call_letters = WBTV
city =
station_slogan = On Your Side
station_branding = WBTV 3 (general)
WBTV News 3 (newscasts)
analog = 3 (VHF)
digital = 23 (UHF)
other_chs =
affiliations = CBS
network =
founded =
airdate = July 15, 1949
location = Charlotte, North Carolina
callsign_meaning = an extension of former radio sister station WBT
former_callsigns =
former_channel_numbers =
owner = Raycom Media
licensee = WBTV License Subsidiary, LLC
sister_stations =
former_affiliations = All secondary:
NBC (1949-1957)
ABC (1949-1967)
DuMont (1949-1955)
effective_radiated_power = 100 kW (analog)
1000 kW (digital)
HAAT = 541 m (analog)
565 m (digital)
class =
facility_id = 30826
coordinates = coord|35|21|51.3|N|81|11|12.7|W|type:landmark_scale:2000
homepage = [http://www.wbtv.com/ www.wbtv.com]

WBTV, channel 3, is the CBS affiliate in Charlotte, North Carolina. It is one of two flagship stations of Raycom Media. WBTV's studios are located off Morehead Street just west of Uptown Charlotte, and its transmitter is located in Dallas, North Carolina. The station is aired on cable channel 2 in Charlotte and surrounding areas, cable channel 5 in York and Lancaster counties, and cable channel 3 on most other cable systems.


WBTV signed on for the first time on July 15, 1949. It was the 13th television station in the United States and the first in the Carolinas, and the oldest station between Richmond and Atlanta. Veteran Charlotte broadcaster Jim Patterson was the first person seen on the station, and remained there until his death in 1986. It was owned by Jefferson Standard Insurance Company of Greensboro along with WBT (1110 AM), the city's oldest radio station and the first fully licensed station in the South. Jefferson Standard had purchased WBT from CBS in 1947. Shortly before the TV station went on the air, its call letters were shortened from WBT-TV to WBTV. Jefferson Standard merged with Pilot Life in 1968 (though it had owned controlling interest since 1945) and became Jefferson-Pilot Corporation. The station's studio address, One Julian Price Place, is named in honor of a longtime Jefferson Standard/Jefferson-Pilot executive.

WBTV received one of the last construction permits issued before the FCC's "freeze" on new television licenses, which lasted until 1952. As such, it was Charlotte's only VHF station for eight years, carrying affiliations with all three major networks. However, it has always been a primary CBS affiliate, owing to WBT radio's long affiliation with CBS Radio. It is the only commercial station in the market that has never changed its affiliation.

WBTV's only competition in the early years came from a UHF station on channel 36, known as WAYS-TV and then WQMC-TV, which broadcast briefly from 1954 to 1955. Charlotte's second VHF station, WSOC-TV, signed on in 1957; it took the NBC affiliation. WBTV and WSOC-TV both held secondary affiliations with ABC until WCCB became a primary ABC affiliate in 1967.

WBTV was granted the first full power construction permit for a digital television station in the United States in 1998 and went on the air that year with 1,000,000 watts.

From 1958 to 1974, WBTV's studios were the home for Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling broadcasts.

When WAGA-TV in Atlanta (which signed on four months before WBTV) switched to Fox in 1994, WBTV became the longest-tenured CBS affiliate south of Washington, D.C. WFMY-TV in Greensboro, the second-oldest station in the Carolinas which signed on three months after WBTV, is also second in this category.

Over the years, Jefferson Standard/Jefferson-Pilot acquired several other radio and television stations across the country, with WBTV as the flagship station.

