Chronology data should be put on the appropriate chronology page ("Chronology of call letters WAGA") .
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For broadcast stations that previously used the WAGA call sign, see WAGA (disambiguation). WAGA-TV 5.1 (RF 27) is an owned-and-operated television station of the News Corporation-owned Fox Television Network and based in Atlanta, Georgia, United States. The station's transmitter is co-located with its TV studios on Briarcliff Road NE in DeKalb County, just west of Emory University, and next to South Fork Peachtree Creek in the Druid Hills area. This is just south of the North Druid hills towers (just north of the creek) used by many other local radio and TV broadcasters, however the station transmits from a TV tower on its own property, and does not appear to have any other stations sharing it.
As a CBS affiliate
WAGA-TV first began operations on March 8, 1949. It was originally owned by Storer Broadcasting along with WAGA AM 1480 radio (now WYZE), and WAGA-FM 102.9 (now WVEE FM 103.3), all colloquially called "Wagga". It is Atlanta's second-oldest station, signing on seven months after WSB-TV. Originally a CBS network affiliate, channel 5 also carried a secondary affiliation with the DuMont Television Network from 1949 to 1956. It also shared ABC with WSB-TV until WLWA-TV (now WXIA-TV) signed on in 1951. During the late 1950s, the station was also briefly affiliated with the NTA Film Network.
WAGA was the only VHF commercial station in Atlanta still on its original analog channel, with WSB and WXIA both having started on channel 8. That allocation was later occupied by WGTV, with the mentioned stations using channels 2 and 11 respectively later on.
WAGA-TV originally broadcast from TV studios and transmission facilities located at 1018 West Peachtree Street NW. This building would later became home to pioneering superstation and leading Atlanta independent station WTBS TV 17 (now WPCH-TV). Sometime in the middle 1960s, the WAGA stations moved to their current facilities on Briarcliff Road NE on the DeKalb County side of Atlanta. The studio resembles an antebellum Southern mansion, a type of architecture that was typical for Storer's other broadcasting facilities. While this design was somewhat out of place in most of Storer's other markets, it was a perfect fit for Atlanta.
The original WAGA tower is now the site of a different tower for WPCH-TV's analog 17 signal, and a backup for WWWQ FM 99.7 (see list of Atlanta broadcast stations by location#Turner tower). Because Storer Cable became part of Comcast, the tower (owned by competing cable TV provider Time Warner, along with WPCH) will be removed by October 2009, ending the land lease. For many years, the station called its newscasts 5 News Scene. In the 1980s, this changed to Eyewitness News. The station's studios were used on location in the Matlock episode, "The Reporter", broadcast in 1987.
In 1985, WAGA, along with the other Storer stations, was sold in a group deal to Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., a New York-based private equity firm. Two years later, KKR sold the Storer stations to Gillett Communications. After bankruptcy, Gillett restructured in the early 1990s, selling several stations, and changing its name to SCI.
In 1992, WAGA ceased showing CBS This Morning in favor of a locally produced morning show, "Good Day Atlanta". Later that year, SCI filed for bankruptcy and put its stations on the market. In 1993, New World Communications acquired the SCI stations, including WAGA, with the purchase becoming final on May 25. At the time, New World happened to be based out of Atlanta. Because of this, WAGA was made the flagship station of New World for a short period of time.
As a Fox station
In 1994, New World announced an affiliation agreement with Fox. As part of that agreement, Fox's parent company News Corporation acquired a 20 percent stake in New World. This deal resulted in most of New World's stations, including WAGA, switching to Fox beginning in September 1994. However, as in most New World markets, Fox Kids children's programming stayed on former Fox O&O WATL-TV (channel 36), because WAGA was interested in airing more news. All but one station would retain its existing syndicated programming lineup. The lone exception was WGNX (channel 46, now WGCL-TV), which became the new CBS affiliate despite turning it down at first, and sold many of its syndicated shows over to WVEU (channel 69, now WUPA), which became a charter affiliate of the UPN network in early 1995 (eventually becoming a UPN O&O). In the meantime, WATL would become independent until it became a charter affiliate of The WB Television Network in 1995. At that time, Fox finalized the sale of WATL to Qwest Broadcasting (which was controlled by musician Quincy Jones), which merged with WB part-owner Tribune Company in 2000. WATL is now owned by the Gannett Company as part of a duopoly with WXIA-TV.
