WECT is the NBC-affiliated television station for the Cape Fear area of North Carolina that is licensed to Wilmington. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 44 from a transmitter southwest of Winnabow. The station can also be seen on Time Warner and Charter channel 7 as well as on ATMC channel 6. There is a high definition feed offered on Time Warner and Charter digital channel 706. Owned by Raycom Media, the station operates Fox affiliate WSFX-TV (owned by Southeastern Media Holdings) through a shared services agreement (SSA). The two share studios on Shipyard Boulevard (US 117) in Wilmington. Syndicated programming on WECT includes: ''Wheel of Fortune, ''Jeopardy!, ''Oprah, and ''Dr. Phil.
|Wilmington, North Carolina|
|Channels||Digital: 44 (UHF)|
6.2 local weather
(WECT License Subsidiary, LLC)
|First air date||April 9, 1954|
|Call letters' meaning||We're Eastern CarolinaTelevision|
|Former callsigns||WMFD-TV (1954-1958)|
|Former channel number(s)||(VHF analog, 1954-2008)|
|Former affiliations||DuMont (1954-1956)|
|Transmitter power||710 kW|
On WECT-DT2, Charter digital channel 137 as well as Time Warner and ATMC digital channel 939 is a 24-hour local weather channel known as "WECT Plus". This also airs repeats of the main channel's weeknight 6 and 11 o'clock newscasts as well as local traffic and travel information. To comply with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) children programming requirement, the station airs shows targeted toward that age group on Sunday mornings. Occasionally, other special programming airs on WECT-DT2. From April 15, 2005 until the end of December 2008, this station offered the now-defunct NBC Weather Plus.
|6.1||44.1||1080i||16:9||main WECT programming/NBC HD|
|6.2||44.2||480i||4:3||WECT-DT2 "WECT Plus"|
As the first television station in Wilmington, it began broadcasting on April 9, 1954 with the call sign WMFD-TV. It aired an analog signal on VHF channel 6 from a transmitter in White Lake. The television station was co-owned with WMFD-AM 630. In 1958, the station's calls changed to the current WECT. At its launch, analog VHF channel 6 carried secondary affiliations with DuMont (which went silent in 1956) and ABC (until 1964 when WWAY signed-on). WECT was also a secondary CBS station until the 1970s primarily carrying that network's Sunday afternoon NFL coverage. At one point, this station was carried on cable systems in the Triangle region of North Carolina (Raleigh, Durham, Fayetteville, and Chapel Hill) for a time when NBC did not have a full-time affiliate in that market.
As a result of the station's long-held popularity, it is still carried on cable systems in Dunn, Southern Pines, Fayetteville, Jacksonville, Lumberton, and Raeford even though their respective markets have their own NBC affiliates. The station's analog signal once served as the default NBC station for the northern and eastern portions of the nearby Florence/Myrtle Beach, South Carolina market since that area was one of the few on the East Coast without its own NBC affiliate. For many years, the channel even identified as "Wilmington/Myrtle Beach" to acknowledge its viewership in the Grand Strand. However, WECT's reception in the northern parts of that area (such as Laurinburg) was not as good as other stations and coverage has been reduced further as a result of the digital transition which left WECT as a UHF station. While Myrtle Beach itself is just outside the fringe area for its new digital signal, North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina is just inside it. The southern and western portions of the Florence/Myrtle Beach area were served by another Raycom station, WIS-TV in Columbia, South Carolina.
For many years, WECT was locally owned. The News-Press & Gazette Company acquired the station in 1986. That company then sold its entire stations group of the time to the first incarnation of New Vision Television in 1993. New Vision turned around and sold its entire group at the time to Ellis Communications in 1995. Ellis was folded into current owner Raycom in 1997. In 2006, Raycom bought out The Liberty Corporation, owner of WWAY. However, FCC duopoly rules forced Raycom to spin off WWAY to Morris Multimedia as a condition of the Raycom–Liberty merger. On May 8, 2008, the FCC announced that five stations in Wilmington (including WECT) had agreed to voluntarily cease analog broadcasting on September 8  five months ahead of the February 17, 2009 tentative date for television stations to complete the analog-to-digital transition.   The market was used by the FCC as a post-transition test market.
