WBRC, channel 6 is a television station in the Birmingham/Anniston/Tuscaloosa, Alabama television market and it's affiliated by the FOX Television Network. Its transmitter is located atop Red Mountain in Birmingham. It is owned by Local TV LLC.
WBRC's audio signal can be heard on 87.7 MHz on the FM dial in Birmingham and surrounding areas. This is because the audio signal of channel 6 is located at 87.75 MHz. This frequency assignment applies to all channel 6 television stations in countries using the NTSC-M standard.
HistoryWBRC began operation on July 1, 1949 on channel 4 as an NBC affiliate. The station also carried secondary affiliations with ABC (shared with WAPI-TV, now WVTM-TV) and DuMont. It was owned by Eloise D. Hanna along with WBRC-AM 960. The station's call letters stand for Bell Radio Company, after J.C. Bell, WBRC-AM's first owner.
It moved to channel 6 in 1953 to guard against signal interference with WSM-TV (now WSMV) in Nashville, which is due north of Birmingham. The Hntsville-Decatur TV broadcasting region had not developed yet, and two TV stations occupying channel 4 equidistant from that region made both stations unwatchable in northmost Alabama via antenna. (CATV was also nonexistent in that area.) Later on in 1953, Ms. Hanna also sold WBRC-TV to Storer Broadcasting. WBRC became a dual CBS/ABC affiliate in 1954. In that same year, WBRC-AM-FM-TV moved to a new studio built by Storer, where channel 6 remains today. The studio, like many of those built by Storer, resembled an antebellum mansion. Unusually for commercial broadcasters, Storer supported educational television, and she gave two transmitters & frequencies in the general Birmingham area (channels 7 and 10) to Alabama Public Television. (That organization went on-the-air in 1955.) In 1957, Ms. Storer sold WBRC to Taft Broadcasting.
In 1961, WBRC took the ABC affiliation full time, leaving WAPI to share CBS and NBC. That was very unusual for a market with only two commercial stations. Usually, one or both stations carried ABC as a secondary affiliation, since ABC-TV was considered to be the weaker network. ABC would not be on something resembling an equal footing with CBS and NBC until the 1970s. However, Taft had very good relations with ABC. Most of Taft's TV stations were ABC affiliates, including its flagship station, WKRC-TV in Cincinnati, which was one of ABC's strongest affiliates. Also, Taft's chairman was a personal friend of the ABC president Leonard Goldenson.
Another factor, though supposedly not as important as the Taft-Goldenson relationship, was CBS News's apparent strong support of the Civil Rights Movement, which did not sit well with a large segment of WBRC's audience. ABC had very few full-time affiliates south of Washington, D.C. at the time, but now it had the full benefit of one of the South's strongest signals, best antenna locations, and largest coverage areas. Also in 1972, Taft sold WBRC-AM-FM. That AM radio station is now WERC while the FM station is now WBPT.
WBRC was one of ABC's strongest affiliates for years. For a time, it lodged the ABC dot logo inside its own "6" logo (just as it had done with the CBS eye in the 1950s).
In late 1987, Taft was restructured into Great American Broadcasting after a hostile takeover. In December 1993, Great American Broadcasting was restructured again after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and became known as Citicasters.
In the early spring of 1994, Citicasters agreed to sell two stations to New World Communications. The stations were:
But Citicasters would not be able to sell WBRC to New World. A month before, New World agreed to buy four stations owned by Argyle Communications, including Birmingham's WVTM. Federal Communications Commission rules at the time dictated that one company could not own two stations in the same market. In addition, the acquisitions put New World two television stations over the FCC-mandated 12-station limit in effect at the time. As a result, New World decided to place WBRC and WGHP, High Point/Greensboro's ABC affiliate in a trust to WBRC/WGHP Holdings for sale to Fox and keep WVTM.
In May 1994, New World agreed to affiliate all of their stations with Fox except for WVTM and KNSD in San Diego which remained affiliated with NBC; these were subsequently purchased by that network. At that same time, it was announced that WBRC and WGHP would be sold to Fox, but put in a trust until Fox could close on those stations. Fox assumed control of WBRC and WGHP in the summer of 1995 through local marketing agreements. Both stations officially became Fox-owned stations on January 17, 1996. Since WBRC's affiliation agreement with ABC did not expire until September 1996, Fox had to maintain ABC affiliation on WBRC for over a year. This also gave ABC time to find another affiliate to serve central Alabama.
