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WTVA is the NBC-affiliated television station for northeastern Mississippi and northwesternAlabama that is licensed to Tupelo. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on VHF channel 8 from a transmitter in Woodland. The station can also be seen on Comcast channel 6 and in high definition on digital channel 432. Locally owned, the station operates Fox affiliate WLOV-TV(owned by Lingard Broadcasting Corporation) and ABC affiliate WKDH (owned by Southern Broadcasting, Inc.) through local marketing agreements (LMAs). All three share studios on County Road 681 in the Beech Springs section of Saltillo. Syndicated programming on WTVA includes: Wheel of Fortune, Oprah, Dr. Phil, and Inside Edition.
|Slogan||Live, Local, Latebreaking.|
|Channels||Digital: 8 (VHF)|
|Owner||The Spain Family
|First air date||March 18, 1957|
|Call letters' meaning||Tennessee ValleyAuthority (Tupelo was
first city in corporation)
|Sister station(s)||WKDH, WLOV-TV|
|Former callsigns||WTWV (1957-1979)|
|Former channel number(s)||9 (VHF analog, 1957-2009)|
|Former affiliations||ABC (secondary, 1957-1983)|
|Transmitter power||16 kW|
|Transmitter coordinates||33°47′40″N 89°5′16″W|
On WTVA-DT2 is FamilyNet which is currently not offered on Comcast digital cable.
|9.1||1080i||16:9||main WTVA programming/NBC HD|
WTVA was the brainchild of Frank K. Spain, an engineering graduate of Mississippi State University, who had helped build WRC-TV in Washington D.C.. While serving as technical director at WHEN-TV in Syracuse, New York (nowWTVH), he dreamed of bringing a television station to Tupelo, where he had spent most of his childhood. Spain applied for a license in 1953 which was granted in 1956. The station first signed-on March 18, 1957 with the call letters WTWV. Its equipment (antenna, transmitter, cameras, etc.) were all hand-built in Spain's garage, backyard, and basement in Syracuse.
Spain hoped to parlay his good relations with NBC officials into getting his new station an affiliation with the network. However, several NBC executives believed Tupelo was not a desirable place for a local station because of its rural location dozens of miles away from cities such asMemphis, Tennessee and Birmingham, Alabama that already had affiliates. Nonetheless, they told Spain that if he could figure out a way to obtain a network signal, he could carry it. Spain allegedly negotiated under-the-table deals with WMC-TV in Memphis and set up a network of microwave relays and repeater systems to carry the WMC-TV signal to Tupelo. Station engineers then switched to and from the WMC-TV signal when network programming aired. This setup, necessary in the days before satellites, enabled WTWV to bring NBC programming to Northeastern Mississippi. The station also carried a secondary affiliation with ABC.
In the mid-1960s, channel 9 was approached about becoming a full ABC affiliate. Spain, who was still receiving "bootleg" NBC programming, told NBC executives that ABC was willing to pay him. This prompted NBC to negotiate a formal deal with Spain, and WTWV formally became an NBC affiliate. It still carried some ABC programming in off-hours until WVSB (now WLOV) in nearby West Point began operating on May 29, 1983.
Between 1972 and 1980, WTWV's signal was rebroadcast for viewers in east central Mississippi on a translator in Meridian (WHTV), that is now known as WMDN. After becoming a separate entity, that station has operated primarily as a CBS affiliate and was sold to Meridian Media in January 2008. WTWV built a brand-new tower in 1970s that not only brought a city-grade signal to Columbus for the first time, but gave the station one of the largest coverage areas in the country. In 1979, it changed its call letters to WTVA in honor of Tupelo's recognition as the first Tennessee Valley Authority city in the Southeast. The WTWV call sign was later used on WFRQ, a radio station in Mashpee, Massachusetts, unrelated to the current WTVA.
The station is still locally-owned by the Spain family today. Frank Spain served as CEO of WTVA, Inc. until his death on April 25, 2006. He continued to visit the station regularly well into his 70s. His wife Jane has assumed the CEO position, continuing the Spain family ownership.
Channel 9 was the first commercial television station in Mississippi to devote the entire morning broadcast schedule to educational, or children's, programming. The station also made history as the first television station in Mississippi to broadcast a live basketball game.
Although WTVA operates WLOV and WKDH through local marketing agreements, each station has its own station manager and owner in accordance with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) policy. WTVA, Inc. also previously owned and operated KTFL in Flagstaff, Arizona. During the majority of the time KTFL was broadcasting, it carried programing from FamilyNet which is currently seen on WTVA's second digital subchannel. KTFL's transmitter was licensed as the most powerful television station its own market. On July 24, 2008, WTVA began its digital service on VHF channel 8 but is mapped via PSIP to virtual channel 9. Shortly after, it began multicasting FamilyNet on DT2. By comparison, sister station WLOV broadcasts network programming in high definition over a low-power digital transmitter. Its actual maximum range is unknown. It is likely that the allowable power levels on channel 8, WTVA's post-transition digital channel, will be severely limited due to potential interference to other stations. 
