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|Asheville, North Carolina/Greenville/
Spartanburg, South Carolina
|City of license||Asheville|
|Branding||ABC 13 (general)
News 13 (newscasts)
My 40 (on DT2)
|Slogan||Western North Carolina's
|Channels||Digital: 13 (VHF)
Virtual: 13 (PSIP)
|Affiliations||13.1 ABC HD
13.3 ABC SD
|Owner||Sinclair Broadcast Group
(WLOS Licensee, LLC)
|First air date||September 18, 1954|
|Call letters' meaning||Wonderful Land Of Sky|
|Sister station(s)||WMYA-TV, WXLV-TV, WMYV, WRDC, WLFL|
|Former callsigns||WLOS-TV (1954-1984)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
13 (VHF, 1954-2009)
Digital: 56 (UHF)
|Transmitter power||50 kW|
WLOS is the ABC-affiliated television station for Western North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina licensed to Asheville, North Carolina. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on VHF channel 13 from a transmitter on Mount Pisgah in North Carolina. The station can also be seen on Charter channel 3 (in North Carolina) and channel 13 (in South Carolina). There is a high definition feed offered on Charter digital channel 703 (in North Carolina) and digital channel 713 (in South Carolina).
Owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group, WLOS operates MyNetworkTV affiliate WMYA-TV (owned by Cunningham Broadcasting) through a local marketing agreement (LMA). The two share studios on Technology Drive in Asheville near I-26/US 74. Syndicated programming on this channel includes: Jeopardy!, Wheel of Fortune, and Anderson. It is one of three Sinclair duopolies in North Carolina.
In addition to its main signal, WLOS operates a network of analog translators throughout the mountains of Western North Carolina. Due to their low-powered status, these were exempt from transitioning to digital on June 12, 2009.
|City of license||Callsign||Transmitter location|
|Spruce Pine||W06AD||along US 19E|
|Bat Cave||W06AQ||Chimney Rock|
|Bryson City||W08AN||west of town|
|Marion||W10AP||south of downtown|
|Waynesville||W12AR||west of town|
|Black Mountain||W12AQ||west of downtown|
The station began broadcasting an analog signal on VHF channel 13 at 316,000 watts on September 18, 1954. It was owned by the Skyway Broadcasting Company along with WLOS radio (1380 AM, now WKJV; and FM 99.9, now WKSF). It has always been an ABC affiliate and is the second-longest tenured primary ABC affiliate south of Washington, D.C. (behind Lynchburg, Virginia's WSET-TV, coincidentally also on channel 13). During the late-1950s, WLOS was also briefly affiliated with the NTA Film Network. The studios and transmitter were located in West Asheville (the old 300-foot (91 m) self-supporting tower with its analog batwing antenna is still standing) along with its radio sisters. A few months after the station signed on, the television studios were moved to Battle House (a restored mansion on Macon Avenue northeast of Downtown Asheville) next to the historic Grove Park Inn.
At that same time, the transmitter was moved to the much-higher Mount Pisgah 35 miles (56 km) distant. Due to the higher elevation, FCC rules required channel 13 to cut its transmitter power in half. But even with its power reduced to 178,000 watts, the station still more than doubled its coverage area to include most of Western North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina. Soon afterward, the FCC combined the western Carolinas into one giant market with WLOS as the primary ABC affiliate. With its move to Mount Pisgah, the station could now boast the second highest transmitter location east of the Mississippi River at 2,804 feet (855 m) above average terrain (the valley floor) and 6,056 feet (1,846 m) above sea level. At the time, first place belonged to WMTW-TV atop Mount Washington, New Hampshire at 3,871 feet (1,180 m) above average terrain (the valley floor), and 6,374 feet (1,943 m) above sea level.
The new tower location gave WLOS bragging rights to one of the largest coverage areas in the nation. In addition to its primary coverage area of the Western Carolinas, the station also had significant viewership in several other nearby markets as well. WLOS also enjoyed at least secondary coverage in portions of Eastern Tennessee, Southwestern Virginia, and Southeastern Kentucky. It provided city-grade coverage to nearly all of the Tri-Cities market and Grade B coverage of most of the Knoxville market. Channel 13 could also be seen in portions of Georgia under the right conditions. Before the mid to late-1960s, no other full-time ABC affiliate put a clear signal into much of this area. Before WKPT-TV signed on to serve the Tri-Cities, WLOS claimed the Tri-Cities as part of its primary coverage area. Even after WKPT signed on as an ABC affiliate, WLOS was available on cable in the Tri-Cities well into the 1980s. Indeed, many viewers in the Tri-Cities and the eastern part of the Knoxville market received a better over-the-air signal from WLOS than Knoxville's WTVK (now CBS affiliate WVLT-TV) and WKPT. Both of those stations were on UHF and did not get much penetration in their largely mountainous coverage areas. UHF stations, then as now, do not get good reception in rugged terrain.
Until the 1990s, the station was also carried on several separately-owned municipal translator stations in Eastern Kentucky. As mentioned above, WLOS now owns and operates ten analog translators that rebroadcast its digital signal.
The station has also had significant and long-standing viewership in the Charlotte area, particularly in Hickory and points west. Its grade B signal can be seen as far east as Charlotte itself. Until WSOC-TV switched from NBC to ABC in 1978, it was the de facto primary ABC affiliate for the western portion of the Charlotte market. WLOS appeared in the Charlotte Observer television listings for many years (though it was dropped from the weekly listings in the mid-1990s) and advertised its programs in Charlotte-area newspapers well into the 1970s. It is still available on some cable systems in the western portion of the Charlotte market.