WBRC, like WGHP originally did, was originally going to run Fox Kids in the 1 to 4 p.m. slot, but once it was determined that soon to be former Fox affiliate WTTO would be left an independent, it opted to let WTTO keep the Fox Kids programming. So as a Fox affiliate, WBRC has aired only the prime-time and weekend sports programming of the Fox network. Even in 2000 when WTTO dropped Fox Kids, WBRC still did not pick it up. Today Fox only offers a Saturday Morning kids lineup; WBRC still refuses clearance. WGHP originally ran Fox Kids, but when Channel 20 in that market offered to pick it up in 1996, it moved off WGHP to that station.
The current weekday line-up includes The Tyra Banks Show, Judge Joe Brown, Divorce Court, COPS, Judge Judy, Judge Alex, TMZ on TV, Bernie Mac, Malcolm In The Middle, M*A*S*H, King Of The Hill, and others.
Since the affiliation switch, the station has been known as "FOX6". It has gained the reputation of having one of the nation's highest-rated primetime newscasts: "FOX6 News at 9:00". It also airs 43 hours of locally produced news programming per week, the most in the market. It also has been the ratings leader in the market for the past few decades.
Soon thereafter, it ceased production and broadcasting of local segments of the United Cerebral Palsy Telethon; WBRC was the first station to broadcast the telethon starting back in the 1940s. National celebrities would fly in to appear on this telethon and it was from WBRC that it moved to national prominence. Even in its waning moments at WBRC, the UCP Telethon would air locally produced mini-documentaries from WBRC (produced by Randy Mize and Tom Stovall).
WBRC is one of only a few stations in the country to have had primary affiilations with all three of the historical networks, and the only one in the country to have had primary affiliations with all four current major networks. The station was also one of the first Fox O&O's to launch a website with the MyFox interface, which features video, more detailed news, and a consistent interface that is now featured on virtually all Fox O&O station websites.
When Media General completed its acquisition of WVTM from NBC on June 26, 2006, WBRC became the only network O&O in the Birmingham/Tuscaloosa/Anniston market. However, on December 22, 2007, Fox announced that they had entered into an agreement to sell WBRC and seven other Fox O&O stations to Oak Hill Capital Partners' Local TV LLC, which currently owns nine stations formerly of The New York Times Company. The sale of the station to Local TV became official on Monday, July 14, 2008.
|Network||ERP (W)||Altitude||RCAGL||Tx Latitude/Longitude||Owner||1 July 1949||WBRC-TV||4||Birmingham||Birmingham||NBC/ABC/DuMont||Birmingham Broadcasting Co.||1953||WBRC-TV||6||Birmingham||Birmingham||NBC/ABC/DuMont||Birmingham Broadcasting Co.||May 1953||WBRC-TV||6||Birmingham||Birmingham||NBC/ABC||Storer Broadcasting||1954||WBRC-TV||6||Birmingham||Birmingham||CBS/ABC||100000||311 m||171 m||Storer Broadcasting||9 May 1957||WBRC-TV||6||Birmingham||Birmingham||CBS/ABC||100000||Taft Broadcasting||1961||WBRC-TV||6||Birmingham||Birmingham||ABC||100000||Taft Broadcasting||4 Oct 1987||WBRC-TV||6||Birmingham||Birmingham||ABC||100000||Great American Broadcasting||1 June 1988||WBRC-TV||6||Birmingham||Birmingham||ABC||100000||307 m||308 m||Great American Broadcasting||Dec 1993||WBRC-TV||6||Birmingham||Birmingham||ABC||100000||307 m||308 m||Citicasters||16 July 1994||WBRC-TV||6||Birmingham||Birmingham||ABC||100000||307 m||308 m||WBRC/WGHP Trust while sale to Fox pends||8 June 1995||WBRC-TV||6||Birmingham||Birmingham||ABC||100000||307 m||308 m||Fox Television Stations||Sept 1996||WBRC-TV||6||Birmingham||Birmingham||Fox||100000||307 m||308 m||Fox Television Stations||6 June 1999||WBRC||6||Birmingham||Birmingham||Fox||100000||307 m||308 m||Fox Television Stations||14 July 2008||WBRC||6||Birmingham||Birmingham||Fox||100000||307 m||308 m||Local TV LLC|
CONDOLEEZZA RICE INTERVIEW WITH UNITED KINGDOM FOREIGN SECRETARY JACK STRAW WITH STEVE CROCKER OF WBRC FOX-BIRMINGHAM
Oct 24, 2005; SECRETARY RICE IS INTERVIEWED WITH UNITED KINGDOM FOREIGN SECRETARY JACK STRAW WITH STEVE CROCKER OF WBRC FOX-BIRMINGHAM,...