WLFL is the CW-affiliated television station for The Triangle area of North Carolina that is licensed to Raleigh. It broadcasts a high definitiondigital signal on UHF channel 27 from a transmitter southeast of Auburn near the Wake and Johnston County line. Owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group, WLFL is sister to MyNetworkTV affiliate WRDC and the two share studios in the Highwoods office complex in the Brentwood section of Raleigh.
|Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina|
|Branding||CW 22 (general)
ABC 11 Eyewitness News
|Channels||Digital: 27 (UHF)|
|Subchannels||22.1 The CW
22.2 The Country Channel
|Owner||Sinclair Broadcast Group
(WLFL Licensee, LLC)
|First air date||December 18, 1981|
|Call letters' meaning||Light For Living
(slogan used by original owners prior to sign-on)
|Sister station(s)||WRDC, WMYA-TV, WMYV,WLOS, WXLV-TV|
|Former callsigns||WLFL-TV (1981-1993)|
|Former channel number(s)||22 (UHF analog, 1981-2009)
57 (UHF digital, until 2009)
|Former affiliations||Independent (1981-1986)|
|Transmitter power||725 kW|
|Transmitter coordinates||35°40′28″N 78°31′40″W|
Syndicated programming on WLFL includes: The New Adventures of Old Christine, How I Met Your Mother, The Simpsons, and Maury. The station can be seen on cable channel 2 in Raleigh and most of its suburbs including Fayetteville. It is on channel 6 in Cary, Garner, Clayton, and Smithfield. In Durham and Chapel Hill, it is located on channel 10. WLFL airs on channel 12 in Carrboro. It is one of three Sinclair duopolies in the state of North Carolina.
|22.1||27.1||1080i||16:9||main WLFL programming/The CW HD|
|22.2||27.2||480i||4:3||WLFL-DT2 The Country Network|
The Channel finally went on the air at 2:00 in the afternoon on December 18, 1981 with the movie Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing as its inaugural program following a day of test patterns. It was the Triangle's first full-market independent station; WKFT-TV (channel 40, now WUVC, had signed on a few months earlier, but didn't have an adequate signal to most of the market at the time). The station was a typical UHF independent, running cartoons, dramas, westerns, old sitcoms, and old movies in addition to religious programming. Its analog UHF channel 22 transmitter was located in Apex southeast of U.S. 1. While licensed to Raleigh, its studios were initially on Broad Street in Durham (the same building where WTVD set up shop in 1954) and its master control facility was located with the transmission and tower facilities near Apex.WLFL-TV was originally in planning in 1976 as a Christian-themed station with mostly Christian programs and some secular family shows to be operated by L.L. "Buddy" Leathers' Carolina Christian Communications, a broadcasting company whose flagship was WGGS of Greenville, South Carolina. Carolina Christian had several construction permits in the Carolinas. The channel 22 permit was bought out by Family Television in 1980. It planned to sign on in late September 1981, but those plans were scuttled due to technical problems and bad weather.
In 1985, WLFL was purchased by the Norfolk, Virginia-based TVX Broadcast Group. TVX upgraded the station's programming until it was actually the third-highest rated station in The Triangle. A year later, TVX moved WLFL into new studios at 1205 Front Street in Raleigh just inside the Beltline. Later that year, it became a charter affiliate for Fox along with all other TVX stations. The station also replaced its original 1,000-foot (300 m) tower and one megawatt ERP transmission facilities with a new 1,550-foot (470 m) tower and five megawatt visual, 500 kW aural ERP transmission facilities. The transmitter site remained at its original location near Apex.
TVX sold off most of its medium market stations in 1988 following its purchase of Taft Broadcasting's independent stations and Fox affiliates. It held onto WLFL until its merger withParamount Pictures in 1991 after which the group was renamed Paramount Stations Group. By this time, WLFL was one of the strongest Fox affiliates in the country. In 1993, the station dropped the -TV suffix from its call sign. Paramount sold WLFL to the Sinclair Broadcast Group in 1994 and entered into a local marketing agreement (LMA) with WRDC the following year. That station was owned by Glencairn Broadcasting, a separate entity which the Smith family (who also owned Sinclair) had a majority stake in thus creating a duopoly in the market even before Sinclair purchased WRDC outright in 2001.
