WOWK-TV
WOWK-TV logo
CityHuntington, West Virginia
Channels
BrandingWOWK 13; 13 News
Programming
Affiliations
Ownership
Owner
History
First air date
October 2, 1955 (66 years ago) (1955-10-02)
Former call signs
WHTN-TV (1955–1975)
Former channel number(s)
  • Analog:
  • 13 (VHF, 1955–2009)
  • Digital:
  • 47 (UHF, 2002–2009)
  • 13 (VHF, 2009–2020)
  • Analog/DT1:
  • ABC (1955–1958 and 1962–1986)
  • 33.1:
  • PBS (temporary host for WVPB-TV, 2020–2021)
Call sign meaning
Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky
(states served by the station's signal)
Technical information
Licensing authority
FCC
Facility ID23342
ClassDT
ERP37 kW
HAAT408 m (1,339 ft)
Transmitter coordinates38°30′21.1″N 82°12′32.3″W / 38.505861°N 82.208972°W / 38.505861; -82.208972
Links
Public license information
Websitewww.wowktv.com

WOWK-TV (channel 13) is a television station licensed to Huntington, West Virginia, United States, serving the Charleston–Huntington market as an affiliate of CBS. Owned by Nexstar Media Group, the station maintains studios on Quarrier Street near the Charleston Town Center in downtown Charleston,[2][3] and its transmitter is located in Milton, West Virginia.

History

The station went on-air October 2, 1955, as WHTN-TV (for Huntington), an ABC affiliate owned by the Greater Huntington Theater Corporation. After only a year, the station was bought by Cowles Communications (unrelated to the Spokane, Washington–based Cowles Publishing Company). WHTN swapped affiliations with WCHS-TV and became a CBS station for the first time in 1958. In 1960, Cowles sold Channel 13 to Reeves Telecom. It went back to ABC in 1962 and stayed with that network for 24 years. Reeves Telecom sold the station to Gateway Communications (a company formed by employees of the former broadcasting division of Triangle Publications) in 1974, becoming the company's only ABC affiliate, and the only station owned by Gateway that was not owned by Triangle prior to its acquisition.[4] The following March, it changed its call letters to the current WOWK-TV to reflect the three states it serves (Ohio, West Virginia, and Kentucky). On June 1, 1986, it changed affiliations again, returning to CBS. The swap brought channel 13 in-line with sister stations WLYH in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, WTAJ-TV in Altoona, Pennsylvania, and WBNG-TV in Binghamton, New York, which had recently renewed their CBS relationships.[5]

The station was headquartered at the Radio Center Building in Huntington from its inception until 1984 when WOWK moved to a location on Fifth Avenue. Gateway merged with SJL Broadcasting in 2000. SJL sold it to West Virginia Media Holdings in 2002. After the sale to West Virginia Media, it sold its Huntington building to regional radio conglomerate Kindred Communications and moved its studio and offices to Charleston. WOWK does retain a news bureau and advertising sales office in their former building (now known as the Kindred Capital Building) in Huntington and its transmitter is still located at the Milton location.

On November 17, 2015, Nexstar Broadcasting Group announced that it would purchase the West Virginia Media Holdings stations, including WOWK-TV, for $130 million. Under the terms of the deal, Nexstar assumed control of the stations through a time brokerage agreement in December 2015, with the sale of the license assets completed on January 31, 2017.[6] Nexstar CEO Perry A. Sook was a former employee of WOWK.[7] This made WOWK-TV reunite with former Gateway-owned sister stations WTAJ and WBNG.

On June 15, 2016, Nexstar announced that it has entered into an affiliation agreement with Katz Broadcasting for the Escape, 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 WOWK-TV. (Grit was available in Charleston on WCHS-DT3 until February 28, 2017 when it was replaced by TBD. It moved to WOWK in October 2017.)[8]

News operation

WOWK-TV airs the market's only 7 p.m. newscast. The station also airs a 5 p.m. newscast. It provided weather forecasts for WVNS-TV in BeckleyBluefield until late 2016.

On May 16, 2011, WOWK expanded its morning newscast to a 4:30 a.m. start time. It was the first station in the market, as well as in the state, to do so. The morning news expansion is a growing trend across the United States.

WOWK produces a statewide evening newscast, West Virginia Tonight (formerly West Virginia Tonight Live), which is simulcast across all of the former West Virginia Media Holdings stations, as well as Nexstar's existing WDVM-TV in Hagerstown, Maryland (in the Washington, D.C. market).

Historically, WOWK's newscasts have ranked third in the market, behind WSAZ and WCHS-TV. Generally, WOWK and WCHS-TV are stronger in the eastern half of the market, including Charleston. However, neither station does well in the western portion, including Huntington and the Ohio and Kentucky sides of the market.[citation needed]

Controversies

A former WOWK-TV reporter filed a lawsuit in December 2018 accusing the station of racial and sexual discrimination, harassment and retaliation.[9] Aaliyah Brown filed her complaint in Cabell Circuit Court against Nexstar Broadcasting Inc., which operates WOWK.

In September 2021, main evening anchor Jennifer Abney chose not to renew her contract.[10] WOWK General Manager Sean Banks sent out a station-wide email announcing the new evening anchor before he ever (and didn't) announce Abney was leaving.

Technical information

Subchannels

The station's digital signal is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect Short name Programming[1]
13.1 1080i 16:9 WOWK-CBS Main WOWK-TV programming / CBS
13.2 480i ESCAPE Ion Mystery
13.3 LAFF Laff
13.4 Rewind Rewind TV

Analog-to-digital conversion

WOWK-TV discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over VHF channel 13, in early 2009. The station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 47 to VHF channel 13.[11][12] On January 25, 2009, an ice storm damaged the primary analog VHF channel 13 transmitter. Rather than repair it for two more months of service, the station shut down its analog transmission early and brought its digital channel 13 transmitter on-line.

References

  1. ^ a b "Digital TV Market Listing for WOWK". RabbitEars.Info. Retrieved January 26, 2017.
  2. ^ "WOWK Moving TV Station to Charleston". Archived from the original on 2012-03-25.
  3. ^ Hohmann, George (2011-08-23). "TV station moving to Charleston building". Charleston Daily mail. p. 2. Retrieved 2011-08-25.
  4. ^ "In Brief" (PDF). Broadcasting. 1974-05-13. Retrieved 2021-10-22.
  5. ^ "Pledging allegiance" (PDF). Broadcasting. 1986-02-10. Retrieved 2021-10-22.
  6. ^ Consummation Notice, CDBS Public Access, Federal Communications Commission, Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  7. ^ "Nexstar Buys 4 W.Va. TVs For $130M". TVNewsCheck. November 17, 2015. Retrieved November 17, 2015.
  8. ^ "Bounce TV, Grit, Escape, Laff Multicast Deal Covers 81 Stations, 54 Markets". Broadcasting & Cable. June 15, 2016. Retrieved June 21, 2016.
  9. ^ "Former WOWK reporter accuses station of racial and sexual discrimination, harassment, retaliation". WV Record. December 28, 2018. Retrieved September 13, 2021.
  10. ^ "WOW! THAT WAS REALLY QUICK". ftvlive. September 28, 2021. Retrieved September 14, 2021.
  11. ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-10-17. Retrieved 2012-03-24.
  12. ^ CDBS Print