|This article needs additional citations for verification. (December 2012)|
|Branding||Local 4 (general)
Local 4 News (newscasts)
|Slogan||Your Breaking News Leader (news)
Worth Tuning In 4 (general and daytime newscast)
Worth Waking Up 4 (morning newscasts)
Worth Staying Up For 4 (11 p.m. newscasts)
|Channels||Digital: 45 (UHF)
Virtual: 4 (PSIP)
(Post-Newsweek Stations, Michigan, Inc.)
|Founded||October 23, 1946|
|First air date||June 3, 19471|
|Call letters' meaning||We're Detroit's IV (4, former analog channel number)2|
|Former callsigns||WWDT (1946–1947)
|Former channel number(s)||Analog: 4 (VHF, 1947–2009)|
|Former affiliations||DuMont (secondary, 1947–1948)|
|Transmitter power||973 kW|
|Height||281 m (digital)|
|Public license information:||Profile
WDIV-TV, channel 4, is an NBC-affiliated television station located in Detroit, Michigan, United States. The station serves as the flagship broadcast property of Post-Newsweek Stations, which is headquartered in the same building that houses WDIV's studio facilities. It is the only major television station in the area whose offices and studios are located in the city of Detroit, while its other television station counterparts are located in Southfield. The station's transmitter is located on Greenfield Road in Southfield.
- 1 History
- 2 Digital television
- 3 Out-of-market coverage
- 4 Programming
- 5 News operation
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
WDIV was the first television station in Michigan and the sixth to sign on in the United States overall, debuting as WWDT on October 23, 1946, for one day of demonstrative programming.3 Regular programming commenced on June 3, 1947. On May 15 of that year, the station changed its call letters to WWJ-TV, after WWJ radio (950 AM) – both stations were owned by the Detroit News. Channel 4 has always been an NBC affiliate, although it aired some programs from the DuMont Television Network prior to WJBK-TV's sign-on in 1948.
Channel 4 had a number of broadcasting firsts in Michigan, including the first telecast of Detroit Tigers, Red Wings and Lions games as well as the state's first televised newscasts. WWJ-TV was the first television station in Michigan to broadcast in color in 1954. The station's studios and transmitter were originally located in the Detroit News building in downtown Detroit. In 1954, the station moved to a new 1,004-foot (306 m) transmitter at the intersection of Greenfield and Lincoln roads in Southfield, Michigan.
Channel 4 began broadcasting newscasts and other locally produced programs in color in 1960 when it purchased new studio cameras.
In 1969, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) began to impose restrictions on the common ownership of print and broadcast media in the same market. The combination of the Detroit News and WWJ-AM-FM-TV was given grandfathered protection from the new regulations. But by the mid-to-late 1970s, the Evening News Association (parent of the Detroit News and the WWJ stations) felt pressure to break up their holdings voluntarily. Perhaps avoiding a FCC-forced divestiture, the Evening News Association and the Washington Post Company (who owned WTOP-AM-TV in Washington, D.C.) reached an agreement to swap their flagship television stations.4 On July 27, 1978, WWJ-TV became WDIV,5 the call letters are derived from "D" for Detroit and "IV" for the Roman numeral four. Additionally, in a series of promotional announcements with news anchor Dwayne X. Riley, the new call letters were said to represent the phrase, "Where Detroit Is Vital". Ultimately, the FCC never imposed any limitations on ownership of television and newspapers in the same market and the exchange of stations between the Evening News Association and the Washington Post Company (which was renamed Graham Holdings Company following the sale of the Washington Post in 2013) became somewhat unique in television broadcasting.
The WWJ-TV call sign was later adopted for use by the former WGPR-TV (channel 62), Detroit's CBS-owned station in 1995; the current WWJ-TV, co-owned with WWJ radio, is a separate entity and not related to WDIV.
