WVLA-TV, virtual channel 33, is the NBC-affiliated television station for Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It transmits its digital signal on UHF channel 34. It is owned by White Knight Broadcasting, but it is controlled by ComCorp. and is sister station to the area's Retro Television Network affiliate, KZUP-CD. WVLA also shares facilities and staff with WGMB-TV and WBRL-CD. WVLA's transmitter is located near Addis, Louisiana. The station is seen via satellite through DirecTV and Dish Network and on cable Cox Communications and AT&T U-verse.
|Baton Rouge, Louisiana|
|Branding||NBC 33 WVLA Baton Rouge(general)
NBC 33 News (news)
|Slogan||NBC 33, More Colorful.
(general) We Tell Your Stories Every Day(news) We Are YOUR Weather Team(weather)
|Channels||Digital: 34 (UHF)Virtual: 33 (PSIP)|
|Subchannels||33.1 NBC-HD33.2 This TV|
|Affiliations||National Broadcasting Company|
|Owner||White Knight Broadcasting
(operated by Communications Corporation of America) (Knight Broadcasting of Baton Rouge License Corporation)
|First air date||October 16, 1971|
|Call letters' meaning||Vetter LouisianA(previous owner)|
|Sister station(s)||KZUP-CD, WGMB-TV, WBRL-CD|
|Former callsigns||WRBT (1971-1987) meaning Romac (and later Rush) Broadcasting Television, previous owners|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:33 (UHF, 1971-2009)|
|Former affiliations||ABC (1971-1977)Fox (secondary, 1990-1991)|
|Transmitter power||1000 kW|
|Transmitter coordinates||30°19′34″N 91°16′36″W|
The station first signed on the air on October 16, 1971 as WRBT, an ABC affiliate. The station was originally founded by Richard O. Rush, Ramon V. Jarrell, and Southern Educators Life Insurance Company who made up Romac Baton Rouge Corporation, and the station temporarily operated from Florida Blvd. before moving to its Essen Lane studios, where it stayed until 2000. Before WRBT began, ABC programming was shared between WBRZ-TV and WAFB, each of which ran some ABC programs along with their own respective NBC and CBS affiliations. The station originally broadcasted from 10:30 AM until midnight on Mondays thru Fridays; 7 AM until midnight on Saturdays; and 9 AM until midnight on Sundays. In March 1976, Rush Broadcasting Corporation, owned by Jules B. LeBlanc and Cyril Vetter, purchased the station. In the late 1970s, ABC became the most-watched network and was seeking out stronger stations in major markets to switch affiliations to, while NBC fell to third and last place in ratings.
With Baton Rouge being one of those markets, WRBT swapped affiliations with WBRZ on September 5, 1977, and became an NBC affiliate. In 1979, Vetter purchased LeBlanc's share of station ownership and owned it outright. It changed its calls to WVLA in 1987 after building a higher tower boosting its power to five million watts. On May 2, 1986, the station was the first local station in Baton Rouge and the second station in Louisiana to broadcast in stereo, after KMSS in Shreveport.
Businessman Cyril Vetter owned this station until 1996, when he sold it to Sheldon Galloway and Lafayette-based White Knight Broadcasting. This move created a partnership, as Galloway's father, Thomas, owned Fox affiliate WGMB. Since then, WGMB, WVLA, WBRL, and KZUP have shared the same studios.
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
|33.1||WVLA-DT||WVLA Main Programming / NBC HD 1080i|
|33.2||WVLA-DT2||This Baton Rouge / This TV 480i|
WVLA-TV shut down analog transmission on June 12, 2009. The station remained on its current pre-transition channel 34. However, through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display WVLA-TV's virtual channel as 33.
Baton Rouge Lagniappe is a Sunday morning public affairs program that airs at 6:30 a.m. and is hosted by Matt Kennedy. It features interviews with Baton Rouge community leaders about local issues and upcoming events. Topics include city development, education, career advice, arts and entertainment, and health and fitness. It also airs on WGMB, KZUP and WBRL.
