WAAY-TV is the ABC-affiliated television station for the Tennessee Valley area of North Alabama that is licensed to Huntsville. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHFchannel 32 from a transmitter at its Monte Sano Boulevard Southeast studios on Monte Sano Mountain. Owned by Calkins Media, the station has studios on Monte Sano Boulevard Southeast in Huntsville, and airs its daily 4 p.m. newscast from local lifestyle center Bridge Street Town Centre. Syndicated programming on WAAY includes: Entertainment Tonight, The Doctors, Jeopardy! and Live with Regis and Kelly.

Huntsville/Decatur/Shoals/Sand Mountain, Alabama
City of license Huntsville
Branding WAAY 31 (general)

WAAY 31 FirstNews

Slogan Your FirstNews


Channels Digital: 32 (UHF)Virtual: 31 (PSIP)
Subchannels 31.1 ABC
Owner Calkins Media

(Huntsville Broadcast Corporation)

First air date August 1, 1959
Call letters' meaning the word WAYwith an extra A
Former callsigns WAFG-TV (1959-1963)
Former channel number(s) 31 (UHF analog, 1959-2009)
Former affiliations ABC (1959-1968)

NBC (1968-1977) CBS (secondary, 1959-1963)

Transmitter power 468 kW
Height 537.8 m
Facility ID 57292
Transmitter coordinates 34°44′12.7″N86°31′58.9″W


The station's first broadcast was on August 1, 1959 as WAFG-TV. It was Alabama's first primary ABC affiliate. There was only one other station in the area at the time, Decatur's WMSL-TV (now Huntsville's WAFF). This was an unusual arrangement for a two-station market especially one as small as Huntsville was at the time. When the station was sold to Smith Broadcasting (owners of WAAY now WLOR radio) in 1963, the call sign was changed to WAAY-TV. It switched network affiliation to NBC in January 1968 but returned to ABC nearly ten years later in December 1977 citing higher network ratings and the lack of a duplicate ABC affiliate in Florence(where WOWL now WHDF was then an NBC affiliate) as reasons.

Smith Broadcasting sold WAAY-TV to GOCOM Broadcasting (later renamed Piedmont Communications) in 1999. The Smith family, who previously owned broadcasting properties inBirmingham before coming to Huntsville, was the last local owner of a Huntsville television station as rivals WHNT-TV and WAFF had been sold to larger corporations years before. WZDXwhich was the first station in Northern Alabama not affiliated with the traditional networks or the educational television system has always belonged to outside interests. The Smith family also owned radio stations in Fort Walton Beach, Florida and South Pittsburg, Tennessee. At one time, all three of Huntsville's major-network affiliates (WAAY included) had studios located beside its transmitters and towers on Monte Sano.

After a 1982 fire gutted the building of WAFF, that station and later WHNT moved offices and production facilities into the city itself employing microwave relays to send signals to the transmitters. Only WAAY continues to maintain its full operations on Monte Sano Boulevard. WHIQ-TV which is a PBS affiliate serves as a translator relay of Alabama Public Television with programming originating from Birmingham or Montgomery not Huntsville. On September 4, 2003, the 1,000 foot broadcasting tower leased by WAAY collapsed killing three people.

In 2006, Piedmont Broadcasting agreed to sell WAAY to Calkins Media which is a Pennsylvania-based mass media company that owns several small newspapers in Pennsylvania and two other television stations (WWSB in Sarasota, Florida and WTXL in Tallahassee, Florida). The sale to Calkins became official on February 1, 2007. WAAY is Calkins' first broadcasting property outside of Florida. On February 17, 2009, WAAY-TV ended its analog service on UHF channel 31 [1], the station remains to provide digital service on its current pre-transition channel 32. [2]

News operation

In the Spring 2007 ratings period, all of the station's newscasts ranked in third place. This is in contrast from the 1970s through the early-1990s, when WAAY was still family-owned. At one point, the station aired weekend morning newscasts but currently does not. On July 16, 2007 at 5, WAAY unveiled a new set and graphics package similar to that of sister stations WWSB and WTXL. Beginning September 13, 2010, its news title became WAAY 31 FirstNews. The station is now using the FirstNews brand and logo in all branding, including commercials for syndicated programming. The station was the first to air a 4:30 a.m. newscast in the market and is the only station in the area airing local news weekday at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. [3] The channel produced a prime time newscast at 9 for UPN affiliate WHDF during the early-2000s. On September 20, 2010 through a new news share agreement, a second WAAY-produced broadcast at 9 began airing every night on Fox affiliate WZDX. [4] In addition to its main studios, WAAY maintains news bureaus in Decatur (on Lee Street Northeast) andFlorence (on North Pine Street within the University of North Alabama campus), and broadcasts each weekday from Bridge Street Town Centre at 4 p.m. The station operates its own weather radar at the main studios called "Live Storm Force 31 Doppler Max".

