TV Technical Profile: WFBD

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Channel:
48
Programming:
48.1 - TCT HD
48.2 - SonLife
48.3 - (inactive as of August 2022)
48.4 - Twist
48.5 - Defy TV
48.6 - blank
48.7 - Scripps News
48.8 - Inactive as of August 2022
48.9 -
Inactive as of August 2022
48.10 -
Inactive as of August 2022
Transmitter Location:
#1 [map] [street view] In Escambia County, Alabama, right near the AL/FL state line.  Just north of Charles Booker Road, west of CR-51 (CR-180 in Escambia County, Florida). In the Conecuh National Forest near the Blackwater River.
#2 [map] [street view] On a guyed tower located at CR-64 and Northcutt Lane in the Rosinton Community of central Baldwin County, just south of I-10.
Power (ERP):
#1 704 kW
#2 80 kW
Height Above Average Terrain (HAAT):
#1 1,023 feet
#2 521 feet
Antenna:
#1 Directional
#2 Directional
Other Information:
#1 41 dBu protected contour map, from the FCC.
[FCC]
[FCCdata]
[RabbitEars]
[Wikipedia] For the TV station
[Wikipedia] For Blab TV
[Article] Pensacola News-Journal article on the sale of the station's BlabTV format in May 2016.
Owned by Radiant Life Ministries
History:
WFBD-DT signed on in the winter of 2006 airing infomercials and public domain programming.  Run by George Flinn of Memphis, this station had affiliation with the America One network.  The call letters stood for Flinn Broadcasting Destin.
 
In late March 2011 it was announced the station would be picking up the long-form infomercial BLAB TV programming from WPAN.  The switch happened in June 2011.  The move to WFBD will mark a return to the Mobile market, even though the station is just barely in TV metro area.  Most viewers will need to depend on must carry for cable viewing, as the signal does not reach most of Baldwin County and even less of Mobile County.  Sometime between December 2012 and late January 2013 BLAB TV upgraded to broadcast in 720p HD. Locally shot infomercials, chat shows and the infamous Blue Lights are all now in high definition.  In May 2016 it was learned the Blab TV company was being sold to a group of business owners and former broadcasters for an undisclosed sum, according to the Pensacola News-Journal.  The format is reported to receiving an injection of cash which will allow for some modernization of the facilities where all Blab TV programming is produced.  The Blab TV format was exported to another Flinn-owned station, WBIH in Selma, in 2013, although it only lasted a short time there.
Blab TV's roots go back to 1984, when Pensacola-area lawyer Fred Vigodosky launched the all-informercial format on cable channel 6 in Pensacola.  It later expanded to multiple markets across the deep south, although the fate of those offshoots, which were independently owned, is unknown.

As part of the FCC TV repacking process, the station was set to relocate to RF channel 29; the station filed a Silent STA in January 2020 to go off the air while the tower was reconstructed for the change.  In July 2020, an extension to the Silent STA was filed, citing an expected tower completion time of mid-October 2020.  The station was sold to Radiant Life Ministries in June 2020, who dropped Blab TV for their TCT religious network in October 2020.  It appears the Blab TV programming was still being carried on cable and satellite in the Mobile and Pensacola areas, just not over the air.  Blab TV eventually found a home when WPAN-DT returned to the airwaves later that same month. WFBD-DT returned to the airwaves in December 2020 with TCT programming in HD and SD.

In April 2021, it was observed that the TCT HD WFBD-DT channel was being simulcast on a subchannel of WPAN-DT. Later in 2021, the station appears to have added several subchannels, including Newsy, Defy TV, True Real and SonLife.  DigiTV was added to the .10 subchannel, but later was removed when that network shut down.

In January 2022, the station filed to convert to a Distributed Transmission System setup, wherein they would employ two separate transmitter sites.  The first site is the original one in rural Escambia County, Alabama; the second site is a previously unused guyed tower off CR-64 in Rosinton, in Baldwin County.  The second site runs lower power and has a strongly directional antenna aimed towards Mobile.  It was reported on air in late March 2022, despite the permit for DTS not yet being granted by the FCC.

In January 2023 it was noted that Newsy had rebranded to Scripps News.  At the end of March 2023, Scripps shut down the True Real TV network, rolling some of the programming into their other channel, Defy.  In many markets, a channel shuffle took place, replacing the channel with Scripps News or Jewelry TV.  However, according to Rabbit Ears, the subchannel on this station was simply left blank after the channel shut down.