WRDC
ATSC 3.0 station
WRDC logo.svg
CityDurham, North Carolina
Channels
BrandingMyRDC; MyRDC28
Programming
Affiliations
Ownership
Owner
WLFL
History
First air date
November 4, 1968
(53 years ago)
 (1968-11-04)
Former call signs
  • WRDU-TV (1968–1978)
  • WPTF-TV (1978–1991)
Former channel number(s)
  • Analog:
  • 28 (UHF, 1968–2009)
  • Digital:
  • 27 (UHF, until 2009)
  • 28 (UHF, 2009–2019)
  • Primary:
  • NBC (1968–September 1995)
  • UPN (September 1995–2006)
  • Secondary:
  • CBS (1968–1971)
  • UPN (January−September 1995)
Call sign meaning
Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill
Technical information
Licensing authority
FCC
Facility ID54963
ERP1,000 kW
HAAT624 m (2,047 ft)
Transmitter coordinates35°40′29″N 78°31′39″W / 35.67472°N 78.52750°W / 35.67472; -78.52750
Links
Public license information
Websitemyrdctv.com

WRDC (channel 28) is a television station licensed to Durham, North Carolina, United States, serving the Research Triangle area as an affiliate of MyNetworkTV. It is owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group alongside Raleigh-licensed CW affiliate WLFL (channel 22). Both stations share studios in the Highwoods Office Park, just outside downtown Raleigh, while WRDC's transmitter is located in Auburn, North Carolina.

Channel 28 is the third-oldest television station in the Triangle and was an NBC affiliate for its first 27 years of operation. It was perennially the third-rated station in the market and did not produce local newscasts for significant portions of its tenure with NBC, which contributed to the network moving to another station.

Prior use of channel 28 in Raleigh

Main article: WNAO-TV

Channel 28 in Raleigh was initially occupied by WNAO-TV, the first television station in the Raleigh–Durham market and North Carolina's first UHF station. Owned by the Sir Walter Television Company, WNAO-TV broadcast from July 12, 1953, to December 31, 1957, primarily as a CBS affiliate with secondary affiliations with other networks. The station was co-owned with WNAO radio (850 AM, now WKIX, and 96.1 FM, now WBBB), which Sir Walter had bought from The News & Observer newspaper after obtaining the television construction permit. After the Raleigh–Durham market received two VHF television stations in 1954 and 1956 (WTVD, channel 11, and WRAL-TV, channel 5, respectively), WNAO-TV found the going increasingly difficult, as did many early UHF stations. The station signed off December 31, 1957, and its owner entered into a joint venture with another dark UHF outlet that was successful in obtaining channel 8 in High Point.

History

WRDU-TV/Triangle Telecasters

A major overhaul of the table of UHF television allocations in 1966 moved the channel 28 allotment from Raleigh to Durham. On November 18 of that year, Triangle Telecasters, Inc., a group led by Robinson O. Everett, applied to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for a construction permit to build a new channel 28 station in Durham.[1] The Everett group competed with a very similarly named company, Durham–Raleigh Telecasters (related to WCTU-TV in Charlotte), which also applied for the channel.[2] Triangle Telecasters won out on April 29, 1968,[1] with a minority share being sold to Charles Woods, owner of WTVY-TV in Dothan, Alabama.[3] Other stakeholders in the company included then-mayor of Chapel Hill and WCHL founder Roland "Sandy" McClamroch, former Durham mayor E. J. Evans and former Raleigh mayor Jim Reid.[4]

WRDU-TV began broadcasting on the afternoon of November 4, 1968. The station had no single full affiliation: its first programs were an episode of the CBS soap opera Love is a Many Splendored Thing followed by the NBC soaps The Doctors and Another World.[5] The new station's studios were on North Carolina Highway 54 in southern Durham (now a DaVita Inc. dialysis center), with a transmitter near Terrells Mountain in Chatham County.[1]

The station's first day of programming reflected the unusual situation that was already the case in Raleigh–Durham television and which would ultimately have an impact on federal regulations. With just two commercial television stations for more than a decade, the full program schedules of all three national networks were not seen on Triangle screens. WRAL-TV aired ABC full-time, while one columnist opined in 1966 that WTVD let NBC programs play a "poor second fiddle" to its primary affiliation with CBS.[6] The area had not been allocated a third VHF television station; the nearest affiliates of NBC were in Washington (WITN-TV) and Winston-Salem (WSJS-TV).[6] Even though the All-Channel Receiver Act had only taken effect in 1964, WRDU-TV had one form of compensation the old channel 28 lacked: cable TV. After four years of deliberation by the Raleigh city council,[7] Cablevision came to the city the same year the station launched, and WRDU was available to Raleigh and Burlington subscribers almost as soon as it went on the air.[8]

Even with a third station on the air, WTVD still held right of first refusal for NBC programming. This meant that the network hesitated to offer WRDU a full-time affiliation, believing the Everetts lacked the financial wherewithal to run the station, so it let WTVD continue its established practice of cherry-picking higher-rated NBC and CBS programs (just as WTVD selected the higher-rated CBS and ABC programs when WNAO-TV was in business), leaving WRDU to carry the lower-rated shows as well as NBC's news programming.[9] By November 1969, this situation prompted channel 28 to petition the FCC for recourse against WTVD taking shows back from them that they had previously rejected.[10][11] In 1971, the FCC ruled in favor of Triangle Telecasters (in part due to the commission's policy aims of protecting the development of UHF stations), setting a precedent for similar cases elsewhere. The ruling forced WTVD to choose one network;[12][13] it ultimately chose CBS, forcing NBC to sign with WRDU-TV by default ahead of the 1971–1972 television season.[14]