The affiliation switch occurred in December 1994. At that point, WAGA's 45-year stint as a CBS affiliate came to an end. Before the switch, WAGA was the longest-tenured CBS affiliate south of Washington, D.C.; an honor now held by WBTV in Charlotte, North Carolina.
With the affiliation switch, WAGA poured more resources into its news department. Channel 5's news department was already very well respected; for most of its history it was a solid runner-up to longtime leader WSB-TV, but from the 1970s until early 2009 had to fend off a spirited challenge from WXIA-TV. As of mid-2009, with plummeting ratings at WXIA, WAGA-TV has returned to a solid second-place position in the Atlanta news market. As the Fox affiliate, channel 5 increased its news output to 40 hours a week. The 11:00 news moved to 10:00, and the station also ran first-run syndicated talk/reality shows, game shows and movies. It did not run any children's programming except for some educational shows on the weekends. Also, with the affiliation switch, WAGA remained the home station for the Atlanta Falcons. Fox had recently won the television rights to the National Football Conference of the NFL--a major reason why it sought an affiliation deal with New World. Since the Falcons play in the NFC, channel 5 had carried most Falcons games since the team's inception. In 2005, WAGA and the Falcons celebrated 40 years together.
Early in 1997, New World merged with Fox. Upon becoming a Fox-owned station (the second in Atlanta), the station rebranded itself as "Fox 5 Atlanta", per the network's branding guidelines. However, well into the 21st century, the copyright notice at the end of WAGA's newscast said the station was still owned by "New World Communications of Atlanta" (which, ironically, is the official present-day licensee for the station; the five other former New World stations which are still owned by Fox also use "New World Communications" or "NW Communications" as part of their legal licensee names).
On March 26, 2007, WAGA debuted new TV graphics, set design, and theme music for all its daily newscasts. The news theme music is from OSI, and was adopted by other Fox O&O stations. The logo and graphics are similar to many other Fox O&O's across the nation.
Effective July 1, 2009, official station call letters again became WAGA-TV.
The station's digital signal on channel 27 was previously multiplexed:
Channel 5.2 originally was for the benefit of smaller cable systems which were taking the fullscreen SD signal straight from the air, and did not want problems due to the widescreen or scan conversion on 5.1. This lasted until the end of April 2009. The channel then stayed blank with no electronic program guide data for several weeks until late June, when it again had identical programming, but this time in widescreen. The 704×480i anamorphic format is unusual, as most SDTV channels use a fullscreen 640×480i format. (By comparison, widescreen NTSC DVDs use 720×480p.) Channel 5.2 again went blank in late July, but continued to have the same program data as 5.1, until it was deleted entirely on December 3.
In 2009, the station's first chief broadcast engineer from 1949, Paul Cram (now age 99), was given the duty of permanently turning off the analog transmitter live on the air at 12:30 p.m. on June 12. WSB-TV 2, WXIA-TV 11, and WATL TV 36 also went off the air at the same time, with 2 and 11 also live in their transmitter rooms like WAGA.
WAGA broadcasts a total of 55 hours of local news a week (ten hours on weekdays, four hours on Saturdays and 3½ hours on Sundays), the most of any television station in Atlanta, the most of any station in the state of Georgia and the second most in the United States (behind MyNetworkTV affiliate KRON in San Francisco); however as is standard with Fox stations that carry early evening weekend newscasts, WAGA's Saturday and Sunday 6 p.m. newscasts are subject to delay due to sports coverage.
On January 14, 2008, WAGA launched a new 11 p.m. newscast called Fox 5 News Edge hosted by former WSVN anchor Tom Haynes. It is similar to its sister station WTVT in Tampa and other Fox O&Os across the nation. On March 16, 2009 WAGA began producing its newscast in high definition, becoming the last major network-affiliated station in the market to do so behind WGCL, WSB, and WXIA. This was done with updated FOX O&Os HD graphics during the noon newscast.
On September 14, 2009, WAGA began its new morning broadcast called Good Day Xtra with Karen Graham and Jeff Hill from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. It is the only local news broadcast on in Atlanta at that time. On April 1, 2010, WAGA expanded its morning news by an extra half-hour, now running for 5½ hours beginning at 4:30 a.m.; the extension was made in order to attract those who wake up go to work earlier than most; the additional half-hour competes against national early morning newscasts airing on WXIA, WGCL and WSB.
News Music Package