call_letters = WCCB
station_branding = Fox Charlotte (general)
Fox News (news; not to be confused with
Fox News Channel)
analog = 18 (UHF)
digital = 27 (UHF)
affiliations = Fox
December 31 1953(original incarnation) November 1, 1964(current incarnation)
Charlotte, North Carolina
callsign_meaning = Charlotte
(the station's founder and owner)
former_callsigns = WAYS-TV (1953-54)
WUTV (licensed, 1957)
former_channel_numbers = 36 (1953-54, 1964-66)
owner = Bahakel Communications, Ltd.
licensee = North Carolina Broadcasting Partners
NBC(primary 1953-54, secondary 1964-67)
ABC (secondary 1953-54 and 1964-67, primary 1967-78)
Independent (1964-67, 1978-86)
effective_radiated_power = 2090 kW (analog)
1000 kW (digital)
HAAT = 389 m (analog)
368 m (digital)
facility_id = 49157
coordinates = coord|35|16|1.9|N|80|44|4.2|W|type:landmark_scale:2000
homepage = [http://www.myfoxcharlotte.com/ FOX Charlotte Website]
WCCB is the Fox affiliate in
Charlotte, North Carolina. The station's headquarters are located just outside Uptown, off Independence Boulevard across from Cricket Arenaat coord|35|12|15.7|N|80|47|53.1|W|type:landmark_scale:40000. It is the flagship station of its owner and operator, Bahakel Communications. Its transmitter is located in Newell, an unincorporated area of Mecklenburg County just northeast of the Charlotte city limits. WCCB is carried on cable channel 11 in Charlotte and in most outlying areas.
WCCB traces its roots to WAYS-TV, which signed on
December 31, 1953. It broadcast on channel 36, and was a primary NBCaffiliate with a secondary ABC affiliation. It was North Carolina's second UHF station, after WNAO-TV in Raleigh, as well as the second station in Charlotte. The original owner was Intercity Advertising, whose president was George Dowdy. Hugh Deadwyler became co-owner of the station in 1954and its sole owner in 1955. In January 1955, its call letters were changed to WQMC-TV.
Channel 36 had a very weak signal at only 100,000 watts. Its signal was spotty further than 10 miles from the transmitter, making it virtually unviewable even in some parts of
Mecklenburg County(home to Charlotte). Even then, like most UHF stations, it was only viewable on most sets with an expensive UHF converter. Television set manufacturers were not required to include UHF tuning capability at the time. As a result, it made almost no headway against CBSaffiliate WBTV, which continued to cherry-pick some ABC programming.
The station left the air on
March 15, 1955. This was intended to be a temporary hiatus while it underwent technical improvements including the relocation of its tower and acquisition of a more powerful transmitter. However, not long after that, the FCC granted a construction permit for Charlotte's second VHF station, WSOC-TV(channel 9). This, combined with other delays, forced the station into receivership in 1956. After failing to return the station to the air, Deadwyler sold its construction permit in 1957to Century Advertising, which planned to re-launch it as ABC affiliate WUTV, with a much more powerful signal than its predecessor. However, these plans were not successful, as even with the stronger signal, WUTV would have still been all but unviewable in most of the market. In addition, most of the market (particularly the western portion) got a fairly decent signal from WLOS-TVin Asheville, which was included in the Charlotte television listings for many years and even ran ads for its programs in Charlotte newspapers.
1964, Charlotte businessman Cy Bahakel bought the dormant channel 36 license. He returned the station to air on November 1of that year as WCCB-TV (for Charlotte Cy Bahakel). Logically, it should have returned as a full ABC affiliate. However, WCCB's signal was scarcely stronger than that of its predecessor, at 200,000 watts, limiting its coverage area for all intents and purposes to Charlotte itself and the inner-ring suburbs. Also, the FCC had only required television sets to have all-channel tuning just a few months before, and most Charlotte homes did not yet have UHF-capable sets. Under the circumstances, even though Charlotte was big enough to support three full network affiliates, ABC decided to retain its secondary affiliation agreements with WBTV and WSOC. This forced WCCB to settle for a secondary affiliation with all three networks, airing most of the network programs that WBTV and WSOC turned down. For the next three years, it split both NBC and ABC roughly equally with WSOC; a few ABC shows also continued to air on WBTV, and WCCB in turn aired some CBS programs.
On November 1,
1966, WCCB moved from channel 36 to channel 18, broadcasting from a new tower located on Newell Hickory Grove Road in northeast Charlotte. The new tower was capable of 1.35 million watts of power, giving WCCB a coverage area comparable to those of WBTV and WSOC-TV. The station's former tower was located adjacent to the studio in the parking lot of the old Charlotte Coliseum, now Cricket Arena. This facility was originally planned for WUTV in 1957. In 1967, NBC informed WSOC-TV that it wanted a full time affiliate in the Charlotte market, rather than having its programming divided between two stations. NBC's ratings were higher than ABC's, so WSOC dropped its secondary affiliation with ABC. Beginning in the fall of 1967, WCCB was a full-time affiliate of ABC. Ironically, the state's biggest market got a full-fledged ABC affiliate after the state's two smallest markets, Greenville/New Bern/Washington and Wilmington, picked up ABC affiliates. However, despite the stronger signal, it remained a distant third in the ratings.
