WDSU logo.jpgMeTV neworleans.png
New Orleans, Louisiana
Branding WDSU (general)
WDSU News (newscasts)
Slogan On Your Side
Channels Digital: 43 (UHF)
Virtual: 6 (PSIP)
Subchannels (see article)
Affiliations NBC
Owner Hearst Television
(New Orleans Hearst Television, Inc.)
First air date December 18, 1948
Call letters' meaning DeSoto Hotel
(station's former location)
Joseph Uhalt
(founder of WDSU radio)
Former channel number(s) Analog:
6 (VHF, 1948-2009)
Former affiliations DuMont (secondary, 1948–1955)
CBS (secondary, 1948–1957)
ABC (secondary, 1948–1957)
Transmitter power 1000 kW
Height 230 m
Facility ID 71357
Transmitter coordinates 29°57′0.1″N 89°57′27.6″W / 29.950028°N 89.957667°W / 29.950028; -89.957667
Website www.wdsu.com

WDSU, virtual channel 6, is the NBC-affiliated television station for the New Orleans, Louisiana television market. It is owned by Hearst Television, which in turn is wholly owned by the Hearst Corporation. It broadcasts on UHF digital channel 43. Its transmitter is located in Chalmette, Louisiana; while its studios are located in downtown New Orleans.

The station's current tagline is "6 On Your Side." On cable, WDSU is carried on Cox Communications channel 7 in standard definition and digital channel 1007 in high definition in the New Orleans market.


Digital television

WDSU-DT broadcasts on digital channel 43.

Digital channels

This station's digital signal is multiplexed:

Video Aspect Programming
6.1 1080i 16:9 Main WDSU programming / NBC HD
6.2 480i 4:3 6 eXact Weather
(To be replaced by Me-TV)[1]

Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display WDSU's virtual channel as "6".

WDSU broadcasts "6 WDSU eXact Weather: News & Traffic" on channel 6.2, with weather shots provided by AccuWeather.com's national feed. Channel 6.2 can be seen on digital cable channel 108 for Cox Communications customers in the New Orleans viewing area, on channel 115 for Charter Communications customers on the Northshore, and on channel 136 for Charter Communications customers on the Southshore.

Digital retransmission disputes

In October 2006, a dispute between WDSU's owner, Hearst-Argyle, and Cox Communications caused WDSU's HDTV signal to be pulled from New Orleans area cable TV systems.[2] As a result, no high-definition television content was available from WDSU via any medium (over the air, cable, or satellite), forcing New Orleans viewers looking for high-definition NBC programming to attempt to pull in a signal from Baton Rouge affiliate WVLA. In April 2007, WDSU-DT was added to DirecTV's lineup, after which local cable carriers one-by-one began to add it also.

On September 27, 2007, Cox Communications and Hearst-Argyle announced an agreement to restore WDSU-DT to Cox's New Orleans area cable systems [2]; WDSU-DT and WDSU's WeatherPlus channel were added to Cox's channel lineup the next day.[3]


WDSU-TV signed on the air on Saturday, December 18, 1948 as the first television station in Louisiana. It was owned by New Orleans businessman Edgar B. Stern, Jr. along with WDSU radio (1280 AM, now WODT; and 93.3 FM, now WQUE-FM).

The station initially carried programming from NBC, CBS, ABC and DuMont. Even after WJMR-TV on channel 61 (now Fox affiliate WVUE on channel 8) signed on in 1953 as a primary CBS and secondary ABC affiliate, WDSU continued to "cherry-pick" a few of the higher-rated CBS and ABC programs until 1957, when WWL-TV signed on as a full-time CBS affiliate. At that time, WJMR took the ABC affiliation full-time, leaving WDSU as an exclusive NBC affiliate. It lost DuMont when that network ceased operations in 1956.

