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WGNO
New Orleans, Louisiana
Branding ABC 26 (general)

ABC 26 News (newscasts)

Slogan Getting Answers
Channels Digital: 26 (UHF)

Virtual: 26 (PSIP)

Affiliations ABC (since 1996)
Owner Tribune Company

(Tribune Television New Orleans, Inc.)

First air date October 1967[1]
Call letters' meaning Greater New Orleans-or-

We've Got New Orleans (also a homage to Tribune's Chicago flagship station WGN-TV, and a portmanteau of "WGN" and "NO" abbreviation for New Orleans)

Sister station(s) WNOL-TV
Former callsigns WWOM-TV (1967-1971)
Former channel number(s) Analog:26 (UHF, 1967-2009)
Former affiliations independent (1967-1995)

The WB (1995-1996)

Transmitter power 1000 kW
Height 305 m
Facility ID 72119
Transmitter coordinates 29°58′57.4″N 89°56′57.8″W / 29.982611°N 89.949389°W / 29.982611; -89.949389
Website www.abc26.com


History

The station signed on in October 1967 as WWOM-TV (The Wonderful World Of Movies). It was the first independent station in Louisiana, as well as the first new commercial station to sign on in the city since WWL-TV (channel 4) signed on in 1957. Initially, the station was on the air 8 hours a day from late afternoon to midnight. It programmed mostly old movies, some theatrical cartoons, and a couple off network shows. It was owned by David Wagenvoord until its sale to Communications Corp. of the South in 1971, and its call letters were changed to the current WGNO.

As WGNO, the station began running more off network sitcoms and westerns and moderate amounts of cartoons. The station was on the air about 12 hours a day by 1972. The station began signing on at 10 a.m. in 1974 and expanded to about 19 hours a day by 1975. WGNO was sold to Seymour Smith and family in 1976. It continued to program a general entertainment format with vintage sitcoms, older movies, and religious shows.

From 1982-87 WGNO aired 1000 PSAs (public service announcements) called "Tom Foote". Tom was a local entertainer in area schools and in the Quarter. For a time an hour-long program ("Tom Foote's Video Clubhouse") aired as well as News For Kids, produced by Tom.

WGNO was purchased by Glendive Media in 1978, who would later sell the station to Tribune Broadcasting in 1983. By coincidence, the station's call letters reflect a connection with Tribune's flagship station, WGN-TV in Chicago, but channel 26 had WGN in their calls long before Tribune even thought of buying the station. And, with two other Tribune television properties also sporting the three letters in their call signs (KWGN-TV in Denver and WGNX in Atlanta), channel 26 kept the WGNO call letters. With the slogan "New Orleans Style," the station continued to grow, and as other competitors signed on, WGNO remained the leading independent station in the market.

In 1993, legendary programmer Brandon Tartikoff created a game show for WGNO called "NO It Alls" with host Ed Daniels and hostess Isis Casanova. In 1996, Tartikoff would take the popular game show national as "Know It Alls"[1].

In January 1995, after 28 years, WGNO ceased to be an independent station when it affiliated with the new WB Network. At that time WB only offered a couple hours of programming a day, so WGNO was still programming non network programming over 20 hours a day.

WVUE (channel 8), the long-time ABC affiliate was sold to a company with interest in Fox. WVUE evicted ABC to become a Fox station on January 1, 1996. WGNO then became the market's new ABC affiliate. The WB affiliation, along with the cartoons and some of the syndicated programming, moved to WNOL channel 38, the former Fox affiliate. WGNO then launched newscasts in the evening and at 10pm in March 1996.

In 1997, WNOL later came under management by Tribune, and WGNO officially became sister station to WNOL after Tribune purchased the latter in 2000, creating a "duopoly" operation in the market.

In July 2005, the station moved its facilities from the World Trade Center New Orleans to a facility at the New Orleans Centre.

On the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina (August 29, 2007), WGNO began broadcasting from new high-definition-ready studios in the Galleria Center in nearby Metairie. Included in WGNO's new facility are a brand-new news set and weather center. Revamped logos and graphics were introduced at this time.

