Last updated
Richmond/Petersburg, Virginia
United States
City Richmond, Virginia
BrandingCBS 6 (general)
CBS 6 News(newscasts)
SloganWorking for You(newscasts)
The Weather Authority(weather)
Channels Digital: 25 (UHF)
(to move to 23 (UHF))
Virtual: 6 (PSIP)
Owner Tribune Broadcasting
(sale pending to Nexstar Media Group; to be resold to The E.W. Scripps Company thereafter [1] [2] [3] )
(WTVR License, LLC)
First air dateApril 22, 1948(71 years ago) (1948-04-22)
Call letters' meaning TeleVision Richmond
Former channel number(s)
  • Analog:
  • 6 (VHF, 1948–2009)
Former affiliations
  • NBC (1948–1955)
  • CBS (1948–1956; secondary until 1955)
  • ABC (1948–1960; secondary until 1956)
  • DuMont (secondary, 1948–1956)
  • NTA (secondary, 1956–1961)
Transmitter power 410 kW
392 kW (CP)
Height 347 m (1,138 ft)
346 m (1,135 ft) (CP)
Class DT
Facility ID 57832
Transmitter coordinates 37°30′45″N77°36′5″W / 37.51250°N 77.60139°W / 37.51250; -77.60139
37°30′45″N77°36′5.8″W / 37.51250°N 77.601611°W / 37.51250; -77.601611 (CP)
Licensing authority FCC
Public license information Profile
Website wtvr.com

WTVR-TV is a CBS-affiliated television station licensed to Richmond, Virginia, United States. The station is owned by Tribune Broadcasting, a subsidiary of the Tribune Media Company. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 25, using the virtual channel assignment of 6.1 via PSIP (to associate it with its 60-year former position on analog channel 6), [4] and its studios and transmitter are located on West Broad Street on Richmond's West End. The tower is also the transmitter for former sister station WTVR-FM and NPR member WCVE-FM.

CBS is an American English language commercial broadcast television and radio network that is a flagship property of CBS Corporation. The company is headquartered at the CBS Building in New York City with major production facilities and operations in New York City and Los Angeles.

In the broadcasting industry, a network affiliate or affiliated station is a local broadcaster, owned by a company other than the owner of the network, which carries some or all of the lineup of television programs or radio programs of a television or radio network. This distinguishes such a television or radio station from an owned-and-operated station (O&O), which is owned by the parent network.

A television station is a set of equipment managed by a business, organisation or other entity, such as an amateur television (ATV) operator, that transmits video content via radio waves directly from a transmitter on the earth's surface to a receiver on earth. Most often the term refers to a station which broadcasts structured content to an audience or it refers to the organization that operates the station. A terrestrial television transmission can occur via analog television signals or, more recently, via digital television signals. Television stations are differentiated from cable television or other video providers in that their content is broadcast via terrestrial radio waves. A group of television stations with common ownership or affiliation are known as a TV network and an individual station within the network is referred to as O&O or affiliate, respectively.



Early history

When the channel 6 license in Richmond came up for bids before the Federal Communications Commission, it was assumed that the license would go to either Larus and Brother Company, owner of WRVA, or Richmond Newspapers, owner of WRNL, since they were considered Virginia's leading broadcasters. However, for reasons that remain unknown, neither station submitted a bid. The only applicant was the Richmond Broadcasting Company, which was nowhere near as large as either WRVA or WRNL. Its owner, auto parts dealer Wilbur Havens, also owned WMBG (AM 1380) and WCOD (98.1 FM). FCC approval was a mere formality, and WTVR debuted on April 22, 1948, [5] as the first television station south of Washington, D.C. (WTVR's station ID famously proclaimed it to be "The South's First Television Station" as a result). It became an NBC affiliate June 1, 1948. [6] For many years, it used a colorized version of its original ID slide to open newscasts. Then, as now, the station operated from a converted bus garage on West Broad Street, where WMBG had been based since 1939.

Federal Communications Commission Please stop 5G

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is an independent agency of the United States government created by statute to regulate interstate communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable. The FCC serves the public in the areas of broadband access, fair competition, radio frequency use, media responsibility, public safety, and homeland security.

Larus and Brother Company (1877–1968) was a diversified tobacco company headquartered in Richmond, Virginia. The company manufactured pipe tobacco, cigarettes, and charcoal. It also operated local radio and television stations.

