Radio-TV Broadcast History

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Montgomery, Alabama /Dothan, Alabama
Branding WSFA 12 (general)

WSFA 12 News (newscasts)

Slogan Coverage. Community. Commitment. (primary)
Channels Digital: 12 (VHF)
Subchannels 12.1 NBC12.2 Local News, Local Weather, & RTV
Affiliations National Broadcasting Company
Owner Raycom Media

(WSFA License Subsidiary, LLC)

First air date December 25, 1954
Call letters' meaning With the South'sFinest Airport [1]
Sister station(s) WDFX-TV
Former callsigns WSFA-TV (1954-1986)
Former channel number(s) Analog: 12 (1954-2009)

Digital: 14 (2002-2009)

Former affiliations NBC Weather Plus

(on DT2)

Transmitter power 31.6 kW
Height 598 m
Facility ID 13993
Transmitter coordinates 31°58′28.6″N 86°9′44.2″W / 31.974611°N 86.162278°W / 31.974611; -86.162278

[edit] Digital programming[]

The station's signal is multiplexed. On WSFA-DT2, Knology digital channel 121, and Charter digital channel 136 is a 24-hour local weather channel. On WSFA-DT3, Knology digital channel 122, and Charter digital channel 148 is the Retro Television Network (RTV).[2] It airs Daytime on weekday mornings at 9.

Channel Name Programming
12.1 WSFA-DT main WSFA programming / NBC HD
12.2 WSFA-DT2 News, Weather, Retro Television Network

[edit] History[]

The call letters SFA stand for South's Finest Airport. They can be traced back to 1930 when Gordon Persons (later to become Governor of Alabama) opened the state's fourth radio station in Montgomery. It was located in what is now the Gunter Annex of Maxwell Air Force Base but was then Montgomery Regional Airport. Persons publicized the station with the call letters and the slogan. WSFA quickly became a landmark in Montgomery and the station was most famous in its early days for launching the career of country music legend Hank Williams, a native of nearby Georgiana, in the 1940s. By the mid-1950s, the new medium of television was sweeping the nation and Persons won the construction permit for Montgomery's second television station on channel 12. Ironically, channel 12 was supposed to be occupied by Montgomery's first television station, WCOV-TV. However, due to a delay in getting a transmitter for channel 12, WCOV was forced to move to channel 20.

On Christmas Day 1954, WSFA-TV aired its first broadcast. When the television studios were built, the radio station moved into the facility. In February 1955, just two months after going on-the-air, the radio and television stations were purchased by the Gaylord family's Oklahoma Publishing Company. At that time, they were operated by a staff of 35. In 1956, the radio station was sold, changed its call letters to WHHY, and moved to a downtown location.[3] The television station now operating apart from its former namesake radio partner, was sold again to the Broadcasting Company of the South of Columbia in 1959. The Broadcasting Company of the South, a subsidiary of Liberty Life Insurance Company, renamed itself Cosmos Broadcasting Corporation in 1965.

Later in the decade, Liberty reorganized itself as The Liberty Corporation with Cosmos and Liberty Life as its subsidiaries. WSFA was the area's only VHF station until 1985. In 1986, it dropped the "-TV" suffix. Liberty exited the insurance business in 2002 bringing the station directly under the Liberty banner. Liberty merged with Raycom in 2006. Since that company is headquartered in Montgomery, this made WSFA Raycom's flagship station. However, with their 2006 purchase of Lincoln Financial Media's television stations, WSFA now shares flagship status with Charlotte's WBTV. Tracing back from its humble beginnings as the upstart television arm of a local radio station, WSFA is still broadcasting from its original south Montgomery location. Several expansions of the Delano Avenue facility now provide room for a staff of more than 100 and two large telecasting studios. It originally aired a digital signal on UHF channel 14. On June 12, 2009 for the final shutdown of analog television, WSFA reverted its digital signal back to its analog channel.[4] [3][4]The graphics and title card used on each newscast.[5][6]RTN logo when it was broadcast on 12.3. Now on 12.2==[edit] News operation== WSFA's news department has long been one of the most respected in the South. As the only VHF station in town for 31 years, it has been the dominant news station in Montgomery for as long as records have been kept. The station has always devoted significant resources to its news department, resulting in a higher-quality product than conventional wisdom would suggest for a station in the 118th market.

