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WDIV-TV, virtual channel 4, is an NBC-affiliated television station based in Detroitmarker, Michiganmarker, United States. It is owned by Post-Newsweek Stations and is the flagship station and home base of the group with the offices of the group located alongside WDIV's studios; the "Local" branding now utilized by all stations in the group was launched here alongside its acquiring of flagship status. WDIV currently airs the entire NBC network schedule, with the only exception being Last Call with Carson Daly airing at 2:30 am instead of 1:37 am (right after Late Night with Jimmy Fallon), being pre-empted for Extra and infomercials. WDIV also shows the fourth hour of The Today Show at 2:00 PM, 4 hours after the live broadcast.

It is the only major television station in the area, aside from public television station WTVSmarker, whose offices and studios are located in the city of Detroit, while its other television station counterparts are located in Southfieldmarker.

The station's signal, transmitted from a 1004-foot (306-meter) antenna located on Greenfield Road in Southfield, encompasses the Metro Detroit area and can be picked up as far away as Flintmarker, Lapeermarker, Adrianmarker, Toledomarker, and even London, Ontariomarker. WDIV is also one of only three stations that mention Windsor and London as among their primary viewing areas, with the other two being WMYDmarker, and WTVSmarker.

On cable, WDIV can be seen across much of southeast Michigan and southwestern Ontario. It also serves several other Canadian cable-TV markets, including the city of Ottawamarker, well away from its broadcast area. It also serves several other Canadian cable-TV markets, including Rogers Cable in the city of Ottawa. It is also one of five local Detroit TV stations seen in Canada on the Shaw Direct satellite provider and was the original affiliate offered by CANCOM (now Shaw Broadcast Services) starting in September 1983. CANCOM's carriage of WDIV stretches outside of Canada with cable carriage in places as varied as far northern New York statemarker (Hammond and Alexandria Bay NY), all of Bermudamarker, parts of Latin America and, for a time in the early 1990s, some parts of Ireland (with a delay). In addition, WDIV is also carried on some cable systems in Mexico, via Shaw Broadcast Services, such the Cablemas system in Ciudad Juárezmarker, which offers WDIV instead of KTSM-TVmarker, the NBC affiliate in nearby El Paso, Texasmarker.

History

WDIV was the first television station in Michigan, signing on as WWDT on October 23, 1946, for one day of demonstration programming. Regular programming commenced on June 3, 1947. On May 15 of that year the station changed its call letters to WWJ-TV after WWJ radiomarker (950 AM). Both stations were owned by the Detroit News. Channel 4 has always been an NBC affiliate, although it aired some programs from the DuMont Television Network prior to WJBK-TVmarker's sign-on in 1948.

Channel 4 had a number of broadcasting firsts in Michigan, including the first telecast of Detroit Tigers, Red Wings and Lions games as well as televised newscasts. WDIV was the first TV station in Michigan to broadcast in color which was in 1954. The stations studios and transmitter were originally in the Detroit News building in downtown Detroit. In 1954, the station shut down its original transmitter located on top of the Detroit News building and constructed a new 1,006 foot transmitter at a new location at the intersection of Greenfield and Lincoln Roads in Southfield, Michigan.

In 1978, the FCC was considering new regulations which would have imposed limits on ownership of newspaper and television media in the same market. In anticipation of this, the Evening News Association, which owned the Detroit News and WWJ-AM-FM-TV and the Washington Post, who owned WTOP-AM-FM-TVmarker in Washington, D.C.marker, reached an agreement to swap television stations, perhaps intending to avoid the confusion which might result upon the announcement of new regulations. On July 27, 1978, WWJ-TV became WDIV. The call letters are derived from "D" for Detroit and "IV" for the Roman numeral four. Additionally, in a series of promotional announcements with news anchor Dwayne X. Riley, the new call letters were said to represent the phrase, "Where Detroit Is Vital".

The "WWJ-TV" call sign was subsequently adopted for use 20 years later by the former "WGPR", now Channel 62marker, the CBS owned-and-operated station in Detroit. The current WWJ-TV is not related in any way to WDIV or to the old WWJ-TV.

