WGBC is the NBC-affiliated television station for Meridian, Mississippi. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 31 from a transmitter at studios on Crestview Drive south of downtown. The station can also be seen on Comcast channel 7 and in high definition on digital channel 432. Locally owned, the station is sister to CBS affiliate WMDN and the two share studios. Syndicated programming on WGBC includes: TMZ on TV, Judge Mathis,Everybody Hates Chris, and Maury.
Fox 30 (on DT1)
|Slogan||Your Sports and Entertainment Leader|
|Channels||Digital: 31 (UHF)|
|First air date||1953
(original incarnation) June 2, 1982 (current incarnation)
|Call letters' meaning||GloBal Communications (former owner)|
|Former callsigns||WCOC-TV (1953)
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
30 (1953, 1982-2009)
|Former affiliations||Independent (1953)
NBC (1953-2009) RTV (secondary, 2009-2010
|Transmitter power||828 kW|
WGBC operates the area's Fox affiliate on its first digital subchannel. Known on-air as Fox 30, this can also be seen on Comcast channel 10 and in high definition on digital channel 434. Syndicated programming on WGBC-DT1 includes: How I Met Your Mother, America's Funniest Home Videos, Swift Justice with Nancy Grace, and The People's Court. Although the main signal from NBC is on WGBC's second digital subchannel, it still offers network programming in high definition.
|30.1/31.1||720p||16:9||WGBC-DT1 "Fox 30" (HD)|
|30.2/31.2||1080i||16:9||main WGBC programming/NBC (HD)|
The station first began broadcasting as WCOC-TV in 1953. It was owned by the Crystal OilCompany along with WCOC radio (910 AM now WALT). The station had hoped to pick up the CBS affiliation for the area due to its radio sister's long affiliation with CBS Radio. However, the network ended up affiliating with WTOK-TV on the more powerful VHF channel 11. This resulted in WCOC going dark after only a few months on-the-air. The analog channel 30 allotment remained dark until WLBT in Jackson bought the dormant license. It returned the station to the air on June 2, 1982 as WLBM-TV, a low-powered semi-satellite. Previously, NBC programming had been available to Eastern Mississippi viewers on WTOK part-time from 1953 until 1972 or on WHTV (now WMDN) from 1972 to 1980.
WLBM's studios caught fire in 1990 knocking the station off-the-air and leaving much of Eastern Mississippi without an over-the-air NBC affiliate. Comcast provided network programming fromHattiesburg's WDAM for subscribers. NBC returned to the market when Global Communications brought the station back on-the-air as WGBC in September 1991. Thus, Meridian became one of the last markets in the nation with a local full-time NBC affiliate. It entered into a local marketing agreement (LMA) with CBS affiliate WMDN. In January 2008, local businessman Michael Reed bought both WGBC and WMDN, making them full sisters. Reed had to get a "failed station" waiver to buy WGBC because the Meridian market has only four full-power stations--not enough to legally permit a duopoly under normal circumstances.
In late-2008, WGBC picked up the Fox affiliation for Meridian on its first digital subcarrier with the Retro Television Network (RTV) airing during the day. This change resulted in NBC moving to a new second digital subchannel but remained on the analog signal. Fox had previously aired on WTOK-DT2 while RTV was new to the market. On January 5, 2009, "Fox Meridian" premiered on WGBC-DT1. This unusual arrangement resulted in NBC HD being moved to a new second digital subchannel. It is a similar case to CBS affiliate WAGM-TV in Presque Isle, Mainewhich also moved its original affiliation to a new second digital subchannel so that its main signal could join Fox.
WGBC shut down analog transmissions on June 12, 2009. The station remained on its pre-transition channel 31. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display its virtual channel as 30. At some point during the fall 2010 television season, WGBC-DT1 dropped RTV in favor of syndicated programming that other Fox affiliates have. It also became known on-air as "Fox 30" named after the former NBC branding.
From 1991 until 1994, WGBC aired local newscasts during the week that was known as WGBC News 30. This was the first attempt to take on longtime dominant WTOK in the ratings. The broadcasts ended after local businessman, Alex Shields, bought majority control of WGBC. WTOK's continual status as the most watched station in Eastern Mississippi has been a result of being the only VHF station in the area. With the introduction of a news department on sister station WMDN, that channel began simulcasted all of its shows on WGBC as a result of the LMA. Therefore, the newscasts were branded as 24/30 News. The title changed to WMDN News when the shows were dropped from WGBC's lineup. A few years later after WMDN shut down its news department, WGBC and WMDN began airing local weather cut-ins during the national weekday morning shows.