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WCYB 2012 Logo.png

Wcyb dt2 2008.png
Bristol, Virginia
Bristol/Johnson City/Kingsport, Tennessee
United States
CityBristol, Virginia
ChannelsDigital: 5 (VHF)
(to move to 35 (UHF)[1][2])
Virtual: 5
BrandingWCYB-TV 5 (general)
News 5 (newscasts)
Tri-Cities CW HD (on DT2)
SloganAccurate. Reliable.
Getting the Facts Right.

Dare to Defy (on DT2)
Affiliations5.1: NBC
5.2: The CW
5.3: Comet (O&O)
OwnerSinclair Broadcast Group
(Sinclair Media Licensee, LLC)
broadcast: WEMT
cable: Bally Sports South, Bally Sports Southeast[3]
First air date
August 13, 1956 (64 years ago) (1956-08-13)
Former channel number(s)
5 (VHF, 1956–2009)
28 (UHF, 1996–2009)
Both secondary:
ABC (1956–1969)
The WB (1996–2006)
Call sign meaning
CitY of Bristol
Technical information
Licensing authority
Facility ID2455
ERP29.9 kW
1,000 kW (application)[1]
HAAT743 m (2,438 ft)
755 m (2,477 ft) (application)[1]
Transmitter coordinates36°26′58.2″N 82°6′28.7″W / 36.449500°N 82.107972°W / 36.449500; -82.107972
Translator(s)35 (UHF) Bristol, VA
Public license information

WCYB-TV, virtual and VHF digital channel 5, is a dual NBC/CW-affiliated television station licensed to Bristol, Virginia, United States, serving the Tri-Cities area of southwestern Virginia and northeastern Tennessee. It is one of two commercial television stations in the Tri-Cities that are licensed on the Virginia side of the market (alongside religious station WLFG, channel 68, in Grundy). WCYB-TV is owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group, which also operates Greeneville, Tennessee-licensed Fox affiliate WEMT (channel 39) under a local marketing agreement (LMA) with owner Cunningham Broadcasting. However, Sinclair effectively owns WEMT as the majority of Cunningham's stock is owned by the family of deceased group founder Julian Smith. The two stations share studios on Lee Street on the Virginia side of Bristol (straddling the Virginia–Tennessee line); WCYB-TV's transmitter is located at Rye Patch Knob on Holston Mountain in the Cherokee National Forest. On cable, the station is available on channel 5 on both Comcast Xfinity and Charter Spectrum.


The station began broadcasting on August 13, 1956. It has always been a primary NBC affiliate although it carried a secondary ABC affiliation (shared with WJHL-TV, channel 11) until 1969 when WKPT-TV (channel 19) signed on and took the ABC affiliation.

WCYB was originally owned by Appalachian Broadcasting, a consortium of four Bristol businessmen—Robert Smith, J. Fey Rogers, Charles M. Gore, and Harry M. Daniel—along with WCYB radio (AM 690, now WZAP). In 1969, the group sold WCYB-TV to Starr Broadcasting. Starr's president and chief stockholder was publisher and columnist William F. Buckley, Jr. of National Review fame. Starr sold Appalachian Broadcasting to the DGH Company/Lamco Communications (former publisher of the GRIT newspaper) in 1977.[4] It was sold again to Bluestone Television in 2004, who then merged with Bonten Media Group for $230 million in 2007.

Robert Smith Sr. served as General Manager of the station for almost 25 years. During his tenure, well-known newscasters Merrill Moore, Johnny Wood, and Steve Hawkins began their successful careers. Smith also oversaw the construction of a new building in downtown Bristol. The new facility was industry-leading in its design. After Smith's retirement, Joe Conway became General Manager in 1981. During the early 80's, Lamco invested extensively in people, news, programming, equipment, and marketing. WCYB was marketed as "The News Station". At the same time, NBC became the top-rated network with hits like The Cosby Show and Cheers, and WCYB secured top-rated syndicated programs such as Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! A hot air balloon with an NBC peacock design was purchased and flown across the region to promote the station. For most of the time from the 1980s to the early 2000s, WCYB claimed to be the highest-rated station in the top 100 U.S. TV markets.[citation needed] In 1984, Conway died suddenly. He was succeeded as General Manager in 1985 by Bob Smith, Jr., who had been the station's News Director for several years. During the 1990s and beyond, Joe Macione, Jim McKernan, and Jack Dempsey followed as General Managers.

In the 1960s, this station produced a live weekday cartoon show for children called the Looney Tunes Club, hosted by Ed Spiegel. The show welcomed some 50 youngsters each day to participate on the show and was traditionally visited by children celebrating their birthdays. Each broadcast was opened with a rousing "Hi, boys and girls!" from Spiegel, with "Hi, Ed!" shouted back by the youngsters. The 1960s also saw three locally produced quiz shows: Kiddle Kollege (which pitted young students from different local schools against each other), Classroom Quiz (whose contestants were older high school students, a variation on the It's Academic format) and Klub Kwiz (which did the same using members of local civic and service clubs).

