WSPA-TV channel 7 is the CBS-affiliated television station for western North Carolina and South Carolina. It is licensed to Spartanburg, South Carolina with its transmitter is located on Hogback Mountain southwest of Tryon, North Carolina. Owned by Media General, the station is sister to CW affiliate WYCW. The two stations share studios on International Drive in Spartanburg. Syndicated programming on WSPA includes Judge Judy and Dr. Phil. WSPA serves as master control for Media General's CBS network affiliates.
|Spartanburg-Greenville-Anderson, South Carolina-Asheville, North Carolina|
|Branding||NewsChannel 7 HD|
|Slogan||On Your Side|
|Channels||Digital: 7 (VHF)|
(Media General Communications Holdings, LLC)
|First air date||April 29, 1956|
|Call letters' meaning||We're in SPArtanburg, South Carolina|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
7 (1956-2009) Digital: 53
|Transmitter power||25.7 kW (digital)|
|Height||667 m (digital)|
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|7.1||main WSPA-TV programming / CBS HD|
|7.2||Retro TV Network|
WPSA-TV shut down analog transmissions on June 12, 2009, and moved its digital broadcasts back to its previous analog channel number, 7. On WSPA-DT2 and Charter digital cable channel 247 is a 24-hour local weather channel known as "Storm Team 24/7". Sometime in 2009, WSPA Channel 7.2 became a RetroTV affiliate. This channel plays shows such as, "The A Team", "Air Wolf", and "Emergency".
In addition to its main signals, WSPA operates a network of 16 translator sites throughout the mountains of western North Carolina. Some translators have applications and/or construction permit to flash-cut from analog to digital and some translators will also displace their VHF allotment to a UHF one.
|City of license||Callsign||Transmitter location|
|Mars Hill||W02AH||Middle Mountain|
|Spruce Pine||W08BF||Woody's Knob|
|Black Mountain||W10AD||Allen Mountain|
|Bryson City||W11AN||Fry Mountain|
The station went on the air on April 29, 1956. It was owned by broadcasting pioneer Walter J. Brown and his company, Spartan Radiocasting, along with WSPA radio (AM 950, now WOLI at AM 910; and 98.9 FM). It has always been a CBS affiliate. Spartan Radiocasting bought several other radio and television stations over the years, and was renamed Spartan Communications in 1995. The radio stations were sold off in 1998, but WSPA-TV remained the flagship of the company until it merged with Media General in 2000. Channel 7 was the last locally owned-and-operated station in the market.
WSPA began broadcasting 24/7 in the mid-1990s, after previously having signed off every Friday night/Saturday morning and Saturday night/Sunday morning.
The station shared some resources with WNEG-TV in Toccoa, Georgia while that station was co-owned with WSPA; this included a CBS affiliation. This arrangement was terminated after the sale of WNEG to the University of Georgia.
Due to its transmitter location—just over 2,200 feet (670 m) above average terrain—WSPA enjoys one of the largest coverage areas on the East Coast.
March 2009 tower collapse
On March 1, 2009, WSPA's analog & digital tower at Hogback Mountain in Spartanburg County near the North Carolina/South Carolina border collapsed due to ice and high winds, hitting the main back-up tower as it fell. WSPA's digital signal was restored using a digital subchannel of sister station WYCW; while the station received a replacement Channel 7 antenna on March 4, it was without its analog signal for one week after the accident. A new tower was built, in September 2009.
Cable, over-the-air and satellite availability
In North Carolina on cable, WSPA is carried on numerous cable outlets in the western portion of the Charlotte market, such as Hickory, Morganton, Shelby, Lenoir and Taylorsville. However, WSPA is not carried on cable in the areas of Bakersville, Burnsville, and Spruce Pine, which are within the Greenville/Spartanburg/Asheville market. Instead, WBTV from Charlotte and WJHL from Johnson City are carried on Charter Cable in those areas. Before the tower collapse, it provided grade B coverage as far east as Charlotte itself. It appeared in the Charlotte Observer television listings well into the 1990s.
