Radio-TV Broadcast History

WTVD, channel 11, is an owned-and-operated station of the Walt Disney Company-owned ABC television network, licensed to Durham, North Carolina. The station serves the areas of Durham, Raleigh, Chapel Hill, and Fayetteville, known as the Triangle. WTVD's main studios, offices and newsroom are located in downtown Durham, along with additional studio facilities in both Raleigh and Fayetteville. The station's transmitter is located near Auburn, North Carolina.

Durham / Raleigh /

Fayetteville, North Carolina

City of license Durham, North Carolina
Branding ABC 11 (general)

ABC 11 Eyewitness News (newscasts)

Slogan Breaking News.

Breaking Stories.

Channels Digital: 11 (VHF)

Virtual: 11 (PSIP)

Subchannels 11.1 ABC

11.2 Live Well HD 11.3 AccuWeather

Affiliations ABC (secondary, 1954-1962; sole affiliate 1985-present)
Owner Disney/ABC

(WTVD Television, LLC)

First air date September 2, 1954
Call letters' meaning TeleVision Durham
Former channel number(s) Analog:

11 (VHF, 1954-2009) Digital: 52 (UHF)

Former affiliations NBC (sole affiliate 1954-1956, secondary 1962-1971)

CBS (1956-1985)

Transmitter power 45 kW
Height 615 m
Facility ID 8617
Transmitter coordinates 35°40′5″N 78°31′59″W / 35.66806°N 78.53306°W / 35.66806; -78.53306

Digital programming[]

The station's signal is multiplexed:



Video Aspect Programming
11.1 720p 16:9 main WTVD programming / ABC HD
11.2 720p 16:9 Live Well HD
11.3 480i 4:3 "Eyewitness News Now"

On June 12, 2009 at 12:30 P.M., WTVD ended analog transmissions on VHF channel 11 as part of the DTV transition in the United States. The station had been broadcasting a digitial signal on channel 52 prior to then, but moved back to channel 11 for its post-transition operations. On September 23, 2009, the station filed an application to the Federal Communications Commission to increase its effective radiated power from 20.7 to 45 kilowatts. [1]


In 1952, two rival companies each applied for a license to build a television station in Durham on the city's newly allotted VHF channel 11 – Herald-Sun Newspapers (publishers of the Durham Morning Herald and the Durham Sun as well as the owners of radio station WDNC) and Floyd Fletcher and Harmon Duncan, the then-owners of WTIK radio. In December 1953, the two sides agreed to join forces and operate the station under the joint banner Durham Broadcasting Enterprises. Eight months later, on September 2, 1954, WTVD began broadcasting with a black-and-white film of the Star Spangled Banner. It was originally a primary NBC affiliate, with a secondary ABC affiliation. Its initial studios were located in a former tuberculosis sanitorium at 2410 Broad Street, with a transmitter located atop Signal Hill in northern Durham County. Channel 11 is the Triangle's oldest surviving television station, having signed on a few months after CBS affiliate WNAO-TV (channel 28).

On May 22, 1957, Durham Broadcasting Enterprises merged with Albany, New York-based Hudson Valley Broadcasting Company, owners of WCDA-TV (now WTEN) to form Capital Cities Television Corporation (predecessor of Capital Cities Communications). Around 1958, WTVD built a 1,500-foot (460 m) tower at its present transmitter site in Garner to better serve the market. That same year, the station first began broadcasting in color, although it would be until 1966 before the same was true for local programming.

WRAL-TV (channel 5), owned by local firm Capitol Broadcasting Company, started in 1956 and took over as the Triangle's NBC affiliate. CBS then dropped its affiliation with the under-performing WNAO-TV and gave it to WTVD. During the late 1950s, the station was also briefly affiliated with the NTA Film Network.[2] When WNAO-TV stopped broadcasting in 1959 due to financial difficulties, channel 11 began sharing ABC programming with WRAL-TV.

