WBTW is the CBS-affiliated television station for the Pee Dee and Grand Strand areas of South Carolina that is licensed to Florence. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on VHF channel 13 from a transmitter southeast of Dillon on Pee Dee Church Road. Owned by Media General, the station has studios on McDonald Court in the Stalvey section of Myrtle Beach. Syndicated programming on WBTW includes: Dr. Phil, Ellen, Inside Edition, and Wheel of Fortune.
It operates the area's MyNetworkTV affiliate on a second digital subchannel known as My TV. This can also be seen in most areas on Time Warner digital channel 811, on HTC Cablevision channel 99 in Conway, and in Brunswick County, North Carolina on ATMC channel 13. During the daytime, the channel airs the Retro Television Network (RTV). Media General also owns several area newspapers including: The Morning News, Lake City News and Post, Marion Star and Mullins Enterprise, and the Hemingway Observer. A purchase agreement is also in the works with a Hartsville-based paper called The Messenger.
|Florence / Myrtle Beach, South Carolina|
My TV (on DT2)
Can Count On
|Channels||Digital: 13 (VHF)|
(Media General Communications Holdings, LLC)
|First air date||October 18, 1954|
|Call letters' meaning||derived from former
sister station WBTV
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
8 (VHF, 1954-1963) 13 (VHF, 1963-2009) Digital: 56 (UHF)
|Former affiliations||ABC (secondary, 1954-1980)|
|Transmitter power||31.6 kW|
|Transmitter coordinates||34°22′4″N 79°19′21″W / 34.36778°N 79.3225°W / 34.36778; -79.3225|
Its signal is multiplexed.
|13.1||main WBTW programming / CBS HD|
|13.2||WBTW-DT2 "My TV"|
The station went on-the-air October 18, 1954 on VHF channel 8 from a transmitter at its original studios on TV Road in the Back Swamp section of Florence. It was owned by Jefferson Standard Life Insurance Company (later becoming Jefferson-Pilot now Lincoln Financial Group). It was Jefferson Standard's second television station behind WBTV in Charlotte. The WBT letters stood for "Watch Buick Travel" - Buick was a major client at the time. That was used in the series of call letters for WBT-AM (Charlotte), WBTV (Charlotte), WBTW (Florence) and WWBT (Richmond). WBTW received the call sign WBTW ("W" being the next letter in the alphabet after "V" although the station was not a satellite of WBTV). In 1963, it moved to VHF channel 13 and its previous location was re-allocated to High Point, North Carolina. In 1968, the station was sold to the Shott family of Bluefield, West Virginia (publishers of the Bluefield Daily Telegraph).
WBTW's current tower was built in rural Dillon County east of SC 57 in 1979. This more than doubled its coverage area giving it at least secondary coverage as far north as Fayetteville, Raeford and Pinehurst; as far west as Polkton and Pageland; as far south as Georgetown and Summerton and as far east as Leland and Elizabethtown. Only Fayetteville and Pinehurst do not currently carry WBTW but did until the 1980s and early-1990s. For many years, it was the only commercial television station located between Wilmington and Charleston. This was because of a quirk in the Federal Communications Commission's allocation of VHF channels. Only one VHF license was allocated to the area because it was sandwiched between the Wilmington and Charleston markets.
The station has always been a CBS affiliate but carried some ABC shows until WPDE-TV signed-on in 1980. The Shotts sold most of their media holdings in 1984 with its two television stations, WBTW and KIMT in Mason City, Iowa to Spartan Radiocasting Corporation (later Spartan Communications) of Spartanburg. In the late-1980s and early-1990s, it branded itself on-air as the "Best of Two Worlds" playing off the "BTW" in its call letters. In 2000, Spartan merged with current owner Media General.
From 1995 to 2000, WBTW served as the de facto CBS affiliate for parts of the Wilmington market because former affiliate WJKA-TV switched to Fox and became WSFX-TV. That market got another CBS affiliate in 2000 when WILM-LP (now WILM-LD) picked up the affiliation. However, WBTW still serves some parts of the Wilmington area that does not receive the low-powered WILM signal over-the-air or on cable. After being known as "TV 13" for most of its history, this station re-branded itself as "News 13" in 2002. On June 12, 2009, WBTW left digital UHF channel 56 and flash-cut its analog channel 13 to digital when the conversion was completed.
Historically, WBTW has been one of the most dominant stations in the country. This is in part because it essentially had the market to itself for over a quarter-century with its only real competition being Grade B signals from WECT in Wilmington and WIS in Columbia. In 2004, WBTW established a news share agreement with Fox affiliate WFXB. It then began producing a weeknight 10 o'clock newscast for that station known as Fox 43 News at 10. In 2006, the title switched to Fox News at 10.
