Radio-TV Broadcast History

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Huntsville, Alabama
Branding WHNT News 19

WHNT 2 (on DT2)

Slogan Taking Action. Getting Results.
Channels Digital: 19 (UHF)
Subchannels 19.1 CBS

19.2 RTV

Owner Local TV

(Local TV Alabama License, LLC)

First air date November 28, 1963
Call letters' meaning HuNTsville [1]
Former channel number(s) 19 (UHF analog, 1963-2009)

59 (UHF digital)

Transmitter power 50 kW
Height 514 m
Facility ID 48693
Transmitter coordinates 34°44′19.7″N 86°31′57.9″W / 34.738806°N 86.53275°W / 34.738806; -86.53275


[hide]*1 Digital programming

[edit] Digital programming[]

Its signal is multiplexed. On WHNT-DT2, Charter digital channel 148, Knology digital channel 199, and Comcast digital channel 211 is the Retro Television Network (RTV).

Subchannel Programming
19.1 main WHNT programming / CBS HD
19.2 WHNT-DT2 "WHNT 2" (RTV)

[3][4]WHNT-DT2 logo from 2007, when the subchannel was a 24-hour weather channel.WHNT turned-off its analog transmitter at 12:30 p.m. on June 12, 2009. WHNT-DT then relocated from channel 59 to channel 19 as a result of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) auctioning channels 52-69. The station was originally going to move to channel 46 but received late permission from the FCC to move digital broadcasts to channel 19, following the closure and license cancellation earlier in the year of Florence station WYLE, which was to have broadcasted on digital channel 20. WHNT is now the only station in the market operating on its original channel.

[edit] History[]

[5][6]WHNT logo from 1966.WHNT began operations on Thanksgiving Day, November 28, 1963 (the first new station to be launched after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated), and has always been an affiliate of CBS. The FCC originally licensed the frequency for WHNT to the city of Fort Payne some forty miles to the southeast. The station was founded by a local businessman, Charles Grisham, now deceased. In 1980, he sold WHNT to The New York Times Company which operated it for over a quarter century. In September 2006, The New York Times announced that the company would put its entire broadcast group up for sale with eight other stations affected in addition to WHNT. On May 7, 2007, WHNT became a property of Oak Hill Capital Partners which operates the station as part of Local TV. [7][8]WHNT logo from 1970.WHNT's facilities are in downtown Huntsville where the station moved in 1987 from their original location on Monte Sano Mountain. The move was prompted by a fire that destroyed rival WAFF-TV's studios, then on Governors Drive, five years earlier. For use during an emergency, backup broadcast capabilities for news remains at the Monte Sano site. The transmitter and tower remain on Monte Sano because the mountain provides the highest elevation in the immediate area. WHNT is the only station in Huntsville to operate from a facility actually constructed specifically for broadcasting purposes. WAAY-TV operates from a former gas station, WAFF from a former jewelry store, and WZDX from an office building.

In 2003, WHNT allowed competing stations WAAY and WZDX to use space on its tower after both station's towers used on WAAY's property collapsed, killing three men. This station first used sixteen millimeter film for most of its commercial and news gathering. In 1979, it switched to the 3/4 inch video tape format. WHNT used this system until 1998 when new Panasonic DVC machines and cameras were purchased (DVC is still being used). However in Spring 2006, new cameras were purchased for the station's two bureaus. The cameras are Panasonic P2 cameras which record on 4gig cards. WHNT's archives, the most extensive in Huntsville television, go back to 1973 and include a mix of film and video. The film library had been stored at the University of North Alabama, but has recently been returned to Huntsville. For security reasons, parts of the archives are stored at one of its bureaus. In May 2002, WHNT became the first station in the Huntsville market to broadcast a digital signal and begin broadcasting in high definition on UHF channel 59. [9][10]WHNT logo from 1986.Until November 25, 2008 at 5 p.m., the station offered a 24-hour local weather channel on its second digital subchannel. It then switched to RTV. WHNT is the only station in the Hunstville market area that has never changed its network affiliation. WHNT clears the entire CBS schedule. However, the Saturday edition of The Early Show airs on WHNT-DT2.

[edit] News operation[]

WHNT has been noted for live coverage of breaking news such as the shooting death of a Huntsville police officer, the 2006 Huntsville Bus Accident [2], and the solving of a thirty year-old murder case in September 2007. Generally speaking, over the years, WHNT has always been competitive in terms of ratings with rivals WAAY and WAFF. In fact, this station is the only one among the three major network affiliates in Huntsville to have never finished in last place in the Nielsen ratings. Since Fall 2004, WHNT has used the ARMOR Doppler Weather Radar system in weather forecasting along with its own weather radar at its transmitter site.

On August 18, 2008, WHNT became the first television station in Huntsville to begin broadcasting all of its news programs in digital 16:9 widescreen. On April 13, 2009 starting with the weeknight 5 o'clock show, the station stopped using the NewsChannel 19 name and became WHNT News 19. Beginning on February 1, 2010, WHNT added a weeknight prime time newscast at 9 on WHNT-DT2.[3] There is already an hour-long extension of their weekday morning news that airs on that channel. The prime time show competes with Fox affiliate WZDX that has news at that time produced out of state by the Independent News Network. Like all RTV affiliates in the Central Time Zone, WHNT-DT2 airs Daytime weekday mornings at 8 for an hour. In addition to its main studios, it operates bureaus covering The Shoals and Decatur (Northwestern Alabama), and Sand Mountain (Northeastern Alabama).

