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WWBT is the NBC-affiliated television station for Richmond, Virginiamarker. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on VHF channel 12 from a transmitter at its studios on Midlothianmarker Turnpike (a.k.a. U.S. 60) in the city. Owned by Raycom Media, the station operates CW affiliate WUPVmarker (which is owned by Southeastern Media Holdings) through a shared services agreement (SSA). That station is based at WWBT's studios. Syndicated programming on this station includes: Inside Edition, Entertainment Tonight, Dr.Phil, and Rachael Ray.

Digital programming

The station's signal is multiplexed.

Channel Programming
12.1 main WWBT programming / NBC HD
12.2 WWBT-DT2 "NBC 12 First Warning Weather"


History

In the 1950s, there was competition for the market's third television frequency. WTVR-TVmarker had been on-the-air since 1948 while WXEX-TV (now WRIC-TVmarker) had been on-the-air from Petersburgmarker since 1955. The main competitors for the channel 12 license were Larus and Brothers Tobacco Company, owners of WRVAmarker and WRVB-FM (now WRVQmarker), and Richmond Newspapers (now Media General), owners of WRNL-AMmarker. Larus later merged its application with Neighborhood Theaters' Richmond Television Corporation assuming controlling interest. Both applicants had good records and were financially qualified, but RTVC won the license since it did not own a newspaper. At the time, the FCC was concerned about co-ownership of newspaper and broadcast outlets and preferred separation. WRVA-TV signed-on for the first time on April 29, 1956. It was initially a CBS affiliate due to WRVA's long affiliation with CBS Radio. WRVA-AM was one of the broadcasting powerhouses of the South, but that success did not transfer to its television sister. CBS moved its affiliation to WTVR in 1960. Since WXEX was already affiliated with NBC, WRVA was left with struggling ABC.

Ratings improved in the next five years leading Larus to try to seek the NBC affiliation, a switch which occurred in 1965. The station is one of only a few in the country to have been affiliated with all three of the original major Americanmarker television networks. In 1966, the family-owned Larus and Brothers (which had acquired full control of channel 12 in 1960) decided to split its various interests after the company's longtime president died. Jefferson Standard Insurance Company of Greensboro, North Carolinamarker emerged as the winner for WRVA-TV. It would have bought the radio stations as well, but at the time, the FCC normally did not allow common ownership of two clear-channel stations with overlapping nighttime coverage. Jefferson Standard-owned WBT and Larus-owned WRVA both covered much of the eastern half of North America at night. As part of the application, Jefferson Standard requested a call letter change to the current WWBT which occurred on November 28, 1968 (Thanksgiving Day). The new owners immediately went to work overhauling the station's look. It was already in second place in the Richmond ratings by then, but by the early-1980s, was the highest-rated station in the market and one of the strongest NBC stations in the country. By this time, Jefferson Standard had changed its name to Jefferson-Pilot Corporation. It added a secondary WB affiliation in 2001 which ended on August 31, 2006 in anticipation of The WB and UPN merged to form The CW.

On October 10, 2005, Jefferson-Pilot announced a merger with Lincoln Financial Group. The sale became final on April 3, 2006 with the Jefferson-Pilot stations assuming the new corporate name of Lincoln Financial Media. On November 12, 2007, that company announced the sale of WWBT, along with its two other television stations and Lincoln Financial Sports, to Raycom Media for $583 million dollars. Raycom already owned rival station WTVR which had to be put on the market because the FCC does not allow one company to own two of the four largest stations in a market. Raycom sought, and was eventually granted, a temporary waiver for the purchase of WWBT to buy the company more time to find a suitable buyer for WTVR. The FCC approved the sale on March 25, 2008 and Raycom formally took control on April 1. WTVR was eventually swapped to Local TV. After the analog television shutdown and digital conversion was completed on June 12, 2009, WWBT moved its digital broadcasts back to channel 12. Following the switch, they applied to increase power to 26 kW stating in the application that more than 10,000 viewers complained of a sudden inability to receive the station’s digital signa, particularly through antennas located indoors. Although complaints came most prominently from certain heavily-populated portions of their service area (including western Richmond, Glen Allenmarker, Mechanicsville, and Hanovermarker), these reception problems were not limited to specific regions within WWBT's service area. This was also not unique to this station as viewers of other stations that switched to high-VHF band channels for post-transition operation have reported reception problems.

Innovations

Notable recognitions since 1968 include:

  • Antenna changes that would improve reception in the city and neighboring counties.
  • Billboard with names of news anchors, sports, and weather personalities.
  • Public awareness of the station such as blood drives and all-night fund raising campaigns.
  • During the Vietnam War, "Letters to Hanoi" drive intended to remind Vietnammarker that Americamarker wanted her sons back.
  • Use of computers to facilitate the analysis of state election returns.
  • Live remote video relayed via microwave.
  • Satellite receiving antennas installed on station's front lawn that opened the way to program opportunities never available before.
  • Weather presentations during newscast using professional staff meteorologists and doppler weather radar.
  • "LiveStar 12", a truck-mounted satellite up-link dish.
  • "Call 12...On Your Side", an ombudsman service which provides advice or help for viewers staffed by community volunteers.
  • "Skycam 12", a webcam mounted on top of the transmitter tower.
  • In the early-1970s, WWBT station manager Doug Hill (no relation to the WJLAmarker meteorologist) climbed the broadcast tower without protective gear used by professionals and was successful in talking down a potential suicide climber.
  • During Hurricane Isabel, WWBT simulcasted on local radio stations WMXBmarker-FM 103.7 and WKHKmarker-FM 95.3 to keep the public informed of breaking developments at the height of the storm.
  • The station was featured on TruTV's Forensic Files in a story about a 22-year old producer and soon-to-be news anchor for channel 12 named Hope Denise Hall who was brutally murdered in 1994.


