WGAL is the NBC-affiliated television station for South Central Pennsylvania that is licensed to Lancaster. It broadcasts a high definitiondigital signal on VHF channel 8 from a transmitter near U.S. 30 north of Hallam. The transmitter site and tower is also where WGAL's radio partner, WROZ "101.3 The Rose" (which once had the WGAL-FM call sign[2]) transmits their signal from. Owned by Hearst Television, the station has studios on Columbia Avenue (PA 462) in Lancaster. Syndicated programming on WGAL includes: Access Hollywood,Entertainment Tonight, Oprah, and Dr. Phil.


125px-Wgal dt2.png

Lancaster / York / Harrisburg /

Lebanon, Pennsylvania

City of license Lancaster
Branding WGAL 8 (general)

News 8 (newscasts) This TV Lancaster (on DT2)

Slogan Coverage You

Can Count On

Channels Digital: 8 (VHF)
Subchannels 8.1 NBC

8.2 This TV

Affiliations NBC
Owner Hearst Television

(WGAL Hearst Television, Inc.)

First air date March 18, 1949
Call letters' meaning

Greater Area ofLancaster or

Wonderful Gardens AtLancaster

Former callsigns WGAL-TV (1949-1992)
Former channel number(s) Analog:

4 (VHF, 1949-1952) 8 (VHF, 1952-2009) Digital: 58 (1999-2009) (UHF)

Former affiliations CBS / ABC / DuMont(1949-1963)

all secondary NBC Weather Plus (on DT2) [1]

Transmitter power 32.2 kW
Height 419 m
Facility ID 53930
Transmitter coordinates 40°2′4″N 76°37′8″W
Website wgal.com

Digital programming

The station's signal is multiplexed. On WGAL-DT2, Comcast digital channel 248, and Verizon FiOS digital channel 460 is This TV.

Channel Programming
8.1 main WGAL programming / NBC HD
8.2 WGAL-DT2 "This TV Lancaster"

Due to problems receiving the main channel 8 signal in many areas, WGAL has applied for six low-powered "fill-in" translators. If any stations sign on, they would be given the same callsign and facility ID as the main station.[3][4]

Channel City of License Service Area Status
27 Red Lion York Application
27 Carlisle Carlisle, Mechanicsburg Application
31 Gettysburg Gettysburg, Chambersburg, Thurmont Application
49 Harrisburg Harrisburg and immediate metro area Construction permit (expires July 1, 2013)
49 Ephrata Lancaster, Reading, Lebanon, Hershey Application
51[5] Lancaster Lancaster and immediate area Construction permit (expires April 7, 2013)


WGAL-TV began operations on March 18, 1949 on channel 4 as the fourth television station in Pennsylvania and the first outsidePhiladelphia beating WDTV (now KDKA-TV) in Pittsburgh which began operations in November of that year. It was owned by the Steinman family owners of WGAL radio (1490 AM) and Lancaster's two major newspapers, the Intelligencer Journal and the Lancaster New Era. At the time, Lancaster was the smallest city in the country with a television station.[citation needed] The station's first formal program was shown on March 22 to a group of RCA executives, television dealers, and radio station personnel at the Stevens House Hotel in downtown Lancaster. In 1952, WGAL increased its power from 1,000 to 7,200 watts. Under this new grant, the station was required by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to move to channel 8 to prevent interference with WRC-TV in Washington, D.C. That change took place on December 31, 1952.

On January 1, 1954, WGAL presented its first color television broadcast of the Tournament of Roses Parade. It has always been an NBC affiliate but also carried some programs from CBS, DuMont, and ABC until 1963 when Nielsen made the Lancaster and Harrisburg/Yorkareas a single market. The Steinmans also launched WDEL-TV in Wilmington, Delaware around the same time as WGAL's launch but sold that station in 1955. Over the years, the family purchased three more television stations (KOAT in Albuquerque, New Mexico and KVOA inTucson, Arizona both of which they sold to Pulitzer Publishing in 1969 and WTEV-TV in New Bedford, Massachusetts) as well as several radio stations and newspapers. The Steinmans sold both of their remaining television stations to Pulitzer in late-1978 reuniting them with KOAT (that company spun off KVOA in 1972).

