WOAI-TV, virtual channel 4 (UHF digital channel 28), is a dual NBC/CW-affiliated television station licensed to San Antonio, Texas, United States. Owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group, it is part of a duopoly with Fox affiliate KABB (channel 29); Sinclair also operates Kerrville-licensed Dabl affiliate KMYS (channel 35) under joint sales and shared services agreements with owner Deerfield Media. The stations share studios between Babcock Road and Sovereign Drive (off Loop 410) in northwest San Antonio, while WOAI-TV's transmitter is located in northwest Wilson County (near Elmendorf).
|San Antonio, Texas|
|Channels||Digital: 28 (UHF)|
|Branding||News 4 San Antonio|
CW 35 (on DT2)
|Owner||Sinclair Broadcast Group |
(WOAI Licensee, LLC)
|broadcast: KABB, KMYS|
cable: Bally Sports Southwest
First air date
|December 11, 1949|
Former call signs
Former channel number(s)
Call sign meaning
|Taken from former sister radio station WOAI|
|HAAT||457 m (1,499 ft)|
Public license information
The station first signed on the air on December 11, 1949 as WOAI-TV. It was the first television station in the San Antonio market, owned by Southland Industries along with AM 1200 WOAI. WOAI-TV and WOAI radio are among the few broadcast stations located west of the Mississippi River that have a call sign beginning with "W." In the early days of broadcasting, most Central Time Zone states were in the "W" territory. In 1923, the dividing line was changed to the Mississippi River. Since WOAI Radio was already on the air, it kept its W call letters and when it put a TV station on the air, it shared that call sign.
WOAI-TV has been an NBC affiliate since its sign-on, due to WOAI (AM)'s longtime affiliation with the NBC Red Network. But at first, it also carried programming from the three other major networks of the time: CBS, ABC and DuMont. WOAI lost the CBS and DuMont affiliations to KEYL (channel 5, now KENS) when that station signed on in February 1950. The two stations continued to share ABC programming until KONO-TV (channel 12, now KSAT-TV) signed on in January 1957.
On May 27, 1965, Crosley Broadcasting announced that it was purchasing the WOAI stations for $12 million. The FCC approved the sale on September 16, 1965 and Crosley's ownership became effective at midnight on October 27. Crosley would change its name to Avco Broadcasting Corporation effective January 17, 1966.
On November 25, 1974, Avco announced that 20th Century Fox, through its United Television subsidiary, would be acquiring WOAI-TV. On December 11, 1974, coinciding with the station's 25th anniversary, WOAI-TV changed its call letters to KMOL-TV. The change was brought on by an FCC regulation in place at that time that prohibited non commonly-owned TV and radio stations in the same market from sharing the same base call sign. Avco had sold WOAI radio to local startup Clear Channel Communications earlier in 1974, and the radio station retained the WOAI call letters. The sale to Fox was completed on November 5, 1975, with the new owners officially taking control at 12:01 a.m. the following morning. Chris-Craft Industries gained majority ownership of United in 1981, merging the group with BHC Communications (the owners of KCOP in Los Angeles and KPTV in Portland, Oregon).
When KRRT (channel 35, now KMYS) dropped its affiliation with the United Paramount Network (UPN) to join The WB in January 1998, KMOL began carrying UPN programming during the overnight hours. At the time, Chris-Craft had owned a 50% interest in UPN. The UPN affiliation later moved to Fredericksburg-licensed KBEJ (channel 2, now MyNetworkTV affiliate KCWX), which signed on the air in August 2000.
On August 12, 2000, Chris-Craft Industries sold its television stations to the Fox Television Stations subsidiary of News Corporation for $5.5 billion. The deal was finalized on July 31, 2001. News Corporation then traded KMOL and sister station KTVX in Salt Lake City to Clear Channel in exchange for WFTC in Minneapolis. This tradeoff protected future sister station KABB (channel 29) from losing its Fox affiliation. Not only did the purchase reunite KMOL-TV with WOAI Radio, but channel 4 also became the television flagship of the San Antonio-based conglomerate. Speculation immediately began that Clear Channel would restore the heritage WOAI-TV call sign to channel 4. This officially occurred on September 1, 2002. Although Clear Channel's San Antonio radio cluster is located in Northwest San Antonio, off I-10, WOAI-TV remained based in its downtown studios on Navarro Street.
On November 16, 2006, after being bought by private equity firms, Clear Channel announced that it would sell all of its television stations. On April 20, 2007, Clear Channel sold its entire television group to Providence Equity Partners-controlled holding company Newport Television; the group deal was finalized on March 14, 2008. However, channel 4 continued a news partnership with its former radio sister, and the two stations continued to share a website for two years afterward.
