Radio-TV Broadcast History

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WHSV-TV, channel 3 (digital 49), is an ABC affiliate television station for the Harrisonburg, Virginia, market. WHSV News 3, as it is known on-air, is owned by Gray Television and has its transmitter located west of the town of Stanley on Massanutten Mountain. It serves 14 counties in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and West Virginia.

In addition to its main digital signal, WHSV operates three digital subchannels: a Fox-affiliated subchannel, a My Network TV-affiliated subchannel, and another ABC-affiliated subchannel aimed toward nearby Winchester, Virginia.

Harrisonburg, Virginia
Branding WHSV-TV3 (general)

WHSV News 3 (newscasts) The Valley's Fox (DT2) TV3 Winchester (DT3) MyValley (DT4)

Slogan On Air. Online. On the Go.


Channels Digital: 49 (UHF)
Subchannels 3.1 ABC

3.2 Fox 3.3 TV3 Winchester 3.4 MyNetworkTV

Translators 42 (UHF) Harrisonburg

(construction permit) 51 {UHF) Staunton (application & STA)

Owner Gray Television, Inc.

(Gray Television Licensee, Inc.)

First air date October 1953[2]
Call letters' meaning Harrisonburg

Shenandoah Valley or Harrisonburg/ Staunton, Virginia

Former callsigns WSVA-TV (1953-1976)
Former channel number(s) Analog:

3 (1953-2009)

Former affiliations Primary:

NBC (1953-1968) Secondary: CBS (1953-1963) ABC (1953-1968) NBC (1968-1980)

Transmitter power 65 kW (digital)
Height 639 m (digital)
Facility ID 4688
Transmitter coordinates 38°36′5″N 78°37′57″W / 38.60139°N 78.6325°W / 38.60139; -78.6325

WHSV has two main locations, in Harrisonburg, Virginia, the main newsroom, and in Staunton, Virginia, the Augusta County Newsroom.

WHSV News Daybreak has also received recognition as one of the top ten most-watched morning news shows in the United States. [3]

WHSV simulcasts its digital signal on channel 42, also called WHSV-TV, which is licensed to Harrisonburg, but located on Signal Knob near Strasburg, Virginia and serves the Winchester/Front Royal area.

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Digital television[]

The station's digital signal, on UHF 49, is multiplexed. WHSV originally planned on ceasing its analog broadcasting of February 17, 2009, the original deadline of the federally-mandated digital conversion. The station restored the signal the following Friday however, because several translator stations in communities such as Bergton that are owned by local cooperatives and county governments were unable to convert their transmitters to reconvert the digital signal into analog form [4], along with viewers who could receive the Channel 3 signal well on analog, but not at all digitally.

The station ended its analog signal on June 12, 2009, the new, federally-mandated date.

The station's digital signal is retained at channel 49 following the digital transition; however the station can tune to channel 3 using PSIP.

Channel Programming Description
3.1 Main WHSV programming (ABC)
3.2 The Valley's FOX (Fox) The Fox affiliate for the Shenandoah Valley owned and operated by WHSV. Available on Comcast cable channel 192 in Harrisonburg and Direct TV.
3.3 TV3 Winchester (ABC/This TV) On March 5, 2007, WHSV launched "TV3 Winchester", an ABC affiliate for Winchester, Virginia. The station is a joint project between WHSV and Shenandoah University. Along with Winchester, the station serves Frederick, Clarke, Warren, and Shenandoah counties in Virginia. The station also shows This TV programming during the overnight hours. Although the station transmits an over-the-air signal on WHSV's DT3 digital subchannel, it can only be seen on cable in its primary coverage area.
3.4 My Valley (MyNetworkTV) The MyNetworkTV affiliate for the Shenandoah Valley owned and operated by WHSV. Available on Comcast cable channel 2 in Harrisonburg and Direct TV.

WHSV currently have a construction permit for a digital fill-in translator on Channel 42 which will serve areas northeast of the city.[5] WHSV also applied for a translator on Channel 51 in Staunton.[6]


Early years[]

Channel 3 signed on October 6, 1953 as WSVA-TV (for We Serve Virginia Agriculture). It was owned by Frederick L. Allman and his Shenandoah Valley Broadcasting Corporation along with WSVA radio (AM 550 and FM 100.7, now WQPO). The station was a primary NBC affiliate, with secondary CBS and ABC affiliations. The station also carried DuMont programs.[7] It was the only commercial station between Richmond and Roanoke until WVIR-TV signed on from Charlottesville in 1973.

