WDBJ is the CBS television network affiliate station serving the Roanoke/Lynchburg television market. It transmits its digital signal on UHF channel 18. It is owned by Schurz Communications of South Bend, Indiana. Its transmitter is located on Poor Mountain near Roanoke, with studios located on Hershberger Road in northwest Roanoke.
|Branding||WDBJ 7 (general)
News 7 (newscasts) My 19 (on DT2)
|Slogan||Your Hometown Station|
|Channels||Digital: 18 (UHF)|
|Owner||Schurz Communications, Inc.
(WDBJ Television, Inc.)
|Founded||October 3, 1955|
|Former callsigns||WDBJ-TV (1955-1983)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
|Transmitter power||460 kW (digital)|
|Height||606 m (digital)|
|Transmitter coordinates||37°11′42.5″N 80°9′23″W / 37.195139°N 80.15639°W / 37.195139; -80.15639|
The station is also available on cable on the West Virginia side of the Bluefield/Beckley, West Virginia area; it served as the default CBS affiliate for the West Virginia side until WVSX (now WVNS-TV) became a CBS affiliate in 2001. It is also available on cable systems in Pocahontas County, WV (including Snowshoe). It is also available on cable systems as far east as Clarksville and South Boston, as far west as Glade Spring, Marion, Grundy (Digital Cable only) and Norton. As far south as Galax, Martinsville and two counties in North Carolina; Caswell and Rockingham counties. Glade Spring, Marion, Grundy and Norton are part of the Tri-Cities market while Caswell and Rockingham counties are part of the Greensboro/High Point/Winston-Salem market. DirecTV offers WDBJ in several out of market areas in the Virginia counties of Mecklenburg and Patrick. In North Carolina, WDBJ is offered in Alleghany, Caswell, Person and Rockingham Counties.
The station—Roanoke's third-oldest—first went to the air on October 3, 1955 under the ownership of the Times-World Corporation, owners of the Roanoke Times, and Roanoke World-News newspapers along with WDBJ radio (AM 960, now WFIR; and FM 94.9, now WSLC). It has always been a CBS affiliate, owing to WDBJ-AM's long affiliation with CBS Radio. During the late 1950s, the station was also briefly affiliated with the NTA Film Network.
The station's studio was originally located in the Mountain Trust Bank Building in downtown Roanoke. Its transmitter was located temporarily on Mill Mountain; it originally planned to broadcast from Poor Mountain, but could not due to concerns about interference with then-under construction WSPA-TV in Spartanburg, South Carolina. In 1956, WDBJ-AM-TV moved to the Times-World Building. It also relocated its transmitter to Poor Mountain.
Due to its affiliation with the Times and Virginia's second-oldest radio station, channel 7 overtook WSLS-TV as the area's highest-rated station within three years of signing on. It has remained in the lead more or less ever since.
As WDBJ-TV grew during the late 1950s, plans were drawn for a new studio at the corner of Brandon and Colonial Avenues in southwest Roanoke. WDBJ-TV moved to the then state-of-the-art building in the summer of 1961.
Times-World merged with Landmark Communications of Norfolk in 1969.  The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) forced Times-World to sell off WDBJ-TV due to a significant signal overlap with Landmark-owned WFMY-TV in Greensboro, North Carolina. WDBJ's city-grade signal covers much of the Virginia portion of the Triad market, and the station provides grade B coverage as far south as Reidsville, North Carolina. At the time, the FCC normally did not allow common ownership of two stations with overlapping signals, and would not even consider granting a waiver for stations with overlapping city-grade coverage. As a result, channel 7 was sold to its current owner, Schurz Communications. It is not likely that the FCC would have allowed Landmark to keep WDBJ-TV in any case, given that the agency was becoming increasingly wary of cross-ownership of broadcasting outlets and newspapers. The transaction would have also brought two of Virginia's three CBS affiliates—WDBJ-TV and Landmark flagship WTAR-TV (now WTKR) in Norfolk—under common ownership.
In 1979, WDBJ opened its Central Virginia Bureau in Lynchburg. Weekend anchor Graham Wilson served as Bureau Chief, and the bureau covered the eastern part of the Roanoke-Lynchburg market, from Charlottesville to Danville.
