Columbus, Georgia
Branding WTVM News Leader 9
Slogan Coverage You

Can Count On

Channels Digital: 11 (VHF)
Subchannels 9.1 ABC

9.2 WTVM Weather Now

Owner Raycom Media

(WTVM License Subsidiary, LLC)

First air date October 6, 1953
Call letters' meaning TeleVision Martin Theaters (former owner)
Sister station(s) WXTX
Former callsigns WDAK-TV (1953-1956)
Former channel number(s) Analog:

28 (UHF, 1953-1960) 9 (VHF, 1960-2009)

Former affiliations NBC (1953-1970, secondary from 1960)

ABC (secondary 1953-1960)

Transmitter power 6.7 kW
Height 507 m
Facility ID 595
Transmitter coordinates 32°19′25.1″N 84°46′45.5″W / 32.323639°N 84.779306°W / 32.323639; -84.779306


[hide]*1 History

  • 2 News operation
    • 2.1 Newscast titles
  • 3 Digital television
  • 4 News team
  • 5 Past on-air staff
    • 5.1 References
  • 6 External links

[edit] History

The station signed-on for the first time on October 6, 1953 as WDAK-TV on UHF channel 28. It was a primary NBC station with secondary ABC affiliation. It was the first television station in the Columbus market and is the fifth-oldest in the state and second-oldest outside Atlanta. During the late-1950s, the station was also briefly affiliated with the NTA Film Network.[1] It was originally owned by Allen Woodall Sr., owner of WDAK radio, and Martin Theaters, forerunner of Carmike Cinemas. Studios were located on 1st Avenue in downtown Columbus, where Carmike's corporate headquarters are today. Woodall sold his interest in the station to Martin Theaters in 1956 and the call letters were changed to the current WTVM.

It moved to VHF channel 9 in 1960 in a three-way switch-and-move approved by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in which WRBL moved from channel 4 to channel 3 and WTVY-TV in Dothan, Alabama moved from channel 9 to channel 4. The moves were permitted because two years earlier, Martin Theaters had bought WROM-TV in Rome, Georgia, moved it 70 miles (115 km) north to Chattanooga and changed its calls to WTVC. Eventually, channel 28 (WTVM's old channel) was occupied by Georgia Public Broadcasting's WJSP-TV.

On the same day WTVM moved to channel 9, it switched its primary affiliation to ABC, while relegating NBC to secondary status shared with WRBL. This was very unusual for a (then) two-station market, especially one of Columbus' size. Usually, ABC, as the smallest and weakest of the three major networks, was relegated to secondary status on one or both of the existing stations. However, Martin Theaters wanted to get WTVM in line with WTVC, which has always been an ABC affiliate.

Augusta businessman J. B. Fuqua bought Martin Theaters in 1969, including both WTVM and WTVC. Early in 1970, Fuqua moved WTVM to its present studios on Wynnton Road. The station switched to ABC full-time in October of that year, when WYEA (now WLTZ) signed on and took over the NBC affiliation.

Fuqua sold off his broadcast interests in 1980, with WTVM going to Western Broadcasting. and SFN Publishing became the owner in 1984. A group of SFN managers formed Pegasus Broadcasting and purchased WTVM in 1986. Aflac (which had owned WYEA at one point during the 1970s) bought the station in 1989. In 1997, Aflac sold its entire broadcasting division, including WTVM, to an investment group which merged it with Ellis Communications to form the station's current owner, Raycom Media.

[edit] News operation

WTVM's news open.In addition to the main studios, the station operates an East Alabama bureau on Executive Park Drive in Opelika.

WTVM produces a nightly prime time show for sister station WXTX known as Fox 54 News at 10. At one point, there was also an hour long broadcast seen weekday mornings at 7 on that station. However, this production (called Fox 54 Morning News) was canceled. It operates the Chattahoochee Valley's only live regional weather radar called "TrueView Doppler 9". The station also has access to four different Level 2 NEXRAD radars called "TrueView Tracker" which includes the capability to use three dimensional graphics to track storms during newscasts.

