Radio-TV Broadcast History

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WAAY31Logo300dpi b

WAAY 31 Logo

Huntsville/Decatur, Alabama
Branding WAAY 31

WAAY 31 News

Channels Digital: 32 (UHF)
Subchannels 104.2 ABC
Owner Calkins Media, Inc.

(Huntsville Broadcast Corporation)

First air date August 1, 1959
Call letters' meaning The word WAY with an extra A
Former callsigns WAFG-TV (1959-1963)
Former channel number(s) Analog:

31 (1959-2009)

Former affiliations ABC (1959-1968)NBC (1968-1977)CBS (secondary, 1959-1963)
Transmitter power 468 kW
Height 537.8 m
Facility ID 57292
Transmitter coordinates 34°44′12.7″N 86°31′58.9″W / 34.736861°N 86.533028°W / 34.736861; -86.533028


[hide]*1 History

[edit] History[]

[1][2]WAFG logo fron 1959.The station's first broadcast was on August 1, 1959, using the callsign WAFG-TV. It was a primary ABC affiliate—Alabama's first. There was only one other station in the area at the time, Decatur's WMSL-TV (channel 23, now WAFF in Huntsville on channel 48). This was an unusual arrangement for a two-station market, especially one as small as Huntsville was at the time.

When the station was sold to Smith Broadcasting (owners of WAAY, now WLOR, radio) in 1963, the callsign was changed to WAAY-TV. The station switched network affiliation to NBC in January 1968, but returned to ABC nearly ten years later in December 1977, citing higher network ratings and the lack of a duplicate ABC affiliate in Florence (where WOWL, now WHDF, was then an NBC affiliate) as reasons. [3][4]WAAY logo from 1968.Smith Broadcasting sold WAAY-TV to GOCOM Broadcasting (later renamed Piedmont Communications) in 1999. The Smith family, who previously owned broadcasting properties in Birmingham before coming to Huntsville, was the last local owner of a Huntsville television station, as rivals WHNT and WAFF had been sold to larger corporations years before (WZDX, the first station in North Alabama not affiliated with the traditional networks or the educational TV system, has always belonged to outside interests). The Smith family also owned radio stations in Fort Walton Beach, Florida and South Pittsburg, Tennessee.

At one time, all three of Huntsville's major-network affiliates, WAAY included, had studios located beside their transmitters and towers on Monte Sano. After a 1982 fire gutted the building of WAFF, however, that station, and later WHNT, moved their offices and production facilities into the city itself, employing microwave relays to send signals to their transmitters. Only WAAY continues to maintain its full operations on Monte Sano Boulevard. (WHIQ-TV, the PBS affiliate, is a translator relay of Alabama Public Television; programming originates from Birmingham or Montgomery, not Huntsville.) [5][6]WAAY logo used during the 1980s.On September 4, 2003, the 1000-foot broadcasting tower leased by WAAY collapsed, killing three people. [7][8]WAAY logo used from 1990s-2007.In 2006, Piedmont Broadcasting agreed to sell WAAY to Calkins Media, a Pennsylvania-based mass media company that owns several small newspapers in Pennsylvania and two other television stations: WWSB in Sarasota, Florida and WTXL in Tallahassee, Florida. The sale to Calkins became official on February 1, 2007. WAAY is Calkins' first broadcasting property outside of Florida.

[edit] Digital television[]

[edit] Post-analog shutdown[]

After WAAY-TV shut down its analog signal on February 17, 2009 [1], the station remained on its current pre-transition channel number: 32. [2]

[edit] News programming[]

WAAY's 31 News broadcasts air weekdays from 5:00-7:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m., 5:00-5:30 p.m., 6:00-6:30 p.m. and 10:00-10:35 p.m., and weekends at 5:30 and 10:00 p.m. Beginning September 13th, the early morning news will begin at 4:30 a.m. and the 6 p.m. news will be replaced by a 4 p.m. broadcast. [3] WAAY maintains news bureaus in Decatur and Florence. In the ratings as of spring 2007, all of the station's major newscasts rank in third place, though they often ranked in first place from the 1970s through the early 1990s, when the station was still family-owned.

The station previously had weekend morning newscasts. WAAY also produced a 9 p.m. news for WHDF briefly during the early 2000s. For many years, WAAY's newscasts used the branding "31 Eyewitness News," and "Coverage You Can Count On." Now the station uses the simple "WAAY (pronounced "way") 31 News". Starting September 13th, the branding will change to "WAAY 31 First News" [4]. On July 16, 2007 at 5 p.m. WAAY unveiled a new set and a new graphics package similar to that of its sister stations, WWSB and WTXL.

