WPTY-TV is the ABC-affiliated television station for West Tennessee that is licensed toMemphis. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 25 from a transmitter in the Brunswick section of Arlington. Owned by Newport Television, the station is sister to CWaffiliate WLMT and Fox affiliate WJKT. All three share studios on Union Avenue Extension along Poplar Avenue (U.S. 72/TN 57) in Memphis. WJKT officially serves the Jackson area and has separate facilities in that city on Oil Well Road. However, master control and some internal operations are based in Memphis. Syndicated programming on WPTY includes: Two and a Half Men, Maury, The Doctors, and Live with Regis and Kelly.
|Branding||ABC 24 WPTY
ABC 24 News
|Channels||Digital: 25 (UHF)Virtual: 24 (PSIP)|
(Newport Television License, LLC)
|First air date||September 10, 1978|
|Call letters' meaning||We're PeTrYTelevision(original owner)|
|Sister station(s)||WLMT, WJKT|
|Former channel number(s)||24 (UHF analog, 1978-2009)|
|Former affiliations||Independent (1978-1990)Fox (1990-1995)|
|Transmitter power||1,000 kW|
The station began broadcasting on September 10, 1978 and was the market's first UHF channel and Independent. WPTY also served as the secondary outlet in town for the other three stations whenever they passed on shows in favor of local fare. It was owned by Petry Television (hence the call letters) and ran a general entertainment format of cartoons, movies, sitcoms, westerns, and drama shows. By 1983, WPTY picked up competition when the TVX Broadcast Group'sWMKW signed-on and sparked a rivalry between the two.
TVX signed a deal to affiliate all of their stations with Fox in 1987 which resulted in WMKW becoming the area's affiliate. The network pulled the affiliation from that channel (by then known as WLMT) in February 1990 and gave it to WPTY. This occurred because TVX's deal with Fox included a clause stating that if a station was sold, it could lose its affiliation.
Clear Channel Communications bought WPTY in 1992. A year later, a local marketing agreement (LMA) between Clear Channel and WLMT's then owner MT Communications brought the two rival stations together and they pooled resources and programming. In 1994, Fox Television Stations surprised the market by buying longtime ABC affiliate WHBQ-TV and announced that the station would become the new affiliate. In turn, ABC decided to go with WPTY as its new affiliate which happened on December 1, 1995.
At this point, the station began evolving into a traditional network affiliate running mostly first run syndicated shows and a few sitcoms while WLMT ran cartoons, movies, sitcoms, and some reality/talk shows as well. In 2001, Clear Channel would buy WLMT outright from Max Media making the two stations sisters. On April 20, 2007, Clear Channel entered into an agreement to sell its entire television stations group to Newport Television, a broadcaster controlled by Providence Equity Partners. On June 12, 2009, WPTY continued on its pre-transitional digital channel when the conversion was completed.
After becoming an ABC affiliate, WPTY decided to completely re-brand itself and start a news department. The newscasts were initially branded as NewsWatch 24 and featured an energetic, youthful, and almost "grunge" look. It began producing a nightly prime time broadcast on WLMT known as NewsWatch 30 at 9 to compete with WHBQ. Several years later, WPTY re-branded asABC 24 News (with the news on WLMT becoming UPN 30 News at 9) and began to modify its style to reach a broader audience. In 2002, WPTY re-branded to Eyewitness News, and modified its style once again to have a harder-edged, more aggressive and often "confrontational" approach by its anchors and reporters to stories and investigations. The change resulted in most of its original news anchors and reporters leaving or being laid off, with a complete overhaul in the station's image and presentation. During this time, WPTY's news operation had its share of recognitions and awards. It was honored in 2005 with Associated Press broadcasting awards for "Best Breaking News", "Best Newscast", "Best Reporter", and "Best Sportscast". The station was also honored in 2005 with an Edward R. Murrow and regional Emmy Award as the "Best Weekend Newscast". In the same Associated Press award period in 2006, WPTY was honored with nine awards including "Best Overall Newscast". However, it still remained last in market ratings behind long-dominating rivals WREG-TV, WMC-TV, and WHBQ-TV.