In 1982, WDIV moved out of its facility adjacent to the headquarters of the Detroit News and moved one block to a new broadcast facility at its current location, 550 West Lafayette Boulevard. The facility has also housed the headquarters of Post-Newsweek Stations since 1997; the "Local" branding now utilized by most of Post-Newsweek's stations began at the station alongside its acquiring of flagship status in 2000. The station later became available outside the Detroit market when it was selected for inclusion on many Canadian cable systems in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The station's signal has been uplinked on C-band satellite since at least 1988. In 2004, the station bolstered local programming by securing broadcast rights to several Detroit Pistons basketball games (Fox Sports Detroit became the Pistons' sole broadcaster in 2008), as well as returning as the host television station for the North American International Auto Show. The station airs the auto show's charity preview, "America's Thanksgiving Parade" (both in high-definition), The Ford Fireworks, and the charity event "The Hob-Nobble Gobble" which is held the night before the Thanksgiving parade.
On April 15, 2005, former WDIV employee John Owens was shot in the station's lobby by a man with a history of harassing WDIV employees. The man was charged with attempted murder, while Owens remained in the hospital in critical but stable condition. On November 21, 2006, Wayne County Circuit Court Judge James Callahan sentenced the man, Epifanio Rivas, Jr., to 16 to 32 years in prison for the shooting; he was also sentenced to two years for a felony firearm conviction. In December 2008, WDIV began streaming its newscasts online as part of a redesigned of [www.clickondetroit.com the station's website]. On June 21, 2010, the 52nd Annual Target Fireworks were produced and aired entirely in high definition. On August 6, 2010, WDIV-TV and WXYZ-TV became the first stations in Detroit to offer Mobile DTV feeds.
On the evening of April 14, 2011, a suitcase containing a suspected improvised explosive device was left in the WDIV studio lobby after the person who planted the device was denied entry by the station's security guard, prompting the Detroit Police Bomb Squad to evacuate the studio as well as the Doubletree Hotel, across the street. That night's 11 p.m. newscast was broadcast from the corner of Lafayette and Howard streets; the evacuation resulted in master control operations being inaccessible, preventing the broadcast or editing of news stories, and the broadcast of commercials. The station's PSIP virtual channel temporarily reverted to 45.1, with HD content downconverted to 720p. The device was detonated minutes later, with police giving the all-clear at 11:15 p.m. for the news crew to re-enter the studio.6
Upon reentering the studio, anchor Devin Scillian explained that the station has a policy of not immediately reporting bomb threats, in case they turn out to be nothing. However, because staff was barred access into the studio for the 11 p.m. newscast, an explanation as to why they were on the street, broadcasting from the station's mobile truck instead of the studio, needed to be given. The news was first reported by the Twitter and Facebook accounts of WDIV's news staff; WJBK, WXYZ-TV and WMYD reported on the situation while during the lockout, before the WDIV mobile truck could return to the studios from its assignments. A sweater and some empty soda cans were later found in the briefcase, which was left by a homeless man that had followed a WDIV employee in for warmth and coffee, the man was brought to Detroit Receiving Hospital for observation the next day. The Detroit Police and Post-Newsweek's management said that charges would not be laid, as this was "just a big misunderstanding".
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (March 2009)|
WDIV's digital signal on channel 45 is multiplexed into the following subchannel lineup.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|4.1||1080i||16:9||WDIV-HD||Main WDIV programming / NBC|
WDIV's second digital subchannel formally carried programming from NBC Weather Plus, which folded in November 2008. WDIV-TV also has a feed of subchannel 4.1, labelled "Local 4", broadcasting at 1.83 Mbit/s.78
WDIV-TV ended regular programming on its analog signal on June 12, 2009 as part of the transition from analog to digital television,9 although the station participated in the "Analog Nightlight" program until its analog signal was shut down permanently on June 26, 2009. WDIV's digital signal continued to broadcast on its pre-transition UHF channel 45.10 However, through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display WDIV-TV's virtual channel as 4.
WDIV's over-the-air signal can be picked up as far away as Flint, Lapeer, Adrian, Toledo, and even London, Ontario. WDIV is also one of only three stations that mention Windsor and London as among their primary viewing areas, alongside WMYD and WJBK.
