WCAV, virtual and UHF digital channel 19, is a dual CBS/Fox-affiliated television station licensed to Charlottesville, Virginia, United States. Owned by Lockwood Broadcast Group, it is a sister station to low-powered ABC affiliate WVAW-LD (channel 16). The two stations share studios (known as the "Charlottesville Newsplex") on 2nd Street Southeast in downtown Charlottesville and transmitter facilities on Carters Mountain south of the city. On cable, WCAV is available on Comcast Xfinity channel 6 and in high definition on digital channel 806.
CBS19 News (newscasts)
|Slogan||Charlottesville News First|
|Channels||Digital: 19 (UHF)|
(to move to 32 (UHF))
Virtual: 19 (PSIP)
|Owner||Lockwood Broadcast Group|
(Charlottesville TV, LLC)
|First air date||August 15, 2004|
|Call letters' meaning||CAValier (UVA mascot)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:|
19 (UHF, 2004–2009)
|Transmitter power||71 kW|
|Height||329 m (1,079 ft)|
|Public license information||Profile|
WCAV began broadcasting on August 15, 2004 becoming the market's first CBS affiliate and first station to mount a challenge against established NBC affiliate WVIR-TV (channel 29). Previously, the analog UHF channel 19 allocation was considered to bring Richmond a primary WB station. That area had lacked such an affiliation since the switch of WUPV to UPN in 1997.
Before WCAV's sign-on, Charlottesville had been one of the few markets in the Eastern Time Zone without a CBS affiliate. The area had previously received CBS programming on cable from Richmond's WTVR-TV and Washington, D.C.'s WUSA. When it launched, WCAV immediately replaced WUSA on local cable systems.
During 2007, the station first swapped analog cable channel allocations with WTVR. After that, the Richmond station moved to the digital tier. Shortly after WCAV's sign-on, owner Gray Television signed on ABC affiliate WVAW-LP on UHF channel 16. That station was formerly a low-powered repeater (on UHF channel 64) of Harrisonburg's WHSV and it replaced that station on Charlottesville-area cable systems. In early 2005, the two stations were joined by new Class A Fox affiliate WAHU-CA (later digital WAHU-CD) on UHF channel 27.
Since 2006, the three have been the official flagships of University of Virginia sports.
On June 17, 2013, the WAHU Fox 27 simulcast on WCAV 19.3 was upgraded to high definition.
Gray announced the sale of WCAV and WVAW-LD to Lockwood Broadcast Group on March 4, 2019. The sale is concurrent with Gray's purchase of rival WVIR-TV from Waterman Broadcasting. Although WAHU-CD's Fox and MeTV affiliations were included in the sale, the physical station was not and would be retained by Gray as a sister station to WVIR-TV. Fox moved full-time to WCAV on April 1, when Gray took WAHU-CD silent to move its facilities out of the shared Newsplex building. The transaction was completed on October 1.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|19.1||1080i||16:9||CBS19||Main WCAV programming / CBS|
|27.1||720p||FOX27||Simulcast of WAHU-CD / Fox|
WCAV shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 19, on February 16, 2009, the day to the prior to the original date in which full-power television stations in the United States were set to transition from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate (which was later rescheduled for June 12, 2009). The station "flash-cut" its digital signal into operation UHF channel 19. Of all of the Richmond and Washington, D.C. stations replaced on the main tier for the new Charlottesville ABC, CBS, and Fox affiliates, only WTTG survived. On Comcast digital cable, Richmond channels include WRIC-TV, WTVR and WWBT. Other Comcast systems north and west of Charlottesville do pick up Washington and Richmond locals either on the main tier or digital lineup.
WCAV and its sister stations employ the largest television news team dedicated exclusively to the Charlottesville market. While WVIR dedicates some staff to adjacent areas, WCAV focuses its coverage solely on the counties that comprise the Charlottesville viewing area. In June 2006, WCAV received the runner-up award for "Outstanding News Operation" by the Virginia Association of Broadcasters. WWBT in Richmond was the winner in that category. In 2007, the station received the "Outstanding Sports Coverage" award for a commercial television station from the Virginia Association of Broadcasters.
That same year, its website was the runner up to WVEC in Norfolk for an outstanding website award. Beth Duffy, formerly of WVIR, returned to the airwaves on WCAV on April 16, 2007. She left the station on November 25, 2009. On September 21, 2007 WCAV launched The Local AccuWeather Channel on a new second digital subchannel and live streaming video on its website and mobile phone app. Known on-air as "CBS19 Weather Now", it was added to Comcast digital channel 209 in December. In the fall of 2015, the channel was given a new look and the "CBS19 Weather Now" branding was changed to "NEWSPLEX NOW." The updated channel featured a daily simulcast of all Newsplex newscasts, previously recorded broadcasts and weather information provided by AccuWeather.
As the primary station in the "Charlottesville Newsplex" operation, WCAV airs the most newscasts, with the first hour of Good Morning Charlottesville and a noon newscast exclusive to the station. WVAW simulcasts the second hour of Good Morning Charlottesville on weekday mornings (6:00-7:00 a.m.), CBS19 News weeknights at 5:00, 5:30 and 6:00 and 19News Nightcast weeknights at 11:00 p.m. WAHU airs an hour-long extension of Good Morning Charlottesville weekday mornings at 7:00 a.m. and nightly prime time newscasts at 10:00 p.m. that competes with CW affiliate WVIR-DT3.
WCAV shares its resources with its Gray sister stations throughout Virginia, including WWBT, WHSV-TV, and WDBJ (and WDTV in Weston, West Virginia), along with the Commonwealth's other CBS affiliates through CBS Newspath.
- Aycock, Jason (March 4, 2019). "Gray Television changing stations in Virginia". Seeking Alpha. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
- "Gray Television to acquire NBC 29 from Waterman Broadcasting". The Daily Progress. March 4, 2019.
- "Application for Consent to Assignment of Broadcast Station Construction Permit or License". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. March 4, 2019. Retrieved March 6, 2019.
- "Suspension of Operations and Silent Authority of a Digital Class A Station Application".
- "Consummation Notice", CDBS Public Access, Federal Communications Commission, 2 October 2019, Retrieved 2 October 2019.
- RabbitEars TV Query for WCAV
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved March 24, 2012.