WCYB took over WEMT's operations in February 2006 in a deal with WEMT's new owner, Aurora Broadcasting. As part of the Bonten deal later that year, Esteem Broadcasting bought WEMT from Aurora. Esteem would then pay $1.4 million in outstanding debt. WEMT moved from its studios in Johnson City to WCYB's facilities.

On April 21, 2017, Sinclair announced its intent to purchase the Bonten stations for $240 million.[5][6] The sale was completed on September 1.[7]

Retransmission consent controversies

Under federal must-carry rules, broadcasters can either allow cable systems in their market to carry their signals for free or charge a fee under retransmission consent provisions. On November 24, 2008, TVS Cable (a cable operator which serves several counties in Eastern Kentucky) notified its customers that it would "most likely" drop WCYB on January 1, 2009 due to a retransmission consent dispute.[8] The letter also stated that the system would replace WCYB with a MyNetworkTV affiliate if negotiations fail. However, NBC programming would not be affected because the system currently carries WLEX-TV in Lexington, Kentucky and will intend to do so in the future. TVS Cable later notified customers through their bills stating that there was a thirty-day extension granted through the month of January to carry WCYB.

Another Eastern Kentucky cable operator, Inter Mountain Cable (IMC), has also stated that it would remove WCYB from their lineup unless an agreement was reached.[9] According to The Mountain Eagle, this dispute caused concern among officials in the city of Fleming-Neon where IMC holds the cable television franchise there.[10] The city council in Fleming-Neon stated that the removal of WCYB would violate IMC's franchise agreement.[10] On January 13, it was announced that WCYB would be dropped from the DirecTV local channels lineup in the Tri-Cities market effective January 15 over a similar dispute. That same day, it was announced that an agreement had been reached and WCYB would continue to be provided on DirecTV.[citation needed]

Dish Network and WCYB had been at odds for quite some time regarding carriage of the station on the satellite system. As a result, in December 2013, Dish halted carrying WCYB, WEMT and WCYB-DT2 on their system. On January 12, 2014, Dish restored WCYB and associated stations to its line-up.

Digital television

Digital channels

The station's digital signal is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[11]
5.1 1080i 16:9 WCYB-DT Main WCYB-TV programming / NBC
5.2 CW-HD The Tri-Cities CW
5.3 480i Comet Comet

On August 23, 2011, Disney-ABC Television Group announced an affiliation agreement with WCYB to carry Live Well Network on a new third digital subchannel.[12] The network has since been replaced with Decades, which in turn was eventually replaced with Comet.


City of license Callsign Channel ERP HAAT Facility ID Transmitter coordinates
Bristol WCYB-TV (DRT) 35 15 kW 754 m (2,474 ft) 2455 36°26′58.2″N 82°06′28.7″W / 36.449500°N 82.107972°W / 36.449500; -82.107972 (WCYB-TV (DRT))

Analog-to-digital conversion

WCYB-TV shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 5, on June 12, 2009, the official date in which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 28 to VHF channel 5.[13][14] WCYB operates one UHF fill-in digital translator that helps viewers alleviate some signal reception issues on VHF-low channel 5. It operates on channel 29 and is licensed to Bristol, Virginia with a transmitter with the main channel 5 signal on Holston Mountain.[15] The station applied for a second repeater on channel 21, licensed to Kingsport with a transmitter on Bays Mountain, but this has since expired.[16]

Out-of-market cable carriage

In recent years, WCYB has been carried on cable in multiple areas outside of the Tri-Cities media market. That includes cable systems within the Bluefield market in Virginia, the Lexington market in Kentucky, and the Asheville and Charlotte markets in North Carolina.[17] According to Zap2it, WCYB has been carried on cable in College Grove, Tennessee, which is within the Nashville market.[18]

During the 1970s and 1980s through CATV, WCYB was once carried in Pikeville, Kentucky, Wilkesboro, North Carolina, and McDowell County, West Virginia.[19]

News operation

WCYB logo until 2012
WCYB logo until 2012

WCYB's news dominance from the 1980s and beyond was largely due to the presence of the station's longtime anchormen Merrill Moore, Johnny Wood, and Steve Hawkins. Moore joined the station in 1962 as the weeknight 11 o'clock anchor and added the weeknight 6 p.m. broadcast in 1964. He remained the station's top anchorman until his retirement in 2000. In the 1960s, News Director Walter Crockett also delivered editorials at 6:25 p.m. daily, and Evelyn Booher was one of the first woman newscasters in the Tri-Cities at that time. For most of the time from the 1980s to the early 2000s, WCYB claimed to be the highest-rated television station in the United States. In January 2005, WCYB won the RTNDA's Ultimate Newscast Makeover contest, which included a new set, graphics and music package at no charge. The station's slogan is currently "Accurate. Reliable. Getting The Facts Right." Formerly, it was "Accurate. Reliable. To the Point." The latter phrase was dropped from the slogan as of the Noon telecast on October 2, 2007. After beginning local production of news in high definition, the slogan was changed to "Accurate. Reliable. High Definition."