After WRAL took the ABC affiliation full-time in 1962, WTVD was forced to shoehorn CBS and NBC programming onto its schedule. This was a very unusual arrangement for what was then a two-station market. Although the market got a third commercial station six years later when channel 28 returned to the airwaves as WRDU-TV (now WRDC), WTVD "cherry picked" the most popular CBS and NBC programs, leaving WRDU with the lower-rated shows from both networks, until 1971. At that time the FCC, intervening on behalf of WRDU's owners and in the interest of protecting the development of UHF, ordered WTVD to select one network. Channel 11 decided to go with CBS full-time, allowing WRDU to become an exclusive NBC station (it is now affiliated with myNetworkTV).

In 1978, WTVD attempted to expand its broadcast coverage to the Fayetteville area, which had been without a television station of its own for nearly two decades. Its studios were relocated to their current location on Liberty Street in downtown Durham on a parcel of land it shares with the Durham County Library; it also built its current 2,000-foot (610 m) tower in Garner. A fire on March 4, 1979 caused extensive damage to the newly built studio building; however, the newsroom and a number of other key components had been rebuilt within a month. By that time, much of WTVD's operations had returned to normal, although it had resorted to temporary setups during the interim such as holding the newscasts in one of the meeting rooms that survived the aforementioned crisis unscathed.

On March 18, 1985, WTVD's owner, Capital Cities, announced it was purchasing ABC. Five months later, on August 4, 1985, WTVD swapped affiliations with WRAL-TV and became an ABC affiliate. At that time, WTVD and WRAL-TV joined the small list of stations that have held primary affiliations with all of the "Big Three" networks. The transaction was finalized on January 3, 1986, making WTVD an ABC-owned station, the first network-owned television station in North Carolina. In 1996, the Walt Disney Company acquired Capital Cities/ABC.

On the night of December 6, 1991, a helicopter carrying a pilot and three WTVD employees from a high school football game in Wilmington, North Carolina crashed, killing three of the four members on board.[3] Sports reporter Tony Debo was the only survivor.[4]

On April 30, 2000, a dispute between Disney and Time Warner Cable forced WTVD off cable systems within the Raleigh-Durham-Fayetteville market for over 24 hours during the May sweeps period. Other ABC stations in markets served by Time Warner Cable, such as New York City, Los Angeles, and Houston, were also affected by the outage as well before the FCC forced TWC to restore service to those areas on May 2. [1]

Gathering breaking news[]

ABC11 has a fleet of regular news vans and trucks as well as a yellow Toyota FJ Cruiser which is known as "Breaking News One".

WTVD also leases a helicopter which it refers to as "Chopper 11 HD".

Out of market coverage[]

In North Carolina, it is carried out of market in Elizabethtown and Whiteville which are part of the Wilmington market. In that city, WTVD used to be carried on the local access channel during newscasts. In the Florence/Myrtle Beach/Lumberton market, it is carried in Laurinburg, Lumberton, and St. Pauls. In the Greensboro/High Point/Winston-Salem area, it is carried in Burlington and Mebane. In Virginia, it is carried in South Boston which is part of the Roanoke / Lynchburg market. On DirecTV, WTVD is carried in two North Carolina counties out of market in Alamance and Northampton Counties.

News operation[]

For most of the last four decades, WTVD has been a solid, if distant, runner-up to WRAL-TV. Principal anchor Larry Stogner has been with the station since 1976 and a weeknight anchor continuously since 1982. His longtime co-anchor for much of the 1990s, Miriam Thomas, abruptly left WTVD after nineteen years in November 2001. Notable former members of WTVD's news staff include musicians John Tesh and John D. Loudermilk, ESPN personality Stuart Scott, as well as former Good Morning America co-host David Hartman.

From 1973 until 1984, WTVD used the Eyewitness News name for its newscasts though its format was very similar to the Action News format pioneered by sister station WPVI-TV in Philadelphia. The arrangement was similar to then-sister station WKBW-TV in Buffalo, New York and the two had identical opening sequences and theme songs. WRAL was also using the Action News name during that time period. It called its newscasts simply WTVD 11 News for a time after the affiliation switch in 1985. WTVD called itself NewsChannel 11 from 1993 until 2000 when it changed back to Eyewitness News. WTVD was among the last stations to use the Cool Hand Luke Tar Sequence theme in its broadcasts. However, the station debuted the theme soon after the Capital Cities/ABC merger and retired it in 1993. Like sister stations WABC, KABC, and KGO-TV, the theme was used only in the opens.

