|Branding||Channel 4 (general)
Channel 4 News (newscasts)
|Slogan||The Local Station|
|Channels||Digital: 42 (UHF)
Virtual: 4 (PSIP)
(Post-Newsweek Stations, Florida, Inc.)
|First air date||September 15, 1949|
|Call letters' meaning||JaXonville (sounds like Jacksonville) Television|
|Former callsigns||WMBR-TV (1949–1958)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
4 (VHF; 1949–2009)
DT2: LATV (2006–2013)
|Transmitter power||976 kW|
WJXT, virtual channel 4 (UHF digital channel 42), is an independent television station located in Jacksonville, Florida, United States. The station is owned by the Post-Newsweek Stations subsidiary of Graham Holdings Company. WJXT maintains studios at 4 Broadcast Place on the southbank of the St. Johns River in Jacksonville, and its transmitter is located in the city's Kilarney Shores section. Syndicated programming seen on the station includes The Dr. Oz Show, Steve Harvey, Everybody Loves Raymond, The King of Queens, CSI: Miami, The Middle, Criminal Minds and The Big Bang Theory.
- 1 History
- 2 Digital television
- 3 News operation
- 4 References
- 5 External links
The station first signed on the air on September 15, 1949 under the callsign WMBR-TV; it was the second television station in Florida and the first station in the state that was licensed outside of Miami. The station was co-ownedby whom? alongside WMBR radio (1400 AM, now WZAZ; and 96.1 FM, now WEJZ). The station was a primary CBS affiliate, but also maintained secondary affiliations with NBC, ABC and DuMont. In 1953, The Washington Post Company purchased the television and radio station cluster. WMBR dropped the DuMont affiliation in 1955, shortly before the network ceased operations. Although its only competition in the Jacksonville market came from UHF station WJHP-TV (which signed on in 1953 and went dark three years later), the station had a virtual television monopoly in northern Florida until 1957, when it lost the NBC affiliation to upstart WFGA (channel 12, now WTLV).
The Washington Post Company sold off WMBR-AM/FM in 1958, while it kept the television station and had its callsign changed to the current WJXT. WJXT remained a primary CBS and secondary ABC affiliate until WJKS-TV (channel 17, now CW affiliate WCWJ) signed on in 1966, taking the ABC affiliation and leaving WJXT exclusively aligned with CBS. For much of its tenure as a CBS affiliate, WJXT was the only station affiliated with the network located between Savannah, Georgia and Orlando, Florida and was thus carried on many cable systems between Jacksonville and Orlando.
In 2001, WJXT was awarded the local broadcast rights to Jacksonville Jaguars preseason football games, replacing WTLV as the official station for the NFL franchise (WTLV had carried preseason games and Jaguars-related programs starting with the team's 1995 inaugural season); the deal also included carriage of the team's coaches show and other Jaguars-related television programs.1 The station had been airing Jaguars games since 1998, when CBS gained national broadcast rights to football games from the NFL's American Football Conference. That year, speculation arose that WJXT would become an independent station after it had only reached a one-year affiliation renewal with the network, instead of a four- to eight-year affiliation agreement that stations usually obtain from the major broadcast networks.2
During negotiations between Post-Newsweek Stations and CBS on a new affiliation agreement in early 2002, CBS supplied Post-Newsweek with a list of demands that would have resulted in WJXT no longer receiving monetary compensation for the carriage of the network's programming (CBS was moving toward a reverse compensation model for its affiliates during this time) and would have required the station to run the entire CBS network schedule in pattern without pre-emptions, except for extended local breaking news and severe weather coverage; station and Post-Newsweek company management believed these stipulations would come at the expense of local programming.34 Rather than give in to CBS's demands, Post-Newsweek Stations announced on April 3, 2002 that it would not to renew channel 4's affiliation agreement with CBS upon its July 10 expiration.345
WTEV-TV (channel 47) – at that time owned by Clear Channel Communications and serving as the market's UPN affiliate – subsequently signed an affiliation agreement with CBS two weeks after the announcement on April 23, 2002 to become the network's new Jacksonville affiliate.6 The affiliation switch became official at 5 a.m. on July 15, 2002, ending WJXT's 53-year association with CBS. The shift made Jacksonville one of the only television markets in the United States with all six major broadcast networks at the time (ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, UPN and The WB) having affiliations with only five stations in a six-station market (which remains the case with UPN and The WB's successors The CW and MyNetworkTV in the present day), the only market in which each affiliate of the Big Four networks are controlled by two companies (Gannett Company currently owns WTLV and ABC affiliate WJXX, channel 25; at the time, Clear Channel owned both Fox affiliate WAWS channel 30 and WTEV, Cox Media Group presently owns the former station outright and operates the latter), and one of the few markets where an analog-era VHF station has no network affiliation while the market's other commercial stations (one VHF and five UHF) do.