In 2006, Jefferson-Pilot merged with Lincoln National Corporation of Philadelphia. Lincoln Financial retained Jefferson-Pilot's broadcasting division, which was renamed Lincoln Financial Media. WBTV remained the flagship station. ( [http://www.lfgjpmerger.com/pressReleases/mergerPressRelease.pdf] )

ale to Raycom

On November 12, 2007, Lincoln Financial announced its intention to sell WBTV, along with its two other television stations (WWBT in Richmond and WCSC-TV in Charleston, South Carolina) and Lincoln Financial Sports, to Raycom Media for $583 million. Lincoln Financial also sold its Charlotte radio stations to Braintree, Massachusetts-based Greater Media, thus breaking up Charlotte's last co-owned radio/television combination. [http://www.lfg.com/LincolnPageServer?KPage_PageID=LFG_Page&LFGPage=%2Flfg%2Flfgclient%2Fabt%2Fnews%2F2007%2Findex.html&KURL=%2Flfg%2Flfgclient%2Fabt%2Fnews%2F2007%2F2007-11-12%2Fcontent.xml]

According to "Charlotte Observer" TV critic Mark Washburn, Lincoln Financial didn't have any success integrating its broadcast properties with the rest of the company, and had decided to sell them as soon as possible. Washburn also said that WBT-AM-FM and WLNK will continue to share the Julian Price Place facility with WBTV. [ [http://www.charlotte.com/326/story/366593.html Charlotte Observer | 11/17/2007 | Old TV-radio couple breaking up ] ] The radio stations' sale closed on January 31, 2008. However, they still have a news partnership.

The FCC approved the sale on March 25, 2008. Raycom formally took control on April 1.Washburn, Mark. [http://www.charlotte.com/business/story/562865.html Raycom installs new GM at WBTV] . Charlotte Observer, 2008-04-02.] WBTV is now Raycom's second-largest station, behind WOIO/WUAB in Cleveland. Since Raycom Sports is headquartered in Charlotte, WBTV will have a very important role in Raycom Media's operations, and will presumably share flagship status with WSFA in Montgomery, Alabama (Raycom Media is headquartered in Montgomery).

In early 2008, Raycom Sports and Lincoln Financial Sports officially merged under the Raycom Sports banner. The merger coincided with the start of Atlantic Coast Conference play. WBTV has been Charlotte's home for ACC sporting events since C.D. Chesley piped in North Carolina's historic win in the 1957 NCAA tournament to channel 3 and several other stations in the state. Raycom had produced ACC basketball games in partnership with Jefferson-Pilot/Lincoln Financial since 1982. The partnership was extended to football in 2004; Jefferson-Pilot/Lincoln Financial had been the sole producer of ACC football since 1984.

In mid-May 2008, the former Jefferson-Pilot/Lincoln Financial stations launched redesigned websites, powered by the Local Media network division of WorldNow (who operates nearly all of the Raycom stations' websites). These web addresses were previously operated by Broadcast Interactive Media. However, WBTV and WWBT retain their Jefferson-Pilot/Lincoln Financial-era logos and branding for the time being. WCSC recently changed their logo and graphics, reflecting their move into High Definition.

Digital television

The station's digital signal is multiplexed:


WBTV's news department is the largest television news department between Washington and Atlanta, and one of the most respected in the South. It has long been known in the area for its coverage of local news.

For many years, WBTV was one of the country's most dominant television stations. In fact, its dominance was so absolute that it was once said the dials of most Charlotteans' TV sets were "rusted on channel 3." To this day, it is one of the strongest CBS affiliates in the country.

WBTV was not seriously challenged until 1981, when longtime anchor Doug Mayes jumped to WSOC-TV. Within a few months, WBTV's newscast lost the lead at 11 pm to channel 9. WSOC-TV gained a large lead in ratings for most other news timeslots beginning in 1990. WBTV returned to a strong position in the late 1990s, culminating in wresting the lead at noon in 1998 from WSOC-TV. In 2007, channel 3 took the lead at 11 pm for the first time in 25 years. However, it lost the lead to WSOC in the November sweeps, around the same time the sale to Raycom was announced.