WDIV is carried on most cable systems in Southeast Michigan, Southwestern Ontario and Northwestern Ohio. It is also carried on several other Canadian cable providers including Rogers Cable in the city of Ottawa, Ontario well away from its broadcast area. It is also one of five local Detroit television stations seen in Canada on satellite provider Shaw Direct and was the original affiliate offered by CANCOM (now Shaw Broadcast Services) starting in September 1983. WDIV is also seen on some cable systems in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in communities such as Seney, Republic and Grand Marais.
CANCOM's carriage of WDIV stretches outside of Canada with cable carriage in places as varied as far northern New York state (Hammond and Alexandria Bay, New York), all of Bermuda, parts of Latin America and, for a time in the early 1990s, some parts of Ireland (with a delay).11 In addition, WDIV is carried on some cable systems in Mexico, via Shaw Broadcast Services, such the Cablemas system in Ciudad Juárez, which offers WDIV instead of fellow NBC affiliate KTSM-TV in nearby El Paso, Texas. From 1985 to ca. 1998, it was the NBC affiliate being offered through Cable Atlantic (now Rogers Cable) in Newfoundland and Labrador, including in St. John's, before the provider switched to the network's Boston affiliate WHDH.
Though not in its own market, WDIV (plus WJBK and WXYZ) have seen their share of controversy from afar via their carriage to much of Canada (and fringe parts of North America) via CANCOM. The presence of Detroit stations on Canadian cable systems was cited in some areas (namely the Prairie Provinces) for an uptick in crime rates in the years after their introduction due to the heavy reporting of crime stories on their newscasts. The most extreme of these cases was when community activists in Winnipeg, Manitoba allegedly cited WDIV's newscasts as the potential ignitor of the city's first drive-by shootings.citation needed Though totally coincidental, viewers in the Ottawa area decried WDIV's replacement of Rochester, New York's WHEC when Rogers Cable switched that system's U.S. affiliates in the area from a combination of Rochester and Buffalo stations to only Detroit stations in 2003.citation needed
Syndicated programs carried on WDIV-TV include Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy!, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Jeff Probst Show, The Ricki Lake Show and Inside Edition. Michigan Lottery drawings are held every night on WDIV before Jeopardy! airs at 7:30 p.m. EST, and following Wheel of Fortune.citation needed
In the 1970s and 1980s, WDIV preempted one to two hours of NBC's daytime programming every day. The station also refused to air Late Night with David Letterman and its successor, Late Night with Conan O'Brien at 12:35 a.m. for many years. Instead, the station opted to rebroadcast Jenny Jones, which lasted until 1999. WDIV currently airs the entire NBC network schedule, though while Late Night now airs at its usual time of 12:35 a.m., Last Call with Carson Daly is delayed from 1:35 a.m. to 2:35 a.m. by infomercials. WDIV has also delayed the fourth hour of The Today Show (which nationally airs at 10:00 a.m.) since its debut, airing it at 11:00 a.m. until August 2013 due to 10:00 a.m. airings of The Ellen DeGeneres Show & The Ricki Lake Show. Starting in August 2013, the fourth hour has ran at 2:00 p.m. due to WDIV's new local talk show Live In The D. The station does not carry NBC's late night rerun of the fourth hour of Today along with Mad Money, preferring to carry an encore of the 11 p.m. newscast, infomercials and syndicated programming. Conversely the station, along with all other Post-Newsweek stations, has refused to air all of NBC's televised poker programming, including Poker After Dark, the National Heads-Up Poker Championship and Face the Ace.
From 1999 to 2002, WDIV did not clear the soap opera Passions at 2:00 p.m. Instead, it was tape-delayed to air on cross-town WADL at noon, while WDIV aired daytime talk shows at 2:00 p.m. Houston sister station KPRC-TV did the same thing until August 30, 2004 when it became the last NBC station to carry Passions at 2:00 p.m. These two stations were the only NBC affiliate holdouts to the show. The issue was rendered moot when NBC cancelled Passions in 2007.