During Summer 2007, WBTW moved the majority of its operations to new studios in Myrtle Beach. A smaller facility at that same site had been serving as a news bureau since 1989 and was demolished in 2007. The station continued to operate some news and operations at its old facilities in Florence. A physical Lumberton Bureau closed in 2007. In March 2008, WBTW converted its news operation to all-digital. The revamp included new graphics, news set, robotic studio cameras, and newscasts in 16:9 standard definition widescreen.
In early 2009, the station shifted to the "digital journalism" model. It reduced the use of 2 person newsgathering teams. Now each reporter must shoot the majority of their own video. While sounding like something new, it is actually a return to the days of yesteryear for WBTW, which often used "one-man-band" reporters in the 1980s and 1990s.
- Your Esso Reporter (1954-1961)
- The Six O'Clock News / The Eleven O'Clock News (1961-1967)
- Eyewitness News (1967-1976)
- NewsWatch 13 (1976-1983)
- Channel 13 News (1983-1991)
- 13 Eyewitness News (1991-1997)
- TV-13 News (1997-2002)
- News 13 (2002-present)
- "The Best of Two Worlds" (a play on its call letters, early-1990s)
- "Your 24 Hour News Source" (early 1990s)
- "13 Eyewitness News When Everything Depends On It" (early 1990s)
- "The Carolinas' News Station" (1990s-2000)
- "Coverage You Can Count On" (2000-present)
- Rusty Ray - weekday mornings and Positively Carolina Reporter
- Nicole Boone - weekdays at noon, 5, and 6
- Count on Health reporter
- Bob Juback - weeknights at 6 and 11
- Wendi Redman - weeknights at 10 and 11 and reporter
- Mason Snyder - weekends at 6 and 11 and reporter
- Erika Hayes - weekdays mornings and reporter
Storm Tracker 13 Meteorologists
- Frank Johnson (AMS Seal of Approval) - Chief seen weeknights at 5, 6, 10 and 11
- Chris Still (AMS and NWA Seals of Approval) - weekday mornings and noon
- Lindsay Milbourne - weekends and Living Green reporter
- Jeff Zell - Sports Director
- Conan Gasque - weekends and digital journalists
- Patricia Burkett - Pee Dee and fill-in news anchor
- Sammantha Shephard - Pee Dee
- Aisha Khan - Grand Strand
- Ben Greene - photographer
- Curtis Graham - photographer
- Marshall Staton - photographer
- Amy Vitrano - Grand Strand
- Brie Jackson - Grand Strand
Notable former staff
- Jody Barr, WBTW crime, court reporter from 2006-2009. Currently working as an investigative reporter with WIS in Columbia, SC.
- Jason Becknell, WBTW Producer 2004-2007. Currently a producer at WXIA in Atlanta.
- Bill Burr, Anchor/Reporter who made two tours of duty with WBTW. Currently morning anchor at WCSC in Charleston, SC.
- Bridget Cannata, Reporter 2002-2005. Most recently a reporter at CBS3 in Sacramento, California. She has left that station.
- Michelle Carolla, Anchor/Reporter also Fill-in 2004-2010.
- Cecil Chandler, 1974-2010.Well known reporter from both the Pee Dee and Grand Strand. Now co-host of Carolina & Company on WPDE.
- Ken Daily, Morning Meteorologist 1995-1996. Currently out of the media business.
- Mitch Davis, Weekend Anchor, Reporter, More For Your Money Reporter 1999-2003. Executive Producer, Myrtle Beach Bureau Chief and fill-in anchor/reporter 2003-2006. Currently an Executive Producer for WSOC-TV & WAXN-TV in Charlotte, N.C.
- Alison Rhinehart de Castro, Primary Myrtle Beach co-anchor from 2000-2004. Now known as Alison de Castro. Previously co-hosted The Morning Blendon WTMJ in Milwaukee 2006-2009. Currently President and Director of Sales at FireFly Media since 2009.
- Shea Ann DeJarnette, Lumberton Bureau Reporter 1992-2002. She has been working as a coordinator for a "4-H" youth program in Lumberton since 2002.
- Debra DeShong Reed,News Reporter and Myrtle Beach News Supervisor 1994-1996. Left to pursue political communications serving as political advisor to Kerry/Edwards presidential campaign. Currently co-founder and principal with Point Blank Public Affairs in Washington DC.
- Kip Diggs, News Reporter, mid-1990s.
- Darby Mullany Dunn, Anchor, 1993-1997. Currently a reporter at CNBC. After leaving WBTW she went on to CNN.
- Ellen Dunn, Morning Anchor 1998-2003.
- Jake Dunne, Weekend Meteorologist, 1998-2000. Currently AM and Noon Meteorologist at WLNS in Lansing, MI.