Under Pulitzer's ownership in 1985, WGAL became the first television station in Pennsylvania to broadcast in stereo beating much larger stations in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. It dropped the -TV suffix in 1992. Pulitzer sold its entire television division, including WGAL and KOAT, to what was then Hearst-Argyle Television in 1999. The sale closed on March 18, this station's 50th anniversary. In 2000, WGAL adopted a Hearst-styled logo somewhat similar to sister stations WBAL-TV in Baltimore, Maryland and WTAE-TV in Pittsburgh. WGAL ended programming on its analog signal, on VHF channel 8, on June 12, 2009, as part of the DTV transition in the United States. The station then moved back to channel 8 for its post-transition operations. [6][7] It airs live the Pennsylvania Lottery televised nighttime drawings seven nights a week and the live Powerball on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The station is also a community service leader in the market airing the Salvation Army Coats For Kids drive and telethon, the Children's Miracle Network telethon, and the Jefferson Awards. Anchors and other on-air personalities are active in the community as well. WGAL's signal is seen on cable systems far past the market borders. This includes in Fulton County (west), Chester andBerks Counties (east), Northumberland County (north), and Cecil and Harford Counties in Maryland (south). [8]


WGAL's ID slide until December 13, 2010.

Since February of 2010, days before the Winter Olympic games, WGAL has been using updated tickers for weather warnings, school closings, ect., to fit 16:9 screens. That prevented HDTV broadcasts from reverting to 4:3 standard definition when the tickers appered. Around late October or early November of 2010, the set of News 8 had been modified with two new flat screen monitors to the left and right of the set. And an additional flat screen monitor was added to the front of the new anchor desk.As the only VHF station in the area, it has been the market leader for many years. This may also have to do with its past owners being local major newspapers as is common for many first ranked stations in the United States. WGAL airs over 21 hours of local news broadcasts every week. With its dominant presence in the market, the station has the highest share in the country (of the top 50 markets) in terms of audience share for the weekday 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. news and also leads all other stations in the market in terms of share on every other broadcast. [9] On September 30, 1995, weekend morning editions of News 8 Today premiered. In addition to its main studios, WGAL operates bureaus in Harrisburg (on Market Street) and York (on South George Street a.k.a. BL I-83/Susquehanna Trail). The station operates the area's only liveweather radar at its transmitter site known as "Super Doppler 8".

On December 13, 2010, starting with News 8 at 5, WGAL became the first local TV station in the market to present its newscasts in 16:9 widescreen standard definition along with the updated on screen graphics and open.[10] Before WGAL's switch to 16:9, the Lancaster/York/Harrisburg/Lebanon market was the largest Nielsen DMA where all of its local stations did not broadcast local newscasts in high definition or 16:9 widescreen. That title now goes to the Providence market. It is not known whether the other "Big Three" network-affiliated TV stations in the market will follow WGAL's lead (although Fox affiliate WPMT became the first TV station in the market to present its newscasts in full high-definition which began on January 15, 2011[11]).

Current on-air staff


  • Lori Burkholder - weekday mornings "News 8 Today"
  • Jere Gish - weekday mornings "News 8 Today"
  • Meredith Jorgensen - weekend mornings at 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. (also reporter)
  • Kim Lemon - weeknights at 5 and 6 p.m.
  • Ron Martin - weeknights at 5, 6 and 11 p.m.
  • Brian Roche - weeknights at 5:30 p.m.
  • Anne Shannon - weekend evenings at 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. (also Learning Matters reporter)
  • Susan Shapiro - weekdays at noon
  • Janelle Stelson - weeknights at 5:30 and 11 p.m.