NBC programming is still occasionally pre-empted for special events, including coverage of the North American International Auto Show, the annual Target Fireworks on the Detroit International Riverfront, and America's Thanksgiving Parade (whose coverage incidentally, pre-empts the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade broadcast on the station).citation needed
WDIV was the launching pad for several locally produced shows that went national. The station broadcast the Dr. Sonya Freidman talk show Sonya live at 4 p.m. It was so popular that the station, under the banner of Post-Newsweek Stations, syndicated it on a delayed basis to USA Network (which is now co-owned with NBC under NBCUniversal). WDIV also produced the afternoon variety show The Tony Orlando Show at 4 p.m. However, the station's management cancelled the program after one year to run the syndicated daytime talk show Jenny Jones.
Another shot for WDIV came when the station signed WOMC morning man Dick Purtan to do live segments during a 4–5 p.m. comedy block called Purtan's People. It was followed by WOMC's Tom Ryan with a monthly special that showed B-movies with comedy skits. This was during the heyday of NBC's late-night success SCTV and Joe Flaherty's Count Floyd. Ryan's character was known as Count Scary. Eventually, Count Scary was dropped by WDIV and moved on to WKBD-TV's Shocktoberfest. One local program idea that almost cost the station was for a Detroit-based comedy-drama called Hamtramck, which aired only once. It created a storm of controversy with the Hamtramck community. The program's executive producer, Alan Frank, apologized to the community.
Meteorologist Chuck Gaidica hosted the Michigan Lottery's game shows and his own show. Sports director Bernie Smilovitz also hosted a couple of shows, including The Chuck and Bernie Show, which featured then Detroit Pistons coach Chuck Daly, and The Sparky and Bernie Show, which featured Detroit Tigers manager Sparky Anderson. Smilovitz also hosted Bernie's Bloopers/Weekend At Bernies specials.
WDIV-TV presently broadcasts 36.5 hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with six hours on weekdays, three hours on Saturdays and 3.5 hours on Sundays). The station uses a Eurocopter A350 helicopter for newsgathering, which is also shared with WJBK and WXYZ-TV through a Local News Service agreement with those stations' respective owners Fox Television Stations and the E. W. Scripps Company. This helicopter features a completely digital HD video package and is quite noticeable from the ground with its large front camera pod and distinctive red paint (hence the callsign "Red Bird"). WDIV also purchases services from Metro Traffic which provides traffic reporting from its analog SD video platform, aloft on a Bell 206 airframe. This helicopter is blue and white with a smaller camera pod. Both helicopters are operated by HeliInc, which provides aircraft services to broadcasters in many markets.
WDIV's news department operates a fleet of 14 newsgathering vehicles, including 11 standard news ENG (electronic news gathering) Ford E350 vans with two-band digital microwave transmitters and video editing platforms. One of these trucks is a dual-purpose microwave truck and digital satellite uplink package. The station has one micro-ENG E150 van capable of rapid deployment short-range broadcasts and one additional satellite uplink vehicle with a much larger 1.8 meter antenna.
News operations point their microwave trucks at three receive sites in southeastern Michigan. One is located at their transmitter site in Southfield, one in downtown Detroit and the other in the city of Ann Arbor. With the satellite uplink capabilities and the diverse receive sites, the station can easily cover any news event within the viewing area. The station is continually experimenting with new technology and its application to news gathering. It has invested heavily in video streaming products from various vendors such as Stream Box. The station has used streaming video in areas without internet access with Inmarsat BGAN services.
On January 8, 2007, the station added a half-hour late afternoon newscast at 4 p.m. In the spring of 2007, WDIV received an RTNDA Edward R. Murrow Award, one of the highest honors in broadcast journalism. "The China Syndrome", reported and produced by Devin Scillian, was named Best Documentary. On August 19, 2007, starting with the 11 p.m. newscast, WDIV became the second television station in Detroit to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition.
In recent years, WDIV news has become what may be termed sensationalistic, featuring reports by the Rescue 4 Undercover team.citation needed These reports often deal with sexual topics or issues of personal safety (Is Your Favorite Movie Theater Safe?), but scored high ratings and viewer comments for their breaking news coverage of the Tara Grant disappearance that became a murder case with the arrest of her husband, Stephen.
