TV Technical Profile: WSES
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- 33.1 - Heroes
33.2 - Decades
33.3 - Start
eye] Approx 3 miles east of Alabama 69, off CR-38 (Blue Creek
Road) in Tuscaloosa County. Near the Tuscaloosa tall tower.
- Power (ERP):
- 800 kW
- Height Above
Average Terrain (HAAT):
- 2,162 feet
- 41 dBu protected
map, from the FCC. (FCCdata
Legal ID snapshot showing the current ident under Howard Stirk
Holdings, October 2015.
Owned by HSH Birmingham (WCFT) Licensee, LLC
- WCFT began
broadcasting on October 27, 1965. Originally, Tuscaloosa was part of
the Birmingham market and WCFT was the first from Tuscaloosa to
broadcast. The station began with no affiliation, but after years of
little return for their investment, the station was sold to Service
Broadcasters of Hattisburg in 1967. After the purchase WCFT was
granted permission to air CBS programming even though Birmingham's
channel 42 was the DMA affiliate. In 1970, the station became a full
network affiliate. In the early 80's the station began doing better
in the news area and by 1987 Arbitron made Tuscaloosa it's own
market. WCFT was sold to Albritton Communications in 1995 to become
part of Birmingham's unique new ABC affiliate. WBMA, a low power
station is official Birmingham's ABC affiliate. WCFT, along with
Anniston station WJSU
served as "satellites" to rebroadcast ABC all over central Alabama.
WBMA began digital broadcasts in the winter or spring of 2011.
- In the summer of
2014 the FCC approved the merger of Allbritton with Sinclair
Television Group, who were originally to shut the station down as
part of a merger agreement with the FCC. The station was
supposed to shut down, according to FCC documentation, on 30
September 2014 but it remained on the air past that date by at least
a day; later it was reported on air but with no picture on any of
the subchannels. Various media publications soon reported a
last minute deal between Sinclair and minority-backed Howard Stirk
Holdings to buy WCFT for just $50,000. The license transfer
was completed in late November or early December 2014, and the
station began relaying the Heartland TV network, same as WJSU, which
Stirk also bought.
a long time after the station "moved" to Birmingham, the original
WCFT tower continued to stand just off I-20/59 near the Skyland
Blvd. exit, and was used for ABC 33/40's Tuscaloosa tower camera
until the tower was sold off for scrap in late 2012 or early 2013.
elected to keep analog broadcasts on until the new June 12th
deadline. Due to reception issues in the Birmingham area, the
station moved back to RF channel 33 in late October, 2009. At
the start of November 2012 the station began carrying the new
Nashville Network on their .3 digital subchannel. On March 11,
2015, the station changed from its original call sign of WCFT to
WSES. Although it didn't debut on 1 October as promised, the
station did eventually drop Heartland for Heroes and Icons in early
In January 2016 it was discovered that the TV network known as
Decades was planning to be added to the -.2 subchannel at some
unknown point in the future, and it showed up on the Decades TV
website early in 2016. Decades disappeared before the end of
the year, leaving on Heroes and Icons available in December 2016.
- As part of the FCC
spectrum repacking processing, this station received a permit in
mid-July to relocate from RF channel 33 to 36, with no other real
technical changes aside from a small bump in power.
The station added Start TV to the —.3 subchannel in the winter of
2019. In the late summer of 2019, the station began operating
under a Special Temporary Authority on RF channel 36, with lower power
and a directional antenna, as part of the TV repacking process.
The license to cover for the full power authorization on RF channel 36
was filed in October 2020.