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WVIR-TV, virtual channel 29 (UHF digital channel 32), is an NBC-affiliated television station licensed to Charlottesville, Virginia, United States The station is owned by Waterman Broadcasting. WVIR-TV's studios are located on East Market Street (US 250 Bus) in downtown Charlottesville, and its transmitter is located on Carters Mountain south of the city.

WVIR-DT3 (CW 29) logo.png
Charlottesville/Harrisonburg, Virginia
United States
CityCharlottesville, Virginia
BrandingNBC 29 (general)
NBC 29 HD News
CW 29 (on DT3)
SloganCount on Us!
ChannelsDigital: 32 (UHF)
(to move to 2 (VHF))
Virtual: 29 (PSIP)
TranslatorsSee below
Affiliations29.1: NBC
29.2: WeatherNation TV
29.3: CW+
OwnerWaterman Broadcasting
(sale to Gray Television pending)
(Virginia Broadcasting, LLC)
First air dateMarch 11, 1973 (46 years ago) (1973-03-11)
Call letters' meaningVIRginia
Former channel number(s)Analog:
29 (UHF, 1973–2009)
Former affiliationsDT2:
NBC WX+ (2007–2008)
Transmitter power1,000 kW
5.47 kW (CP)
Height367.9 m (1,207 ft)
Facility ID70309
Transmitter coordinates37°59′2″N 78°28′53″W / 37.98389°N 78.48139°W / 37.98389; -78.48139
Licensing authorityFCC
Public license informationProfile

WVIR also serves as the NBC affiliate for the Harrisonburg/Staunton market, which does not have an NBC station of its own; it operates two translators to cover the market's core cities.



Prior to WVIR's sign-on, the first permittee for channel 29 was the Charlottesville Broadcasting Corporation, owners of WINA radio (1070 AM and then-95.3 FM). Charlottesville Broadcasting obtained the permit in 1965; after two extensions, all plans to put channel 29 on the air under the callsign WINA-TV were abandoned in 1969. WVIR, which had held a permit for channel 64 since 1964, then took the opportunity to move to the lower channel. [1]

WVIR signed-on March 11, 1973 as the first television station based in Charlottesville and second outlet (after WHSV-TV) between Richmond and Roanoke. In 1986, Waterman Broadcasting purchased the station. Until August 15, 2004, it was the only full-power commercial outlet in the Charlottesville market affiliated with a major network with outside stations being seen on cable and over-the-air. On that date, WCAV (channel 19) signed-on becoming the area's first CBS affiliate and first station to mount a challenge against WVIR.

As part of the analog nightlight service, the station was required by the FCC to leave its analog signal on-air for two months after the end of digital transition at an estimated cost to the station of $20,000 to broadcast an endless loop of instructional video on digital converter box installation. This was interrupted daily to carry local newscasts.[2]

Every year, WVIR holds an annual telethon to help raise money for University of Virginia Health System's Children's Hospital. The telethon, as part of the Children's Miracle Network, is held at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. The broadcast consists of current and former WVIR on-air staff answering phones and talking to patients at the hospital.

WVIR is a sister station to fellow NBC affiliate WBBH-TV (company flagship) and ABC affiliate WZVN-TV (operated by Waterman through LMA) in Fort Myers, Florida.

WVIR entered the 2016-17 spectrum reallocation auction, electing to take $46,399,285 for its channel 32 allocation and move to the low-VHF band (channels 2 through 6).[3] The station must move its signal from channel 32 to channel 2 by September 6, 2019. Chief engineer Bob Jenkins noted that the station was not particularly happy with moving to channel 2, but chose it over entering a channel-sharing agreement with another station.[4] WVIR is one of seventeen stations to move from another band to low-VHF; it and WHDF (Florence, Alabama) are the only commercial major-network affiliates.[5] Channels 2 through 6 were desirable for analog television, but are not widely used for digital television due to difficult indoor reception.