WVLA used to air a 6 p.m. and a 10 p.m. newscast during the 1980s. In 1987, the 6 p.m. newscast moved to 5 p.m.; however, both newscasts were canceled in 1989, citing poor ratings. It also used to broadcast a one-hour 6 a.m. newscast on weekdays, but it was canceled in January 2005. In the early 1990s, the station had an information hotline service for viewers to call for news updates.
The station's latest generation of newscasts debuted on January 8, 2007, with weeknight shows at 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. The 6 p.m. shows began airing on January 29, 2007. On August 28, 2007, WVLA launched a 30-minute newscast titled NBC 33 News Morning Edition, which airs weekdays at 6 a.m. On August 11, 2008 NBC 33 News Morning Edition began airing for one hour.
WVLA began airing weekend edition newscasts on September 13, 2008. The shows are produced by KETK in Tyler, Texas. This has led to several errors when the show ultimately airs in Baton Rouge, including on November 16, 2008, when an entire newscast from the previous Sunday was shown. On September 22, 2008, WVLA changed the format for its 10 p.m. weekday newscast with the "Ten at 10". It promised all the important local news and a full weather forecast in the first ten minutes.
On April 28, 2009, most of the news staff was let go, including the main anchors, and WVLA NBC 33 announced that the 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. weekday newscasts will originate from sister station KETK in Tyler, Texas. NBC 33 News Morning Edition still originates from Baton Rouge.
WVLA's newscast has struggled since it launched. Numerous technical problems and inexperienced staff plagued its launch. WVLA achieved its highest ratings in March 2009 before most of its news staff was let go. It is consistently rated the worst in Baton Rouge in the Nielsen TV ratings, failing to register a full rating point as of July 2009.
In April 2010, BP Oil's Deepwater Horizon Rig exploded, then sank. Oil began leaking from a well and was threatening coastal Louisiana. WVLA began once again producing local newscasts entitled "Crisis on the Coast", although the sportscast was still anchored from Tyler, Texas, but now the anchor does their own sports news. As of July 5, 2010 WVLA began broadcasting their newscasts in 16:9 standard definition widescreen.
- Channel 33 News (1971-1974)
- Total News (1974-1975)
- TV-33 News (1975-1977)
- NewsCenter 33 (1977-1979)
- 33 News (1979-early 1980s & mid 1980s-1989)
- 33 Metro News (early 1980s)
- Baton Rouge Tonight (10 p.m. newscast; late 1980s-1989)
- Morning Edition (1989-1990s)
- B.R. Sunrise (mid 1990s)
- 33 Today / NBC 33 News Today (morning newscast; late 1990s-2002)
- Morning Baton Rouge (morning newscast; 2002–2005)
- NBC 33 News (2007–2009 and 2010–present)
- Ten at 10 (10 p.m. newscast; 2008–2009)
- A Whole New World of Television (1971, first slogan)
- 33 is NBC (1977, first slogan as an NBC affiliate)
- 33, See Us! (1978-1979; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
- 33, Proud As A Peacock! (1979-1981; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
- 33, Our Pride Is Showing (1981-1982; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
- We're 33, Just Watch Us Now (1982-1983; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
- 33 There, Be There (1983-1984; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
- 33, Let's All Be There (1984-1986; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
- Come Home to 33 (1986-1987; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
- 33, A New Vision (1987-1988, new call letters WVLA)
- Come On Home To 33 (1987-1988; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
- Come Home To The Best, Only on 33! (1988–1990; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
- Now That's Entertainment! (early 1990s)
- WVLA: The Place To Be (1990–1992; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
- Your Friends of the Family (1992)
- Got Everybody Watching WVLA (mid 1990s)
- It's A Whole New 33 (1992-1993; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
- The Stars Are Back on 33 (1993-1994; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
- The New Choice for News (2007)
- We Tell Your Stories Every Day (2010–present)
- We Are YOUR Weather Team (weather slogan; 2010–present)
- NBC 33, More Colorful (2010-present; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
Current on-air staff
- Tammi Arender - Sunday-Thursdays at 5 and 10pm & Monday-Thursdays at 6:30pm
- Andrew Capasso- Fridays at 5, 6:30 and 10 p.m.
