WGNO, channel 26, is the ABC affiliate for the greater New Orleans, Louisiana metropolitan area, as well parts of southern and coastal Mississippi. It is owned by Tribune Broadcasting, and is the only Big Three network affiliate owned by the company.
|New Orleans, Louisiana|
|Branding||WGNO New Orleans (general)
WGNO News (newscasts)
God Bless Louisiana (image campaign)
|Channels||Digital: 26 (UHF)Virtual: 26 (PSIP)|
|Subchannels||26.1 ABC26.2 Antenna TV|
|Affiliations||ABC (since 1996),Antenna TV (DT2)|
(Tribune Television New Orleans, Inc.)
|First air date||October 1967|
|Call letters' meaning||Greater New Orleans-or-We've Got New Orleans(also a homage to Tribune's Chicago flagship station WGN-TV, and a portmanteau of "WGN" and "NO" abbreviation for New Orleans)|
|Former callsigns||WWOM-TV (1967-1971)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:26 (UHF, 1967-2009)|
|Former affiliations||independent (1967-1995)
The WB (1995-1996)
|Transmitter power||1000 kW|
|Transmitter coordinates||29°58′57.4″N 89°56′57.8″W / 29.982611°N 89.949389°W / 29.982611; -89.949389|
The station offers ABC programming, along with syndicated programming and about 25 hours a week of local newscasts. The station broadcasts its digital signal on UHF channel 26; its studios are located at the Galleria Center in Metairie, Louisiana and its transmitter is located east of downtown New Orleans off Paris Road.
The station signed on in October 1967 as WWOM-TV (The Wonderful World Of Movies). It was the first independent station in Louisiana, as well as the first new commercial station to sign on in the city since WWL-TV (channel 4) signed on in 1957. Initially, the station was on the air 8 hours a day from late afternoon to midnight. It programmed mostly old movies, some theatrical cartoons, and a couple off network shows. It was owned by David Wagenvoord until its sale to Communications Corp. of the South in 1971, and its call letters were changed to the current WGNO.
As WGNO, the station began running more off network sitcoms and westerns and moderate amounts of cartoons. The station was on the air about twelve hours a day by 1972. The station began signing on at 10 a.m. in 1974, and expanded to about nineteen hours a day by 1975. WGNO was sold to Seymour Smith and family in 1976. It continued to program a general entertainment format with vintage sitcoms, older movies, and religious shows. From 1982 to 1987, WGNO aired 1000 PSAs (public service announcements) called "Tom Foote"; Tom was a local entertainer in area schools and in the Quarter. For a time, an hour-long program called Tom Foote's Video Clubhouse aired as well as News For Kids, produced by Tom.
WGNO was purchased by Glendive Media in 1978, who would later sell the station to Tribune Broadcasting in 1983. By coincidence, the station's call letters reflect a connection with Tribune's flagship station, WGN-TV (channel 9) in Chicago, but channel 26 had WGN in their calls long before Tribune even thought of buying the station; and, with two other Tribune television properties also sporting the three letters in their call signs (KWGN-TV (channel 2) in Denver and WGNX (channel 46, now WGCL-TV) in Atlanta), channel 26 kept the WGNO call letters. With the slogan "New Orleans Style," the station continued to grow, and as other competitors signed on, WGNO remained the leading independent station in the market.
In 1993, legendary programmer Brandon Tartikoff, who had a successful run as the president of NBC during the 1980s, created a game show for WGNO called "NO It Alls" with host Ed Daniels and hostess Isis Casanova. In 1996, Tartikoff would take the popular game show national as "Know It Alls".
In January 1995, after 28 years on the air, WGNO ceased to be an independent station when it affiliated with the new WB Television Network. At that time, The WB only offered a few hours of programming a week (airing only on Sunday and Wednesday nights at the time of its launch), so WGNO was still programming non-network programming over twenty hours a day.
