WATE-TV is the ABC-affiliated television station for Knoxville, Tennessee. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 26 from a transmitter on Sharp's Ridge. Owned by Young Broadcasting, the station has studios in Camp House on North Broadway (SR 33/SR 71/US 441). Syndicated programming on WATE includes: Judge Judy, Oprah, The Insider, and Judge Joe Brown.

Knoxville, Tennessee
Branding WATE 6 (general)

6 News (newscasts)

Channels Digital: 26 (UHF)
Subchannels 6.1 ABC
Affiliations ABC (secondary 1953-1956; primary since 1979)
Owner Young Broadcasting

(WATE, G.P.)

First air date October 1, 1953
Former callsigns WROL-TV (1953-1955)
Former channel number(s) 6 (VHF analog, 1953-2009)
Former affiliations NBC (1953-1979)
Transmitter power 930 kW
Height 529.2 m
Facility ID 71082
Transmitter coordinates 36°0′12.8″N 83°56′34″W


Channel 6 was East Tennessee's first television station, signing on the air on October 1, 1953 as WROL-TV.

WROL-TV signed-on as a primary NBC affiliate.

The station changed its call letters to WATE-TV in 1955.

In 1956, WATE dropped ABC when WBIR-TV signed-on and took the CBS affiliation from WTVK, leaving WTVK the ABC station by default. WATE switched back to ABC in 1979.

In 1994, Nationwide sold its three television stations (WATE, WBAY-TV in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and WRIC-TV in Richmond, Virginia) to Young Broadcasting.

News operation

News open seen weeknights at 5:30.

In the mid-1970s, WATE was the first station in Knoxville to switch from film to videotape (electronic journalism), and was also the first station to own and operate a live microwave truck for newsgathering. The station was the first in East Tennessee to utilize a helicopter (known as "Chopper 6") for news coverage.In 1977, WATE premiered the first Saturday 6 and 11 o'clock newscasts in the Knoxville market, with Art Powell anchoring the news, Kay Elliott with weather, and Calvin Sneed with sports. In 1978, Knoxville's first weekday noon show began, with Sneed as the anchor. Later that year, Sneed was promoted to weekend anchor, to welcome the first Sunday 6 and 11 PM newscasts in the area. In 1979, WATE promoted Sneed, the first African-American to co-anchor a weeknight 6 and 11 o'clock newscast in East Tennessee.[1][2]

In the late 1960s, WATE assembled the news team of anchor Pete Gardener, weathercaster Margie Ison and Sports Director Mike Thurman, and slowly made inroads into the high ratings of the then-market leader, WBIR-TV.

In the early-1970s, Sam Brown joined the Channel 6 team as news anchor and, together, the team of "Sam, Mike, and Margie" became the most well-known on-air team in the market. By the mid 70's, all of the station's newscasts were ranked number one in their time periods. The unofficial goal of the weeknight news crew was to regularly scoop the Knoxville Journal, the morning newspaper then gaining circulation over the Knoxville News Sentinel then published in the afternoons. Those TV news stories served as fodder for the next day's news assignments, pioneering the "follow-up" concept of reporting.

WATE-TV also hired the first AMS-certified meteorologist in Knoxville and East Tennessee in 1979, when Mark Mancuso joined the news team.

Through a news share agreement, for several years WATE produced a nightly prime time newscast at 10 pm for Fox affiliate WTNZ. This competed with a broadcast on CW affiliateWBXX-TV, produced by WBIR. This arrangement was terminated effective March 2011, with WBIR beginning production of the WTNZ newscast.

The weekday noon newscast was canceled on January 31, 2008, making WATE the only Knoxville station not offering news in that time slot.