- WWJ-TV News (1947–1966)
- Channel 4 News (1966–1969)
- News 4 (1969–2000)
- News 4 Plus Four (1977–1978)
- News 4 Detroit (1978–1987, for all newscasts; 1987-1990, for all newscasts except the 11 p.m. broadcast)
- Nightbeat (1987–2000; 11 p.m. newscast)
- Newsbeat (1990–2000; used along with News 4)
- Local First News (2000–2004)
- Local 4 News (2005–present)
- "We're 4 Detroit" (1978–1979)
- "Go 4 It!" / "Go For It!" (1979–1988 and 1994–2000)
- "Where Local News Comes First" (1997–2004; also former slogan of sister station KPRC-TV in Houston)
- "Everywhere, Every Way, Every Day" (2004–2006)
- "The Power of 4" (2006–2008)
- "The Big Events Station" (2006–present; used for local events)
- "Your Breaking News Leader" (2008–present; primary news slogan)
- "Worth Tuning In 4" (2008–present; general slogan)
- "Worth Staying Up 4"/"Worth Waking Up 4" (2008–present; used for newscast promos for its 11 p.m. and morning newscasts)
- "Your Weather Leader" (2008–present; weather slogan)
WDIV-TV's primary news anchors include Sandra Ali (weekends at 6 and 11 p.m.; also weeknight reporter and fill-in anchor); Karen Drew (weekdays at noon; also investigative reporter and fill-in anchor); Steve Garagiola (weekends at 6 and 11 p.m.; fill-in anchor); Guy Gordon (weekday mornings on Local 4 News Morning from 4:30-7 a.m. and weekdays at noon); Carmen Harlan (weeknights at 5, 6 and 11 p.m.); Lauren Sanders (weekend mornings on Local 4 News Morning); Devin Scillian (weeknights at 5, 5:30, 6 and 11 p.m.); Ruth Spencer (weekdays at 4 and weeknights at 5:30 p.m.; also consumer reporter); and Rhonda Walker (weekday mornings on Local 4 News Morning from 4:30-7 a.m. and weekdays at noon).12
The Local4Casters weather team includes director of meteorology Chuck Gaidica (NWA Seal of Approval; weekdays at 4 and weeknights at 5, 5:30, 6 and 11 p.m.); and meteorologists Andrew Humphrey (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval; weekday mornings on Local 4 News Morning from 4:30-7 a.m. and weekdays at noon), Brandon Roux (AMS and NWA Seals of Approval; weekend mornings on Local 4 News Morning, and weekends at 6 and 11 p.m.; also weekday fill-in meteorologist) and Paul Gross (AMS Certified Consulting Meteorologist and Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seals of Approval; fill-in meteorologist, also weather executive producer).12
The sports team includes sports director Bernie Smilovitz (weeknights at 5, 5:30, 6 and 11 p.m.), sports anchor Jamie Edmonds (weekends at 6 and 11 p.m.; also host of Sports Final Edition) and ClickOnDetroit.com sports columnist Rob Parker (also seen on Sports Final Edition; and fill-in sports anchor).12
The station's general assignment reporters are Chauncy Glover; Will Jones; Shawn Ley; Mara MacDonald (weeknight reporter); Sean Mehan ("Morning Cam" video journalist; seen weekday mornings); Bisi Onile-Ere; Tim Pamplin ("Night Cam" video journalist); Paula Tutman (weekday morning reporter); Roger Weber; and Hank Winchester (also fill-in anchor). Specialty reporters are Jon Jordan (fashion reporter), Dr. Frank McGeorge (medical contributor) and Rod Meloni (business reporter). Traffic reporters are Mike Lindeman ("Sky 4" reporter; weekday mornings on Local 4 News Morning from 4:30-7 a.m.), Ashlee Baracy (weekday mornings from 4:30-7 a.m.) and Lauren Podell (weekdays at 4, and weeknights at 5, 5:30 and 6 p.m.). Reporters for the Local 4 Defenders investigative unit are Kevin Dietz, Karen Drew ("Neighborhood Crime Tracker") and Hank Winchester (investigative reporter). Hosts for the local program Local 4 Buzz are Beth McLeod and Michael Ann Wolff.12