WRVA (AM) clear-channel news/talk radio station in Richmond, Virginia, United States

WRVA is a News/Talk/Sports formatted broadcast radio station licensed to Richmond, Virginia, serving Central Virginia. WRVA is owned and operated by Entercom Communications.

In 1953, WTVR activated its tall tower, located adjacent to its West Broad studios. The 843-foot (257 m) (1,049-foot (320 m) above sea level) tower is considered part of the Richmond skyline, and can be seen for several miles around Richmond. WTVR used a graphical version of the tower in its news opens for several years in the 1980s and early 1990s.

Sea level Average level for the surface of the ocean at any given geographical position on the planetary surface

Mean sea level (MSL) is an average level of the surface of one or more of Earth's bodies of water from which heights such as elevation may be measured. The global MSL is a type of vertical datum – a standardised geodetic datum – that is used, for example, as a chart datum in cartography and marine navigation, or, in aviation, as the standard sea level at which atmospheric pressure is measured to calibrate altitude and, consequently, aircraft flight levels. A common and relatively straightforward mean sea-level standard is instead the midpoint between a mean low and mean high tide at a particular location.

As it was one of the last stations to get a construction permit before an FCC-imposed freeze on new permits, WTVR was the only station in town until 1955. It carried programming from all four networks of the time—NBC, CBS, ABC and DuMont—but was a primary NBC affiliate. In 1955, WXEX-TV (channel 8, now WRIC-TV) signed on from neighboring Petersburg and took the NBC affiliation. WTVR then had a brief stint as a primary CBS affiliate; this ended in 1956, when WRVA-TV (channel 12, now WWBT) signed on and took the CBS affiliation due to WRVA radio's long history as a CBS radio affiliate. WTVR then carried on as an ABC affiliate until 1960, when CBS cut a new deal with Havens due to channel 12's low ratings. WTVR has been with CBS ever since, and is one of the few stations in the country to have been a primary affiliate of all of the "Big Three" networks. During the late 1950s, the station was also briefly affiliated with the NTA Film Network. [7]

American Broadcasting Company American broadcast television network

The American Broadcasting Company (ABC) is an American commercial broadcast television network that is a flagship property of Walt Disney Television, a subsidiary of the Disney Media Networks division of The Walt Disney Company. The network is headquartered in Burbank, California on Riverside Drive, directly across the street from Walt Disney Studios and adjacent to the Roy E. Disney Animation Building, But the network's second corporate headquarters and News headquarters remains in New York City, New York at their broadcast center on 77 West 66th Street in Lincoln Square in Upper West Side Manhattan.

DuMont Television Network Former American television network

The DuMont Television Network was one of the world's pioneer commercial television networks, rivalling NBC and CBS for the distinction of being first overall in the United States. It was owned by DuMont Laboratories, a television equipment and set manufacturer, and began operation on August 15, 1946.

WRIC-TV, virtual channel 8, is an ABC-affiliated television station serving Richmond, Virginia, United States that is licensed to nearby Petersburg. Owned by Nexstar Media Group, WRIC-TV maintains studios in Chesterfield County, overlooking Powhite Parkway just south of the Midlothian Turnpike interchange. Its transmitter is located in Bon Air, on an antenna installation shared with local PBS member stations WCVE and WCVW.

Havens sold WTVR, WMBG, and WCOD to Roy H. Park Communications in 1966, earning a handsome return on his original $500 investment when he started WMBG in 1927. After taking ownership of the properties, the radio stations adopted the TV station's "WTVR" call letters. When Park died in 1993, the company's assets were sold to a Lexington, Kentucky group of investors that sold the radio properties separately to various owners, with WTVR-AM-FM going to Clear Channel (now iHeartMedia) in 1995. WTVR-FM is now owned by Entercom, who acquired iHeartMedia's Richmond stations in 2017, while the AM station, bought by Salem Communications in 2001 and programmed as Christian talk, was later sold by Salem and is now Spanish religious station WBTK.

Roy Hampton Park was an American media executive and entrepreneur. He is known for creating the Duncan Hines brand of packaged food products, and for his television/radio/newspaper conglomerate, Park Communications. He created the Park Foundation, which has funded many programs in his name at Ithaca College, Cornell University, and North Carolina State University.