[2][3]Circa 1970Although it was owned by one of Virginia's leading broadcasters, WSVA-TV operated on a shoestring budget. Station engineers switched to and from the signals of the three network affiliates in Washington, D.C. because it was unable to afford direct network feeds. [1] It didn't air local programs (except for news) until 1956. It dropped CBS in 1963.

In 1965, the WSVA stations were sold to James Gilmore, Jr., a Michigan businessman. Under Gilmore's ownership, the station became a primary ABC affiliate in 1968 -- an unusual move since it was the only station in its market; ABC was not nearly on par with CBS and NBC at the time. It picked up The Today Show from 1968 to 1975 (when Good Morning America debuted), but only aired the second hour of the show since the station didn't sign on until 8 a.m. (a practice that continued well into the 1970s). On occasion, engineers forgot to switch over for local breaks, resulting in channel 3 airing the local breaks from WMAL-TV (now WJLA-TV) in Washington, which provided the ABC feed over the network lines to WSVA.

In 1975, the Federal Communications Commission ruled that if a market had only one FM radio station, one AM radio station and one television station, they could not be owned by the same person. In the same year, channel 3 dropped the remaining NBC programs from its schedule. Gilmore sold WSVA-TV to Benedek Broadcasting in 1976, and the station assumed its current calls, WHSV. Under Benedek, the station was finally able to buy a network feed.

The 1990s and a new studio[]

[4][5]TV-3 logo used during the 1990sIn the early 1990s, the station started its weekday newscast at noon.

Until 1999, WHSV’s main studio was located along U.S. Route 33, west of Harrisonburg. Construction of a new broadcast facility in downtown Harrisonburg began in 1998. WHSV relocated to its new home in the spring of 1999.

Benedek went bankrupt in 2002, and most of its stations, including WHSV, were bought by Gray Television. A 5pm weekday newscast was also added in that same year. At that time, a new set was constructed in the station's Augusta County Newsroom in Staunton. The streetside set featured a window overlooking Downtown Staunton along West Frederick Street. The 5pm weekday newscast became WHSV’s first newscast to originate from the Augusta County Newsroom. In October 2003, WHSV began originating its 5pm newscast from both Harrisonburg and Staunton. WHSV's 6pm weekday newscast also originated from both Staunton and Harrisonburg for a brief period in the spring of 2004. During that time, WHSV’s 6pm weekday newscast featured three anchors. The three-anchor, dual-city format was abandoned after a few months.

WHSV purchased its first microwave live truck in 2004. Prior to that, the station relied on rented equipment for remote broadcasts. Since 2004, WHSV has purchased additional microwave equipment for use by its news department.

Also in 2004, WHSV’s parent company, Gray Communications, launched WCAV in Charlottesville. WHSV management played a major role in the launch of WCAV, providing managerial, sales, and human resources support. Several members of WHSV’s news and production staff transferred to WCAV following its launch in August 2004. Also that year, WHSV's Charlottesville translator was broken off as a separate ABC affiliate, WVAW.

Big changes[]

2006 was a year of significant change at WHSV. On February 27, 2006, WHSV’s weekday morning Daybreak newscast began airing at 5am instead of the previous 5:30. This coincided with the debut of new weather technology purchased from WSI Corporation.

WHSV’s Harrisonburg and Augusta County news studios underwent a dramatic overhaul in April 2006 with the addition of new sets and studio camera equipment. WHSV newscasts were broadcast from a temporary studio in the Harrisonburg newsroom during the two week construction period. New sets debuted at 5am on April 24, 2006. At that time, portions of WHSV’s previous set, which was used from 1999 until 2006, were donated to nearby Turner Ashby High School.

News Director Van Hackett announced his retirement from the station in 2006. Hackett served as WHSV’s news director from December 2003 until August 2006. Hackett was succeeded by former TV-3 reporter Ed Reams, who left a job at WDSU in New Orleans, LA to return to the Shenandoah Valley. On July 21, 2006, popular weather anchor Jay Webb left after six years with the station. Webb accepted a job with WDBJ in Roanoke, VA. Webb enjoyed a week long send-off from his on-air colleagues before his final WHSV broadcast on July 21.

