|Columbia, South Carolina|
|Slogan||On Your Side|
|Channels|| Analog: 19 (UHF) |
Digital: 17 (UHF)
|Subchannels|| 19.1 HD|
19.3 News19 WeatherNOW
|Owner||Gannett Company, Inc.|
|Licensee||Pacific & Southern Company, Inc.|
|First air date||September 1, 1953|
|Call letters' meaning|| Lewis Television|
(former owner, used same callsign format for other stations, such as WLTZ)
|Former callsigns||WNOK-TV (1953-1977)|
|Former channel number(s)||67 (1953-1961)|
|Former Affiliations|| Both secondary:|
|Transmitter Power|| 5000 kW (analog)|
1000 kW (DT)
|Height|| 533 m (analog)|
499.8 m (DT)
|Website||News 19 WLTX's Website|
WLTX, is the CBS TV affiliate based in Columbia, South Carolina, broadcasting on Analog ch. 19 & DT ch. 17. It's broadcast transmitter tower is located in Lugoff, South Carolina.
WLTX is the 2nd oldest continuously operating TV station in South Carolina, having begun on September 1, 1953 as WNOK-TV. It signed on 2 months ahead of Columbia's WIS-TV & originally broadcast on ch. 67. It has always been a CBS affiliate, but carried a secondary DuMont affiliation until that network's demise in 1955. It's studios were located in the Jefferson Hotel in downtown Columbia, along with WNOK radio (1230 AM & 104.7 FM). It moved to the much stronger ch. 19 on June 30, 1961.
In June 1967, WNOK-AM-FM-TV moved to a new studio on Garners Ferry Road, 5 miles east of downtown Columbia & 1 mile from I-77 & the University of South Carolina School of Medicine. In 1977, WNOK-TV was sold to Lewis Broadcasting & became the present WLTX.
Historically, ch. 19 has been a very distant 2nd to long-dominant WIS, especially in news programming. Part of the problem was a weak signal. The Columbia market is a fairly large market geographically & @ 1st, UHF stations were not strong enough to cover large areas. Although ch. 19 decently covered Columbia & it's close-in suburbs, it was practically unviewable in the outlying areas of the market. Until cable TV arrived in the Columbia area in the 1970s, viewers in the outlying portions of the market had to rely on grade B signals from WRDW-TV in Augusta or WBTV in Charlotte. However, in 1985, WLTX activated a new tall tower in Lugoff that nearly doubled the station's signal & expanded it's over-the-air coverage to 24 counties.
During the 1980s & early 1990s, WLTX (later followed by Columbia's ABC affiliate, WOLO-TV) aired reruns of old sitcoms instead of local news @ 11 PM. Management @ the time felt that it could not hope to compete with WIS, even with a taller tower. WLTX began a 5-minute late newscast in 1993 & expanded to a full 35-minute newscast in 1995.
The loss of NFL broadcast rights to FOX in 1994 cost CBS & WLTX major revenue sources as advertising rates suffered because of the loss of ratings. From 1995 until 1998, WLTX was a secondary UPN affiliate, airing that network's programming on weekend afternoons when CBS had only limited sports programming.
In 1998, the current owner, Gannett, purchased WLTX from Lewis. Gannett invested heavily in making WLTX competitive against the traditionally dominant WIS, building a new set & hiring new station management & news talent. Soon after taking control, Gannett hired Jim Gandy, long-time meteorologist @ WIS. While Gandy initially could not appear on the air in Columbia until the expiration of a 1-year non-compete agreement, Gannett used him as a consultant in Columbia & substitute weathercaster @ the company's other stations, including WXIA-TV in Atlanta & WUSA-TV in Washington, D. C.
Gannett also created new segments such as "On Your Side", "Restaurant Report Card" & "Big Money Monday." In 2001, WLTX added a 7 PM newscast to it's lineup, competing head-on against WIS' flagship news program. In 2002, WLTX became the flagship broadcaster of the South Carolina Education Lottery. J.R. Berry & Darci Strickland, the popular morning news duo @ WLTX, also became the evening news anchors that year. Also in the early 1990's, WLTX launched a weekly program titled "News 19: Player of the Week". This program recognized high school student athletes accomplishments in the classroom & on the fields. Ray Allen, now of the Boston Celtics, won the award several times while playing @ Hillcrest High School (now Middle School) in Dalzell.
Currently, WLTX is the ratings leader @ noon, having CBS' strong daytime lineup as a lead-in. It regularly trades the lead in the early-morning timeslot with WIS. While it still trails WIS @ 5, 6, 7 & 11 PM by a considerable margin, it has been far more competitive with WIS than it has been in years. In the May 2007 books, WLTX continued to win it's newscast @ noon as well as winning the 1st half-hour of the morning news program. It stayed 2nd behind WIS on all the other newscasts & lost the key demographics that it had during the 11 PM news in February.
In May 2002, WLTX was the 1st commercial station in Columbia to broadcast in DT. It has been able to take advantage of the multi-casting & HD broadcasting technology to air various special events, including the Super Bowl & the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. It broadcasts it's own 24/7 Local Wx channel on DT ch. 19-3 & on Time Warner Cable ch. 812. However, it's newscasts are not yet broadcast in HD.
WLTX launched a new 5 PM newscast on August 20, 2007 titled "News 19: Friends @ 5". The new newscast features Darci Strickland, Andrea Mock & Chief Meteorologist Jim Gandy. On June 23rd 2008, "Friends @ 5" won the Southeast Regional Emmy Award for it's innovative approach to connecting with viewers. Their 11 PM newscast also won an Emmy Award for "Best Newscast" for the 2nd year in a row.