Ultimately, the FCC never imposed any limitations on ownership of television and newspapers in the same market, so the exchange of stations between the Evening News Association and the Washington Post was somewhat unique in television broadcasting. The Evening News was pleased to finally have a voice in the nation's capital, while the Washington Post perhaps regretted the loss of its prestigious television signal in Washington. However, operation of WDIV would prove to be very lucrative. The station later became available outside the Detroit market when it was selected for inclusion on many Canadian cable systems in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The station itself has never uplinked its programming to satellite, as Atlanta-based WTBS does.

In 2004, the station bolstered local programming by securing broadcast rights to several Detroit Pistons basketball games, as well as returning as the host TV station for the North American International Auto Show. The station airs the auto show's charity preview, "America's Thanksgiving Parade" (both in high-definition), The Target Fireworks, and the charity event "The Hob-Nobble Gobble" which is held the night before the Thanksgiving parade. Pistons games will not be shown on WDIV starting in the 2008-2009 season as FSN Detroit will become the sole broadcaster.

On April 15, 2005, former WDIV employee John Owens was shot in the station's lobby by a man with a history of harassing WDIV employees. The man was charged with attempted murder while Owens remained in the hospital in critical but stable condition. On November 21, 2006, Wayne County Circuit Court Judge James Callahan sentenced the man, Epifanio Rivas, Jr., to 16 to 32 years in prison for the shooting; he was also sentenced to two years for a felony firearm conviction.

On Thursday, April 5, 2007, WDIV progressed further on its conversion to high-definition by unveiling a new high-definition news set, brand new HD graphics created by Renderon Broadcast Design , and a rearrangement of the WDIV theme by Chris Crane. The set was changed again in 2008. There was a new graphics package in 2008, and another in early 2009.

In December 2008, WDIV released its newly designed website and viewers were able to watch all newscasts online at www.clickondetroit.com.

On Friday, January 4, 2008 WDIV vice president and general manager Steve Wasserman announced he will be stepping down January 18. Wasserman will be replaced on a temporary basis by Alan Frank, President of the Detroit headquartered Post-Newsweek Stations Inc. who was WDIV's Vice President and GM [112528] Eventually, Veteran Detroit TV Executive Marla Drutz left crosstown rival WXYZ-TV to take over at the WDIV helm.

Canadian controversies

Though not in its own market, WDIV (plus WJBKmarker and WXYZmarker) have seen their share of controversy from afar via their carriage to much of Canada (and fringe parts of North America) via CANCOM.
  • The presence of Detroit stations on Canadian cable systems was cited in some areas (namely the Prairie Provinces) for an uptick in crime rates in the years after their introduction via the heavy reporting of crime stories on their newscasts. The most extreme of these cases was when community activists in Winnipegmarker, Manitoba allegedly cited WDIV's newscasts as the potential ignitor of the city's first drive-by shootings.
  • Though totally coincidental, viewers in the Ottawa area decried WDIV's replacement of Rochester, New Yorkmarker's WHECmarker when Rogers Cable switched that area's systems US affiliates from a combination of Rochester and Buffalo to Detroit in 2003.


Digital channels

WDIV's digital signal on channel 45 is multiplexed into the following subchannel lineup.
Channel Programming
4.1 Main WDIV / NBC programming in 1080i HD
4.2 This TV Detroit




  • WDIV's third digital subchannel will be an affiliate of The .2 Network, which is planning on launching sometime in 2009


  • WDIV is planning to create a weather station after the collapse of NBC Weather Plus that is based in the Metro Detroit Area.


After the analog television shutdown and digital conversion took place on June 12, 2009 , WDIV ended its 62 year broadcast on channel 4 and continued digital broadcasts on its pre-transition channel number, 45. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display WDIV's virtual channel as 4.

Programming

Programming preemptions

In the 1970s and 1980s, WDIV preempted one to two hours of NBC's daytime programming every day. The station also refused to air Late Night with David Letterman and its successor, Late Night with Conan O' Brien at 12:35 a.m. for many years. Instead, the station opted to rebroadcast The Jenny Jones Show, which lasted until 1999. Though Late Night now airs at its usual time of 12:35 a.m., Last Call with Carson Daly is delayed from 1:35 a.m. to 2:35 a.m. by infomercials.

