Atlanta, Georgia
Branding Fox 5 Atlanta (general)
Fox 5 Atlanta News (newscasts)
Slogan Dedicated, Determined, Dependable; The Most Powerful Name in Local News (news)
So Fox 5 (general)
Channels Digital: 27 (UHF)
Virtual: 5 (PSIP)
Affiliations Fox
Owner Fox Television Stations, Inc.
(New World Communications of Atlanta, Inc.)
First air date March 8, 1949
Call letters' meaning W Atlanta, GeorgiA
Former callsigns WAGA-TV (1949-1998)
WAGA (1998-2009)
Former channel number(s) Analog:
Channel 5 (1949-2009)
Former affiliations Primary:
CBS (1949-1994)
Fox Kids (1994-2002)
Fox Box (2002-2005)
4Kids TV (2005-2008)
ABC (1949-1951)
DuMont (1949-1955)
Transmitter power 1000 kW (digital)
Height 332 m (digital)
Facility ID 70689
Transmitter coordinates 33°47′51″N 84°20′1.6″W / 33.7975°N 84.333778°W / 33.7975; -84.333778 (WAGA)
Website www.myfoxatlanta.com/

WAGA-TV, virtual channel 5.1 (RF digital channel 27) is an owned-and-operated television station of the News Corporation-owned Fox Television Network and based in Atlanta, Georgia, United States. Due to the cable network Atlanta Interfaith Broadcasters on the actual channel 5, the station is placed on cable channel 4 instead.



As a CBS affiliate

WAGA-TV first began operations on March 8, 1949. It was originally owned by Storer Broadcasting along with WAGA radio (AM 590, now WDWD; and FM 102.9, now WVEE at 103.3), all colloquially called "Wagga". It is Atlanta's second-oldest station, signing on seven months after WSB-TV (channel 2). Originally a CBS affiliate, channel 5 also carried a secondary affiliation with the DuMont Television Network from 1949 to 1956. It also shared the ABC affiliation with WSB-TV until WLWA-TV (channel 11, now WXIA-TV) signed on in 1951. During the late 1950s, the station was also briefly affiliated with the NTA Film Network.[1]

WAGA was the only VHF commercial station in Atlanta still on its original analog channel, with WSB and WXIA both having started on channel 8. That allocation was later occupied by WGTV, with the mentioned stations using channels 2 and 11 respectively later on. Storer sold the WAGA radio stations in 1959; however, channel 5 retained the "-TV" suffix for almost four decades longer until Fox dropped it in 1998 (only to regain the suffix in 2009).

WAGA studios

WAGA-TV originally broadcast from TV studios and transmission facilities located at 1018 West Peachtree Street NW. This building would later became home to pioneering superstation and leading Atlanta independent station WTBS (channel 17, now WPCH-TV). Sometime in the mid-1960s, the WAGA stations moved to their current facilities on Briarcliff Road NE on the DeKalb County side of Atlanta. The studio resembles an antebellum Southern mansion, a type of architecture that was typical for Storer's other broadcasting facilities. While this design was somewhat out of place in most of Storer's other markets, it was a perfect fit for Atlanta.

The original WAGA tower is now the site of a different tower for WPCH-TV's analog channel 17 signal, and a backup for WWWQ FM 99.7 (see list of Atlanta broadcast stations by location#Turner tower). Because Storer Cable became part of Comcast, the tower (owned by competing cable TV provider Time Warner, along with WPCH) was removed by October 2009, ending the land lease. The station's studios were used on location in the Matlock episode, "The Reporter", broadcast in 1987.

In 1985, WAGA, along with the other Storer stations, was sold in a group deal to Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., a New York-based private equity firm. Two years later, KKR sold the Storer stations to Gillett Communications. After bankruptcy, Gillett restructured in the early 1990s, selling several stations, and changing its name to SCI.

In 1992, SCI filed for bankruptcy and put its stations on the market. In 1993, New World Communications acquired the SCI stations, including WAGA, with the purchase becoming final on May 25. At the time, New World happened to be based in Atlanta. Because of this, WAGA became New World's flagship station.

