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WSFA is the NBC-affiliated television station for Central Alabama's Black Belt region licensed to Montgomery. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on VHF channel 12 from a transmitter in Grady along the Montgomery and Pike County line. The station can also be seen on Knology and Charter channel 11. There is a high definition feed offered on Charter digital channel 711 and Knology digital channel 903. Owned by Raycom Media, it is one of two flagships of the company (along with CBS affiliate WBTV in Charlotte, North Carolina) and has studios on East Delano Avenue in Montgomery.

WSFA
250px-WSFA 12 News225px-WSFA 12.2
Montgomery/Dothan, Alabama
Branding WSFA 12 (general)

WSFA 12 News WSFA 12.2 (on DT2)

Slogan Coverage. Community. Commitment.
Channels Digital: 12 (VHF)
Subchannels 12.1 NBC12.2 RTV
Owner Raycom Media

(WSFA License Subsidiary, LLC)

First air date December 25, 1954
Call letters' meaning With the South'sFinest Airport [1]
Sister station(s) WDFX-TV, WTVM, WXTX,WAFF-TV, WBRC
Former callsigns WSFA-TV (1954-1986)
Former channel number(s) Analog: 12 (1954-2009)

Digital: 14 (2002-2009)

Former affiliations NBC Weather Plus

(on DT2)

Transmitter power 600 kW
Height 507 m
Facility ID 13993
Transmitter coordinates 31°58′28.6″N 86°9′44.2″W
Website wsfa.com

Syndicated programming on WSFA includes: Entertainment Tonight, Judge Joe Brown, Judge Judy, and The Insider. The station boasts one of the largest coverage areas in Alabama providing at least secondary coverage from the geographical center of the state to theFlorida state line and from the Black Belt region to the Chattahoochee River bordering Georgia. WSFA is the default NBC affiliate for theDothan market since that area has no affiliate of its own.

Digital programmingEdit

On WSFA-DT2, Knology digital channel 121, and Charter digital channel 136 is the Retro Television Network (RTV). In addition, there are repeats of newscasts from the main channel, live local weather updates, syndicated programming, and Raycom Sports.

Channel Name Programming
12.1 WSFA-DT main WSFA programming/NBC HD
12.2 WSFA-DT2 "WSFA 12.2" RTV

HistoryEdit

The call letters SFA stand for South's Finest Airport. They can be traced back to 1930 when Gordon Persons (later to become Governor of Alabama) opened the state's fourth radio station in Montgomery. This was located in what is now the Gunter Annex of Maxwell Air Force Base but was then Montgomery Regional Airport. Persons publicized the radio station with the call letters and slogan. WSFA-AM (now WLWI-AM) quickly became a landmark in Montgomery and was most famous in its early days for launching the career of country music legend Hank Williams, a native of nearby Georgiana, in the 1940s.

By the mid-1950s, the new medium of television was sweeping the nation and Persons won the construction permit for Montgomery's second television station on VHF channel 12. Ironically, this allocation was supposed to be occupied by Montgomery's first television station WCOV-TV. However, due to a delay in getting a transmitter for channel 12, WCOV was forced to move to UHF channel 20. OnChristmas Day 1954, WSFA-TV aired its first broadcast. When the television studios were built, WSFA-AM moved into the facility. In February 1955 just two months after going on-the-air, the radio and television stations were purchased by the Gaylord family's OklahomaPublishing Company. At that time, WSFA-AM-TV was operated by a staff of 35. In 1956, the radio station was sold, changed its call letters to WHHY, and moved to a downtown location.[2]

The television station now operating apart from its former namesake radio partner, was sold again to the Broadcasting Company of the South from Columbia, South Carolina in 1959. A subsidiary of Liberty Life Insurance Company, the company renamed itself Cosmos Broadcasting Corporation in 1965. Later in the decade, Liberty reorganized itself as The Liberty Corporation with Cosmos and Liberty Life as its subsidiaries. WSFA was the area's only VHF station until 1985. In 1986, it dropped the -TV suffix. Liberty exited the insurance business in 2002 bringing the station directly under the Liberty banner. The company merged with Raycom in 2006. Since that company is headquartered in Montgomery, this made WSFA its flagship station. However, with Raycom's 2006 purchase of Lincoln Financial Media's television stations, WSFA now shares flagship status with Charlotte's WBTV.

Tracing back from its humble beginnings as the upstart television arm of a local radio station, WSFA is still broadcasting from its original South Montgomery location. Several expansions of the Delano Avenue facility now provide room for a staff of more than one hundred and two large telecasting studios. It originally aired a digital signal on UHF channel 14. On June 12, 2009 for the final shutdown of analog television, WSFA reverted its digital signal back to its analog channel. [3] WSFA-DT2 had been part of NBC Weather Plus but reverted to a local weather channel after the shut down of the national service in December 2008. On December 31, 2009, WSFA dropped its third digital subchannel, which carried RTV programming, in order to start beta testing of applications that would transmit its signal to mobile devices. On February 8, 2010, WSFA resumed RTV programming on its second digital subchannel combined with weather updates and other shows.