NBC's affiliation with WRDU-TV meant that Triangle television viewers, for the first time, finally saw the full schedules of all three networks on separate stations. However, it was a massive technical downgrade. WRAL-TV and WTVD were highly respected, successful affiliates for their network on the VHF band. On the other hand, channel 28 was on the UHF band and with a weaker signal. Channel 28's transmitter was located on the Orange–Chatham County line on the market's western fringe, providing only a Grade B signal to Raleigh proper and rendering it practically unviewable over the air in southern and eastern Wake County. A channel 70 translator went on air in May 1969 to improve WRDU's coverage in eastern Wake County;[15] in 1972, that translator moved to channel 22 and from the top of the BB&T Building in downtown Raleigh to the top of a newly constructed retirement home nearby.[16] Even then, one writer once called the signal "weak as a Carrie Nation cocktail".[17]

Another problem of WRDU's early years was Triangle Telecasters's frequent preemption of network shows for syndicated programs. The Everetts believed they could get more revenue from local advertising than from network airtime payments, due to WRDU's low ratings keeping compensation rates very low in turn. The preemptions only increased during NBC's 1970s ratings struggles. Even so, some of that was likely prompted by NBC's already-strained relationship with the station, rooted in the network's chagrin over the 1971 FCC decision effectively forcing it onto an undesirable UHF channel (see above). Generally speaking, NBC was considerably less tolerant of its stations substituting alternative programming for its feed than ABC or CBS. However, when NBC demanded that Triangle Telecasters clear its entire schedule with no preemptions, the Everetts turned them down. NBC was in no position to do anything about it because of the lack of any competition to the three commercial stations in the market. One time WRDU chose not to preempt a network program, they still faced criticism for different reasons; the program was Franco Zeffirelli's mini-series Jesus of Nazareth, and those lodging complaints were religious leaders fearing it would offend their beliefs.[18] This was in spite of the fact that some of the station's preemptions of network shows were for Billy Graham crusades and the fact that the station also had the local rights to The PTL Club.[19] The station was also home to the Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon until 1979 when it moved to WTVD.[20]

WPTF-TV/Durham Life era

Without a sale, WRDU would have gone off the air.

unnamed Durham Life representative quoted in The News & Observer in 1977 as to why the company was buying a money-losing station[21]

By 1975, though it had outlived the original channel 28 by this point in time, the station was running out of money, and the Everetts wanted out. Realizing that the station would go dark again if it continued on this trajectory, they looked for a new owner.[21] Several national groups examined the station, including Scripps–Howard Broadcasting.[22] After two years of negotiations,[23] the Durham Life Insurance Company, which owned WPTF (680 AM), the Triangle's oldest radio station, and WQDR-FM (94.5, now on 94.7), bought WRDU-TV from the Everetts in May 1977 and changed its call sign to WPTF-TV on August 14, 1978,[24] coinciding with a major signal overhaul and new 1,300-foot (400 m) transmitter tower near Apex that brought channel 28's coverage area far more in line with WRAL-TV and WTVD than before.[25][17]

This was Durham Life's second attempt to get into television. It was one of two applicants for channel 5 in the 1950s and had made extensive preparations for its television station, buying cameras and rehearsing announcers.[17] However, the FCC shocked Durham Life when it awarded the license to the much smaller Capitol Broadcasting, owner of WRAL radio (AM 1240, now WPJL, and 101.5 FM) as WRAL-TV.[17] Before buying channel 28, Durham Life had been interested in building a new station on channel 22,[26] a Raleigh assignment that had been proposed for a station in the 1960s.[27][28][29]

In addition to the upgraded signal, Durham Life, which had far larger financial resources than Triangle Telecasters could have ever managed, invested a considerable amount of money into its new purchase by starting a full news department—Woody Durham, longtime play-by-play voice of North Carolina Tar Heels sports, served as sports director[30]—and purchasing $500,000 in new equipment. It also added a weekday children's show entitled Barney's Army, which was hosted by the namesake Aniforms puppet and ran from 1979 to 1983, long after the genre had disappeared from most other American stations.[31] The show consisted of short interstitials between cartoons and other children's shows, a viewer call-in game called TV Pow along with local musical acts and educational segments. This youth-centered daytime schedule came at a cost to soap opera viewers and to NBC itself: Another World was absent from the station during its 90-minute expansion from 1979 to 1980; a station representative argued the syndicated shows were more profitable. Still, the move did not happen without opposition from the network and from angry calls and letters from viewers who had actually watched the show on WPTF. Meanwhile, the next closest stations still playing the show in its regular time slot were WECT in Wilmington, WITN-TV in Washington, and WAVY-TV in Portsmouth, Virginia, all of which were VHF stations.[32] Likewise, the station's removal of Texas prompted viewer outrage,[33] and less than a year after the station added the show back when the network moved it to a mid-morning time slot,[34] NBC canceled it along with The Doctors, which only WPTF still aired of the NBC affiliates in the region.[35]

Amid indications that Durham Life shared the Everetts' programming attitude despite a more powerful signal, Channel 28 still faced the audience-loyalty problems it had under Triangle Telecasters. As NBC's ratings slump worsened, it further strained the already shaky WPTF-NBC relationship. Even the network's few hits at the time, such as Diff'rent Strokes and The Rockford Files, performed poorly for the station,[36] a problem compounded when NBC programming head Fred Silverman's theory of a "living schedule" did not generate the same success as it did at ABC.[37] The new, improved signal also had no effect on the ratings of the news; in November 1979, WRAL's 6 p.m. newscast attracted a 30 rating, WTVD's a 16, and WPTF-TV's a measly 1.[38] The highly profitable radio stations continued to make money, but the broadcasting division of the Durham Corporation—broken off from Durham Life Insurance and subject to two hostile takeovers that it successfully fought off[39]—posted losses because of channel 28.[40] It also continued to preempt NBC programming, albeit less often than the 1970s. Citing a scheduling problem with a syndicated special, WPTF-TV preempted Maya Angelou's TV movie Sister, Sister when NBC aired it, despite its being set in North Carolina and despite Angelou teaching at Wake Forest University.[41] The station defended its programming philosophy by pointing to its most acclaimed and popular examples of first-run syndicated programs such as The Muppet Show and TV movies from Operation Prime Time.[42]

