WMBF-TV
A white slanted rounded parallelogram overlapping a slanted blue rounded parallelogram. The white parallelogram has the word "WMBF" in red in a bold sans serif. The blue parallelogram has the NBC peacock and the word "NEWS" in white in the same sans serif. There is a slight red underline on the blue parallelogram.
CityMyrtle Beach, South Carolina
Channels
BrandingWMBF News
Programming
Affiliations
Ownership
Owner
History
FoundedOctober 18, 2005
First air date
August 7, 2008 (14 years ago) (2008-08-07)
Call sign meaning
Myrtle Beach/Florence
Technical information
Licensing authority
FCC
Facility ID83969
ERP530 kW
HAAT183 m (600 ft)
Transmitter coordinates33°43′50.9″N 79°4′31.4″W / 33.730806°N 79.075389°W / 33.730806; -79.075389
Translator(s)See below
Links
Public license information
Websitewww.wmbfnews.com

WMBF-TV (channel 32) is a television station licensed to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, United States, serving as the NBC affiliate for the Grand Strand and Pee Dee regions of South Carolina. Owned by Gray Television, the station maintains studios on Frontage Road East (along US 17) in Myrtle Beach, with a secondary studio and news bureau on West Cheves Street in Florence; its transmitter is located on Flossie Road in Bucksville, South Carolina.

Among the youngest full-power television stations in the United States, WMBF-TV began broadcasting in 2008. Its construction gave the region its first in-market NBC affiliate, replacing cable and over-the-air broadcasts of two co-owned stations in adjacent markets, and a third source of TV news coverage.

History

In 1984, Moore Broadcast Industries petitioned the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to add channel 32 to the table of allotments at Myrtle Beach, specifying the station had to be located 14 miles (23 km) southwest of town to protect two unused allotments in North Carolina, at High Point and Wilmington.[1] Moore filed for the channel alongside seven other groups, but only three were still in the running in November 1986, when the FCC gave the nod to Coastal Carolina Broadcasting Company, a group of residents of Conway.[2] Coastal Carolina's proposed station got a call sign, WCRD, but little else, being unable to secure financing.[3]

The channel assignment lay fallow with no activity until 1996, when the FCC opened a last-chance window for filings to build new TV stations before turning the channels over to possible use for digital television facilities. An application was made by Cosmos Broadcasting, the broadcasting subsidiary of the Liberty Corporation and owner of WIS in Columbia. The president of Cosmos told The Sun News that the odds were long for Cosmos to actually be granted the channel.[4]

In October 2005, the FCC granted Liberty the permit. Two months earlier, though, Liberty had announced its sale to Raycom Media in a 15-station, $987 million transaction.[5] Under the radar, the deal included the construction permit for channel 32 in Myrtle Beach. The Liberty purchase by Raycom united WIS with WECT in Wilmington. These stations had, for decades, provided NBC over-the-air and cable service in northeastern South Carolina, and both were on the Myrtle Beach cable system when it debuted in 1962;[6] said cable system was co-owned with WIS.[7] Beginning in 1995, WIS and Time Warner Cable had been engaged in a joint venture to produce a customized feed of the station for the Florence area, "WIS-Florence", complete with its own advertising sales staff.[8]

Facilities were approved in early 2007, and it was announced at that time that the station would replace WIS and WECT on regional cable systems.[9] Raycom selected a building formerly used by cell phone company SunCom on Frontage Road and began construction later that year.[10] For Raycom, the construction of WMBF served several goals. Because the digital television transition was looming—with the Wilmington stations, including WECT, part of a pilot switchover in September 2008—the Myrtle Beach station, built as a digital-only facility from the outset, would fill in gaps in transmission after WECT's analog signal shut down. It also would allow Raycom for the first time to sell advertising in the rapidly growing Grand Strand area and give NBC its first in-market affiliate for Myrtle Beach and Florence.[11]

The transmitter was turned on in late July 2008, and the station began programming at 11:59 p.m. on August 7, with NBC welcoming the station on-air the following day on Today, NBC Nightly News, and Late Night with Conan O'Brien. The sign-on of WMBF-TV occurred in time for the opening ceremony of the 2008 Summer Olympics. The construction of WMBF cost Raycom an estimated $10 million.[12]

Sale to Gray Television

In June 2018, Atlanta-based Gray Television announced it had reached an agreement to merge with Raycom in a transaction valued at $3.6 billion.[13][14][15][16] The sale was approved on December 20 and completed on January 2, 2019.[17][18]

Newscasts

As a new build, WMBF went on the air with high-definition local newscasts from the outset, including live shots from the field.[11] In the station's early years, managers elsewhere were often instructed to seek advice from WMBF on technical issues related to HD news conversion.[19] WMBF was the first local station to launch weekend morning newscasts in the early 2010s.[20]

Technical information

Subchannels

The station's digital signal is multiplexed:

