WBRZ, virtual channel 2 (digital channel 13), is an ABC affiliate television station serving Baton Rouge, Louisiana, south-central and southeastern Louisiana and southwestern Mississippi. It is owned by the Manship family, who also publishes the Baton Rouge daily newspaper, The Advocate. Its transmitter is located in Sunshine, Louisiana. The station is seen via satellite through DirecTV and Dish Network and on cable Cox Communications and AT&T U-verse.
|Baton Rouge, Louisiana|
|Branding||News 2 Louisiana|
|Slogan||Balanced. Fair. Accurate.|
|Channels||Digital: 13 (VHF)|
|Subchannels||2.1 ABC - HD
2.2 WBRZ News Rebroadcast 2.3 WBRZ Weather
|Affiliations||American Broadcasting Company|
|Owner||Louisiana Television Broadcasting, LLC
|First air date||April 14, 1955|
|Call letters' meaning||We're
Baton Rouge's Z (2)
|Former callsigns||WBRZ (1955-1981)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
2 (VHF, 1955-2009)
|Transmitter power||30 kW|
At first, the Manships wanted to call the station WBRA-TV, for Baton Rouge Advocate. However, they concluded that the call letters would cause confusion and controversy, as the letters "B-R-A" spelled "bra". Station founder Douglas L. Manship, Sr. still wanted "BR" in the station's calls, and decided to go to the other end of the alphabet for the fourth letter, picking "Z." He explained, "It was a good choice. 'Z' is a phonetically good sound on the air. It's distinctive." The "Z" was later expanded to mean "2" (similar to WGRZ-TV in Buffalo, New York), and the "W" was expanded to mean "We're". However, the WBRA call letters are currently used on the PBS member station in Roanoke, Virginia.
It dropped ABC in 1971 after WRBT-TV (now WVLA) signed on. This made WBRZ a sole NBC affiliate. Because ABC was seeking out new affiliates with stronger signal coverage at the time, WBRZ swapped affiliations with WRBT and became an ABC affiliate again on September 5, 1977. In that same timeframe NBC sunk to third and last place while ABC moved up to first place in the ratings.
In July 1987, the station started broadcasting 24 hours a day, except on Sundays. In September 1988, the station became the first in Louisiana to close-caption its newscasts. In 1991, Manship's son Richard took over the station as its new president, and would later be named "Broadcaster of the Year" by the Louisiana Association of Broadcasters. WBRZ began broadcasting in high definition on channel 13 on April 22, 2002.
In November 2004, WBRZ, along with many other ABC affiliates in the country, opted not to air Saving Private Ryan when the network broadcast it uncut on Veterans Day. During Hurricane Katrina, the station worked with New Orleans ABC affiliate WGNO (channel 26) to provide coverage of the storm and its aftermath.
WBRZ launched its own Web site, WBRZ.com, on the week of September 14, 2009. Prior to that, WBRZ and The Advocate shared a website, 2TheAdvocate.com.
The station is a funding partner in The Cinderella Project of Baton Rouge, a charity that provides free prom dresses to public high school students who cannot otherwise afford them. The charity held its third annual prom dress giveaway in 2010.
2008 Dish Network carriage dispute
The relationship between WBRZ and the Dish Network began to deteriorate in the fall of 2007, when WBRZ realized that fees collected from Baton Rouge subscribers had not been paid to the station since the inception of Dish Network’s local-into-local service in May 2006, in violation of the carriage agreement.
WBRZ asked for a raise of compensation to under five percent of what Dish charges for local channels - it had been previously two percent. This amount, less than a penny per subscriber per day, is significantly smaller than the 20 cents/subscriber/day rate WBRZ charges local cable companies.
In July 2009, after more than a year, Dish Network and WBRZ reached a new agreement, and WBRZ once again became part of Dish Network's Local Channels package for Baton Rouge area customers.
2011 DirecTV Carriage Dispute
As of January 20, 2011 a notice on satellite receivers channel 2.1 says that the channel is in danger of being discontinued.
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
|2.1||WBRZ-DT||Main WBRZ Programming / ABCHD720p|
|2.2||WBRZ-DT2||WBRZ News Rebroadcast 480i|
|2.3||WBRZ-DT3||WBRZ Weather 480i|
WBRZ-TV shut down analog transmissions on June 12, 2009.  The station remained on its current pre-transition channel 13.  However, through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display WBRZ-TV's virtual channel as 2.
The station airs syndicated programming, like Live with Regis and Kelly, Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!, the latter of which however, aired on CBS affiliate WAFB (channel 9) prior to 1995. It also airs reruns of former prime-time network shows, such as the ABC sitcom Mork and Mindy and the classic CBS hit M*A*S*H. In September 2006, it began airing Dr. Phil. The station aired The Oprah Winfrey Show until 2002, and the Rosie O'Donnell Show. Other syndicated programming WBRZ aired in the past included: The Arsenio Hall Show (later aired onWGMB), Who's the Boss, The Jerry Springer Show (now on WBRL), Dear John, Inside Edition (now on WBXH, and American Journal. On Sundays, it airs the services from the Healing Place Church, a local Christian megachurch.
