|New York, New York|
|Branding|| ABC 7 (general)|
Channel 7 Eyewitness News (newscasts)
|Slogan||Number One in New York|
|Channels|| Analog: 7 (VHF) |
Digital: 45 (UHF)
|Licensee||American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.|
|First air date||August 10, 1948|
|Call letters' meaning|| W |
|Former callsigns||WJZ-TV (1948-1953)|
|Transmitter Power|| 123 kW (analog)|
219 kW (digital)
|Height|| 405 m (analog)|
397 m (digital)
|Website||ABC 7's Website|
WABC-TV, ch. 7, is the flagship station of the Walt Disney Company-owned ABC, located in New York City. WABC-TV is best known in broadcasting circles for it's highly successful version of the Eyewitness News format & for it's morning show Live with Regis and Kelly, syndicated nationally by corporate cousin Disney-ABC Domestic Television.
In the few areas of the eastern United States where ABC programming is not available over-the-air, WABC-TV is seen via satellite through DirecTV. As of March 4 2009, WABC is once again available on Dish Network as part of All American Direct's distant network package.
The station signed on August 10, 1948 as WJZ-TV, the first of 3 TV stations signed-on by ABC during that same year, with WENR-TV (now WLS-TV) in Chicago & WXYZ-TV in Detroit being the other 2. Ch. 7's call letters came from it's then-sister radio station, WJZ (770 AM, now WABC). In it's early years, WJZ-TV was programmed like an independent station, as the ABC TV network was still, for the most part, in the planning stages; the ABC-owned stations did air common programming during this period. The call letters were changed to WABC-TV on March 1 1953, after ABC merged it's operations with United Paramount Theaters, a firm which was broken-off from former parent company Paramount Pictures by decree of the U.S. government. The WJZ callsign has since been reassigned to the CBS owned station in Baltimore, Maryland, although that station was a former ABC affiliate by coincidence until 1995.
On September 11 2001, the transmitter facilities of WABC-TV, as well as 8 other local TV stations & several radio stations, were destroyed when 2 hijacked airplanes crashed into & destroyed the World Trade Center towers. In the immediate aftermath, WABC-TV fed it's signal to several UHF stations that were still broadcasting (notably WNYE-TV), before establishing temporary facilities in Alpine, New Jersey. The station eventually established transmission facilities @ the Empire State Building.
Studio Fire Edit
On May 27 2007, WABC-TV's studios suffered major damage as the result of a fire that knocked the station off the air shortly before the start of the 11 PM newscast. According to preliminary reports, the fire may have been ignited by a spotlight coming into contact with a curtain inside the news studio; the WABC-TV website later reported the cause as an "electrical malfunction". The station's building was evacuated & the fire was brought under control, though there is said to have been "extensive damage", including smoke & water damage, to the studio. WABC-TV resumed broadcasting @ around 1 AM on May 28, 2007.
Due to the fire, Ch. 7 broadcasted Eyewitness News from the newsroom's update desk, while Live with Regis & Kelly, whose set was also affected, shared a studio with Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. Starting with the 5 PM newscast on June 20 2007, the station resumed Eyewitness News & Live... broadcasts from their main studios.
The station's DT channel is multiplexed:
WABC-DT broadcasts a multiplexed signal on DT ch. 45
|7.1||WABC-DT||720p||16:9||Main WABC-TV/ABC programming|
|7.3||WABC-DT3||480i||4:3||Eyewitness News Now|
Analog-to-DT conversion Edit
After the DTV transition in the United States scheduled for June 12, 2009 (previously February 17), WABC-DT will move to the VHF ch. 7 assignment vacated by WABC-TV. Post-transition WABC-DT, WPIX-DT & WNET-DT will no longer be part of Empire UHF Master Antenna system, as they will all move to their pre-transition VHF allotment.
WABC-TV is best known for popularizing the Eyewitness News format, in which reporters present their stories directly to the viewers. News director Al Primo brought the format to WABC-TV in 1968 from KYW-TV in Philadelphia, but added a twist - a degree of conversational chatter among the anchors, known as "happy talk". Primo used the "Tar Sequence" cue from the musical score from the 1967 film Cool Hand Luke, composed by Lalo Schifrin, as the theme music. The score included a telegraphic-like melody appropriate for a newscast. Both the Eyewitness News format & theme music were quickly adopted by 3 of ABC's other large market O&O stations - WLS-TV in Chicago, KABC-TV in Los Angeles & KGO-TV in San Francisco.