As a Fox station

In 1994, New World announced an affiliation agreement with Fox; as part of that agreement, Fox's parent company News Corporation acquired a 20 percent stake in New World. This deal resulted in most of New World's stations, including WAGA, switching to Fox beginning in September 1994.[2] However, as in most New World markets, Fox Kids children's programming stayed on former Fox O&O WATL-TV (channel 36), because WAGA was interested in airing more news. All but one station would retain its existing syndicated programming lineup. The lone exception was WGNX (channel 46, now WGCL-TV), which became the new CBS affiliate despite turning it down at first, and sold many of its syndicated shows over to WVEU (channel 69, now WUPA), which became a charter affiliate of the UPN network in early 1995 (eventually becoming a UPN O&O). In the meantime, WATL would become independent until it became a charter affiliate of The WB Television Network in 1995. At that time, Fox finalized the sale of WATL to Qwest Broadcasting (which was controlled by musician Quincy Jones), which merged with WB part-owner Tribune Company in 2000. WATL is now owned by the Gannett Company as part of a duopoly with WXIA-TV.

The affiliation switch occurred on December 11, 1994. It was originally scheduled for November 27, but was pushed back two weeks while negotiations between New World Communications, Fox and CBS were ongoing.[3] At that point, WAGA's 45-year stint as a CBS affiliate came to an end. Before the switch, WAGA was the longest-tenured CBS affiliate south of Washington, D.C.; an honor now held by WBTV in Charlotte, North Carolina.

With the affiliation switch, WAGA poured more resources into its news department. It added local newscast in morning and early evening timeslots, along with the move of the 11 p.m. newscast to 10 p.m., and the station also ran first-run syndicated talk/reality shows, game shows and movies. It did not run any children's programming except for some educational shows on the weekends. Also, with the affiliation switch, WAGA remained the home station for the Atlanta Falcons; a year before the affiliation changeover, Fox had then-recently won the television rights to the National Football Conference of the NFL[4] – a major reason why it sought an affiliation deal with New World. Since the Falcons play in the NFC, channel 5 had carried most Falcons games since the team's inception. In 2005, WAGA and the Falcons celebrated 40 years together.

Early in 1997, New World merged with Fox. Upon becoming a Fox-owned station (the second in Atlanta), the station rebranded itself as "Fox 5 Atlanta", per the network's branding guidelines. However, as with the other former New World stations that are still owned by Fox, the New World name lives on as channel 5's licensee.

Digital television

The station's digital signal on channel 27 was previously multiplexed:

Channels Programming
5.1 Main WAGA programming / FOX

WAGA-TV also has plans for a Mobile DTV feed of subchannel 5.1.[5][6]

Channel 5.2 originally was for the benefit of smaller cable systems which were taking the fullscreen SD signal straight from the air, and did not want problems due to the widescreen or scan conversion on 5.1. This lasted until the end of April 2009. The channel then stayed blank with no electronic program guide data for several weeks until late June, when it again had identical programming, but this time in widescreen. The 704×480i anamorphic format is unusual, as most SDTV channels use a fullscreen 640×480i format. (By comparison, widescreen NTSC DVDs use 720×480p.) Channel 5.2 again went blank in late July, but continued to have the same program data as 5.1, until it was deleted entirely on December 3.

Analog-to-digital conversion

WAGA shut down its analog signal, on June 12, 2009, as part of the DTV transition in the United States. The station remained on its pre-transition channel 27 [7] using PSIP to display WAGA's virtual channel as 5.

In 2009, the station's first chief broadcast engineer from 1949, Paul Cram (99 years of age at the time; now deceased), was given the duty of permanently turning off the analog transmitter live on the air at 12:30 p.m. on June 12. WSB-TV, WXIA-TV, and WATL also went off the air at the same time, with WSB and WXIA also live in their transmitter rooms like WAGA.

Out of market carriage and CATV

WAGA is carried in Cherokee County, North Carolina. That county is part of the Chattanooga DMA.