News operation

The station's news open.


On September 19, 1994, WWBT began producing a nightly 10 o'clock newscast on FOX affiliate WRLH-TVmarker known as FOX News at 10. This was a result of a news share agreement being established between the Jefferson-Pilot Corporation, then owner of WWBT, and Abry (having just acquired WRLH). On January 8, 2001, the broadcast was expanded to a full hour. This resulted in WRLH having the only late night hour-long news show in Richmond. Friday nights at 10:45, there is a 15-minute sports highlight show that airs known as FOX First Sports. WRLH-DT2marker re-airs the news every morning at Midnight. It originates from a secondary set at WWBT's studios. The 10 P.M. newscast did not face competition until March 5, 2007 when WUPV launched a 35-minute weeknight newscast produced by WTVR. Weekend news on WUPV began October 20, 2007 and ended a year later on October 19. The final weeknight newscast was November 7.

Three days later, WUPV announced that the agreement with WTVR had been canceled due to high financial costs to produce the broadcasts. On March 23, 2007, "Sky 12" crash landed in a Rehoboth Beach, Delawaremarker field after it appeared to hit power lines. Two of the four passengers were taken to a local hospital for evaluation. The helicopter was being used for non-news purposes by owner Heloair. WWBT became the first station in Richmond to broadcast local newscasts in high definition on July 27, 2008 with the WRLH shows being included. On December 17, the station eliminated twelve positions citing the current economic conditions. Included in the layoffs were Sports Director Ben Hamlin, anchor Gene Lepley, and Henricomarker and Hanovermarker Counties reporter Rob Richardson. After NBC Weather Plus shut down on December 31, WWBT-DT2 switched to a local weather channel known as "NBC 12 First Warning Weather". On digital cable, this can be seen on Comcast channel 208 and Verizon FiOS channel 460. On January 5, 2009, WWBT began producing a weeknight newscast in high definition for WUPV called CW News at 6:30.

News/Station Presentation

Newscast Titles

  • The Scene at Six/The Scene Tonight (1970s-1980s)
  • WWBT 12 News (1980s-1993)
  • 12 News (1993-1997)
  • NBC 12 News (1997-present)


Station Slogans

  • The Information Headquarters for Central Virginia (1980s)
  • On Your Side (1990-present)


News team

Current personalities

Anchors
  • Aaron Gilchrist - weekday mornings and Noon
    • consumer reporter
  • Heather Sullivan - weekday mornings and Noon
    • business and economic reporter
    • "Restaurant Report" segment producer
  • Ryan Nobles - weeknights at 4 and 10
    • political and general assignment reporter
  • Sabrina Squire - weeknights at 5, 5:30, 6, and 11
  • Gene Cox - weeknights at 5, 6, and 6:30
  • Curt Autry - weeknights at 5:30 and 11
    • reporter
  • Diane Walker - weeknights at 10 and consumer reporter
  • Sunni Blevins - Saturday mornings and reporter
  • Casey Nicholson - weekend evenings


NBC 12 First Warning Meteorologists
  • Jim Duncan - Chief seen weeknights
  • Tom Patton - weeknights at 5:30 and 10
  • Andrew Freiden - weekday mornings and Noon
  • Sagay Galindo - weekends


Sports
  • Joe Sullivan - Director seen weeknights at 6, 6:30, 10, and 11
    • sports reporter
  • Jamie Scavotto - weekend evenings and sports reporter


Reporters
  • Andrea McDaniel - fill-in anchor
  • Tara Morgan - fill-in anchor
  • Colleen Reilly - fill-in anchor
  • Gene Petriello - weekday mornings
  • Rachel DePompa - Richmond
  • Andy Jenks - Henrico County
    • crime and government
  • Melissa Correa - Chesterfield Countymarker
  • Rick Brady - Traffic Editor seen weekdays at 4
    • website and seen on WWBT-DT2 "NBC 12 First Warning Weather"
  • Tracy Lynn - weekday morning traffic
  • Evrod Cassimy
  • Nicole Bell


Past personalities

  • Terrell Brown - weekend anchor and reporter (now Correspondent, CBS News)
  • Ed Alwood - weekend anchor and reporter from 1975-1977 (now professor of journalism)
  • Julie Bragg - weekend anchor later 4 o'clock anchor from 2000 to 2004 (now at WTVR)
  • Spencer Christian - reporter from 1971 to 1975 later meteorologist on Good Morning America (now at KGO-TVmarker)
  • Sean Lewis - weekend anchor from 2004 to 2007 (now at WGN-TVmarker in Chicago)
  • Christina Feerick - reporter (now morning anchor at WRIC)
  • Jeff Lawson - meteorologist in the 1980s (now at WVECmarker)
  • Campbell Brown - formerly of NBC News (now at CNN)
  • Ben Hamlin - Sports Director laid off December 17, 2008
  • Jory Rand - sports anchor and reporter 2004-2007 (now at KDKA-TVmarker)
  • Gene Lepley - anchor laid off December 17, 2008
  • Rob Richardson - correspondent laid off December 17, 2008
  • Casey Nicholson - anchor contract not renewed December 31, 2008
  • Tal White - morning meteorologist 1995-1999 moved to WTKRmarker
    • now runs family flower business White's Nursery
  • Ashley Swann - moved to Georgiamarker after husband got a job at General Electric in Atlantamarker
    • "What's Going Around" and "The Restaurant Report" segments producer
  • Beth Danziger - reporter
  • Jola Szubielski - got a job in New York Statemarker working for their press office


External links




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