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WPMI is the NBC-affiliated television station for South Alabamamarker and much of the Emerald Coast of Floridamarker. Licensed to Mobilemarker, the station broadcasts on digital UHF channel 15. WPMI's transmitter is located near Robertsdalemarker. The station is owned by Newport Television, LLC as part of a duopoly with independent station WJTCmarker. Its studios are located on Azalea Road near Interstate 65 in Mobile. WPMI is known on air as "Local 15".

History

WPMI began operation on March 12, 1982 as Alabama's first independent station. It was owned by Hess Broadcasting and ran a general entertainment format consisting of cartoons, westerns, classic sitcoms, old movies, drama shows, and religious programming.

In 1985, WPMI was sold to Michigan Energy Resources; however, the sale did not affect programming practices. By that time WPMI was getting stronger programming, such as more recent cartoons and more recent network sitcom reruns. In 1987, WPMI became a charter Fox affiliate.

In January 1989 MER sold WPMI to Clear Channel Communications, now known to the public for its ownership of well over 1000 radio stations, however at the time Clear Channel owned only a dozen radio stations. WPMI became Clear Channel's first entry into the television business. Clear Channel bought several more television stations later in other similarly sized markets in 1989.

In the early 1990s, Clear Channel purchased all the assets of rival WJTCmarker Channel 44 except for its broadcast license. The company began buying time on WJTC and running shows that it could not fit onto WPMI's schedule. This deal became known as a local marketing agreement, which became a common practice at that time.

In 1995, Fox formed SF Broadcasting with Savoy and bought three NBC affiliates and an ABC affiliate; one of the NBC stations was local rival WALAmarker. On January 1, 1996, the FOX and NBC networks switched stations in the market: WALA became a Fox affiliate, and WPMI became an NBC affiliate.

Syndicated cartoons and most of the off-network sitcoms moved to LMA partner WJTCmarker, which became a UPN affiliate in January 1995. WPMI began to place more first-run syndicated programs in its off-network and non-newscast slots. It also added early morning, midday, evening, and late newscasts; the 5 and 6 p.m. newscasts sandwich NBC News.

On April 20, 2007, Clear Channel entered into an agreement to sell its entire television stations group to Providence Equity Partners. On March 15, 2008 WPMI, as well as all of the other Clear Channel Television properties, were sold to Newport Television LLC, the company that Providence Equity created to run the newly acquired television stations.

On August 24, 2009, WPMI unveiled its new "Local 15" branding for its 5:00pm newscast. It also rebranded its weather operations as "The Weather Authority." Both slogans are a nod to sister station WKRC-TVmarker in Cincinnati, Ohiomarker, which has been known as "Local 12" since 2004.

Newscasts

WPMI covers news for Mobile, Alabamamarker and the Florida Panhandle including Escambia, Santa Rosa, and Okaloosa counties.

Personalities

Anchors

  • Greg Peterson - Weekday Anchor 5, 6, 10pm
  • Kym Thurman - Weekday Anchor 5, 6, 10pm
  • Pat Greenwood - Morning/Noon Anchor
  • Varion Walton - Morning/Noon Anchor
  • Jenna Susko - Weekend Anchor
  • Mike Rush - Weekend Anchor/ LawCall Host


Reporters

  • Lindsey Bramson - General Assignment Reporter
  • James Gordon - General Assigment Reporter
  • Andrea Ramey - General Assigment Reporter
  • Tessa Savoy - General Assigment Reporter
  • Darwin Singleton - Feature Reporter "Here's Darwin"


Weather

  • Derek Beasley - Chief Meteorologist
  • Kelly Foster - Morning Meteorologist
  • Deitra Tate - Weekend Meteorologist


Sports

  • Lance Crawford - Sports Director
  • Clement Townsend - Weekend Sports Anchor / Reporter


News/Station Presentation

Newscast Titles

  • Newschannel 15 (1996-1998)
  • NBC 15 News (1998-2009)
  • Local 15 News (2009-present)


Station Slogans

  • Covering the Bay (2000–2005)
  • Close to Home (2005–2007)
  • Breaking News. Breaking Weather. (2007-present)
  • The Weather Authority (2009-present)


Digital television

On June 13, 2009, WPMI's digital signal moved from channel 47 to channel 15 when the analog to digital conversion was completed.

Twitter internet meme

In 2009, WPMI began to display real-time Twitter feeds on digital billboards within its viewing area -- displaying Greg Peterson, Kym Thurman and Derek Beasley on a billboard, along with a Twitter headline. However, at one point, one of the Twitter headlines displayed was "3 Accused of Gang Rape in Monroevillemarker", which was displayed next to the anchors' pictures. A motorist shot a picture of this billboard and sent it to a South Carolina-based blog, "The Palmetto Scoop". The picture would later appear on the Mashable news blog site, where from there would become distributed worldwide in e-mails and other blogs, becoming an internet meme. WPMI's general manager Shea Grandquest and news director Wes Finley would later be suspended over this incident, though station executives have yet to officially confirm this.

References

External links




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