WNEG-TV is an independent television station having Toccoa, Georgia as its city of license. It serves several counties in northeast Georgiawhich are part of the Greenville/Spartanburg/Anderson, South Carolina and Asheville, North Carolina television market. The signal can also be seen in the extreme east-northeastern portions of the metro Atlanta media market, including Gainesville, Braselton and Athens. The station transmits its digital signal on UHF TV channel 24. It is owned by the University of Georgia Research Foundation and operated by UGA'sGrady College of Journalism and Mass Communication in Athens.
|Slogan||Serving Northeast Georgia|
|Channels||Digital: 24 (UHF)|
|Affiliations||independent, America One
(to be PBS / GPB Knowledge)
|Owner||University of GeorgiaResearch Foundation
(UGARF Media Holdings, LLC)
|First air date||September 9, 1984|
|Call letters' meaning||NorthEast Georgia|
|Former affiliations||independent (1984-1995)|
|Transmitter power||600 kW (digital)|
|Height||208.8 m (685 ft) (digital)|
The station broadcasts local news and selected programs from America One, as well as syndicated children's programming, courtroom shows, and talk shows. Despite being in the Greenville/Spartanburg/Asheville market, WNEG is available only on Dish Network and not available on DirecTV or cable providers in the North Carolina portion of the market.
WNEG-TV signed on air as an independent station on September 9, 1984. Its first owner was the Stephens County Broadcasting Company, who also owned WNEG radio (630 AM). The station's founder, Roy Gaines, felt that northeast Georgia received little news coverage from stations in Atlanta, Augusta, and Greenville/Spartanburg, and that WNEG would fill this void. However, the station struggled to make money, largely because of the rural nature of northeast Georgia, and in 1990 it was put up for sale. Stephens County Broadcasting found it difficult to find a buyer, and in August 1995, it signed a time brokerage agreement with Spartan Communications, making WNEG a sister station to Spartan's flagship station, WSPA-TV in Spartanburg; two years later, Spartan bought the station outright. (WNEG radio still exists in Toccoa today, but under different ownership from WNEG-TV.)
On October 29, 2007, Media General announced that it was exploring the sale of WNEG. This was followed on June 25, 2008 with an announcement that the station would be sold to the University of Georgia Research Foundation, with plans to use channel 32 as a training facility for students in the University's Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. The University took control on October 15; at that time, CBS programming was dropped and replaced with America One and This TV programming. UGA moved its studios from Toccoa to its campus in Athens in the fall of 2009, and also added more local programming. As a result of WNEG dropping CBS, WSPA now serves as Northeast Georgia's default CBS affiliate, while WGCL became the sole CBS affiliate for Athens.In becoming a sister station to WSPA, WNEG was able to obtain a CBS affiliation, restoring over-the-air CBS service to areas of northeast Georgia that had lost it a year earlier, when Atlanta'sWAGA-TV switched to Fox; the new Atlanta CBS affiliate, WGNX (now WGCL-TV), did not have the broadcast range WAGA had inmountainous northeast Georgia. Spartan also beefed up WNEG's news department, and rebranded the station NewsChannel 32, using a logo similar to the one that WSPA used from 1994 to 2001 (which was also used by another sister station, WJBF in Augusta, Georgia, around the same time period). WNEG, along with the rest of the Spartan company, was acquired by Media General in 2000. WNEG kept the Spartan-era logo, while WSPA and WJBF switched to a standard Media General one.
It was the home of the syndicated reruns of Degrassi: The Next Generation in the Greenville, South Carolina market when the station acquired the rights to the show from 2008 to 2009. Recently, WNEG-TV has acquired the local rights to the syndicated TV show Family Feud from WMYA-TV (formerly WBSC) after airing it for seven years.
On December 23, 2010, WNEG and the University of Georgia announced it will be starting a programming partnership with the Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB), which would provide all programming to the station, with most of the content coming from its GPB Knowledge subchannel. The station has recently filed to the FCC to change to a non-commercial license. The station also expects to change its call letters to WUGA-TV. This is due to a reduction of advertising dollars, resulting from the economic downturn and the loss of CBS affiliation.  On January 6, 2011, WNEG announced that the changes will include staff reorganization, with 12 permanent staff members and 5 temporary staff members laid off in that reorganization; the station also eliminated its news operation, with a student-produced newscast, UGA Newssource, replacing it on January 31 (in the interim, the only news programming on WNEG was an America One-provided national newscast produced by Independent News Network). In addition, WNEG's This TV affiliation ended on January 1, 2011, with the affiliation moving to a subchannel of the market's NBC affiliate, WYFF. WUGA-TV will be operated in conjunction with WUGA radio (91.7 FM), which is owned by GPB but operated by the University of Georgia.