On April 20, 2009, WTVA began offering its newscasts in high definition. Compared nationwide, it was the smallest market with a station making the upgrade and the second in the state of Mississippi. It produces a half-hour prime time newscast for WLOV on Sunday through Friday nights called WLOV News at 9. That newscast has separate anchors who double as WTVA reporters. WKDH does not offer any WTVA-produced news and largely serves as a "pass-through" for automated network and syndicated programming. That station does air WKDH Community Edition on Saturday nights at 6 and Sunday mornings at 6:30. The program highlights issues and events in Northern Mississippi hosted by longtime personality Stan Allen.
- TV-9 News (19??-19??)
- 9 Alive News (1980s)
- WTVA News (1980s and 2009-present)
- WTVA News 9 (1980s-2009)
- "The Spirit of Mississippi" (1980s-2004)
- "Come Home To The Best, Only on Channel 9" (1988-19??;)
- "Mississippi's News Channel" (1994–2004)
- "Your Digital Information Center" (2004–2006)
- "Live, Local, Latebreaking." (2006–present)
- Robert Byers - weekday mornings and reporter
- Keegan Foxx - weekdays mornings and noon
- Terry Smith - Managing Editor seen weekdays at noon and 6
- Focus host
- Sunya Walls - weeknights at 5 and 10
- Craig Ford - weeknights at 6 and 10
- Julee Brown - weeknights at 9 and reporter
- C.J. LeMaster - weekends on WTVA and reporter
- Kalisha Whitman - weekends at 10 on WTVA and reporter
- Kay Bain - Kay Bain's Saturday Mornin' Show host
- Stan Allen - West Point of View host
WTVA News Weather Authority Meteorologists
- Matt Laubhan - Chief Meteorologist, weeknights
- Dick Rice - Chief meteorologist emeritus, fill-in meteorologist
- Jennifer Watson - mornings and noon
- John Dolusic - weekends and noon
Sports (all seen on Friday Night Fever)
- Jim Holder - weeknights at 6 and 10
- Drew Goldfarb - weekends
- Justin Lewis - sports and news reporter
- Jeff Bryant - photographer and associate producer
- Wayne Hereford - fill-in news anchor
- David Chimahusky - photographer
- Drew Powell - photographer
- Alvin Ivy - photographer
- Susan Parker
Past on-air staffEdit
- Wendy Allen - anchor (became main anchor for Central Florida News 13 in Orlando from 2004–2007, now professor of Broadcast Journalism at the University of Central Florida)
- Scott Agner - weekend meteorologist (now an executive for the Boy Scouts of America)
- Buddy Bain - co-host of "The Mornin' Show" (deceased, 1997)
- Jonathan Burleson -Meteorologist (now Web Producer/Fill in Meteorologist at WIAT in Birmingham, AL)
- Kelli Cook - Morning/Noon Anchor (now reporter for Central Florida News 13 in Orlando, FL)
- Matthew East - evening/weekend meteorologist (now weekend meteorologist at News 14 Carolina in Charlotte)
- Chad Flowers - weekend sports anchor
- Anna Freeman - anchor and reporter (now communication director for the city of Tupelo (as Anna Wyatt)
- Guy Hornbuckle - 5 p.m. anchor and producer (now main anchor at WAAY in Huntsville, AL)
- James Hull - reporter and substitute anchor
- David Iversen - reporter (now morning anchor and reporter at WBBJ in Jackson, TN)
- Rick Jackson - reporter (now reporter at WIAT in Birmingham, Alabama)
- Will Kollmeyer - sports anchor (now sports information director at Itawamba Community College)
- Mark Ledbetter - evening anchor (became WTVA's general manager in 1976)
- Nick Paranjape - anchor (now morning anchor for WZTV-TV in Nashville)
- Rachel Pierce - morning anchor and legal analyst (now full-time lawyer in Tupelo)
- Kathy Powell - 6 and 10 p.m. anchor (now anchor and reporter for WXII in Winston-Salem as Kathy Cheek)
- Shannon Price - reporter
- Danielle Rotolo - reporter and anchor (now reporter at WBBH-TV in Fort Myers, Florida)
- Jeffrey Rupp - reporter (now government affairs director at Mississippi State University)
- Kristin Tallent - sports anchor (now weekend sports anchor for WHBQ in Memphis)
- Beverly Tanner - reporter and weekend anchor (now reporter at WIAT in Birmingham, Alabama)
- Marlin Williams - sports director
- Matt Wyatt - weekend sports anchor and "Southern Sportsman" feature reporter (now sports information director for Northeast Mississippi Community College)