares flagship status with WSFAmarker in Montgomery, Alabamamarker (Raycom Media is headquartered in Montgomery).

In early 2008, Raycom Sports and Lincoln Financial Sports officially merged under the Raycom Sports banner. The merger coincided with the start of Atlantic Coast Conference play. WBTV has been Charlotte's home for ACC sporting events since C.D. Chesley piped in North Carolina's historic win in the 1957 NCAA tournament to channel 3 and several other stations in the state. Raycom had produced ACC basketball games in partnership with Jefferson-Pilot/Lincoln Financial since 1982. The partnership was extended to football in 2004; Jefferson-Pilot/Lincoln Financial had been the sole producer of ACC football since 1984.

In mid-May 2008, the former Jefferson-Pilot/Lincoln Financial stations launched redesigned websites, powered by the Local Media network division of WorldNow (who operates nearly all of the Raycom stations' websites). These web addresses were previously operated by Broadcast Interactive Media. However, WBTV and WWBT retain their Jefferson-Pilot/Lincoln Financial-era logos and branding for the time being. WCSC recently changed its logo and graphics, reflecting its move into High Definition.

Digital television

The station's digital signal is multiplexed. After the analog television shutdown and digital conversion on June 12, 2009, WBTV-DT continued broadcasting on channel 23. However, through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display WBTV-DT's virtual channel as 3.

Channel Programming Digital Cable Channel
3.1 / 23.1 WBTV-HD (main WBTV/CBS programming) Charter 784, Comporium 305, MI 702, TWC 225
3.2 / 23.2 WBTV-SD TWC 226


Programming

For many years, WBTV was one of the country's most dominant television stations. This was in part due to being the only reliably viewable station in town for nine years, as well as the station's long tradition of strong local news coverage. In fact, its dominance was so absolute that it was once said the dials of most Charlotteans' TV sets were "rusted on channel 3." To this day, it is one of the strongest CBS affiliates in the country.

The station claims credit for a number of television "firsts", among them constructing the first building in the United States built specifically for color television broadcasting. WBTV also claims to have been the first station in the world to record and rebroadcast programs on color videotape; to use a live camera and microwave relay inside a race car; and to have a fully computerized news operation. It claims to have been the first station in the country to develop computerized election return projections, to broadcast the "Extravision" teletext service, and to produce a local newscast for a PBS station (WTVImarker). WBTV was granted the first full power construction permit for a digital television station in the United States in 1998, and went on the air that year with 1 million watts--equivalent to 5 million watts for an analog transmitter.

WBTV was not seriously challenged until 1981, when, in seeking to appeal to a younger audience, it declined to renew the contract of longtime anchor Doug Mayes, who promptly jumped to WSOC-TV. Within a few months, WBTV's newscast lost the lead at 11 pm to channel 9--a lead it didn't lose until 2004. WSOC-TV gained a large lead in ratings for most other news timeslots beginning in 1990. WBTV returned to a strong position in the late 1990s, culminating in wresting the lead at noon in 1998 from WSOC-TV. The two stations have gone back and forth in most time slots since then. In the May 2009 sweeps, WBTV took the lead at 5 am, noon and 11 pm, while WSOC led at other times. Soon after Raycom took control, WBTV began airing newscasts and CBS programming in high definition, leaving WCNC as the only remaining Charlotte station that has yet to begin high-definition broadcasts.

A much-remembered women's/homemaker's show that aired from the 1950s until 1977 was hosted by Betty Feezor. She gave viewers tips on cooking, sewing, floral arranging, and other topics of interest to housewives and mothers. In 1965, the program was the third most-watched women's program in the United States. Feezor's show was also seen on sister station WWBT in Richmond after Jefferson-Pilot bought the station in 1968. Feezor retired in 1977 due to a brain tumor, an illness which claimed her life in 1978.

"The Betty Feezor Show" was replaced by an hour-long midday news and variety show, "Top O' the Day." Viewers will remember Doug Mayes doing a segment called "On The Square" in which he would solicit opinions from local viewers in various Charlotte-area towns about current news topics, as well as C.J. Underwood's "Down Home With The Carolina Camera," where otherwise unknown or low-profile Carolinians were temporarily given celebrity status for their whimsical talents, novel collections, or for the way they impacted their communities. For its first five years, the show aired from 12 noon to 1 PM, pre-empting CBS's broadcast of The Young and the Restless. Beginning in 1982, the show aired from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm. WBTV aired the previous day's network episode of The Price is Right before "Top O' the Day," pre-empting CBS's 10:30 am show. As a result, many CBS game shows, such as Press Your Luck, were never seen on WBTV. However, area viewers could watch them on WSPA-TVmarker in Spartanburgmarker or WFMY if they had a strong antenna. WFMY and WSPA were and still are available on some cable systems in the Charlotte market. "Top O' the Day" left the air in 1992, and WBTV now airs a conventional half-hour newscast at noon. On the weekends, the station occasionally preempted some of CBS' Saturday morning cartoons. Since the early 1990s, WBTV has generally cleared the entire CBS lineup in pattern, the only significant exception being pre-emptions for ACC basketball and football.