- Neeha Curtis - weekday mornings
- Ben Hill - weekends at 5 and 10 p.m.
- Emily Turner- weeknights at 9 p.m. (on WGMB)
Storm Tracker 33 Weather Team
- Jesse Gunkel - Chief Meteorologist; weeknights at 5, 6:30, 9 and 10 p.m.
- Chris Paulson - Meteorologist; weekend evenings
- Jesse Vinturella - Meteorologist; weekday mornings
- Andrew Capasso - general assignment reporter / fill-In anchor
- Jennifer Crockett - general assignment reporter / medical reporter
- David D'Aquin - general assignment reporter / news director
- Brix Fowler - general assignment reporter
- Kelsey Scram - general assignment reporter
- Nicholas Madere - general assignment reporter
- Matt Boudreaux - sports reporter
- NBC-TV Radio Newspulse by Fred Weinberg Productions Inc. (1977-19??)
- Production Music: Prestige: Theme 1 by KPM Music (19??-1984)
- Let's All Be There: NBC Affiliate Package (1984-1987)
- WVLA 1987 News Theme (1987-1992)
- WVLA 1996 News Theme (1996-early 2000s)
- Heath Allen - news reporter, now a reporter for WDSU-TV in New Orleans
- Monique Bienville - morning news reporter, later did community affairs for TCI Cablevision
- Shawn Brooks - news reporter
- Jeanne Burns - morning news reporter, now at WAFB-TV in Baton Rouge
- Isiah Carey - news reporter, now at KRIV in Houston, TX
- Duke Carter - Reporter
- Kiran Chawla - news reporter, now weekend anchor at WAFB-TV in Baton Rouge
- Erin Cofiell - news reporter, now sports reporter at WJAR-TV in Providence, RI
- Hilarie Courtney - news reporter
- Brett Cummins - chief meteorologist, now at KARK-TV in Little Rock, AR
- Larry Davis - morning news reporter
- Robyn Ekings - anchor and managing editor, now at Louisiana Public Broadcasting
- Jon Fairbanks -
- Stone Grissom - news anchor, now at WRNN-TV in Rye Brook, NY
- Melanie Hebert - morning news anchor, now at WDSU-TV in New Orleans
- Jenny Heroman - morning news anchor and reporter, now anchor and producer for EATEL Channel 4 and the "Community Connection" TV show (Ascension Parish and Livingston Parish, LA)
- Leo Honeycutt - currently a biographer
- Dana Kaye - anchor, later went to WBRZ-TV in Baton Rouge and then WTVF-TV in Nashville
- Kianga Kelley - reporter, now operations manager at KGRM-FM in Grambling, LA
- Tony Lightfoot - photographer and news reporter
- Pamela Matassa - now director of communications for the LSU College of Music and Dramatic Arts
- Jack McCracken - evening news reporter
- Chris Mycoskie - sports director, now director of television and electronic media at Southland Conference
- Huel Perkins - now at WJBK-TV in Detroit
- Mike Reeves - now a radio host in Tampa
- Mike Rhodes - morning news anchor, retired
- Nelson Robinson - chief meteorologist, now self employed
- Rachel Slavik - former weekday mornings
- Lauren Unger - reporter/anchor, now at WXMI-TV in Grand Rapids, MI
- Dick Walcott - former sports director
- Valentina Wilson - news anchor, now owns and operates Quote Unquote Media, a marketing and public relations firm.
- Cole Wright - sports director, now at ESPNEWS in Bristol, CT
- NBC 33 website
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WVLA
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WVLA-TV
- ^ Station History
- ^ 1989 Broadcasting Yearbook
- ^ http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-07-138A2.pdf
- ^ CDBS Print
- ^ Baton Rouge Business Report - TV Bloopers and Blunders
- ^ The Dead Pelican - Staff Shake-Up at NBC-TV in Baton Rouge
- ^ Baton Rouge Business Report - WVLA, WGMB eliminating production of local news