On June 26, 2006, WTVD debuted a new prime time newscast for WB affiliate WLFL entitled Eyewitness News at 10 on WB 22. This happened after WLFL's owner, Sinclair Broadcast Group, ended the controversial News Central format on its stations. This newscast runs directly against the WRAL-produced show on WRAZ. No plans have been announced for a morning newscast on WLFL. On September 17 concurrent with that station's official affiliation switch to The CW, the newscast changed its name to Eyewitness News at 10 on CW 22. On April 21, 2008, WTVD became the second television station in the Triangle behind WRAL and the eighth ABC-owned station to produce its newscasts in high definition. It subscribes to AccuWeather for the weather portion of the broadcasts. It operates its own weather radar, called "First Alert Doppler XP", at its transmitter. There are live streams offered on its website of every newscast (except the WLFL show) and "Eyewitness News Now". In addition to its main studios, the station operates bureaus in Fayetteville on Green Street and Raleigh on Fayetteville Street.

Newscast titles[]

  • Your Esso Reporter (1954-1960)
  • NewsBeat (1960-1961)
  • The 11th Hour Report (1961-1962)
  • 11 Now Report (1962-1973)
  • Eyewitness News (1973-1985)
  • WTVD 11 News (1985-1993)
  • NewsChannel 11 (1993-1996)
  • NewsChannel 11 ABC (1996-2000)
  • ABC 11 Eyewitness News (2000-present)

Station slogans[]

  • 11 Together (late 1970s-early 1980s)
  • The Heart of Carolina (1988-1993; still used to refer to the station's viewing area)
  • The NewsChannel (1993-2001)
  • Working for You (2001-2003)
  • Live. Local. Up to the Minute. (2003-2004)
  • Breaking News. Breaking Stories. (2006-present; news slogan)
  • ABC11 Eyewitness News. Start Here. (2007-present; general slogan)

News team[]

Current on-air staff[]

(as of July 2010) Anchors

  • John Clark - weekday mornings and noon
  • Shae Crisson - weekend evenings and reporter
  • Steve Daniels - weeknights at 10 and 11 p.m. (also weeknight 5 and 6 p.m. breaking news reporter)
  • Barbara Gibbs - weekday mornings and noon
  • Tisha Powell - weeknights at 5, 10 and 11 p.m. (also health reporter)
  • Amber Rupinta - weekday mornings (also traffic reporter)
  • Frances Scott - weeknights at 5 p.m.
  • Fred Shropshire - weekend evenings and reporter
  • Larry Stogner - weeknights at 6 p.m.
  • Anthony Wilson - weekend mornings and weekday morning reporter
  • Caitlin Coyner - weekend mornings and weekday morning reporter
  • Angela Hampton - "Heart of Carolina Perspectives"

ABC 11 HD AccuWeather Team

  • Chris Hohmann (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval) - Chief Meteorologist; weeknights at 5, 6, 10 and 11 p.m.
  • Scott Dean (AMS Seal of Approval) - Meteorologist; weekend evenings
  • Steve Stewart (AMS Seal of Approval) - Meteorologist; weekend mornings
  • Glenn Willey (AMS/NWA Seals of Approval) - Meteorologist; weekday mornings and noon

Sports team

  • Mark Armstrong - Sports Director; weeknights at 6, 10, and 11 p.m.
  • Joe Mazur - Sports Anchor; weekend evenings and weekday sports reporter
  • Kerith Burke - sports reporter and fill-in sports anchor


  • Alina Machado
  • Jon Camp
  • Gerrick Brenner
  • Ed Crump - Raleigh Bureau senior reporter
  • Gilbert Baez - Fayetteville Bureau
  • Greg Barnes - Fayetteville Bureau
  • Tamara Gibbs
  • Jennifer Kovaleski - digital journalist
  • Mat Mendez - digital journalist
  • Sheyenne Rodriguez
  • Diane Wilson - consumer investigator

Former on-air staff[]