While WLFL was the senior partner in the deal, it vacated its Front Street studios that year and moved to WRDC's new facilities in the nearby Highwoods office complex. WNCN-TV, which acquired the market's NBC affiliation from WRDC in 1995, moved into WLFL's old studios at the same time. In 1996, Fox announced that it would not renew its contract with WLFL when it got involved in a dispute with Sinclair over programming issues during the 10 p.m. slot. Even though Fox later relented, it still managed to seek a new affiliation with WRAZ in 1998, leaving WLFL to pick up programming from The WB.
It was initially seen as a foregone conclusion that WLFL would be The CW's Triangle affiliate. It was by far the stronger of the two stations in Sinclair's Triangle duopoly, and network officials were on record as favoring the "strongest" WB and UPN stations. However, when the new network announced its first group of stations outside the core group of Tribune Company and CBS Corporation-owned stations, WLFL was not on the list. In February, sister station WRDC was announced as an affiliate of MyNetworkTV. It was not until May 2 that Sinclair agreed to affiliate all of its non-MyNetworkTV WB affiliates, including WLFL, with The CW.On January 24, 2006, The WB and UPN announced that they would end broadcasting and merge. The new combined network would be calledThe CW. The letters would represent the first initial of its corporate parents, CBS (the parent company of UPN) and the Warner Bros. unit ofTime 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.
On February 17, 2009, the station completed the analog to digital conversion. It is one of three stations in The Triangle area, along with WRDC and independent WRAY-TV, who agreed to make the switch on that date even though the DTV transition date had been changed to June 12. On that date at noon, WLFL changed digital channels from 57 to 27. However, through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display its virtual channel as 22.
Issue with Time Warner CableEdit
Sinclair Broadcast Group is currently involved in a retransmission dispute with Time Warner Cable, whose original agreement ended on December 31, 2010. The issue involves fees that TWC is willing to pay for programming on The CW and MyNetworkTV.  Negotiations between the two parties were extended for another two weeks and are set to expire on January 15, 2011 if an agreement is not reached. Any blackout would, in effect, limit access for both WLFL and WRDC to a number of cable households within the Raleigh-Durham-Fayetteville market. However, both channels are also available through satellite providers DirecTV and Dish Network, along with AT&T's U-Verse service. 
WLFL's broadcast, which was one hour in length and had been using Sinclair's controversial News Central format for the previous four years, was cut down to thirty minutes in September 2005 in an attempt to boost its anemic ratings against WRAZ. At one point, WLFL's newscast was anchored by Bob Vernon on weeknights and Tamara Gibbs (now with WTVD) on weekends. Alternate news anchors included Kami Carrmann.WLFL launched a news department and a nightly prime time newscast at 10 in 1992. Known as the Fox 22 10 O'Clock News, it featured North Carolina's first prime time news since WKFT attempted one in the late-1980s. After the station's switch to The WB, the broadcast became known as WB 22 News at 10. In August 1998, WLFL began having newscast competition after WRAZ began airing a nightly 10 o'clock broadcast produced by WRAL-TV. The lineup of Bob Vernon, Andrea Arcenaux, Steve Swencowski and Rick Sullivan was a strong primetime newscast.
Weather reports were done Sunday through Thursday nights by Chief Meteorologist Kristen Emery and on Friday and Saturday nights by Susan Shrack. With the introduction of Sinclair's controversial centralized News Central operation on August 16, 2004, WLFL's weather department was shut down. National news and some sports along with weather forecasts originated from company headquarters on Beaver Dam Road in Hunt Valley, Maryland. However, local news and some sports were still based in Raleigh. It also aired "The Point", a one-minute conservative political commentary, that was also controversial and a requirement of all Sinclair-owned stations with newscasts until the series was discontinued in December 2006. March 30, 2006 marked the last official broadcast for WB 22 News at 10. After a fourteen-year run, the news operation at WLFL was closed as a result of a cost-cutting move implemented by Sinclair as well as the systematic shut down of News Central.
