TV Technical Profile: WBRC


Channel:
50
29 (CP)
Programming:
6.1 - Fox HD
6.2 - Bounce TV
6.3 - Grit TV
6.4 - Laff
Transmitter Location:
[map] [street view] "Atop Red Mountain". Looking at Vulcan from downtown, it's the second tower down. Also houses the antenna for NOAA weather radio.
Power (ERP):
953 kW
700 kW
(CP)
1 MW (AUX)
Height Above Average Terrain (HAAT):
1,385 feet
1,378 feet
(CP)
1,224 feet (AUX)
Antenna:
Omnidirectional
Other Information:
41 dBu protected contour map, from the FCC.
41 dBu protected contour map, from FCCdata.org. (CP)
41 dBu protected contour map, from the FCC.  (AUX)
[FCC]
[FCCdata]
[RabbitEars]
[Wikipedia]
[Bhamwiki]
[Facebook] WBRC News page
[Facebook] WBRC Weather page
[Article] WBRC keeps a list of all their social media pages, as well as those for their personalities at this page on their website
[Image] Google Photos image of the iconic red WBRC neon sign overlooking the city of Birmingham.
mDTV - active
Owned by Raycom TV Broadcasting, LLC
Station History:
Birmingham's second oldest TV station came on the air July 1, 1949, on channel 4. They came on about a month after channel 13. The calls have always been WBRC (Bell Radio Company), but the format has changed a lot over the years.  Prior to their move to channel 6 around 1953, the station was an NBC affiliate, the same as WBRC-AM. They had some programs from ABC and DuMont, as did channel 13.  About the time Storer bought WBRC, they moved to CBS affiliation. WBRC pared down their ABC programming from a 50/50 mix to almost nothing. By 1960 WBRC carried little if any ABC programming. WBRC switched to ABC in 1961, about the time when it was bought out by Taft Broadcasting. (As a side note, the Taft company had a strong relationship with ABC's then-head Leonard Goldenson. Even channel 6's logo reflected that, as it was a giant "6" with a little ABC logo inside the circle of the 6. WBRC continued to carry occasional CBS programming until WBMG-TV 42 came on the air in 1965. From 1965 to the Fox buyout in 1996, channel 6 was strictly an ABC station.
 
The station originally had a small tower "atop Red Mountain", but it was replaced when it nearly came down in an ice storm in the mid 80's. WBRC is also noted to be one of two stations in our mid-sized market to be owned by a network (the other is WVTM, owned by NBC.)
 
This station elected to keep analog broadcasts on until the new June 12th deadline.  The station upgraded to HD newscasts in 2010.  WBRC's conversion to their current facility took an unusual path.  It ran for a long time under a Special Temporary Authority with lower power.   That likely ended in sometime in late 2009 as they debuted full power with 1 MW at a lower position on the tower.  The top of the tower was reclaimed for WBRC's use and the power dropped slightly.  They now reserve the old 1 megawatt facilities as an auxiliary.    An article and pictures of the new DTV antenna going up can be found on the My Fox AL website.
 
In May 2011 the station added a subchannel mirroring the main HD channel.  It's to make room this fall for the new Bounce TV network aimed at black Americans.  It debuted 26 September 2011.  A third subchannel was added in the summer of 2014 for a new man-oriented TV network, Grit TV.  A fourth subchannel was added in August 2018, for Laff.
As part of the spectrum repacking efforts by the FCC to free up space for more wireless broadband service, this station was granted a permit to relocate from channel 50 to channel 29 in July, 2017.