Not long after the Gaylords bought the station, they dispatched Frank McGee, anchorman at company flagship WKY-TV (now KFOR-TV) in Oklahoma City, to Montgomery as news director. Under McGee, WSFA gained a national reputation for its coverage (fed periodically to the NBC network) of local events in the Civil Rights Movement such as the Bus Boycott of 1955 involving Rosa Parks and the varied activities of Martin Luther King, Jr. during his pastorate at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church. McGee eventually joined NBC News as a correspondent, and hosted Today from 1971 to his death in 1974.

When Liberty bought WSFA in 1959, it saw that WSFA had already developed an image as a news-intensive station and began developing strong news departments at its other stations as well. Today, WSFA airs over 30 hours of news per week, more than any station in Montgomery.

On January 15, 2007, WSFA 12 News added a new newscast at 11 a.m., Alabama LIVE!. The show reflects on WSFA 12's slogan which is "Coverage, Community, Commitment". Special guests are on the show every day. The show's hosted by WSFA 12 News Anchor Kim Hendrix.

On Monday, January 7, 2008, WSFA 12 News launched a 35 minute newscast, Fox News at Nine, which airs on two Fox affiliates one hour earlier than WSFA 12 News at 10. It's called "Fox News at Nine" because it has local news for two Fox affiliates, WCOV-TV (FOX 20) in Montgomery, Alabama and WDFX-TV (FOX 34) in Dothan, Alabama.

On Saturday, August 3, 2008, WSFA 12 News began broadcasting their local newscasts in high definition. The news set and the graphics were redesigned in the transition. On Monday, September 8, 2008, WSFA 12 News officially added an extra 30 minutes to Alabama LIVE!. The show was formerly 30 minutes. Now, it's one full hour, leading into WSFA 12 News at Noon.

On Monday, September 15, 2008, WSFA 12 News Anchor Tonya Terry became the host of her own show called, Talk with Tonya. The show comes on every Monday at 9am on one of WSFA 12's digital channels, 12.3 (Retro Television Network). On Sunday, October 12, 2008, WSFA 12 News premiered a new Sunday morning newscast, Today In Alabama: Sunday Special Edition. The show is anchored by WSFA 12 News Anchor Sally Pitts and Doppler 12 StormVision Meteorologist Allyson Rae.

On Monday, November 3, 2008, the Doppler 12 StormVision Network made the debut of their new Alfa SkyVision cameras.

In January 2009, WSFA 12 News and several of their Raycom sister-stations added a new feature to their website. WSFA 12's feature is called "My 12".

On January 25, 2009, WSFA 12 News returned a live 30-minute call-in show, Law Call. The show airs Sunday nights at 11pm.

On December 31, 2009, WSFA 12 dropped its third digital subchannel (12.3), which carried RTV programming, in order to start beta testing of applications that would transmit its signal to mobile devices.

On February 8, 2010, WSFA resumed RTV programming on the second digital subchannel, WSFA 12.2. It's now mixed in with local newscasts, weather, and syndicated programming.

[edit] Special Reports[]

  • Money Saving Mondays - Each Monday, WSFA 12 News Anchor Mark Bullock introudces helpful tips and tricks to saving money.
  • Food For Thought - Each Thursday on the 5 and 10 p.m. newscasts, WSFA 12's Mark Bullock gives selected health ratings of local restaurants, as provided by their counties' public health departments.
  • Class Act - Each Monday during the school-year at 10 pm, WSFA 12 News Anchor Judd Davis spotlights an outstanding teacher, nominated by area viewers.
  • WSFA 12 News Editorials - Twice each week, WSFA 12 News Vice President & General Manager Ken Selvaggi provides commentary on an issue of local or national importance, while also soliciting viewer responses or rebuttals. Guest editorialists are also featured from time to time.
  • County Road 12 - Every Friday on WSFA 12 News at 6 p.m., Judd Davis visits places across central and south Alabama for an unusual segment focusing on residents with pursuits or real-life stories.
  • Crime Stoppers - Each Monday on WSFA 12 News at 6 p.m., WSFA 12 News Reporter Jennifer Oravet reports on people in the area who are suspects of crimes to area police and sheriff's departments.
  • Friday Night Football Fever - Every Friday night during football season after the abbreviated 10 p.m. newscast, the WSFA 12 Sports team heads out to local high schools in the area to provide video reports of selected games and scores from all others throughout central and southern Alabama.