In the 1970s and 1980s through CATV, WAGA once had carriage in Aiken and Clemson in South Carolina.[8]

News operation

WAGA broadcasts a total of 55 hours of local news a week (ten hours on weekdays, four hours on Saturdays and 3½ hours on Sundays), the most of anystation in the state of Georgia and the second most in the United States (behind MyNetworkTV affiliate KRON-TV in San Francisco); however as is standard with Fox stations that carry early evening weekend newscasts, WAGA's Saturday and Sunday 6 p.m. newscasts are subject to delay due to sports coverage.

For many years as a CBS affiliate, the station called its newscasts 5 News Scene. In the 1980s, this changed to Eyewitness News. In 1992, WAGA dropped CBS This Morning in favor of a locally produced morning show, "Good Day Atlanta".[9] With the 1994 affiliation switch to Fox, WAGA poured more resources into its news department. Channel 5's news department was already very well respected; for most of its history it was a solid runner-up to longtime leader WSB-TV, but from the 1970s until early 2009 had to fend off a spirited challenge from WXIA-TV. As of mid-2009, with plummeting ratings at WXIA, WAGA-TV has returned to a solid second-place position in the Atlanta news market. After affiliating with Fox, channel 5 increased its news output to 40 hours a week.

On March 26, 2007, WAGA debuted a new logo and set, bringing it in line with other Fox O&O's which had made similar re-designs in the period.

On January 14, 2008, WAGA launched a new 11 p.m. newscast called Fox 5 News Edge hosted by former WSVN anchor Tom Haynes; it is similar to the 11 p.m. newscast on its sister station WTVT in Tampa and other Fox O&O stations across the country.[10] On March 16, 2009 WAGA began producing its newscast in high definition, becoming the last major network-affiliated station in the market to do so behind WGCL, WSB, and WXIA; this was done with the updated FOX O&O HD graphics, that also debuted during the noon newscast.

On September 14, 2009, WAGA expanded its morning newscast to four hours from 5-10 a.m., with an hour-long 9 a.m. extension called Good Day Xtra, hosted by Karen Graham and Jeff Hill; it is the only local news broadcast in the Atlanta market in that timeslot.[11] On April 1, 2010, WAGA expanded its morning news by an extra half-hour, now running for 5½ hours beginning at 4:30 a.m., becoming the first Atlanta station to do so; the extension was made in order to attract those who wake up go to work earlier than most; the additional half-hour competes against national early morning newscasts airing on WXIA, WGCL and WSB.[12] As of September, 2010, WAGA dropped the Fox 5 Morning News and Good Day Xtra brandings, in favor of keeping the Good Day Atlanta branding.

News/station presentation

Newscast titles

  • The World On Flight (1949–1953)
  • The Texaco Newscast (1953–1963)
  • Panorama News (1960–1969)
  • The BIG News with Jim Axel (1963–1965)
  • Marlboro News Report (1963–1967)
  • TV-5 News (1967–1969)
  • 5 News Scene (1969–1981)[13]
  • TV-5/Channel 5 Eyewitness News (1981–1997)[14]
  • Good Day Atlanta (morning newscast; 1992–present)[15]
  • Eyewitness News Primetime (10 p.m. newscast; 1994–1999)
  • Fox 5 Eyewitness News (1997–1999)
  • Fox 5 News (1999–present)[16]

