Radio-TV Broadcast History

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Montgomery, Alabama
Branding Fox 20
Channels Digital: 20 (UHF)
Subchannels 20.1 Fox

20.2 AccuWX 20.3 This TV

Owner Woods Communications Corporation
First air date April 17, 1953
Call letters' meaning Will COVington
Former channel number(s) Analog:

20 (UHF, 1953-2009) Digital: 16 (UHF, 1997-2009)

Former affiliations CBS (primary, 1953-1986)

NBC (secondary, 1953-1954) ABC (secondary, 1953-1960) DuMont (secondary, 1953-1956) Independent (January-October 1986)

Transmitter power 460 kW
Height 518 m
Facility ID 73642
Transmitter coordinates 31°58′28.6″N 86°9′44.2″W / 31.974611°N 86.162278°W / 31.974611; -86.162278


[hide]*1 Digital programming

[edit] Digital programming[]

Its signal is multiplexed. Its second digital subchannel, Charter digital channel 137, and Knology digital channel 247 carry The Local AccuWeather Channel. WCOV-DT3 airs programming from This TV but it is not yet seen on Charter or Knology systems. [1]

Channel Name Programming
20.1 WCOV-DT main WCOV programming / Fox HD
20.2 WCOV-DT2 "Fox AccuWeather"
20.3 WCOV-DT3 This TV

[edit] History[]

WCOV-TV was the first television station in Montgomery, making its first broadcast on April 17, 1953. It was a primary CBS station but carried affiliations with all networks that were airing at the time. During the late 1950s, the station was also briefly affiliated with the NTA Film Network. [2] It was originally supposed to broadcast on VHF channel 12 (now occupied by WSFA) but RCA could not deliver a channel 12 transmitter in time. However, RCA could deliver a UHF transmitter. This historical accident would come back to haunt the station later.

WCOV was started by William Covington, the brother of Oscar Covington. Bill Covington died in 1949 while on a buying trip to Chicago. He had already applied for the license for the television station at the time of his death. He also owned two other radio stations in Alabama. Oscar Covington was one of several Covington siblings, and a niece, who owned WCOV after the death of Bill. Oscar Covington's father Will, who died in 1949, put WCOV radio (now WACV) on-air in 1939.

The Covingtons sold the station to Gay-Bell Corporation in 1964. WCOV blocked several requests by WSLA-TV in Selma to increase its power so it could better cover Montgomery. It claimed that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) would not be fostering the growth of UHF stations if it allowed WSLA to increase its power. In truth, WCOV feared that CBS would yank the Montgomery affiliation if WSLA moved in. Finally in 1984, WSLA changed its calls to WAKA and got a construction permit for a taller tower that would cover Montgomery. Seeing the writing on the wall, Gay-Bell sold the station to its current owner, Woods Communications Corporation, which owned Dothan's WTVY (also a CBS station).

In April 1985, WAKA activated its new tower, and CBS dropped its affiliation with WCOV on New Year's Day 1986. After a few months as an independent, Woods affiliated the station with Fox in October. The original tower in eastern Montgomery was destroyed by a massive tornado on March 22, 1996. Two days later, the station returned to the air on a temporary 350-foot (107 m) tower but depended mostly on cable for its viewership. In January 1997, the station activated a new tower in Grady.

WCOV has been digital-only since February 20, 2009. [3][4] Originally, its digital transmitter was located next to its studios. [5] WCOV also started broadcasting a special "night lite" service on its analog signal featuring digital conversion information following the discontinuance of its analog service. The station airs local programs including MPD: The Television Series (a COPS-inspired program produced by the Montgomery Police Department) and County Law which involves the Montgomery County Sheriff's Department.

[edit] Newscasts[]

As a CBS affiliate, WCOV operated its own news department. However, the station dropped all news programming after losing CBS. Eventually, a two-hour simulcast of the four-hour long Good Day Alabama from Fox affiliate WBRC in Birmingham was added and airs weekday mornings from 7 to 9. It originates from WBRC's studios. On January 7, 2008, Woods Communications contracted with Raycom Media and NBC affiliate WSFA-TV to air a 9 pm newscast known as Fox 20 News at Nine in conjunction with another Fox affiliate and Raycom-owned station in Dothan, WDFX-TV. Originally airing for 35 minutes on weeknights, a weekend thirty minute edition began in Summer 2008. On August 3, 2008, WSFA upgraded its local newscasts to high definition. Fox 20 News at Nine wasn't included. In Spring 2010, however, Fox 20 News at Nine began airing in HD with updated graphics. These broadcasts originate from a secondary set at WSFA's studios.

[edit] On-air staff[]

News anchors

  • Janice Rogers - weekdays, Good Day Alabama
  • Rick Journey - weekdays, Good Day Alabama
  • Sarah Verser - weekdays, Good Day Alabama
  • Mark Bullock - weeknights, Fox 20 News at Nine
  • Cody Holyoke - weekends, Fox 20 News at Nine


  • Jeh Jeh Pruitt - Weekdays, Good Day Alabama feature reporter
  • Daniel Curtis - Fox 20 News at Nine
  • Melissa Johnson - Fox 20 News at Nine


  • Mickey Ferguson - weekdays, weather anchor, Good Day Alabama
  • Allyson Rae - weeknights, main meteorologist, Fox 20 News at Nine
  • Rich Thomas - Fridays, meteorologist, Fox 20 News at Nine(chief met at WSFA)
  • Dan Atkinson - Saturdays, meteorologist, Fox 20 News at Nine


  • Jeff Shearer - weeknights, sports director, Fox 20 News at Nine
  • Derek Steyer - weekends, Fox 20 News at Nine

Additional news personnel from WBRC and WSFA are seen on this station. See those article for a complete listing.

[edit] Former staff[]

  • Bill Bolen - Good Day Alabama anchor (retired from WBRC after 40 years in January 2010)
  • Chris Holmes - original Fox 20 News at Nine anchor (was let go from WSFA in June 2008)
  • Kyle Montogmery - original Fox 20 News at Nine sports anchor (left WSFA in November 2008, Now at NBA Digital in Atlanta)
  • Sally Pitts - original Fox 20 News at Nine ine weekend anchor (started anchoring the noon newscast at WSFA in June 2010)

[edit] References[]

  1. ^
  2. ^ "Require Prime Evening Time for NTA Films", Boxoffice: 13, November 10, 1956,
  3. ^
  5. ^ WCOV: "WCOV Completes Digital Transition: Thank you for your patience", 2/20/2009.

[edit] External links[]