News 8 Storm Team Meteorologists

  • Joe Calhoun (AMS Seal of Approval) - Chief Meteorologist; weekday mornings
  • Doug Allen (NWA Seal of Approval) - weeknights at 5, 5:30, 6 and 11 p.m.
  • Matt Ritter (AMS Seal of Approval) - weekdays at noon
  • Drew Anderson - weekend mornings at 6 a.m and 9 a.m.
  • Dr. John Scala - weekends at 6 and 11 p.m.
  • Matt Binder - fill-in meteorologist
  • Paul Lynch - fill-in meteorologist


  • Julie Gargotta - Channel 8 Traffic Reporter


  • Mike Hostetler - weeknights at 5:30, 6 and 11 p.m.
  • Mike Straub - weekend evenings at 6 p.m. and 11 p.m.
  • Pat Principe - Sports Director/reporter and fill-in anchor


  • Keri Babic- general assignment reporter
  • Matt Barcaro - general assignment reporter
  • Barbara Barr - Lebanon County reporter
  • Jenna Clay- general assignment reporter
  • Carter Evans - weekday morning New York Stock Exchange correspondent
  • Porcha Johnson - general assignment reporter
  • Jim Sinkovitz - Dauphin County reporter
  • Katelyn Smith - weekday morning reporter
  • Ed Weinstock - Adams and York County reporter

Hearst Washington Bureau

  • Sally Kidd - Washington D.C. correspondent
  • Laurie Kinney - Washington D.C. correspondent
  • Traci Mitchell - weekday morning Washington D.C. correspondent

8 on Your Side Reporters

  • Matt Belanger - investigative/government/general assignment reporter
  • Brian Roche - consumer/investigative reporter
  • Susan Shapiro - investigative reporter

Notable former on-air staff

  • Dave Brandt
  • Jill Brown
  • Dennis Buterbaugh - anchor and consumer reporter from 1996 to 2001; now at WHTM-TV
  • Wayne Herman - Anchor from 1989 to 1995
  • Brad Hicks - Anchor and host from 1990 to 2000; now at WITI in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Dick Hoxworth - Anchor from 1968 to 2008
  • Karen Jennings
  • C.S. Keys
  • Robert Lang
  • Emily Longnecker
  • Keith Martin
  • Gwen Owens
  • John Repetz
  • Mary Saladna - now at WCVB-TV in Boston, Massachusetts
  • Jim Stone
  • Heather Tesch - now at The Weather Channel
  • Heather Warner - reporter from 2000 to 2003; now at WPMT
  • Jeff Werner
  • Wendall Woodbury - Anchor, host and reporter from 1968 to 1992[12]

News/station presentation

Newscast titles

  • Your Esso Reporter (1949–1952)
  • WGAL-TV News (1952–1962)
  • Big 8 News (1962–1966)
  • 24 Hours (1966–1970)
  • TV-8 Total News (1970–1974)
  • NewsCenter 8 (1974–1990)
  • News 8 (1990–present)

Station slogans

  • The One to Count On (1982–1987; used during period station used Frank Gari's "So Good to Turn To")
  • Come Home to WGAL (1986-1987; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • Come on Home to WGAL (1987-1988; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • Come Home to the Best, WGAL (1988-1990; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • WGAL, The Place to Be! (1990-1992; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • The Susquehanna Valley's NewsChannel
  • Coverage You Can Count On (1990–present)


  1. ^ http://web.archive.org/20010717135808/members.aol.com/jeff99500/1952tv.html
  2. ^ http://susvalleyradio.tripod.com/profiles/wgal.html
  3. ^ RabbitEars.info: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
  4. ^ FCC TV Query: WGAL
  5. ^ Originally channel 15, changed due to opposition from Lancaster County; see Hearst statement
  6. ^ FCC DTV status report for WGAL
  7. ^ http://www.wgal.com/technology/18655828/detail.html
  8. ^ Comcast (Fulton/Chester/Berks), Service Electric (Northumberland), Armstrong (Cecil), Clearview Cable (Harford)
  9. ^ Nielsen Media Research November 2008 Adults 25-54 Audience share
  10. ^ WGAL Makes Widescreen Switch -- What You Need To Know
  11. ^ http://www.fox43.com/news/wpmt-fox43-first-to-broadcast-news-hd,0,5299591.story
  12. ^ "Former WGAL Personality, Wendall Woodbury, Passes Away". WGAL-TV. 2010-10-20. Retrieved 2010-10-27.

External links

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