WTVM operates six skycams (all are sponsored by ALFA Insurance) throughout the viewing area. There are two in Columbus, and one each in Pine Mountain, Georgia; Auburn, Alabama; Opelika, Alabama and Eufaula, Alabama. It operates a 24-hour weather channel known as "9 Weather Now" on a second digital subchannel. This features a live stream of "TrueView Doppler 9", current conditions, and updated forecasts by WTVM meteorologists. Despite being called Weather Now, it is not affiliated with AccuWeather. WTVM-DT2 can be seen on Knology digital channel 170 and Mediacom digital channel 803. Both websites of WTVM and WXTX carry a live video stream of the weather channel.

Due to WRBL and WLTZ either cutting back on or not having newscasts for certain timeslots, WTVM often refers to its newscasts with its slogan "Coverage You Can Count On" and add on "from your only early local newscast" (weekdays at 5 and 5:30 pm); "from your only local midday newscast" (weekdays at noon) and; "from your only weekend local newscast" (weekends at 6 and 11 pm), during talent rejoins coming back from the first commercial break.

Because half of the station's viewing area is in the Central Time Zone, programming that is normally delayed an hour in this time zone is aired live, and thus, airs an hour earlier for viewers in Alabama.

Newscast titles

  • News Scope (1964–1970s)
  • Action 9 News (1970s–1989)
  • First News (1989–1990)
  • THE News Leader (1990–1996, similar to sister station WTOC-TV's "THE News")
  • News Leader 9 (1996–present)

[edit] Digital television

WTVM's signal is multiplexed. It broadcasts on digital channel 11.

Channel Label Programming
9.1 WTVM-DT Main WTVM-TV/ABC HD Programming
9.2 WTVM-DT2 WTVM "9 Weather Now"

[edit] News team


  • Jason Dennis - News Leader 9 at 5, 6, and FOX 54 News at 10
  • Semone Doughton - weeknights, FOX 54 News at 10
    • education reporter
  • Barbara Gauthier - News Leader 9 at 5, 6, and 11
  • Chuck Leonard - News Leader 9 Mornings at 5:30 am
  • Zaneta Lowe - News Leader 9 Mornings at 5:30 am and consumer reporter
  • Cheryl Renee - News Leader 9 Midday and 5:30 pm
    • "News 9 Leaders" and "Hey Cheryl, What's Happening" segments producer
  • Andrew Wittenberg - News Leader 9 Weekends at 6 and 11 and reporter
    • Sunday Sports Overtime co-host and FOX 54 News at 10 Weekend anchor

Storm Team 9 Meteorologists

All Storm Team 9 Meteorologists have a seal of approval from the American Meteorological Society

  • Kurt Schmitz (Certified Broadcast Meteorologist, only CBM in the Columbus Market) - Chief Meteorologist, seen weeknights News Leader 9 at 5, 5:30, 6 and 11 and FOX 54 News at 10
  • Bruce Lee - News Leader 9 Mornings and Midday
  • Derek Kinkade - News Leader 9 Weekends at 6 and 11 , FOX 54 News at 10 Weekends and Sunday Sports Overtime co-host

Sports Leader 9

  • Dave Platta - Director, seen Tuesday through Friday nights on News Leader 9 at 6 and 11 and FOX 54 News at 10
  • Angelo Caruso - Reporter, Sports Anchor seen Saturdays on News Leader 9 at 6 and 11 and FOX 54 News at 10, Fill-In Sports Anchor on weekdays

News Leader 9 Reporters

  • Taylor Barnhill
  • Lindsey Connell
  • Roslyn Giles
  • Paul Therrien - Chief Photographer
  • James Valles
    • "Wild, Wild Web" and "Hot Sites" segments reporter/producer
  • Fatima Rahmatullah
  • Elizabeth White - East Alabama Bureau Chief
  • Katherine Kington- East Alabama Bureau Reporter, fill-in weekend weather anchor
  • Laura Ann Sills