Former news staff
- Chuck Moore - anchor
- Scott Myrick - anchor NewsChannel 32 Daybreak
- Jennifer Cathey (now Arbitter) - anchor/news director, now teaches at Piedmont College
- Megan Heidlberg - anchor/reporter
- Noah Pransky - sports director/anchor
- Chris McAndrew - reporter
- Heather Jensen - reporter
- Alaina Anderson - Daybreak anchor/reporter
- Bruce Frazier - sports reporter
- Randy Scott - sports director/anchor
- Jason Maderer - sports director/anchor
- Paul Rea - Daybreak anchor/reporter
- Matt McClure - Daybreak anchor/reporter
- Keeli Davidson - sports director/reporter
- Jill Schroder - Daybreak anchor/reporter
- Jason Mealey - anchor/reporter
- Susanna Haynes - reporter
- Lisa Warner - reporter/anchor
- Lisa Costantino - reporter
- Amy Cain - reporter
- Adrian Helmick - anchor/reporter
- Tony Teixiera - anchor/reporter
- John Hart - sports director/anchor
- Scott Hartman - sports reporter
- Tracy Lee Vreeland - reporter/news director
- Joy Purcell - anchor/reporter/news director
- Emily Sabatino - anchor/reporter
- Kate Mundy - daybreak anchor/reporter
- Michael Carvell - sports director/anchor
- Mark Childress - sports director/anchor
- Jeff Sharon - sports director
- Mario Boone - reporter
- Alisha Searl - reporter
- Tracy Armbruster - anchor/reporter
- Eric Elliott - weather anchor
- Zac Glover - sports/news reporter
- Laura-Ashley Harris - reporter/anchor - WNEG Daybreak
- Ray Metoyer - anchor/producer
- Cody Chaffins - Sports director
- Amelia Hines - reporter
- Rachel Garrett - reporter
- Chip Scarborough - reporter
- NewsChannel 32 (1995-2008)
- WNEG News (2008-2011)
- UGA Newssource (2011-present)
- Serving Northeast Georgia (2006-2008)
- We are Northeast Georgia (2008-present)
- ^ Thompson, Adam (July 6, 2008). "Toccoa news in the air". Athens Banner-Herald. Retrieved January 16, 2011.
- ^ a b c d "MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER". Federal Communications Commission. October 30, 1997. Retrieved January 16, 2011.
- ^ Media General (October 29, 2007). "Media General Exploring Sale of Five Television Stations". Press release. Retrieved October 30, 2007.
- ^ Media General (June 25, 2008). "Media General Announces Sale of WNEG in Toccoa, Ga., to University of Georgia Research Foundation". Press release. Retrieved June 25, 2008.
- ^ Armbruster, Tracy (August 19, 2008). "UGA Discusses the Sale of WNEG-TV". News Channel 32. Retrieved September 30, 2008.
- ^ Blackwood, Harris (October 7, 2008). "College dean discusses plans for Channel 32". The Gainesville Times. Retrieved October 18, 2008.
- ^ Armbruster, Tracy (June 27, 2008). "WNEG-TV Sold to UGA". News Channel 32. Retrieved June 28, 2009.
- ^ http://wneg32.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5098:wneg-tv-to-become-wuga-tv&catid=1:latest-news&Itemid=18
- ^ http://licensing.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/ws.exe/prod/cdbs/forms/prod/prefill_and_display.pl?Application_id=1412075&Service=DT&Form_id=314&Facility_id=63329
- ^ Gainesville Times: "WNEG to join Georgia public broadcasting", December 24, 2010.
- ^ Associated Press, via Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "UGA TV station to join GA.'s state network", December 25, 2010.
- ^ http://wneg32.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5183:wneg-reorganizes-operations&catid=1:latest-news&Itemid=18
- ^ Shearer, Lee (January 7, 2011). "UGA closes WNEG news and lays off 17". Athens Banner-Herald. Retrieved January 11, 2011.
- ^ Melancon, Merritt (January 20, 2011). "WUGA-TV aims to fit in with GPB, increase local focus". Athens Banner-Herald. Retrieved January 21, 2011.