[edit] Raycom News Network[]

WSFA 12 News is part of the Raycom News Network, a system designed to rapidly share information among Raycom's widespread group of television stations and websites. A regional network has developed among Montgomery's WSFA, Birmingham's WBRC , Huntsville's WAFF and Columbus' WTVM in which stations share information, equipment such as satellite trucks or even reporters' stories. Sports, weather and special report stories come from various Raycom stations. With television stations in 3 of Alabama's 4 largest cities, minus the city of Mobile, the Raycom News Network covers virtually the entire state.

[edit] Syndicated/Local Programming[]

[edit] Newscasts[]


  • Today in Alabama - 5-7am
  • Alabama LIVE! - 11am-12pm
  • WSFA 12 News at Noon - 12-12:30pm
  • WSFA 12 News at 5pm - 5-5:30pm
  • WSFA 12 News at 6pm - 6-6:30pm
  • FOX News at Nine - 9-9:35pm
  • WSFA 12 News at 10 - 10-10:35pm


  • WSFA 12 News at 6 - 6-7pm
  • FOX News At Nine - 9-9:35pm
  • WSFA 12 News at 10 - 10:30pm


  • Today in Alabama: Sunday Special Edition - 9-9:30am
  • WSFA 12 News at 5 - 5:5:30pm
  • FOX News at Nine - 9-9:30pm
  • WSFA 12 News at 10 - 10-11pm

[edit] News Team[]

News Anchors:

  • Tonya Terry - Weekdays, Today in Alabama, Alabama LIVE!
  • Judd Davis - Weekdays, Today in Alabama, Alabama LIVE!
  • Sally Pitts - Weekdays, WSFA 12 News at Noon
  • Mark Bullock - Weeknights, WSFA 12 News at 5, FOX News At Nine
  • Valorie Lawson - Weeknights, WSFA 12 News at 5, 6, & 10
  • Bob Howell - Weeknights, WSFA 12 News at 6 & 10, Inside Alabama's Legislature
  • Cody Holyoke - Weekends, WSFA 12 News at 6 (Saturdays), 5 (Sundays), 10 & FOX News At Nine
  • Jennifer Oravet - Sundays, Today In Alabama

News Reporters:

  • Bethany Wales - General Assignment Reporter (Mornings)
  • Eileen Jones - General Assignment/Legislative & Political Reporter
  • Bryan Henry - General Assignment Reporter, "Making A Difference" segment
  • Sally Pitts - General Assignment/Education Reporter
  • Jennifer Oravet - General Assignment Reporter
  • Cody Holyoke - General Assignment Reporter
  • Melissa McKinney - General Assignment/Weekend Reporter
  • Daniel Curtis - General Assignment Reporter, WSFA 12 Wiregrass Newsroom
  • Melissa Johnson - General Assignment/Weekend Reporter, WSFA 12 Wiregrass Newsroom

Traffic Tracker:

  • Andi Scott - Weekdays, Today In Alabama (Also heard on WLWI-FM)

Doppler 12 StormVision Meteorologists:

  • Rich Thomas - Weeknights, Chief Meteorologist, WSFA 12 News at 6 & 10, Fox News at Nine on Fridays
  • Josh Johnson - Weekdays, Meteorologist, Today in Alabama, Alabama LIVE!, WSFA 12 News at Noon
  • Allyson Rae - Meteorologist, (Sun) Today in Alabama, WSFA 12 News at 5 & 10, (Sun-Thurs) Fox News at Nine
  • Dan Atkinson - Saturdays, Meteorologist, WSFA 12 News at 6, 10 & Fox News at Nine