As an independent, the station adopted a news-intensive schedule that retained all existing newscasts, while tacking two additional hours onto its weekday morning program and adding an hour-long 10 p.m. newscast seven nights a week. WJXT also began filling daytime, primetime and late night timeslots that were formerly occupied by CBS programs with additional syndicated programming, as well as replacing network sports coverage with SEC college football and basketball telecasts from Jefferson Pilot Sports (now Raycom Sports).7 WJXT retained rights to Jaguars preseason games for one additional year following the switch, despite AFC football games being moved to WTEV due to national broadcast rights held by CBS and a contract stipulation that reserved the team the right to move local broadcasts of preseason games and other Jaguars programs to another station if WJXT changed its network affiliation.89 The team cut ties with WJXT after the 2002 NFL preseason and moved its preseason games to WTEV-TV in 2003.10
Even though it is owned by Post-Newsweek Stations, WJXT (unlike most of its sister stations that follow Post-Newsweek's "Local Mandate" branding standardization) does not brand itself "Local 4", though its current on-air slogan "The Local Station" is close enough under the standardization.
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming11|
|4.1||720p||16:9||WJXT-HD||Main WJXT programming|
WJXT shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 4, at 8:55 a.m. on June 12, 2009 (the official date in which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate) during its broadcast of the weekday morning newscast The Morning Show. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 42.1213 Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analog channel 4.
WJXT anchor/reporter Melanie Lawson reported live from WJXT's Kilarney Shores transmitter site as a veteran station technician pushed the "plate off" button in the building at the base of the transmitter. The WJXT analog signal had been broadcast from that site for over two decades following a failure on the original transmitter tower at the station's studios. The station's digital transmitter also broadcasts from the same site, alongside the digital transmitters of NBC affiliate WTLV and ABC affiliate WJXX. Several monitors at WJXT's southbank studios were reported by on-camera talent to have gone out upon the digital switchover.
WJXT presently broadcasts 47½ hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 8½ hours on weekdays and 3½ hours each on Saturdays and Sundays); in regards to the number of hours devoted to local news programming, it is the third-highest newscast output among Florida's television stations, behind Fox stations WTVT/Tampa and WSVN/Miami (which respectively broadcast 60 and 63 hours of newscasts each week). Because of the ownership structure of the Jacksonville market's Big Four network affiliates, WJXT is the only television station in the market whose news department operates independently of the other local stations (WTLV and WJXX have jointly produced their newscasts since WTLV owner Gannett's 2000 purchase of WJXX and the resulting consolidation of their news departments, and WAWS transferred production duties of its news department to SSA partner WTEV following that station's 2002 affiliation switch to CBS).