Waterman announced a deal to sell WVIR-TV to Gray Television on March 4, 2019. Gray already owned rival WCAV and ABC affiliate WVAW-LD (channel 16), which will be concurrently sold to Lockwood Broadcast Group. WVIR would become a sister station to Fox affiliate WAHU-CD (channel 27), which was not included in the sale and will be retained by Gray.[6][7] The sale was approved on April 15.[8]

Digital televisionEdit

Digital channelsEdit

The station's digital signal is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[9]
29.1 1080i 16:9 NBC29HD Main WVIR-TV programming / NBC
29.2 480i NBC29WP WeatherNation TV
29.3 720p CW 29 CW 29

On September 18, 2006, this channel launched a new second digital subchannel to be the area's CW affiliate. On September 13, 2007, WVIR began offering NBC Weather Plus on that digital subchannel resulting in The CW moving to a new third subchannel. WVIR-DT3 often pre-empts programming from The CW Plus in order to air local shows. In December 2008, the national Weather Plus feed on 29.2 was shut down and a local weather channel programmed by WVIR was added in its place until March 30, 2015 when it became the newest affiliate of WeatherNation TV.[10]

On October 17, 2012 WVIR-DT3 upgraded to 720p HD.

Analog-to-digital conversionEdit

WVIR-TV shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 29, at 12:30 p.m. on February 17, 2009, the original target date in which full-power television stations in the United States were to transition from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate (which was later pushed back to June 12, 2009). The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 32.[11][12] Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 29.


In addition to the main signal, WVIR can be seen on two digital translators. Both are located in the neighboring Harrisonburg/Staunton market, which lacks its own NBC affiliate.

Call letters Channel City of license Transmitter location
W22EX-D 22 Staunton Elliott Knob
W30CT-D 30 Harrisonburg Massanutten Peak


Syndicated programming on the station includes Wheel of Fortune, Live with Kelly and Ryan, Jeopardy! and Dr. Phil.

News operationEdit

WVIR's news department covers both the immediate Charlottesville region and the Shenandoah Valley. In addition to its main studios, WVIR operates a bureau in The News Virginian newsroom (owned by BH Media) in Waynesboro and a sales office in Staunton. Newscasts on WVIR's primary channel have been broadcast in HD since April 2008.

Although the station does not operate a weather radar of its own, WVIR features live NOAA National Weather Service radar data from several regional sites. This is presented in a forecasting system on-air known as "Storm Team 29 Live Triple Doppler". It also offers local weather to computer users via the WeatherBug service. All weekday broadcasts except the prime time news at 10 are streamed live on WVIR's website. In September 2011, NBC29 News at Sunrise was extended which now airs from 4:30 a.m. to 7 a.m.

Two newscasts air on WVIR-DT3, the nationally syndicated morning show The Daily Buzz on weekday mornings from 6 until 9, and a locally originated 10 p.m. newscast branded as NBC 29 News at 10 that largely mirrors content shown on the primary channel.

Notable alumniEdit


  1. ^ 1967 Television Factbook (PDF) (37th ed.). pp. 142-a.
  2. ^ Area stations to switch to digital on Tuesday, Brian McNeill, Charlottesville Daily Progress, February 14, 2009
  3. ^ "FCC Broadcast Television Spectrum Incentive Auction 1001 Winning Bids" (PDF).
  4. ^ "Broadcasters Face Complex Repack". TvTechnology.
  5. ^ "Repack Plan". RabbitEars.
  6. ^ Staff (March 4, 2019). "Gray Television to acquire NBC 29 from Waterman Broadcasting". The Daily Progress.
  7. ^ "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.
  8. ^ "Notice of Consent to Assignment","CDBS Public Access", Federal Communications Commission, 15 April 2019, Retrieved 17 April 2017.
  9. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WVIR
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-08-29. Retrieved 2012-03-24.

External linksEdit