WBRZ, virtual channel 2 (digital channel 13), is an ABC affiliate television station serving Baton Rouge, Louisiana, south-central and southeastern Louisiana and southwestern Mississippi. It is owned by the Manship family, who also publishes the Baton Rouge daily newspaper, The Advocate. Its transmitter is located in Sunshine, Louisiana. The station is seen via satellite through DirecTV and Dish Network and on cable Cox Communications and AT&T U-verse.
|Baton Rouge, Louisiana|
|Branding||News 2 Louisiana|
|Slogan||Balanced. Fair. Accurate.|
|Channels||Digital: 13 (VHF)|
|Subchannels||2.1 ABC - HD
2.2 WBRZ News Rebroadcast 2.3 WBRZ Weather
|Affiliations||American Broadcasting Company|
|Owner||Louisiana Television Broadcasting, LLC
|First air date||April 14, 1955|
|Call letters' meaning||We're
Baton Rouge's Z (2)
|Former callsigns||WBRZ (1955-1981)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
2 (VHF, 1955-2009)
|Transmitter power||30 kW|
- 1 History
- 2 Carriage controversies
- 3 Digital television
- 4 Programming
- 5 News operation
- 6 See also
- 7 External links
- 8 References
WBRZ signed on the air on April 14, 1955, becoming the second television station in Baton Rouge, signing on exactly two years after CBS affiliate WAFB. It was also the longest running VHF outlet in Baton Rouge at the time, as WAFB originally broadcast on UHF channel 28 before moving to VHF channel 9 in 1960. WBRZ was a primary NBC affiliate, sharing ABC with WAFB. It began broadcasting in color seven months later, becoming the first Baton Rouge TV station to do so.
At first, the Manships wanted to call the station WBRA-TV, for the Baton Rouge Advocate, but went with the reverse "Z" at the end instead, avoiding the implications of having calls which could be understood to also mean the women's undergarment. Station founder Douglas L. Manship, Sr. still wanted "BR" in the station's calls, explaining the choice of "Z" at the end that "it was a good choice. 'Z' is a phonetically good sound on the air. It's distinctive." The "Z" was later expanded to mean "2" (similar to WGRZ-TV in Buffalo, New York). The WBRA call letters are currently used on the PBS member station in Roanoke, Virginia (standing for the Blue Ridge Mountains), though that entity emphasizes their "Blue Ridge PBS" branding over call letters except where required by the FCC. Until 1989, WBRZ was a sister station to WJBO-AM and WYNK-FM, until the Manships sold both radio stations. From the late 1960s until the late 1970s, WYNK was considered an affiliate of WBRZ.
It dropped ABC in 1971 after WRBT-TV (now WVLA) signed on. This made WBRZ a sole NBC affiliate. Because ABC was seeking out new affiliates with stronger signal coverage at the time, WBRZ swapped affiliations with WRBT and became an ABC affiliate again on September 5, 1977. The Manship family's other television station, KRGV-TV in Weslaco, Texas, did the same a year before. In that same timeframe, NBC sank to third and last place while ABC moved up to first place in the ratings.
In July 1987, the station started broadcasting 24 hours a day, except on Sundays. In September 1988, the station became the first in Louisiana to close-caption its newscasts. In 1991, Manship's son Richard took over the station as its new president, and would later be named "Broadcaster of the Year" by the Louisiana Association of Broadcasters. WBRZ became the first station in Baton Rouge to begin broadcasting in high definition on channel 13 on April 22, 2002. Since then, it has simulcast repeats of its newscasts on channel 2.2, and until September 2017, it took over operations of a cable-only NOAA weather channel with radar on channel 2.3 (this channel is now exclusively simulcast on sister station KBTR 41.3).
In late summer 2007, the Manships acquired a low-powered, independenttelevision station, KBTR (WBTR), from Veritas Broadcasting Company. In late 2012, WBRZ and WBTR took the This TV affiliation from a subchannel of WVLA. WBTR airs This TV on a secondary basis, and WBRZ airs This TVprogramming on a secondary basis during early morning weekend hours.
WBRZ launched its own Web site, WBRZ.com, in 1996. In 2003, WBRZ and The Advocate shared a website, 2theadvocate.com, but during the week of September 14, 2009, WBRZ and the Advocate returned to having separate websites as the Manship family put The Advocate up for sale.