On August 7, 2009, a new digital-only station WMBF-TV (that is also owned by Raycom Media) began broadcasting in Myrtle Beach covering the 2008 Olympic Games as part of its first network programming. On August 8, WECT disappeared from most cable systems in the Florence/Myrtle Beach market when WMBF signed-on due to FCC regulations. For long time viewers, this was controversial as this station had been on cable systems in Laurinburg and Lumberton for decades. On December 1, WECT returned to the Lumberton Time Warner Cable lineup on digital Channel 220. This is next to WMBF's high definition channel. As of March 17, 2009, WECT and WWAY are still carried by Time Warner in Rowland which is part of the Florence/Myrtle Beach market. This station is one of the few NBC affiliates that refused to air Poker After Dark.
News operationFor its entire existence, WECT has held the number one spot in the Neilson ratings by a wide margin. WWAY has long beenin a distant second place behind this station. Besides being the first station in Wilmington, this channel offers the most newscasts including throughout the weekend. Low-powered CBS affiliate WILM-LD does not operate a news department of its own unlike most big three stations. It simulcasts some shows from WRAL-TV in Raleigh with local weather inserts targeted toward Wilmington.
Since September 22, 2003, WECT has been producing a nightly prime time newscast for WSFX called Fox 26 News at 10. On September 13, 2006, the station began to produce an hour-long extension of Carolina in the Morning on WSFX at 7. The prime time news on that station airs from a the same set at WECT's studios and Flat Tv Screens saying WSFX FOX 26 NEWS. On August 31, 2008, it became the first station in Wilmington to air news in high definition. The upgrade came with a new graphics package and the WSFX shows were included in the change. After WWAY stopped carrying local weekend news on August 1, 2009, WECT and WSFX became the only outlet in Wilmington. Although a WWAY Sunday night broadcast at 11 was restored on October 3, 2010, the two remain the only channels in the market to air newscast throughout the weekend. As a result of those changes, WECT retains its dominance.
- Your Esso Reporter (1954–1962)
- The World Today/The World Tonight (1962–1966)
- Channel 6 News (1966–1974)
- NewsCenter 6 (1974–1984)
- WECT NewsCenter (1984–1994)
- News 6 (1994–2005)
- WECT News (2005–present)
- Channel 6, Proud as a Peacock! (1979-1981, localized version of NBC ad campaign)
- Get Six Appeal! (early 1980s)
- Channel 6, Our Pride is Showing (1981-1982, localized version of NBC ad campaign)
- We're Channel 6, Just Watch Us Now (1982-1983; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
- WECT There, Be There (1983-1984, localized version of NBC ad campaign)
- WECT, Let's All Be There (1984-1986, localized version of NBC ad campaign)
- Come Home to the Best, Only on Channel 6 (1988-1990, localized version of NBC ad campaign)
- Channel 6, The Place to Be! (1990-1992, localized version of NBC ad campaign)
- The Team You Rely On (1994)
- So You Will Know (1995)
- Where News Comes First (1995–present)
- Bob Townsend - weekday mornings
- Kim Ratcliff - weekday mornings and noon
- Frances Weller - weeknights at 5, 6, and 11
- Jon Evans - weeknights at 5:30, 6, and 11 and 10pm on WSFX
- Michelle Li - Sundays
- Ashlea Kosikowski - weekends
- Bill Rancic - America Now host
WECT News First Alert Meteorologists
- Robb Ellis - weeknights
- Eric Davis (AMS Seal of Approval) - weekday mornings and noon
- Colin Hackman - weekends and news reporter/ fill in anchor
Sports (both seen on Friday Night Football)
- Bob Bonner - Director seen weeknights at 6, 10, and 11
- John Smist - weekends and sports reporter
- Heather Setzler - Executive Producer and "First Act" segment producer
- Amy Taylor - weekday morning traffic
- Kristy Etheridge
- Claire Hosmann - producer
- Casey Roman
- Gavin Johnson
- Lindsay Curtin
- Ashlea Kosikowski
- Michelle Li
- Jennifer Abney, co-anchored Carolina in the Morning - now morning show anchor at WPXI in Pittsburgh, PA.