In 2000, WDBJ announced plans for a new digital facility on the site of the Best Products building in northwest Roanoke. That June, the Best Products building was demolished and construction of a new digital facility began. Photos of the complete demolition of the Best Products building & construction of the new "Digital Broadcast Center" are located here . In April 2002, WDBJ began broadcasting from the new "Digital Broadcast Center". WDBJ has newsrooms in Lynchburg, Blacksburg and Richmond, along with its Roanoke newsroom.
In 2006, WDBJ began a news partnership with WFIR, its former radio sister.
On average, an estimated 92,000 households tune in for WDBJ's 6pm and 11pm newscasts. WDBJ is the leading station in the Roanoke/Lynchburg market. Currently, the station produces six newscasts Monday-Friday, Friday Football Extra, and Virginia Tech Sports Today.
On August 13, 2007, WDBJ became the only station in the Roanoke/Lynchburg market with four meteorologists in its weather center. WDBJ's weather department is the Weatherbug Network affiliate for the Roanoke/Lynchburg market. The Weatherbug network offers real-time statistics and information from all around the region. There are 24 Weatherbug locations in the WDBJ viewing area.
On 1 July 2007, Jeffery A. Marks became the General Manager for WDBJ. Marks succeeded Bob Lee and became only the 4th GM in the history of the station.
Also in 2007, the News Department went tapeless and switched to a server-based playback system.
On April 22, 2008, WDBJ began broadcasting local news in high definition. They also became the first in the Roanoke-Lynchburg market with high-definition weather graphics.
In July 2009, WDBJ announced it would refuse to run an advertisement from the National Republican Congressional Council attacking Democratic Representative Tom Perriello, citing "factual inaccuracies".
In Spring 2010, Schurz and the Tribune Company of Chicago entered into a Web site management partnership in which Tribune Interactive would take over the Web site CMS operations of all of Schurz's media properties except NBC-affiliated WAGT in Augusta, Georgia (which is now operated by Media General, the owner of that market's ABC-affiliated WJBF). Schurz's Kansas television properties (KWCH-DT and KSCW-DT) were the first to launch new Tribune-run sites in late June. WDBJ followed in mid-July, then KTUU-TV in Anchorage, Alaska in mid-August. The other Schurz television station Web sites, which are currently operated by Broadcast Interactive Media, will follow suit once their current CMS agreement with BIM runs out.
My Network TV and News 7 at Ten
Former logo and branding of WDBJ-DT2.On September 5, 2006, WDBJ launched News 7 at Ten and My Network TV, as "My 19", in the viewing area. Both services are available on digital subchannel 7.2, which is also available on area cable systems. It replaced independent service "7 Too," which reaired WDBJ newscasts and syndicated programming, and aired special events such as sporting events and the 2004 Republican and Democratic National Conventions in their entirety.
News 7 at Ten brings a new format to WDBJ's other newscasts, providing "anchor movement" to a different set after each commercial break. News 7 at Ten is anchored by Natasha Ryan. Brent Watts serves as the Meteorologist and Travis Wells serves as the sportscaster. Lexi Edwards is the producer.
News 7 at Ten also provides a "Fun Fact" every night. The "Fun Fact" is associated with one of the night's stories.
The Weather Deck and Weather Garden
In August 2006 WDBJ 7 added an outdoor Weather Deck. This deck provides a new location for controlled outside weather & news segments. Alongside the Weather Deck is the Weather Garden. WDBJ7 often presents feature packages about the Weather Garden and offers tips, advice and ideas about common gardening.
WDBJ-DT broadcasts on digital channel UHF 18:
|Virtual Channel||Digital Channel||Programming|
|7.1||18.1||main WDBJ programming / CBS|
Effective June 12, 2009 WDBJ is broadcast exclusively in digital.