Newscast titles

  • WAFG-TV News (1959-1963)
  • The WAAY of the World (1963-1970)
  • 31 News (1970–1976 & 1992–2000)
  • 31 NewsCenter (1976–1979)
  • 31 Eyewitness News (1979–1992)
  • WAAY 31 News (2000–2010 & 2017–present)
  • WAAY 31 FirstNews (2010–2015)
  • WAAY 31 Hometown News (2015–2017)

Station slogans

  • "You're Still Having Fun with Channel 31" (1977-1978, localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • "Channel 31's The One You Can Turn To" (1978-1979, localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • "You and Me and Channel 31" (1980-1981, localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • "Now is the Time, Channel 31's The Place" (1981-1982, localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • "Come on Along with Channel 31" (1982-1983, localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • "The Tennessee Valley's News Leader" (1982–1986)
  • "We're With You on 31" (1984-1985, localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • "You'll Love It on 31" (1985-1986, localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • "The Clear Choice" (1980s–early 1990s)
  • "Together on 31" (1986-1987, localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • "Something's Happening on 31" (19??-19??, localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • "Tennessee Valley's Watching 31" (199?-199?, localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • "Your 24-Hour News Source" (early 1990s–?)
  • "If It's Tennessee Valley, It Must Be 31" (1992-1993, localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • "Coverage You Can Count On" (?–2010 & 2017–present)
  • "Your FirstNews Station" (2010–2015)
  • "This is Home" (2015–2017)

News team


  • Erin Dacy - weekday mornings
  • T.W. Starr - weekday mornings and "Did You Know" segment producer
  • Meredith Wood - weekdays at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Guy Hornbuckle - Monday-Thursday at 4 p.m., and Sunday-Thursday at 5 p.m. and 10 p.m.,
  • Melissa Riopka - Monday-Thursday at 4 p.m., and Sunday-Thursdays at 5 & 10 p.m., also "Focus on Faith" segment producer
  • Denise Chandler- fill-in anchor & producer
  • Chase Gallimore - Sunday-Thursday at 9 (on WZDX) and reporter
  • Sharon Doviet - 31 Law Line host

Storm Force 31 Meteorologists

  • Spencer Denton- chief meteorologist; Monday-Thursdays at 4, 5 & 10 p.m. & Sunday nights
  • Gary Dobbs - meteorologist; weekday mornings and 11 a.m.
  • Merry Perry - meteorologist; weekend evenings
  • Ben Luna - fill-in weather & weather producer
  • Ari Sarsalari - Sunday-Thursdays at 9 p.m. (on WZDX); also fill-in


  • Kyle Burger - Fridays at 5, Saturdays at 6 & Friday-Saturdays at 10 p.m., also news and sports reporter "Burger Bytes" segment producer
  • Ronnie Duncan - Sunday-Thursdays at 5 & 10 p.m.


  • Ross Sather
  • Stephanie Beecken
  • Barry Hiett - Decatur bureau reporter
  • Erika Odell - Shoals bureau reporter
  • Rachel Keith
  • Rebecca Shlien

Former WAAY 31 Anchors / Reporters

  • Karen Adams - now at WTEV/WAWS, Jacksonville FL
  • Denise Agent - now News Director at TV3, Winchester VA
  • Linda Allen (morning news anchor)
  • Nick Banaszak (former reporter, now at WHNT)
  • Bob Baron (meteorologist) - creator of VIPIR (radar); president, Baron Services, Inc.
  • Dave Brazelton (former sports reporter, producer, videographer)
  • Scott Boice (sports anchor)
  • Craig Boswell (former anchor) - now at Fox News
  • Clint Brown (former Sand Mountain Bureau Chief, former Decatur/Limestone Bureau Chief, former reporter
  • Heather Burns (6pm & 10pm anchor)
  • Shane Butler (former chief meteorologist) - now at WRDW, Augusta, GA
  • Kirk Chaisson
  • Anna Clayton
  • Dave Cody (sportscaster)
  • Dave Coffey (sports)
  • Jamie Cooper (feature reporter) - now at WTZT, Athens, AL
  • Kristen Cornett (meteorologist) (1997-2001) - now at KMOV, St. Louis, MO
  • Rick Davis (former sports anchor)
  • Dave Deeley (10pm Sports Anchor) (1996-1998)
  • Laura Beth Ezzell (now voice-over talent)
  • Adrian Gibson - served as news anchor and weather forecaster on the station for over 35 years. Retired in 2004.
  • Lisa Greer
  • Tim Hall (former weekend anchor, weather forecaster)
  • Dave Hargrove (inaugural anchor of "Live at 5")
  • Gus Hergert (Sports Director/Creator of "Friday Night Football" which won the 1998 Emmy Award)
  • Cliff Hill (news anchor at 5 p.m. and 10 p.m.)
  • Bill Hubscher (producer, reporter, anchor)
  • Liz Hurley - now anchor, WAFF-TV, Huntsville
  • Gus Johnson (former 10 p.m. sports anchor)
  • Reginald Jones (producer,assignments, EP, & weekend morning anchor)
  • Tony Jordan
  • Bob Labbe (sports)
  • David Lamb (weekend sports anchor) - now at WDJC, Birmingham AL
  • Walt Lehmann (Sports)
  • Dave Leval - now at WMYD, Detroit, MI
  • Wayne MacKenzie (weekend meteorologist)
  • Mark Marcus (sports videographer, weekend sports anchor, sports director)
  • Jim Marsh (anchor)
  • Rick Mecklenburg (weather anchor) - now at WSBT, South Bend, IN
  • Matt Neal (executive producer for sports/sports productions/co-creator of "Friday Night Football")
  • Violet Parker
  • Don Phelps
  • Alcides Segui - now at WTVT, Tampa, FL
  • Michael Scott {Former evening anchor}
  • Pam Oliver
  • Gary Shore (chief meteorologist)
  • Alicia Smith (bureau chief)
  • Jeff Speegle (10 p.m. sports anchor)
  • Belle Taylor (reporter)
  • Beverly Taylor
  • Keller Watts (weekend meteorologist) - now at WBRZ, Baton Rouge, LA
  • Al Whitaker
  • Dot White (news producer, anchored weekend morning sports)
  • Anderson Williams (news producer/videojournalist, 1993-1997)
  • Amy Witte (former weekend anchor, WAFF morning-noon anchor)
  • Brenda Wood



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External links