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|Branding||16 WAPT (general)
16 WAPT News (newscasts)
|Slogan||Built Around You|
|Channels||Digital: 21 (UHF)
Virtual: 16 (PSIP)
|Owner||Hearst Television, Inc.
(WAPT Hearst Television, Inc.)
|First air date||October 3, 1970|
|Call letters' meaning||We're American
Public Television (reference to American Public Life Insurance Company)
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
|Transmitter power||1000 kW (digital)|
|Height||332 m (digital)|
|Transmitter coordinates||32°16′41″N 90°17′40″W / 32.27806°N 90.29444°W / 32.27806; -90.29444 (WAPT)|
The station began broadcasting on Saturday, October 3, 1970 with ABC's coverage of an University of Mississippi football game; newscasts debuted in 1971. Prior to its debut, Jackson was one of the largest, if not the largest, markets in the U.S. to have only two television stations (WLBT and WJTV). It is possible (although no direct evidence exists) that the Federal Communications Commission delayed granting licenses to any potential broadcasters in central Mississippi until WLBT, which had a long history of discrimination against African-Americans in news coverage and advocacy against Civil Rights, either changed its ways or lost its license. The latter happened in 1969, and the following year saw this station and Mississippi Educational Television (now Mississippi Public Broadcasting) debut, doubling viewing choices for central Mississippians within a year's time.
WAPT was founded by the American Public Life Insurance Company, an insurer which is still in business today but is now an affiliate of American Fidelity Assurance. American Public Life sold the station to Clay Communications in 1979. That company then sold its television stations—WAPT, plus KJAC-TV (now KBTV-TV) in Port Arthur, Texas, KFDX-TV in Wichita Falls, Texas and WWAY in Wilmington, North Carolina--to Price Communications in 1987. Price Communications sold three of its stations—WAPT and then-sister stations WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan and WNAC-TV in Providence, Rhode Island--to the newly-founded Northstar Television Group in 1989.
Northstar Television was bought out by Argyle Television Holdings II, a company which was formed in late 1994 by a group of managers and executives who left the first incarnation of Argyle Television (the former Times-Mirror Broadcasting) after that company sold all of its stations to New World Communications, in January 1995. In August 1997, Argyle merged with the Hearst Corporation's broadcasting unit to form what was then known as Hearst-Argyle Television (now Hearst Television after the Hearst Corporation became sole owner of the group in mid-2009).
In the 1990s, WAPT became one of many ABC affiliates (mostly in rural and Southern markets like Jackson) to ban Steven Bochco's controversial crime drama NYPD Blue. However, in January 1995, some sixteen months after its premiere, the station lifted its ban on the show. In 2004, all of Hearst-Argyle's ABC affiliates, including WAPT, preempted the network's airing of Saving Private Ryan.
In 2005, WAPT was the victim of a prank by Sacha Baron Cohen for the mockumentary, Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. In 2008, WAPT announced that it would begin a noon newscast, becoming the third noon newscast in Jackson. WAPT also broadcasts its radar live on a digital subchannel.
 Digital television
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
WAPT-DT broadcasts on digital channel 21.
|16.1||WAPT-DT||main WAPT/ABC programming|
 Post-analog shutdown
After the analog television shutdown on June 12, 2009 , WAPT remained on its pre-transition channel number, 21, using PSIP to display WAPT's virtual channel as 16.
 News operation
 News/station presentation
 Newscast titles
- WAPT News (1971–1975)
- [[Action News 16 (1975–1982)
- The News on WAPT]] (1982–1989)
- Channel 16 News (1989–1993)
- Eyewitness News 16 (1993–1997)
- 16 WAPT News (1997–present)
 Station slogans
- We're WAPT Television, Channel 16 (1970–1975)
- Part of Your Life (1975–1978)
- If it Happens in Mississippi, It Happens on Action News 16 (1978–1982)
- You and Me and Channel 16 (1980–1981; local version of ABC campaign)
- We're With You on Channel 16 (1984–1985; local version of ABC campaign)
- You'll Love It on Channel 16 (1985–1986; local version of ABC campaign)
- Always One Step Ahead (1986–1989)
- Your 24 Hour News Source (1989–1993)
- Metro Jackson's #1 News (1993–1997)
- Stories That Hit Home (1997–2002)
- Building Our Station Around You (2002–2007)
- Built Around You (late 2007–present)
- Who's Accountable (2008–present)
 News staff
 Current on-air staff
- Sharita Erves - weekday mornings; also reporter
- Stephanie Maxwell - weeknights at 5, 6 and 10 p.m.
- Brad McMullan - weekday mornings and weeknights at 5 p.m.; also "Pothole Patrol" feature reporter
- Scott Simmons - weeknights at 6 and 10 p.m.
- Megan West - Saturdays at 6, Sundays at 5:30 and weekends at 10 p.m.; also reporter
Storm Shield 16 Weather Team
- David Hartman (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval) - chief meteorologist; weeknights at 5, 6 and 10 p.m.
- Ethan Huston - meteorologist; weekday mornings
- Heather Sophia - meteorologist; Saturdays at 6, Sundays at 5:30 and weekends at 10 p.m.
- Christian Steckel - sports director; weeknights at 6 and 10 p.m.
- Ray Coleman - sports reporter; photojournalist
- Crystal Hilliard - general assignment reporter; also producer
- Kathryn Kight - general assignment reporter
- Joseph Pleasant - general assignment reporter
- Perna Roberson - general assignment reporter
Hearst Television Washington Bureau
- Kate Amara - Washington Bureau reporter
- Sally Kidd - Washington Bureau reporter
- Nikole Killion - Washington Bureau reporter
 Past on-air staff
- Frank Mickens - now anchor at WFMY in Greensboro, NC
- Wayne Carter - now anchor at WVEC in Norfolk, VA
- Greg Flynn- now public information officer with MEMA
- Joyce Brewer - now runs her own multimedia company, JBTV, LLC in Atlanta, GA
- Desare Frazier
- Kayla Thomas
- Jason Carter
- Larry Ridley (now at WHDH in Boston)
- Don Champion (now reporter at KMGH-TV in Denver)
- Kevin Robinson (now chief meteorologist at WLWT in Cincinnati)
- Barbie Bassett (now chief meteorologist at WLBT)
- Tom Burse - Chief Meteorologist (now Owner/Chief Meteorolgist WeatherImage LLC. WeatherImage.com)
- Chantee Lans - also a producer
- Meg Ryan (not to be confused with the movie actress)
- Stephanie Doss
- Adrienne Stein
- Katina Rankin (now weekday morning anchor at WLBT)
- Tony Bahou
- Andrea Molloy
- Cal Adams
- Mike Rowe - Sports Director (1987–1997)
- Cynthia Bowers (now at CBS News)
- Stephanie Bell Flynt (now at WLBT)
- Mike Woolfolk
- Jamie Triplet
- Gene Edwards
- Whitney Vann
- Rick Whitlow (moved to WJTV, but fired)
- Melissa Tamplin
- Tom Russo
- Brett Bullers
- Ken Johnson
- Jennifer Cook
- Elaina Jackson - producer
- Craig Edwards
- Brittany Diehl
- ^ http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,226960,00.html
- ^ http://www.clarionledger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080222/NEWS/80222035
- ^ http://www.clarionledger.com/article/20090206/BIZ/902060338/-1/frontpagetabmodule-1V
- ^ CDBS Print