Lexington, Kentucky Consolidated city-county in Kentucky, United States

Lexington, consolidated with Fayette County and often denoted as Lexington-Fayette, is the second-largest city in Kentucky and the 60th-largest city in the United States. By land area, Lexington is the 28th largest city in the United States. Known as the "Horse Capital of the World," it is the heart of the state's Bluegrass region. It has a nonpartisan mayor-council form of government, with 12 council districts and three members elected at large, with the highest vote-getter designated vice mayor. In the 2018 U.S. Census Estimate, the city's population was 323,780 anchoring a metropolitan area of 516,697 people and a combined statistical area of 746,330 people.

iHeartMedia, Inc., formerly CC Media Holdings, Inc., is an American mass media corporation headquartered in San Antonio, Texas. It is the holding company of iHeartCommunications, Inc., a company founded by Lowry Mays and B. J. "Red" McCombs in 1972, and later taken private by Bain Capital, LLC and Thomas H. Lee Partners through a leveraged buyout in 2008. As a result of this buyout, Clear Channel Communications, Inc. began to operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of CC Media Holdings, Inc. On September 16, 2014, CC Media Holdings, Inc. was rebranded iHeartMedia, Inc.; and Clear Channel Communications, Inc., became iHeartCommunications, Inc. On March 14, 2018, the company filed to operate under Chapter 11 bankruptcy, dealing with a debt load in excess of $20 billion.

WTVR began suffering in the ratings in 1994 when CBS lost the rights to broadcast National Football League games to Fox (CBS returned to NFL broadcasting in 1998). However, it recovered by the turn of the century and since then has been a solid runner-up, sometimes waging a spirited battle for second place with WRIC in news ratings.

1994 NFL season 75th season in the history of the National Football League

The 1994 NFL season was the 75th regular season of the National Football League. To honor the NFL's 75th season, a special anniversary logo was designed and each player wore a patch on their jerseys with this logo throughout the season. Also, a selection committee of media and league personnel named a special NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team, honoring the best NFL players from the first 75 seasons.

<i>NFL on CBS</i> branding used for broadcasts of NFL games that are produced by CBS Sports

The NFL on CBS is the branding used for broadcasts of National Football League (NFL) games that are produced by CBS Sports, the sports division of the CBS television network in the United States. The network has aired NFL game telecasts since 1956. From 2014 to 2017, CBS also broadcast Thursday Night Football games during the first half of the NFL season, through a production partnership with NFL Network.

National Football League Professional American football league

The National Football League (NFL) is a professional American football league consisting of 32 teams, divided equally between the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC). The NFL is one of the four major professional sports leagues in North America, and the highest professional level of American football in the world. The NFL's 17-week regular season runs from early September to late December, with each team playing 16 games and having one bye week. Following the conclusion of the regular season, six teams from each conference advance to the playoffs, a single-elimination tournament culminating in the Super Bowl, which is usually held in the first Sunday in February, and is played between the champions of the NFC and AFC.

Raycom ownership

Park merged with Media General, successor to Richmond Newspapers, in May 1997. However, Media General could not keep WTVR alongside its flagship newspaper, the Richmond Times-Dispatch , because FCC rules of the time did not allow cross-ownership of newspapers and television stations in the same market. As a result, Media General swapped WTVR to Raycom Media in exchange for WJTV in Jackson, Mississippi, its semi-satellite WHLT in Hattiesburg, Mississippi and WSAV-TV in Savannah, Georgia two months later.

WTVR was the only CBS station between Richmond and Roanoke until WCAV-TV signed on in Charlottesville in 2004.

Local features and community programs have included "For Kids' Sake", "Paws for Pets", and Battle of the Brains and a 24-hour weather news channel called "CBS 6 Xtra" broadcast on broadband, digital cable, and digital sub-channel 6.2 in the area. The station carried Raycom's 24/7 music television format "The Tube" on WTVR-DT3 until its shutdown on October 1, 2007. In March 2011, WTVR-DT3 became the new home of CBS 6 Xtra, while 6.2 carries Antenna TV (see below).

Swap to Local TV; Tribune ownership; aborted sale to Sinclair

WTVR-TV's first logo as "CBS 6," versions of which were used from October 2003 until April 2015. The "6" has been used in WTVR's logos since the late 1980s. Wtvr logo.png
WTVR-TV's first logo as "CBS 6," versions of which were used from October 2003 until April 2015. The "6" has been used in WTVR's logos since the late 1980s.

