|Spartanburg/Greenville/Anderson, South Carolina/Asheville, North Carolina|
|Branding||7 On Your Side|
|Slogan||On Your Side|
|Channels||Digital: 7 (VHF)
Virtual: 7 (PSIP)
(Media General Communications Holdings, LLC)
|First air date||April 29, 1956|
|Call letters' meaning||We're in SPArtanburg, South Carolina|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
7 (VHF, 1956-2009)
53 (UHF -2009)
|Former affiliations||The WB (secondary, 1995-1997)
RTV (2009-2011 - DT2)
|Transmitter power||25.7 kW (digital)|
|Height||667 m (digital)|
WSPA-TV, channel 7, is the CBS-affiliated television station for western North Carolina and South Carolina. It is licensed to Spartanburg, South Carolina with its transmitter is located on Hogback Mountain southwest of Tryon, North Carolina. Owned by Media General, the station is sister to CW affiliate WYCW. The two stations share studios on International Drive in Spartanburg. Syndicated programming on WSPA includes Judge Judy, Dr. Phil and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. WSPA serves as master control for Media General's CBS network affiliates.
The station went on the air on April 29, 1956. It was owned by broadcasting pioneer Walter J. Brown and his company, Spartan Radiocasting, along with WSPA radio (AM 950, now WOLI at AM 910; and 98.9 FM). It has always been a CBS affiliate. Spartan Radiocasting bought several other radio and television stations over the years, and was renamed Spartan Communications in 1995. WSPA began broadcasting 24/7 in July of that same year, after previously having signed off every Friday night/Saturday morning and Saturday night/Sunday morning. The radio stations were sold off in 1998, but WSPA-TV remained the flagship of the company until it merged with Media General in 2000. Channel 7 was the last locally owned-and-operated station in the market. The station shared some resources with WNEG-TV in Toccoa, Georgia while that station was co-owned with WSPA; this included a CBS affiliation. This arrangement was terminated after the sale of WNEG to the University of Georgia; that station became WUGA-TV in May 2011.
Due to its transmitter location—just over 2,200 feet (670 m) above average terrain—WSPA enjoys one of the largest coverage areas on the East Coast. WSPA's over-the-air signal can be received as far north as Blowing Rock, North Carolina, which has line-of-sight to Hogback Mountain despite being approximately 75 miles (121 km) away. However, WSPA is not carried on cable in that area. WSPA used to be carried in the western Union County, North Carolina town of Weddington, long before it became a suburb of Charlotte. Prior to the March 2009 tower collapse, WSPA provided grade B coverage as far east as Charlotte itself. WSPA appeared in the Charlotte Observer television listings well into the 1990s.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|7.1||1080i||16:9||WSPA-HD||Main WSPA-TV programming / CBS|
WSPA previously carried a 24-hour local weather channel on its second digital subchannel known as "Storm Team 24/7". In 2009, that subchannel became an affiliate of the Retro Television Network. It was replaced with Me-TV on September 26, 2011.
WSPA-TV discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over VHF channel 7, on June 12, 2009, the official date in which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 53, 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 7 for post-transition operations.
On March 1, 2009, WSPA's analog & digital tower at Hogback Mountain in Spartanburg County near the North Carolina/South Carolina border collapsed due to ice and high winds, hitting the main back-up tower as it fell. WSPA's digital signal was restored using a digital subchannel of sister station WYCW; while the station received a replacement antenna on March 4, it was without its analog signal for one week after the accident. A new tower was activated in September 2009.
In recent years, WSPA has been carried on cable in multiple areas outside of the Greenville media market. That includes cable systems within the Aiken and Columbia markets in South Carolina, the Charlotte market in North Carolina and South Carolina, and the Atlanta market in Georgia.
WSPA pre-empted several CBS shows through the 1960s, 70s, 80s, and 90s.
The station's newscasts were known as Eyewitness 7 News until 1994 when they were re-branded as NewsChannel 7. Leeza Gibbons, Jane Robelot, and Susan McGinnis are notables who have worked for the station in the past. Annette Estes was WSPA's first female news anchor in 1977. She left the station in 1987 to anchor the 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts with Carl Clark at WYFF. WSPA also used to produce a newscast for Fox affiliate WHNS before that station launched its own news operation.
On September 16, 2007, WSPA began producing newscasts in high definition and adopted the new Media General HD graphics. It was the first television station in the western Carolinas to upgrade local news broadcasts to HD.
In addition to its main studios, WSPA operates two news bureaus and shares a third with its sister stations. The Greenville Bureau is located on Villa Road and the Anderson Bureau is located on South Main Street. There is one in Columbia as well, with costs of operating the bureau shared between Media General's stations in South Carolina - WSPA, WBTW, and WCBD. WSPA produces newscasts for its local sister station WYCW that air in high definition. This includes weekday mornings and evenings as well as on the weekends. The station operates an aerial news gathering helicopter with a gyrostabilized camera that is outfitted with a 72 power zoom lens and a motorized two power drop-in extender. The camera system is manufactured by Flir Systems International and the helicopter is maintained by U.S. Helicopters Inc. of Charlotte. It is referred to on-air as "Air 7".
"News Channel 7" and its popular "On Your Side" brand, has the reputation for being the most "aggressive" news operation in the market, when it comes to breaking stories, and breaking news, on-air and online.
WSPA is currently either #1 or #2 in most timeslots. The 11 p.m. weekday newscast was nominated for a 2010 Emmy Award for Best Newscast. The station won a 2010 Emmy for its breaking news coverage.
Storm Team 7 HD
In addition to its main signals, WSPA operates a network of 14 translator sites throughout the mountains of western North Carolina. Some translators have applications and/or construction permit to flash-cut from analog to digital remaining on their current VHF channel.
|City of license||Callsign||Transmitter location|
|Mars Hill||W02AH||Middle Mountain|
|Beaver Dam, NC||W08BP-D||Busbee Mountain|
|Spruce Pine||W08BF-D||Woody's Knob|
|Black Mountain||W10AD-D||Allen Mountain|
|Bryson City||W11AN-D||Fry Mountain|
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