The station is a funding partner in The Cinderella Project of Baton Rouge, a charity that provides free prom dresses to public high school students who cannot otherwise afford them. The charity held its third annual prom dress giveaway in 2010. WBRZ signed on the air on April 14, 1955 as a primary NBC affiliate, sharing ABC with WAFB.
At first, the Manships wanted to call the station WBRA-TV, for Baton Rouge Advocate. However, they concluded that the call letters would cause confusion and controversy, as the letters "B-R-A" spelled "bra". Station founder Douglas L. Manship, Sr. still wanted "BR" in the station's calls, and decided to go to the other end of the alphabet for the fourth letter, picking "Z." He explained, "It was a good choice. 'Z' is a phonetically good sound on the air. It's distinctive." The "Z" was later expanded to mean "2" (similar to WGRZ-TV in Buffalo, New York), and the "W" was expanded to mean "We're". However, the WBRA call letters are currently used on the PBS member station in Roanoke, Virginia.
It dropped ABC in 1971 after WRBT-TV (now WVLA) signed on. This made WBRZ a sole NBC affiliate. Because ABC was seeking out new affiliates with stronger signal coverage at the time, WBRZ swapped affiliations with WRBT and became an ABC affiliate again on September 5, 1977. In that same timeframe NBC sunk to third and last place while ABC moved up to first place in the ratings.
In July 1987, the station started broadcasting 24 hours a day, except on Sundays. In September 1988, the station became the first in Louisiana to close-caption its newscasts. In 1991, Manship's son Richard took over the station as its new president, and would later be named "Broadcaster of the Year" by the Louisiana Association of Broadcasters. WBRZ began broadcasting in high definition on channel 13 on April 22, 2002.
In November 2004, WBRZ, along with many other ABC affiliates in the country, opted not to air Saving Private Ryan when the network broadcast it uncut on Veterans Day. During Hurricane Katrina, the station worked with New Orleans ABC affiliate WGNO (channel 26) to provide coverage of the storm and its aftermath.
WBRZ launched its own Web site, WBRZ.com, on the week of September 14, 2009. Prior to that, WBRZ and The Advocate shared a website, 2TheAdvocate.com.
The station is a funding partner in The Cinderella Project of Baton Rouge, a charity that provides free prom dresses to public high school students who cannot otherwise afford them. The charity held its third annual prom dress giveaway in 2010.
2008 Dish Network carriage dispute
The relationship between WBRZ and the Dish Network began to deteriorate in the fall of 2007, when WBRZ realized that fees collected from Baton Rouge subscribers had not been paid to the station since the inception of Dish Network’s local-into-local service in May 2006, in violation of the carriage agreement.
WBRZ asked for a raise of compensation to under five percent of what Dish charges for local channels - it had been previously two percent. This amount, less than a penny per subscriber per day, is significantly smaller than the 20 cents/subscriber/day rate WBRZ charges local cable companies.
In July 2009, after more than a year, Dish Network and WBRZ reached a new agreement, and WBRZ once again became part of Dish Network's Local Channels package for Baton Rouge area customers.
2011 DirecTV Carriage Dispute
As of January 20, 2011 a notice on satellite receivers channel 2.1 says that the channel is in danger of being discontinued.
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
|2.1||780i||16:9||WBRZ-DT||Main WBRZ Programming/ABC|
|2.2||NEWS 2||WBRZ Plus|
Upon launching its digital signal, WBRZ has aired its newscasts on a 24-hour stream on its second subchannel, and in late 2003, WBRZ took over operations for Cox Communications' cable-only NOAA weather channel. The new channel mixed NOAA's radio voiceover with WBRZ's radar, traffic cameras, and, in the event of severe weather, live updates from the stations' weather team. In 2010, radio feed was replaced with prerecorded forecasts from the team. In August 2017, WBRZ's news and weather channels were replicated on sister station KBTR's subchannels, and during September 2017, the weather channel, 2.3, was removed from WBRZ's feed to upgrade the news subchannel to 720p. The weather channel continues to be carried online.