The radio station was originally located at the DeSoto Hotel (now Le Pavillon Hotel) on Baronne St. WDSU-TV began operations in the Hibernia Bank Building, at that time the tallest building in New Orleans. It moved into the historic Brulatour Mansion on Royal Street in the French Quarter in April 1950. At that point, Stern reorganized his broadcast holdings as the Royal Street Corporation. The transmitter site remained at the Hibernia Bank Building until 1955 when the new transmitter facilities were completed in Chalmette, LA, where the tower remains today.

In the 1950s WDSU-TV became the springboard for the career of Dick Van Dyke, first as a single comedian and later as emcee of a comedy program.[3]

WDSU was the ratings leader in New Orleans for over a quarter century, largely because of its strong commitment to local coverage. It originated the first live broadcasts of the Sugar Bowl and Mardi Gras, and was the first area station to have extensive local coverage of a hurricane.

Royal Street merged with Cosmos Broadcasting of Columbia, South Carolina in 1972. Cosmos had to sell off the radio stations because it was over the Federal Communications Commission's ownership limit of the time. Cosmos eliminated much of the local flavor that had been the station's hallmark, opting to concentrate on its already strong news operation (it had been saluted by Time as a news pioneer in 1966). By the early 1980s, rival WWL-TV had overtaken WDSU as the ratings leader. WDSU has been a solid runner-up to WWL for most of the last quarter-century, though in recent years it has had to fend off a strong challenge from a resurgent WVUE.

Today, WDSU generally clears NBC's entire lineup; however, in the early 1980s, the station underwent local controversy when it preempted Late Night with David Letterman in favor of Thicke of the Night and the short-lived NBC News Overnight in favor of old movies.[4] When Letterman returned, the station underwent another controversy when it aired the show later than most NBC stations, in favor of reruns of The Love Boat.

WDSU building on Howard Avenue

Cosmos sold WDSU to Pulitzer in 1989. Pulitzer sold its entire television division, including WDSU, to Hearst-Argyle Television (predecessor to the present-day Hearst Television) in 1999. The station moved into a new facility on Howard Avenue and Baronne Street in March 1996.

WDSU became the first station in the market to provide color telecasts in 1955, and the first New Orleans station with its own doppler weather radar in the 1990s (Super Doppler 6000).

On November 11, 2006, after a remarkable 51 years in New Orleans broadcast television—nearly all of them with WDSU—anchor and former news director Alec Gifford officially announced his retirement. His retirement became effective in December 2006.[5] WDSU looked back on six decades of broadcasting on December 18, 2008.[6]

The station contracts with Citadel Broadcasting's(Now Part of Cumulus Media as of September16Th,2011)New Orleans FM cluster (KKND, KMEZ, WRKN & WMTI) to provide additional channels of audio simulcasting during hurricane coverage.

WDSU also airs any ESPN Monday Night Football games the New Orleans Saints play and have added analysis from former Saints coach Jim E. Mora.

Hurricane Katrina

WDSU's New Orleans studios ceased operations around 9:30pm Sunday, August 28, 2005, allowing staff at the station to take shelter. At that point, WDSU broadcasts began originating from sister Hearst-Argyle station WAPT-TV, the ABC affiliate in Jackson, Mississippi, to which some WDSU on-air staff had already evacuated. Sister station WESH, the NBC affiliate in Orlando, Florida, also originated some on-air weather content. In the immediate weeks following the hurricane, WDSU's news content originated from WAPT with a hybrid team of WAPT and WDSU meteorologists and anchors, with programs simulcast in Jackson and New Orleans.

WDSU's analog and digital transmitters were both destroyed in the hurricane.[7] WDSU arranged to transmit via Ion Television affiliate WPXL channel 49 through the end of December 2005; reduced-power service was restored on channel 6 in October 2005.[4] WDSU replaced its transmitter building with an elevated and rugged hurricane resistant building to house its analog and digital transmitters. Construction of this building was completed in early February 2008.[5][6] On August 1, 2007 WDSU's digital signal was restored, temporarily sharing a frequency with WHNO's digital channel 21. In late February 2008 its analog signal was restored to full power and their digital signal on channel 6.1 was restored on March 6, 2008.