Station slogans

  • The Best is Right Here on TV-5 / TV-5 is Easy on the Eyes (1973–1974; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
  • See The Best...TV-5 (1974–1975; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
  • Catch the Brightest Stars on TV-5 (1975–1976; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
  • 5 Belongs (mid 1970s–1980)
  • TV-5, We're the Hot Ones (1976–1977; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
  • There's Something in the Air, on TV-5 (1977–1978; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
  • TV-5, Turn Us On, We'll Turn You On (1978–1979; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
  • We're Looking Good on TV-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)
  • The News Specialists (1982–1986)[17]
  • We've Got the Touch, You and Channel 5 (1983–1984; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
  • You and Channel 5, We've Got the Touch (1984–1985; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
  • We've Got the Touch on Channel 5 (1985–1986; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
  • Share The Spirit on Channel 5 (1986–1987; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
  • Good News, Atlanta! (1986–1988; used during period station used Frank Gari's "Good News")
  • Channel 5 Spirit, Oh Yes (1987–1988; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
  • Dedicated, Determined, Dependable (1988–present)[18]
  • You Can Feel It on Channel 5 (1988-1989; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
  • Atlanta, Get Ready for Channel 5 (1989–1990; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
  • Get Ready for Channel 5 (1990–1991; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
  • The Look of Atlanta is Channel 5 (1991–1992; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
  • This is CBS, on Channel 5 (1992–1993; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
  • It's All Right Here (1993–1994; promotional slogan)
  • Just Watch (1994–1996; promotion for the switch to Fox)[19]
  • Don't Look, Just Watch (1996–1999)
  • The Most Powerful Name in Local News (2007–present)
  • So Entertaining, So Fox (2009–present; localized version of Fox ad campaign)
  • So Fox 5 (2009–present; localized version of Fox ad campaign)
  • Fox 5 News Edge, So Informative, So Fox (2009–present; localized version of Fox ad campaign used for news promotion)
  • The Fox 5 Weather Authority, So Accurate, So Fox (2009–present; localized version of Fox ad campaign used for weather slogan)
  • Fox 5 Sports, So In Your Face, So Fox (2009–present; localized version of Fox ad campaign used for sports slogan)
  • Fox 5 Morning News, So Convenient, So Fox (2009–present; localized version of Fox ad campaign used for morning news promotion)
  • Fox 5 News at 10:00, So Dependable, So Fox (2009–present; localized version of Fox ad campaign used for 10 p.m. news promotion)
  • Good Day Extra, So Fresh, So Fox (2009–present; localized version of Fox ad campaign used for 9 a.m. news promotion)
  • Fox 5 Weekends, So Convenient, So Fox (2009–present; promotion for weekend programming)
Television.svg This film, television or video-related list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it with reliably sourced additions.

News team

Current on-air staff

Fox 5 Storm Team (formerly known as "Weather Authority")
  • Ken Cook (AMS Seal of Approval) - chief meteorologist; weeknights at 5, 6, 10 and 11 p.m.
  • Joanne Feldman (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval) - meteorologist; weekday mornings "Good Day Atlanta" (4:30-10 a.m.) fill-in weeknights at 5, 6, 10, and 11 p.m.
  • Jeff Hill (AMS Seal of Approval) - meteorologist; weekdays at noon, weekends at 6 and 10 p.m.; fill-in weeknights at 5 and 6 p.m.
  • Steve Milone (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval) - meteorologist; weekend mornings, also weather producer
  • Cheryl White (AMS member; NWA member) - fill in meteorologist;
Sports team
  • Ken Rodriguez - sports director; weeknights at 5, 6, 10 and 11 p.m.
  • Chris Clark - sports anchor and reporter, weekends at 6 and 10 p.m.
  • Buck Lanford - sports reporter and producer
  • Bill Hartman - High 5 sports reporter, fill in sports anchor
Sky Fox Traffic
  • Cheryl White - Sky Fox traffic reporter weekday mornings "Good Day Atlanta" (4:30-9 a.m.)
The Georgia Gang

Notable former on-air staff

  • Jim Axel (anchor/reporter, 1962-1996; deceased)
  • John Doyle (previously with WGCL-TV)
  • Jeff Hullinger (now political reporter/anchor at WXIA)
  • Sachi Koto (previously with CNN Headline News)
  • Don Naylor (deceased)
  • Deborah Norville (currently host of syndicated newsmagazine Inside Edition)
  • Robin Roberts (currently co-host of Good Morning America on ABC)
  • Dan Ronan (retired from broadcasting in 2008; now Senior Director of Communications, American Bus Association, Washington D.C.)
  • Forrest Sawyer (later with ABC News and NBC News, now founder and president of Freefall Productions)
  • Guy Sharpe (meteorologist, 1968-1977; deceased)
  • Paul Shields (anchor/reporter/news director, 1965-1991; deceased)
  • Richard Warner (now host of Georgia's Business on Georgia Public Television)
  • Judy Woodruff (now with the PBS NewsHour)


External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

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