|Branding|| WDAM (general)|
News 7 (newscasts)
|Slogan|| The Pine Belt's Choice For News|
Seven On Your Side
|Channels|| Analog: 7 (VHF) |
Digital: 28 (UHF)
|Owner||Raycom Media, Inc.|
|Licensee||WDAM License Subsidiary, LLC|
|First air date||June 8, 1956|
|Call letters' meaning||David A Matison|
|Former channel number(s)||9 (1956-1959)|
|Former Affiliations|| Secondary:|
|Transmitter Power|| 316 kW (analog)|
79 kW (DT)
|Height|| 155 m (analog)|
128 m (DT)
|Website||News 7's Website|
WDAM-TV is the NBC affiliate station for southern Mississippi. Licensed to Laurel, it's studios & transmitter are located near Eastabuchie, a small community located in southern Jones County, midway between Laurel & Hattiesburg.
WDAM-TV, named for the initials of the original owner David A. Madison, signed-on June 8, 1956 airing an analog signal on VHF channel 9. At that time is carried both NBC and ABC. In September 1959, then licensed by South Mississippi Broadcasting, Inc., it moved from channel 9 to channel 7 to allow WAFB-TV in Baton Rouge, Louisiana to move from UHF channel 28 to VHF channel 9 and to protect Tupelo's WTWV (now WTVA) that also broadcast on channel 9. After moving to 7, the station was designated as serving the Laurel-Hattiesburg area. In 1962, WDAM dropped its secondary ABC affiliation to become a sole NBC affiliate. Service Broadcasters sold the station to Beam Communications in 1978, who later changed their name to Beacon Communications in 1989. Federal Broadcasting purchased the station in 1990.
WDAM was acquired by current owner Raycom Media in 1997. However, Raycom owned CBS affiliate WHLT at the time and had to sell it to Media General in order to comply with FCC duopoly rules.
In 2001, WDAM signed on it's DT signal on ch. 28. WDAM's General Manager is Jim Cameron.
Several members of it's staff have been with the station for an exceptionally long period of time. Bobby Smith has been @ the station since a week after it signed on. He was Chief Engineer for many years & continues to work in the Engineering department. Weathercaster Jim Gibbon was a staple of WDAM's morning & noon newscasts for 43 years until his retirement in March 2007; he died nearly 2 months later on April 25. News Director Randy Swan has been with the station for approximately 3 decades, leaving for only a brief period when he served in the same position with a station in the Greenwood/Greenville market. Swan's father, Jimmy Swan, was a well known radio personality & country/bluegrass singer/bandleader during the late 1950s & '60s who also ran for governor.
ABC TV's Good Morning America co-host Robin Roberts was a sports anchor @ WDAM in the early 1980s.
Gulf Coast Edit
Throughout much of it's history & to a lesser extent today, WDAM carried many of the same syndicated programs as nearby WLOX, frustrating many rural viewers without cable or long-range antenna equipment. While WLOX serves the Mississippi Gulf Coast, it's signal almost completely covers WDAM's market area. By comparison, WDAM's signal barely reaches the 3 coastal counties that make up WLOX's primary service area.
As a result of this, cable systems on the Mississippi Gulf Coast opt for New Orleans' WDSU or Mobile's WPMI instead, despite the fact that even those stations have spotty or non-existent coverage in the area.
Both WDAM & WLOX are now owned by Raycom Media.