WBRZ currently airs all of ABC network programming in high definition and most of its syndicated programming such as Live with Regis & Kelly, Dr. Phil, Jeopardy!, Wheel of Fortune, The Insider and Comics Unleashed with Byron Allen in HD.
In 2004, the station dropped its twenty year slogan of "On Your Side" and started describing their news as "Balanced. Fair. Accurate," which was inspired by Fox News's "Fair and Balanced" slogan.
As of July 29, 2008, WBRZ morning show 2une In and its noon, 4, 5, 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts can now be viewed in high-definition. WBRZ is the second station in the Baton Rouge area and the fourth in Louisiana to broadcast their newscasts in high definition.
WBRZ was Baton Rouge's "news leader" in the ratings for much of its early history until the mid-1990s. The station experienced a ratings decline when Ed Buggs, the first African-American anchor in Baton Rouge, left the station. This allowed CBS affiliate WAFB to overtake the lead in local news ratings.
WBRZ has been the recipient of numerous awards from the Louisiana Association of Broadcasters, a National Edward R. Murrow Award in 2000, plus other local awards:
- Louisiana Association of Broadcasters "Television Station of the Year" Award - 1990, 1991, 1994 and 1997
- Louisiana Association of Broadcasters - Baton Rouge Branch "Community Station of the Year" Award - 1996, 2002, 2005
- Louisiana Association of Broadcasters "Television Station of the Year" Prestige Award - 1999
- 1999 Sigma Delta Chi Awards
George Ryan won the award for "Silent Trust," a series that exposed student-on-student sexual misconduct at the Louisiana School for the Deaf in Baton Rouge, La.
- Louisiana Association of Broadcasters "Promotion of the Year" Award: "Buckle Up for Tony" - 2000
- National Edward R. Murrow Award - 2000
- Louisiana Association of Broadcasters "Community Service" Award - 2001
- Outstanding Philanthropist Award - 2001
Other awards won:
- Louisiana Association of Broadcasters Lifetime of Distinction Awards (2005)
- Ad Fed's Pete Goldsby Award (2005)
- YWCA's Women of Achievement Award (2005)
- American Women in Radio and Television's Broadcaster of the Year Award (2005)
- Baton Rouge Business Report's 25 Most Influential Women in Baton Rouge (2005)
- SME's Marketer of the Year Award (2005)
Won by Pat Cheramie, who retired after serving 39 years as General Manager of WBRZ-TV on January 31, 2005.
- Louisiana Association of Broadcasters Lifetime Achievement Award (2005)
Won by news anchor and reporter Andrea Clesi.
- Your Esso Reporter (1955–1961)
- The Bob Richards Report (1961–1964)
- Night Desk (1964–1971)
- WBRZ-TV News Service (1971–1974)
- TV-2 News (1974–1975)
- NewsCenter 2 (1975–1977)
- TV-2 Action News (1977–1979)
- Eyewitness News (1979–1996)
- WBRZ Channel 2 News (1996–2001)
- Ten at Ten (1998–2001)
- News 2 Louisiana (2001–present)
- TV-2-day (mid 1950s)
- The Best in View is on TV-2 (early 1970s)
- Move Closer to Your World with WBRZ (early-mid 1970s)
- A Part of Your Life (mid 1970s)
- NewsCenter 2: News You Need to Know (mid 1970s)
- Louisiana's Most Respective Television News Team (1975-1977)
- Still The One, WBRZ-TV 2 (1977, first slogan as an ABC affiliate)
- Action News: The News You Need, When You Need it (late 1970s)
- Count on Us, When it Counts (early 1980s)
- 2 is On Your Side (1984–2001; also used for PSAs and human interest news stores)
- The One to Watch (mid 1980s)
- The News Leader (mid 1980s–mid 1990s)
- Your 24-Hour News Source (1990-)
- If It's Louisiana, It Must Be Channel 2 (1992-1993)
- Balanced. Fair. Accurate. (2001–present)
- Because Accuracy Matters (2004-present; weather slogan)
News music packages
- Move Closer To Your World by Mayoham Music (1972-1974)
- NBC-TV Radio Newspulse (Fred Weinburg Productions Inc.) (1974-1977)
- Part Of Your Life (Mayoham Music), (1977-??)
- On Your Side (Gari Communications), (1984–1990, all newscasts; 1990-1992, weekend newscasts)
- Pride Inside (Gari Communications), (1990-1992, weeknight newscasts, 1992-1997, all newscasts)
- Acroyali/Standing in Motion (Yanni), (mid-1990s, used for Sports Sunday program)
- WBRZ 1996 News Theme (Star Trak Music), (1996-July 2007)
- Extreme (Stephen Arnold Music), (July 2007-present, adopted when news started broadcasting in HD)
Current on-air staff
- Michael Marsh - weeknights at 5, 6 and 10 p.m.