Prior to the March 2009 tower collapse, WSPA's analog and digital signal was picked up as far north as Watauga County, including Boone and Blowing Rock. In fact, WSPA's signal often comes in better than the two CBS affiliates both available on cable, Charlotte's WBTV (even though Watauga County is part of the Charlotte market) and WJHL-TV in Johnson City, Tennessee. In the Boone area, WJHL's transmitter is only 28 miles (45 km) away, WBTV's is 65 miles (105 km) and WSPA's transmitter is almost 80 miles (130 km) away. Blowing Rock is 5.5 miles (8.9 km) south of Boone at the height of the Blue Ridge spine, with a greater line of sight to Hogback Mountain at about 75 miles (121 km) away. Despite how well the signal was picked up prior to the March 2009 tower collapse, WSPA is not carried on cable in Watauga County. WSPA used to be carried in the western Union County town ofWeddington, long before it became a suburb of Charlotte.
On cable in South Carolina, WSPA is carried outside the market in McCormick and Newberry. McCormick is part of the Augusta, Georgia market while Newberry is part of the Columbia market. In January 2009, it was dropped from cable carriage in Rock Hill, which is part of the Charlotte market.
On cable in Georgia, WSPA is carried outside the market in most of Rabun County, which is part of the Atlanta market. WSPA was picked up in the 1990s after Atlanta's longtime CBS affiliate, WAGA-TV, switched to Fox. The replacement CBS affiliate, WGCL-TV (formerly WGNX-TV), does not have nearly as strong a signal in the more mountainous areas of the Atlanta market.
WSPA pre-empted several CBS shows through the 1960s, 70s, 80s, and 90s.
- CBS Children's Film Festival
- Press Your Luck (was picked up in 1984 shortly after Michael Larson's record $110,237 win)
- Card Sharks (aired by WSPA from 1986–1988, dropped from September 1988 to March 1989 and preempted by Wipeout; returned to lineup on March 6, 1989 until end of run)
- Now You See It (April–July 1989, CBS daytime game show preempted by Love Connection)
- Family Feud Challenge (final few months)
- Muppet Babies (1991–1993, preempted by Jack Roper's Kidsizzle)
- Pee-Wee's Playhouse (final season)
- Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventures (the animated series, final weeks?)
- The Late Show with David Letterman (for one week around the Summer of 1998)
On September 16, 2007, WSPA began producing newscasts in high definition and adopted the new Media General HD graphics. It was the first television station in the western Carolinas to upgrade local news broadcasts to HD.The station's newscasts were known as Eyewitness 7 News until 1994 when they were re-branded as NewsChannel 7. Leeza Gibbons, Jane Robelot, and Susan McGinnis are notables who have worked for the station in the past. Annette Estes was WSPA's first female news anchor in 1977. She left the station in 1987 to anchor the 6 and 11 pm news with Carl Clark at WYFF. WSPA also used to produce a newscast forFox affiliate WHNS before that station launched its own news operation.
In addition to its main studios, WSPA operates two news bureaus and shares a third with its sister stations. The Greenville Bureau is located on Villa Road and the Anderson Bureau is located on South Main Street. There is one in Columbia as well, with costs of operating the bureau shared between Media General's stations in South Carolina - WSPA, WBTW, and WCBD. WSPA produces newscasts for its local sister station WYCW that air in high definition. This includes weekday mornings and evenings as well as on the weekends. The station operates an aerial news gathering helicopter with a gyrostabilized camera that is outfitted with a 72 power zoom lens and a motorized two power drop-in extender. The camera system is manufactured by Flir Systems International and the helicopter is maintained by U.S. Helicopters Inc. of Charlotte. It is referred to on-air as "Air 7".
"News Channel 7" and its popular "On Your Side" brand, has the reputation for being the most "aggressive" news operation in the market, when it comes to breaking stories, and breaking news, on-air and online.
WSPA is currently the top rated station in the market, winning most newscasts. The 11pm weekday newscast is the highest rated newscast in the market, and has experienced tremendous growth. That newscast was nominated for a 2010 Emmy Award for Best Newscast. The station won a 2010 Emmy for its breaking news coverage.
