WALA-TV is the Fox-affiliated television station for Southern Alabama, Southeastern Mississippi, and the Western Florida Panhandle that is licensed to Mobile. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on VHF channel 9 from a transmitter in Spanish Fort, Alabama. Owned by the LIN TV Corporation, the station is a sister TV station to The CW affiliate WFNA (now sister station to CBS-affiliated television station WKRG to Nexstar Media Group), and the two share studios on Satchel Paige Drive in Mobile. In addition to its main studios, it operates secondary facilities on Executive Plaza Drive in Pensacola. The station operates a 24-hour local weather channel known as "Weather Now" on Cox digital channel 698 in that city. It is not offered on Comcast in the Alabama side of the market.
|Mobile, Alabama / Pensacola -|
|City of license||Mobile|
FOXten News (news)
|Slogan||Mobile's News Leader
(primary) Commitment to You(secondary)
|Channels||Digital: 9 (VHF)|
|Owner||LIN TV Corporation
(LIN of Alabama, LLC)
|First air date||January 14, 1953|
|Call letters' meaning||We Are
|Former channel number(s)||10 (VHF analog, 1953-2009)|
|Former affiliations||NBC (primary, 1953-1996)|
|Transmitter power||29 kW|
WALA-TV came on-the-air for the first time on January 14, 1953 as Mobile's second television station. The first station, WKAB-TV, had been in the UHF band and it went off-air shortly before WALA came on. It was initially locally owned by W.O. Pape along with WALA radio (1410 AM now WLVV). It aired television programs from all four of the major networks of the time (NBC,ABC, CBS, and DuMont). WALA-TV and WKRG-TV (on-air beginning in 1955) shared ABC programs until WEAR-TV went completely to ABC in 1959. During the late-1950s, WALA was also briefly affiliated with the NTA Film Network. Mr. Pape sold WALA in 1964 to the Roywood Corporation. In 1969, WALA was sold to the Universal Communications Corporation, the television arm of the Detroit News.
Throughout the years, WALA was the leading channel in a three-station race. As the more established outlet, WALA got the strongest syndicated programming and it had the top-rated local newscasts. Even today, WALA continues to dominate the local news viewership ratings despite the network affiliation switch from NBC to Fox. Gannett Company (now TEGNA) bought out Universal Communications in the merger with Detroit News publisher The Evening News Association, but due to the company's ownership of the Pensacola News Journal, and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations on common ownership of television stations and newspapers, Gannett owned WALA for only one day in 1986. Gannett sold WALA to Knight RidderBroadcasting, which in turn, sold it to Burnham Broadcasting in 1989.
Fox wanted to upgrade affiliates in many markets when it acquired rights to broadcast the NFL's National Football Conference games in the mid-1990s. In 1994, the network announced affiliation deals with New World Communications stations in larger markets. The deal involved switching all the stations which were former big three affiliates to Fox in Fall 1994. More stations would switch to the network in 1995 when New World merged with Argyle Television and bought several stations from Citicasters. In turn, Newscorp purchased New World to merge it with the Fox Television Stations Group in 1997. As a result of Fox's influence on gaining more VHF affiliations to establish itself as a big four network, more upgrades were still sought out this time in smaller markets. The formation of SF Broadcasting with Savoy Broadcasting was the result of the smaller markets due in part to the network owning a voting stock in Savoy. SF then announced the purchase of WALA, along with WVUE in New Orleans, Louisiana, KHON-TV in Honolulu, Hawaii, and WLUK-TV in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Aside from WVUE, then an ABC affiliate, the other three were NBC affiliates. The deal stipulated that all four stations should convert to Fox affiliation. Before the sale became final in 1995, it was determined that Fox's stock in SF would not be considered voting stock.
On January 1, 1996, WALA-TV along with KHON-TV and WVUE-TV, switched to Fox. WLUK-TV changed its network affiliation back in September 1995. NBC affiliation moved to former Fox affiliate WPMI-TV. WALA aired Fox Kids programming unlike the New World Fox affiliates. On weekdays where NBC's daytime dramas previously aired, Fox Kids would run from 1 to 4 p.m. (an hour earlier than most of its Fox counterparts). Fox Kids aired on Saturday mornings in pattern. WALA-TV now re-branded "Fox 10", also expanded its local news on weekdays to 5-8 a.m., 5-6 p.m., and 9-10 p.m. Since then these times have changed only slightly. WALA, KHON, WVUE, and WLUK were sold in a group deal to Silver King/USA Broadcasting in 1997 and then to Emmis Communications in 1998.
Fox dropped weekday afternoon programming, then running for only two hours before the end of 2001, and retained its Saturday morning programming. In 2002, that was revamped as the Fox Box and then in 2003 the programming line-up was renamed 4KidsTV. At this point WALA, like most Fox affiliates, would purchase more talk and reality-based shows to fill time-slots that once had big three network programming (in WALA's case, NBC). Emmis bought WB affiliate WBPG (now WFNA) in 2003 creating a new duopoly in the market. Emmis put all of its television stations up for sale in 2005. WALA and WBPG were sold to LIN Television in 2005 and 2006 respectively.