The format quickly rejuvenated a station that had long been an also-ran to WCBS-TV & WNBC. Within a year, ch. 7 had shot to 1st place in the ratings for the 1st time in it's history, displacing longtime leader WCBS-TV. It spent most of the decade going back & forth with WCBS-TV for 1st place. For a time in the 1980s, it fell into last place, but still fought with WNBC-TV for 2nd place. In 1985, the station lured WLS-TV's news director, Bill Applegate, from Chicago to New York. Applegate had claimed credit for taking WLS-TV from last to 1st in only 2 years, (with much help from Oprah Winfrey & the heritage anchors whom this then-boss, Dennis Swanson, lured to the fold) & ABC hoped he could work the same magic @ the flagship station. Their hopes were rewarded in 1987, when ch. 7 surged back into 1st place. It has been the ratings leader in New York since then & has grown to become the most watched broadcast TV station in the United States.
For 18 years, Roger Grimsby was the face of Eyewitness News. He was known for his opening tagline, "Good Evening, I'm Roger Grimsby, hear now the news" & his closing line, "Hoping your news is good news, I'm Roger Grimsby". His April 16, 1986 firing by Applegate drew considerable fire & he was quickly hired by rival WNBC-TV. His most famous partner @ the anchor desk was Bill Beutel, who had previously anchored @ ch. 7 from 1962-1968, before spending 2 years as the network's London bureau chief. Beutel stepped down from the anchor desk in 2001, 2 years before his retirement, which concluded the longest tenure for a main anchor in New York TV history.
While banter among anchors is still part of the 5 AM & Noon weekday broadcasts, the modern-day Eyewitness News has abandoned much of the chattiness of it's predecessors. WABC's news department is respected for it's straight-forward presentation (especially during breaking news). For the last decade, it has waged a spirited battle for 1st place with WNBC, but for most of the time has held onto the lead, helped in part by lead-ins from highly-rated talk & entertainment shows. Since December 1986, the 5 PM Eyewitness News lead-in has been The Oprah Winfrey Show @ 4 PM & it's strong ratings helps the 5 PM newscast.
WABC-TV cooperates with sister station WPVI-TV in Philadelphia - popularizer of the Action News format - in the production & broadcast of statewide New Jersey political debates. When the 2 stations broadcast a statewide office debate, such as for governor or U.S. Senate, they will pool resources & have anchors or reporters from both stations participate in the debate. Additionally, the 2 stations cooperate in coverage of news from New Jersey where their markets overlap, sharing reporters, live trucks & helicopters.
Eyewitness News airs 4 1/2 hours daily, 3 hours on Saturdays & 4 hours on Sunday. The newscasts are replayed on 1 of ch. 7's DT subchannels, which also carries a local weather & news channel. WABC-TV's website has a link for live streaming video of "Eyewitness News Now", which offers live local & national weather updated from AccuWeather. Local news headlines & updates are also provided. The format of "Eyewitness News Now" is similar to NBC Wx+.
On December 2 2006, WABC-TV began broadcasting newscasts in HD, becoming the 2nd station in the New York market to do so.
