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WPTY-TV is the ABC-affiliated television station for Memphis, Tennessee. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 25 from a transmitter in Brunswick. Owned by Newport Television, the station is sister to CW affiliate WLMT and Fox affiliate WJKT. All three share studios on Union Avenue Extension near the Aulon section of Memphis. However, WJKT officially serves the Jackson area and has their own facilities in that city. Syndicated programming on WPTY includes: Extra, Maury, Judge Mathis, and Friends.


WPTY-TV
[1]

[2]

Memphis, Tennessee
Branding ABC 24 (general)

Eyewitness News

Slogan Uncovering. Investigating. Getting Results.
Channels Digital: 25 (UHF)

Virtual: 24 (PSIP)

Subchannels 24.1 ABC
Owner Newport Television, LLC

(Newport Television License, LLC)

First air date September 10, 1978
Call letters' meaning We're PeTrY Television

(original owner)

Sister station(s) WLMT

WJKT

Former channel number(s) Analog:

24 (UHF, 1978-2009)

Former affiliations Independent (1978-1990)

Fox (1990-1995)

Transmitter power 1,000 kW
Height 340 m
Facility ID 11907
Transmitter coordinates 35°16′33″N 89°46′38″W / 35.27583°N 89.77722°W / 35.27583; -89.77722
Website myeyewitnessnews.com

[edit] History

The station began broadcasting on September 10, 1978 and was the market's first UHF channel and independent station. WPTY also served as the secondary network outlet for the other three stations in town whenever they passed on shows in favor of local fare. It was owned by Petry Television (hence the call letters) and ran a general entertainment format of cartoons, movies, sitcoms, westerns, and drama shows.

By 1983, WPTY picked up competition when TVX Broadcast Group's WMKW signed-on and sparked a rivalry between the two. TVX signed a deal to affiliate all of their stations with Fox in 1987 which resulted in WMKW becoming the area's affiliate. The network pulled the affiliation from WMKW (by then known as WLMT) in February 1990 and gave it to WPTY. This occurred because TVX's deal with Fox included a clause stating that if a station was sold, it could lose its affiliation. Clear Channel Communications bought WPTY in 1992. A year later, a local marketing agreement (LMA) between Clear Channel and WLMT's then owner MT Communications brought the two rival stations together and they pooled resources and programming.

In 1994, Fox Television Stations surprised the market by buying longtime ABC affiliate WHBQ-TV and announced that the station would become their new affiliate. ABC in turn, decided to go with WPTY as its new affiliate which happened on December 1, 1995. At this point, this station began evolving into a traditional network affiliate running mostly first run syndicated shows and a few sitcoms while WLMT ran cartoons, movies, sitcoms, and some reality/talk shows as well. In 2001, Clear Channel would buy WLMT outright from Max Media making the two stations sisters. On April 20, 2007, Clear Channel entered into an agreement to sell its entire television stations group to Providence Equity Partners. On June 12, 2009, WPTY continued on its pre-transitional digital channel when the analog to digital conversion was completed.

[edit] News operation

After becoming an ABC affiliate, WPTY decided to completely re-brand itself and start a news department. The newscasts on the station were branded as NewsWatch 24 and featured an energetic, youthful, almost "grunge" look. It began producing a nightly 9 o'clock broadcast on WLMT to compete with WHBQ. Several years later, WPTY re-branded the newscasts as ABC 24 News and began to modify its style to reach a broader audience. Its news operation, which currently uses the Eyewitness News branding with WLMT, has shown tremendous growth; however, it still remains last in market ratings behind long-dominating rivals WREG-TV, WMC-TV, and WHBQ-TV. It is also the only news operation in the Memphis area, along with WLMT, that has yet to broadcast in high definition as all of its rivals have since made the switch over to HD newscasts.

It has had its share of recognitions and awards. It was honored in 2005 with Associated Press broadcasting awards for "Best Breaking News", "Best Newscast", "Best Reporter", and "Best Sportscast". The station was also honored in 2005 with an Edward R. Murrow award and a regional Emmy Award as the "Best Weekend Newscast". In the same Associated Press award period in 2006, WPTY was honored with nine awards including "Best Overall Newscast".

It produces three newscasts for WLMT including for an hour at 7 on weekday mornings and every night at 9 for 45 minutes. Following the prime time news, there is a fifteen minute sports highlight show. Fox affiliate WJKT simulcasts the nightly 9 o'clock broadcast and sports show. That station has microwave facilities at its studios in Jackson which allows the transmitting of live shots for news from that area. During weather segments, this station uses live NOAA National Weather Service radar data from the Local Forecast Office on Farm Road in Memphis (its official address is on Walnut Grove Road).

[edit] Newscast titles

  • NewsWatch 24 (1995-1997)
  • ABC 24 News (1997-2002)
  • Eyewitness News (2002-present)

[edit] Station slogans

  • "The Mid-South's News Source"/"The Mid-South's Information and Entertainment Source" (1995-1997)
  • "Your New Mid-South News Leader" (1997)
  • "Our Focus: The Mid-South" (1997-2002)
  • "Uncovering. Investigating. Getting Results." (2002-2007)
  • "Eyewitness News Everywhere" (2007-2008)

[edit] News team

Anchors

  • Terrance Bates - weekdays at 11 a.m. and reporter
  • Dee Griffin - weeknights and reporter
  • Cameron Harper - weeknights
  • April Norris - weekday mornings and reporter
  • Joyce Peterson - weekends and reporter

ABC 24 Eyewitness News Meteorologists

  • Mark Walden (Certified Broadcast Meteorologist and NWA Seals of Approval) - Chief seen weeknights
  • Jill Margetts (AMS Seal of Approval) - weekends and news reporter
  • David Still (NWA Seal of Approval) - weekday mornings and 11 a.m.
Sports
  • Ari Bergeron - weeknights at 6, 9, and 10
  • Kathy Morris - weekends

Reporters

  • Shelvia Dancy
  • Jeni DiPrizio
  • Kevin Holmes
  • Joy Lambert
  • Allison Sossaman

[edit] Former staff

Anchors

  • Dayna Devon - weeknights (later host of Extra)
  • Tom Butler - weekends (now at KMSP-TV in Minneapolis)
  • Darryl Hood - weekends
  • Bonny Kinney - reporter
  • Alisa Weinstein - reporter
  • Michelle Mowery - reporter
  • Tran Bui - reporter
  • Michelle Robinson
  • Renee Malone
  • Bill Lunn
  • Ken Houston

Meteorologists

  • Brian Teigland - Chief seen weeknights and heard on WREC-AM 600 and KWAM-AM 990 (died on July 25, 2008 at the age of 53)
  • Henry Rothenberg - weekday mornings and 11 a.m. (heard on WKIM-FM 98.9)
  • Wendy Nations - weekday mornings and 11 a.m.

Sports

  • Ari Bergeron - weeknights (now at WLTX)
  • Rob Petrone - anchor and reporter
  • Greg Gaston - Director seen weeknights (now at WHBQ)
  • Kevin Jenks - anchor and reporter
  • Michael Eaves - weekends

Reporters

  • Rae Lyn Hartley - entertainment
  • Ursula Jones - weekday morning traffic
  • Brandon Long
  • Ellen Galles
  • Denita Dowell
  • Gurnal Scott
  • Sarah Buduson
  • Alexis Amorose
  • Craig Bell
  • Lana Labrousse
  • Lacey Crisp

[edit] External links

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