WBRZ-TV shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 2, on June 12, 2009, the official date in which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition VHF channel 13. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analog channel 2. Due to its transmitter tower location, WBRZ can be seen over the air in most of the cities in the Lafayette and New Orleans viewing areas.
WBRZ carries the entire ABC schedule. However, it airs GMA3: What You Need To Know (previously The Chew and All My Children) at 11:00 a.m. on a one-day behind schedule (three-day behind for Friday's episode) due to the station's noon newscast. Syndicated programming includes Live with Kelly and Ryan, Dr. Phil, Jeopardy!, Wheel of Fortune, and The Wendy Williams Show.
In 1993, WBRZ joined approximately 50 ABC affiliates in not airing the pilot episode of NYPD Blue due to local protests; the station decided on a week-by-week basis, at first, to air or not air episodes but eventually settled with airing episodes (including a rerun of the pilot).
In November 2004, WBRZ, along with many other ABC affiliates in the country, opted not to air the movie Saving Private Ryanwhen the network broadcast it uncut on Veterans Day. During Hurricane Katrina, the station worked with New Orleans ABC affiliate WGNO (channel 26) to provide coverage of the storm and its aftermath.
WBRZ was Baton Rouge's "news leader" in the ratings for much of its early history until the mid-1990s, given its history of always broadcasting on channel 2 (rival WAFB did not move to the VHF band until 1960) and its ties to the Baton Rouge newspapers, The Morning Advocate and The State-Times. The station experienced a ratings decline when Ed Buggs, the first African-American anchor in Baton Rouge, and many of its veteran anchors left the station in the mid-to-late 1990s amidst several format changes. This allowed CBS affiliate WAFB to overtake the lead in local news ratings, after competing with WBRZ for first place throughout the decade.
In 2004, the station dropped its twenty-year slogan of "On Your Side" and started describing their news as "Balanced. Fair. Accurate," which was inspired by Fox News' "Fair and Balanced" slogan. It was also in 2004 that the station introduced a 4 p.m. newscast to the Baton Rouge market after the cancellation of Donny Osmond's version of Pyramid. Today, WBRZ refers to itself as News 2 with the slogan "Turn to Us" and has revived "On Your Side" for special interest stories.
On July 29, 2007, WBRZ upgraded its set and news theme and began broadcasting their morning show 2une In and its noon, 4, 5, 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts in high-definition. WBRZ was the second station in the Baton Rouge area and the fourth in Louisiana to broadcast their newscasts in high definition.
On November 17, 2014, WBRZ introduced their new state of the art upgrades set on their 5 p.m. newscasts, while maintaining the news theme "Extreme" by Stephen Arnold Music, which the station has used from 2007 HD upgrade until 2016.
WBRZ airs six hours of news each weekday, with two hours of morning news (2une In), one hour at noon, and half-hour newscasts at 4, 5, 6, and 10 p.m. On weekends, it airs a half-hour of morning news at 9 a.m. and prime time newscasts at 6 and 10 p.m. with a special interest report known as Sunday Journal on Sunday mornings.
On January 15, 2018, WBRZ rebranded its subchannel 2.2 to WBRZ Plus. With this rebrand, the station expanded its prime time news offerings by extending its 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts to a full hour. The hour-long newscasts air on this subchannel, while the first 30 minutes of each newscast continue to air on WBRZ's main channel.
WBRZ has been the recipient of numerous awards from the Louisiana Association of Broadcasters, a National Edward R. Murrow Award in 2000, plus other local awards:
- Louisiana Association of Broadcasters "Television Station of the Year" Award - 1990, 1991, 1994 and 1997
- Louisiana Association of Broadcasters - Baton Rouge Branch "Community Station of the Year" Award - 1996, 2002, 2005
- Louisiana Association of Broadcasters "Television Station of the Year" Prestige Award - 1999
- 1999 Sigma Delta Chi Awards
George Ryan won the award for "Silent Trust," a series that exposed student-on-student sexual misconduct at the Louisiana School for the Deaf in Baton Rouge, La.
