WTVF is the CBS-affiliated television station for Middle Tennessee that is licensed to Nashville. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on VHF channel 5 from a transmitter north of downtown along I-24. Owned by Landmark Media Enterprises, the station has studios on James Robertson Parkway. Syndicated programming on WTVF includes: Inside Edition, Ellen, and Rachael Ray.
|Slogan||Your News and
Information Leader (primary) Tennessee's First Local News in High Definition (secondary)
|Channels||Digital: 5 (VHF)|
|Translators||50 (UHF) Nashville|
|Owner||Landmark Media Enterprises
(NewsChannel 5 Network, LLC)
|First air date||August 6, 1954|
|Call letters' meaning||TeleVision Five|
|Former callsigns||WLAC-TV (1954-1975)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog: 5 (VHF, 1954-2009)
Digital: 56 (UHF, 1999-2009)
|Transmitter power||22 kW|
|Height||425 metres (1,394 ft)|
|Transmitter coordinates||36°16′5″N 86°47′16″W / 36.26806°N 86.78778°W / 36.26806; -86.78778|
WTVF signed on-the-air August 6, 1954 as WLAC-TV owned by the Life and Casualty Insurance Company along with Nashville businessmen Guilford Dudley, Al Beaman, and Thomas Baker. Ever since its inception, its analog signal was short-spaced to Memphis' WMC-TV also on Channel 5 (coincidentally, WMC-TV began on Channel 4 and was immediately short-spaced to WSM-TV, now WSMV, Channel 4, Nashville). WLAC-TV was part of a triopoly along with WLAC-AM 1510 and later WLAC-FM (now WNRQ-FM). The call sign reflected the initials of the insurance company. It immediately took the CBS affiliation from WSIX-TV (analog channel 8, eventually WKRN-TV on analog channel 2) because WLAC-AM had been Nashville's CBS Radio affiliate since 1928. With WLAC-TV, Nashville became the smallest city in the United States to have three network-affiliated commercial television stations. American General Corporation, a Houston-based insurer, bought L&C and WLAC-AM-FM-TV in the 1960s.
WLAC-TV was sold in 1975 to the Hobby family (owners of the now-defunct Houston Post) who changed the station's call sign to the current WTVF. American General/L&C eventually sold WLAC-AM-FM to other interests and the other stations have had several owners over the years. In 1983, the Hobbys reorganized their broadcast holdings as H&C Communications after their flagship property the Post was sold. Landmark Communications, based in Norfolk, VA, bought WTVF from the Hobbys in 1994. February 1, 2007, marked the end of the decades-long monopoly WTVF had in providing CBS programming to some counties in Southern Kentucky. Bowling Green's WNKY, an NBC affiliate, launched an new second digital subchannel to be the area's CBS affiliate. WTVF was removed from a number of Southern Kentucky cable systems as a result due to FCC rules against duplication of network programming on different cable channels.
On January 30, 2008, Landmark announced its intention to sell WTVF along with sister station KLAS-TV in Las Vegas, Nevada and cable network The Weather Channel. This was followed on July 14, 2008 with an announcement that this channel would be sold to Bonten Media Group, a firm that owns sixteen conventional broadcast and digital stations in five states. However, the deal was put off due to the economic crisis of 2008 as Bonten informed Landmark that it could not close on the purchase after its key financial backer for that purchase, Lehman Brothers, went bankrupt. Landmark Communications changed its name to Landmark Media Enterprises in September 2008.
Although the sale of The Weather Channel and some other assets was eventually completed, Landmark took most of its other properties off the market in October 2008. As a result, WTVF and KLAS remain owned by Landmark. WTVF would have become the biggest station in Bonten's holdings as well as the first CBS affiliate in its portfolio. After the analog television shutdown and digital conversion was completed on June 12, 2009, WTVF moved its digital broadcasts back to channel 5. Since WTVF's transition to that channel, some viewers in the immediate Nashville area were having reception problems of the VHF digital channel. So on July 6, 2009, the station decided and filed for a low-powered digital channel 50 on UHF to cover the viewers that cannot receive the VHF channel. It broadcasts at 100 kW. The original application to operate this translator has yet to be granted but STAs have been approved. On July 31, WTVF began multicasting on its digital subchannels the over-the-air relaunch of "NewsChannel 5+" (originally a cable-only operation) on 5.2 and the addition of This TV on 5.3.