That same year, Burnham Broadcasting sold longtime ABC affiliate WVUE (channel 8) in a group deal, to Savoy Communications, a company with interest in Fox (WVUE is currently owned by Louisiana Media Company). WVUE dropped its ABC affiliation to become a Foxaffiliate on January 1, 1996. WGNO then acquired WVUE's former ABC affiliation, and became the market's new affiliate of the network. The WB network affiliation, along with the cartoons and some syndicated programming, were moved to former Fox affiliate WNOL (channel 38). In 1997, WNOL later came under management by Tribune Company, and WGNO officially became a sister station to WNOL after Tribune purchased the latter in 2000, creating the market's first television "duopoly" operation. In July 2005, the station moved its facilities from the World Trade Center New Orleans to a facility at the New Orleans Centre.
On August 29, 2007, the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, WGNO began broadcasting from new high definition-ready studios in the Galleria Center in nearby Metairie; included in WGNO's new facility are a brand-new news set and weather center. Revamped logos and on-air graphics were introduced at this time.
Hurricane KatrinaEditAs Hurricane Katrina approached in August 2005, WGNO's operations were moved to fellow ABC affiliate WBRZ-TV in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
For a time after Hurricane Katrina hit, nightly newscasts were broadcast from various locations throughout the New Orleans area because the main studio was inaccessible. Temporary facilities (including a makeshift studio and control room) were eventually established in two trailers outside of the Louisiana Superdome, and most of the station's broadcast equipment was purchased from eBay resellers.
In April 2006, WGNO announced that it was temporarily moving its broadcast operations back to the World Trade Center New Orleans tower. Management at the New Orleans Centre terminated the station's lease when it decided not to reopen the complex -- the station had only moved into the facility a few weeks before Katrina. In February 2007, Tribune announced that rather than move WGNO to WNOL's facility on Canal Street, it would be moving to the Galleria building in nearby Metairie. This would make WGNO the first local station to move outside of New Orleans - station management indicated that they wanted to keep WGNO in New Orleans, but that there wasn't a facility suitable for the purpose. The move to the Galleria was complete and broadcasting began at their new home on August 29, 2007, the second-year anniversary of Katrina.
Hurricane Katrina also destroyed WGNO's analog and digital transmitters. As of March 1, 2008, WGNO completed its "post transition" channel 26 DTV transmitter. Since this transmitter operates on the same frequency as their analog transmitter (26) it could not be powered up until their analog transmitter shut down on June 12, 2009, at which time the station flash-cut to digital. Prior to June 12, 2009, its digital signal (with full resolution HDTV content) was carried on a sub-channel of WNOL's digital transmitter on channel 15.
With the approach of Hurricane Gustav in 2008, WGNO's audio was simulcast on WTIX-FM (94.3); the station also cancelled the local segments of the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon, which was airing as normally scheduled on sister station WNOL-TV.  WGNO received help covering Gustav from the Tribune Company/Local TV partnership, which combines the control and Internet operations for both entities -- stations that sent crews to New Orleans included Fox affiliate WBRC (channel 6) in Birmingham, Alabama (now owned by Raycom Media), NBC affiliate WHO-TV (channel 13) in Des Moines, Iowa and CBS affiliate WHNT-TV (channel 19) in Huntsville, Alabama. On September 1, 2008 CNN.com began to simulcast WGNO's local coverage on one of CNN's four live video feeds.
The station's digital channel on UHF 26, is multiplexed:
|26.1||WGNO Main Programming / ABC HD 720p|
|26.2||Antenna TV SD 480i|
The station's broadcasts its digital signal on UHF channel 26. WGNO had been sharing digital channel 15 with sister station WNOL. On June 12, 2009, WGNO remained on channel 26 when the analog to digital conversion completed; this allowed on WNOL to resume high definition broadcasting on UHF channel 15. ABC network programming airing on WGNO is broadcast in the network's recommended high definition picture format of 720p HD.