In 2009, with continued low ratings, and under its new ownership of Newport Television, new management was brought in to the station, leading to several firings and lay-offs in staff. Gradually, WPTY dropped most of its confrontational and aggressive style in its newscasts. In November 2010, after 8 years of operating under the Eyewitness News name, WPTY re-branded yet again, returning back to ABC 24 News. WPTY's ratings still remain last in the Memphis market, with a high level of turnover in staff continuing as well. Additionally, it has yet to upgrade its operation to high definition, the only in the Memphis market still broadcasting its news in 4:3 standard definition.
In addition to its newscasts on WPTY, three newscasts for WLMT are produced including an hour at 7 on weekday mornings and every night at 9 for 45 minutes. Following the prime time news, there is a fifteen minute sports highlight show. Fox affiliate WJKT simulcasts the nightly 9 o'clock broadcast and sports show. That station has microwave facilities at its studios in Jackson which allows the transmitting of live shots from the area. During weather segments, WPTY and WLMT use live NOAA National Weather Service radar data from the Local Forecast Office on Farm Road in Memphis (its official address is Walnut Grove Road). Although WPTY and WHBQ air their midday shows at 11, this channel is the only one to have an hour-long broadcast at that time.
- NewsWatch 24 (1995-1997)
- ABC 24 News (1997-2002; 2010-Present)
- Eyewitness News/Eyewitness News Everywhere/ABC 24 Eyewitness News (2002-2010)
- "It's On Fox 24" (1990-1992; local version of Fox ad campaign)
- "You're Watching Fox 24" (1992-1993; local version of Fox ad campaign)
- "Fox 24, You're Watching It" (1993-1994; local version of Fox ad campaign)
- "It Could Happen on Fox 24" (1994; local version of Fox ad campaign)
- "Fox 24's Kickin' It" (1994-1995; local version of Fox ad campaign)
- "Cool Like Us Fox 24" (September-November 1995; last local version of Fox ad campaign)
- "Watched By More Mid-South, 24, ABC" (1995-1996; first local version of ABC ad campaign)
- "The Mid-South's News Source"/"The Mid-South's Information and Entertainment Source" (1995-1997)
- "Your New Mid-South News Leader" (1997)
- "TV is Good, on ABC 24" (1997-1998; local version of ABC ad campaign)
- "Our Focus: The Mid-South" (1997-2002)
- "We Love TV, on ABC 24" (1998-1999; local version of ABC ad campaign)
- "Uncovering. Investigating. Getting Results." (2002-2010)
- April Norris - weekday mornings and 11 a.m.
- Joyce Peterson - evening anchor on WPTY at 5pm, 6pm, & 10pm
- Cameron Harper - evening anchor on WLMT at 9pm, reporter on WPTY at 10pm
- Jeff Beimfohr - weekend anchor, reporter
- Mark Walden (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist and NWA Seals of Approval) - Chief Meteorologist; weeknights
- David Still (NWA Seal of Approval) - weekday mornings and 11 a.m.
- Lauren Raymer (NWA Seal of Approval) - weekends
- Corey Maclin - weeknights
- Kathy Morris - weekends and sports reporter
- Jackie Orozco
- Randy Wimbley
- Shelvia Dancy
- Jeni DiPrizio
- Joy Lambert
- Allison Sossaman
- Dayna Devon - weeknights (later host of Extra)
- Tom Butler - weekends (now at KMSP-TV in Minneapolis)
- Darryl Hood - weekends
- Bonny Kinney - reporter
- Alisa Weinstein - reporter
- Michelle Mowery - reporter
- Tran Bui - reporter
- Michelle Robinson
- Renee Malone
- Bill Lunn
- Ken Houston
- Brian Teigland - Chief seen weeknights and heard on WREC-AM 600 and KWAM-AM 990 (died on July 25, 2008 at the age of 53)
- Henry Rothenberg - weekday mornings and 11 a.m. (heard on WKIM-FM 98.9)
- Wendy Nations - weekday mornings and 11 a.m.
- Ari Bergeron - weeknights (now at WLTX)
- Rob Petrone - anchor and reporter
- Greg Gaston - Director seen weeknights (now at WHBQ)
- Kevin Jenks - anchor and reporter
- Michael Eaves - weekends
- Rae Lyn Hartley - entertainment
- Ursula Jones - weekday morning traffic
- Brandon Long
- Ellen Galles
- Denita Dowell
- Gurnal Scott
- Sarah Buduson
- Alexis Amorose
- Craig Bell
- Lana Labrousse
- Lacey Crisp