- Chris Nakamoto - weekend evenings; also weeknight reporter
- John Pastorek - weekday mornings "2une In" and noon
- Sarah Rosario - weekdays at 4 p.m.; also weeknight reporter
- Whitney Vann - weekday mornings "2une In"
- Sylvia Weatherspoon - weeknights at 5, 6 and 10 p.m.
TrueView Weather Team
- Pat Shingleton (AMS member; NWA member) - chief forecaster; weekdays at 4, weeknights at 5, 6 and 10 p.m.
- Ryan Davidson - meteorologist; weekend evenings
- Dave Nussbaum (AMS Seal of Approval; NWA member) - meteorologist; weekday mornings "2une In" and noon
- Keller Watts - meteorologist; fill-in
- Michael Cauble - sports director; weeknights at 6 and 10 p.m.
- Chad Sabadie - sports anchor; weekend evenings, also weeknight sports reporter
- Michael Kelly - sports reporter
- Kristy Davis - general assignment reporter
- Rachel Frost - multimedia journalist
- Rob Krieger - multimedia journalist
- Louis Miller - gardening expert
- Ashley Rodrigue - general assignment reporter
- Stephanie Ryan - multimedia journalist
- Michael Shingleton - multimedia journalist
- Lori Steele - special projects reporter
- Mike Steele - State Capitol correspondent
Former on-air staff
- Tammi Arender - now at WVLA
- Chip Barrere
- Jeanne Burns - now at WAFB in Baton Rouge
- Ed Buggs - died of a drug overdose on May 4, 2010
- Andrea Clesi - former weekday anchor (retired)
- Glen Duncan - meteorologist/environmental specialist; now Director of Communications at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center and author of "Goodbye Green - How extremists stole the environmental movement from middle America and killed it."
- Jim Egan - sports
- Claire Hatty - now a public relations manager in Texas
- Leo Honeycutt - now a writer; authored biography of former Governor Edwin Edwards
- Jordy Hultberg - sports; now sideline reporter for LSU football radio broadcasts and host of LSU football, men's basketball and baseball coaches shows
- Chelby Kosto - now at WDTN Dayton, OH
- Summer Jackson - now at WSB in Atlanta
- Tony Jones - now doing media relations for U.S. Census Bureau in Charlotte, NC
- Bruce Katz - meteorologist; now at WGNO-TV New Orleans
- Margaret Lawhon - anchor; now an actor and freelance writer
- Kurt Lee - Weather and news
- Ben Lemoine - now at KTVK-TV Phoenix
- Darrel Richter
- Mary Lynch - weather (2000s)
- John Mahaffey (retired)
- Marvin McGraw - now does PR for Louisiana State University
- Avery Miller - now a producer at World News with Charles Gibson
- Dale Moon
- Veronica Mosgrove
- Cynthia Nickerson
- Margaret Orr - now at WDSU-TV New Orleans
- Ken Pastorick - now does PR for LA Department Health and Hospitals
- Andy Pepper - sports
- Rebecca Rainer - Owner/President of Chase Rainer Media San Antonio, TX
- Mike Rhodes - Retired, still living in Baton Rouge
- Mike Ross - later at WBRZ (1983-86), WWL AM & TV (1986-2006), now anchor at KTUU-TV Anchorage, Alaska
- Todd Ross
- George Ryan - now does PR for Exxon Mobil
- Scott Satchfield - now at WWL-TV
- Jennifer Sheffield (Freel) - now an attorney in Austin, Texas
- Jake Skellett - pharmaceutical sales with sanofi-aventis
- Michael Trufant - News Photographer
- Bruce Webber - sports
- Jean Wheeler hostess of Midday and other programs in the 1960's and 1970's, died in 1983
- Melba Williams
- Bo Willisons
- Mike Woolfolk - now news anchor/managing editor for WACH-TV Columbia, SC
- Jay Young - news anchor; (died of apparent heart attack on August 23, 2006)
- Lee Zurik - now at WVUE-TV
- Marvin Hurst- now at KENS-TV, San Antonio
- '"Michael Fugler"' - legal expert - now at EURO Financial Network, Investment Banker
- WBRZ Homepage
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WBRZ
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WBRZ-TV
- ^ "Update on DISH Network". 2theadvocate. 2008-06-02. Archived from the original on 2008-07-31. Retrieved 2008-10-29.
- ^ https://customersupport.dishnetwork.com/customernetqual/processAddress.do
- ^ http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-07-138A2.pdf
- ^ CDBS Print
- ^ http://www.businessreport.com/news/2001/dec/31/ron-winders-heads-back-to-savannah/
- ^ http://www.southernmedia-nmsa.com/
- ^ WBRZ Team, WBRZ.com. Retrieved 11-12-2010.