The station at one time was unique for having its own bounty hunter, Tat-2, as part of its "Wheel of Justice" series. [2], [3]

Hurricane Katrina

Former WGNO anchor Michael Hill, during a newscast from the station's temporary facility in 2006.As Hurricane Katrina approached in August 2005, WGNO's operations were moved to fellow ABC affiliate WBRZ-TV in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

For a time after Hurricane Katrina hit, nightly newscasts were broadcast from various locations throughout the New Orleans area because the main studio was inaccessible. Temporary facilities (including a makeshift studio and control room) were eventually established in two trailers outside of the Louisiana Superdome, and most of the station's broadcast equipment was purchased from eBay resellers.

In April 2006, WGNO announced that it was temporarily moving its broadcast operations back to the World Trade Center New Orleans tower. Management at the New Orleans Centre terminated the station's lease when it decided not to reopen the complex -- the station had only moved into the facility a few weeks before Katrina. In February 2007, Tribune announced that rather than move WGNO to WNOL's facility on Canal Street, it would be moving to the Galleria building in nearby Metairie. This would make WGNO the first local station to move outside of New Orleans - station management indicated that they wanted to keep WGNO in New Orleans, but that there wasn't a facility suitable for the purpose.[2] The move to the Galleria was complete and broadcasting began at their new home on August 29, 2007, the second-year anniversary of Katrina.

Hurricane Katrina also destroyed WGNO's analog and digital transmitters. As of March 1, 2008, WGNO completed its "post transition" channel 26 DTV transmitter. Since this transmitter operates on the same frequency as their analog transmitter (26) it could not be powered up until their analog transmitter shut down on June 12, 2009, at which time the station flash-cut to digital.[4] Prior to June 12, 2009, its digital signal (with full resolution HDTV content) was carried on a sub-channel of WNOL's digital transmitter on channel 15.

Hurricane Gustav

With the approach of Hurricane Gustav, WGNO's audio was simulcast on WTIX-FM (94.3); the station also cancelled the local segments of the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon, which was airing as normally scheduled on sister station WNOL-TV. [3] WGNO received help covering Gustav from the Tribune Company/Local TV partnership, which combines the control and Internet operations for both entities -- stations that sent crews to New Orleans include WBRC, WHO-TV and WHNT-TV. On Monday, September 1, CNN.com began to simulcast WGNO's broadcast on one of CNN's four live video feeds.

Digital television

The station's broadcasts its HD 720p digital signal on UHF 26. WGNO had been sharing digital channel 15 with WNOL. On June 12, 2009, WGNO remained on channel 26 when the analog to digital conversion completed. This allowed on WNOL to resume high definition broadcasting on UHF channel 15.

Currently, the local newscasts are broadcast in 16:9 widescreen standard definition (SD) and is one of three major stations who presents local newscasts in this format (the others are WWL and WDSU).

News operation

In 2008, WGNO launched two new weekday newscasts: first, a half-hour 11 a.m. newscast that debuted on September 8, 2008, and then on September 29, 2008, a two-hour morning news broadcast called Good Morning New Orleans from 5-7 a.m. debuted.

On April 20, 2009, WGNO moved its 6 p.m. newscast to 6:30 p.m. The move is intended to reach a believed large segment of New Orleans who commute to work and do not arrive home in time to watch a 6 p.m. newscast. Billed as "Your Only Newscast at 6:30", the show is hosted by anchor Jessica Holly, however recent ratings indicate that the time slot has not attracted significant viewers as ratings fell in 2010, with WGNO placing last with a 1.7 Nielson at 6:30.

On June 4th, 2010, the 9pm newscast on sister station WNOL was cancelled due to CW's prime time moving back an hour.