Newscast titles

Newscast theme music

  • WTOP 1968 News Theme Unknown Composer (1968-1972)
  • The Action News Theme Unknown Composer (1972-1974)
  • WATE 1974 News Theme by Unknown Composer (1974-1976)
  • Production Music: Fast Action by Sam Spence (1976-1977)
  • Move Closer to Your World by Mayoham Music (1977-1980)
  • WATE 1980 News Theme by station (1980-19??)
  • Production Music-Fast Action by Sam Spence (19??-1984)
  • WATE 1984 News Theme by station (1984-1986)
  • Where's The Walrus by The Alan Parsons Project from the CD "Stereotomy" (1986-1989)
  • WATE 1990 News Theme by station (19??-19??)
  • WATE 1991 News Theme by station (19??-19??)
  • The One For All by Gari Communications (19??-1995)
  • More People Watch by Latitude Music(1995-1998)
  • Image News by Frank Gari (1998-2001)
  • This is Your News by Gari Communications (2001-2011)
  • New Millenium by Gari Communications (2002-2006)
  • Locals Only by Stephen Arnold Music (2011-present)


Station slogans

  • "TV-6, Proud As A Peacock!" (1979; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • "We're Still The One, on TV-6" (1979-1980; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • "Suddenly Complete" (1979, reflecting network switch to ABC)
  • "The Area's Leading News Station" (1980–1987)
  • "Now is The Time, TV-6 is the Place" (1981-1982; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • "Come on Along with TV-6" (1982-1983; localized version of ABC ad campaign) 
  • "That Special Feeling on TV-6" (1983-1984; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • "We're With You on Team Six" (1984-1985; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • "You'll Love It on TV-6" (1985-1986; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • "Together on TV-6" (1986-1987; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • "Something's Happening on TV-6" (1987-1990; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • "East Tennessee's Watching TV-6" (1990-1992; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • "Coverage You Can Count On" (1991–2001)
  • "If It's East Tennessee, It Must Be TV-6" (1992-1993; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • "The News Station" (2001–2010)
  • "Expect More" (2010–2013)
  • "On Your Side" (2013-present) 

News team


  • Bo Williams - weekday mornings
  • Tearsa Smith - weekday mornings
  • Kristin Farley - weeknights at 5, 5:30 and 10
  • Gene Patterson - weeknights at 5, 6 and 11
  • Lori Tucker - weeknights at 6 and 11
  • Denae D'Arcy - weekend mornings
  • Erica Estep - weekend evenings and education reporter

6 News Storm Team

  • Matt Hinkin (AMS and NWA Seals of Approval) - Chief seen weeknights
  • Julya Johnson - Good Morning Tennessee Meteorologist
  • Ken Weathers- weekends


  • Jim Wogan - weeknights at 6 and 11 (also Friday Night Hits host)
  • Fallon Smith- weekends
  • Prentice Elliott - sports reporter and photographer


  • Don Dare - "Food for Thought" segment producer
  • Jamie Lynn Drohan - weekday mornings
  • Josh Ault - videojournalist
  • Harlow Sumerford
  • Jill McNeal
  • Hana Kim
  • Ann Keil
  • Mona Nair

