TV Technical Profile: WVTM


Channel:
13
7 (CP)
Programming:
13.1 - NBC
13.2 - Memorable Entertainment Television
Transmitter Location:
[map] [bird's eye] "Atop Red Mountain" right next to Vulcan.
Power (ERP):
20 kW
47.6 kW
(CP)
Height Above Average Terrain (HAAT):
1,332 feet
1,313 feet
(CP)
Antenna:
Directional
Nondirectional
(CP)
Other Information:
36 dBu protected contour map, from the FCC.
36 dBu protected contour map, from the FCC. (FCCdata.org Link) (CP)
[FCC]
[FCCdata]
[RabbitEars]
[Wikipedia]
[Bhamwiki] Information for the station from the WAFM era
[Bhamwiki] Information for the station from the WABT, WAPI and WVTM eras
[Facebook]
[Studio] Street View of the station's studios atop Red Mountain.
mDTV - active
Owned by Hearst
Station History:
This is Birmingham's oldest TV station, signing on in April 1949 as WABT (Alabama's Best Television), a month before WBRC.  Around 1956 the calls changed briefly to WAFM-TV, then to WAPI-TV in 1959. The station had always been affiliated with WAPI-AM and WAFM-FM.
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Like WAPI-AM, was a CBS affiliate to begin with, but then moved to NBC when channel 6 took the CBS affilation.  The station carried some ABC programming along with WBRC-TV 6 when ABC was still a new network. After channel 6 moved to full ABC affiliation, channel 13 took on CBS and NBC.
Even after WBMG-TV 42 signed on the air as a CBS affiliate in 1965, WAPI kept carrying some of the higher-rated CBS programming! This kept WBMG carrying some of the lower-rated CBS programming as well as some leftover NBC shows. In the late 60's both WAPI and WBHG had "CBS/NBC" as their affiliation.
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This came to an end around 1970, with channel 13 going NBC and channel 42 going CBS.  In 1980, Newhouse Broadcasting sold WAPI radio to Dittman and WAPI TV to Times-Mirror. It was then the calls of channel 13 became WVTM (Vulcan Times Mirror).
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In 1993 the station was bought by Argyle Television. A year later, it was to be purchased by New World Communications, but issues  with owning both WVTM and WBRC prevented that from happening until 1995, when New World began operating the stations for Argyle under a time brokerage agreement. In 1996, the station was sold to NBC, making Birmingham one of the smaller markets to have an Owned & Operated (O&O) network station. 
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In November 2002 this station became one of Birmingham's first digital television stations to hit the airwaves.  It will transition from UHF back to channel 13 post analog shutdown.  NBC sold WVTM and some other small market O&O stations to Media General in 2006. 
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In 2008 the station announced it was adding the Retro Television Network to one of its digital subchannels.  It apparently didn't show up until sometime in the spring of 2009, around the first of May, according to reports.  Originally to be on a third subchannel, it apparently replaced the NBC 13 Weather Radar/forecasts that had been on 13.2.
 
This station elected to keep analog broadcasts on until the new June 12th deadline.  The station operated under a Special Temporary Authority for RF channel 52, 360 kW @ 1,309 feet.  WVTM switched to RF channel 13 on June 12th 2009.
 
MeTV replaced RTV on 26 September 2011.  In March 2014, LIN TV and Media General agreed to a merger, which required the divestiture of one of the two stations that the combined company would own.  (The other station was WIAT.)   Media General agreed to spin off WVTM to Hearst Television and the FCC approved the transfer in December 2014.

As part of the FCC spectrum repacking efforts, this station received a permit to relocate from RF channel 13 to channel 7 in July, 2017.