WABI-TV is the CBS-affiliated television station for Central and Eastern Maine that is licensed to Bangor. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 19 from a transmitter on Peaked Mountain in Dixmont. The station can also be seen on Time Warner channel 6 and in high definition on digital channel 705. As the flagship of Diversified Communications, the Hildreth family has owned WABI since its inception and its studios are on a street named after them in West Bangor. Syndicated programming on the channel includes: Two and a Half Men, Swift Justice with Nancy Grace, Oprah, and Ellen.
|Branding||WABI-TV 5 (general)
WABI-TV 5 News
|Slogan||Spirit of Maine|
|Channels||Digital: 19 (UHF)|
(Community Broadcasting Service)
|First air date||January 25, 1953|
|Call letters' meaning||taken from former sister radio station WABI|
|Former channel number(s)||5 (VHF analog 1953-2009)
61 W61AO Calais
|Former affiliations||NBC (1953-1955)|
|Transmitter power||363 kW|
|Transmitter coordinates||44°42′11.6″N 69°4′45.1″W / 44.703222°N 69.079194°W / 44.703222; -69.079194|
It operates the area's CW affiliate on a second digital subchannel. Known on-air as The CW of Eastern and Central Maine, it is also offered on Time Warner channel 10 (in most areas), DirecTV channel 14, and Dish Network channel 19. WABI-DT2 gets all of its programming from The CW Plus.
|5.1||WABI-DT||main WABI-TV programming/CBS HD|
|5.2||WABI-DT2||"The CW of Eastern and Central Maine"|
WABI was the first television station in Maine going on-the-air January 25, 1953. It was owned by former Governor Horace Hildreth along with WABI radio (910 AM now WAEI-AM, and 97.1 FM now WAEI-FM). The station was a primary NBC affiliate but maintained affiliations with all major networks. In 1955, it switched its primary affiliation with WLBZ and became primary CBS. Along with that channel, the station carried some ABC programs until WEMT (now WVII-TV) signed-on in 1965. During the late-1950s, it was also briefly affiliated with the NTA Film Network.  The radio stations were spun-off in 1993   and are currently under the ownership of Blueberry Broadcasting.
On July 28, 2006, WABI announced that it was creating a new second digital subchannel to become an affiliate of The CW which launched that September to replace UPN and The WB. On the station's website an announcement said that Time Warner, which was in the process of taking over cable coverage in the Bangor area for bankrupt Adelphia, would have cable-only WB 100+ station "WBAN" on its system. That channel would then become a simulcast of WABI-DT2. This was part of a three year deal with WABI which also let the main channel be on the system as well. On January 10, 2007, WABI introduced redesigned websites for itself and WABI-DT2.
At one point, it operated an analog repeater (W61AO channel 61) that was licensed to Calais with a transmitter near Meddbybemps. The tower was shared with W57AQ which was an analog repeater for WLBZ. Until the mid-1990s, W61AO was used to feed cable systems across the border in the Canadian Maritimes. With the advent of CANCOM, WABI's cross-border carriage declined. Today, it is not offered on any systems across the border including those in St. Stephen, New Brunswick which was in W61AO's signal range. Most of Atlantic Canada's cable systems carry WBZ-TV from Boston for CBS programming. The W61AO license has since been surrendered to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) having been canceled at WABI's request on November 9, 2009. 
On June 12, 2009, it discontinued analog broadcasts on VHF channel 5 and commenced digital-only broadcasting on its existing digital channel.  On January 4, 2010, the FCC issued a Report & Order allowing WABI to move from its current digital allotment on UHF channel 19 to VHF channel 13.  The station's reasoning on the channel change is to be consistent with other full-power stations in the market that are on the VHF dial and to save on energy cost. On April 29, the FCC granted it a construction permit for the new allotment.  WABI's website states that the station plans to make the switch to VHF early in December 2010.
WABI carries the full slate of CBS programming except for CBS News Up to the Minute. It does not carry all of the network's Southeastern Conference (SEC) college football games on weekends. For several years, the games that were not shown appeared on low-powered Ion affiliate WBGR-LP. WABI preempted CBS games that conflicted with local sports programming and those that would displace its weekend 6 o'clock news and 7 p.m. programming during Nielsen ratings periods. The national games were moved to WABI-DT2 effective with the 2009 season. The station often preempts CBS programming to air University of Maine sports. It usually re-schedules network prime time to air late night or the next morning.
For its entire existence, WABI has held the number one spot in ratings by a wide margin. One main reason for this longtime dominance is that it is the only station in the market with a full schedule of live local news that originates from Bangor. WLBZ airs broadcasts from its studios weeknights at 5 and 6 but otherwise simulcasts news from sister station WCSH in Portland. WVII produces a weeknight 6 o'clock show live but records its 10 (on WFVX-LP) and 11 p.m. shows except for the sports reports and does not offer weekend broadcasts. Another factor is WABI's status as the only locally owned-and-operated commercial station in town. A few of its personnel have remained at the station for more than twenty years which is somewhat unusual given that Bangor has always been a fairly small market. It also is the only HD newscast here in Maine.