[edit] News/station presentation[]

[edit] WAAY 31 Newscast titles[]

  • WAFG-TV News (1959-1963)
  • The WAAY of the World (1963-1970)
  • 31 News (1970-1976 and 1996-2007)
  • 31 NewsCenter (1976-1977)
  • 31 Eyewitness News (1977-1996)
  • WAAY 31 News (2007-2010)
  • WAAY 31 First News (2010-present)

[edit] WAAY 31 Station slogans[]

  • You're Still Having Fun with Channel 31 (1977-1978; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • The Tennessee Valley's News Leader (1982-1986; news slogan)
  • Channel 31, The Winners! (1982-1989; general slogan)
  • Your 24-Hour News Source (1989-1997)
  • Coverage You Can Count On (1992-2007)

[9] This film, television or video-related list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it with reliably sourced additions.==[edit] On-air staff==

[edit] WAAY-TV Current on-air staff[]

WAAY 31 News Anchors

  • Guy Hornbuckle - Sunday - Thursday 10 pm, Sunday 5:30 pm, Monday - Thursday 6 pm
  • Melissa Riopka - Sunday - Thursday 10 pm, Sunday 5:30 pm, Monday - Thursday 6 pm
  • Haley Baker - weekdays 11 am and 5 pm
  • Erin Dacy - weekday mornings
  • T.W. Starr - weekday mornings
  • Mallory Hoff - Friday 6 pm and 10 pm, Saturday 5:30 pm and 10 pm

Storm Force 31 Weather anchors

  • Brad Huffines - chief meteorologist; Sunday 5:30 pm & 10 pm, Monday - Thursday 5, 6, and 10 pm
  • Gary Dobbs - weekday mornings and some middays, also on WBHP (AM)
  • Dale Bader - Friday 5, 6, and 10 pm; Saturday 5:30 pm & 10 pm, some middays

WAAY 31 Sports anchors

  • Ronnie Duncan
  • Kyle Burger

WAAY 31 Reporters

  • Stephanie Beecken
  • Tiffaney Bradley
  • Kyle Burger - Burger Bytes
  • Barry Hiett
  • Mallory Hoff
  • Rachel Keith
  • Ross Sather

[edit] Former WAAY 31 anchors/reporters[]

  • Karen Adams - now at WTEV/WAWS, Jacksonville FL
  • Denise Agent - now News Director at TV3, Winchester VA
  • Linda Allen (morning news anchor)
  • Nick Banaszak (former reporter, now at WHNT-TV)
  • Bob Baron (meteorologist) - creator of VIPIR (radar); president, Baron Services, Inc.
  • Dave Brazelton (former sports reporter, producer, videographer)
  • Scott Boice (sports anchor)
  • Craig Boswell (former anchor) - now at Fox News
  • Clint Brown (former Sand Mountain Bureau Chief, former Decatur/Limestone Bureau Chief, former reporter]
  • Heather Burns (6pm & 10pm anchor)
  • Shane Butler (former chief meteorologist) - now at WRDW-TV, Augusta, GA
  • Kirk Chaisson
  • Anna Clayton
  • Dave Cody (sportscaster)
  • Dave Coffey (sports)
  • Jamie Cooper (feature reporter) - now at WTZT-TV, Athens, AL
  • Kristen Cornett - (former meteorologist) (1997-2001) - now atKMOV-TV, St. Louis, MO
  • Rick Davis (former sports anchor)
  • Dave Deeley (10pm Sports Anchor) (1996-1998)
  • Laura Beth Ezzell
  • Adrian Gibson - served as news anchor and weather forecaster on the station for over 35 years. Retired in 2004.
  • Lisa Greer
  • Tim Hall (former weekend anchor, weather forecaster)
  • Dave Hargrove (inaugural anchor of "Live at 5")
  • Gus Hergert (Sports Director/Creator of "Friday Night Football" which won the 1998 Emmy Award)
  • Cliff Hill (news anchor at 5 p.m. and 10 p.m.)
  • Bill Hubscher (producer, reporter, anchor)
  • Liz Hurley - now anchor, WAFF-TV, Huntsville
  • Gus Johnson (former 10 p.m. sports anchor)
  • Reginald Jones (producer,assignments, EP, & weekend morning anchor)
  • Tony Jordan
  • Bob Labbe (sports)
  • David Lamb (weekend sports anchor) - now at WDJC, Birmingham AL
  • Walt Lehmann (Sports)
  • Dave Leval - now at WMYD-TV, Detroit, MI
  • Wayne MacKenzie (weekend meteorologist)
  • Mark Marcus (sports videographer, weekend sports anchor, sports director)
  • Jim Marsh (anchor)
  • Rick Mecklenburg (weather anchor) - now at WSBT, South Bend, IN
  • Matt Neal (executive producer for sports/sports productions/co-creator of "Friday Night Football")
  • Violet Parker
  • Don Phelps
  • Alcides Segui - now at WTVT, Tampa, FL
  • Michael Scott {Former evening anchor}
  • Pam Oliver
  • Gary Shore (chief meteorologist)
  • Alicia Smith (bureau chief)
  • Jeff Speegle (10 p.m. sports anchor)
  • Belle Taylor (reporter)
  • Beverly Taylor
  • Keller Watts (weekend meteorologist) - now at WBRZ-TV, Baton Rouge, LA
  • Al Whitaker
  • Dot White (news producer, anchored weekend morning sports)
  • Anderson Williams (news producer/videojournalist, 1993-1997)
  • Amy Witte (former weekend anchor, WAFF-TV morning-noon anchor)
  • Brenda Wood (formerly WAGA-TV now at WXIA-TV)

[edit] References[]

  1. ^
  2. ^ CDBS Print
  3. ^
  4. ^

[edit] External links[]