WLOS' only ABC competition came from WAIM-TV in Anderson, South Carolina (now WMYA), which also carried a few CBS programs. WAIM had been the default ABC affiliate for the Upstate until WLOS' massive power boost. Unfortunately, WAIM-TV only provided a reliable signal to Anderson itself and nearby Pickens County, South Carolina. However, it still continued to air some ABC programming. Although WLOS was never seriously threatened by WAIM, it pressured ABC to drop its programming from WAIM from the 1960s onward finally succeeding in 1979.
In 1958, Skyway Broadcasting merged with Wometco Enterprises of Miami, Florida (a movie theater company and former owner of the Blue Circle hamburger chain). Wometco promptly sold the AM station, but operated both the television and FM stations as Wometco-Skyway Broadcasting until 1984 when it was sold to the investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (also known as KKR). The FM station was also sold at this time and its antenna remained co-located on the Mount Pisgah tower. Channel 13 was later sold to Anchor Media which in turn was later sold to River City Broadcasting. That company merged with the Sinclair Broadcast Group in 1996.
In 2000, the station made its much-anticipated move to new studios at Technology Drive about 10 miles (16 km) south of Downtown Asheville. Station personnel could now brag about the much shorter driving distance for sales calls and news team coverage to Greenville and Spartanburg, South Carolina. On January 5, 2007, Mediacom dropped all Sinclair-controlled stations, including WLOS and WMYA, from its systems because of a dispute over compensation. Mediacom is the cable provider for much of Western North Carolina (though not Asheville itself), leaving much of WLOS' viewing area without ABC until the dispute was resolved a month later. Additionally, Charter briefly dropped WLOS-DT because of compensation disputes.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|13.1||720p||16:9||WLOS-DT||Main WLOS programming / ABC|
|13.2||480i||4:3||WMYA-MN||SD simulcast of WMYA / MyNetworkTV|
|13.3||WLOS-SD||SD simulcast of 13.1|
WMYA's over-the-air signal only provides Grade B coverage to the North Carolina side of the market. To improve that station's over-the-air coverage, WLOS offers an SD simulcast on their second digital subchannel. On WLOS-DT3 is an SD simulcast of the main channel.
WLOS discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over VHF channel 13, on February 17, 2009, the original date in which full-power television stations in the United States were to transition from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 56, which was among the high band UHF channels (52-69) that were removed from broadcasting use as a result of the transition, to its former analog-era VHF channel 13. After the DTV Delay Act postponed the date to June 12, WLOS intended to keep the original date on February 17 but on February 12 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said stations must justify using the early cutoff date. On February 13, General Manager Jack Connors announced the FCC would also make WLOS end analog broadcasts on its translators leaving many in the mountainous area without a signal. As of November 5, 2010, WLOS is the only Sinclair-owned station that is broadcasting on the VHF dial.
In recent years, WLOS has been carried on cable in multiple areas outside of the Asheville media market. That includes cable systems within the Charlotte and Chattanooga, TN markets in North Carolina, the Aiken and Columbia markets in South Carolina, the Atlanta market in Georgia, the Knoxville market in Tennessee, and the Tri-Cities market in Tennessee and Virginia.
Despite being an ABC affiliate, WLOS has pre-empted a fair amount of network programming over the years. The station has been the home of popular syndicated game shows Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune since 1985. Prior to that, WYFF aired both programs. The station also produced a local children's show called Mr. Bill and Bozo starring now retired weathermen Bill Norwood and Bob Caldwell (who celebrated his 40th anniversary on the air at WLOS in June 2006). Another popular program on WLOS was Shock Theater, a Saturday afternoon series of black-and-white science-fiction movies from the Warner Brothers/Columbia Pictures/Universal Studios collections of the 1950s. This show was also hosted by Bill Norwood dressed as a Dracula-type character similar to the "Doctor Shock" character at WTVC-TV in Chattanooga of the same era. The channel began broadcasting 24 hours a day 7 days a week between late-2005 and early-2006 having previously signed-off early Saturday mornings from 5 to 6 after the late movie. It may still put up color bars for a few minutes if the movie ends early but otherwise airs paid programming.
WLOS also signed-off every weeknight until 1992 with the introduction of ABC News' overnight newscast World News Now. Later on, the station signed-off late Friday night/early Saturday morning and late Saturday night/early Sunday morning until the early-2000s. According to a particular sign-off clip from 1988, the sign-offs back then included the national anthem played by the Madison County, North Carolina high school band while the color bars afterwords said "Good Morning, 13 WLOS-TV, Asheville, North Carolina". After that, the sign-offs included Sandi Patty's rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner with a video of different people saluting the flag followed by shots of newspaper presses and people voting with ballots. These years used a color version of the Indian-head test pattern and in the center said "13 WLOS Asheville-Greenville-Spartanburg".
ABC programming that has been preempted on WLOS includes:
Traditionally, WLOS' newscasts have focused more on the North Carolina side of its sprawling market, as evidenced by its longtime slogan, "Western North Carolina's News Leader." While WSPA has long been the market's highest-rated station overall, WLOS has consistently trounced WSPA and WYFF on the North Carolina side of the market. On September 17, 2008, WLOS and WMYA began offering local news in high definition becoming the second pair of stations in the area to upgrade after WSPA and WYCW.
WMYA produces two weekday newscasts. 1 half-hour show, weeknights at 6:30 and an hour-long show, weeknights at 10:00 p.m. The earlier program airs against the big three network evening news while the prime time broadcast competes with shows on WYCW and WHNS. On April 7, 2008, News 13 added traffic reporting for Western North Carolina and the Upstate of SC and brought in veteran radio traffic reporter George Sheldon from WIOD in Miami whom retired on 1/30/2013. Also on March 28, 2011, WLOS began broadcasting "News 13 This Morning Early Edition" at 4:30 a.m.
News 13 Sky Watch Meteorologists
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