In the February sweeps, WBTV's ratings plummeted in all timeslots. It lost its decade-long lead at noon to WSOC, and finished in a virtual tie with perennial third-place finisher WCNC-TV at 6 am. Besides the pending sale to Raycom, it was speculated that WBTV was hampered by the 2007-08 writers strike; channel 3 has traditionally relied on CBS' primetime programming as a lead-in for its late news. [http://www.charlotte.com/326/story/526542.html] Another factor may be that WBTV has yet to begin airing newscasts in high definition, as WSOC has done for over a year. Soon after Raycom closed on its purchase, it announced that it intends to begin broadcasting high definition newscasts sometime later in 2008. As of early October 2008, WBTV is broadcasting newscasts in High Definition, along with WCCB and WSOC-TV, leaving WCNC the last station to upgrade to HD in the Charlotte market. From 1977 to 1992, WBTV aired an hour-long midday news and variety show, "Top O' the Day." Viewers will remember Mayes doing a segment called "On The Square" in which he would solicit opinions from local viewers in various Charlotte-area towns about current news topics, as well as C.J. Underwood's "Down Home With The Carolina Camera," where otherwise unknown or low-profile Carolinians were temporarily given celebrity status for their whimsical talents, novel collections, or for the way they impacted their communities. Beginning in 1982, the show aired at 11:30 am, preempting whatever game show CBS aired at 10:30. Instead, WBTV aired the previous day's network episode of "The Price is Right" before "Top O' the Day." As a result, many of CBS' game shows, such as "Press Your Luck," were never seen in Charlotte. However, viewers with a strong antenna could watch them on WSPA-TV in Spartanburg or WFMY. WBTV now airs a conventional half-hour newscast at noon. On the weekends, the station occasionally preempted some of CBS' Saturday morning cartoons. Since the early 1990s, WBTV has generally cleared the entire CBS lineup in pattern, the only significant exception being ACC basketball and football.

The popularity of a series of specials commemorating the station's 25th anniversary in 1974 led to a long-running program, "Those Were the Years," hosted by Mike McKay and featuring episodes of classic television shows such as Dragnet, You Bet Your Life, and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. It was seen for several years at 11:30 PM on Fridays, pre-empting the CBS late-night shows which competed poorly with Johnny Carson.

Throughout the 1960s and 1970's, WBTV aired a Sunday morning program that featured singing cowboy Fred Kirby and his sidekick "Uncle Jim" (played by Jim Patterson). The show was known at various times as "Whistle Stop," "Fred Kirby's Little Rascals," and "Kirby's Corral." Giving the "hi-sign" to his young fans, Kirby was a fixture for many years at the western-themed park Tweetsie Railroad in Blowing Rock, North Carolina (an hour northwest of Charlotte). In addition to Fred and Uncle Jim, viewers were treated to classic episodes of The Little Rascals (Hal Roach's Our Gang) as well as frequent appearances by the local bluegrass band The Br'arhoppers. In the mid-1980s, Patterson would die in a single-car accident in Charlotte. Kirby died in 1996 at age 85.

Following the 2005 retirement of longtime WSOC anchorman Bill Walker, WBTV has billed lead anchor Paul Cameron as "The Voice of Experience." Cameron joined WBTV in 1981 as sports director, and then succeeded longtime anchorman Bob Inman upon his retirement in 1996. WBTV's Maureen O'Boyle once anchored the FOX-produced newsmagazine "A Current Affair". Morning and midday anchor John Carter is a former North Carolina state senator.

The station produces a 10 PM newscast for the area's CW affiliate, WJZY.

Diana Williams, now at WABC-TV in New York City, was an anchor at WBTV during the early 1980s. She was succeeded as the station's main female anchor by Sara James, now a reporter for Dateline NBC.


WBTV's transmission tower is a 2000 feet (609.6 meter) high guy-wired aerial mast for the transmission of FM and TV-programs located in Dallas, North Carolina. The tower was completed in 1984.