Until March 2007 one of WALA's digital subchannels simulcasted WBPG, now a CW affiliate, as that station had no digital signal of its own. WBPG eventually started a low-power digital signal of its own in late 2008 and boosted to full power in 2009, when a neighboring station WXXV-TV abandoned its analog signal which shared the digital frequency that WBPG was assigned. On May 18, 2007, LIN TV announced that it was exploring strategic alternatives that could result in the sale of the company. In mid-June 2007, following the lead of most of the other LIN-owned Fox affiliates, WALA-TV launched a new website using Fox Interactive's myFox interface. In October 2008, WALA and LIN TV flagship WPRI-TV in Providence, Rhode Island relaunched their web sites through Fox Interactive as a result of a new partnership between LIN TV and News Corporation. The new sites are similar in format to the myFox sites (which WALA and the other LIN TV-owned Fox affiliates previously used) but without the flashy myFox owned-and-operated station-style look. Over the next few weeks, the other LIN TV-owned stations (irrespective of their network affiliation) followed suit.
On June 12, 2009, WALA-TV left channel 10 and moved to channel 9 when the analog to digital conversion was completed.
Syndicated programming on WALA-TV includes: Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy!, The Oprah Winfrey Show, and Dr. Phil. Outside of network programming, the station offers a news-intensive general entertainment format. As a Fox affiliate, WALA has the "rare" distinction of broadcasting some of the strongest syndicated programming from CBS Television Distribution which the big three affiliates in other marketswould normally air.
Currently, WALA-TV broadcasts a total of 26 hours of local news each week (five hours on weekdays, a half-hour on Saturdays, and one hour each on Sundays). WALA-TV is the only station in the market that airs a local newscast at 5:30 p.m. and it does not broadcast local newscasts at midday or at 6 and 10 p.m. Unlike most other Fox stations that produce their newscasts in-house, WALA-TV's 9 p.m. newscast does not air for an hour seven nights a week as the Saturday edition airs for a half-hour.
The Sunday 9 p.m. news was also aired as a half-hour newscast until April 3, 2011, when WALA-TV expanded the Sunday evening edition of its 9 p.m. newscast to one hour, by adding an additional half-hour at 9:30 p.m. As of March 2011, WALA remains one of two major network affiliated television stations in Mobile that have not yet upgraded their newscasts to high definition; the other is WPMI.
- Newsbeat (1960s–1970s)
- The News Now (1970s–1982)
- The News 10 (1982–1989)
- Action News 10 (1989–1996)
- Fox 10 Action News (1996–2003)
- FOXten or FOX 10 News (2003–present)
- "Turn To 10" (news and community outreach slogan)
- "Turn To 10 and Be There" (1983–1984, entertainment programming slogan; local version of NBC campaign)
- "Turn To 10, Let's All Be There" (1984–1986, entertainment programming slogan; local version of NBC campaign)
- "Come Home and Turn to 10" (1986–1987, entertainment programming slogan; local version of NBC campaign)
- "Come on Home and Turn to 10" (1987–1988, entertainment programming slogan; local version of NBC campaign)
- "Count on Mobile's #1 News Team" (1988-1990)
- "Mobile's 24-Hour News Channel" (1990-1994)
- "Proud to Support the Troops" (1991, post-Gulf War)
- "It's A Whole New Turn to 10!" (1992-1993, entertainment programming slogan; local version of NBC campaign)
- "The Stars are Back and Turn to 10! (1993-1994, entertainment programming slogan; local version of NBC campaign)
- "More News, More Often" (1994–1997)
- "The #1 News Station on the Gulf Coast" (1997–1999)
- "Live. Local. Latebreaking." (1999–2002)
- "Mobile's News Leader" (2003–present)
- "Commitment to You" (2010–present, secondary slogan)
- Renee Dials - weekends at 9 p.m., also weekday reporter
- Bob Grip - weeknights at 5 and 9 p.m., also "FOXten News Fugitive Files" segment producer
- Lenise Ligon - weeknights at 5 and 9 p.m., also "Daily Dot Com" segment producer/reporter
- Eric Charles Reynolds - weekday mornings
- Sarah Wall - weekday mornings
- Cherish Lombard - "Studio10" co-host and reporter
- Joe Emer - "Studio10" co-host and sports reporter
FOXten StormTracker Weather Meteorologists Jason Smith and Michael White are also seen on WFNA and "Weather Now"
- Jason Smith (NWA Seal of Approval) - chief meteorologist; weeknights at 5 and 9 p.m., also host of Outdoors with Jason Smith
- Matt Barrentine (AMS Seal of Approval) - meteorologist; weekends at 9 p.m., also news reporter
- Michael White (AMS Seal of Approval) - meteorologist; weekday mornings
- Chasity Byrd - weather anchor; fill-in, also news reporter and "What's Happening" segment producer
- Rob Lehocky - sports director; weeknights at 5:30 and 9 p.m.
- Libby Amos - videojournalist
- April Douglas
- Paige Malone - videojournalist
- John Rogers
- Hal Scheurich - videojournalist
- Hubert Tate
- Derica Williams (also Studio10 correspondant)
- Franz Barraza
- Robert Brown
- Eric Lowe
- Riccardo Montgomery
- Guy Turnbow
- Marcus Powe
- La-Keya Stinchcomb
- ^ "Require Prime Evening Time for NTA Films" ([dead link]), Boxoffice: 13, November 10, 1956
- ^ 
- ^ http://www.fox10tv.com/subindex/about_us/Staff_Bios