On November 12, 2007, Raycom Media announced its intention to purchase the television broadcasting and production properties of Lincoln Financial Media, including rival WWBT. Since FCC rules do not allow one person to own two of the four largest stations in a single market, Raycom decided to keep WWBT and sell WTVR to another owner. [8] On June 24, 2008, Sinclair Broadcast Group announced its intent to purchase WTVR and sell local Fox affiliate WRLH-TV (channel 35). [9] However, the Justice Department, under provisions of a consent decree with Raycom Media, denied Raycom permission to sell WTVR-TV to Sinclair in August 2008. [10]

On January 6, 2009, Raycom and Local TV LLC announced that they would be swapping stations in Richmond and Birmingham. In this deal, Raycom transferred WTVR plus $83 million to Local TV in exchange for that company's Fox affiliate WBRC in Birmingham. The transfer closed on March 31, 2009. [11] As a result of the trade, Local TV owned Virginia's two largest CBS affiliates; it already owned WTKR-TV, the CBS affiliate in Norfolk, the market just to the east of Richmond. Local TV added Hampton Roads CW affiliate WGNT in 2010 after buying it from CBS.

For three months after the swap deal was completed, WTVR's Web site remained in the old Raycom-era format. This changed in late June 2009, a few days after WBRC relaunched its Web site, when WTVR migrated its Web site to the Tribune Interactive platform used by the Web sites of other Local TV-owned stations. As of 2012, Local TV migrated its Web sites to WordPress.com VIP. On July 1, 2013, Local TV announced that its stations would be acquired by the Tribune Company. [12] The sale was completed on December 27. [13]

On August 21, 2015, WTVR's newsroom was named in honor of Stephanie Rochon, who anchored the weeknight newscasts from 1999 to 2014. Rochon had died that June after a long struggle with cancer. [14] [15]

On May 8, 2017, Hunt Valley, Maryland-based Sinclair Broadcast Group – which has owned Fox affiliate WRLH-TV (channel 35) since 1996 – announced that it would acquire Tribune Media for $3.9 billion, plus the assumption of $2.7 billion in debt held by Tribune. Because Sinclair and Tribune each owned two television stations in the Richmond market, with WTVR and WRLH both ranking among the market's four highest-rated stations in total day viewership, the companies were required to sell one of the two outlets to an independently-operated station owner in order to comply with FCC local ownership rules. [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] On April 24, 2018, in an amendment to the Tribune acquisition through which it proposed the sale of certain stations to both independent and affiliated third-party companies to curry the DOJ's approval, Sinclair announced that it would sell WRLH-TV and eight other stations – Sinclair-operated KOKH-TV in Oklahoma City, KDSM-TV in Des Moines, WOLF-TV (along with LMA partners WSWB and WQMY) in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and WXLV-TV in Greensboro/Winston-Salem/High Point, and Tribune-owned WPMT in Harrisburg and WXMI in Grand Rapids – to Standard Media Group (an independent broadcast holding company formed by private equity firm Standard General to assume ownership of and absolve ownership conflicts involving the aforementioned stations) for $441.1 million. The transaction includes a transitional services agreement, through which Sinclair would have continued operating WRLH for six months after the sale's completion. [21] [22] [23] [24] [25]

Less than one month after the FCC voted to have the deal reviewed by an administrative law judge amid "serious concerns" about Sinclair's forthrightness in its applications to sell certain conflict properties, on August 9, 2018, Tribune announced it would terminate the Sinclair deal, intending to seek other M&A opportunities. Tribune also filed a breach of contract lawsuit in the Delaware Chancery Court, alleging that Sinclair engaged in protracted negotiations with the FCC and the DOJ over regulatory issues, refused to sell stations in markets where it already had properties, and proposed divestitures to parties with ties to Sinclair executive chair David D. Smith that were rejected or highly subject to rejection to maintain control over stations it was required to sell. The termination of the Sinclair sale agreement places uncertainty for the future of Standard Media's purchases of WRLH and the other six Tribune- and Sinclair-operated stations included in that deal, which were predicated on the closure of the Sinclair–Tribune merger. [26] [27] [28] [29] [30] [31]