Channel 28 could also justify its reliance on syndicated programs by pointing out how they got higher ratings than its nightly news broadcasts. Durham Life had started a local news service in 1978, but ratings performance was poor. WPTF-TV eliminated the 11:00 p.m. newscast in 1982, moving its early-evening newscast to 5:30 and delaying the NBC Nightly News to 7:00 p.m. so it could air Star Trek instead.[43] It also dropped NBC News Overnight, arguing to a local newspaper that the station would lose money on the show compared to just showing nothing at all and signing off after Late Night with David Letterman.[44] The following year, the news department was dropped completely, with news cut back to brief cut-ins.[45]

WRAL and WTVD switched affiliations in 1985 after WTVD's owner, Capital Cities Communications, bought ABC. Despite an ad campaign designed to poke fun at it, saying "you know where to find us" to point out that NBC was still in the same place,[46] WPTF-TV saw practically no windfall from the switch—a highly unusual occurrence then when two stations in a market switched networks, as the third station usually exploited the transition, and potential ensuing confusion, to its advantage. By the mid-to-late 1980s, with NBC's powerful prime time lineup leading the network from last place to first place in the national ratings, WPTF-TV was dead last in the Triangle television ratings. It even trailed WLFL, an independent station (and later, a Fox affiliate) that had only been on the air since 1981. Meanwhile, preemptions of NBC shows continued unabated. The station even preempted the popular prime time dramas Hill Street Blues and St. Elsewhere, prompting over 400 angry calls and letters to the station.[47] One short-lived NBC daytime show called Fantasy went to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to hold auditions for guests despite the fact that WPTF-TV did not even air it, and the network canceled the show a few months later.[48] Electronic Media reported that NBC was carrying out a "continuing courtship" of WRAL-TV, a station that rejected the network's overtures out of a desire to avoid a second affiliation switch in three years, going as far as to sweetening the deal by offering the NBC affiliation in Charlotte to Capitol's newly-built WJZY with WRAL, which would in turn resolve NBC's continued issues with WPCQ-TV in that market.[49]

Durham Corporation was able to make progress and begin making money again in its broadcasting unit in the 1980s. In 1987, the company moved the entire broadcasting unit, radio and TV, to new quarters in the Highwoods office complex costing $1 million. However, it still made very little difference in the ratings. The 6 p.m. edition of Newsbeat 28 newscast not only saw no improvement on the same low ratings it garnered in the previous decade, but failed to even top reruns on WLFL of the former NBC sitcom Gimme a Break!, with WTVD and WRAL maintaining their leads.[50] The next year, WPTF-TV appeared on the cable system in Fayetteville for the first time, a move cited as key in increasing station circulation and giving it more parity with WRAL and WTVD.[51] During this decade, the station broke new ground by broadcasting in 3D[52] and stereo sound[53] before other stations (and in the case of the latter, ahead of the network itself) while also being the first station in the area to accept condom ads.[54]

In August 1989, Durham Corporation opted to focus on its core insurance business and announced it was placing WPTF-TV up for sale.[55] Durham Life sought as much as $45 million for the station.[56] Nature, however, derailed the station's attempts to turn its fortunes around. On December 10, 1989, the towers of WPTF-TV and WRAL-TV near Auburn collapsed in an ice storm.[57] The next day, Durham Corporation took WPTF-TV off the market due to the collapse; it had received lesser offers than it had expected.[58] The first signs of trouble came earlier that year when a less severe ice storm still proved strong enough to knock the station off the air for 10 hours so maintenance workers could replace parts of a transmission line that sustained damaged from the ice.[59] After temporarily broadcasting some programs over WYED-TV (channel 17) from Goldsboro and WFCT (channel 62) in Fayetteville,[60] WPTF reactivated its old tower near Apex, which it had used from 1978 to 1986, allowing the station to resume its broadcasts on channel 28 as usual.[61] That same tower was dismantled several years later and then donated to classical radio station WCPE-FM, who reassembled it at a spot near its studios in Wake Forest, North Carolina in 1993.[62] WPTF would eventually join WRAL-TV in 1991 on a newly built 1,989-foot (606 m) broadcast tower at the latter's previous site, which also included the transmission signal for WRAL-FM, WQDR-FM, and a couple of low-power television stations in the area.[63]

Even when WPTF began broadcasting on its own signal again, it still had to deal with the poor ratings of the nightly newscast, which was frequently trounced by other local news broadcasts and sitcom reruns. The station had also lost some ratings momentum with the tower collapse.[63] In September 1990, Channel 28 tried moving the 6 p.m. newscast to 7 p.m., displacing Hard Copy (a rare ratings success for the station) and airing after NBC Nightly News instead of before it, with Cheers reruns taking its old time slot.[64] By this time, lead anchor and producer Terry Thill had been replaced by Ben Garrett. Moving the early newscast actually made ratings worse, as it now had to compete with Jeopardy! on WTVD and Entertainment Tonight on WRAL. By this time their higher-rated competitors were also airing pre-6 p.m. newscasts. The firing of Terry Thill ultimately proved to be a grim harbinger of things to come for the news division.[65] On top of that, the whole of Durham Life Broadcasting was suffering bad publicity due to Laurel Smith, general manager of WQDR-FM facing accusations of sexual harassment by male employees while she was also involved in a child custody case with her ex-husband; a memo by company president Felton P. Coley told employees of the company's radio and TV stations, WPTF-TV included, not to talk about it publicly, a point made moot when she resigned.[66][67]

Sale to FSF TV

We have never seen a network affiliate with local news as low-rated as it was here. We could have quadrupled our spending on it and it would not make any progress.