During the late summer and early fall of 2006, WHSV underwent major technical upgrades to make way for the station’s new digital subchannels. A large tower was built behind the station’s Harrisonburg studios to accommodate the additional satellite receivers needed for WHSV’s Fox and MyNetworkTV ventures. WHSV’s main analog transmitter was replaced during the week of August 31, 2006. Broadcasts were only available to viewers with cable while the transmitter was being replaced.

On October 30, 2006, WHSV dropped longtime 5:30 pm program The Andy Griffith Show in favor of a 5:30 pm newscast anchored by recently promoted Melanie Lofton. This coincided with the debut of a new logo for the station and updated newscast graphics. While the logo itself was new, elements of a previous graphics package were retained. WHSV also began branding itself as "WHSV News 3" during newscasts. On November 27, 2006, WHSV dropped Gari Communications' "Making a Difference" in favor of 615 Music's "News One" as its news open music.

[6][7]WHSV logo used from 1999-Fall 2006Over the Thanksgiving 2006 weekend, the and the websites received a huge makeover. Most of the Gray Communications stations have adopted this new website layout.

Until WVIR-TV signed on from Charlottesville in 1973, channel 3 was the only commercial television station between Richmond and Roanoke. It opened a translator on channel 64 in Charlottesville in 1979. In 2004, the Charlottesville translator became a separate station, WVAW-LP on channel 16.


On June 15, 2009, WHSV revamped its website,

On Wednesday, January 16, 2008, WHSV announced that their three major networks, WHSV, The Valley's FOX, and My Valley, would be available on the Direct TV lineup.

On Monday, April 7, 2008, the WHSV 5pm and 5:30pm newscasts consisted of a three-anchor lineup with Melanie Lofton, Bob Corso, and meteorologist Tracy Turner. This new format came along with a new arrangement of the newscast.

On Tuesday, June 10, 2008, WHSV announced that it expected its newscasts to be in HD by the end of the year 2008. This has not happened yet. No updated date for HD newscasts has been given.

WHSV has also added a Facebook and Twitter account displaying the latest local news. [8][9] TV-3 Winchester has done the same.

Voice of the Valley[]

Every year, WHSV sponsors a singing competition called "Voice of the Valley". The idea originated from former WHSV personality Jenealle Smith. WHSV shows finalist on WHSV News 3 at Noon all week of the Rockingham County Fair and have a one hour finale live from the fair. Personalities include Ben Jones and the Cooters Garage Band.[citation needed]


  • WHSV News 3 Daybreak
  • WHSV News 3 at Noon
  • WHSV News 3 at 5pm
  • WHSV News 3 at 6pm
  • WHSV News 3 11@11


  • The Endzone (11:25pm to 12:05am, Friday Nights during high school football season) - Is a joint production between WHSV and TV3 Winchester and is broadcast on both stations at the same time.
  • WHSV Sports X-tra is an online sports show produced by WHSV Sport Director's Damon Dillman and Zac Choate. It covers the latest news and talk about sports happenings over the previous week.
  • Light for Today is religious programming which airs on WHSV Sunday mornings at 11:30 AM. It is broadcast from People's Baptist Church in Harrisonburg and is produced by WHSV.
  • Virginia Dream Centerstage is a music and variety show that occasionally airs on WHSV. It is produced and broadcast by WHSV.

On-air staff[]

Current on-air staff[]

News team

Weather team

Sports team

Notable former on-air staff[]

