WTVY is a dual CBS/MyNetworkTV-affiliated television station licensed to Dothan, Alabama, United States and serving the Wiregrass Region of southeastern Alabama. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 36 (or virtual channel 4 via PSIP) from a transmitter in Bethlehem, Florida (in the Panama City market). Owned by Gray Television, it is a sister station to low-powered dual NBC/CW+ affiliate WRGX-LD (channel 23). The two outlets share studios on North Foster Street in downtown Dothan.
|Branding||WTVY News 4|
My 4 (DT2)
Dothan's CW (DT3)
|Slogan||Your Hometown News Leader|
|Channels||Digital: 36 (UHF)|
Virtual: 4 (PSIP)
4.3: CW+ (simulcast of WRGX-LD2)
4.4: NBC (simulcast of WRGX-LD)
(Gray Television Licensee, LLC)
|First air date||February 12, 1955|
|Sister station(s)||WRGX-LD, WJHG-TV, WECP-LD, WCTV|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:|
9 (VHF, 1955–1960)
4 (VHF, 1960–2009)
|Former affiliations||NTA (secondary, 1956–1961)|
UPN (DT2, 2005–2006)
|Transmitter power||1,000 kW|
|Height||564.3 m (1,851 ft)|
|Public license information||Profile|
WTVY is used to provide full-market over-the-air coverage of WRGX-LD1 (simulcast over WTVY-DT4) and WRGX-LD2 (simulcast over WTVY-DT3); however, these simulcasts are not presently in high definition.
WTVY's first broadcast was on February 12, 1955, originally on channel 9, as a CBS affiliate. During the late-1950s, the station was also briefly affiliated with the NTA Film Network. In a massive reallocation of signals in Alabama and Georgia mandated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to minimize signal interference, the station moved to channel 4 on November 2, 1960.
At the time of the reallocation, WTVY also moved to new studios with a 1,209-foot (369 m) tower in Webb, five miles (8 km) east of Dothan. At the time, the tower was the tallest structure in the state of Alabama. WTVY-FM still utilizes the tower to transmit its signal. In the early-1970s, WTVY became one of the first stations in the country to broadcast 24 hours a day.
In 1978, WTVY moved to its current 1,847-foot (563 m) (height above ground) tower in Bethlehem (28 miles (45 km) southwest of Dothan). The tower is the tallest structure in the state of Florida. The tower is so tall that on clear nights the strobe warning lights on the tower have been seen as far as 50 miles (80 km) away in certain locations. The move was made in part to improve its signal in Panama City and along the Florida Gulf Coast, where it had been the default CBS affiliate since 1961.
The new tower gave WTVY one of the largest coverage areas in the Southeastern United States. It provides at least grade B coverage as far east as the Florida side of the Mobile/Pensacola market (including Fort Walton Beach and Destin) and as far northwest as the fringes of the Montgomery market.
In 1993, WTVY moved its studios to the historic Houston Hotel building in downtown Dothan (now known as the Woods Building) and operates on the first two floors. The news studio is actually located in what used to be the grand ballroom of the hotel. The building is tall enough (eight stories) that the station's studio-to-transmitter microwave dish is located on top of the building, not requiring a smaller tower to be built on the property.
For many years Charles Woods, a perennial aspirant to the governorship of Alabama and occasional minor-party presidential candidate, owned WTVY via Woods Communications Group; it is not to be confused with Woods Communications Corporation, a company owned by his son David Woods that owns WCOV-TV in Montgomery and formerly owned WDFX-TV in Dothan. In the early 1990s ownership of WTVY was transferred to Chemical Bank and operated under the corporate name of Dothan Holdings, LLC. Benedek Broadcasting bought WTVY from Chemical Bank/Dothan Holdings in 1995 for a price of $28 million. WTVY was one of the Benedek stations that was purchased by Gray Television in 2002.