- Louisiana Association of Broadcasters "Promotion of the Year" Award: "Buckle Up for Tony" - 2000
- National Edward R. Murrow Award - 2000
- Louisiana Association of Broadcasters "Community Service" Award - 2001
- Outstanding Philanthropist Award - 2001
Other awards won:
- Louisiana Association of Broadcasters Lifetime of Distinction Awards (2005)
- Ad Fed's Pete Goldsby Award (2005)
- YWCA's Women of Achievement Award (2005)
- American Women in Radio and Television's Broadcaster of the Year Award (2005)
- Baton Rouge Business Report's 25 Most Influential Women in Baton Rouge (2005)
- SME's Marketer of the Year Award (2005)
Won by Pat Cheramie, who retired after serving 39 years as General Manager of WBRZ-TV on January 31, 2005.
- Louisiana Association of Broadcasters Lifetime Achievement Award (2005)
Won by news anchor and reporter Andrea Clesi.
- Your Esso Reporter (195?–1960s)
- The Bob Richards Report
- Night Desk (19??–19??)
- WBRZ-TV News Service (?–1971)
- TV-2 News (1974–1970s)
- Eyewitness News (1970s–1996)
- WBRZ Channel 2 News (1996–2001)
- Ten at Ten (1998–2001)
- (WBRZ) News 2 Louisiana (2001–2013)
- WBRZ News 2 (2013–present)
- TV-2-day (mid 1950s)
- The Best in View is on TV-2 (early 1970s)
- Move Closer to Your World with WBRZ (early-mid 1970s)
- A Part of Your Life (mid 1970s)
- Louisiana's Most Respective Television News Team (1975-1977)
- Still The One, WBRZ-TV 2 (1977, first slogan as an ABC affiliate)
- TV-2's The One You Can Turn To (1978-1979; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- You and Me and TV-2 (1980-1981; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- Now is the Time, TV-2 is the Place (1981-1982; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- People You Can Count On (1981-1984/5)
- Come on Along with TV-2 (1982-1983; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- That Special Feeling on TV-2 (1983-1984; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- The One to Watch (1984–1986)
- We're With You on TV-2 (1984-1985; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- You'll Love It on TV-2 (1985-1986; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- Together on TV-2 (1986-1987; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- 2 is On Your Side (1986–1990 & 1996–2001)
- Something's Happening on Channel 2
- Your 24-Hour News Source (1990–1993)
- If It's Louisiana, It Must Be Channel 2 (1992-1993; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- The News Leader (1993–1996)
- Balanced. Fair. Accurate. (2001–present)
- Because Accuracy Matters (2004–present; weather slogan)
- Turn to Us.
- News is What We Do
News music packages
- Move Closer To Your World by Mayoham Music (1972-1974)
- NBC-TV Radio Newspulse (Fred Weinburg Productions Inc.) (1974-1977)
- Part Of Your Life (Mayoham Music), (1977-??)
- On Your Side (Gari Communications), (1984–1990, all newscasts; 1990-1992, weekend newscasts)
- Pride Inside (Gari Communications), (1990-1992, weeknight newscasts, 1992-1997, all newscasts)
- Acroyali/Standing in Motion (Yanni), (mid-1990s, used for Sports Sunday program)
- WBRZ 1996 News Theme (Star Trak Music), (1996-July 2007)
- Extreme (Stephen Arnold Music), (July 2007-present, adopted when news started broadcasting in HD)
Current on-air staff
- John Pastorek - weekday mornings "2une In" and noon
- Brandi B. Harris - weekday mornings “2une In”; also an reporter
- Ashley Fruge’ - weekdays at noon; also an traffic reporter
- Brittany Weiss - weekdays at 4pm; also an “2 On Your Side” reporter
- Sylvia Whiterspoon - weeknights at 5, 6, and 10pm
- Chris Nakamoto - weeknights at 5pm; also an chief investigator
- Michael Shingleton- weeknights at 6 and 10pm
- Sydney Kern - weekends at 6:30 and 10pm
TrueView Weather Team
- Pat Shingleton (AMS member; NWA member) - chief forecaster; weekdays at 4, weeknights at 5, 6 and 10 p.m.
- Marisa Nuzzo - meteorologist; weekdays at “2une-In” and noon
- Jake Dalton - meteorologist; weekends at 6:30 and 10pm
- Dr. Josh Eachus - chief meteorologist
- Keller Watts - meteorologist; fill-in
- Michael Cauble - sports director; weeknights at 6 and 10 p.m.