With the launch of The CW on September 18, 2006, WABI-DT2 added local news and weather updates from the main channel during the nationally syndicated morning show The Daily Buzz. A simulcast of the weekday noon news was also added but was changed to a rebroadcast at 12:30 in September 2008. A new live prime time show weeknights at 10 premiered known as WABI-TV 5 Prime Time News on The CW. In January 2008, WABI-DT2 began to air an additional half-hour of the main channel's weekday morning show that is pre-recorded. Airing at 7, this is known as WABI-TV 5 Morning News on The CW. Both of the weekday morning and weeknight newscasts originate from a secondary set.
In addition to its main studios, WABI operates two news bureaus. The Central Maine Bureau is on Main Street in Waterville and the Coastal Bureau is on High Street in Ellsworth. Sister station WCJB-TV in Gainesville, Florida has been offering its newscasts in high definition since January 2009. WABI made the upgrade itself on October 11, 2010, becoming the first station in Maine to make the transition.   Unlike the other station which introduced a new logo, WABI's newscast elements stayed the same except for slightly updated on-screen graphics. It also is the only HD newscast here in Maine.
- Telejournal News (1950s-1980s)
- Channel 5 News (1980s-2001)
- WABI-TV 5 News (2001-present)
- "The Spirit of Maine" (late 1980s-1992, 2001-present)
- "The News Station" (1992-2001)
- Wayne Harvey - weekday mornings and reporter
- Joy Hollowell - weekday mornings and reporter
- Catherine Pegram - weekdays at noon as well as weeknights at 5 and 5:30
- Jim Morris - News Director seen weeknights at 5 and 5:30
- Jon Small - Assistant News Director seen weeknights at 6, 10, and 11
- Carolyn Callahan - weekends and reporter
- weekend producer
- Danny Cashman - The Nite Show host
- Todd Simcox - Chief seen weekday mornings and noon
- "Todd's Recipes" segment producer
- Chris Ewing - weeknights
- Jared Plushnick (Certified Broadcast Meteorologist) - weekends
- Tim Throckmorton - Director seen weeknights at 6, 10, and 11
- Eric Gullickson - weekends and sports reporter
- Chelsey Anderson - producer and "Take This Job and Love It" segment producer
- Marion Syversen - "Finance is Fun" segment producer
- Adrienne Bennett - Central Maine Bureau Chief
- Meghan Heyward - photographer and webcast
- Rob Poindexter
- Diana Bosch
- Angela Dimillo weekends
- Don Colson - News Director
- Craig Colson - weeknights at 6, 10, and 11
- Alan Grover - weekday mornings - now Communications Manager for the Cianbro Companies
- Amy Erickson - weekends
- Jeffrey Hope - now at KTUU-TV
- Sharon Pelletier-retired from broadcasting on July 9, 2010 to get her degree to be a school guidance counselor.
- Denise Keniston - now President of the Maine Communication Network
- Felicia Knight - now Director of Communications for the National Endowment for the Arts
- Kristen LaVerghetta - weeknights at 10 and 11
- Mindi Ramsey - now at WNEP-TV
- Jim Sackett - now at WPTV
- Kim Vatis - now at WMAQ-TV
- Lanie Witt - now at EMH
- Dan Elias - now at WWLP
- Steve Caporizzo - now at WTEN
- Mike Cejka - now at WIVB
- Jennifer Harcher - now at WOIO-TV
- Chris Lambert - now at WHDH-TV
- Maureen McCann - now at News 8 Austin
- Greg Dutra - now at KWQC-TV
- Chris Greeley - now in his 4th term as a member of the Maine Legislature
- Catherine Cambra - formerly at WMBD-TV
- Jon Chrisos - now anchor at WEHT
- Jodi Hersey - now at Cumulus Radio
- James Hamill - now at WNEP
- Ryan Hughes - now at WFTV
- Sarah Komuniecki - photographer
- Jennifer Kolbusz - formerly at KSHB-TV
- Jeanne Meserve - now at CNN
- Melissa Monti - formerly anchor at KRIS-TV
- Diana Olick - now at CNBC
- Lisa Scott - now at WIVB
- Susan Farley - Coastal Bureau - now Family Assistance Advocate at WHCA
- Kelly Pearson
- Cori Skall
- ^ "Require Prime Evening Time for NTA Films". Boxoffice: 13. November 10, 1956. http://issuu.com/boxoffice/docs/boxoffice_111056-1.
- ^ "Application Search Details (WABI sale)". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. http://licensing.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/ws.exe/prod/cdbs/pubacc/prod/app_det.pl?Application_id=190491. Retrieved March 13, 2010.
- ^ "Application Search Details (WYOU-FM sale)". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. http://licensing.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/ws.exe/prod/cdbs/pubacc/prod/app_det.pl?Application_id=190492. Retrieved March 13, 2010.
- ^ Hashemzadeh, Hossein (November 9, 2009). "In re: LPTV/TV Translator Station Of...". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. http://licensing.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/prod/cdbs/forms/prod/getimportletter_exh.cgi?import_letter_id=14742. Retrieved November 29, 2009.
- ^ http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-06-1082A2.pdf
- ^ http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-09-2647A1.pdf
- ^ http://licensing.fcc.gov/prod/cdbs/pubacc/Auth_Files/1355981.pdf
- ^ http://www.wabi.tv/news/14831/wabi-makes-maine-broadcasting-history
- ^ http://televisionbroadcast.com/article/107696