For much of its history, WTVY was the designated CBS affiliate for the Panama City market where Gray also owns that city's NBC affiliate, WJHG-TV. In exchange, WJHG had long been available in Dothan on cable since the area did not have its own NBC affiliate. In fact, WTVY's transmitter is located in the Panama City market even though it is only 28 miles (45 km) from Dothan. This status ended on September 24, 2012 when Gray launched WECP-LD as a Panama City-based CBS affiliate. However, most cable systems in that market continued to carry WTVY in lieu of WECP until October when the latter replaced WTVY on area systems. Gray likewise launched WRGX-LD as a Dothan-based NBC affiliate on June 1, 2013 replacing WJHG and Montgomery's WSFA on area cable systems.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP short name||Programming |
|4.1||1080i||16:9||WTVY-DT||Main WTVY programming / CBS|
|4.2||480i||WTVY-MY||MyNetworkTV & MeTV|
|4.3||WTVY-CW||Simulcast of WRGX-LD2 / Dothan's CW|
|4.4||WRGXNBC||Simulcast of WRGX-LD1 / NBC|
Syndicated programming includes Wheel of Fortune, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Rachael Ray, and Live with Kelly and Ryan among others. Wheel's sister game show, Jeopardy!, airs on NBC-affiliated WRGX, making Dothan one of the few markets to air both shows on separate stations. When Panama City relied on WTVY for a CBS station, all syndicated programming that was duplicated on WJHG and ABC outlet WMBB was still shown on WTVY on Panama City's cable systems. This is in contrast to SyndEx laws which gives local stations the option to restrict importing of syndicated programming that is already available on an in-market station. After WECP replaced WTVY, the former station is able to air shows that WJHG cannot and does not have to rely on an out-of-market station to fill an affiliation slot.
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WTVY has historically been a ratings powerhouse in the Wiregrass Region winning every time slot. This is partly because its only local competition, ABC affiliate WDHN, has a coverage area only half as large and does not produce newscasts on weekends. Although Fox outlet WDFX-TV also airs local news, most coverage focuses on other areas of Alabama (it simulcasts a weekday morning show from WBRC in Birmingham; there is also an hour-long weekday program at 4 p.m. and a nightly half-hour prime time newscast at 9 p.m. from WSFA in Montgomery). During the prime time broadcast on WDFX, there is limited coverage of the Wiregrass provided by WSFA reporters based in Dothan.
On weekdays, WTVY produces two thirty-minute newscasts (at 4 and 5:30 p.m.) that are exclusive to WRGX. As a result, the NBC station airs NBC Nightly News on tape delay at 6 p.m. unlike most NBC outlets in the Central Time Zone. The WRGX news programs broadcast from a secondary set at the North Foster Street facility. Although it features additional reporters from WTVY, the NBC station maintains separate news anchors and a meteorologist. It does not simulcast any newscasts from WTVY.
Since WJHG and WTVY had traditionally been available on cable in both Dothan and Panama City, and since both stations have the same ownership, WJHG has run WTVY stories that take place in those parts of northwestern Florida that are in northern part of the Panama City market. Meanwhile, WTVY has run WJHG stories focusing on Panama City and the coast. Sometimes, WTVY will run its own stories on Panama City that WJHG did not cover.
The building that WTVY broadcasts from in Downtown Dothan also has a Doppler weather radar dome that is specifically made for the station. On June 4, 2012, WTVY became the first station in the Dothan market to broadcast local newscasts in high definition. One notable former personality of WTVY is Mitch English who was a weather anchor and news reporter at the station. He was a co-host of the nationally syndicated weekday morning show, The Daily Buzz, from 2002 until 2012.
- RabbitEars TV Query for WTVY
- RabbitEars TV Query for WRGX-LD
- "Require Prime Evening Time for NTA Films", Boxoffice: 13, November 10, 1956, archived from the original on June 14, 2009
- Dothan Eagle, Nov. 1, 1960, pg. 9
- "New CBS station on air Monday". Panama City News-Herald. September 22, 2012. Retrieved January 9, 2019.
- Helgoth, Ali (July 17, 2012). "CBS station to go on air in Bay County". Panama City News-Herald. Panama City, FL. Archived from the original on July 20, 2012. Retrieved January 9, 2019.
- Phillips, Greg (May 6, 2013). "Dothan getting NBC affiliate". Dothan Eagle. Retrieved May 13, 2013.