Currently, WGNO broadcasts a total of 24½ hours of local newscasts each week (with 4½ hours on weekdays, and one hour each on Saturdays and Sundays), the lowest newscast output of the Big Four affiliates in the New Orleans market; unlike most ABC affiliates in large or mid-sized markets, WGNO does not carry a weekend morning newscast.
Shortly after taking the ABC affiliation, WGNO launched a full-scale news department, and began airing half-hour newscasts at 5 and 6 p.m. on weeknights and nightly at 10 p.m. in March 1996. For its first eight years as an ABC affiliate, WGNO was one of the largest Big Three stations (in terms of market size) not to have a weekday morning or midday newscast. On September 8, 2008, WGNO launched a half-hour midday newscast at 11 a.m., and then on September 29, 2008, the station finally added a two-hour morning newscast called Good Morning New Orleans, airing from 5-7 a.m. The station at one time was unique for having its own bounty hunter, Tat-2, as part of its "Wheel of Justice" series. , 
On April 20, 2009 WGNO moved its 6 p.m. newscast ahead a half-hour to 6:30 p.m., the move was intended to reach a believed large segment of New Orleans who commute to work and do not arrive home in time to watch a 6 p.m. newscast; billed as "Your Only Newscast at 6:30", the newscast is anchored by Jessica Holly (who also solo anchors the weeknight 5 and 10 p.m. newscasts), however recent ratings indicate that the time slot did not attract significant viewers as ratings fell in 2010, with WGNO placing last with a 1.7 Nielsen at 6:30. A year later, WGNO reinstated its 6 p.m. newscast, pairing it alongside the existing 6:30 newscast; it is currently one of three stations in the New Orleans market with an hour-long newscast, the others being NBC affiliate WDSU (which carries an hour-long 4 p.m. newscast) and Fox affiliate WVUE (which carries hour-long 5 and 9 p.m. newscasts on weeknights).
On June 4, 2010, the 9 p.m. newscast on sister station WNOL was cancelled due to a decision by station management to move CW primetime programming on WNOL ahead by one hour. Currently, WGNO produces and broadcast its local newscasts in 16:9 widescreen standard definition; it is one of three major stations in the New Orleans market who carries its local newscasts in this format, along with CBS affiliate WWL-TV (channel 4) and NBC affiliate WDSU (channel 6).
- WGNO News/WGNO News Final (1971-1978)
- TV-26 News (1978-mid 1980s)
- ABC26 News (1996-2011)
- WGNO News (2011-present)
- We've Got New Orleans (1971-late 1970s, 1995-1996 and 2003-2004)
- New Orleans Style (1983?-1995?)
- More News (1996-2005)
- Getting Answers (2005-2008)
- WGNO News/News With A Twist (2011-present)
Current on-air staffEdit
- Sheldon Fox - Saturdays at 6, Sundays at 5 and weekends at 10 p.m.; also weekday reporter and "Wheel of Justice" feature reporter
- Jessica Holly - weeknights at 5, 6:30 and 10 p.m.
- Jon Huffman - weekday mornings "Good Morning New Orleans" (5-7 a.m.); also weeknight reporter
- LeBron “LBJ” Joseph - "News with a Twist at" 6:00 pm; also morning co-host for KMEZ-FM
- Jocelyn Lockwood - weekday mornings "Good Morning New Orleans" (5-7 a.m.) and 11 a.m.
- Susan Roesgen - "News with a Twist" at 6:00 pm
- Curt Sprang - weeknights at 10 p.m.
- Hank Allen (AMS Seal of Approval) - Chief Meteorologist; weekday mornings "Good Morning New Orleans" (5-7 a.m.) and 11 a.m.