- Jim Hanchett - now news director at WCAV in Charlottesville, VA
- Shirley Gilbert - anchored Carolina in the Morning. Weathercaster. Deceased.
- Ken Murphy - Anchor (retired on December 31, 2004 after 40 years at the station, died in January 2007 at the age of 67)
- Maureen O’Boyle, reporter - had a nationally syndicated talk show for a time. Now main co-anchor at WBTV in Charlotte.
- Jeff Goldblatt, anchored Carolina in the Morning – moved on to a number of positions from Richmond, Virginia to Washington, DC. Correspondent for the nationally syndicated show, American Journal. Currently with FOX News.
- Ken Lemon - One time Myrtle Beach Bureau Chief, then general assignment reporter. Moved to WSOC-TV in Charlotte.
- Beth Parker, weekend anchor – Reporter for WTTG in Washington, DC.
- Ken Medlin, Sports Director - now Sports Reporter at WRAL-TV in Raleigh
- Kim Gebbia, General Assignment Reporter- now General Assignment Reporter at WXII-TV in Winston-Salem, NC
- Ned Bauer, reporter – Has worked at numerous stations and produced special programming for C-SPAN and CNN.
- Bryan Moore, anchored Carolina in the Morning – moved onto WLFL Fox 22, and News 14 Carolina in Raleigh, NC. Now Manager of Public Relations with Northrop Grumman in Newport News, Virginia.
- Elizabeth Gardner, weather, currently a morning meteorologist with WRAL-TV
- Jeff Hardin, Chief Meteorologist 1989-1994, now director of communications with the NC Credit Union League
- Mitch Davis, Bureau Chief/reporter 1991-1997. Went on to anchor weekends and later serve as Executive Producer at WBTW in Myrtle Beach 1999-2006. Now Daybreak executive producer with WSOC-TV
- Chad Headley, Photojournalist/Truck Op -- now Aerial Photojournalist for WGN-TV in Chicago.
- John Field - Photographer/Editor/Tape Roller from 1993-1998 for WECT News at 5, 6, and 11 p.m. Moved out of the television industry and into research.
- Nicole Ferguson, reporter -- now a reporter for WGHP in Greensboro, NC
- Dan Henry- Meteorologist (1990s) now Chief Meteorologist at KDFW, Dallas, TX
- Chris Marshall- Meteorologist (1990s)
- Steve White- Weekend Sports Anchor 1996-99. Moved on to WZZM ABC in Grand Rapids, MI as Sports Anchor/Reporter. Now VP of Operations for The NGA Hooters Tour in North Myrtle Beach, SC.
- Kim Fields, Anchor -- now anchors at KTVB in Boise, ID
- Maggie Alexander, Reporter -- now is a reporter with WIS in Columbia, SC
- Ashley Hayes, Reporter -- now is a reporter for WSB-TV Atlanta, GA
- George Elliott, Chief Meteorologist -- retired December 31, 2008.
- Craig Carnesi, meteorologist - now weekend meteorologist at KSPR in Springfield, MO
- David Zuckerman, established Myrtle Beach News bureau in 1981. Served as reporter/cameraman/editor till 1985. Now owns a video production company in Jacksonville, Florida
- Wayne Jackson, one of WECT's first news anchors. Last co-hosted Carolina in the Morning 1980-1989.
- ^ http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-282032A1.pdf
- ^ http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-06-1082A2.pdf
- ^ WECT TV6 - WECT.com - Wilmington, NC news and weather - Wilmington Goes Digital First