1978, ABC had become the nation's most watched network and wanted a stronger Charlotte outlet than WCCB. ABC took its programming to WSOC. Conventional wisdom suggested WCCB would simply take the NBC affiliation. However, Ted Turner, who owned WRET (channel 36, now WCNC-TV) came in from out of nowhere to take the NBC affiliation, leaving WCCB as an independent. WRET had been on the verge of closing down a few years earlier. Turner won the affiliation on the basis of a commitment to invest significant resources in upgrading WRET's signal strength and launching a substantially larger local news department than WCCB's. Bahakel always ran his stations on a tight budget, and was unwilling to match Turner's offer. ["The Charlotte Observer", Apr. 25 and 29, 1978.]
With WCCB left to fend for itself as an independent station, it bought a large chunk of programming from WRET, including cartoons and older sitcoms. For a time in the late 1970s and early 1980s, after-school cartoons were hosted by the costumed
Sonic Manspace alien character.
WCCB carried on for almost a decade as a typical UHF general entertainment independent station. In
1986, WCCB became the last top-50 market station to join the newly-launched Fox network as one of its charter affiliates. Since then, WCCB has been one of the strongest Fox stations in the country, particularly since the National Football Conferenceof the NFLmoved its television package from CBS to Fox in 1994. By a lucky coincidence, this made WCCB the unofficial "home" station of the Carolina Panthersupon their debut in 1995. WCCB has carried most Panthers regular season games since then, and has since added preseason games. Panthers games are generally the most-watched programs in the market during each week of the football season.
In mid-2007, WCCB moved its Website to the "MyFox" platform. This design was originally intended for Fox
owned and operated stations, but has gained increasing popularity among affiliates as well. The station's old Web address, www.foxcharlotte.tv, now redirects to the new site, www.myfoxcharlotte.com
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
WCCB aired newscasts at various times between 1964 until it lost its ABC affiliation in 1978. It reduced its news department to a skeleton staff after going independent and did not carry a regularly scheduled newscast again until 1994, when it began airing a nightly 10 PM broadcast. Until 1999, this program was produced by WSOC, which then relocated its shared production to its new sister station, WAXN. It was produced by WCNC for several months between the WSOC-produced program's departure and the launch of WCCB's in-house news department on
January 1, 2000. Ironically, WCNC's news on WCCB drew a larger audience at the time than the newscasts which actually aired on WCNC.
The station's early-morning newscast, "Fox News Rising," places a distant fourth behind WSOC, WBTV and WCNC, while its 10 PM newscast beats its direct competition on WJZY and WAXN and also draws a larger audience than any WCNC newscast. In an attempt to boost ratings, WCCB re-hired former weatherman Mark Mathis and hired Anna Kooiman to replace
Beth Troutmanon Fox News Rising. [http://www.charlotte.com/326/story/526542.html]
WCCB is the second station in Charlotte to broadcast its news in high-definition. The first broadcast in HD was on September 28, 2008 with the 10 PM news that debuted a brand new high-definition studio.
After being known as "TV18" since sign-on, it was rebranded as "Fox 18" in
1988and as "Fox Charlotte" in 2002. Since WLFLin the Triangle switched to The WBin 1998, WCCB has been the only remaining original Fox affiliate in North Carolina.
*"TV 18" (1966-1988)
*"FOX 18" (1988-2002)
*"FOX Charlotte" (2002-Present)
Cy Bahakel owned WCCB from 1964 until his death on
April 20, 2006. Bahakel was an original partner in the Charlotte Hornets, and WCCB was the flagship station of the Hornets television network for the team's first four seasons.
2002, Bahakel Communications moved the operations of its ABC affiliate in Columbia, South Carolina(two hours south of Charlotte), WOLO-TVto WCCB, where they stayed for three years. During that time, WCCB's studios played host to WOLO's newscasts. This was one of the first instances of "central casting," in which several stations' operations are hosted by one station. The practice of producing a local newscast in a different market was roundly criticized. WOLO's ratings, already dead last in the Columbia market, plunged even further and have never recovered, even after news production moved back to Columbia in 2005. WOLO and WCCB continue to share some operations and personnel.
* [http://www.foxcharlotte.tv/ WCCB web site]
* [http://www.charlotte.com/mld/charlotte/entertainment/television/14403155.htm Businessman's visions can still be seen around Charlotte (from Charlotte Observer)]
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