On June 26, 2006, WTVD established a news share agreement with WLFL and debuted a new nightly prime time newscast on this channel entitled Eyewitness News at 10 on WB 22. Like the previous operation, this broadcast runs directly against the WRAL-produced news on WRAZ. Since then, there have never been any plans announced for a weekday morning show on WLFL that would also be produced by WTVD. This is unlike WRAZ which offers a two-hour extension of WRAL's weekday morning news at 7.
On September 17 concurrent with this station's official affiliation switch to The CW, the newscast changed names. On April 21, 2008, WTVD became the second television station in The Triangle behind WRAL and the eighth ABC-owned station in the United States to produce its newscasts in high definition. However, the WLFL broadcast was not included in the upgrade due to the station's lack of an HD master control facility. As a result, the WLFL newscast is still seen in pillarboxed 4:3 standard definition.
ABC 11 Eyewitness News at 10 on CW 22 (10 to 10:35 p.m.) weeknights
- Steve Daniels
- Tisha Powell
- Chris Hohmann
- Mark Armstrong
- Fred Shropshire
- Shae Crisson
- Fred Shropshire
- Shae Crisson
- Scott Dean
- Joe Mazur
WLFL features additional personnel from WTVD. See that article for a complete listing.
Former on-air staffEdit
- David Alan (now at WVEC-TV in Norfolk, Virginia)
- Andrea Arcenaux (once worked at CNN prior to arrival)
- Laura Berry (once worked at the WB)
- Varen Black
- Carolyn Clifford (now at WXYZ-TV in Detroit)
- Bobby Estill
- Paul Furr (floor camera, floor director & News Photographer; Now at WTVD-TV)
- Tom Foolery (Real name is Dave Wisniewski. Because his other on air personality was Double Deuce Kid's Club host aka "Tom Foolery" he was referred to on air as just "Tom" of "Tom's Weather" to avoid confusion)
- Lori Geary (now at WSB-TV in Atlanta)
- Lauren Green (now a producer in Washington, DC)
- Amy Hockert
- Robert Judson (former fill in sports anchor; now at WTVD-TV)
- Captain Jim Kilpatrick (full-time American Airlines pilot & weekend meteorologist)
- Matt Lundy
- Carlos McCormick
- Rachel McNeill (now at KPRC-TV in Houston)
- Bryan Moore (now a manager with Northrop Grumman Newport News, Virginia)
- Mark Mottern (now a producer and freelancer in Hollywood, Ca)
- Steve Noble (former reporter for a L.A. based tabloid show)
- Bill Reh (who now works at WNCN-TV, Raleigh's NBC station)
- Suzanne Robinson
- Amy Szutowicz (now working in Washington, D.C.)
- Mike Solarte (now Sports Director for News 14 Carolina, also hosted radio talk show at WRBZ)
- Rick Sullivan (now at UNC-TV)
- Keenan Smith (now at WGN-TV in Chicago)
- Steve Swienckowski
- Dallas Woodhouse (now Director of Americans for Prosperity, in Raleigh, NC)
- Nancy Yamada (now a Washington D.C. based Reporter)
- Perry Alexander photo-journalist (now a successful auto dealership owner in New Bern NC)
- Liz Hamel (now Liz Wellinghorst, president of W Communications, LLC, a Northern NJ public relations firm; www.wcomm-pr.com)
- ^ "Sinclair/Time Warner Cable - Frequently Asked Questions". Sinclair Broadcast Group. Retrieved December 13, 2010.
- ^ Wolf, Alan M. (December 29, 2010). "Cable TV feud is at an impasse". News and Observer. Retrieved December 29, 2010.