  • Dan Ashley - anchor (1993-1995; now at KGO in San Francisco, CA)
  • Fred Blackman - anchor (1960s; later worked for WGHP in Greensboro, North Carolina)
  • Kate Bolduan - reporter (now at CNN in Washington, D.C.)
  • Jason Brewer - meteorologist (2002-2006; later moved to KPRC-TV in Houston, TX now at WESH in Orlando, FL)
  • Dave Boliek - reporter (1981-1997; in private business; daughter is an assignment editor at WRAL-TV)
  • Rich Brenner - sports anchor (1982-1986; retired from WGHP in High Point, NC in 2008)
  • Beverly Burke - anchor/reporter (late 1970s and early 80s; now on XM radio)
  • Mike Caplan - weather anchor (1988-1993; now at WLS-TV in Chicago)
  • Skip Carpenter - weathercaster (1964-1982; deceased)
  • Carol Cookerly - reporter (1980-?; now runs Cookerly Public Relations in Atlanta)
  • Clare Casademont - anchor/reporter (1985-1989)
  • Pati Darak - meteorologist (1999-2002; now at News 14 Carolina in Raleigh, N.C.)
  • Betty Davis - weekend meteorologist (2000s; now at The Weather Channel)
  • Kim Deaner - meteorologist (now at WRAL-TV)
  • Kathleen DeLaski - reporter (early 1980s; later Deputy Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs)
  • Mike Dunston - anchor/reporter (now anchor at WOFL-TV in Orlando, FL)
  • Joanne Feldman - chief meteorologist (2002-2007; now at WAGA-TV in Atlanta)
  • Amanda Fitzpatrick - reporter (2008-2009, laid off; now authoring book on minorities in journalism)
  • Steve Forgy - sports anchor (1998-2000), traffic reporter (2001-2007; now in San Francisco, CA)
  • Rebecca Hall - weekend morning anchor/weekday morning reporter (through mid-2010), now at KTLA-TV in Los Angeles
  • Ervin Hester - anchor/reporter/host of Reel Perspectives and Prime Time Sunday (1971-1996; owner of The Shoe Doctor in Durham)
  • Bob Hughes - anchor (1978-1980)
  • Denise James - reporter/host of Reflections (1985-1987; now at WPVI-TV in Philadelphia)
  • Martie Johnson - reporter (late 1960s - mid 1970s)
  • C.S. Keys - sports reporter (late 1980s)
  • Steve Leeolou - anchor/reporter (1980-1982)
  • Deborah Long - reporter (late 1970s-early 1980s)
  • George Mallet - anchor/reporter (1987-1997; now at WTMJ-TV in Milwaukee)
  • Peggy Mann - midday show host (1954-1980; deceased)
  • Gary McGrady - meteorologist (1999-2002; now at WTTG in Washington, D.C.)
  • Andy Park - weather anchor (1982-1987; deceased)
  • Katina Rankin - anchor/reporter (2003-2006; now owns a PR firm in North Carolina)
  • Bill Reh - meteorologist (1983-1997; now at WNCN)
  • Russ Riesinger - anchor/reporter (1991-1995)
  • Don Ross - reporter (1980-2006)
  • Stan Saunders - sports anchor/reporter (late 1970s and early 1980s)
  • Don Shea - sportscaster (1967-1984)
  • Monica Shuman - anchor/reporter (1989-1997)
  • Shauna Singletary - reporter (late 1970s)
  • Matt Sinclair - reporter (late 1970s)
  • Drew Smith - sports anchor (1991-2005)
  • Jimmy "The Greek" Snyder - special sports correspondent (late 1970s-early 1980s; deceased)
  • Jim Sughrue - reporter (1979-1985; now Public Information Officer for Raleigh Police Department)
  • Miriam Thomas - anchor/host of Reflections (1982-2001)
  • Cheryl Toney - weathercaster (late 1970s)
  • Katherine Walters - reporter (late 1970s-late 1980s)
  • Keith Whitney - reporter (1983-1993; now at WXIA-TV in Atlanta)
  • Dan Williams - troubleshooter reporter (late 1970s and early 1980s)


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Require Prime Evening Time for NTA Films", Boxoffice: 13, November 10, 1956,
  3. ^ "Three Die When Helicopter Crashes in North Carolina". 1991-12-08. Retrieved 2007-07-28.
  4. ^ "A Visit to Honor Friends". 2001-12-11. Retrieved 2007-07-28.

External links[]

  1. REDIRECT Chronology of call letters WTVD