Their website "wltx.com" is currently the #1 local website in that area.
WLTX runs syndicated programs such as The Andy Griffith Show, The Tyra Banks Show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, Without A Trace & Cold Case
- News 19 Morning Show: 5-7 AM
- News 19 @ Noon: 12-12:30 PM
- News 19's Friends @ 5: 5-6 PM
- News 19 @ 6: 6-6:30 PM
- News 19 @ 7: 7-7:30 PM
- News 19 @ 11: 11-11:35 PM
- News 19 @ 6: 6-6:30 PM
- News 19 @ 11: 11-11:30 PM
- Curtis Wilson - Morning Anchor @ 5 AM (since 2002)
- Nat Roers - Morning Anchor @ 5 AM & Noon (since January 2005)
- J.R. Berry - Evening Anchor @ 6, 7 & 11 PM (since 1990)
- Darci Strickland - Evening Anchor for "Friends @ 5", 6 & 7 PM (since 1997)
- Andrea Mock - Evening Anchor for "Friends @ 5" & 11 PM (since 2007)
- Jennifer Tomazic - Reporter/Weekend Anchor @ 6 & 11 PM (since 2006)
- Ashleigh Walters - Education Reporter (since March 2008)
- Sharie Harvin - Reporter (since April 2007)
- Jerome Collins - On Your Side Reporter (since October 2007)
- Sydney Cummins - Reporter (since November 2007)
- Michael Benning - Reporter (since June 2008)
- Ashley Yore - Reporter (since July 2008)
- Scott Ryan - AMS Morning Meteorologist @ 5 AM & Noon (since April 2002)
- Jim Gandy - AMS Chief Meteorologist for "Friends @ 5", 6, 7 & 11 PM (since December 1999)
- Daniel Bonds - Meteorologist
- Lewis Turner - Weekend Weather Anchor (rejoined in 2008)
- Bob Shields - Sports Director/Weekday Sports Anchor @ 6 & 11 PM (since 1981)
- Reggie Anderson - Sports Fill-in Anchor (since 1993)
- Matt Barrie (now @ KXAS in Dallas, TX)
- Brandy Bell
- Addie Bradshaw (now @ WGRZ in poop Buffalo, New York)
- Terry Brooks (now @ WEWS in Cleveland, Ohio)
- Johnny Chappell
- Joel Connable (now @ WTVJ in Miami, Florida)
- Chris Connor (Surridge) (Former Deputy Communications Mgr. Hillary2000, now Director of Major Gifts, Miami City Ballet}
- Natasha Curry (now @ KOMO-TV)
- Ainsley Earhardt (now @ FOX News Channel)
- Bridgett Williams (now @ WAGT in Augusta, Georgia)
- Camille Bradford Hugg
- Deloris Keith
- Jennifer Lindgren (now @ WTLV in Jacksonville, Florida)
- Michael Chisholm
- Tabitha Kitchens
- Bryan Mims
- Adam Murphy (now @ WGCL in Atlanta, Georgia)
- Ros Runner (now Chief Meteorologist @ WSLS in Roanoke, Virginia)
- Todd Santos (now a Meteorologist for NBC in New York City)
- Lisa Sigell (now @ KCAL/KCBS in Los Angeles)
- Sharon Smith (now @ WBTV in Charlotte, North Carolina)
- Fred Steppe (now @ WLTZ in Columbus, Georgia)
- Will Frampton (now @ KXTV in Sacramento, California)
- Gene Upright
- Trinell Moore
- Kenneth Moton (now @ WFTV in Orlando, Florida)
- Jonathan Jamison
- Ronda Robinson (now @ WBRC in Birmingham/Anniston/Tuscaloosa, Alabama)
- Diana Watson (now @ FOX Carolina WHNS)
- Kerri Hartsfield (now @ WFMY in Greensboro, North Carolina)
- Andy Gary (News & FM - deceased)
- Jack Cook (News Director - deceased)
- Don Ferguson (News, sales, Jumptown & Tomahawk)
- Gwen Hebert (Robbie of Robbie's Roundup - deceased)
- James Payne (Jivetown)
- Stanley the Clown (several)
- Dr. Zot (J.T. Frierson)
- Bob Truer (News - deceased)
- Lois Quattlebaum (Community news - deceased)
WLTX-DT is an ATSC DTV signal broadcast over ch. 17 which is available over-the-air with a DT tuner, or through digital cable service from Time Warner Cable. With either, there is an offering of 3 sub-channels:
- WLTX HD on DT 19.1 / 17.1 (Time Warner 810)
- News 19 Double Doppler on DT 19.2 / 17.2 (Time Warner 811)
- News 19 Weather Now on DT 19.3 / 17.3 (Time Warner 812)
As of March 20 2007, the Newscasts on WLTX are not broadcast in HD. Most CBS programs broadcast after 8 PM, are broadcasted in HD, as are many sports programs on weekends.
At 8 PM on January 21 2008, WLTX became the 1st commercial station in Columbia to air a locally produced program in HD. Following a 3-week trip to Afghanistan, News 19's Will Frampton produced an hour long special titled "Stories from the 218th." The program gave a viewers a glimpse into the lives of the members of South Carolina's 218th Combat Brigade as they served in Afghanistan. It was rebroadcast on January 28th @ 9 AM.
In 2009, WLTX will leave ch. 19 & move to ch. 17 when the analog-DT conversion is complete.