Hurricane Gustav

In 2008, WDSU broadcast nonstop coverage of the approach, landfall and aftermath of Hurricane Gustav for five consecutive days. The storm prompted a massive evacuation of much of the station's viewing area. On September 1, 2008 WDSU's coverage of Hurricane Gustav aired nationally on DirecTV channel 361. Coverage was also available on the station's website, and its audio was carried by the Citadel group of radio stations in New Orleans. C-SPAN 2, and ABC affiliate WBRZ (channel 2) in Baton Rouge made portions of live coverage available as well.

WDSU tapped the resources of its parent company, Hearst-Argyle Television, and brought in personnel from across the country to assist in various capacities. Some WDSU news team members were relocated to support studios in Baton Rouge and Orlando and provided reports via satellite. All three locations stayed operational throughout the storm. One of WDSU's sister stations, ABC affiliate KOCO-TV (channel 5) in Oklahoma City, also provided coverage of Hurricane Gustav via its second digital subchannel for evacuees who came to Oklahoma City.

News operation

Currently, WDSU broadcasts a total of 32.5 hours of local newscasts each week (with five hours on weekdays, three hours on Saturday and four and a half hours on Sunday). On December 14, 2008, the Sun Herald, a local newspaper on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, partnered with WDSU-TV to give more news and weather coverage for South Mississippi.

On September 14, 2009, WDSU dropped its noon newscast in favor of a new hour-long 4 p.m. newscast, making it the only TV station in the New Orleans market to offer a newscast at that timeslot.[8]

On July 10, 2010, WDSU started broadcasting local news in 16:9 widescreen standard definition along with updated graphics. On August 16, 2010, WDSU expanded its weekday morning newscast to 2½ hours, by adding a 4:30 a.m. newscast entitled "WDSU News First Edition".[9]


In July 2011, WDSU claimed ratings wins in key demographics at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. -- the first time in a quarter-century that a station other than WWL-TV placed first among viewers most sought by advertisers.[10] Newscasts in less competitive time periods of 4:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. also scored wins in key demographic categories, as well as household ratings.

News/station presentation

Newscast titles

  • Your Esso Reporter (1948–1956)
  • WDSU-TV News (1956–1962)
  • The Six O'Clock Report/The Eleventh Hour Report (1962–1966)
  • Channel 6 News (1966–1974)
  • Newswatch 6 (1974–1982)
  • NewsCenter 6 (1982–1987)
  • 6 News (1987–1994)
  • Channel 6 News (1994–2000)
  • NewsChannel 6 (2000–2006)
  • WDSU NewsChannel 6 (2006–2009)
  • WDSU News (2009–present)

Station slogans

  • Comin' on TV-6 (1980–1987)
  • Channel 6, Our Pride Is Showing (1981–1982; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • We're Channel 6, Just Watch Us Now (1982–1983; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • Channel 6 There, Be There (1983–1984; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • Channel 6, Let's All Be There (1984–1986; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • You're What Makes New Orleans Great! (1985–1987; used during period station used Frank Gari's "Turn to News")
  • Come Home to Channel 6 (1986–1987; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • Come on Home to Channel 6 (1987–1988; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • Come Home To The Best, Only On Channel 6 (1988–1990; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • Your 24-Hour News Source (1990–1994)
  • WDSU, The Place To Be! (1990–1992; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • It's A Whole New Channel 6 (1992–1993; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • The Stars Are Back on Channel 6 (1993–1994; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • We're Building WDSU Around You (1994–2004)
  • Local. Live. Latebreaking. (2004–2006)
  • On Your Side (2006–present; reporters also often use "We're on Your Side" as tags at the end of reports just before identifying the newscast title)
Television.svg This film, television or video-related list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it with reliably sourced additions.