News operationEdit

220px-Wsfa open

News open weeknights at 5.

Under McGee, WSFA gained a national reputation for its coverage (fed periodically to the network) of local events in the Civil Rights Movementsuch as the Bus Boycott of 1955 involving Rosa Parks and the varied activities of Martin Luther King, Jr. during his pastorate at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church. McGee eventually joined NBC News as a correspondent and hosted Today from 1971 until his death in 1974. When Liberty bought WSFA in 1959, it saw the channel had already developed an image as a news-intensive station and began developing strong news departments at its other stations as well. Today, WSFA airs over thirty hours of local newscasts per week more than any station in Montgomery.WSFA's news department has long been one of the most respected in the South. As the only VHF station in town for 31 years, it has been the dominant news station in Montgomery for as long as records have been kept. The station has always devoted significant resources to its news department resulting in a higher-quality product than conventional wisdom would suggest for a station in the 118th ranked market. Not long after the Gaylord family bought the station, they dispatched Frank McGee (anchorman at company flagship WKY-TV now KFOR-TV) inOklahoma City, to Montgomery as News Director.

On January 15, 2007, it added a entertainment/lifestyle magazine-type program known as Alabama LIVE!. The show reflects on its slogan which is "Coverage. Community. Commitment." because there special features and interviews usually not conducted in traditional newscasts. Several guests appear on the show that airs weekday mornings at 11. WSFA established a news share agreement with Fox affiliate WCOV (owned by the Woods Communications Corporation) on January 7, 2008. This resulted in a 35 minute newscast being added on that channel weeknights at 9. It was known as Fox News at 9 because the broadcast was simulcasted on WSFA sister station and fellow Fox affiliate WDFX-TV inDothan. A weekend half-hour edition began in Summer 2008.

On August 3, WSFA upgraded newscasts to high definition level becoming the first station in Montgomery to do so. The news set and graphics were redesigned in the transition. Initially, the 9 p.m. shows were not included because they originated from an older secondary set at WSFA's studios. However in Spring 2010, those broadcasts began airing in HD with updated graphics separate from programs seen on WSFA. Since WDFX and WCOV both aired Fox News at 9, there was regional coverage provided by reporters based at WDFX's studios (referred to on-air as the Wiregrass Newsroom). After WCOV's contract with WSFA expired at the end of 2010, that station entered into a new agreement with CBS affiliate WAKA to produce a nightly prime time newscast at 9 covering Montgomery. On January 1, 2011, WSFA transitioned its prime time show, renamed The News at 9, to its RTV digital subchannel. The format is mostly unchanged except for originating from WSFA's primary set. It continues to be simulcasted on WDFX.

This station added a Sunday morning show on October 12, 2008 called Today in Alabama: Sunday Special Edition. In recent times, a regional news network has developed between Raycom's stations in Alabama. It is a system designed to rapidly share information among the company's channels and websites. WSFA along with WDFX, WTVM/WXTX, WAFF-TV, and WBRC share equipment such as satellite trucks or even reporters' stories. Between them, these stations cover the state entire state of Alabama. The four stations also comprise a regional weather network and blog where meteorologists from all channels post forecasts and storm reports as well as live feeds from all of the cameras that the stations operate.Alabama LIVE! and WSFA 12 News at Noon are streamed live on its website.

Newscast titlesEdit

  • News Room With Frank McGee (1955–1956)
  • WSFA-TV News (1956–1986)
  • WSFA News 12 (1986-late 1990s)
  • WSFA 12 News (late 1990s-present)

Station slogansEdit

  • "We Stand For America" (mid 1970s)
  • "Channel 12, Proud As A Peacock!" (1979-1981; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • "Alabama's NewsCenter" (early 1980s-1985)
  • "Channel 12, Our Pride Is Showing" (1981-1982; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • "We`re Channel 12, Just Watch Us Now" (1982-1983; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • "Channel 12 There, Be There" (1983-1984; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • "Channel 12, Let`s All Be There" (1984-1986; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • "Alabama's News Source" (1985–2003)
  • "Come Home to Channel 12" (1986-1987; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • "Come on Home To Channel 12" (1987-1988; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • "Come Home To The Best, Only On Channel 12" (1988-1990; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • "Channel 12, The Place To Be!" (1990-1992; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • "It`s A Whole New Channel 12" (1992-1993; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • "The Stars Are Back on Channel 12" (1993-1994; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • "Coverage. Community. Commitment." (2003–present)
  • "Where Team Meets Technology" (weather)
  • "Breaking News FIRST on WSFA.com" (website)

News teamEdit

Anchors

  • Judd Davis - weekday mornings and Alabama LIVE! host
    • "Class Act", "County Road 12", and "Does it Work?" segments producer
  • Tonya Terry - weekday mornings
    • Alabama LIVE! host
  • Mark Bullock - weeknights at 5 and 9
    • reporter
  • Valorie Lawson - weeknights at 6 and 10
    • "Cash for Kindness" segment producer
  • Bob Howell - weeknights at 6 and 10
    • Newsmakers host
  • Sally Pitts - weekdays at noon
  • Cody Holyoke - weekends and reporter
  • Jennifer Oravet - Sunday mornings and reporter
    • "Crime Stoppers" segment producer