- Matt Trent - sports anchor; weekend evenings, also weeknight sports reporter
- Reggie Chapman - sports reporter
- Kristy Davis - general assignment reporter
- Rachel Frost - multimedia journalist
- Rob Krieger - multimedia journalist
- Louis Miller - gardening expert
- Ashley Rodrigue - general assignment reporter
- Stephanie Ryan - multimedia journalist
- Michael Shingleton - multimedia journalist
- Lori Steele - special projects reporter
- Mike Steele - State Capitol correspondent
Former on-air staff
- Tammi Arender - now at WVLA
- Chip Barrere
- Jeanne Burns - anchor (now a realtor of Keller Williams Reality Greater Baton Rouge)
- Ed Buggs - died of a drug overdose on May 4, 2010
- Andrea Clesi - anchor/reporter (1977-2007; retired)
- Glen Duncan - meteorologist/environmental specialist; now Director of Communications at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center and author of "Goodbye Green - How extremists stole the environmental movement from middle America and killed it."
- Jim Egan - sports
- Claire Hatty - now a public relations manager in Texas
- Leo Honeycutt - now a writer; authored biography of former Governor Edwin Edwards
- Jordy Hultberg - sports; now sideline reporter for LSU football radio broadcasts and host of LSU football, men's basketball and baseball coaches shows
- Chelby Kosto - now at WDTN Dayton, OH
- Summer Jackson - now at WSB in Atlanta
- Tony Jones - now doing media relations for U.S. Census Bureau in Charlotte, NC
- Bruce Katz - meteorologist (later at WGNO-TV, now at WVUE-DT)
- Margaret Lawhon - anchor (now an actor and freelance writer)
- Kurt Lee - Weather and news
- Ben Lemoine - now at KTVK-TV Phoenix
- Darrel Richter
- Mary Lynch - weather (2000s)
- John Mahaffey - anchor/reporter (1970s-1999, deceased)
- Michael Marsh - anchor (2005-2017)
- Marvin McGraw - now does PR for Louisiana State University
- Avery Miller - now a producer at World News with Charles Gibson
- Dale Moon
- Veronica Mosgrove
- Cynthia Nickerson
- Margaret Orr - now at WDSU-TV New Orleans
- Ken Pastorick - now does PR for LA Department Health and Hospitals
- Andy Pepper - sports
- Rebecca Rainer - Owner/President of Chase Rainer Media San Antonio, TX
- Mike Rhodes - Retired, still living in Baton Rouge
- Mike Ross - later at WBRZ (1983-86), WWL AM & TV (1986-2006), now anchor at KTUU-TV Anchorage, Alaska
- Todd Ross
- George Ryan - now does PR for Exxon Mobil
- Scott Satchfield - now at WWL-TV
- Jennifer Sheffield (Freel) - now an attorney in Austin, Texas
- Jake Skellett - pharmaceutical sales with sanofi-aventis
- Michael Trufant - News Photographer
- Bruce Webber - sports (1981-1993)
- Jean Wheeler hostess of Midday and other programs in the 1960's and 1970's, died in 1983
- Melba Williams
- Bo Willisons
- Mike Woolfolk - now news anchor/managing editor for WACH-TV Columbia, SC
- Jay Young - news anchor; (died of apparent heart attack on August 23, 2006)
- Lee Zurik - now at WVUE-TV
- Marvin Hurst- now at KENS-TV, San Antonio
- '"Michael Fugler"' - legal expert - now at EURO Financial Network, Investment Banker
- WBRZ Homepage
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WBRZ
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WBRZ-TV
- ^ "Update on DISH Network". 2theadvocate. 2008-06-02. Archived from the original on 2008-07-31. Retrieved 2008-10-29.
- ^ https://customersupport.dishnetwork.com/customernetqual/processAddress.do
- ^ http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-07-138A2.pdf
- ^ CDBS Print
- ^ http://www.businessreport.com/news/2001/dec/31/ron-winders-heads-back-to-savannah/
- ^ http://www.southernmedia-nmsa.com/
- ^ WBRZ Team, WBRZ.com. Retrieved 11-12-2010.