- Asha Blake - weekend anchor/health reporter (1993–1996, went to NBC News & was at KWGN-TV in Denver and KTLA in Los Angeles, now with WFAA Dallas)
- Jim Brandstatter - sports producer and reporter (1970s)13
- Doug Bruckner - reporter (now at Extra)
- Vince DeMentri - reporter (1993–1994, most recently at WPIX in New York City)
- Derricke Dennis - 11 p.m. reporter (2002-2008, now correspondent at WCBS-TV in New York City)
- Mort Crim - news anchor/radio reporter (1978–1997, now runs Mort Crim Communications and at Majic Windows)
- Carol Duvall - 1960s-1970s TV personality and noon anchor (left for HGTV, now retired)
- Sonny Eliot - weathercaster (1949-1981; at WJBK 1981-1982, moved to WWJ-AM,14 retired in 2011 after 63 years in broadcasting, died November 16, 2012)
- Shon Gables - morning anchor (2000–2003, left WCBS-TV in New York City in April 2006; now with WFAA-TV in Dallas/Fort Worth)
- Bob Giles - First Detroit TV news producer (1962-1980; later at WXYZ-TV, Inducted into Michigan Journasim Hall of Fame 2011, now retired)
- Chris Hansen - investigative reporter/anchor (1988–1993, now at NBC News)15
- Fran Harris - TV host & news personality (1950-1960s)
- Fred Hickman - sports anchor (1984–1985, also worked at CNN and ESPN)
- Doug Hill - meteorologist (1980–1982, now at WJLA-TV in Washington, D.C.)
- Jim Kiertzner - reporter (2007-2012, now at WXYZ-TV)16
- Dave Kelley - news director (1970s)
- Davey Marlin-Jones - film critic (1978–1987, also worked at WUSA-TV in Washington, D.C.)
- Dean Miller - news anchor (1970s)
- Fred McLeod - weekend sports anchor/host of "Sports Final Edition" on Sunday nights (1989–2006; currently the TV play-by-play voice of the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers)
- Marc Santia - investigative reporter (1998-2012, now at WNBC in New York City)1718
- Anne Thompson - reporter (1986–97; now at NBC News as correspondent for NBC Nightly News)
- Reynolds Wolf - meteorologist (1999–2002, joined CNN; currently on The Weather Channel)
- Van Earl Wright - sports anchor (1993–1996, was lead announcer of NBC's American Gladiators)
- WDIV Makes Television History! Travel Back In Time With Local 4 Firsts! - Inside WDIV News Story - WDIV Detroit
- Call Letter Origins: The List
- WDIV Makes Television History! Travel Back In Time With Local 4 Firsts! (2004). Clickondetroit.com
- "Two more crossowners go thataway." Broadcasting, December 12, 1977, pp. 19-21. 
- "WDIV advertisement." Broadcasting, July 17, 1978, pp. 19-21
- Mobile DTV Signal Map from the National Association of Broadcasters
- List of Digital Full-Power Stations
- CDBS Print
- Matt Lauer, on NBC's The Today Show (May 2, 2007)
- News Team
- "Jim Brandstatter Biography". Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
- Kiska, Tim. From Soupy to Nuts: A History of Detroit Television. 2005. Momentum Books. ISBN#18790-94703
- "Chris Hansen Biography". NBC News. 11 July 2012. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
- "kiertzner4 is becoming kiertzner7 and will be on the air on 7 Action News in 9 days! Will any Detroit scandal still be going on?", posted on Twitter, October 2, 2012.
- WDIV's Homegrown Star Leaving For WNBC in New York | Deadline Detroit, published on June 20, 2012.
- Local 4 Defender Marc Santia leaving Detroit, heading to New York - from ClickOnDetroit.com, published June 29, 2012.
- ClickOnDetroit.com - Official WDIV-TV website
- Detroit.ThisTV.com - Official This TV Detroit website
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WDIV
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WDIV-TV