WFIE is an NBC-affiliated television station licensed to Evansville, Indiana, United States, serving the Tri-State area of southwestern Indiana, northwestern Kentucky and southeastern Illinois. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 46 (or virtual channel 14 via PSIP) from a transmitter in the Wolf Hills section of Henderson, Kentucky. Owned by Gray Television, the station has studios on Mount Auburn Road in Evansville. On cable, WFIE is available on WOW! and Charter Spectrum channel 4.
|Slogan||The Tri-State's News & Weather Leader|
|Channels||Digital: 46 (UHF)|
(to move to 26 (UHF))
Virtual: 14 (PSIP)
(Raycom Media Licensee, LLC)
|First air date||November 15, 1953|
|Call letters' meaning||We're First In Evansville or "FInE" from Fine family|
|Sister station(s)||WNDU-TV, WAVE, KFVS-TV, WQTV-LP/WQWQ-LP, WBKO|
|Former callsigns||WFIE-TV (1953–2003)|
|Former channel number(s)|
|Transmitter power||250 kW|
168 kW (CP)
|Height||310 m (1,017 ft)|
|Public license information||Profile|
WFIE was granted a construction permit on June 10, 1953, and began broadcasting on November 15, 1953, on analog UHF channel 62. The station, Indiana's sixth, was originally co-owned by Jesse, Isadore, and Oscar Fine. WFIE was the first station to be based in Evansville proper; WEHT (channel 25), while licensed to Evansville and having launched over a month before WFIE, has always had their studios located across the Ohio River in Henderson, Kentucky.
WFIE was originally a primary NBC outlet with secondary ABC (shared with WEHT) and DuMont affiliations. Both of those networks were dropped in August 1956 with the launch of WTVW (which took ABC) and the shutdown of DuMont. This left WFIE as a full-time NBC affiliate. It is the only station in the market never to have changed its primary affiliation; as such, WFIE has the distinction of being the longest-tenured NBC affiliate in the state of Indiana. Also in 1956, WFIE became the area's first station to telecast color programming (by virtue of its NBC affiliation).
The Fine family sold the station to the George Norton family of Louisville, Kentucky (owners of fellow NBC affiliate WAVE-TV) in 1956. The Nortons' broadcasting holdings would eventually become known as Orion Broadcasting. With FCC approval, it moved to channel 14 in August 1961. It was the first station in Evansville to telecast live and local color programs beginning on March 10, 1966.
In October 1981, Orion merged with Cosmos Broadcasting Corporation, a subsidiary of insurance and broadcasting conglomerate Liberty Corporation. WFIE became the first television station in the market to broadcast in stereo in September 1985. Liberty bowed out of the insurance business in 2000 bringing WFIE directly under the company banner. In May 2002, the station began broadcasting digitally on channel 46.
On February 1, 2006, Liberty Corporation merged with Raycom Media, with ownership remaining steady for over 12 years.
Sale to Gray TelevisionEdit
On June 25, 2018, Atlanta-based Gray Television announced it had reached an agreement with Raycom to merge their respective broadcasting assets (consisting of Raycom's 63 existing owned-and/or-operated television stations, including WFIE), and Gray's 93 television stations) under the former's corporate umbrella. The cash-and-stock merger transaction valued at $3.6 billion—in which Gray shareholders acquired preferred stock then held by Raycom—resulted in WFIE gaining new sister stations in nearby markets, including fellow NBC affiliate WNDU in South Bend (currently Gray's only Indiana station) and ABC/Fox affiliate WBKO in adjacent Bowling Green, Kentucky, in addition to its current Raycom sister stations. The sale was approved on December 20 and completed on January 2, 2019.
WFIE-DT2 is the MeTV-affiliated second digital subchannel of WFIE, broadcasting in widescreen standard definition on UHF channel 46.2 (or virtual channel 14.2 via PSIP). On cable, the subchannel is available on WOW! channel 104 in Evansville, on Spectrum channel 301 in the Henderson and Owensboro, Kentucky areas, and on Spectrum channel 161 in Webster County, Kentucky, including Dixon and the community of Clay.
As an NBC Weather Plus outletEdit
WFIE-DT2 was launched in fall 2005 as an affiliate of the NBC Weather Plus service, a 24-hour weather channel that provided regional and national weather information forecasts on a continuous basis, along with cut-ins of local weather forecasts from WFIE's weather forecasting team. WFIE's weather team provided the cut-ins for WFIE-DT2 during the entire existence of NBC Weather Plus. The channel's original branding was "First Alert Weather Now."
In 2008, when the NBC Weather Plus was shut down and discontinued, it became a locally oriented weather channel until it was replaced by a local news-oriented format in the late quarter of 2008. It became an independent TV channel devoted to local news, weather, and sports in the Evansville media market. The channel was branded as 14Xtra. WFIE-DT2 also broadcast a prime time newscast weeknights at 9:00 p.m., which competed with CW affiliate WTVW's hour-long newscast.
