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WAGT is the NBC-affiliated television station for Augusta, Georgia. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 30 from a transmitter in the Spiderweb section of Beech Island, South Carolina. The station can also be seen on Comcast and Knology channel 8. There is a high definition feed offered on Comcast digital channel 232 and Knology digital channel 903. Owned by Schurz Communications, WAGT is operated through joint sales and shared services agreements by Media General as sister to ABC affiliate WJBF. It has studios on Broad Street (US 1/US 25/SR 28/SR 104) in downtown Augusta while WJBF has facilities nearby on Reynolds Street. Syndicated programming on this station includes: The Andy Griffith Show, Dr. Phil, The Doctors, and Judge Joe Brown.

WAGT
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Augusta, Georgia
Branding NBC 26 (general)

NBC 26 News CW Augusta (on DT2)

Slogan Straight to the Point.
Channels Digital: 30 (UHF)

Virtual: 26 (PSIP)

Subchannels 26.1 NBC

26.2 The CW

Owner Schurz Communications (operated through JSA and SSA by Media General)

(WAGT Television, Inc.)

First air date December 24, 1968
Call letters' meaning We're Augusta's

Great Television

Sister station(s) WJBF
Former callsigns WATU-TV (1968-1981)
Former channel number(s) 26 (UHF analog, 1968-2009)
Transmitter power 400 kW
Height 483 m
Facility ID 70699
Transmitter coordinates 33°24′20.7″N 81°50′0.5″W / 33.40575°N 81.833472°W / 33.40575; -81.833472
Website wagt.com

Digital programmingEdit

It operates the area's CW affiliate on a second digital subchannel. Known as CW Augusta, this can also be seen on Knology channel 12 and Comcast channel 23. WAGT-DT2 gets all of its programming from The CW Plus.

Channel Programming
26.1 main WAGT programming/NBC HD
26.2 WAGT-DT2 "CW Augusta"

HistoryEdit

The station began operations Christmas Eve in 1968 with the call sign WATU-TV as the third television station in Augusta. Two Washington, D.C.-based men, Harold Twisdale and David Steel, were the leaders of the original ownership group. [1] Airing an analog signal on UHF channel 26, it was an NBC affiliate from the start. Unfortunately, the station became one of numerous UHF start-ups of that era to fail to obtain a foothold against long-established VHF competition. Despite the presence of WATU, NBC continued to keep a secondary affiliation with ABC affiliate WJBF and CBS affiliate WRDW-TV (as it had since October 1, 1966). In fact, it was not unusual for tape-delayed NBC programs to air on both WJBF and WRDW between 7 and 7:30 p.m. before therespective networks' prime-time feeds began for the evening. WJBF also aired NBC's Today and Tonight shows.

It did not help matters that most of the South Carolina side of the market got a better signal from WIS in Columbia. Mainly because of those situations, WATU went dark in 1970. It stayed off-the-air for four years until the station was able to secure a full NBC affiliation and return to the air. Twisdale and Steel sold WATU to local businessmen Thomas Jones and Francis Robertson, operating as Augusta Telecasters Inc., in the late-1970s. [2] Jones and Robertson, in turn, sold to current owner Schurz Communications in 1980. WATU changed its call letters to WAGT in late-1981 and the station moved to its present downtown Augusta location.

At some point in the early-2000s, the station began to manage and promote the area's cable-only WB affiliate "WBAU". The service signed-on in 2000 but was originally operated by a separate entity. For much of the late-1980s and early-1990s, it used the on-air branding "26 Power". In early-2007, WAGT once again changed its identity to prepare for the digital phase-out of channel numbers in February 2009. This time it became "NBC Augusta" which resulted in the complete phase out of the channel number. In 2008, the station began branding in several voice promos and during newscasts referring to themselves as "NBC Augusta 26". However, there were no major graphical changes due to the new "NBC Augusta" graphics being created by Giant Octopus.