Paul Brissette, early 1990s owner of WRDC, on the motive for axing the station's news department[68]

While the company initially announced plans to retain its television and radio properties,[69] the interest of buyers in Durham Life itself resulted in a deal. Bev W. Landstreet III, an investor from Nashville, Tennessee, and owner of Financial Securities Fund L.P., had been attempting to buy Durham Corporation and its $8.2 billion portfolio of life insurance policies since 1983. When Durham instead opted to sell itself to Capital Holding of Louisville, Kentucky, Landstreet got the consolation prize: Durham Life Broadcasting.[70] The radio stations would be immediately onsold to Curtis Media Group, while Landstreet would form FSF TV, Inc., with Paul Brissette, a Boca Raton, Florida-based investor and president of Adams Television, to buy WPTF-TV. The new owners hired Vickie Street, former general manager of Adams-owned WWAY, the ABC affiliate in Wilmington, as general manager, answering directly to Brissette.[71] FSF was able to make the station profitable almost immediately, but only after terminating virtually the entire news department in a cost-cutting move at the end of July 1991.[72] Brissette said that the newscasts' ratings were so anemic that it would not be worth the effort to spend the money it would take to make them viable.[68] The call sign was then changed to WRDC on October 25, 1991, after the three major cities in the Triangle (Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill); the station branded as "TRI-28" (later rendered as "TRY-28").[73]

While the station was out of the red, the loss of news programming assured little to no goodwill from NBC about the future direction of the station. One disgruntled ex-employee bitterly suggested that the station's new call sign stood for "We Really Don't Care",[74] while another compared the situation to the last episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show in which the new owners of the fictional WJM fired all the employees of the nightly newscast except Ted Baxter.[75] Some argued that a last-place newscast was better than nothing[76] and that the market needed more than two newscasts to serve it adequately.[77] Meanwhile, the other stations Brissette had controlling interests in not only had news broadcasts, but successful ones as well.[68] The station continued to employ a single anchor/reporter to helm local cut-ins that would air in and around NBC network shows and syndicated programming. Even these news briefs were canceled in 1994, two years after WLFL had launched a 10 p.m. newscast, leaving WRDC as little more than a "pass-through" for network and syndicated programming. However, one thing did not change: the station continued to preempt NBC shows to make more money off of airing Billy Graham crusades and other fare.[78]

Switch from NBC to UPN

By the mid-1990s, even with the network still capitalizing on the success of its Must-See TV campaign, NBC's patience with WRDC was exhausted after over a quarter-century of mediocrity at best on channel 28. The station's lackluster ratings in the Triangle were a particular embarrassment for NBC; by then, the Triangle had become one of the fastest-growing markets in the country, yet the station's ratings had not grown along with the growth of the region. Continuing preemptions and Brissette's all-but-nonexistent commitment to local news did not help matters, nor did local press calling it "the worst NBC affiliate in the country".[79] NBC began to look to move its programming to another station at the end of its affiliation agreement with channel 28. Unlike in the 1970s, it had options this time around to go elsewhere and get a better arrangement, thanks in no small part to cable leveling the playing field between VHF and UHF outlets and a deregulatory-minded FCC ceasing active promotion of the development of UHF, leaving it to market forces. When WNCN (channel 17, formerly WYED-TV), licensed to Goldsboro but located just outside Raleigh in Clayton, boosted its signal to 5 million watts to provide greater coverage to the Triangle market, NBC finally saw an opportunity. WNCN's new owner, Outlet Communications, had very good relations with NBC; it owned WJAR-TV in Providence, Rhode Island and WCMH-TV in Columbus, Ohio, which were two of NBC's strongest and longest-standing affiliates.[80] Although WNCN had just affiliated with the new WB Television Network, NBC quickly cut a deal with Outlet to move its Triangle affiliation to WNCN on October 1, 1995, the day channel 28's affiliation agreement expired.[81]

The switchover took place on September 10, 1995—a month earlier than planned, by mutual agreement between the two stations, ending a 27-year partnership between channel 28 and NBC under three different owners. WNCN became the sole NBC affiliate in the Triangle, while WRDC became an exclusive UPN affiliate[82] and the local affiliation for The WB intended for WNCN went to Capitol Broadcasting's newly-launched WRAZ (channel 50) that fall with the understanding that the new station would switch affiliations with WLFL three years later.[83] Even before then, however, the station had started branding itself as "UPN 28" and all but stopped promoting NBC programming; it also delayed UPN's Monday and Tuesday night slates to air on Friday and Saturday nights instead of NBC's weak prime time lineup,[84] which WNCN aired on those nights until September.[85]

With WRDC now a full-time UPN affiliate, it no longer had a decent amount of programming to preempt, solving that long-standing problem. UPN only programmed on Monday and Tuesday nights at the time, and would never air any programming on weekends. WRDC also picked up several syndicated shows that WNCN no longer had time to air. This left WRDC with mostly talk shows on its daytime lineup.[86] Meanwhile, the change in network affiliation was not the only one at WRDC in 1994 and 1995. Brissette sold channel 28 to Communications Corporation of America;[87] that firm then contracted with Sinclair Broadcast Group, which was purchasing WLFL, to combine the two stations' operations under a local marketing agreement in the WRDC building.[88] WRDC was then sold to Glencairn Ltd. Glencairn was nominally headed by former Sinclair executive Edwin Edwards. However, the Smith family, founders and owners of Sinclair, held 97% of Glencairn's stock; for all intents and purposes, Sinclair now owned both stations. Similar arrangements were in place at Glencairn's other eight stations, leading to allegations that Sinclair was using Glencairn to make an end-run around FCC rules forbidding television station duopolies. The FCC eventually fined Sinclair $40,000 for its illegal control of Glencairn but approved its direct acquisition of the Glencairn stations in 2001, after duopolies were legalized.[89]