WCYB currently broadcasts 25 hours of locally-produced newscasts each week (with five hours on weekdays, two hours on Saturdays, two hours on Sundays, and updates every half-hour during Today, in addition to updates during prime time programming). WCYB also produces Fox Tri-Cities News @ 10 on sister station WEMT. (With 1 Hour on weekdays, 1 Hour on Saturdays and 1 Hour on Sundays.)

Starting with the 5:00 p.m. news on October 13, 2008, the NewsCenter 5 name was changed to News 5. WEMT's nightly 10 o'clock newscast started on September 12, 2005 and it is produced by WCYB. Originally a half-hour long, it has expanded to an hour on September 11, 2006. In October 2008, they dropped WCYB's on-air look. Instead of using all blue graphics, WEMT now employs blue and red. That station also renamed the weather forecasting and modified many other elements of the broadcast.

On June 17, 2010, WCYB's newscasts became the first in the Tri-Cities market to broadcast in high definition.[20][21] Starting with the 2012 election day newscast, WCYB debuted new graphics and a new logo, similar to San Antonio's WOAI.

On July 29, 2014, it was announced that the noon newscast on WCYB would be shortened to a 30-minute segment, followed by an episode of Judge Judy with anchors Preston Ayres and Samantha Kozsey rotating positions each week. Meteorologist Donnie Cox will be co-hosting with Ayres and Kozsey. WCYB continues to be the dominant station in the Tri-Cities, with WEMT and WJHL closely tied for second.[citation needed]

On February 20, 2015, it was announced that Meteorologist Donnie Cox would be moving to WCTI-TV in New Bern, North Carolina.[22][23]

At one point, WCYB-DT2 aired an hour-long extension of the main channel's weekday morning show at 8. This has since been dropped.

See also


  1. ^ a b c "???AMDRULCHA.PageHeading???". Licensing and Management System. Federal Communications Commission. February 22, 2021. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
  2. ^ "Report and Order", Media Bureau, Federal Communications Commission, 15 June 2021, Retrieved 15 June 2021.
  3. ^ Miller, Mark K. (August 23, 2019). "Sinclair Closes $10.6B Disney RSN Purchase". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheckMedia. Retrieved August 23, 2019.
  4. ^ Television Factbook #49, 1980 Edition, page 882-B
  5. ^ "Sinclair Buying Bonten Stations For $240M". TVNewsCheck. Retrieved April 21, 2017.
  6. ^ "Sinclair Announces Agreement To Purchase Bonten Media Group TV Stations -".
  7. ^ Consummation Notice, CDBS Public Access, Federal Communications Commission, Retrieved September 6, 2017.
  8. ^ Letter from TVS Cable, November 24, 2008.
  9. ^ "WKPT, WCYB & WJHL Possible Programming Issue For 2009". Inter Mountain Cable. December 3, 2008. Archived from the original on February 3, 2009. Retrieved January 15, 2009.
  10. ^ a b Farley, William (January 14, 2009). "Neon council upset by threat of TV changes". The Mountain Eagle. p. 2. Retrieved January 15, 2009.
  11. ^ "RabbitEars.Info".
  12. ^ Live Well Adds 7 Affils, Tops 40% Clearance, TVNewsCheck, August 23, 2011.
  13. ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on August 29, 2013. Retrieved March 24, 2012.
  14. ^ Eggerton, John (June 29, 2009). "Boise Station Gets Power Boost". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved July 1, 2009.
  15. ^ "CDBS Print".
  16. ^ "Application View ... Redirecting".
  17. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 2, 2012. Retrieved September 9, 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  18. ^ "TV Listings- Find Local TV Listings and Watch Full Episodes -". Zap2It. September 1, 2017.
  19. ^ [1][dead link]
  20. ^ "News 5 Now Broadcasting In HD". WCYB-TV. June 17, 2010. Archived from the original on September 10, 2017. Retrieved June 17, 2010.
  21. ^ "WCYB-TV and WEMT-TV Are First with HD Local News Broadcasts In Tri-Cities Market". WCYB-TV. June 17, 2010. Archived from the original on June 24, 2010. Retrieved June 18, 2010.
  22. ^ "WCTI-TV announces new Chief Meteorologist". Retrieved April 13, 2015.
  23. ^ "News 5 Today says goodbye to Donnie Cox". Retrieved April 13, 2015.

External links

This page was last edited on 15 June 2021, at 17:34
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