Doppler 12 StormVision Meteorologists

  • Rich Thomas (NWA Seal of Approval) - Chief seen weeknights at 5, 6, and 10
    • Monday and Tuesday nights at 9
  • Jeff Jumper (Certified Broadcast Meteorologist) - Wednesday through Sunday nights at 9 and weekend evenings
  • Josh Johnson (AMS Seal of Approval) - weekday mornings and noon
    • Alabama LIVE! host
  • Dan Atkinson (AMS Seal of Approval) - Sunday mornings


Sports

  • Jeff Shearer - Director seen weeknights at 6, 9, and 10
    • Friday Night Football Fever host
  • Derek Styer - weekend evenings and sports reporter
    • Sports Drill host


Reporters

  • Max Reiss - Raycom Media Alabama Political Correspondent
  • Melissa Johnson - Wiregrass Newsroom
  • Bryan Henry - weeknights at 6 and 10
  • Bethany Wales - Executive Producer
  • Samuel King - investigative
  • Melissa McKinney


Photojournalists

  • Jeff Harrison - News Operations Manager
  • Darren Gilley - weekday mornings
  • Andre Morgan - Chief
  • Matt Bamberg
  • Doug Gooden


Contributors

  • Collin Gaston - Central Alabama Business Break
  • Bobby Jon Drinkard - On the Job
  • Kim Kendrix - Shine Your Light
  • Martin Glover - Health Watch
  • Bill Rancic - America Now
  • Bill Van Hooser - Pet Vet
  • Art Ginsburg - Mr. Food
  • Gibson Vance - LawCall
  • Cedric Varner - Visions
  • Ken Selvaggi - editorial
  • Kim Wanous - LawCall

Personality time lineEdit

Name Span Current position Previous positions Before WSFA
Tonya Terry September 2002–present Today In Alabama, Alabama LIVE! (as of May 2010) Today In Alabama, WSFA 12 News at Noon WAAY in Huntsville, AL
Judd Davis June 2004–present Today In Alabama, Alabama LIVE! (as of May 2010) Today In Alabama, WSFA 12 News at Noon KIVI in Boise, ID
Sally Pitts 2002–present WSFA 12 News at Noon, General Assignment Reporter (as of June 2010) Weekend Anchor/Reporter, Producer Joined WSFA's production dept. after college
Mark Bullock 1998–present WSFA 12 News at 5, FOX News At Nine WSFA 12 News at 5, Weekend Anchor WRBL in Columbus, GA
Valorie Lawson May 2006–present WSFA 12 News at 5, 6, 10 (as of May 2010) WSFA 12 News at 6 & 10 WBMA in Birmingham, AL
Bob Howell August 1976–1998, June 2004–present WSFA 12 News at 6 & 10 WSFA 12 News at 5, 6, & 10 WNCF
Cody Holyoke June 2007–present Weekend Anchor/General Assignment Reporter (as of June 2010) General Assignment Reporter Joined WSFA from college
Jennifer Oravet 2006–present Sunday Morning Anchor/General Assignment Reporter (as of June 2010) Morning Reporter, Evening Reporter, Producer WVTM in Birmingham, AL
Bryan Henry November 1995–present General Assignment Reporter (as of 1997) Assignment Editor
Samuel King September 2010–present Investigative Reporter NY1 in New York City, New York
Max Reiss October 2010-present Political Reporter for Raycom's Alabama stations (based out of WSFA) KOMU-TV in Missouri
Bethany Wales 2000–present Morning General Assignment Reporter (as of late 2009) Producer
Melissa McKinney October 2008–present General Assignment Reporter (as of 2009) Wiregrass Newsroom Reporter
Melissa Johnson January 2008–present Montgomery/Wiregrass Newsroom Reporter (as of June 2009) Producer Joined WSFA from college
Andi Scott 1996–present Traffic Reporter
Rich Thomas August 1981–present Chief Meteorologist (as of 1983) Weekend Meteorologist WHHY-FM in Montgomery, AL
Josh Johnson July 2008–present Morning/Noon Meteorologist WXIA in Atlanta
Jeff Jumper November 2010–present (Wed-Sun) 9pm & weekend meteorologist KPLC in Lake Charles, Louisiana
Dan Atkinson 1974–1982, 2006–present Sunday Meteorologist (as of November 2010) Saturday Meteorologist (as of 2008) Weekend Meteorologist (2006–2008), Chief Meteorologist (?-1982) WSB-TV in Atlanta
Jeff Shearer 1991–present Sports Director (as of 2003) Sports Anchor/Reporter
Derek Styer 1998–present Weekend Sports Anchor KAIT in Jonesboro, AK

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Nelson, Bob (2008-10-18). "Call Letter Origins". The Broadcast Archive. Retrieved 2008-10-31.
  2. ^ History of WSFA-TV, swfa.com
  3. ^ Hraunfoss.fcc.gov

External linksEdit

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