Pending sale to Nexstar Media Group and resale to Scripps

On December 3, 2018, Irving, Texas-based Nexstar Media Group—which has owned ABC affiliate WRIC-TV (channel 8) since January 2017—announced it would acquire the assets of Tribune Media for $6.4 billion in cash and debt. Nexstar is precluded from acquiring WTVR directly or indirectly, as FCC regulations prohibit common ownership of two or more of the four highest-rated stations in the same media market. (Furthermore, any attempt by Nexstar to assume the operations of WTVR through local marketing or shared services agreements may be subject to regulatory hurdles that could delay completion of the FCC and Justice Department's review and approval process for the acquisition.) As such, Nexstar will be required to sell either WTVR or WRIC to a separate, unrelated company to address the ownership conflict. [32] [33] [34] [35] [36] [37] [38] [39] [1] [2] On March 20, 2019, the Cincinnati-based E. W. Scripps Company announced it would purchase WTVR from Nexstar upon consummation of the merger, marking Scripps' entry into Virginia, as part of the company's sale of nineteen Nexstar- and Tribune-operated stations to Scripps and Tegna Inc. in separate deals worth $1.32 billion. [3] [40]

Digital television

Digital channels

The station's digital signal is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming [41]
6.1 1080i 16:9 WTVR-HDMain WTVR-TV programming / CBS
6.2 480i 4:3 CBS6ANT Antenna TV
6.3CBS6XTRCBS 6 Xtra

The station became a charter affiliate of Antenna TV upon its launch in March 2011. It is carried on digital subchannel 6.2. [42] Channel 6.3 had been carrying a loop of current weather maps and recorded weather forecasts until mid-2015, when it switched to live simulcasts of the station's newscasts with repeats of the most recent newscast airing when there wasn't a live newscast. The subchannel also airs required E/I programming on weekend mornings.

Analog-to-digital conversion

WTVR-TV shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 6, in the late morning of June 12, 2009, after more than 60 years, 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 remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 25. [43] Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers continues to display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analog channel 6.1. Prior to the transition, the audio component of WTVR's analog channel 6 signal at 87.75 MHz had been heavily promoted as available to listeners tuning to 87.7 on a standard FM radio receiver. WTVR lost this benefit of the analog channel 6 allocation when analog transmission ended. WTVR ended its telecasts on analog channel 6 with "The Star Spangled Banner", featuring images of WTVR-TV's history and the Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima.


Syndicated programming on WTVR includes The Ellen DeGeneres Show , Steve , Access and Extra among others.

Out-of-market cable coverage

Outside of the Richmond market, WTVR is carried on cable in northern Virginia in Front Royal and Luray. In central Virginia, it is carried on service providers in Charlottesville, Fredericksburg, Madison and Staunton. In southside Virginia in Mecklenburg County, WTVR is carried near the North Carolina state line in Bracey along Lake Gaston. It is also carried in Chase City and South Hill.

Past cable coverage

In the 1970s and 1980s, WTVR was once received as far south in Halifax and Enfield in North Carolina. In southern Maryland, WTVR was once carried in Leonardtown, St. Mary's County. [44]

News operation

WTVR was the overall ratings leader in Richmond until the late 1980s, when WWBT surpassed it, mainly in local news ratings and due to strength from WWBT's affiliation with NBC and its top rated primetime lineup. For most of the time since then, the station has waged a spirited battle with WRIC for second place. During the late 1980s, early 1990s and into the 2000s, WTVR won numerous awards, including the RTNDA News Operation of the Year for two consecutive years.

On August 10, 2010, starting with the Noon newscast, WTVR became the second commercial station (behind WWBT) to broadcast local news in high definition. The change also came new graphics, music (an updated version of "The CBS Enforcer Music Collection" by Gari Media Group) and a new news set. On January 23, 2013, WTVR used on-air graphics that were also used on sister station KDVR, a Fox affiliate in Denver, Colorado [45] until April 20, 2015 when they debuted new graphics and music ("Moving Forward" by 615 Music) that are also used by sister station WTTV (which became a CBS affiliate in January of that year) in Indianapolis.

Notable former on-air staff

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  1. 1 2 "Nexstar Media Group Enters into Definitive Agreement to Acquire Tribune Media Company for $6.4 Billion in Accretive Transaction Creating the Nation's Largest Local Television Broadcaster and Local Media Company". Nexstar Media Group. December 3, 2018. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
  2. 1 2 "Nexstar Media Group Enters Into Definitive Agreement To Acquire Tribune Media Company". Tribune Media. December 3, 2018. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
  3. 1 2 Mark K. Miller (March 20, 2019). "Nexstar Selling 19 TVs In 15 Markets For $1.32B". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheck Media.
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