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WOLO-TV channel 25 is the ABC affiliate television station for Columbia, South Carolina. Its transmitter is located in Elgin, South Carolina. Its studios on Shakespeare Road just outside downtown Columbia, while its news studio is located on Main and Gervais streets in downtown Columbia.

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History

Channel 25 signed on the air as WCOS-TV on May 1, 1953 owned by Columbia Radio along with WCOS radio (AM 1400 and FM 97.9, now 97.5). It was South Carolina's first television station, and carried programming from all three networks--CBS, NBC and ABC. Studios were located in a Quonset hut near the station's current studio location.

WCOS-TV had very modern equipment by 1953 standards. However, UHF stations always found the going difficult in those days because the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) didn't require television manufacturers to have UHF tuning capability until 1964. In the 1950s, viewers had to purchase separate converters to watch UHF stations, and even then, the picture was often hard to receive. The problem really manifested itself in November, when WIS-TV, channel 10, signed on as the city's first VHF station and took all NBC programming. WCOS was left with ABC since it had lost CBS to WNOK-TV, channel 67 (now WLTX, channel 19) in September. ABC was a very weak network at the time.

Even though WCOS' fate was sealed when WIS-TV signed on, the station limped along until 1956, when WNOK-TV offered to pay Charles W. Pittman, president of Columbia Radio, to take the struggling station off the air. Pittman, who had put much of his own money into WCOS, accepted and signed off on January 21, 1956.

Channel 25 remained dark for over five years, in hopes of returning to the air again "in the near future". On October 1, 1961, local investors bought the license and returned to the air as WCCA-TV, also an ABC affiliate. As a result of its time off the air, while it was the first television station in the state, it is not the longest continuously operating--that distinction goes to WCSC-TV in Charleston. In 1964, Cy Bahakel, owner of WCCB-TV in Charlotte (100 miles north), bought WCCA and changed the calls to the current WOLO-TV. The station's ownership is the longest-serving ownership of any of the Columbia market's television stations, with president Beverly Poston taking over as president of Bahakel after her father's death in 2006.

In 2001, WOLO activated a new tower along I-20 near Camden. It is the tallest structure in South Carolina, at almost 1,800 feet. Before then, the station had long been plagued by a weak signal. Although it decently covered Columbia and its close-in suburbs, it only provided grade B coverage of the second-largest city in the market, Sumter, and was all but unviewable in the outlying areas. As such, many areas of the market weren't able to get a decent signal from channel 25 until cable television arrived in Columbia in the 1970s. Much of the western part of the market got a better signal from WJBF in Augusta. In 2002, WOLO was the second commercial station in the Columbia market to go digital.

WOLO runs syndicated programs such as Judge Joe Brown, Judge Judy, Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy!.

On September 21, 2009, WOLO was the first station to air its news in high definition, accompanied by a new graphics and music package. The station did not gather its video in HD until February 2010, but video from the studio broadcast in Columbia is upconverted, not in true HD.

News operations

WOLO has experienced several firsts, including the first certified meteorologist and color radar in South Carolina (in 1978) and the first live broadcast via satellite (in 1980). However, WOLO has spent most of its history as the weakest major-network affiliate in Columbia. In 1997, WOLO upgraded its news image by hiring Jim Blue and Leslie Mouton (Mattox) and branded itself as "25 Eyewitness News". It also adopted the "AccuWeather" franchise. It also expanded its news product to include a morning show, "Good Morning Columbia" and a 5 PM newscast.

In 2002, Bahakel moved WOLO's operations to WCCB in Charlotte, where they stayed for three years. During that time, WCCB's studios played host to WOLO's newscasts. All news gathering was still based in Columbia with a News Director and reporters producing the daily newscasts. WOLO cut many jobs and shows, and only the weekday evening newscasts were retained. This was one of the first examples of "central casting" (housing several stations' operations in one location) in the United States.

Bahakel returned WOLO's anchors to Columbia in Fall 2005 and built a new street-side studio across from the state capitol. It has underscored its commitment to local news with slogans such as "Live from Main and Gervais" (the major intersection housing WOLO's new street-side newsroom) and "More Local News." Around the same time, WOLO switched its on-air name from ABC25 to ABC Columbia, similar to the change made at WCCB, which switched from FOX 18 to Fox Charlotte.

While it is still well behind WIS and WLTX, WOLO has been more competitive since it moved back to Columbia. Additionally, it has begun reaping the full benefits of its technical upgrades of the past decade and the switch to digital.