From 1999 through 2002, WDIV did not clear the soap opera Passions at 2:00 p.m. Instead, it was tape-delayed to air on cross-town WADLmarker at noon, while WDIV aired daytime talk shows at 2:00 p.m. Sister station KPRC-TVmarker in Houstonmarker did the same thing until August 30, 2004 when it became the last NBC station to carry Passions at 2:00 p.m. These two stations were the only NBC affiliate holdouts to the show. The issue was rendered moot when NBC removed Passions from its schedule in 2007.

As NBC decreased programming in its daytime schedule in the 1990s, preemptions on WDIV have become less common. Since the turn of the 21st century, WDIV has been running almost all of NBC's schedule with some preemptions for live local special programming from local fireworks events to Detroit Pistons basketball. WDIV and KPRC are also among a handful of NBC affiliates that don't clear Poker After Dark.

Local programs and personalities

WDIV was the launching pad for several locally produced shows that went national. The station broadcast the Dr. Sonya Freidman talk show Sonya live at 4 p.m. It was so popular that the station, under the banner of Post-Newsweek Stations, syndicated it on a delayed basis to the USA Network cable network (which is now co-owned with NBC under NBC Universal). WDIV also produced the afternoon variety show The Tony Orlando Show at 4 p.m. However, the station's management pulled the plug after a year for an afternoon talk show named Jenny Jones.

Another shot for WDIV came when the station signed WOMC morning man Dick Purtan to do live segments during a 4-5 comedy block called Purtain's People. It was followed by WOMC's Tom Ryan with a monthly special that showed B-movies with comedy skits. This was during the heyday of NBC's late night success SCTV and Joe Flaherty's Count Floyd. Ryan's character was known as Count Scary. Eventually, Count Scary was dropped by WDIV and moved on to WKBD-TVmarker's Shocktoberfest.One local program idea that almost cost the station was for a Detroit-based comedy/drama called Hamtramck, which aired only once. It created a storm of controversy with the Hamtramck community. The program's executive producer, Alan Frank, apologized to the community.

Meteorologist Chuck Gaidica hosted the Michigan Lottery's game shows and his own show. Sports Director Bernie Smilovitz also hosted a couple of shows, including The Chuck and Bernie Show, which featured then Detroit Pistons coach Chuck Daly, and The Sparky and Bernie Show, which featured Detroit Tigers manager Sparky Anderson. Smilovitz also hosted Bernie's Bloopers/Weekend At Bernies specials.

WDIV features a robust line-up of up to the minute traffic segments. Including noted Detroit Traffic Reporters Lauren Podell, Gail Anderson, Joe Adams, and Heather Zara, WDIV has dedicated far more coverage to local traffic than other local TV newsrooms.

News operation

The station operates a 1975 Bell JetRanger called "Sky 4" to track breaking news and severe weather events.

On January 8, 2007, the station added a 30-minute afternoon newscast, Local 4 News First at 4, with Ruth Spencer as its solo anchor. It is also streamed live on the internet. In the spring of 2007, WDIV received an Edward R. Murrow Award, one of the highest honors in broadcast journalism. "The China Syndrome", reported and produced by Devin Scillian, was named Best Documentary. On Sunday, August 19, 2007, starting with the 11PM newscast, WDIV became the second television station in Detroit to produce its newscasts in high definition.

In recent years, WDIV news has become what may be termed sensationalistic, featuring reports by the Rescue 4 Undercover team. These reports often deal with sexual topics or issues of personal safety (Is Your Favorite Movie Theater Safe?), but scored high ratings and viewer comments for their breaking news coverage of the Tara Grant disappearance that became a murder case with the arrest of her husband, Stephen.