As a MyNetworkTV affiliate

On January 24, 2006, Time Warner and CBS Corporation announced that The WB and UPN (which had only used its initials as its official name since 2000) would merge their higher-rated programs onto a new network, The CW.[90][91] The news of the merger resulted in Sinclair announcing, two months later, that most of its UPN and WB affiliates, including WRDC, would join MyNetworkTV, a new service formed by the News Corporation, which is also owner of the Fox network.[92] Sister station WLFL, which had been a WB affiliate since 1998, took the CW affiliation a few months later.[93]

On May 15, 2012, Sinclair and Fox agreed to a five-year affiliation agreement extension for Sinclair's 19 Fox-affiliated stations until 2017. This included an option, exercisable between July 1, 2012, and March 31, 2013, for Fox parent News Corporation to buy a combination of six Sinclair-owned stations (two CW/MyNetworkTV duopolies and two standalone MyNetworkTV affiliates) in three out of four markets; WLFL and WRDC were included in the Fox purchase option, along with stations in Cincinnati (WSTR-TV), Norfolk (WTVZ) and Las Vegas (KVCW and KVMY).[94] In January 2013, Fox announced that it would not exercise its option to buy any of the Sinclair stations in the four aforementioned markets.[95]

Syndicated programming

In addition to the MyNetworkTV schedule, syndicated programming on WRDC includes The Simpsons (which began its syndication run on the station its last year as an NBC affiliate before moving to WLFL[96][97]), Family Guy (another former WLFL holdover), Bob's Burgers, Two and a Half Men, Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, Judge Mathis, Divorce Court, The People's Court, 25 Words or Less, and Kickin' It with Byron Allen.

Technical information

Subchannels

The station's ATSC 1.0 channels are carried on the multiplexed digital signals of other Raleigh–Durham television stations:

Subchannels provided by WRDC (ATSC 1.0)[98][99][100]
Channel Video Aspect Short name Programming ATSC 1.0 host
28.1 720p 16:9 MyTV Main WRDC programming / MyNetworkTV WLFL
28.2 480i CHARGE Charge! WNCN
28.3 Comet Comet
WTVD

Analog-to-digital conversion

WRDC discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over UHF channel 28, on February 17, 2009, five months ahead of the official date in which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. It was one of three stations in the Triangle market, along with WLFL and WRAY-TV, that decided to switch on that date, even though the official transition date had been changed to June 12, 2009. Although it had an assigned digital channel that it would move to post-transition that differed from its original digital channel, WRDC continued to broadcast its digital signal on its pre-transition allocation (UHF channel 27). At noon on June 12, the station's digital signal relocated to UHF channel 28.[101]

ATSC 3.0 lighthouse

WRDC serves as one of two ATSC 3.0 (Next Gen TV) stations in the Triangle, launching in November 2020.[102]

Subchannels of WRDC (ATSC 3.0)[103]
Channel Video Aspect Short name Programming
11.1 720p 16:9 WTVD ATSC 3.0 simulcast of WTVD / ABC
17.1 1080p WNCN ATSC 3.0 simulcast of WNCN / CBS
22.1 720p WLFL ATSC 3.0 simulcast of WLFL / The CW
28.1 WRDC Main WRDC programming / MyNetworkTV
40.1 1080p WUVC ATSC 3.0 simulcast of WUVC-DT / Univision