News/station presentation

Newscast titles

  • WGNO News/WGNO News Final (1971-1978)
  • TV-26 News (1978-mid 1980s)
  • ABC26 News (1996-present)

Station slogans

  • We've Got New Orleans (1971-late 1970s, 1995-1996 and 2003-2004)
  • New Orleans Style (1983?-1995?)
  • More News (1996-2005)
  • Getting Answers (2005-2008)
This film, television or video-related list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it with reliably sourced additions.===News staff===

Anchors

  • Jessica Holly - weeknights at 5 p.m 6:30 pm and 10 p.m.
  • Jocelyn Lockwood - weekday mornings "Good Morning New Orleans" (5-7 a.m.) and 11 a.m.
  • Curt Sprang - Saturdays at 6, Sundays at 5 and weekends at 10 p.m.; also weekday reporter

Weather

  • Hank Allen (AMS Seal of Approval) - Meteorologist; weekday mornings "Good Morning New Orleans" (5-7 a.m.) and 11 a.m.
  • Bruce Katz (AMS Seal of Approval) - Chief Meteorologist; weeknights at 5, 6:30 and 10 p.m.
  • Molly Rosenblatt - Weather Anchor; Saturdays at 6, Sundays at 5 and weekends at 10 p.m.; also reporter

Sports

  • Ed Daniels - Sports Director; weeknights at 6:30 and 10 p.m.; formerly host of "NO it Alls"
  • Kristina Pink - Sports Anchor; Saturdays at 6, Sundays at 5 and weekends at 10 p.m.; also sports reporter

Reporters

  • Blaire Arvin
  • Vanessa Bolano
  • Glynn Boyd
  • Jeff Crouere - political analyst
  • Don Dubuc - outdoor reporter; Tuesdays at 10, and Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m.
  • Sheldon Fox - general assignment and "Wheel of Justice" feature reporter
  • Meg Gatto
  • Sandra Gonzalez
  • Jon Huffman
  • Molly Kimball - nutrition expert
  • Darian Trotter
  • Chriss Knight - morning and 11 a.m. reporter
  • Lalia Marcos
  • Joe Rawley - web reporter
  • Robyn Walensky

News management

  • Rick Erbach - news director
  • John Cruse - general manager

Former on-air staff

  • Anna Adair
  • Jason Allen (currently with WGCL-TV in Atlanta)
  • Tom Bagwell (currently at WLAE)
  • Rick Barrett
  • Val Bracy - reporter (currently at WVUE)
  • Isis Casanova - hostess of "No It Alls" (game show developed at WGNO)
  • Kim Davis (later at KPRC-TV in Houston)
  • Yunji de Nies - reporter (currently with ABC News)
  • Mark Deane
  • Brooke Erickson - sports reporter (now at Cox Sports Television)
  • Jon Fairbanks
  • Tom Foote - ("KidVid Host" 1982-87)
  • Brad Giffen - (now at CTV in Toronto, Canada)
  • Mitty Giffts - former weekend weather anchor
  • April Gonzales
  • Michael Hill June 28, 2004-May 28, 2010, is now in the process of putting together a new media company. (1)
  • Mike Janssen
  • Harry McCulla - (now at KFOL-CD in Houma, LA)
  • Pat Minnis
  • Meredith Mendez - spokesperson St. Tammany Parish School System
  • Doug Mouton - reporter (currently at WWL-TV)
  • Paul Murphy - reporter (currently at WWL-TV)
  • Chris Nakamoto - (currently at WBRZ in Baton Rouge)
  • Adam Norris
  • Joni Naquin - (later at WWL-TV)
  • Janella Newsome - (now associate director of university communications and marketing Dillard University)
  • Cindi Nguyen
  • Bob Noonan - (now at WREG in Memphis)
  • Dawn Ostrom (currently doing freelance work)
  • Jeff Peterson Now at WGME-13
  • Liz Reyes - anchor (1997-2009; now at WVUE & runs her own media website at LizReyes.com)
  • Kris Rhodes
  • Eric Richey - (was at AM 690 WIST, now at Cox Sports Television)
  • Susan Roesgen - (moved to CNN in 2005)
  • Mike Russ - (currently at WPMI in Mobile, Alabama)
  • Melinda Spaulding - (currently at KRIV in Houston)
  • André Trevigne - anchor

External links

References

  1. ^ The Broadcasting and Cable Yearbook says October 16, while the Television and Cable Factbook says October 14.
  2. ^ New Orleans Times-Picayune/NOLA.com, accessed February 10, 2007
  3. ^ http://www.abc26.com/pages/landing_news/?Jerry-Lewis-Local-Telethon-Postponned-Du=1&blockID=44699&feedID=1154

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