Personalities

Current anchors

  • Karen Drew - weekdays at noon (also investigative reporter/fill-in anchor)
  • Steve Garagiola - weekends at 6 and 11PM (also fill-in sports anchor)
  • Guy Gordon - weekday mornings Local 4 News Morning Powercast and noon
  • Carmen Harlan - weeknights at 5, 6 and 11PM
  • Lauren Sanders - weekend mornings Local 4 News Morning Powercast
  • Devin Scillian - weeknights at 5, 5:30, 6 and 11PM
  • Ruth Spencer - weeknights at 4 and 5:30PM (also consumer reporter)
  • Rhonda Walker - weekday mornings "Local 4 News Morning" and noon


Reporters

  • Silva Harapetian - general assignment reporter
  • Frank Holland - general assignment reporter
  • Bora Kim - general assignment reporter
  • Jim Keirtzner - general assignment reporter
  • Jon Jordan - fashion reporter
  • Mara MacDonald - general assignment reporter (seen during evening newscast mainly)
  • Dr. Frank McGeorge - medical contributor
  • Sean Mehan - "Morning Cam" video journalist (seen weekday mornings Local 4 News Morning)
  • Rod Meloni - financial reporter
  • Tim Pamplin - "Night Cam" video journalist
  • Bisi Onile-Ere - general assignment reporter
  • Natalie Sentz - general assignment reporter
  • Tom Sherony - Sky 4 pilot reporter
  • Darian Trotter - general assignment reporter
  • Paula Tutman - general assignment reporter
  • Roger Weber - general assignment reporter
  • Hank Winchester - general assignment reporter


Traffic

  • "Metro Joe" Joe Adams - Sky 4 reporter; weekday mornings on Local 4 News Morning
  • Gail Anderson - weekend morning traffic reporter (also fill-in)
  • Lauren Podell - weekday evening traffic reporter
  • Heather Zara - weekday morning traffic reporter


Local 4 Defenders

  • Kevin Dietz - investigative reporter
  • Karen Drew - investigative reporter (Neighborhood Crime Tracker)
  • Marc Santia - investigative reporter


Local4Casters Weather Team'

  • Chuck Gaidica - Director of Meteorology; weeknights at 5, 6 and 11PM
  • Eric Braate (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval) - Meteorologist; weekday mornings on Local 4 News Morning
  • Paul Gross (AMS Certified Consulting Meteorologist/Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seals of Approval) - Meteorologist; fill-in (also weather executive producer)
  • Andrew Humphrey (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval) - Meteorologist; weekends at 6 and 11PM (also fill-In)
Kim Adams is no longer part of WDIV news team according to the Detroit News.

Sports Team

  • Bernie Smilovitz - Sports Director; weeknights at 11PM
  • Katrina Hancock - Sports Anchor; weekends at 6 and 11PM (also host of "Sports Final Edition")
  • Rob Parker - ClickOnDetroit.com sports columnist (also seen on "Sports Final Edition")


Local 4 Buzz

  • Kim Adams
  • Beth McLeod
  • Michael Ann Wolff


Former on-air talent

WDIV & WWJ (pre-1978)



WDIV-TV (1978 & beyond)