- Your Esso Reporter (1956–1958)
- The Six O'Clock News Final (1958–1966)
- TV-7 News (1966–1970)
- Eyewitness 7 News (1970–1979)
- 7 Eyewitness News (1979–1994)
- NewsChannel 7 (1994–2011)
- 7 On Your Side (2011–2016)
- 7 News (2016-present)
- Where The Color is (1966)
- Channel 7, Serving The Carolinas (late 1970s)
- Great Moments on Channel 7 (1982–1983; local version of CBS campaign)
- We've Got the Touch (1983–1986; local version of CBS campaign)
- On Your Side (1986–1988 and mid 2000s-present)
- Channel 7 Spirit, Oh Yes! (1987-1988; local version of CBS campaign)
- We're The Team! (1988–1990)
- In the Center of it All (1990–1994)
- News Where You Live (1994-late 1990s)
- Putting South Carolina First (2001-mid 2000s)
- Amy Wood, 5 pm, 6 pm, 10, and 11 pm Anchor/Interactive Anchor-Social Media Networking
- Tom Crabtree, 5 pm, 5:30 pm, 6 pm, and 11 pm Anchor/"Voice of the Viewer"
- Chris Cato, 7 pm Anchor/"Community Watchdog" Reporter
- Dianne Derby, 5:30pm and 7pm Anchor/"Problem Solver" Reporter
- Fred Cunningham, Daybreak/Noon Anchor
- Diane Lee, Daybreak Anchor/Consumer Reporter
- Kristen Mosteller, Weekend Morning Anchor/Reporter
- Gordon Dill, Weekend Evening Anchor/Reporter
- Jonathan Carlson, General Assignment Reporter
- Melissa Keeney, Greenville Bureau Reporter
- Robert Kittle, Capital Bureau Political Reporter
- Graeme Moore, General Assignment Reporter
- Rich Klindworth, Digital Journalist
- Christine Scarpelli, Digital Journalist
Storm Team 7 HD
- Christy Henderson, Chief Meteorologist
- Dan Bickford, Daybreak/Noon Meteorologist
- Justin Cooper, Weekend Meteorologist
- Ken Bostic (Sportscaster/Weather Announcer from 1972-1984 before moving to rival WLOS-TV)
- Bebe Burns (Reporter 1970s, later KTVI-TV, St. Louis, MO, KHOU-TV and KPRC-TV in Houston)
- Carl Clark (Anchor/Reporter from 1995–2003, now retired)
- Tony Dale (Meteorologist)
- Carrie Davis (Daybreak Anchor and Medical Reporter. 2004-2009)
- Allen Denton (Anchor/Reporter, now at KNTV, San Jose, CA)
- Annette Estes (Weekday Anchor from 1977–1987, later moved to rival WYFF-TV in 1987)
- Brian Foote (Weekend Anchor 1980s)
- Kathy Foster (Weekend Anchor 1980s-1990s)
- John Gallows (Meteorologist)
- Leeza Gibbons (Reporter, before she became a famous television personality)
- Robin Kanady, (Anderson Bureau Reporter, now at WJZY in Charlotte)
- Pamela Graham (Weekday Anchor from 1990–2006)
- Terri Gruca (Anchor/Reporter 2001-2003, now 6PM/10PM anchor at KVUE-TV, Austin, TX)
- Dave Handy
- Brad Huffines (Chief Meteorologist, now at WAAY-TV, Huntsville, AL)
- Tricia Kean (Anchor/Reporter, now at KTNV-TV, Las Vegas, NV)
- Cherish Keats (Reporter)
- Jim Kirkpatrick (Meteorologist)
- Susan McGinnis (Reporter, now at CBS's The Early Show)
- David Morian (Meteorologist)
- Matthew Nordin (Anchor/Reporter, won station's first Edward R. Murrow Award, now at WMBF-TV in Myrtle Beach)
- Stan Olenik (Sportscaster, later moved to rival WYFF-TV in the 1980s)
- Scott Palmer (Sports Director, later WPVI-TV, Philadelphia, PA)
- Julie Phillips (Morning Anchor)
- Melissa Rehberger (Anchor/Reporter, now at MSNBC)
- Jane Robelot (Weekday Anchor, later CBS network and now reporter at rival WYFF-TV)
- Brad Sattin (Anchor/Reporter, now at KSTP-TV in St. Paul, MN)
- Craig Smith (Anchor/Reporter, later WNYT and WRGB-TV, Albany, NY)
- Brian Washington (Anchor/Reporter)
- Diana Watson (Anchor/Reporter, now at rival WHNS-TV)
- Cordell Whitlock (Reporter, later KSDK-TV, St. Louis, MO)
- Jack Roper (Chief Meteorologist 1986-2006, Meteorologist 2006-2007, now co-hosts local talk show "Your Carolina with Jack and Kimberly")