The WTVF broadcast signal is multiplexed. On WTVF-DT2 and Comcast digital channel 250 is an independent station that features locally-produced programming, repeats of local news from the main channel, and additional syndicated shows. There is also live gavel-to-gavel coverage of high-profile criminal trials in the Nashville area including those of Paul Dennis Reid, Perry March, and Mary Winkler. WTVF-DT2 goes live during severe weather and will sometimes air local newscasts if CBS programming preempts the main channel, such as during the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. It also carries the Saturday edition of The Early Show, which WTVF does not run. On WTVF-DT3 and Comcast digital channel 249 is This TV.
|5.1||1080i||16:9||main WTVF programming / CBS HD|
|5.2||480i||4:3||WTVF-DT2 "NewsChannel 5+"|
|5.3||480i||4:3||WTVF-DT3 This TV|
Famous programs and on-air staff
During its years as WLAC, the station helped launch the career of a young African-American reporter and native Nashvillian named Oprah Winfrey by making her a regular news anchor in the early-1970s. The station's Studio A, which was built in 1967 near the Tennessee State Capitol building, was also the home of the hit show Hee Haw for most of its 1968–1993 run. Its last few years were recorded at The Nashville Network's studios adjacent to the now-defunct Opryland USA theme park. The channel's relation to WLAC-AM, which was known for many years for its nighttime soul music programming, led it to air a groundbreaking show on Friday and Saturday nights during the mid-and late-1960s called Night Train hosted by Noble Blackwell (a disc jockey on Nashville soul radio station WVOL-AM 1470), which featured R&B performances and dancing similar to American Bandstand.
Behind Winfrey, the station's most notable anchor is Chris Clark. He served as the station's main anchor from 1966 to 2007, longer than anyone in Nashville television history. Clark is a Greek-American whose real name is Christopher Botsaris. In June 2006, Clark reduced his daily anchoring schedule to one newscast (weeknights at 6) and announced he would retire at the end of his contract in 2007. Clark's final broadcast, after 41 years on-air, took place on May 23, 2007, the final day of the May "sweeps" ratings period. The station ran a number of on-air tributes in the days leading up to Clark's departure. He signed-off with a tribute to his co-workers and friends and gave his closing line a final time: "I'll see you then...". Rhori Johnston, the co-anchor on the weeknight 5 and 10 o'clock broadcasts, succeeded Clark at 6 p.m. Before arriving at WLAC/WTVF, Clark worked for stations in his native Georgia in Atlanta and Albany. He graduated from the University of Georgia in Athens. While at Albany's WALB-TV, Clark interviewed Martin Luther King, Jr.
Its morning news open.WTVF has long battled with NBC affiliate WSMV (which itself started as WSM-TV — the television arm of another Nashville heritage radio station, WSM-AM 650) for the top spot in the Nashville ratings. Generally speaking, this channel is more popular in the city of Nashville itself than in the more conservative suburbs (e.g., Williamson and Sumner Counties) because of its emphasis on hard news and investigative reports as opposed to WSMV's emphasis on softer stories. The reverse was true some fifteen to twenty years ago as WSMV earned numerous awards for hard-hitting investigative and government affairs coverage (while still targeting a more upscale suburban demographic) while WTVF did not make many waves relying mainly on newscast staples like crime coverage (which reflected its urban lead).
