TV Technical Profile: WVUA-CD

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23.1 - COZI TV
23.2 - This TV
23.3 -
23.4 - Weather Radar / Alabama Public Radio audio
Transmitter Location:
[map] [street view] [bird's eye] On the old WDBB-TV tower on Jug Factory Road, behind Walmart.
Power (ERP):
15 kW
Height Above Average Terrain (HAAT):
849 feet
Non Directional
Other Information:


[Image] Banner with station identification, from January 2023.

// WVUA-DT Tuscaloosa, AL
// WJMY-CD Demopolis, AL
// WDVZ-CD Greensboro, AL
This station dates back to an analog low power authorization known as W49BO, which signed on in 1996.  One year later ownership passed from VJN LPTV Corporation to TTI, Inc., and the calls changed to WJRD-LP, as a companion to AM 1150 WJRD.  This change brought local news back to Tuscaloosa, filling a void left when WDBB and WCFT stopped serving the area to focus on the Birmingham market.  The station operated and transmitted from the WDBB facility on Jug Factory Road.  The station picked up the fledgling PAX network's affiliation in 1998, and kept it until 2002, when the market's affiliation was passed on to the much more powerful but distant WNAL-TV in Gadsden.  After losing PAX, the station picked up the LPTV-oriented America One network. 
The station was purchased by the University of Alabama in August of 2001.  The University moved the studios and production to an on-campus location and changed to call sign to match the college's student-run radio station, WVUA, in 2002.  With this change, the station was also granted Class A status, giving it the full call sign of WVUA-CA.  Class A status gives certain extra protections to low powered television stations in exchange for certain more stringent requirements on programming.
The station dropped American One for a part-time pickup of the This TV network in 2008.  The station began broadcasting digitally in the summer of 2012, on RF channel 23.
WVUA-CD's programming is also repeated on several area stations.  It is relayed via WMJY-CD in Demopolis and WDVZ-CD in Greensboro.  It's also fed to WVUA-DT, broadcasting from Red Mountain in Birmingham.  In this sense, it mirrors the way ABC 33/40 is set up in Birmingham a low power parent station feeding a full power repeater in another region. The station is (as of summer 2015) branding as "WVUA 23" and is no longer identifying as channel 7.  It also appears at some point the station's PSIP (virtual channel number) changed from 7 to 23.

The station fell silent in January 2019 after lightning damaged the transmitter and antenna.

Due to a contract requirement with the owners of the This TV network, the station added a full time feed of the network to the .3 subchannel in late November 2019. It bumped the APR audio and weather radar feed to the .4 subchannel.  The station announced it would be adding COZI TV to the .1 subchannel on 28 September 2020.

On 15 January 2021, "The Light" subchannel was discontinued by Byron Allen's Entertainment studios and replaced with the African-American-centric "The Grio.TV".
  In early September 2021, the lineup was changed to move This TV to the .2 subchannel, eliminating The Grio.TV.  The .3 subchannel was replaced with Local Now.

In April 2022, the Local Now subchannel disappeared, replaced by color bars and a tone, with "U of Alabama" in text on screen.  That later switched to a different image, but as of July 2022, it is still not showing any content.

The station began operating from a Special Temporary Authority in May 2022, with 7 kW non-directional.  The stated reason was because the main antenna was being replaced.  In October 2022, the station applied for and was granted a return to 15 kW, but with elliptical polarization instead of horizontal polarization. A license to cover for that facility was filed shortly afterwards.