The station used the Eyewitness News format for its newscasts for 38 years from 1967 to 2005, when its newscasts were retitled to the current Channel 4 News (from 1997 until the station became independent in 2002, WJXT branded as News Channel 4 for general purposes, while the Eyewitness News title continued in use for its newscasts14). WJXT had been the dominant news station in Jacksonville for almost half a century, in part because many of its personalities have been at the station for ten years or more. Its evening news team of anchors Tom Wills and Deborah Gianoulis, chief meteorologist George Winterling and sports director Sam Kouvaris were together for 22 years from 1981 until Gianoulis' retirement in 2003 – one of the longest-running anchor teams in the nation at the time.15
On January 14, 2009 beginning with its noon newscast, WJXT became the first television station in Jacksonville to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition (unlike most stations that transition their newscasts to HD, certain newscasts were not upgraded until later dates: the 5 and 6 p.m. newscasts would not upgrade to HD until two days later on January 16; the weekend newscasts on January 17 and the weekday morning, and 10 and 11 p.m. newscasts went HD on January 26 and 28, respectively).16 The upgrade saw the introduction of new on-air graphics (opens were designed in-house at Detroit sister station WDIV-TV, while the graphics were designed at Miami sister station WPLG) and news music (commissioning an updated version of the "WJXT News Theme", a customized package that was originally used from 1995 to 1997, and was composed specifically for the station by Gari Media Group), as well as the upgrade to robotic and computer-operated cameras for studio segments within its newscasts, the automation of its control room using the Miranda Vertigo system and Ignite technology.
On April 23, 2009, George Winterling announced he would semi-retire after nearly 47 years as WJXT's chief meteorologist. Winterling remains with the station in a meteorologist emeritus role, seen only during severe and tropical weather coverage and as a fill-in for other meteorologists. On May 20, 2009, Winterling stepped down as meteorologist for the station's 6 and 6:30 p.m. newscasts.17
On May 21, 2012, WJXT and Metro Jacksonville, a news and discussion blog on local urban issues, announced a content partnership. Under the agreement, Metro Jacksonville will format content for WJXT's News4Jax.com website on a self-branded page. The mutually beneficial partnership provides WJXT with more web content and provides Metro Jacksonville with a wider audience.18
- Your Esso Reporter (1949–1954)
- Telenews (1954–1958)
- NewsNight (1958–1963)
- The Six O'Clock News/The Eleven O'Clock News (1963–1967)
- TV-4/Channel 4 Eyewitness News (1967–2005)14
- Channel 4 News (2005–present)19
- "Television 4 Eyewitness News, in SuperColor" (1967–1969)
- "The Eyes of Jacksonville" (early 1970s)
- "WJXT, As Far as the Eye Can See" (mid-1970s, borrowed slogan from WTOG in Tampa Bay)
- "We're the Eyewitnesses!" (late 1970s)
- "Jacksonville's Number One News Team" (early to mid-1980s)
- "We've Got the Touch, You and Channel 4" (1983–1984, localized version of CBS slogan)
- "We'll Take You There" (mid-1980s-1992)
- "Your Good Friends" (late 1980s-early 1990s)
- "First in News Around the Clock" (late 1980s–1990s)
- "TV-4, We'll Take You There" (late 1980s–early 1990s; used in image campaign using Frank Gari's "We'll Take You There")
- "The One and Only Channel 4" (1990s–2005)
- "The Local Station" (2005–present)
Current on-air staff20
- Kumasi Aaron - weekend mornings on The Morning Show; also weekday reporter
- Mary Baer - weeknights at 5, 6 and 10 p.m.
- Bruce Hamilton - weekday mornings on The Morning Show (5-9 a.m.) and weekdays at noon
- Kent Justice - weekends at 6, 10 and 11 p.m.; also weekday reporter
- Nikki Kimbleton - weekday mornings on The Morning Show (7-10 a.m.); also weekday reporter
- Melanie Lawson - weekday mornings on The Morning Show (4:30-9 a.m.)
- Tarik Minor - weekday mornings on The Morning Show (9-10 a.m.); also weekday reporter
- Adrienne Moore - weekends at 6, 10 and 11 p.m.; also weekday reporter
- Staci Spanos - weekday mornings on The Morning Show (6-9 a.m.)
- Rob Sweeting - weeknights at 5:30, 6:30 and 11 p.m.
- Jennifer Waugh - weeknights at 5:30, 6:30 and 11 p.m.
- Tom Wills - weeknights at 5, 6 and 10 p.m.