MeTV was first carried as a secondary affiliation of WTVW after that station lost their Fox network affiliation to WEVV-DT2, thereby becoming an independent station in 2011. MeTV programming was only shown during the overnight hours, and during time slots where specific programming was not scheduled to air. WTVW dropped the partial MeTV schedule when that station became the Evansville market's new affiliate of The CW in January 2013. MeTV was carried in full by WTSN-CD from November 2011 until the station dropped that network in favor of a new network called Heroes & Icons on October 23, 2014. Until February 25, 2014, MeTV was also carried on WYYW-CD.
MeTV replaced the Movies! network on WFIE-DT3 (channel 14.3) for five days until it was replaced by a new movie network, Grit, a multicast network that specifically targets men in the 25–54 age group. To make room for the new Grit network, and in order for MeTV to remain available in the Evansville market, the full MeTV programming lineup was moved up to WFIE-DT2 at noon CT on October 28, 2014, after Grit made its Evansville debut on WFIE-DT3. After the switch, 14Xtra was no more.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|14.1||1080i||16:9||WFIE-DT||Main WFIE programming / NBC|
WFIE discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over UHF channel 14, on June 12, 2009, the official date when full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 46, using PSIP to display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 14.
WFIE-DT2 clears all of MeTV's programming since the subchannel switched to MeTV from a local news-formatted channel in 2014. Until 2016, the only other programming besides the full MeTV schedule was the syndicated Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) football and men's basketball provided by the ACC Network that is operated by Raycom Media's sports syndication division, Raycom Sports. This is due in part of University of Notre Dame's sports programs (with the exception of the football team) joining the ACC that year. WTVW took over local rights to the ACC Network in 2016.
WFIE currently carries 32 hours of local newscasts per week (with six hours each weekday, and one hour each on Saturdays and Sundays); in addition, the station produces a half-hour weeknight-only newscast for its second digital subchannel, bringing the total amount to 34½ hours per week. As a result of the merger of the news operations of WTVW and WEHT on December 1, 2011, WFIE and CBS affiliate WEVV-TV (channel 46) are now the only independent local news operations in the Evansville market.
In August 1977, the station became the first in Evansville to remotely broadcast local news, sports, and weather outside its studios. It was the second station in Indiana (first in Evansville) to build its own Doppler weather radar system (located adjacent to the studios) in February 1988.
On April 3, 2006, WFIE abandoned 615 Music's popular "News One" theme music in favor of "NBC Flagship" as part of "The NBC Collection" by Gari Communications. This marked the station's first theme change since 1996. In early-August 2006, it began branding its newscasts as 14 News dropping the NewsWatch 14 identity. In a further transition, the station rebranded the weather department under the "First Alert" label on September 22, 2006. This is a departure from the "Storm Team" brand used since the mid-1990s.
On April 16, 2007, WFIE introduced "Dual Doppler" to the market with the debut of a second weather radar in Owensboro, Kentucky atop the Owensboro Medical Health System Hospital main building on East Parrish Avenue (KY 54). In addition to its main studios, the station operates Western Kentucky Newsrooms in Owensboro and Madisonville. It is the only station in the market to have a weekday morning show that begins at 4:30 p.m. WFIE-DT2 also airs a prime time newscast weeknights at 9:00 p.m., which competes with an hour-long show on CW affiliate WTVW.
On July 11, 2011, WFIE began broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition during the station's 5:00 p.m. newscast, becoming the first station in the Evansville market to begin offering local newscasts in high definition. On September 12, 2011, WFIE debuted a 4:00 p.m. newscast that competes against the 4:00 p.m. newscast on ABC affiliate WEHT; Jackie Monroe (currently the anchor of the station's 10:00 p.m. newscast and the 9;00 p.m. newscast seen on digital channel 14.2) served as anchor of the new late-afternoon newscast, which lasted until 2013.
- "The History of WFIE-TV". The Boneyard. Retrieved February 12, 2007.
- "GRAY AND RAYCOM TO COMBINE IN A $3.6 BILLION TRANSACTION". Raycom Media (Press release). June 25, 2018.
- Miller, Mark K. (June 25, 2018). "Gray To Buy Raycom For $3.6 Billion". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheckMedia. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
- John Eggerton (June 25, 2018). "Gray Buying Raycom for $3.6B". Broadcasting & Cable. NewBay Media.
- Dade Hayes (June 25, 2018). "Gray Acquiring Raycom For $3.65B, Forming No. 3 Local TV Group". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Media Corporation.
- "FCC OK with Gray/Raycom Merger", Broadcasting & Cable, December 20, 2018, Retrieved December 20, 2018.
- "Gray Completes Acquisition of Raycom Media and Related Transactions", Gray Television, January 2, 2019, Retrieved January 2, 2019.
- Time Warner Cable - Channel lineup for Owensboro & Henderson
- Time Warner Cable - Channel lineup for Dixon, Clay, and Wheatcroft, KY
- RabbitEars TV Query for WFIE
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved March 24, 2012.
- "ACC Network Has Expanded National Reach" (PDF). Raycom Sports (via Press Release). July 1, 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 9, 2014. Retrieved July 1, 2014.
- 14WFIE planning HD news launch on July 11, will add new 4PM newscast beginning Sept. 12, Jake's DTV Blog, June 28, 2011.