References

  1. ^ a b c FCC History Cards for WRDC
  2. ^ "Authority to Be Asked For New Durham TV". The News and Observer. Raleigh, North Carolina. Associated Press. November 18, 1966. p. 28. Archived from the original on January 12, 2022. Retrieved January 12, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  3. ^ "New TV Station Gets FCC Permit". Durham Morning Herald. Durham, North Carolina. May 5, 1968. p. 4A. Archived from the original on January 12, 2022. Retrieved January 12, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  4. ^ "Area Receives New WRDU-TV". The Daily Tar Heel. Chapel Hill, North Carolina. October 23, 1968. p. 6. Archived from the original on October 9, 2021. Retrieved January 12, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  5. ^ Morrison, Bill (November 3, 1968). "Our New TV Station Debuts This Week". The News and Observer. Raleigh, NC. p. 74. Archived from the original on October 25, 2021. Retrieved October 25, 2021.
  6. ^ a b Klein, Richard (April 26, 1966). "Local TV Programs Are Bad News". The Daily Tar Heel. Chapel Hill, North Carolina. p. 2. Archived from the original on January 12, 2022. Retrieved January 12, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  7. ^ Holder, Jr., Laurie (May 19, 1964). "Council Delays Vote On Pay TV Proposal". The News & Observer. Raleigh, NC. p. 22. Archived from the original on January 12, 2022. Retrieved October 9, 2021.
  8. ^ "Cablevision Brings Eight Stations In". The Daily Times-News. Burlington, NC. March 1, 1969. p. Cable Supplement 9. Archived from the original on October 9, 2021. Retrieved October 9, 2021.
  9. ^ "Economics blamed for UHF ills" (PDF). Broadcasting. December 29, 1969. p. 56. Archived (PDF) from the original on January 12, 2022. Retrieved May 20, 2020.
  10. ^ "WRDU Appeal Could Affect Nation". The News & Observer. August 1, 1970. p. 6. Retrieved February 24, 2021.
  11. ^ Morrison, Bill (November 6, 1969). "T.V. Stations Here Ask Network Links". The News & Observer. Raleigh, NC. p. 22. Archived from the original on October 11, 2021. Retrieved October 11, 2021.
  12. ^ "Networks, V's balk at aid for UHF's" (PDF). Broadcasting. September 21, 1970. p. 40. Archived (PDF) from the original on January 12, 2022. Retrieved May 20, 2020.
  13. ^ "One (network) to a customer" (PDF). Broadcasting. March 29, 1971. p. 67. Retrieved May 20, 2020.
  14. ^ "In Durham, Research Triangle Area—WRDU Becoming Only NBC Net". The Durham Sun. Durham, North Carolina. September 3, 1971. p. 17. Retrieved January 12, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  15. ^ "See what you've been missing!". The News and Observer. Raleigh, North Carolina. May 15, 1969. p. 38. Archived from the original on December 1, 2020. Retrieved January 12, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  16. ^ "TV Station Plans Changes". The News & Observer. Raleigh, NC. October 26, 1972. p. 5. Archived from the original on October 6, 2021. Retrieved October 6, 2021.
  17. ^ a b c d Morrison, Bill (August 13, 1978). "Ch. 28 makes its move". The News & Observer. pp. 1, 10. Retrieved May 22, 2020.
  18. ^ Powell, John (March 21, 1977). "Area Viewers Protesting TV Movie About Jesus". The News & Observer. Raleigh, NC. p. 19. Retrieved October 6, 2021.
  19. ^ Wood, Ernie (April 18, 1976). "PTL Club Network Succeeds From 'Electronic Pulpit'". The News & Observer. Raleigh, NC. pp. 65, 71. Retrieved October 6, 2021.
  20. ^ "Telethon Slates State Officials". The News & Observer. Raleigh, NC. September 3, 1972. p. 6. Archived from the original on October 11, 2021. Retrieved October 11, 2021.
  21. ^ a b Guillory, Ferrell (May 19, 1977). "Firm May Buy WRDU". The News & Observer. Raleigh, NC. p. 26. Retrieved October 9, 2021.
  22. ^ Smith, William M. (August 14, 1976). "WRDU-TV Not Sold—Yet". Durham Morning Herald. Durham, North Carolina. p. 1-B. Retrieved January 12, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  23. ^ "Negotiations Underway For Purchase of WRDU". The News & Observer. March 5, 1975. p. 10. Retrieved February 24, 2021.
  24. ^ "In brief" (PDF). Broadcasting. December 6, 1976. p. 22. Retrieved May 20, 2020.
  25. ^ "Under new management" (PDF). Broadcasting. July 25, 1977. p. 80. Retrieved May 20, 2020.
  26. ^ "Christian Channel Planned". The News & Observer. December 25, 1976. p. 30. Retrieved February 24, 2021.
  27. ^ Morrison, Bill (February 1, 1967). "New TV Station Selects Classic Films For Debut". The News & Observer. Raleigh. p. 10. Retrieved October 25, 2021.
  28. ^ "Public Notice: WJHF". The News and Observer. Raleigh, NC. January 2, 1968. p. 26. Archived from the original on October 25, 2021. Retrieved October 25, 2021.
  29. ^ Morrison, Bill (August 8, 1968). "New TV Station Announced". The News and Observer. Raleigh, NC. p. 33. Archived from the original on October 25, 2021. Retrieved October 25, 2021.
  30. ^ "Ratings War To Escalate Next Monday". Durham Morning Herald. Durham, North Carolina. April 1, 1979. p. TV World 1. Retrieved January 12, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  31. ^ "Remembering the First "Barney"". WRAL.com. September 26, 2007. Archived from the original on January 16, 2011.
  32. ^ Morrison, Bill (April 17, 1979). "'Another World' is elsewhere". Raleigh, NC: The News & Observer. p. TV Observer 3. Archived from the original on September 7, 2021. Retrieved September 7, 2021.
  33. ^ "Texas Fans Unite". The Daily Tar Heel. Chapel Hill, NC. January 22, 1982. p. 2. Archived from the original on October 6, 2021. Retrieved October 6, 2021.
  34. ^ Deeb, Gary (March 28, 1982). "Daytime shakeup at NBC". The News & Observer. Raleigh, NC. Field Newspaper Syndicate. p. 6E. Archived from the original on October 6, 2021. Retrieved October 6, 2021.
  35. ^ Hirsch, Lynda (December 14, 1982). "Daytime dial: Surgery didn't save 'Doctors'". The News and Observer. Raleigh, NC. Field Newspaper Syndicate. p. TV Observer 2. Retrieved October 29, 2021.