[edit] Newscast titles[]

  • WHNT-TV News (1963–1970)
  • News 19 (1970–1975)
  • Action News 19 (1975–1984)
  • WHNT News 19 (1984–1987 and 2009–present)
  • NewsCenter 19 (1987–1995)
  • NewsChannel 19 (1996–2009)

[edit] Station slogans[]

  • "Keep Your Eye On Us" (1976–1978)
  • "The News People" (1978–1981)
  • "Reach for the Stars on Channel 19" (1981–1982; local version of CBS ad campaign, also used to open newscasts)
  • "The Valley's Leading News Station" (1987–1990)
  • "The New 19 and You" (1987–1990; used in image campaign by Frank Gari)
  • "The News Leader in the Tennessee Valley" (1990–1993)
  • "We're Here For You" (1993–1995)
  • "Where Local News Comes First" (1995–1998)
  • "First. Live. Local." (1996–2007)
  • "Taking Action. Getting Results." (2007–present)

[edit] News team[]


  • Jerry Hayes - Monday through Thursday at 6 and 10; Sunday at 5:30 and 10
    • "Good Question" segment producer
  • Elise Morgan - weeknights at 6 and 10 (also 5 on Monday)
  • Greg Screws - weeknights at 5 and 9 (also 6 and 10 on Friday)
    • "Deal or Dud" segments producer
  • Clarissa Stephens - Tuesday through Friday at 5 and 9; Saturday at 6 and 10
  • Steve Johnson - weekday mornings
    • "Driving You Crazy" segment producer
  • Lisa Washington - weekday mornings & noon
  • Robert Reeves - weekend mornings, "Robert on the Road" and "Pay It Forward" segment producer
  • Carson Clark - Saturday at 6 and 10



  • Edward Egros
  • Christine Killimayer


  • Carson Clark - Sand Mountain Bureau Chief
  • Venton Blandin - Huntsville Reporter
  • Rikki Klaus - Huntsville Reporter
  • Robert Richardson - Sand Mountain videojournalist
  • Mary Stackhouse - Shoals Reporter
  • Nate Adams - weekday morning traffic reporter(also on WRSA-FM 96.9)
  • Jeff Gray - weekday morning videojournalist (also on WRSA-FM 96.9)
  • David Wood - Huntsville videojournalist
  • Kelly Druley - Huntsville videojournalist


  • Gregg Stone - Chief Photographer
  • Shane Hays - Assistant Chief Photographer
  • Carter Watkins - Shoals Bureau Chief Photographer
  • Dave Schmidt - Morning Photographer
  • Brian Covington - Decatur Photographer
  • Andrew Wilkins - Evening Huntsville Photographer
  • Alex Lynch - Evening Huntsville Photographer
  • Dion Hose - Dayside Photographer

[edit] Former on-air staff[]

  • Amy George - now serves in a development position with Huntsville Hospital Foundation.
  • Rudy Koski - former morning-noon anchor WHNT and WAFF reporter (now at KTBC in Austin, TX)
  • Amy Witte - former WHNT, WAAY, WAFF anchor. Currently Library Media Specialist, Austin, TX. Married, Rudy Koski, Two daughters.
  • H.D. Bagley - WHNT's first meteorologist, 1963–1979, deceased.
  • Dan Maly - meteorologist, retired WIS, Columbia, SC
  • Bill Markham - news anchor, retired from WRCB-TV, Chattanooga
  • Cindy Sexton - news anchor, now at WRCB-TV, Chattanooga
  • Gene Hocutt - meteorologist, retired from private business
  • Darlene Perriconi - meteorologist
  • George Ryan - public relations for Exxon Mobil
  • Trace Trylko - Sand Mountain Bureau Chief, marketing in Orlando.
  • Jason Miles - now at WMC-TV, Memphis, Tennessee
  • Sherea Harris - now at WBRC-TV, Birmingham, Alabama.
  • LaTonya Norton - now at WDSU-TV, New Orleans.
  • Kym Richardson-Thurman - now at WPMI-TV, Mobile, Alabama.
  • Jason Marks - now at WAVY-TV, Portsmouth, Virginia.
  • Jamey Tucker - now at WKRN-TV, Nashville, Tennessee.
  • Christie del Amo - formerly at WBRC-TV, Birmingham, Alabama.
  • James-Paul Dice - now at WBRC-TV, Birmingham, Alabama.
  • Greg Privett - anchor and reporter now at WWAY, Wilmington, NC
  • Barry Hiett - now at WAAY, Huntsville.
  • Ellis Eskew - now at WZDX, Huntsville.
  • Chris Davis - meteorologist
  • Grady Reeves - anchor, 1963-1991. Co-host of Mornin' Folks with his son Robert Reeves from 1980-1991.
  • Jamie McGriff - reporter
  • Spencer Denton - meteorologist
  • John Pearson - sports anchor

[edit] References[]

  1. ^ Nelson, Bob (2008-10-18). "Call Letter Origins". The Broadcast Archive. Retrieved 2008-10-31.
  2. ^
  3. ^

[edit] External links[]