[edit] Past on-air staff

  • Aimee Davis, anchor/reporter
  • Al Fleming, anchor
  • Alicia Smith, anchor/reporter (now at WXYZ-TV)
  • Alison Welch, reporter
  • Amanda Iler, reporter
  • Andy Still, anchor (recently retired WYFF-TV)
  • Angie Hanshaw, reporter
  • Ashley Nix, reporter (now at WBRC in Birmingham, AL)
  • Bethany Culbreth, sports reporter
  • Brian McClure, meteorologist (now at Bay News 9 in Tampa, FL)
  • Brock Parker, reporter
  • Bruce Snyder, weekend sports anchor (now at WCCB-TV)
  • Casey Jones, anchor/ reporter (now at WJCL-TV)
  • Chauncy Glover, reporter
  • Cheryl Morgan, anchor/reporter
  • Chris Capra, reporter
  • Chris Hudgison, sports reporter
  • Chris Treston, sports anchor
  • Cindy Sardo, anchor
  • Dan Greene', sports anchor
  • Dave Spahr, meteorologist (now at KESQ-TV)
  • David Chandley, meteorologist (now at WSB-TV)
  • Deborah Roberts, reporter (now at ABC's 20/20)
  • Deborah Singer, anchor
  • Dee Armstrong, anchor (terminated)
  • Denise Schwab (Dillon), anchor/reporter (now at WAGA-TV)
  • Dick McMichael, anchor (retired)
  • Gretchen Bartelt, reporter
  • Jade Hindmon, reporter (now at WHNS-TV)
  • Jeff Chardos, weekend sports anchor
  • Jim Koger, sports anchor
  • Jo Giles, reporter
  • John Lyles, anchor/reporter
  • Jon Kalahar, reporter
  • Joshua McKinney, meteorologist (now at News 14 Carolina in Raleigh, NC)
  • Justin Cazana, sports reporter
  • Kathleen Kennedy, reporter
  • Kathy Pepino, anchor (mother of American Idol runner-up Justin Guarini)
  • Keryn Shipman, anchor
  • Kirsten Olesen, weekend sports anchor
  • Laurie Bernstein, reporter
  • Layla Chapman, reporter
  • Lisa Moscarelli, reporter
  • Lydia Esparra, reporter (now at WKYC-TV)
  • Mac Carmack, anchor
  • Maria LaRosa, meteorologist (now at The Weather Channel)
  • Mark Haggard, sports anchor (now at WPDE-TV)
  • Matt Musil, Sports Director (now at KHOU-TV)
  • Michelle Aguayo, reporter
  • Mitzi Oxford, meteorologist
  • Penny Leigh, meteorologist (deceased)
  • Priya Aujla, reporter
  • Rebecca Todd, anchor
  • Regina Terrell, reporter
  • Robbie Cotney, reporter
  • Robbie Watson, weekend sports anchor
  • Roszell Gadson, anchor
  • Sam Bishop, reporter
  • Shannon Walshe, anchor
  • Staci Walker, anchor/reporter
  • Steve Beverly, anchor
  • Suzanne Lawrence, anchor (deceased)
  • Terry Silliman, reporter
  • Tim Savoy, reporter
  • Tom O'Neal, announcer
  • Tracy Flanagan,reporter (WAGA-TV in Atlanta 2000-2005, now media consultant/producer)
  • Wayne Bennett, anchor (retired)
  • Rick Bartlett, Photog (now Program Director/Morning Show Host in Iowa)
  • Greg Funderburg, reporter (now at WHNS-TV)

[edit] References

  1. ^ "Require Prime Evening Time for NTA Films", Boxoffice: 13, November 10, 1956,

[edit] External links

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