  36. ^ Morrison, Bill (January 9, 1979). "ABC takes the Triangle". The News & Observer. Raleigh, NC. p. TV Observer 3. Archived from the original on October 9, 2021. Retrieved October 9, 2021.
  37. ^ Boyer, Peter J. (August 24, 1979). "'Living schedule' becomes stable this fall on NBC". The Bradenton Herald. Bradenton, FL. Associated Press. p. 17. Archived from the original on November 1, 2021. Retrieved October 29, 2021.
  38. ^ "WPTF-TV news director resigns". The News & Observer. December 15, 1979. p. 20. Retrieved February 24, 2021.
  39. ^ Hill, Thom (February 28, 1984). "Durham Corp. target of investment firm". The News & Observer. Raleigh, NC. pp. 1D, 10D. Archived from the original on September 14, 2021. Retrieved September 13, 2021.
  40. ^ McInnis, Doug (February 7, 1982). "TV chief leaves recuperating station". The News & Observer. p. 8D. Retrieved February 24, 2021.
  41. ^ "Angelou drama pre-empted". The News & Observer. June 8, 1982. p. 4B. Archived from the original on September 7, 2021. Retrieved September 7, 2021.
  42. ^ Morrison, Bill (September 6, 1978). "A season of confusion". The News & Observer. Raleigh, NC. pp. TV Observer 1, 3. Retrieved September 14, 2021.
  43. ^ Calloway, James (April 22, 1982). "WPTF-TV shake-up drops 11 p.m. news". The News & Observer. Raleigh, NC. p. 10B. Archived from the original on September 14, 2021. Retrieved September 14, 2021.
  44. ^ Morrison, Bill (July 27, 1982). "Two gains and great loss". The News & Observer. Raleigh, NC. p. TV Observer 3. Archived from the original on October 6, 2021. Retrieved October 6, 2021.
  45. ^ Morrison, Bill (March 29, 1983). "Good night, Ken and Kim". The News & Observer. Raleigh, NC. p. TV Observer 3. Retrieved September 14, 2021.
  46. ^ "24 Reasons Why WPTF is NBC". The News & Observer. Raleigh, NC. p. 5E. Archived from the original on September 7, 2021. Retrieved September 7, 2021.
  47. ^ "WPTF-TV catches the heat". The News & Observer. Raleigh, NC. December 4, 1986. p. 45. Archived from the original on September 14, 2021. Retrieved September 13, 2021.
  48. ^ Weaver, Clinton (April 13, 1983). "NBC program carries out students' fantasies". The Daily Tar Heel. Chapel Hill, NC. p. 1. Retrieved October 6, 2021.
  49. ^ Mermigas, Diane (February 8, 1988). "NBC renews affiliate switch efforts in South". Electronic Media. pp. 3, 67.
  50. ^ Langford, Bob (March 30, 1988). "WTVD leads in Nielsen, Arbitron ratings for second time". The News and Observer. Raleigh, NC. p. 5D. Archived from the original on August 21, 2021. Retrieved August 21, 2021.
  51. ^ Cohen, Todd (May 3, 1988). "Broadcaster poised for growth". The News & Observer. pp. 1D, 4D.
  52. ^ Calloway, James (July 4, 1982). "Triangle to see 3-D TV". The News & Observer. Raleigh, NC. p. 7E. Archived from the original on October 6, 2021. Retrieved October 6, 2021.
  53. ^ "WTVD in May outrates WRAL for the 1st time". The News & Observer. Raleigh, NC. June 19, 1985. p. 11A. Retrieved October 6, 2021.
  54. ^ "WPTF-TV to air ads for condoms". The News & Observer. Raleigh, NC. Associated Press. February 6, 1987. p. 2D. Archived from the original on October 6, 2021. Retrieved October 6, 2021.
  55. ^ Cohen, Todd. "Durham Life Broadcasting seeks buyer for WPTF-TV". The News & Observer. pp. 1A, 7A. Retrieved February 24, 2021.
  56. ^ Langford, Bob (August 23, 1989). "What's in store for WPTF-TV? Some predictions". The News & Observer. p. 6D. Retrieved February 24, 2021.
  57. ^ Haddigan, Michael (December 11, 1989). "Ice causes 2 TV towers to collapse". The News & Observer. pp. 1A, 12A. Retrieved February 24, 2021.
  58. ^ Yandle, C.E. (December 12, 1989). "Durham Corp. takes WPTF-TV off market". The News & Observer. pp. 1D, 3D. Retrieved February 24, 2021.
  59. ^ "WPTF to be off air for 10 hours". The News and Observer. Raleigh, NC. March 12, 1989. p. 26A. Archived from the original on October 6, 2021. Retrieved October 6, 2021.
  60. ^ "WPTF-TV is on the air!". The News and Observer. Raleigh, North Carolina. December 13, 1989. p. 45. Retrieved January 12, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  61. ^ "When the towers come tumbling down". The News and Observer. Raleigh, North Carolina. December 20, 1989. p. 5D. Retrieved January 12, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  62. ^ Yandle, C. E. (April 14, 1992). "WCPE will play musical towers". The News and Observer. Raleigh, North Carolina. p. 1D. Retrieved January 12, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  63. ^ a b "The towering implications of one cold day". The News and Observer. Raleigh, North Carolina. December 12, 1990. p. 8D. Retrieved January 12, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  64. ^ Langford, Bob (September 12, 1990). "WPTF to move news to 7". The News and Observer. Raleigh, NC. p. 5D. Archived from the original on September 5, 2021. Retrieved September 5, 2021.
  65. ^ Langford, Bob (December 15, 1990). "The Thill is gone; what's next for WPTF". The News and Observer. Raleigh, NC. p. 43. Archived from the original on September 5, 2021. Retrieved September 5, 2021.
  66. ^ Bailey, Sean (December 13, 1990). "Trial puts focus on personnel; sexual harassment by woman alleged". The News and Observer. Raleigh, NC. p. 1B, 2B. Archived from the original on September 5, 2021. Retrieved September 5, 2021.
  67. ^ "Woman involved in custody dispute resigns job". The News and Observer. February 28, 1991. p. 2B. Retrieved September 5, 2021.
  68. ^ a b c Marshall, Kyle (November 12, 1991). "Owners turn WRDC into money maker". The News & Observer. pp. 1D, 2D. Retrieved May 20, 2020.
  69. ^ Langford, Bob (November 17, 1990). "Durham Life to keep its stations". The News & Observer. p. 9D. Retrieved February 24, 2021.