Subchannels of WMBF-TV[21]
Channel Video Aspect Short name Programming
32.1 1080i 16:9 WMBF DT Main WMBF-TV programming / NBC
32.2 480i Bounce Bounce TV
32.3 Circle Circle
32.4 LAFF Laff
32.5 Grit Grit
32.6 Quest Quest

Translators

WMBF-TV is relayed on three low-power translators in Florence—W18FC-D, W19FC-D, and W35ED-D. The translators, particularly W35ED-D, provide coverage to areas outside of the main WMBF-TV transmitter's reception area. On January 3, 2022, Jeffrey Winemiller's Lowcountry 34 Media reached a deal to sell the latter two translators and 21 other low-power TV stations to Gray Television for $3.75 million.[22]

References

  1. ^ "TV channel considered". The State. Columbia, South Carolina. November 29, 1984. p. 3-C. Archived from the original on April 7, 2022. Retrieved April 7, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  2. ^ Jones, Paige (November 12, 1986). "Strand to get full-powered TV station". Sun-News. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. p. 6-A. Archived from the original on April 7, 2022. Retrieved April 7, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  3. ^ Shain, Andrew (October 27, 1989). "Horry County might get second TV station". Sun-News. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. p. 4D. Archived from the original on April 7, 2022. Retrieved April 7, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  4. ^ "Cosmos applies for station in MB". Sun-News. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. October 12, 1996. p. 1D. Archived from the original on April 7, 2022. Retrieved April 7, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  5. ^ Romano, Allison (August 25, 2005). "Raycom Buys Liberty For $987M". Broadcasting & Cable. Archived from the original on April 7, 2022. Retrieved April 7, 2022.
  6. ^ "On Monday-September 17th, Television Cable Company Brings to Myrtle Beach A Choice of 5 TV Programs". Sun-News. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. September 6, 1962. p. 8-A. Archived from the original on August 2, 2022. Retrieved April 7, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  7. ^ "Shafto Elected BCS President". Sun-News. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. March 26, 1964. p. 5-C. Archived from the original on April 7, 2022. Retrieved April 7, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  8. ^ Nye, Doug (July 7, 1995). "WIS-TV to have 5 p.m. newscast: Weekday program to air in September". The State. Columbia, South Carolina. p. B3. Archived from the original on August 2, 2022. Retrieved August 2, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  9. ^ Rich, Emma (March 23, 2007). "MB to get first NBC affiliate station". Sun-News. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. p. 1C, 6C. Archived from the original on April 7, 2022. Retrieved April 7, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  10. ^ "New NBC affiliate to renovate building". Sun-News. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. August 4, 2007. p. 1D. Archived from the original on April 7, 2022. Retrieved April 7, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  11. ^ a b Malone, Michael (July 28, 2008). "Birth of a Station". Broadcasting & Cable. Archived from the original on July 23, 2021. Retrieved April 7, 2022.
  12. ^ Fleisher, Lisa (August 8, 2008). "MB's NBC to get some air". The Sun News. Archived from the original on August 12, 2008.
  13. ^ "Gray and Raycom to combine in a $3.6 billion transaction". Raycom Media (Press release). June 25, 2018. Archived from the original on June 25, 2018. Retrieved February 20, 2019.
  14. ^ Miller, Mark K. (June 25, 2018). "Gray To Buy Raycom For $3.6 Billion". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheckMedia. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
  15. ^ John Eggerton (June 25, 2018). "Gray Buying Raycom for $3.6B". Broadcasting & Cable. NewBay Media. Archived from the original on August 10, 2018. Retrieved February 20, 2019.
  16. ^ Dade Hayes (June 25, 2018). "Gray Acquiring Raycom For $3.65B, Forming No. 3 Local TV Group". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Media Corporation. Archived from the original on August 26, 2018. Retrieved December 21, 2018.
  17. ^ "FCC OK with Gray/Raycom Merger". Broadcasting & Cable. December 20, 2018. Archived from the original on April 5, 2019. Retrieved December 20, 2018.
  18. ^ "Gray Completes Acquisition of Raycom Media and Related Transactions" (PDF) (Press release). Gray Television. January 2, 2019. Archived (PDF) from the original on January 3, 2019. Retrieved January 2, 2019.
  19. ^ Malone, Michael (August 1, 2009). "WMBF's Trial by Fire". Broadcasting & Cable. Archived from the original on April 7, 2022. Retrieved April 7, 2022.
  20. ^ Malone, Michael (September 1, 2014). "Market Eye: Life is Grand in Myrtle Beach". Broadcasting & Cable. Archived from the original on April 7, 2022. Retrieved April 7, 2022.
  21. ^ "RabbitEars TV Query for WMBF-TV". rabbitears.info. Archived from the original on September 18, 2016. Retrieved April 7, 2022.
  22. ^ "Assignments". Licensing and Management System. Federal Communications Commission. January 3, 2022. Archived from the original on August 2, 2022. Retrieved January 5, 2022.