WSFA 12 Sports Team:

  • Jeff Shearer - Monday-Thursday, Sports Director, WSFA 12 News at 6, 10, and FOX News At Nine
  • Derek Styer - Friday-Sunday, WSFA 12 News at 6 & 10, FOX News At Nine


  • Kim Wanous - Sundays, Host of Law Call
  • Gibson Vance - Sundays, Host Attorney of Law Call

[edit] News Team Timeline:[]

Name: Span: Current Position: Previous Position(s): Before WSFA:
Tonya Terry September 2002-Present Today In Alabama, Alabama LIVE! (as of May 2010) Today In Alabama, WSFA 12 News at Noon WAAY in Huntsville, AL
Judd Davis June 2004-Present Today In Alabama, Alabama LIVE! (as of May 2010) Today In Alabama, WSFA 12 News at Noon KIVI in Boise, ID
Sally Pitts 2002-Present WSFA 12 News at Noon, General Assignment Reporter (as of June 2010) Weekend Anchor/Reporter, Producer Joined WSFA's production dept. after college
Mark Bullock 1998-Present WSFA 12 News at 5, FOX News At Nine WSFA 12 News at 5, Weekend Anchor WRBL in Columbus, GA
Valorie Lawson May 2006-Present WSFA 12 News at 5, 6, 10 (as of May 2010) WSFA 12 News at 6 & 10 WBMA in Birmingham, AL
Bob Howell August 1976-1998, June 2004-Present WSFA 12 News at 6 & 10 WSFA 12 News at 5, 6, & 10 WNCF
Cody Holyoke June 2007-Present Weekend Anchor/General Assignment Reporter (as of June 2010) General Assignment Reporter Joined WSFA from college
Jennifer Oravet 2006-Present Sunday Morning Anchor/General Assignment Reporter (as of June 2010) Morning Reporter, Evening Reporter, Producer WVTM in Birmingham, AL
Eileen Jones 1992-Present General Assignment/Political Reporter Auburn University
Bryan Henry November 1995-Present General Assignment Reporter (as of 1997) Assignment Editor
Bethany Wales 2000-Present Morning General Assignment Reporter (as of late 2010) Producer
Melissa McKinney October 2008-Present General Assignment Reporter (as of 2009) Wiregrass Newsroom Reporter
Daniel Curtis January 2008-Present Wiregrass Newsroom Reporter Joined from a Macon, GA station
Melissa Johnson January 2008-Present Wiregrass Newsroom Reporter (as of June 2009) Producer Joined WSFA from college
Andi Scott 1996-Present Traffic Reporter
Rich Thomas August 1981-Present Chief Meteorologist (as of 1983) Weekend Meteorologist WHHY-FM] in Montgomery, AL
Josh Johnson July 2008-Present Morning/Noon Meteorologist WXIA in Atlanta
Allyson Rae October 2007-Present Sunday-Thursday 9pm Meteoroligst (2008) Noon Meteorologist KNOE in Monroe, Louisiana
Dan Atkinson 1974-1982, 2006-Present Saturday Meteorologist (as of 2008) Weekend Meteorologist (2006-2008), Chief Meteorologist WSB-TV in Atlanta
Jeff Shearer 1991-Present Sports Director (as of 2003) Sports Anchor/Reporter
Derek Styer 1998-Present Weekend Sports Anchor KAIT in Jonesboro, AK

[edit] Former on-air staff[]

