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WDHN
WDHN logo.svg
Channels
BrandingWDHN (general)
WDHN News (newscasts)
Programming
Affiliations
Ownership
Owner
WMBB, WKRG-TV, WFNA, WHNT-TV, WIAT, WRBL
History
First air date
August 7, 1970 (51 years ago) (1970-08-07)
Former call signs
WDHN (1970–1979)
WDHN-TV (1979–1998)
Former channel number(s)
Analog:
18 (UHF, 1970–2009)
Call sign meaning
Dothan
Technical information
Licensing authority
FCC
Facility ID43846
ClassDT
ERP1,000 kW
HAAT190.4 m (625 ft)
Transmitter coordinates31°14′25″N 85°18′43″W / 31.24028°N 85.31194°W / 31.24028; -85.31194
Links
Public license information
Websitewww.dothanfirst.com

WDHN (channel 18) is a television station in Dothan, Alabama, United States, affiliated with ABC and owned by Nexstar Media Group. The station's studios and transmitter are located on AL 52 in Webb.

History

2006-2009 logo.
2006-2009 logo.

WDHN launched August 7, 1970, as the area's second television station and aired an analog signal on UHF channel 18. It was owned by Dothan businessman Betts Slingluff, Jr. and a partnership of other local investors. Before that time, southeastern Alabama relied on WTVY to carry all three major broadcast networks. WTVY was primarily a CBS affiliate, so conventional wisdom suggested that WDHN, as the second station in a small, two-station market, should have opted to affiliate with the NBC network rather than with ABC, because ABC was the smallest and weakest network and would not be anywhere near par with CBS and NBC in terms of ratings until later in the decade. However, geography played a decisive part in WDHN joining ABC. The Alabama side of the Dothan media market received a fairly strong signal from WSFA-TV, Montgomery's NBC station. Further, at the time the station started up, no ABC affiliate provided even a grade B signal to the Wiregrass. The only nearby ABC programs then were on WJHG-TV in Panama City, Florida on a part-time basis (that station would move to full-time ABC affiliation by 1972; currently it is an NBC affiliate).

In 1979, reflecting an era when small, locally owned stations were losing profitability, Slingluff's group sold WDHN to Hi Ho Television, which also owned WVGA in Valdosta, Georgia. That same year it added the -TV suffix. In 1986, Hi Ho sold WDHN and WVGA to Morris Multimedia. It dropped the -TV suffix in 1998. In 2003, Nexstar purchased WDHN, along with KARK-TV in Little Rock, Arkansas, from Morris.

As part of the DTV transition in 2009, WDHN turned off its analog transmitter and began broadcasting exclusively in digital.[1]

On January 27, 2016, it was announced that Nexstar would buy Media General for $4.6 billion. WDHN, along with recently acquired Fox affiliate WZDX in Huntsville (which Nexstar would later sell in 2019 to Tegna in order to acquire Tribune Media, owner of WHNT-TV), became a part of "Nexstar Media Group" and joined a cluster of stations Nexstar would own in Alabama including WIAT in Birmingham and WKRG-TV in Mobile, as well as WRBL in Columbus, Georgia, which covers much of east Alabama including Opelika and Auburn. All three of these stations are CBS affiliates.

On June 15, 2016, Nexstar announced that it had entered into an affiliation agreement with Katz Broadcasting for the Escape (now Ion Mystery), Laff, Grit, and Bounce TV networks (the last one of which is owned by Bounce Media LLC, whose COO Jonathan Katz is president/CEO of Katz Broadcasting), bringing one or more of the four networks to 81 stations owned and/or operated by Nexstar, including WDHN (Bounce TV and Grit are already available in the area on digital subchannels of WDFX-TV).[2]

Programming

Syndicated programming

Syndicated programming on WDHN includes Entertainment Tonight, Dr. Phil, The Doctors, Hot Bench and The 700 Club.

News operation

WDHN produces four and a half hours of news each weekday starting with Wake Up Wiregrass at 5 a.m., Daytime at 11 a.m., and then in the evening with WDHN News at 5, 6 and 10 p.m. Wake Up Wiregrass replaced Top of the Morning with Charlie Platt after its cancellation. The newscast airs weekday mornings from 5 to 7 a.m. (6 to 7 a.m. from relaunch until February 1, 2021).

Historically, WDHN has been a very distant second in the ratings behind WTVY. This is partly because for much of the analog era, WDHN only broadcast at 1.06 million watts, which was somewhat modest for a Big Four affiliate on the UHF band. It also had to deal with competition from WSFA, which was available on Wiregrass cable systems for decades. The signal disadvantage has been lessened somewhat in the digital era, as WDHN's digital signal operates at a full million watts, equivalent to five million watts in analog.

On December 19, 2017, WDHN unveiled a brand new set and began broadcasting local news in high definition.

On June 1, 2020, WDHN began producing an hour-long 9 p.m. newscast for Fox affiliate WDFX, replacing a prior arrangement where news was provided by WSFA out of Montgomery. Mike Gurspan serves as the shows anchor.

On February 1, 2021, WDHN expanded morning news to two hours.

On February 15, 2021, WDHN added an 11 a.m. hour-long newscast with Michael Rinker as anchor. Katrice Nolan would join him a few months later as co-anchor.

On September 18, 2021, WDHN launched weekend newscasts at 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Saturdays and 5:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Sundays. Sylvie Sparks serves as the show's anchor.

Subchannels

The station's digital signal is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect Short name Programming[3]
18.1 720p 16:9 WDHN-DT Main WDHN programming / ABC
18.2 480i Mystery Ion Mystery
18.3 Laff Laff
18.4 Antenna Antenna TV

References

  1. ^ "DTV TRANSITION STATUS REPORT". Federal Communications Commission. February 2009. Retrieved July 21, 2021.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. ^ "Bounce TV, Grit, Escape, Laff Multicast Deal Covers 81 Stations, 54 Markets". Broadcasting & Cable. June 15, 2016. Retrieved July 16, 2016.
  3. ^ "RabbitEars.Info". www.rabbitears.info. Retrieved July 22, 2021.