The popularity of a series of specials commemorating the station's 25th anniversary in 1974 led to a long-running program, "Those Were the Years," hosted by Mike McKay and featuring episodes of classic television shows such as Dragnet, You Bet Your Life, and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. It was seen for several years at 11:30 p.m. on Fridays, pre-empting the CBS late-night shows which competed poorly against The Tonight Show.

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, WBTV aired a Sunday morning program that featured singing cowboy Fred Kirby and his sidekick "Uncle Jim" (played by Jim Patterson). The show was known at various times as "Tiny Town," "Whistle Stop," "Fred Kirby's Little Rascals," and "Kirby's Corral." Giving the "hi-sign" to his young fans, Kirby was a fixture for many years at the western-themed park Tweetsie Railroad in Blowing Rock, North Carolinamarker (an hour northwest of Charlotte). In addition to Fred and Uncle Jim, viewers were treated to classic episodes of The Little Rascals (Hal Roach's Our Gang) as well as frequent appearances by the local bluegrass band The Br'arhoppers. Patterson was killed in a single-car accident in Charlotte in 1986. Kirby died in 1996 at age 85.

Following the 2005 retirement of longtime WSOC anchorman Bill Walker, WBTV has billed lead anchor Paul Cameron as "The Voice of Experience." Cameron joined WBTV in 1981 as sports director, and then succeeded longtime anchorman Bob Inman upon his retirement in 1996. WBTV's Maureen O'Boyle once anchored the FOX-produced newsmagazine A Current Affair. Morning and midday anchor John Carter is a former North Carolina state senator.

The station produces a 10 PM newscast for the area's CW affiliate, WJZYmarker. In May 2009, it finished behind WCCB's news and in a virtual tie with WSOC's broadcast on WAXN-TVmarker.

Diana Williams, now at WABC-TVmarker in New York Citymarker, was an anchor at WBTV during the early 1980s. She was succeeded as the station's main female anchor by Sara James, now a reporter for Dateline NBC.

Transmitter

The WBTV tower
WBTV's transmission tower is a 2000 feet (609.6 meter) high guy-wired aerial mast for the transmission of FM and TV-programs located in Dallas, North Carolinamarker. The tower was completed in 1984.

Cable & Satellite Availability

Outside of the Charlotte market, WBTV is carried on cable in Wilkesboro, Sparta, and Yadkinville which are all part of the Greensboro/High Point/Winston-Salem market. In the Greenville/Spartanburg/Asheville market, WBTV is carried in six North Carolina towns; Bakersville, Burnsville, Forest City, Marion, Rutherfordton and Spruce Pine. Gaffney is the only town in South Carolina that carries WBTV. The station is not available to satellite viewers outside of the market.

News team

Current personalities

Anchors
  • Paul Cameron - Weekdays 5, 6 and 11PM
  • Maureen O'Boyle - Weekdays 5, 6 and Prime Time (7 pm)
  • Tonia Bendickson - Weekdays 5:30 and 11PM
  • Jamie Boll - Weekdays 5:30PM
  • Molly Grantham - Weekdays 10PM (on WJZYmarker)
  • John Carter - Weekdays 5-7 am and Noon
  • Christine Nelson - Weekdays 5-7 am and Noon
  • Sharon Smith - Weekend Evenings at 6, 10 (on WJZY) and 11PM
  • Kristen Miranda - Weekdays 5-7am and Noon
Reporters
  • Tom Roussey
  • Steve Ohnesorge
  • Steve Crump
  • Michael Handy
  • Jeff Atkinson
  • Dedrick Russell
  • David Whisenant
  • Kristen Hampton
  • Sarah Batista
  • Ron Lee
  • Chuck Roads (traffic)
  • Kristen Miranda
  • Trent Faris


Weather Alert Team
  • Eric Thomas - Chief Meteorologist; Weeknights 5:30, 6, 7, 10 & 11PM
  • Al Conklin - Weekdays noon, 5 & 5:30PM
  • Kelly Franson - Weekends at 6 and 11PM
  • Jim Lytle
Sports Team
  • Delano Little - Sports Director, "Football Friday Night" co-host
  • Danielle Trotta