  • Kathy Adams - anchor/reporter (1990-1997)
  • Kim Adams - meteorologist/health reporter (2002-2009), Went through numerous maternity leaves, leaving for Florida in 2005, then relocated back to Detroit after Hurricane Katrina destroyed her home and then left again for another maternity leave in May 2009 and chose not to return and spend more time with family. Now a Hansons Windows Spokesperson
  • Asha Blake - weekend anchor/health reporter (1993-1996, went to NBC News & was at KWGN-TVmarker in Denver; now at KTLA in Los Angeles)
  • Robert Batot - meteorologist (1998-1999)
  • Rachel Bianco - anchor/reporter (now at San Diego)
  • John Boruk - weekend sports anchor from (2005-2006; now at Philadelphia's Comcast SportsNet)
  • Doug Bruckner - reporter (now at Extra)
  • Kori Chambers - Anchor/Reporter (now anchor/reporter at WFLD-TVmarker in Chicago)
  • Mort Crim - news anchor/radio reporter (1978-1997, now runs Mort Crim Communications & at Majic Windows)
  • Ama Datez - weekend news anchor/reporter (2006-2009)
  • Vince DeMentri - reporter (1993-1994, now at WPRI-TVmarker in Providence)
  • Derricke Dennis - anchor/reporter (now teacher at Wayne State Universitymarker)
  • Rick Edlund - weekend anchor (1998-2000; now at KDFWmarker in Dallas)
  • Art Edwards - morning reporter (now at KOIN-TVmarker in Portland)
  • Dennis Edwards - reporter (early 1990s, now at WJZ-TVmarker in Baltimore)
  • M.L. Elrick - investigative reporter (2006-2007) (Leaving for Detroit Free Press)
  • Doug Evans - reporter (1993-1998), now weekend anchor WAGA-TV, Atlanta
  • Tony Fama - investigative reporter (1994-1998)
  • Ben Frazier - anchor/reporter (1980-1983)-His voice, personality and reassuring style made him a Detroit favorite. Now works as a freelance writer in Jacksonville, Florida.
  • Shon Gables - morning anchor (2000-2003, left WCBS-TVmarker in New York in April 2006; now host of syndicated Black Enterprise Business Jornal)
  • Tracy Gary - traffic reporter & chopper reporter (Feb 2003-Dec 2004; now weather forecaster at WWJ-TVmarker & announcer at WMCG)
  • Rick & Vicki Griffin - husband & wife meteorologists (1984-1989, Cuddle-Alert baby boy, Steven Griffin, born 1987)
  • Chris Hansen - investigative reporter/anchor (1988-1993, now at NBC News)
  • Laurel Hess - reporter (1996-1999)
  • Fred Heumann - sports anchor/reporter (1994-2003, now at WLNS-TVmarker in Lansing, Michigan)
  • Fred Hickman - sports anchor/reporter (1980s, now seen on ESPN's SportsCenter)
  • Doug Hill - meteorologist (1980-1982, now at WJLA-TVmarker in Washington, D.C.)
  • Jason Hill - reporter (now at KVUE-TVmarker in Austin, Texas)
  • Andrea Joyce - sports reporter (1983-1985; recently seen doing NBC's now completed 2008 Beijing Olympic coverage for NBC sports)
  • Emery King - Anchor/Chief Political Reporter (1986-2005, now with Detroit Medical Centermarker)
  • Kristi Krueger - health reporter/anchor (1990-1993, now at WPLG-TVmarker in Miami)
  • Lila Orbach-Lazarus - "Good Health" correspondent/anchor (1997-2005, now at WJBK-TVmarker)
  • Marcella Lee - reporter (1999-2004, now at KFMB-TVmarker in San Diego)
  • Jac LeGoff - anchor/commentator (1985-1988)
  • Mike Lewis - police reporter (1982-2004, now Asst. Journalism Professor at University of Michigan-Flintmarker in Flint, Michiganmarker)
  • Mike Lyons - meteorologist (1988-1991; now at WPBF-TV in West Palm Beach, Florida)
  • Davey Marlin-Jones - film critic (1978-1987, also worked at WUSA-TVmarker in Washington, D.C.)
  • Rich Mayk
  • Beth McLeod - traffic reporter (2004-2008); lottery & special assignment reporter (1997-2007)
  • Fred McLeod - weekend sports anchor /host of "Sports Final Edition" on Sunday nights (1989-2006; currently the TV play-by-play voice of the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers)
  • Jennifer Moore - anchor/business reporter (1981-1992)
  • Ross Morosso - Sky 4 Pilot Reporter (2006-2008)
  • Dan Mountney - former 11 pm anchor (1978-1999)
  • Vickie Newton - morning anchor/reporter (1997-2000, now at KMOV-TVmarker in St. Louis)
  • Bob Pisor - noon anchor (1980s-1991)
  • Margie Reedy - anchor/reporter (1984-1990) Last at NECN
  • Mal Sillars - longtime meteorologist
  • Robbin Simmons - 5 pm Anchor & General Assignment Reporter (went back to WSVNmarker in Miami as weekend anchor/reporter)
  • Darrielle Snipes - reporter (2001-2004, now at KOCO-TVmarker in Oklahoma City)
  • Tom Sorrells - meteorologist (1995-2000, now at WKMG-TVmarker in Orlando)
  • George Siegal - meteorologist (1995-2001)
  • Brian Teigland - meteorologist (1984-1987, now at WPTY-TVmarker in Memphis, also co-host "Memphis Wrestling" on WLMTmarker) (Brian died suddenly on July 25, 2008)
  • Anne Thompson - reporter (1986-1997, now at NBC News)
  • Jeff Vaughn - morning anchor/reporter (1999-2007; now @ KSHB-TVmarker in Kansas City)
  • Scott Wahle - sports anchor/reporter (1987-1989, now at WBZ-TVmarker in Boston, also lead anchor of WBZ produced 9 pm news on sister station WSBK)
  • Suzanne Wangler - Chopper 4 reporter (1995-2000; later news director/producer/anchor at WLAJmarker in Lansing (as Suzanne Page); found dead on February 23, 2008, she hanged herself in her Royal Oakmarker home following an embezzlement accusation that lead to her arrest
  • Jill Washburn - traffic reporter (1997-2004)
  • Dell Warner - Seniors reporter (died January 2009)
  • Mike Wendland - investigative/technology reporter (1980-1998; now at the Detroit Free Press)
  • Nerissa Williams - anchor/reporter (1980-1985; last seen on KIRO-TVmarker in Seattle before being let go by that station)
  • Eric Wilson (now at WKMG-TV in Orlando, Florida)
  • Michael Ann Wolf - weekend anchor/reporter (1995-2006)
  • Reynolds Wolf - meteorologist (1999-2002, now at CNN)
  • Van Earl Wright - sports anchor (1993-1996, now lead announcer of NBC's American Gladiators)
  • Eli Zaret - sports anchor (1981-1986, left for WABCmarker)
  • Alicia Zee - Stayed full time at WWJ-AM. Replaced with Heather Zara


