TV Technical Profile: WAAY
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- 31.1 - ABC
31.2 - ION Television
31.3 - Dabl
31.4 - QVC
31.5 - Heroes and Icons (soon)
31.6 - This TV
view] Behind the studios on Monte Santo Blvd.
- Power (ERP):
- 310 kW
- Height Above
Average Terrain (HAAT):
- 1,766 fee
- 41 dBu protected
map, from the FCC. (OSM
History] In-depth history of the station; much of the
information here came from this page.
Reunion] Pictures, bios and more history from WAAY.
Owned by Allen Media Broadcasting, Evansville, Inc.
- This station
started broadcasting on August 1, 1959, using a 240 kW transmitter,
broadcast from a 125 tower. The calls were WAFG and the station was
ABC affiliated. The owners of this station (Rocket City Broadcasting
— P.T. Gunn, James R. Cleary, Thomas A. Barr, John A. Higdon, John
S. Gregory Jr, Robert M. Darby, J. E. Beasley Jr. and Winston S.
Garth Jr.) decided to get out of television when faced with
new competition in the form of channels 19 and 25, neither of which
had been actually built at the time. In 1963, WAAY radio (owned by
Smith Broadcasting) bought channel 31 and changed the calls to
- The FCC approved
the sale of channel 31 in November of 1963. Also in November,
channel 19 comes on the air. WAAY becomes an ABC affiliate. During
the first few years on air, WAAY-TV is supported by the WAAY radio
station, which was doing quite well in the market.
- In 1965 the
station acquired an airplane for shooting footage. Later that month,
they shoot tornado damage from the plane.
- January 1968 sees
WAAY changing to NBC affiliation after erecting a 400 foot tower and
increasing power to 1.24 million watts. WAAY begins the first live
microwave remotes in the TVA when it signs a contract with Jackson
Way Baptist church in February. In April of this year, WAAY also
becomes the first station in the valley to broadcast in color, with
color video tape (they bought their video processing chain
from WTOP-TV in DC!) and color studio cameras. At this time,
WMSL from Decatur (now WAFF) was also airing some NBC programming,
as was WOWL in the Florence area, which covered some of the
- By 1970 the
station was broadcasting color film during their newscasts, using
1975 has WAAY getting the first color radar in the state of Alabama.
During 1977, WAAY goes to ABC affiliation (Florence had it's own NBC
station, cutting into the ratings of WAAY), and has just completed
work on a 1,000 foot tower.
station gets its first helicopter for shooting news from above after
going through several airplanes. This was in March of 1981.
- An interesting
- June 8
1992: Station begins closed captioning of all newscasts, the first
in the valley to do so.
- In 1999, Smith
Broadcasting sold channel 31 to Grapevine Communications. Smith
Broadcasting cited the expense of upgrading to HDTV as one of the
reasons for selling the station. Around the time of the sale, the
company renamed itself from Grapevine to GOCOM. They
eventually the station to a company called Calkins Media in
2006. This was Calkins' first property outside Florida.
One decade later, in 2016, they announced their exit from the
broadcast TV business. Originally, the station was to be sold
to Raycom Media's subsidiary American Spirit Media in April of
2016. That deal would have seen WAAY run from the studios of
cross-town rival WAFF, an actual Raycome station. That deal
fell through at the last minute, however, and the station went to
Heartland TV instead. Heartland (as USA TV) owns mostly small
market stations, including nearby WTVA in Tupelo.
- Channel 31's
studios are still located at 1000 Monte Sano Boulevard, the site of
the original WAFG station.
- Returning to the
modern ages, now, it is being reported that WAAY's normal analog
broadcasts ceased on the original analog transition date of February
17th 2009. Shortly before the date, the analog
remained on, broadcasting a loop of information on getting digital
signals and converter boxes hooked up.
- The station added its
first subchannel in September 2014, with the addition of WeatherNation
to the —.2 subchannel. QVC Plus was added in September 2015 to
the —.3 subchannel. In August 2017, WeatherNation was dropped
for ION, and in the summer of 2019, Dabl replaced QVC. QVC would
show up again later on the —.4 subchannel.
As part of the
FCC repacking process, this station received a permit to relocate
from RF channel 32 to 17 in late July 2017. The station
transitioned to RF channel 17 around 4 am on 12 April 2019.
In November 2019, Heartland TV sold several smaller-market stations,
including WAAY and nearby WTVA in Tupelo, to Byron Allen's Allen
Media Broadcasting for $290 million. Allen owns numerous other
media properties, including The Weather Channel.
The station added This TV to the —.6 subchannel in May 2021, and
will show Trash Pandas baseball games here as well. There was
no —.5 subchannel until a blue screen showed up in late December
2021, with a message that Heroes and Icons would debut sometime in