  • Ashley Anderson - News Reporter (Left in 2007, Now at WAFF-TV in Huntsville, AL as Bobby Shuttleworth)
  • Michael Briddell - News Anchor/Education Reporter (Left in 2004, Now Assistant to Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange)
  • Abby Chin - Sports Reporter (Left in 2008, Now with WIAT in Birmingham, AL)
  • Barry Davis - News Anchor (Now at KENS in San Antonio, TX)
  • Mickey Ferguson - Weather Anchor, (Now at WBRC-TV in Birmingham, AL)
  • Jeff Gerber - Meteorologist (Left in 2005)
  • Gina Gregory - News Co-Anchor with Bob Howell for much of the 1980s, now District 7 City Councilwoman in Mobile, AL
  • David Hagood - Morning Anchor (Left in 2004, went to a local Colonial Bank branch, WAKA-TV 2005-2007, 2008–2009, now in Selma, AL
  • Rob Hatchell - Morning/Noon Meteorologist (2006–2008,Now Chief Meteorologist at WMBF-TV in Myrtle Beach, SC)
  • John Heckman - Sports Anchor/Reporter (Left in 2007)
  • Kim Hendrix - Original "Alabama LIVE!" host, 5pm anchor [had been a producer, weekend anchor, main anchor prior at this station] (1990-May 2010, now at St. James School in Montgomery)
  • Chris Holmes - News Anchor/Investigative Reporter, FOX News At Nine (1990s-Left in 2008, now working at a Washington, D.C. Physics Lab)
  • Beth Jett - News Anchor/Reporter (Now at KQDS-TV in Duluth, Minnesota)
  • Carrie Johnson - Morning/Noon Anchor; Original co-host of "Today In Alabama" (Now executive assistant to Alabama Power CEO)
  • Deloris Keith - News Anchor (Left in 2005; Currently in Atlanta, Georgia)
  • Frank McGee - News director and anchorman
  • Julie Martin - Meteorologist
  • Kyle Montgomery - Sports Anchor/Reporter (2007–2008, Now with NBA sports in Atlanta)
  • Stacy Nuemann - News Reporter (Left in 2007)
  • Joey Parker - Weekday News Anchor (Left in 2003, Now at WCJB-TV)
  • Keysha Perry - News Reporter (Currently a high school teacher in Georgia).
  • Jennifer Schram - Meteorologist
  • Phil Snow - Sports Anchor (1974-2003)
  • James Spann - Sports Anchor (Now chief meteorologist at WBMA/WCFT/WJSU in Birmingham, AL)
  • Gene Hocutt - Meteorologist/Announcer (semi-retired from private business)
  • Bill Taylor - Morning/Noon Meteorologist; Original "Today in Alabama" co-host (Now at KENS-TV in San Antonio, Texas).
  • Theo Travers - News Reporter (Left in 2006 for WREG-TV, Currently pursuing career in Hollywood, California)
  • Jennifer Van Vraken - Weekday news anchor (Now at WVUE-TV in New Orleans)
  • Ryan Vaughn - Morning/Noon Meteorologist (Left in 2006, Now Chief Meteorologist at KAIT-TV in Jonesboro, AR)
  • Debbie Williams - News Reporter (Now at WKRG-TV in Mobile, AL)
  • Alex Wystrach Weekend Anchor/Reporter (Now NFL reporter)

[edit] News/station presentation[]

[edit] Newscast titles[]

  • News Room With Frank McGee (1955–1956)
  • WSFA-TV News (1956–1986)
  • WSFA News 12 (1986-1990s)
  • WSFA 12 News (late 1990s-present)

[edit] Station slogans[]

  • Channel 12, Proud as a Peacock! (1979–1981; localized version of NBC slogan)
  • Alabama's News Center (early 1980s-1985)
  • Channel 12, Our Pride is Showing (1981–1982; localized version of NBC slogan)
  • We're Channel 12, Just Watch Us Now (1982–1983; localized version of NBC slogan)
  • Alabama's News Source (1985–2003)
  • Come Home to the Best, Only on Channel 12 (1988–1990; localized version of NBC slogan)
  • Channel 12, The Place To Be (1990–1991; localized version of NBC slogan)
  • Coverage. Community. Commitment. (2003–present)
  • Where Team Meets Technology (weather slogan)
  • Breaking news FIRST on (station website)

[edit] References[]

  1. ^ Nelson, Bob (2008-10-18). "Call Letter Origins". The Broadcast Archive. Retrieved 2008-10-31.
  2. ^ Equity Media Holdings Corporation - RTN to Launch in Montgomery,
  3. ^ History of WSFA-TV,
  4. ^

[edit] External links[]