Current Local 4 news segments

  • Ruth to the Rescue - Ruth Spencer
  • Guy the Answer Guy / Guy the Car Guy - Guy Gordon
  • Auto Show Coverage - WDIV team members
  • Local 4 Defenders - Defenders Team
  • Neighborhood Crime Tracker - Karen Drew
  • Bernie's Video Arcade(+ Spin-offs) - Bernie Smilovitz
  • America's Thanksgiving Day Parade - WDIV team members
  • Target Fireworks Coverage - WDIV Head Anchors & Chuck Gaidica
  • Vote 4 the Best - Steve Gargiola
  • I Am Detroit - ClickonDetroit.com exclusive
  • High School Sports (Fall: Friday Football Frenzy) (Winter: Local 4's Hoop Stars) - Katrina Hancock
  • Good Health - Dr. Frank McGeorge
  • Chuck's Backyard Barbeque & Gaidica's Garden - Chuck Gaidica
  • Gaidica's Garden - Chuck Gaidica
  • Neighborhood Crime Tracker - Karen Drew
  • Making a Difference - Local 4 news team, with assistance from NBC News


Coverage

WDIV is carried on most cable systems in Southeast Michigan, Southwestern Ontario, and Northwestern Ohio.

Coverage on cable systems outside the Detroit / Windsor market may be subject to syndex and network blackouts in the United States, and simsubbing in Canada.

News/station presentation

Newscast titles

  • WWJ-TV News (1947-1966)
  • Channel 4 News (1966-1969)
  • News 4 (1969-2000)
  • News 4 Plus Four (1977-1978)
  • NIGHTBEAT (1987-2000; 11PM newscast)
  • NEWSBEAT (1990-2000; used along with News 4)
  • Local First News (2000-2004)
  • Local 4 News (2005-present)


Station slogans

  • We're 4 Detroit (1978-1979)
  • Go 4 It! / Go For It! (1979-1988 and 1994-2000)
  • Come Home to the Best, Only On Channel 4 (1988-1990; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • WDIV, The Place to Be (1990-1992; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • Where Local News Comes First (1997-2004; also former slogan of sister station KPRC-TVmarker in Houstonmarker)
  • Everywhere, Every Way, Every Day (2004-2006)
  • The Power of 4 (2006-2008)
  • The Big Events Station (2006-2008; used for local events)
  • Your Breaking News Leader (2008-present; primary news slogan)
  • Worth Tuning In 4 (2008-present; general slogan)
  • Worth Staying Up 4/Worth Waking Up 4 (2008-present; used for newscast promos referring to its 11pm and morning newscasts)
  • Your Weather Leader (2008-present; weather slogan)


External links



References


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