Along with WOLO's September 21, 2009 transition to high definition came a new website scheme, a simple flash layout, aimed towards younger viewers.

On-air staff

Current on-air staff

Anchors/reporters

  • Alicia Barnes - weeknights at 6 and 11 p.m.; also Wrinkle Free Wednesday feature reporter
  • Anderson Burns - weekends at 11 p.m.; also weeknight reporter
  • Daniel Seamans - weeknights at 6 and 11 p.m.
  • Monique Williams - weekday morning news updates during America This Morning and Good Morning America
  • Dave Aiken - "Voice of the Viewers" (also University of South Carolina PA announcer)
  • Robin Kanady - general assignment reporter

Weather Team

  • Reg Taylor (AMS and NWA Seals of Approval) - Chief Meteorologist; weeknights at 6 and 11 p.m. (based out of WCCB-TV in Charlotte)
  • Derek James - Meteorologist; weekends at 6 and 11 p.m. (based out of WCCB-TV Charlotte)

Sports Team

  • Tim Hill - Sports Director; weeknights at 6 and 11 p.m.
  • Cole St. Clair - Sports Anchor; weekends at 6 and 11 p.m.

Past on-air staff

  • Jim Blue (1997-2002)
  • Leslie Mouton (Mattox) (now at KSAT-TV in San Antonio)
  • Lindsay Hudson (now Lindsay Ferrier) - morning anchor (1997-2000)
  • Craig Beatty
  • Terry Chick (now at KEPR)
  • Shanai Harris - evening anchor (2002-2008)
  • James Hill
  • Rick Leventhal (now at Fox News Channel)
  • Ryan Lieber
  • Dia Davidson (now at WLEX in Lexington, KY)
  • Semone Doughton (now at WTVM in Columbus, GA)
  • Phyllis Jackson
  • Denise Jackson
  • Kristin Mitchell
  • Laurie Shore
  • Jeb Shore
  • Jim Forest
  • Mackie Quave (in SC Broadcasters Assn. Hall of Fame)
  • Fred Cunningham (now at WSPA-TV in Greenville, SC)
  • Kristen Mitchell
  • Dan Weinbaum (now at KMBC in Kansas City)
  • Patrick Paolantonio (now at WISN-TV in Milwaukee)
  • Mark Shaffer
  • Kathy Hannus
  • Reggie Hall
  • Mike Rodgers
  • Bob Moore
  • Jim Powell (now with Atlanta Braves radio)
  • Suzel Spiller
  • Brian Custar (now at WKOW in Madison, WI)
  • Tom Ackerman (now at WLEX in Lexington, KY)
  • John Gaughan
  • David Hartman
  • Leslie Mouton (Mattox) (now at KSAT-TV in San Antonio)
  • Ginger Gadsden (now at WTSP in Tampa)
  • Scott Eisberg (now at WCIV in Charleston, SC)
  • Cory Curtis (now at WKRN in Nashville)
  • Susan Biggers
  • Dave Stanley
  • John Sullivan
  • Angie Mizzell
  • Angela Valante
  • Betsy Nolan
  • Mark Wade
  • Malachi Rodgers (now at WESH in Orlando)
  • Brett Tackett
  • Radar the Weather Dog (2001-2002)
  • Derrec Becker now at the South Carolina Emergency Management Division
  • Ann Cobb
  • Richard Breen (now editor of the GSA Business Journal in Greenville, SC)
  • Christy Mason Cox
  • Terry Chick
  • John Brunelli
  • Julie Jordan
  • Mark Pfister
  • Suzanne Kay Pittman
  • Gary Pozsik

News/station presentation

Newscast titles

  • 25 News (1983-1990 and 1999-2001)
  • 25 Live (1990-1993)
  • WOLO News Hour (1993-1996)
  • 25 Eyewitness News (1996-1999 and 2001-2002)
  • ABC 25 News (2002-2007)
  • ABC Columbia News (2007-present)

Station slogans

  • Live From Main & Gervais (2005-present)

[1] This film, television or video-related list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it with reliably sourced additions.==Digital television== The station's digital channel, VHF 8, is multiplexed:

Digital channels


Virtual

Channel

Video Aspect Programming
25.1 720p 16:9 Main WOLO-TV programming / ABC HD
25.3 480i 4:3 NWS Weather Radio & Radar

In 2009, WOLO left channel 25 and moved to channel 8 when the analog to digital conversion was completed.[1]

References

  1. ^ http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-06-1082A2.pdf

External links

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