TV Technical Profile: WIAT
- 42.1 - CBS
- 42.2 - Escape
- 42.3 - Justice
42.4 - Laff
view] On Red Mountain, 4th tower down from Vulcan,
if you're looking from Birmingham. It's the red-white striped one,
next to the new American General multi-pronged doohickey.
- Power (ERP):
- 1 MW
- Height Above
Average Terrain (HAAT):
- 1,397 feet
- 41 dBu protected
map, from the FCC.
WIAT's Weather page
- Owned by
Nexstar Media Group, Inc.
Information for the station from the WSGN era
Information for the station from the WBMG era
Information for the station as WIAT
Google Photos picture of the studio atop Red Mountain.
Owned by LIN Broadcasting, operated by Nexstar Broadcasting.
- Originally on
the air in 1953 as WSGN-TV, the station didn't do very well against
dominant VHF stations in the market, and was sold to Johnston
Broadcasting. A big contributor to my site had this to say about it:
"According to Broadcasting Yearbook, there's a mention of a station
sale of what was then WSGN-TV to Johnston Broadcasting, then
licensee of WJLD-AM/WJLN-FM. The station changed to WJLN-TV and
vanished by the late 50's." Oddly, TV Guides from the mid-50's don't
mention either WSGN-TV or WJLN-TV, so questions still remain as to
whether WSGN-TV even got on the air at all!
came on the air on October 17, 1965 as WBMG (BirMinGham), by Bill
DuBois and minority owned by Southern Broadcasting. Prior to that
time, the programming from the three major networks was
cherry-picked by the only two commercial stations in the market,
WBRC-6 and WAPI-13 (Now WVTM). The area lacked a CBS affiliate,
which is what this station tried to become when it went on the air.
WBMG and WAPI both had CBS/NBC dual affiliation in the mid-60's,
mainly because WAPI didn't stop carrying CBS programming when this
new UHF station came on the air.
has always struggled as a UHF battling two VHF competitors. The news
never made ripples in the market, even when Tommy Charles anchored
their newscasts in the 70's! The situation came to a head in
1997 when the new owners acknowledged a 1% share of the market
audience during their newscasts. It ranked dead last, behind reruns.
So, it was time to stop and start over with a new staff and a new
image. For about a one month period, the station stopped airing
local news. During those time periods (5 and 10 pm) the station ran
a clock. Yes, a clock. Once a new staff was assembled, the calls
changed to WIAT and local news resumed. The calls coincide with the
station's new slogan (It's About Time). Despite the changes, WIAT
still lagged behind the other established newscasts in the city
until probably late 2008, when it finally began making ratings
station elected to keep analog broadcasts on until the new June 12th
deadline. At the end of March they added "Untamed Sports TV"
to the 42.2 subchannel, bumping the weather info to 42.3. In
the early summer of 2009 the station upgraded facilities and began
showing prerecorded syndicated programming in HD. In September
2009 some in-house recorded HD promos began showing up on the air as
well, and by the end of the year the station had debuted HD
- In early April 2010 this
station received a construction permit for a companion digital LPTV
facility, to be located on the old WDBB tower off Jug Factory Road in
Tuscaloosa. This station will have the calls WIAT-LD and appears
to offer supplemental service on RF channel 42 for the west side of
Tuscaloosa. That permit expired in April 2013; it's unknown if
the facility ever went on the air or not. In May 2012 it was
announced that previous owners New Vision were selling WIAT and 29
other stations to LIN TV. That deal was finished in the fall of
2012. Two years later, LIN TV was acquired by Media General,
resulting in another ownership change as of December 2014.
- The station was one of
the earliest in the market to embrace adding a second over the air
digital network, in the form of the Untamed Sports Network on -.2
subchannel; sometimes in either late 2015 or early 2016 they removed
the weather radar from -/3 subchannel and replaced it with the Justice
Network. Untamed Sports was dropped in the fall of 2017 for
Escape; they also added a fourth subchannel carrying Laff around the