In May 2008, Newport Television agreed to sell WOAI-TV and five other stations to High Plains Broadcasting because of ownership conflicts. Providence Equity Partners also holds a 19% ownership stake in Univision Communications, the owner of Univision owned-and-operated station KWEX-TV (channel 41) and Telefutura station KNIC-TV (channel 17). In the case of San Antonio, it would have given Providence Equity control of three stations in the market. Even without KNIC in the picture, both WOAI and KWEX were among the four highest-rated stations in the San Antonio market at the time of the Clear Channel sale (and remain so today). The FCC normally does not allow two of the four highest-rated stations to be owned by a single entity. The sale was finalized on September 15, 2008. However, the sale to High Plains Broadcasting was in name only. Newport continued to operate the station under a shared services agreement, with High Plains only holding the FCC assets of the station (including the license). This effectively made High Plains Broadcasting a front company for Newport Television in a relationship similar to that between Mission Broadcasting and Nexstar Broadcasting Group as well as between Cunningham Broadcasting (and later Deerfield Media) and the Sinclair Broadcast Group. On December 17, 2007, WOAI debuted a slightly altered logo.
On July 19, 2012, Newport Television/High Plains Broadcasting reached a deal to sell 22 of the company's 27 stations to Sinclair, Nexstar and Cox Media Group. WOAI-TV was among the six that would be sold to Sinclair, making it a sister station to Fox affiliate KABB (channel 29) and CW affiliate KMYS (channel 35). Since FCC duopoly regulations forbid common ownership of more than two full-power stations in a single market from being under the same ownership, Sinclair spun off KMYS to Deerfield Media; however, Sinclair retained control of KMYS through a shared services agreement. In addition, while FCC rules disallow ownership of two of the four highest-rated stations in the same market, which normally precludes duopolies involving two "Big Four" network affiliates, Sinclair cited in its FCC purchase application that WOAI ranked as the fourth highest-rated station (behind KWEX-DT) and KABB the fifth-rated station in the San Antonio market in total day viewership. The Sinclair and Deerfield Media deals were consummated on December 3, 2012. KTVX, which had been a sister station to WOAI-TV since United Television acquired both stations in 1975, was sold to Nexstar, resulting in the two stations coming under entirely separate ownership and management for the first time in over 37 years.
The operations of KABB and KMYS initially remained separate from WOAI-TV, with the two stations retaining competing news operations. On the morning on March 19, 2013, a fire started in offices located on the second floor of WOAI-TV's studios, which resulted in the evacuation of the station's staff and forcing channel 4 to carry the papal inauguration of Pope Francis from Vatican City for about six hours; with WOAI-TV unable to broadcast from the building, the station used a makeshift set in a nearby parking lot for that day's late afternoon newscasts, before temporarily moving to KABB/KMYS' facility on Babcock Road. Station and San Antonio Fire Department representatives cited an electrical short for causing the blaze. WOAI-TV moved back to the downtown facility on March 24. In October 2013, the San Antonio Express-News reported that Sinclair planned to move WOAI-TV's sales, promotions and executive offices from its Navarro Street studios to a new building adjacent to KABB and KMYS' shared facility; the transition of WOAI-TV employees to the KABB/KMYS complex was finalized in the summer of 2014, with the completion of a shared newsroom on the second floor of the building that accommodates both WOAI-TV and KABB's respective news staffs.
WOAI-TV carries the entire NBC programming schedule. However, the station airs several of the network's programs out of pattern: the fourth hour of Today airs on a one-hour delay from 11:00 a.m. to noon, and Late Night With Seth Meyers airs on a half-hour delay (starting at 12:07 a.m.); syndicated programs (as well as San Antonio Living) fill those programs' network-designated timeslots. Syndicated programs broadcast on WOAI-TV include Judge Judy, The Dr. Oz Show and Access Hollywood among others.
Outside of a delay of The CW's One Magnificent Morning block to early Monday mornings, WOAI-DT2 carries the entire CW programming schedule. Syndicated programs broadcast by WOAI-DT2 include The Wendy Williams Show, Maury, TMZ on TV, The People's Court and Jerry Springer.
WOAI-TV also produces the hour-long daytime talk show San Antonio Living, which airs weekday mornings at 10:00 a.m. On August 22, 2010, WOAI-TV announced that it would replace Live! with Regis and Kelly with Rachael Ray on September 13 in an effort to boost ratings for San Antonio Living. The announcement sparked controversy with many loyal viewers as Live had connections with San Antonio as original co-host Regis Philbin was a fan of the San Antonio Spurs NBA franchise and San Antonio was showcased during the Fiesta event in a 1991 episode. What is now Live with Kelly and Ryan returned to the market on KSAT in September 2011.
WOAI-TV presently broadcasts 27 hours, 25 minutes of locally produced newscasts each week (with 5 hours, 5 minutes each weekday and one hour each on Saturdays and Sundays); in addition, the station produces the half-hour sports highlight program Sports Sunday, which airs Sundays at 10:30 p.m. The station is branded as News 4 San Antonio, with the largest TV news operation in the city.