- Your Esso Reporter (1955-1960)
- The Virginia Report (1960-1964)
- TV-7 News (1964-1970)
- Channel 7 News (1970-1977)
- Newscene 7 (1977-1981)
- News 7 (1981–2012)
- WDBJ 7 News (2012-present)
- The Full Color Station (1960s)
- The Best is Right Here on Channel 7 (1973-1974; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
- See the Best...Channel 7 (1974-1975; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
- We're Looking Good on Channel 7 (1979-1980; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
- Looking Good Together, Channel 7 (1980-1981; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
- Reach for the Stars on Channel 7 (1981-1982; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
- Great Moments on Channel 7 (1982-1983; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
- Your Hometown Station (1983–2012)
- We've Got the Touch, You and Channel 7 (1983-1984; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
- You and Channel 7, We've Got the Touch (1984-1985; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
- We've Got the Touch on Channel 7 (1985-1986; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
- Share the Spirit on Channel 7 (1986-1987; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
- Channel 7 Spirit, Oh Yeah! (1987-1988; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
- You Can Feel it on Channel 7 (1988-1989; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
- Virginia, Get Ready for Channel 7 (1989-1990; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
- Get Ready for WDBJ (1990-1991; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
- The Look of Virginia is Channel 7 (1991-1992; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
- This is CBS, on Channel 7 (1992-1993; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
- Experience Real News (mid 1990s-early 2000s)
- Your Hoohaw Station (January 9-July 18, 1999; in promotion for the show PB&J Otter)
- Trust News 7 (early 2000s)
- Your Hometown News Leader (2012–present)
 This film, television or video-related list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it with reliably sourced additions.In the 1980s, the station did a series of spots for its programming featuring the popular "Ernest", portrayed by Jim Varney. The new News 7 at Ten offers "Finally, a ten o'clock newscast you can trust."
A key to WDBJ's rating success has been the continuity of its on-air team, which is not the norm in local news especially for a market of Roanoke-Lynchburg's size. Lead news anchor Keith Humphry has held the position since around 1980 after serving as the night and weekend anchor for a few years. (In the Roanoke-Lynchburg market, newcast ratings tend to be much higher at 6 PM than 11 PM.) Likewise, Robin Reed has been the lead weathercaster since the early 1980s. Sportscaster Mike Stevens joined WDBJ in the 1980s and became the lead sports anchor in the early 1990s; in 2008, he left WDBJ to become communications director for Salem, Virginia and was replaced by Travis Wells. Senior reporter Joe Dashiell has been at WDBJ since the 1970s and was the longtime Richmond newsroom correspondent.
Current on-air staff
- Susan Bahorich - Weekend Morning Anchor/Reporter
- Hollani Davis - 6 & 11 P.M. Weekend Anchor
- Bob Grebe - Morning Co-Host
- Jean Jadhon - 5:00 & 6:00 p.m. Anchor
- Keith Humphry - 6:00 p.m. Anchor
- Kimberly McBroom - Morning & Noon Anchor
- Natasha Ryan - 10:00 p.m. & 11:00 p.m. Anchor
- Joe Dashiell - Senior Reporter
- Elizabeth Harrington - Reporter
- Chris Hurst - Weekend Reporter
- Karen Kiley - Lynchburg Reporter
- Justin McLeod - Reporter
- Holly Pietrzak - New River Valley Bureau Chief & substitute anchor
- Tim Saunders - Lynchburg Bureau Chief & substitute anchor
- Cara Stein - Reporter/Weekend Producer
- Robin Reed (AMS Certified) - Chief Meteorologist
- Leo Hirsbrunner (AMS Certified) - Morning & Noon meteorologist
- Jay Webb (AMS/NWA Seal of Approval) - Weekend Meteorologist
- Brent Watts (AMS Seal of Approval) - Meteorologist, NEWS 7 at TEN/Fill-in Meteorologist
- Travis Wells - Sports Director
- Grant Kittelson - Sports Anchor/Reporter
- Chris Miles - Weekend Sports Anchor
- ^ "Require Prime Evening Time for NTA Films", Boxoffice: 13, November 10, 1956, http://issuu.com/boxoffice/docs/boxoffice_111056-1
- ^ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/07/02/virginia-station-wont-air_n_225195.html
- ^ http://www.wdbj7.com/Global/story.asp?S=9796289&nav=S6aK
- ^ http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-06-1082A2.pdf