WPXH-TV, digital channel 45, is the Ion Television network affiliate ofBirmingham/Anniston/Tuscaloosa market. The station's city of license is Gadsden. The station is owned by ION Media Networks (formerly Paxson Communications).
|Channels||Digital: 45 (UHF)|
|Subchannels||44.1 Ion Television|
|Owner||ION Media Networks
(Ion Media License Company, LLC)
|First air date||April 1986|
|Call letters' meaning||PaX TV BirmingHam|
|Former callsigns||WNAL-TV (1986-1998)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
44 (UHF, 1986-2009)
|Transmitter power||225 kW|
The station originally began in 1986 as WNAL-TV, a full-time satellite of WDBB in Tuscaloosa. The two stations combined were intended to serve the Birmingham market, with WDBB serving the southern portion and WNAL serving the northern portion. After a few months asindependents, the two stations joined Fox as charter affiliates. Despite the stations' relatively strong program lineup, independent station WTTO had stronger ratings. Additionally, neither WNAL nor WDBB were able to get a good signal into Birmingham, and several Birmingham cable companies declined to carry the stations. As a result, WDBB/WNAL was not profitable.
In 1991, Fox moved its Birmingham affiliation to WTTO, and shortly afterward WDBB and WNAL started simulcasting WTTO for all but three hours of the day. By 1993, WDBB and WNAL were full-time satellites of WTTO. The WTTO/WNAL/WDBB combo (which nonetheless branded only as "Fox21)") eventually became one of the leading Fox affiliates in the nation. In 1995, both WNAL and WDBB began airing separate daytime schedules. Fant Broadcasting bought WNAL in the same year.
In a complicated move, Citicasters sold longtime ABC affiliate WBRC to Fox in 1995, forcing affiliation changes for six stations in central Alabama the next year. At that time, WBRC became the Fox affiliate for central Alabama, while WJSU-TV, the CBS affiliate for northeast Alabama, became part of the Birmingham market’s new ABC affiliate, WBMA-LP. WNAL, which prior to the massive affiliation switch had been a secondary affiliate of WB, became the CBS affiliate for northeast Alabama.
In 1998, the Birmingham, Anniston/Gadsden, and Tuscaloosa television markets were combined into one market; of which the official CBS affiliate would be Birmingham’s WBMG (now WIAT). Around this time, Paxson Communications (now ION Media Networks) purchased WNAL with the intent of making the station the Pax TV (later i and now ION Television) affiliate for Birmingham. Soon afterwards, the station changed its call letters to WPXH. However, Channel 44 remained a CBS affiliate, and had an agreement to air simulcasts of WBMG/WIAT's 6:00 and 10:00 p.m. newscasts. In May 1999, WPXH dropped its CBS affiliation and the WIAT news simulcasts, and briefly became an independent station targeting Anniston and surrounding areas. In August 1999, the station finally affiliated with Pax.
- Don't Let Fox 44 Weekends Pass You By (1987-1988; local version of Fox ad campaign)
- Fox 44, This is the Year (1988-1990; local version of Fox ad campaign)
- It's On Fox 44 (1990-1992; local version of Fox ad campaign)
- Everybody Knows It's On Fox 44 (1992-1993; local version of Fox ad campaign)
- Fox 44 You're Watching It (1993-1994; local version of Fox ad campaign)
- It Could Happening on Fox 44 (June-September 1994; local version of Fox ad campaign)
- Fox 44 is Kickin' It (1994-1995; local version of Fox ad campaign)
- Cool Like Fox 44 (1995-1996; last local version of Fox ad campaign)
- ^ The Broadcasting and Cable Yearbook says April 26, while the Television and Cable Factbook says April 25.