- JEFF WOMACK - weather anchor; Saturdays at 6, Sundays at 5 and weekends at 10 p.m.; also reporter
- MARTHA STEWART News with a Twist and WGNO News at 10:00 pm
- Ed Daniels - sports director; weeknights at 6:30 pm and 10 p.m.; formerly host of "NO it Alls"
- Vanessa Bolano
- Jeff Crouere - political analyst
- Anne Cutler
- Don Dubuc - outdoor reporter; Tuesdays at 10, and Wednesdays at 6 p.m.
- Sandra Gonzalez
- Christian Jennings
- Dave Jordan
- Molly Kimball - nutrition expert
- Chriss Knight - morning and 11 a.m. reporter
- Kenny Lopez
- Lalia Marcos
- Joe Rawley - web reporter
- Darian Trotter
- Tyler Wing
Notable former on-air staffEdit
- Anna Adair
- Jason Allen (currently with WGCL-TV in Atlanta)
- Tom Bagwell (currently at WLAE)
- Rick Barrett
- Val Bracy - reporter (currently at WVUE)
- Isis Casanova - hostess of "No It Alls" (game show developed at WGNO)
- Kim Davis (later at KPRC-TV in Houston)
- Yunji de Nies - reporter (currently with ABC News)
- Mark Deane
- Brooke Erickson - sports reporter (now at Cox Sports Television)
- Jon Fairbanks
- Tom Foote - ("KidVid Host" 1982-87)
- Brad Giffen - (now at CTV in Toronto, Canada)
- Mitty Giffts - former weekend weather anchor
- April Gonzales
- Michael Hill June 28, 2004-May 28, 2010, is now in the process of putting together a new media company. (1)
- Mike Janssen
- Harry McCulla - (now at KFOL-CD in Houma, LA)
- Pat Minnis
- Meredith Mendez - spokesperson St. Tammany Parish School System
- Doug Mouton - reporter (currently at WWL-TV)
- Paul Murphy - reporter (currently at WWL-TV)
- Chris Nakamoto - (currently at WBRZ in Baton Rouge)
- Adam Norris
- Joni Naquin - (later at WWL-TV)
- Janella Newsome - (now associate director of university communications and marketing Dillard University)
- Cindi Nguyen
- Bob Noonan - (now at WREG in Memphis)
- Dawn Ostrom (currently doing freelance work)
- Jeff Peterson Now at WGME-13
- Liz Reyes - anchor (1997-2009; now at WVUE & runs her own media website at LizReyes.com)
- Kris Rhodes
- Eric Richey - (was at AM 690 WIST, now at Cox Sports Television)
- Susan Roesgen - (moved to CNN in 2005)
- Mike Russ - (currently at WPMI in Mobile, Alabama)
- Melinda Spaulding - (currently at KRIV in Houston)
- André Trevigne - anchor
- Rick Erbach - news director
- John Cruse - general manager
Former Show's on WGNO-Channel-26
- All in The Family
- Access Hollywood
- The Andy Griffith Show
- Barney Miller
- The Beverly Hillbilles
- The Brady Bunch
- Mr Belvedere
- Designing Women
- The Dick Van Dyke Show
- Family Feud
- Facts of Life
- Family Matters
- Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
- Growing Pains
- In The Heat of The Night
- The Jetsons
- The Jeffersons
- Mama's Family
- Magnum P.i
- Real TV
- Sanford And Son
- Step By Step
- Soul Train
- Scooby Doo
- Storm Stories
- Full House
- Growing Pains
- Gimme A Break
- Qunicy M.E.
- Too Close For Comfort
- Welcome Back Kotter
- WGNO ABC26 Homepage
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WGNO
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WGNO-TV
- ^ The Broadcasting and Cable Yearbook says October 16, while the Television and Cable Factbook says October 14.
- ^ New Orleans Times-Picayune/NOLA.com, accessed February 10, 2007
- ^ http://www.abc26.com/pages/landing_news/?Jerry-Lewis-Local-Telethon-Postponned-Du=1&blockID=44699&feedID=1154