  • George Kessler - Chief Meteorologist, now Chief Meteorologist at KBJR and KDLH
  • Ed Alwood - Weekend Anchor/Reporter (1973-1975, now a professor of journalism)
  • Jane Smith - 6 and 11pm co-anchor, Daybreak Anchor, Reporter (1994-1998, now at KGW-TV)
  • Julie Bidwell - Daybreak Co-Anchor, Noon Anchor (1997-2000, now at Fox News Channel as Julie Banderas)
  • Elliott Wiser-Charlottesville reporter(1981-1982, now Corporate VP of News and Local Programming at Bright House Networks)
  • Chris Suchan - Weather (late 1990s, now at WBTV-TV)
  • Ron Magnuson - Reporter, Weekend Anchor (late 1990s, now at WSOC-TV)
  • Kevin Schultze - Reporter (Early 1990s, at WJLA-TV 'til 2005, now at "Soapbox Consulting" in Washington DC)
  • Beth Parker - Reporter, Anchor (early 1990s, now at WTTG-TV)
  • Andrew Speno - Weekend Anchor, Reporter (late 1990s, now at KOKH-TV)
  • J.J. Davis - Weekend Sports Anchor, Sports Director (1991-2000, now at KPTM-TV)
  • Brian North - Sports Director (1992-1998, now at WCTI-TV)
  • Jeff Radcliffe - Sports Anchor (1998, now at Bright House Sports Network)
  • Meredyth Censullo - Reporter, Weather Anchor (late 1990s, now at WTSP-TV)
  • Thomas Tobin - Reporter (1998-1999, now a producer at WTTG-TV)
  • Tom Patton - Weather Anchor (late 1990s, now at WWBT-TV)
  • Dan Bewley - Daybreak Co-Anchor (2000-2003, now at WOOD-TV
  • Rachel DePompa - Reporter, Weekend Anchor (1999-2002, now at WWBT-TV)
  • Susan Bahorich - Reporter, Daybreak Co-Anchor (2000-2003, now at WDBJ-TV)
  • Melissa Tune - Reporter (1999-2001, now at WRDW-TV)
  • Melissa DiPane - Augusta County Reporter (1999-2002, now at WOFL-TV)
  • Danielle Banks - Augusta County Reporter, Weather (2000-2003, now at The Weather Channel)
  • Jay Webb - Weekend Weather Anchor, Daybreak Weather Anchor (2000-2006, now at WDBJ-TV)
  • Michelle Smith - 6 and 11pm Co-Anchor (2001-2003, now at WRGB-TV)
  • Erin Tate - Reporter (2002-2003, now at WCMH-TV)
  • Amy Kehm - Reporter, Weekend Anchor, 5pm Co-Anchor (2002-2006, now at WHTM-TV)
  • Mike Mueller - Augusta County Reporter (2004-2006, now at WTAJ-TV)
  • Meryl Conant - Augusta County Reporter (2004-2006, now a senior publicist for CNN)
  • Evan Fitzgerald - Augusta County Reporter, Daybreak Co-Anchor (2004-2007, now at WZVN-TV)
  • Brianne Carter - Augusta County Reporter (2005-2006, now at WJLA/News Channel 8)
  • Megan Bennett- Daybreak Meteorologist (2006-2007, now at KEYE-TV)
  • Lauren McKay - Reporter (2005-2006) Weekend Anchor (2007) (now a producer at WJLA/News Channel 8)
  • Joe Downs - Weekend Sports Anchor (2002-2003) Sports Director (2003-2007, now at WLIO-TV)
  • Shane Symolon - Staunton Reporter (2006-2008, now at WWLP-TV)
  • Kelly Creswell - Harrisonburg Reporter (2006-2008, now at WJLA-TV/Newschannel 8)
  • Tracey Neale - Reporter (Early 1990s, formerly of DC's WTTG-TV and WUSA-TV)
  • Tara Brown - 5, 6, and 11pm Co-Anchor (2002-2004, now at WEAR-TV)
  • James Jackson - Reporter (2006-2008, now at WTOV-TV)
  • Tim Saunders - Reporter, Weekend Anchor (2003-2006, now at WDBJ-TV)
  • Van Hackett - 6pm Co-Anchor, News Director (2003-2006, retired)
  • Jamie Curott - 6 and 11pm Co-Anchor (2004-2008, now at WJAC-TV)
  • Mike McNeil - Daybreak and Noon Anchor (2006-2009, now at KBTV-TV)

Notable former management and marketing staff[]

  • Robert Glen "Bob" Bolyard - Marketing and Sales Management (1978-1995) deceased

News/station presentation[]

Newscast titles[]

  • TV-3 Action News (late 1970s-mid 1980s)
  • NewsCenter 3 (late 1980s-mid 1990s)
  • TV-3 News (late 1990s-2006)
  • WHSV News 3 (2006-present)

Station slogans[]

  • Making a Difference (1998-2006)
  • On Air. Online. On the Go. (2006-present)

External links[]


  1. ^
  2. ^ The Broadcasting and Cable Yearbook says October 19, while the Television and Cable Factbook says October 9.
  3. ^ McNeil Profile, WHSV Daybreak Recognition
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Television Highlights". Cumberland Evening Times (Cumberland, MD): pp. 21. 1954-06-01.
  8. ^
  9. ^