Former personalities

  • David Rhew (reporter, 1987-1994 and 2002- 2004 now Broadcast General Manager CPCC Television
  • Bob Inman (anchor, 1970-77 and 1979-96), now a novelist and playwright
  • Janet England (anchor, 1977-85)
  • Gail Harris (anchor, 1970s, later at WBZ-TVmarker in Bostonmarker)
  • Clyde "Cloudy" McLean (weatherman, 1949-85 and co-host of Top O' The Day; deceased)
  • Mike Cozza (anchor and reporter, 1972-97), now spokesman for Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation
  • Jim Thacker (sports director, 1968-81; deceased)
  • Doug Mayes (anchor, 1949-81)
  • Diana Williams (anchor, 1983-86; now at WABC-TVmarker in New York Citymarker)
  • Lori Stokes (anchor, 1988-1990; now at WABC-TV
  • Lisa Cooley (Hill) (anchor, later at WCBS-TVmarker in New York Citymarker and KCBS-TVmarker in Los Angelesmarker)
  • Rita Cosby (anchor/reporter, 1990s), now at Inside Edition
  • Sara James (anchor, 1986-91; now at Dateline NBC)
  • Sonja Gantt (health reporter, 1987-93; now at WCNC-TVmarker)
  • Mike McKay (weatherman, 1967-95), now at Davidson College classical music radio station WDAVmarker
  • Jim Patterson (weatherman, 1949-86; deceased)
  • Bea Thompson (anchor/reporter, ?-1995, now at WBAV-FM)
  • Bob Knowles (anchor/reporter, 1995-2003; deceased)
  • Melissa Greer (weather anchor, 2004-2007; deceased)
  • Kricket Morton (weekend sports anchor/reporter, 1994-2007)
  • Shawnette Wilson (weekend anchor 2004-2007; now at WTXF-TVmarker in Philadelphiamarker)
  • John Blunt (anchor/reporter 1970-76; now at WCAUmarker in Philadelphia)
  • Lu Ann Cahn (reporter 1980-85; now at WCAU)
  • Tom Burlington (anchor/reporter ?-1995; later at WTXF-TV)
  • Bob Hice (sports anchor, ?-?
  • David Snepp (producer/reporter 1983-86)
  • C.J. Underwood (host of Carolina Camera and co-host of Top O' The Day, 1969-99, deceased)
  • Mark Garrison (host of Carolina Camera, ?-?)
  • Ken Koontz (reporter, 1973-90)
  • Brian Thompson (reporter 1980s; now at WNBC-TVmarker in New York)
  • Chris Clackum (reporter, 1980s, now at NBC News
  • Carson Chambers, general assignment reporter - WFTS-TVmarker, Tampa-St. Petersburg (since 2007)
  • Lenise Ligon (anchor, 2005-2008; to WALA-TVmarker, Mobile, Alabamamarker, March 2008)
  • Mickey Sabella (sports reporter, 1983-1987)
  • Chris Suchan (mornings) now at WTSPmarker in Tampamarker.
  • Graham Wilson (reporter, managing editor, Raleigh Bureau 1980-1989); now president of PRStreet, Cary, NC
  • Barbara Pinson (anchor, 2008-2009)


News/Station Presentation

Newscast titles

  • The Scene Tonight (1970-1977)
  • WBTV News (1980s-1990)
  • WBTV NewsChannel 3 (1990-2001)
  • WBTV News 3 (2001-present)


Station Slogans

  • Bringing It Home to You (1977-1978)
  • Turn to People You Know (1979-1980)
  • Looking Better All The Time (early 1980s)
  • The Best Belong Together (mid 1980s)
  • First in the Carolinas (late 1980s)
  • The Carolinas' 24-Hour News Source (1990-1996)
  • When You Need News (mid-late 1990s)
  • On Your Side (2001-present)
  • On Your Side in High Definition (2008-present)


References

  1. Charlotte Observer | 11/17/2007 | Old TV-radio couple breaking up
  2. Washburn, Mark. Raycom installs new GM at WBTV. Charlotte Observer, 2008-04-02.
  3. http://www.wbtv.com/Global/story.asp?S=10534472
  4. Mark Washburn, "Tough Numbers for Local TV Newscasts," The Charlotte Observer, May 23, 2009.
  5. http://www.wbtv.com/Global/story.asp?S=10534472
  6. Mark Washburn, "Tough Numbers for Local TV Newscasts," The Charlotte Observer, May 23, 2009.


External links




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