Current and former personalities

*Paul Cameron: weekdays 5, 6 and 11 pm
*Maureen O'Boyle: weekdays 5, 6 and Prime Time (7 pm)
*Tonia Bendickson: weekdays 5:30 and 11 pm
*Jamie Boll: weekdays 5:30 pm
*Molly Grantham: weekdays 10 pm (on WJZY)
*John Carter: weekdays 5-7 am and Noon
*Barbara Pinson: weekdays 5-7 am and Noon
*Sharon Smith: weekend evenings: 6 (Sat), 6:30 (Sun), 10 and 11 pm

*Tom Roussey
*Steve Ohnesorge
*Steve Crump
*Michael Handy
*Jeff Atkinson
*Dedrick Russell
*David Whisenant
*Kristen Hampton
*Rob Tufano
*Sarah Batista
*Ron Lee
*Chuck Roads (traffic)
*Kristen Miranda
*Trent Faris

Weather Alert Team
*Eric Thomas (Chief Meteorologist; weeknights 5:30, 6, 7, 10 & 11)
*Al Conklin (weekdays noon, 5 & 5:30)
*Kelly Franson (weekends)

Sports Team
*Delano Little (Sports Director, "Football Friday Night" co-host)
*Danielle Trotta

Former anchors and reporters
*David Rhew (reporter, ?-?; now at Central Piedmont Community College)
*Bob Inman (anchor, 1970-77 and 1979-96), now a novelist and playwright
*Janet England (anchor, 1977-85)
*Gail Harris (anchor, 1970s, later at WBZ-TV in Boston)
*Clyde "Cloudy" McLean (weatherman, 1949-85; deceased)
*Mike Cozza (anchor and reporter, 1972-97), now spokesman for Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation
*Jim Thacker (sports director, 1968-81; deceased)
*Doug Mayes (anchor, 1949-81)
*Diana Williams (anchor, 1983-86; now at WABC-TV in New York City)
*Lori Stokes (anchor, 1988-1990; now at WABC-TV
*Lisa Cooley (Hill) (anchor, later at WCBS-TV in New York City and KCBS-TV in Los Angeles)
*Sara James (anchor, 1986-91; now at Dateline NBC)
*Sonja Gantt (health reporter, 1987-93; now at WCNC)
*Mike McKay (weatherman, 1967-95), now at Davidson College classical music radio station WDAV
*Jim Patterson (weatherman, 1949-86; deceased)
*Bea Thompson (anchor/reporter, ?-1995, now at WBAV-FM)
*Bob Knowles (anchor/reporter, 1995-2003; deceased)
*Melissa Greer (weather anchor, 2004-2007; deceased)
*Kricket Morton (weekend sports anchor/reporter, 1994-2007)
*Shawnette Wilson (weekend anchor 2004-2007; now at WTXF in Philadelphia)
*Rita Cosby (reporter 1990s; now at MSNBC)
*John Blunt (anchor/reporter 1970-76; now at WCAU in Philadelphia)
*Lu Ann Cahn (reporter 1980-85; now at WCAU)
*Tom Burlington (anchor/reporter ?-1995; later at WTXF)
*Bob Hice (sports anchor, ?-?
*David Snepp (producer/reporter 1983-86)
*C.J. Underwood (host of Carolina Camera and co-host of Top O' The Day, 1969-99, deceased)
*Mark Garrison (host of Carolina Camera, ?-?)
*Ken Koontz (reporter, 1973-90)
*Brian Thompson (reporter 1980s; now at WNBC-TV in New York)
*Chris Clackum (reporter, 1980s, now at NBC News
*Carson Chambers, general assignment reporter - WFTS, Tampa-St. Petersburg (since 2007)
*Lenise Ligon (anchor, 2005-2008; to WALA-TV, Mobile, Alabama, March 2008)
*Mickey Sabella (sports reporter, 1983-1987)
*Chris Suchan (mornings) now at WTSP in Tampa.


External links

* [http://www.wbtv.com/ WBTV Website]
* [http://www.wbtv.com/news/morningnews WBTV Morning Show Page]
* [http://www.btmemories.com/ WBTV History]
*Structurae|id=s0014017|title=WBTV Television Tower

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