- Lisa Edge, Reporter 2004-2008. Currently Weekend Anchor at rival WPDE-TV.
- Chris Fischer, Weekend Sports Anchor 2007-2009. Currently Weekend Sports Anchor WHP-TV CBS 21 Harrisburg, PA.
- Allyson Floyd, Medical Reporter 1991-1996. Left for rival WPDE as the Evening Anchor and Assistant News Director since 1996.
- Brian Formica, Reporter 2007-2008. Currently Sports Director at WFMY Greensboro (The Triad), NC.
- Vernon Fraley, Reporter 1992-1998. He spent nearly six years at WFMY, a CBS affiliate, as an anchor and reporter in Greensboro, NC. Former main Weekday Evening Anchor for News 14 Carolina in Raleigh studio. Named EMBARQ Media Relations Manager in June 2008 in Wake Forest, NC.
- Ric Garni, Sports Director 2004-2007. Left WBTW to be WWE staff writer in Connecticut. Currently he is the General Manager of Regus in Indianapolis, IN. Now at WACH in Columbia, SC as Sports Director and Senior Producer.
- Kimberly Gill, Morning/ Noon Anchor & Producer 2004-2007, Weekend Anchor 2002-2003. Now Morning Anchor at WEWS 5 in Cleveland, Ohio.
- Kelly Gillespie, Reporter 2004-2009.
- Sonja Gantt, Reporter late '80's? early '90's?. Now Evening Anchor at WCNC-TV in Charlotte, NC
- Ryan Gunn, Weekend Sports Anchor 2005-2007. Left to become General Manager of Regus for eight months. After 5 months off, as of March 2008 he is a Search Consultant with Management Recruiters of West Palm Beach, Florida.
- Deyna Martin (Hardison), Morning/Noon Anchor 1993-1998. Left to go back home to a New York station. Currently a membership director at a YMCA branch in Delaware.
- Trish Hamel, Weekend Anchor mid 1990s-1999.
- Vanessa Hill Anchor 1984-1992. Left for WCIV in Charleston, SC to anchor there from 1992-2002. Currently works with the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) in Charleston.
- Melissa Hoeman, Weekend Meteorologist from 2007-2009. Now at KETV in Omaha, NE.
- Chris Huffman, Reporter in the Pee Dee Region from 2004-2006. Currently a reporter at KOAT in Albuquerque, NM.
- Martha Hunn, Anchor early 1990s, and second tenure 2004-2009. Also served as a freelance reporter for "Gauging The Grand Strand" from late '90s until early 2000s. Currently director of news and public affairs at Coastal Carolina University.
- Fred Hunter, Morning Meteorologist, 1993-1995. Currently weekend meteorologist at WBRC in Birmingham, AL since 1997.
- Will Jones, Reporter 1994-1998.
- Robert Kittle, Columbia reporter
- Jeff Kirk, Morning Meteorologist, 1996-2000. Currently at WJCL in Savannah, GA as chief meteorologist since June 2000.
- Josh Klaff, Weekend Sports Anchor 2000-2004. Left for the Greensboro, NC market. He left the station in Greensboro in late 2007.
- Beth Kulle, Morning/Noon Anchor 1990-1994.
- Brian Levitan, Sports Reporter/Fill Sports Anchor 2002-2005. Currently at KNDO/KNDU-TV Yakima/Kennewick, Washington.
- Matt Lincoln, Sports Director 2007-2010. Now Sports Director at WWBT in Richmond, VA.
- Julie Loncich, Reporter mid 2000's-2008. Currently at WXIN Indianapolis, Indiana.
- Elaine Lucadano, Anchor/Reporter, 1989-1993. Later worked at WTSP in Tampa. Currently Pres/CEO of Living Your Dream Productions, Redington Beach, Florida
- Don Luehrs, Morning/Chief/Morning Meteorologist, 1988-2007. He was morning weathercaster until Mark Mathis left in early 1993, then he was chief until the last 6 months before retiring June 2007. Now sells real estate at Re/Max under Ron Moore in Florence, SC.
- Tad Maguire, Weekend Meteorologist, 1986-1991. Now senior meteorologist at WSI Corporation.
- Lyra Manning, Morning/Noon Anchor, 2007-2009. Currently Weekend Anchor (Friday/Saturday) 10pm News at WCCB in Charlotte, NC.
- Laura Martin, Reporter 1993-1995. After TV13, it was off to Waco, Texas, as the 6 and 10 pm anchor (1995-1999). Then, in 2000, Laura moved to Dallas to report for WFAA-TV.