During the 1970s and 1980s, the station used the Eyewitness News moniker. The current NewsChannel 5 branding and logo have been in use since 1989. In 1974, WLAC became the first non-network-owned television station in the country to use Electronic News Gathering (ENG) to bring live field reports to its viewers. On February 2, 2007, WTVF rolled out a new on-air look complete with a new state-of-the-art news set, weather center, and graphics in tandem with its official HD debut. The new set was completely built in a separate studio from its existing set keeping disruptions of news operations to a minimum. As of February 4, WTVF is the 25th television station in the nation to air local news in high definition and one of only four at the time with an HD weather center and system.
WTVF produces daily ninety second news updates for Telefutura affiliate WLLC-LP anchored by Eva Melo. This newscast is the only Spanish-language newscast in Nashville, a market consisting of about 4% Spanish-speaking viewers, a fast-growing audience in the Middle Tennessee area. Both "NewsChannel 5" and "NewsChannel 5 Network" are also used by stations in other markets. All news anchors also serve as reporters.
 Newscast titles
- Newsbeat (6 p.m. newscast)/The Big News (10 p.m. newscast, 1950s-1960s)
- Channel 5 News (1970–1974)
- Eyewitness News (1974–1989)
- NewsChannel 5 (1989–present)
 Station slogans
- "Tune In. Turn On. Take Five." (1968–1969)
- "5 Takes You There Live" (1975–1976)
- "The News People" (1977–1979)
- "We're Looking Good on Channel 5" (1979–1980, localized version of CBS ad campaign)
- "Looking Good Together, Channel 5' (1980-1981, localized version of CBS ad campaign)
- "Reach for the Stars on Channel 5" (1981–1982, localized version of CBS ad campaign)
- "Great Moments on Channel 5" (1982–1983, localized version of CBS ad campaign)
- "Friends You Can Turn To" (1983–1986)
- "Share the Spirit on 5" (1986–1989, localized version of CBS ad campaign also used in image campaign using TM Productions' "Spirit of Texas")
- "Nashville's News Station' (1986-1989)
- "The Look of Nashville is Channel 5" (1991–1992, localized version of CBS ad campaign)
- "More News. More Experience. More Often." (1989–1998)
- "Your News and Information Leader" (1995–present)
- "Tennessee's First and Only Local News in High Definition" (2007–2008)
- "Tennessee's First Local News in High Definition" (2008–present)
- Adam Hammond - weekday mornings
- Amy Watson - weekday mornings
- Vicki Yates - weekdays at 4 p.m.; and weeknights at 6 p.m.
- Rhori Johnston - weeknights at 5 p.m., 6 p.m., and 10 p.m.
- Kristin Priesol - weekdays at 4 p.m.; and weeknights at 5 p.m. and 10 p.m.
- Jennifer Kraus - weekend mornings; also investigative reporter
- Emily Luxen - Saturdays at 6 p.m., Sundays at 5:30 p.m. and weekends at 10 p.m.
Storm 5 HD Weather Team
- Heather Mathis - meteorologist; weekend mornings
- Henry Rothenberg - chief meteorologist; weeknights at 6 p.m. and 10 p.m.
- Bree Smith - Meteorologist; Saturdays at 6, Sundays at 5:30 and weekends at 10 p.m.