  70. ^ Gregory, Ed (April 19, 1991). "TV deal may end insurance buyout try". The Tennessean. Nashville, Tennessee. p. 1F, 4F. Retrieved January 17, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  71. ^ Marshall, Kyle (August 2, 1991). "New WPTF owners eye bottom line". The News & Observer. Raleigh, NC. p. 6C. Archived from the original on October 20, 2021. Retrieved October 20, 2021.
  72. ^ Marshall, Kyle; Langford, Bob (August 1, 1991). "New owners cancel WPTF news shows". The News & Observer. Raleigh, NC. p. 7C. Archived from the original on October 20, 2021. Retrieved October 19, 2021.
  73. ^ "WPTF-TV changes call letters today". The News and Observer. Raleigh, North Carolina. October 25, 1991. p. 1D. Retrieved January 17, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  74. ^ Butzgy, Michael (November 9, 1991). "Name change obvious". The News & Observer. p. 13A. Retrieved June 7, 2020.
  75. ^ Langford, Bob (August 2, 1991). "News gone, but not up in flames". The News & Observer. Raleigh, NC. p. 1A. Archived from the original on October 20, 2021. Retrieved October 20, 2021.
  76. ^ Langford, Bob (August 2, 1991). "PTF Betrays the Viewers". The News & Observer. Raleigh, NC. pp. 1D, 6D. Archived from the original on October 20, 2021. Retrieved October 20, 2021.
  77. ^ Shafer, Barry (August 9, 1991). "The People's Forum: WPTF newscast needed". The News & Observer. Raleigh, NC. p. 18A. Archived from the original on October 20, 2021. Retrieved October 20, 2021. An area the size of the Triangle needs a third local news program to better serve the public.
  78. ^ "'Spy' is great television — if you can see it". The News and Observer. Raleigh, North Carolina. December 2, 1992. p. 1D, 2D. Retrieved January 17, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  79. ^ Langford, Bob (March 16, 1994). "Will new owner fix WRDC?". The News and Observer. Raleigh, NC. pp. 1D, 7D. Archived from the original on November 1, 2021. Retrieved October 31, 2021.
  80. ^ "Will NBC jump to WYED?". The News and Observer. Raleigh, North Carolina. August 17, 1994. p. 41. Retrieved January 12, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  81. ^ "NBC, WRDC to split". The News and Observer. Raleigh, North Carolina. November 9, 1994. p. 43. Retrieved January 12, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  82. ^ Langford, Bob (August 18, 1995). "Here's news: WNCN going to NBC early". The News & Observer. pp. 1D, 3D. Archived from the original on June 8, 2020. Retrieved June 7, 2020.
  83. ^ Eisenstadt, Steven (December 21, 1995). "WRAZ to become Fox affiliate in the Triangle". The News and Observer. Raleigh, NC. p. 9C. Archived from the original on November 1, 2021. Retrieved October 31, 2021.
  84. ^ Langford, Bob (January 18, 1995). "Tangled nets trap Trekkies". The News & Observer. p. 1E. Archived from the original on June 8, 2020. Retrieved June 7, 2020.
  85. ^ Marshall, Kyle (August 4, 1995). "WNCN to be part of NBC". The News & Observer. pp. 9C, 10C. Archived from the original on June 8, 2020. Retrieved June 7, 2020.
  86. ^ Pollak, Lisa (September 18, 1995). "Talk, talk, talk". The News & Observer. Raleigh, NC. pp. 1C, 7C. Archived from the original on October 20, 2021. Retrieved October 20, 2021.
  87. ^ Marshall, Kyle (March 10, 1994). "WRDC owners OK sale". The News & Observer. Raleigh, NC. p. 8C. Archived from the original on October 20, 2021. Retrieved October 20, 2021.
  88. ^ Langford, Bob (September 30, 1994). "View from the cellar at WRDC". The News and Observer. Raleigh, North Carolina. p. 1D, 5D. Retrieved January 12, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  89. ^ "Sinclair's slap on the wrist". Milwaukee Business Journal. December 23, 2000. Archived from the original on December 4, 2003. Retrieved January 12, 2022.
  90. ^ Seid, Jessica (January 24, 2006). "'Gilmore Girls' meet 'Smackdown'; CW Network to combine WB, UPN in CBS-Warner venture beginning in September". CNN Money. CNN. Archived from the original on March 16, 2017. Retrieved August 3, 2020.
  91. ^ Carter, Bill (January 24, 2006). "UPN and WB to Combine, Forming New TV Network". The New York Times. Archived from the original on October 17, 2015. Retrieved February 22, 2017.
  92. ^ "News Corp. Unveils MyNetworkTV". Broadcasting & Cable. February 22, 2006. Archived from the original on April 17, 2009. Retrieved June 15, 2013.
  93. ^ Ranii, David (May 4, 2006). "WB 22 to get new newscasts". The News & Observer. Raleigh, North Carolina. p. 1D, 3D. Retrieved January 17, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  94. ^ "Sinclair Reups With Fox, Gets WUTB Option". TVNewsCheck. May 15, 2012. Archived from the original on May 9, 2013. Retrieved May 15, 2012.
  95. ^ "Sinclair In An Acquisition State Of Mind". TVNewsCheck. February 6, 2013. Archived from the original on May 9, 2013. Retrieved February 6, 2013.
  96. ^ Richmond, Ray (September 21, 1994). "'Simpsons' in syndication, off in new directions on Fox". The News and Observer. Raleigh, NC. Los Angeles Daily News. p. 55. Retrieved October 31, 2021.
  97. ^ Estes, Chris (July 3, 1995). "TV tonight". The News and Observer. Raleigh, NC. p. 24. Retrieved October 31, 2021.
  98. ^ "RabbitEars TV Query for WLFL". RabbitEars. Archived from the original on March 17, 2016. Retrieved December 22, 2020.
  99. ^ "RabbitEars TV Query for WNCN". RabbitEars. Archived from the original on May 10, 2021. Retrieved December 22, 2020.
  100. ^ "RabbitEars TV Query for WTVD". RabbitEars. Archived from the original on May 10, 2021. Retrieved December 22, 2020.
  101. ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and Second Rounds" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on August 29, 2013. Retrieved March 24, 2012.
  102. ^ Miller, Mark (November 19, 2020). "Five Raleigh Stations Roll Out ATSC 3.0". Retrieved January 17, 2022.
  103. ^ "RabbitEars TV Query for WRDC". RabbitEars. Archived from the original on May 17, 2021. Retrieved December 22, 2020.