Past on-air staff

  • Ken Weathers, weather (left December 2010)
  • Bob Becker, weather (left Jan.2 2011)
  • Art Miller, reporter (1971-1979), now Manager-Train Operations, San Luis and Rio Grande/Rio Grande Scenic Railroads, Alamosa, CO and widely known as a Railroad Coordinator working in feature film, commercial, music video, and TV movie production.
  • Bud Veazey, reporter/photographer, weekend anchor, producer (1966-1976). Retired in 2008 after 42 years in TV news.
  • Sonu Wasu, reporter, now with WDTN-TV in Dayton, Ohio
  • Clay Thomas, anchor and reporter
  • Mary Starr, hostess The Homemaker Show, deceased
  • Jim Clayton, host, Star Time
  • Cas Walker, former Knoxville mayor and host The Cas Walker Show, deceased
  • Margie Ison, weather anchor, retired
  • Bob Richards, weather anchor, deceased
  • Sam Brown, anchor and reporter, deceased
  • Mike Thurman, sports director, deceased
  • Calvin Sneed, anchor and reporter, co-host/producer PM Magazine, now Senior News Anchor/Chief Investigative Reporter at WTVC-TV, Chattanooga; Website Manager, the Douglass Alumni Association, Kingsport, TN
  • MayCay Beeler, co-host/producer PM Magazine, now airline pilot and parttime air personality, WFMY-TV Greensboro, NC
  • Lisa McNeal, reporter
  • Paul Sims, reporter, now with RCI Media Training, Atlanta
  • Russ Nunley, anchor and reporter, now with Regal Cinemas
  • Sandy Webb, reporter, anchor, Assignment Editor, Assistant News Director, deceased
  • Bob Gray, anchor and reporter, retired
  • Kim Simmons Thomas, weather, noon anchor and reporter
  • Ben Garrett, reporter
  • Diane May, anchor and reporter
  • Leslie Stewart, reporter
  • Tracie Finley (Potts), anchor
  • Scott Finley, sports anchor/reporter (1986-2000), now at Ethicon, Inc. in Knoxville
  • Rick Benjamin, anchor and reporter, now with the Speed Channel, and WBT-AM, Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Yvette Martinez, anchor and reporter, now with TDOT
  • Scott Blalock, weather, (retired from WVLT Knoxville in 2009)
  • Bruce Whiteaker, anchor and reporter
  • Heather Donald, anchor, now at KRON-TV, San Francisco
  • Greg Peterson, sports director 1983-1989, now lead news anchor at WPMI-TV, Mobile, Alabama
  • Brennan Robison, anchor and reporter (1998-2003)
  • Wanda Williams, reporter and fill-in achor (1998-200), [WJLA-TV, Web Content Editor 2005-2006][Graduate Student in History, Research Tech, National Archives and Records, Presidential Papers, Washington, D.C.]
  • Mark Mancuso, weather anchor
  • Mike Cihla, anchor, now morning news anchor, WTOC-TV, Savannah, Georgia
  • Lance Sandstead, anchor
  • Denny (Lloyd) Immel, anchor
  • Marie Michellini, weekend weather
  • Steve Oglesby, reporter, anchor, assignment editor, newscast producer, news director, marketing and promotion manager
  • Jan Petri, reporter
  • Tom Buckley, reporter
  • Pauletta Jackson, reporter and weekend weather
  • Lelan Statom, weather, now noon co-host at WTVF-TV, Nashville
  • Paula Tutman, reporter, now at WDIV-TV, Detroit
  • Suzanne Stevens, anchor and reporter
  • Will McDonald, weekend sports
  • Ann Rollins, anchor
  • Ann Taylor, anchor, now newscaster at National Public Radio, Washington, D.C.
  • Anne Holt, reporter, now main news anchor at WKRN-TV, Nashville
  • Kent Blackwelder, anchor and reporter (he was later a contestant on Big Brother)
  • Pete Gardner, anchor, deceased
  • Denise Dillon, anchor, later with CNN Headline News, and now with WAGA-TV, Atlanta
  • Michael Pomeranz, anchor
  • Debbie Kirby, anchor and reporter
  • Jon Vanderford, anchor, now at KOLN-TV, Lincoln, Nebraska
  • Tanya O'Rourke, reporter, now noon news anchor, WCPO-TV, Cincinnati
  • Gary Weiss, reporter
  • Janet Sims, reporter
  • Cynthia Varner, reporter
  • Lori Golden-Stryer, reporter and anchor
  • Russ Hollingsworth, sports
  • Karla Winfrey (cousin of Oprah Winfrey), reporter
  • Diane Kacmarik, weather, now with Bay News 9, Tampa, Florida
  • Jennifer Darwin, reporter
  • Rob Wilds, reporter, now producer at WNPT-TV, Nashville
  • Sherry Reed, weather
  • Steve Jarriel, reporter, son of former ABC News correspondent Tom Jarriel
  • Rita Stone, reporter
  • Hal Wanzer, anchor, deceased
  • Catharyn Campbell, reporter, now at WSMV-TV Nashville, TN
  • Amelia Daniels, now with Ackerman PR, Knoxville, TN
  • Jeff Lennox, reporter/anchor, now at WESH-TV, Orlando, FL
  • Adam Longo, reporter, now at WKMG-TV, Orlando, FL
  • Melissa Dipane, reporter, now at WOFL-TV, Orlando, FL
  • Whitney Holmes, reporter/weekend anchor


  1. ^ Knoxville News-Sentinel, Feb. 12, 2001
  2. ^ TV Guide, April 9, 1977

External links