In 2009, the bug logo on the newscasts introduced a modified "NBC Augusta" logo with a bold Century Gothic typeface "26" off to the right of the logo. There have been several voice-over sequences within promos and graphics that have updated the branding to "NBC Augusta 26" without a change in graphics. However the main station graphics, its website, and the station's weather cut-ins during programming hours still brand as "NBC Augusta". At this point, WAGT brands as either "NBC Augusta" or "NBC 26". Newscast graphics were redesigned in 2009 to reflect the new "NBC Augusta 26" brand although the website still brands as "NBC Augusta".

On January 24, 2006, The WB and UPN announced that the networks would end broadcasting and merge. The new combined network would be called The CW. The letters would represent the first initial of corporate parents CBS (the parent company of UPN) and the Warner Bros. unit of Time Warner. On February 22, News Corporation announced that it would start up another new network called MyNetworkTV. This new service, which would be a sister network to Fox, would be operated by Fox Television Stations and its syndication division Twentieth Television. MyNetworkTV was created in order to give UPN and WB stations, not mentioned as becoming CW affiliates, another option besides becoming Independent. It was also created to compete against The CW. WRDW offered UPN on a second digital subchannel which was announced as the area's MyNetworkTV affiliate. As a result of WAGT's association with WBAU, it received rights to carry The CW. Schurz decided to do away with the fictional call sign upon launching a simulcast of the station on a new second digital subchannel of WAGT.

In October 2009, the parent companies of WAGT and WJBF announced that the two would enter into joint sales and shared services agreements in January 2010. This resulted in the two combining news operations, sales, and other operational services. [3] It was later announced that WJBF would control all of WAGT's news and advertising operations while that station handle programming and the maintaining of Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations. Most of WAGT's managerial staff were dismissed and other employees were reassigned to different positions. [4]

Media General had initially intended to move WAGT into an expanded wing of WJBF's studios. Both stations have had a strong presence in the downtown area. However the facilities of both stations are unable to sustain the much needed expansion to house the two. WJBF's facility on Reynolds Street was built around 1956 and WAGT moved into its Broad Street building (a converted theatre) in the 1970s. Media General instead chose to construct a new building for the stations. The new facility at the Augusta West Shopping Center is expected to be completed by April 2011. [5]

News operationEdit

[3][4]News open.On September 21, 1995, WAGT established a news department with newscasts debuted under the name 26 News. Initially, there was a show weeknights at 11. Weekday morning and weeknight 6 o'clock broadcasts soon followed. Before this, it had virtually no local news aside from cut-ins during Today on weekday mornings. There was a thirty-minute news and lifestyle show weekdays at noon called Top 'o the Day. Over the years, WAGT changed its branding adopting variations including 26 Action News. It finally re-branded in 2003 as WAGT News.

Between 2003 and 2005, Action News was completely phased out along with the "3D Weather" (a.k.a. "3 Degree Guarantee") weather segment. In 2005, the newscasts were branded as NBC 26 News phasing out the call letters "WAGT" in most but not all station graphics and logos. This was due to the fact the graphics package by Television By Design was less than a year old and still carried the WAGT News moniker. Along with this re-brand came new changes such as updates to the news set, graphics, and weather radar. In June 2003, it became the first station to air a two-hour long weekday morning show. It added a midday newscast at 11 on September 10, 2007.

The area's first two prime time newscasts at 10 debuted in 2004. One aired every night on Fox affiliate WFXG (owned by Southeastern Media Holdings and operated through SSA by Raycom Media) after that channel entered into a news share agreement with WJBF. The other show called WB 23 News at 10 was seen weeknights on WBAU and produced by WAGT. In 2006 after the switch to The CW, WAGT continued that broadcast now called CW Augusta Now. As is the case with the network, the newscast was tailored towards a younger audience. On April 23, 2007, the CW Augusta Now title and format was discontinued and replaced with a more traditional newscast known as NBC Augusta News at 10. Although it was discontinued completely in April 2008, the WJBF show on WFXG remains to this day. Like all CW Plus affiliates in the Eastern Time Zone, WAGT-DT2 continues airing the nationally syndicated morning show The Daily Buzz on weekdays from 6 until 9.