- Sade Baderinwa - weeknights @ 5 PM
- Sandra Bookman - weekend evenings
- Michelle Charlesworth - weekend mornings
- Liz Cho - weeknights @ 6 & 11 PM
- Phil Lipof - weekend mornings
- Bill Ritter - weeknights @ 6 & 11 PM
- Ken Rosato - weekday mornings & @ Noon
- Lori Stokes - weekday mornings & @ Noon
- Joe Torres - weekend evenings/host of Tiempo
- Diana Williams - weeknights @ 5 PM/host of Up Close with Diana Williams
- Bill Evans - weekday morning & noon meteorologist
- Lee Goldberg - chief/weeknight meteorologist
- Heidi Jones - weekend evening meteorologist
- Jeff Smith - weekend morning meteorologist
- Scott Clark - sports director/weeknights
- Marvell Scott - reporter/weekend evenings/weekday mornings
- Jessica Taff - reporter/weekend mornings
- Gil Noble - host of Like It Is
- Dr. Jay Adlersberg (Medical)
- NJ Burkett
- Michelle Charlesworth
- Lisa Colagrossi
- Lauren DeFranco (Long Island)
- Jim Dolan
- Dave Evans (Political)
- Tim Fleischer
- Lauren Glassberg (Features)
- Jim Hoffer (Investigative)
- Anthony Johnson (New Jersey)
- Sandy Kenyon (entertainment)
- Carolina Leid
- Jen Maxfield
- Art McFarland (Education)
- Jeff Pegues
- Tappy Phillips (Consumer)
- Nina Pineda
- Kemberly Richardson
- Jamie Roth
- Stacey Sager
- Emily Smith (Long Island)
- Marcus Solis (Westchester)
- Sarah Wallace (Investigative)
- Lucy Yang
- Toni Yates (New Jersey)
- John Del Giorno (News Copter 7 HD)
- Shannon Sohn (News Copter 7 HD)
- Ed Hues (News Copter 7 HD)
- John Daly with World News (1953-1956)
- John Cameron Swayze & the News (1956-1962)
- The Big News (1962-1965)
- Channel 7 News (1965-1968)
- Channel 7 Eyewitness News (1968-present)
- ABC 7 Eyewitness News (1998-present, secondary)
Other news musicEdit
In 1984, the station started using News Series 2000, an updated version of the original Cool Hand Luke theme by Frank Gari, that had been originally commissioned by WLS-TV. The original Cool Hand Luke scores returned for a time from 1986 through 1988. In 1993, Schifrin raised his royalties for using his theme & it's variations to a level that effectively priced it out of the local news market (though Australia's Nine Network still uses cuts from that theme). Gari was commissioned by WABC-TV to compose a new music package called "Eyewitness News". This package, based slightly on Cool Hand Luke, has been updated several times. WABC-TV currently uses the "Series 4" version, which was specifically updated for the station.
Movie umbrella titlesEdit
- The Night Show (1956–1963)
- The Best of Broadway (1963–1969)
- The Big Show (1963–1966, 1968–1969)
- The 6 O'Clock Movie (1966–1968)
- The 4:30 Movie (1969–1981)
- Saturday/Sunday Night Movie (1969–1987)
- Prize Movie (1969–1973)
- The Morning Movie (1973–1977)
- The Movie in the Morning (1977–1983)
- Spring Cinema (1983)
- The Movie Matinee (1969–1979)
- Channel 7 Late Movie (1979–1998, primary, 2004-present, secondary)
- ABC 7 Late Movie (1998–present, primary)
News Music PackagesEdit
- Cool Hand Luke - The Tar Sequence
- On Your Side
- News Series 2000
- Cool Hand Luke - The Tar Sequence
- Eyewitness News
The original WABC-TV offices were located @ 77 West 66th Street, with studios @ 7 West 66th Street. There was an underground tunnel that links ABC studios @ 7 West 66th Street to the lobby of the Hotel des Artistes, a block north on West 67th Street. There was another studio inside the Hotel des Artistes that was used for Eyewitness News Conference.
As part of ABC's expansion program, initiated in 1977, ABC built 7 Lincoln Square on the southeast corner of West 67th Street & Columbus Avenue, on a site of an abandoned moving & storage warehouse. At about the same time, construction was started @ 30 West 67th Street, on the site of a former parking lot. Both buildings were completed in June 1979 & WABC-TV moved their offices from 77 West 66th Street to 7 Lincoln Square.
Live with Regis & KellyEdit
WABC-TV also produces the nationally syndicated talk show Live with Regis & Kelly, broadcast live @ 9 AM (Eastern time). The program originates in the same ground-floor studio @ 7 Lincoln Square as Eyewitness News, thus creating a situation which forces local news updates broadcast during Good Morning America & Live to be produced from the WABC-TV newsroom & the morning show's presence also limits the size of the Eyewitness News set (WNBC & WCBS-TV have comparatively large sets).
The show began as a local morning show in 1983, aptly titled The Morning Show (using the "Circle 7" logo in the actual text for 1 of the "o"s) & was originally hosted by Regis Philbin & Cyndy Garvey. In 1985, Kathie Lee Johnson (who would marry Frank Gifford a year later) became Philbin's co-host. Buena Vista Television (now Disney-ABC Domestic Television) began syndicating the show in 1988 as Live with Regis & Kathie Lee. Kathie Lee left the show in 2000 & was eventually replaced by current host Kelly Ripa. The franchise celebrated it's 25th anniversary in 2008.