On September 16, 2009, WOAI-TV became the third television station in the San Antonio market (after KSAT and KENS) to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition; with the change, the station introduced a new set for its newscasts as well as a modified version of its "big 4" logo (which was altered to a red, white and black color scheme). It was the first (and presently, the only) television station in the market to provide news video from the field in true high definition, as WOAI upgraded its ENG vehicles, satellite truck, studio and field cameras and other equipment in order to broadcast news footage from the field in high definition, in addition to segments broadcast from the main studio.
On September 6, 2010, WOAI-TV expanded its 6:00 p.m. newscast to one hour, with the addition of a half-hour extension at 6:30 p.m. In 2011, the station's chief meteorologist, John Gerard (who announced his departure from WOAI in April 2014, to become the weekend meteorologist at CBS owned-and-operated station WFOR-TV in Miami), developed the "4-Zone Forecast"—a zonal forecast for four specific sub-regions of south Texas, compared to the broader regional forecasts for the area that are used by other local stations. In February 2012, WOAI introduced a storm chasing vehicle provided by Ancira, which is used during severe weather situations affecting south Texas. On January 25, 2016, WOAI debuted a half-hour noon newscast, which has now extended to a full hour.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|4.1||1080i||16:9||WOAI-DT||Main WOAI-TV programming / NBC|
|4.2||720p||CW||WOAI-DT2 / The CW|
WOAI-TV discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over VHF channel 4, on June 12, 2009, as part of the federally mandated transition from analog to digital television. The station's digital signal relocated its digital signal from its pre-transition UHF channel 58, which was among the high band UHF channels (52-69) that were removed from broadcasting use as a result of the transition, to UHF channel 48 for post-transition operations. WOAI-TV moved from RF channel 48 to RF channel 28 on June 21, 2019 as a result of the 2016 United States wireless spectrum auction.
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1950 page 300
- "WOAI-TV, Radio Stations Sold". San Antonio Light. May 28, 1965. p. 27.
- "FCC Okays Sale of WOAI". San Antonio Light. September 16, 1965. p. 14.
- "WOAI Radio, TV Sale Now Effective". San Antonio Light. October 28, 1965. p. 36.
- "Crosley Now Avco". The Cincinnati Enquirer. January 17, 1966. p. 41. Retrieved September 24, 2021.
- "WOAI-TV 'a Good One'". San Antonio Light. November 26, 1974. p. 2-C.
- "Channel Changes Letters". San Antonio Light. December 11, 1974. p. 6-B.
- "Agree to Sell Station". San Antonio Light. April 30, 1974. p. 7-C.
- "KMOL-TV Sale Reported". San Antonio Light. November 5, 1975. p. 20-A.
- Hofmeister, Sallie (August 12, 2000). "News Corp. to Buy Chris-Craft Parent for $5.5 Billion, Outbidding Viacom". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 23 March 2011.
- "Clear Channel agrees to sale". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Gannett Company. 2006-11-16. Retrieved 2006-11-17.
- "Clear Channel Agrees to Sell Television Station Group to Providence Equity Partners" (Press release). Clear Channel Communications. 2007-04-20. Archived from the original on April 25, 2007. Retrieved 2007-04-20.
- "Newport stations drift to High Plains". Television Business Report. 2008-05-21. Archived from the original on 2008-09-22. Retrieved 2008-09-28.
- "Application Search Details". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved 2008-09-28.
- Newport Sells 22 Stations For $1 Billion, TVNewsCheck, July 19, 2012.
- Jakle, Jeanne (December 5, 2012). "WOAI, KABB won't join forces". San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved December 12, 2012.
- WOAI-TV back on air 6 hours after fire, San Antonio Express News, March 19, 2013.
- WOAI Fire Likely Caused By Electrical Short, TVSpy, March 20, 2013.
- Home again! News staffers return to WOAI offices, San Antonio Express-News, March 24, 2013.
- WOAI, KABB to share home, news, San Antonio Express-News, May 20, 2013.
- KSAT anchors thrilled about new TV digs, San Antonio Express-News, October 22, 2013.
- "WOAI Programs". WOAI. WOAI.Com. Retrieved 2010-08-16.
- Changes cause day time shake up for local stations
- "News 4 WOAI is now in high definition". WOAI.com. 2009-09-16. Retrieved 2009-09-16.
- Jeanne Jakle: KMYS to nab youth market as new CW affiliate, San Antonio Express-News, August 18, 2010.
- WOAI-TV losing its weatherman, San Antonio Express-News, April 29, 2014.
- RabbitEars TV Query for WOAI
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and Second Rounds" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-08-29. Retrieved 2012-03-24.
- FCC TV spectrum Phase Assignment Table, FCC Incentive Auction Television Transition Data Files, April 13, 2017.