As a result of becoming operated by WJBF, WAGT dropped its weekday midday show at 11 in favor of a prime time broadcast weeknights at 7. Although the news departments of both stations have not yet merged, WJBF's reporting team can be seen in some news stories on WAGT since the two now share video. WJBF will continue to produce the nightly WFXG prime time newscasts. The new facility at the Augusta West Shopping Center may allow WJBF and WAGT to offer newscasts in 16:9 enhanced definition widescreen or even full high definition. From August 17, 2010 to January 23, 2011, rival WRDW had been airing news in the 16:9 enhanced definition widescreen format. Although not truly high definition, the broadcasts matched the aspect ratio of HD television screens. That channel has since upgraded its newscasts to full high-definition level. During weather forecasts, the channel features live NOAA National Weather Service radar data from several regional sites. This is known on-air as "Storm Tracker ESP: Live". News and weather updates from WAGT are provided to WBBQ-FM 104.3.

Newscast titlesEdit

  • NewsCenter 26 (1970s-1981)
  • TV-26 MetroNews (1981-1986)
  • News 26 (1985-1995)
  • 26 News (1995-1997)
  • 26 Action News (1997-2003)
  • WAGT News (2003-2005)
  • NBC 26 News (2005-2007 & 2010present)
  • NBC Augusta News (2007-2008)
  • NBC Augusta 26 News (2008-2010)

Station slogansEdit

  • "We're Augusta's Great Television" (general station slogan based on call sign, used sporadically)
  • "Live, Local, Latebreaking"  (1998-2003)
  • "Georgia Carolina's News Leader" (2003-2008)
  • "Straight to the Point" (2008-2010)
  • "Here For You." (2011–present)

News teamEdit

Anchors

  • Barclay Bishop - weekday mornings; also general assignment reporter
  • Paige Tucker - weeknights at 6, 7, and 11 p.m.
  • Nickelle Smith - weekend mornings; also general assignment reporter
  • Ashley Campbell - weekends at 11 p.m.; also general assignment reporter and Weekinght Fill In Anchor

Storm Tracker 26 Weather

  • Chris Still (AMS and NWA Seals of Approval) - chief meteorologist; weeknights at 6, 7, and 11 p.m.
  • Rich Rogers (NWA Seals of Approval) - meteorologist; weekends at 11 p.m; Also Weeknight Fill In
  • Micah Rumsey - meteorologist; weekend Mornings at 9 a.m., also fill-in
  • Jay Jefferies - forecaster; weekday mornings

Sports

  • Brendan Robertson - sports director; weeknights at 6, 7, and 11 p.m., also "Team of the Week" segment producer

Reporters

  • Wynton Yates - general assignment reporter
  • Janny Rodriguez - general assignment reporter
  • Elizabeth Hughes - general assignment reporter
  • Kasey Greenhalgh - general assignment reporter