News staff

Current on-air staff


  • LaTonya Norton - weekend mornings "WDSU News This Morning"; also weekday reporter
  • Norman Robinson - weeknights at 6 and 10 p.m.
  • Randi Rousseau - weekday mornings "WDSU News This Morning" (4:30-7 a.m.); also reporter
  • Scott Walker - weekdays at 4, 5, and 10 p.m.; also reporter
  • Camille Whitworth - weeknights at 4, 5, and 6 p.m.; also reporter
  • Rachel Wulff - weekends at 5 and 10 p.m.; also weekday reporter

WDSU Exact Weather

  • Margaret Orr (NWA member; AMS member) - chief meteorologist; weekdays at 4, weeknights at 5, 6 and 10 p.m.
  • Damon Singleton - meteorologist; weekend mornings "WDSU News This Morning"
  • Patrick Crawford (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval) - meteorologist; weekends at 5 and 10 p.m.
  • Jay Galle (American Meteorological Society Seal of Approval) - meteorologist; weekday mornings "WDSU News This Morning" (4:30-7 a.m.)

Sports team

  • Fletcher Mackel - sports director; weeknights at 6 and 10 p.m.
  • Chris Miles - sports anchor; weekends at 5 and 10 p.m.


  • Heath Allen - Northshore Bureau Chief/general assignment reporter (married to former WWL-TV/WVUE-TV reporter Janet Gross)
  • Tiffaney Bradley - general assignment reporter
  • Rosa Flores - general assignment reporter
  • Dr. Corey Hebert - medical editor ("On Call")
  • Lisamarie Luminais - weekday morning traffic reporter
  • Travers Mackel - investigative reporter; twin brother of Fletcher Mackel
  • Howard Robertson - crime and safety specialist
  • Gina Swanson - general assignment reporter

Hearst Television Washington Bureau

  • Sally Kidd - Washington bureau reporter
  • Nikole Killion - Washington bureau reporter
  • Laurie Kinney - Washington bureau reporter

Notable former on-air staff

  • Bernard "Buddy" Diliberto - sportscaster (1981–1990; later worked for WWL Radio; deceased)
  • Bill Monroe - first News Director; later Meet the Press moderator; deceased
  • Helena Moreno - weekday mornings and consumer reporter (2000–2008; defeated in Democratic primary race for Congress, but later won state representative of District 93)
  • Nash Roberts - meteorologist (1948–1973; later at WVUE and WWL-TV; deceased)
  • Susan E. Roberts - anchor/reporter (now at WPRI)
  • Susan Roesgen - anchor/reporter (2000–2001)
  • Dick Van Dyke
  • Charles Zewe - anchor/reporter (1976-1987; previously with WWL-TV; formerly at CNN; now Vice President of Communications for the Louisiana State University System)


  1. ^ Where to Watch Me-TV: WDSU
  2. ^ Bachman, Katy. H-A Pulls Six HD Signals Off Cox Systems MediaWeek. Posted 02 October, 2006
  3. ^ New Orleans TV: The Golden Age, documentary produced by WYES-TV New Orleans Channel 12, broadcast 2009 July 18; see the documentary's web site at WYES. See also WDSU Serves New Orleans Since 1948 and Dave Walker, That old-time TV: New book celebrates 60 years of local stars.
  4. ^ The Times-Picayune, Focus Forum, September 25, 1983
  5. ^ Walker, Dave. On The Air The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, Louisiana. Printed 11 November 2006.
  6. ^ WDSU-TV Celebrates 60th Anniversary WDSU.com
  7. ^ Hearst-Argyle Television Announces Results for the Third Quarter and Nine Months Investor Calendar. 27 October 2005.
  8. ^ WDSU Announces Fall Lineup, Launch Of 4 P.M. Newscast WDSU.com
  9. ^ [1]
  10. ^ http://www.wdsu.com/news/28982101/detail.html

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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