- The Weather Authority
- George Winterling (AMS Certified Consulting Meteorologist Seal of Approval) - chief meteorologist emeritus, hurricane/severe weather expert and fill-in meteorologist (longtime chief meteorologist from 1962 until semi-retirement in 2009)
- John Gaughan (AMS Seal of Approval) - chief meteorologist; weeknights at 5, 5:30, 6, 6:30, 10 and 11 p.m.
- Rebecca Barry - meteorologist; weekend mornings on The Morning Show and weekends at 6, 10 and 11 p.m.
- Blake Matthews - fill-in meteorologist; also weather producer
- Richard Nunn (AMS Seal of Approval) - meteorologist; weekday mornings on The Morning Show (4:30-10 a.m.) and weekdays at noon
- Sports team
- Sam Kouvaris - sports director; weeknights at 5, 5:30, 6, 6:30, 10 and 11 p.m.
- Michael Kelly - sports anchor; weekends at 6, 10 and 11 p.m., also weeknight sports reporter
- Elizabeth Campbell - fill-in reporter
- Kristen Cosby - fill-in reporter
- Karen Hershey - fill-in reporter
- Scott Johnson - general assignment reporter
- Vic Micolucci - general assignment reporter/mobile journalist
- Ashley Mitchem - general assignment and weekday morning traffic reporter
- Chris Parenteau - general assignment reporter
- Jim Piggott - investigative reporter
- Erica Rakow - general assignment reporter
- Ashley Townsend - fill-in reporter
- Hailey Winslow - general assignment reporter
- Deborah Gianoulis - anchor/reporter (1979–2003; ran for Florida Senate Democratic bid in 2010, now chairwoman of non-profit educational advocacy group Save Duval Schools)21
- Bill Grove - WJXT's first official news anchor (1952–1980)
- Bryan J. Kelly - traffic reporter (now announcer for World Wrestling Entertainment and its developmental territory Florida Championship Wrestling as "Byron Saxton")
- Steve Kroft - investigative reporter (1975–1977; now with CBS News as correspondent for 60 Minutes)
- Randall Pinkston - reporter (1974–1976; now with CBS News)
- Toni Yates - weekend anchor (now at WABC-TV in New York City)
- WJXT TV-4 adds new features in station's official coverage of Jaguars, The Florida Times-Union, August 31, 2001.
- Speculation aside, WJXT plans to stay with CBS, The Florida Times-Union, November 20, 2001.
- CBS dumped by local affiliate, The Florida Times-Union, April 4, 2002.
- TV-4's decision rooted in bottom line, The Florida Times-Union, April 5, 2002.
- WJXT-TV 4 to drop CBS, The Florida Times-Union, April 3, 2002.
- TV-47 to become new CBS affiliate, The Florida Times-Union, April 23, 2002.
- TV-4 lands SEC football, basketball, The Florida Times-Union, April 19, 2002.
- WJXT keeps preseason Jags games, The Florida Times-Union, May 25, 2002.
- Affiliate change means Jags are TV free agents, The Florida Times-Union, April 23, 2002.
- Changing channels; Jaguars to drop TV-4, near deal with TV-47, The Florida Times-Union, March 6, 2003.
- RabbitEars TV Query for WJXT
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24.
- CDBS Print
- WJXT CBS Jacksonville, FL 1998 Open
- Gianoulis drops anchor to chart new course, The Florida Times-Union, June 9, 2003.
- WJXT first station to broadcast local news in HD, The Florida Times-Union, January 14, 2009.
- After nearly 50 years, TV-4's Winterling leaves daily duties, The Florida Times-Union, April 24, 2009.
- MetroJacksonville.com & Channel 4 Partnership Launches, Metro Jacksonville, November 19, 2012.
- WJXT HD Open 2009
- News Team
- Gianoulis counting her gains after losing Senate bid, The Florida Times-Union, November 27, 2010.
- News4Jax.com - WJXT official website
- Jacksonville.ThisTV.com - This TV Jacksonville official website
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WJXT
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WJXT-TV
- The WJXT building is at coordinates