- Mark Mathis, Chief Meteorologist, 1987-1993. He left WBTW for WCIV in Charleston, SC, other stations in Dallas, Austin,TX, San Diego, San Antonio, Charlotte, and most recently KREX in Grand Junction, CO where he served as chief meteorologist for 4 years.
- Jim McGee, Anchor, mid 1980s-early 1990s alongside Vanessa Hill. Currently Republican Representative for District no. 63 Florence County, SC.
- Brad Means, Anchor/Reporter 1989-1994. After WBTW, it was off to Huntsville, Alabama, and Columbus, Georgia. Currently he is an anchor and Assistant News Director. He anchors the 5 p.m., 6 p.m., and 11 p.m. weeknight newscasts on WJBF News Channel 6 since 1998.
- Dan Michaels, Reporter 1992-1994.
- Monte Montello, Weekend Meteorologist, 2003-2005/ Fox 43 Meteorologist 2005-2007. He is currently a meteorologist at News 14 Carolina in Charlotte.
- Jimmy Moore, Chief Photographer/Fill-in Reporter (Briefly), 2003-2009. Currently at WYFF in Greenville, SC as of November 2009.
- Elise Olson, Reporter 2007-2009.
- Tasha Oxendine, Lumberton Bureau Chief/Reporter, 1992-2005. Currently works as Marketing Director for UNC-Pembroke's Gibbons Performing Arts Center.
- Frank Paone, Reporter 2008-2008.
- Tyler Pearson, Reporter/Fill-in Anchor 2001-2006. Currently he is the Morning and Noon Anchor at WMAZ-TV in Macon, Georgia since 2006.
- Thema Ponton, General Assignment Reporter/Weekend Anchor-Producer 2007-2010, now at WMTW-TV
- Kim Prozzi, Reporter 1991-1993. Currently in Jacksonville, FL.
- Keith Reid, Noon/5pm/Sunday Morning Anchor 1993-1998. Died on July 31, 2006.
- Dey Romo, Anchor/Reporter Early 1990s. Later worked at WECT-TV's Fayetteville, NC bureau.
- Marci Rubin, General Assignment Reporter 2001-2004. Currently anchor/reporter with News 12 Networks in New York City area.
- Kim Schumacher, General Assignment Reporter - Grand Strand, 1998-2004. Currently reporter for WRIC in Richmond, VA.
- Newy Scruggs, Weekend Sports Anchor, 1992-1993. Currently Sports Director at KXAS in Dallas since April 2000.
- Landon Sears, Reporter 2009-2010
- Stephanie Snowden, Reporter 2001-2004. Left for WIS-TV NBC 10 in Columbia, SC. Currently is the solo Host of Richland Reveal which comes on Sunday Mornings in Columbia, SC.
- Mike Stevens, Anchor/Reporter, 1987-1989. Went on to anchor and report at stations in Philadelphia, Columbus Ohio, Sacramento, Atlanta and New York. Currently Evening Anchor at WEYI, Flint Michigan.
- Rob Stewart, Morning Anchor, 1995-1998. Former weeknight main anchor of Delaware Tonight airing in the Philadelphia TV market on WHYY. Currently, Reporter for America's Heartland /California Heartland KVIE.
- Allen Strum, Weekend Meteorologist, 1996-1998. Currently the chief meteorologist at WEAR in Pensacola, Florida since 2001.
- Traci Jones Sumter, Reporter in Florence & Myrtle Beach, 2000s-2007.
- Stephanie Sy, Reporter, Fill-in Anchor and Weather Talent, 1999-2002. Now with ABC News (yes the network!) after a stop at WTKR-TV in Norfolk-Hampton Roads, Va.
- Mackenzie Taylor, Reporter 2004-2009.
- Sylvia Thomas, Noon/5pm Anchor 1993-1997.
- Greg Toland, Sports Reporter/Director, 1984-1998. Now with Comcast SportsNet Washington.
- Randy Warren, Weekend Anchor 1989-1992. Left for South Florida, currently president of Honor One Productions, Bradenton, Florida
- Michael White, Weekend Sports Anchor 1990-1992.
- James Wieland, Morning Meteorologist, 2000-2003. Currently meteorologist at WPTV in West Palm Beach, FL since April 2007.
- Dave Williams, Morning Meteorologist, December 2003-November 2006. Now morning meteorologist at WCIV in Charleston, SC.
- Jon Wofford, Sports Director 2000-2004. After WBTW he left to be the Sports Director at WHBF-TV in Rock Island, Illinois. Currently he is the Sports Director at KLKN-TV Channel 8 in Lincoln, Nebraska.
- Pete Yanity, Weekend sports anchor, August 1985-March, 1986. Sports Director March 1987-October, 1990. Left for 13's sister station WSPA in Spartanburg, SC where he has been the Sports Director since 1990.