Former on-air staffEdit

  • Judy Alley, morning anchor/reporter (?)
  • Andy Andersen, chief meteorologist (1995-1998, now at KCEN-TV, Waco, Texas)
  • John Appicello, sports director (1995-1997, now at WSLS-TV, Roanoke, Virginia)
  • Ben Baker, sports anchor/reporter (2002-2004, was at WCIV-TV)
  • Jeff Bidwell, sports anchor/reporter (now in Paducah)
  • Dustin Blanchard, general assignment reporter (2007-2009)
  • Bob Bonner, sports anchor/reporter (now at WECT, Wilmington)
  • Jason Boyer, general assignment reporter (2006-2007)
  • George Brown, consumer reporter/anchor (1997-2001, now at WREG-TV, Memphis)
  • Trent Butler, weeknight anchor/reporter (2006-2009)
  • Stan Byrdy, sports director (2006-2009)
  • Michael Buczyner, investigative/general assignment reporter (2005-2008, now at WBFF-TV, Baltimore, Maryland)
  • Arielle Clay, weekend anchor/reporter (2008-2009)
  • Rich Everitt, anchor/reporter (2001-2004, now owner of local production company)
  • Brooke Foster, meteorologist (2005-2006, now at KECI-TV)
  • Stacy Fronczak, weather forecaster (1999-?)
  • Neil Gordon, consumer reporter/anchor/reporter/news director (hosted "Buzz on Biz" segment on WRDW-TV and show on WNRR-AM until 2009. Returned to WAGT with "Buzz on Biz" in 2009 and moved to WRDW-AM)
  • Chrystina Head, general assignment reporter (2003-2005, now at WITI-TV)
  • Jesse Horne, morning editor/photographer,(1999-2000, now at KUSA-TV)
  • John Impemba, general assignment reporter (2006-2006, died in fall of 2006)
  • Danielle Johnson, general assignment reporter (?-2008)
  • Mechelle Jordan, anchor/reporter (1995-2003, now at KYTX)
  • Chris Kane, sports anchor/sports director (1997-2006, now at rival ABC station, WJBF)
  • Diane Keller, meteorologist (1996-?)
  • Tom Knight, meteorologist (?-2003)
  • Steve Kuzj - weekend anchor/reporter (2008-2009)
  • Cassandra Lawton (IMDb), anchor/Reporter (1995-?, while at WAGT appeared in a bit (news anchor) role in That Darn Cat 1997 remake, scene filmed at WAGT studios)
  • Richard Lom, morning anchor/reporter (1997-2000, Out of The Biz)
  • Chris Maddox, meteorologist (2000-2005, now freelance meteorologist with WAAY, Huntsville, Alabama)
  • Stephanie Maxwell, reporter/anchor (2001-2003, now at WHNS-TV)
  • Leon Moore, weekend anchor/reporter (2001-2004)
  • Will Nunley, now owner of WNRR-AM
  • Steve Parrett, anchor/reporter (1995-?)
  • Mike Petchenik, weekend anchor/reporter (2001-2005, now at WSB-TV)
  • Jim Pinkerton, anchor/reporter/assistant news director (2002-2006, now a spokesman for the Indiana Dept. of Transportation)
  • Ben Peine, morning meteorologist (2005-2008, now at WHAS-TV)
  • Joshua Quinn, general assignment reporter (2002-2006, now at WISN-TV)
  • Danielle Reese, anchor/reporter (1997-2004 Now Out Of The Biz)
  • Brendan Robertson, weekend sports
  • Creshon Saunders, weekend anchor/reporter (?, now at WRBL-TV)
  • Dave Terlizzi, meteorologist (?-2005)
  • Tina Terry, weekend anchor/reporter (2003-2008)
  • Darin Wernig, sports anchor/reporter (?-2006)
  • Bridgett Williams, morning anchor/reporter, later weeknight anchor/reporter (2004-2009)
  • Clint Wilson, general assignment reporter (2004-2005)

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook 1969
  2. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook 1979
  3. ^ http://www2.wjbf.com/jbf/news/special_reports/article/wjbf_wagt_enter_into_partnership/28655/
  4. ^ Emerson, LaTina (2009-12-30). "WJBF, WAGT still negotiating with on-air personnel". The Augusta Chronicle. http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/2009/12/30/bus_561276.shtml. Retrieved 2010-12-05.
  5. ^ Emerson, LaTina (2010-12-02). "WBBQ, other stations to move to new locations". The Augusta Chronicle. http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/metro/2010-12-02/wbbq-other-stations-move-new-locations?v=1291282932. Retrieved 2010-12-05.

External linksEdit

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