TV Technical Profile: WHDF

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Channel:
2
Programming:
15.1 - CW (HD)
Transmitter Location:
[map] [street view] Just over the Tennessee line, northeast of the town of Lester. Just west of Salem Road.
Power (ERP):
21 kW (licensed)
Height Above Average Terrain (HAAT):
1,414 feet
Antenna:
Directional
Other Information:
28 dBu protected contour map, from the FCC. (OSM Link)
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[Image] Street View of the station's former studio facility on Cypress Mill Road in Florence.
[Studio] Street View imagery of the station's studio on Memorial Parkway, co-located with WZDX.
Owned by Nexstar Broadcasting
History:
Channel 15 in Florence started broadcasting on October 27, 1957 with the call letters WOWL.  WOWL was originally affiliated with the NBC and CBS networks.  In the 1960's, WOWL was primarily an NBC affiliate. The station did continue to air CBS (and even a few ABC) programs in the non-prime time hours. By 1974 NBC was the only network carried by the station.
 
By the early 1970's, the Huntsville TV stations were now broadcasting into the Florence area. WOWL found itself having to compete with the NBC affiliate from Huntsville. (Even though Florence could receive the Huntsville stations, most of Huntsville could not receive WOWL. Only a very weak signal from WOWL reached Huntsville.)
 
In the late 1990's, channel 15 started its move into the Huntsville-Decatur TV market. The Galleria Media Group purchased the station in November 1996. In 1998, the new owners filed an application with the FCC to move the transmitter closer to Huntsville.  A site was chosen in Minor Hill, Tennessee at the Tennessee-Alabama state line and a 1,347-foot tower was constructed. Around September 1999 the call letters were changed from WOWL to WHDF (for "Huntsville Decatur Florence"). Sometime in the Fall of 1999, WOWL switched from NBC to the UPN network. The new transmitter was put into service on December 30, 1999.
--special thanks to Tom in Huntsville
 
The book, "Alabama's First Broadcast Stations", by Harry Butler says the WOWL came about because the station founder's mother collected owls!

The station was sold by Galleria Media Group to Lockwood Broadcasting in the spring of 2004.  In September 2006 the station switched to the CW Network.
 
This station elected to keep analog broadcasts on until the new June 12th 2009 deadline.

During the TV spectrum repacking process in 2018, the station was assigned VHF channel 2 as a post-transition home for the station. That same year, Lockwood sold the station to Nexstar Broadcasting, who moved the station's studio to Huntsville, where it was co-located with now-sister station WZDX.  At the end of 2018, it was announced that Nexstar would be merging with Tribune.

In March 2019 the station filed for a Special Temporary Authority to operate at lower power from a side-mounted antenna on RF channel 14 while the new antenna is being installed.  The RF channel 2 facility appears to have come on the air in the second week of April 2019, albeit at a lower reported power level than what is shown on the license data.

After the expected completion of the Nexstar/Tribune merger in August 2019, the WHDF studios are slated to move again, this time to be co-located with WHNT broadcast plant.