- Lelan Statom (NWA and AMS Seals of Approval) - Meteorologist; weekday mornings; and weekdays at 12 p.m.; also host of Talk of the Town
- Jon Burton - sports anchor
- Steve Layman - sports anchor
- Rebecca Schleicher - Traffic Anchor; weekday mornings
- Nick Beres - general assignment reporter
- Kimberly Davis - general assignment reporter
- Rodney Dunigan - general assignment and education reporter; also web producer, fill-in news and sports anchor, occasional Morning Line and Open Line host and "Wonderful Kids" segment producer
- Nicole Ferguson - general assignment reporter
- Mo Haider - general assignment reporter
- Ben Hall - investigative reporter
- Kyle Horan - general assignment reporter
- Jesse Knutson - Country Music & Entertainment reporter; also Middle Tennessee reporter
- Alexandra Koehn - general assignment reporter
- Jennifer Kraus - investgative reporter; also weekend morning anchor
- Jason Lamb - general assignment reporter
- Brandon Marshall - general assignment reporter
- Hannah McDonald - general assignment reporter
- Kristen Skovira - general assignment reporter
- Jeff Tang - general assignment reporter
- Matthew Torres - general assignment reporter
- Marcus Washington - general assignment reporter
- Phil Williams - chief Investigative reporter
 Former on-air staff
- Larry Brinton - reporter
- Alex Cabrero - reporter
- Kami Carrman - sports reporter
- Harry Chapman - news anchor
- Lisa Chavarria - reporter
- Chris Clark - news anchor and reporter (retired)
- Scott Couch - reporter & weekend anchor
- Mark Drury - reporter
- April Eaton - reporter
- Joe Fryer - reporter
- Robert Goulston - reporter
- Ben Hall - investigative reporter
- Hope Hines - sports director (1971-1975; 1983-2011; now retired)
- Ron Howes - meteorologist (retired)
- Nikki Leenders - Williamson County reporter
- Dan MacDonald - reporter
- Lyra Manning - reporter
- Rob Manning- reporter
- Amy Marsalis - news anchor
- Bob Rainey - sports reporter
- Roshini Rajkumar - reporter
- Amy Rao - reporter
- Jamie Reese - reporter
- Barry Simmons -reporter
- AJ Sterling -reporter
- Beth Tucker - morning news anchor
- LaCheryl Tucker -reporter and weekend anchor
- Oprah Winfrey - news anchor and reporter (later talk show host; now at CBS News)
- Courtney Wise - reporter
- Eric Yutzy - weekend sports and sports reporter
 News Directors
- Sandy Boonstra - current
- Mike Cutler - 1998-2008
- Bob Stoldal - 1992-1998
- Mike Cavender - 1987-1992
- Mike Cohen - 1982 - 1987
- Dave Goldberg - ____ - ____
- Chris Clark (retired)
- Bill Goodman
 General Managers
- Debbie Turner - 1999 - current
- Lem Lewis - 1994 - 1999
- Tom Ervin - 1979 - 1994
- Harold Crump - 1976 - 1979
- Tom Baker - 1954 - 1976
- ^ "NewsChannel 5 owner looks to sell station". Nashville Business Journal. 2008-01-30. http://www.bizjournals.com/nashville/stories/2008/01/28/daily25.html. Retrieved 2008-02-01.
- ^ "Bonten Buys WTVF-TV Nashville from Landmark". Broadcasting & Cable. 2008-07-14. http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/CA6578295.html?rssid=193. Retrieved 2008-07-14.
- ^ "WTVF Nashville Sale Is Off". Broadcasting & Cable. 2008-10-15. http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/CA6605593.html. Retrieved 2008-10-15.
- ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and Second Rounds" (PDF). FCC.gov. http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-06-1082A2.pdf. Retrieved 2008-07-01.
- ^ "DTV Transition Status Report". FCC.gov. 2008-03-18. http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/ws.exe/prod/cdbs/forms/prod/cdbsmenu.hts?context=25&appn=101238437&formid=387&fac_num=36504. Retrieved 2008-07-01.
- ^ "Low Power DTV Channel Application" (PDF). FCC.gov. http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/ws.exe/prod/cdbs/forms/prod/prefill_and_display.pl?Application_id=1320219&Service=LD&Form_id=346&Facility_id=36504. Retrieved 2009-07-06.
- ^ "Legal Special Temporary Authority". FCC.gov. 2009-07-14. http://licensing.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/ws.exe/prod/cdbs/forms/prod/prefill_and_display.pl?Application_id=1322171&Service=LD&Form_id=911&Facility_id=36504. Retrieved 2010-06-05.
- ^ "Electronic News Gathering project". http://uweb.txstate.edu/~me04/projectx.htm.
- ^ "www.broadcastingcable.com/article/CA6374560.html?display=News&referra". http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/CA6374560.html?display=News&referra.