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FlorenceMyrtle Beach, South Carolina/
Lumberton, North Carolina
United States
CityFlorence, South Carolina
ChannelsDigital: 27 (UHF)
Virtual: 15
BrandingABC 15 (general)
ABC 15 News (newscasts)
Good Morning Carolinas (morning newscasts)
SloganWorking for You
Affiliations15.1: ABC
15.2: 24/7 weather
15.3: Comet (O&O)
15.4: Stadium (O&O)
15.5: Dabl
OwnerSinclair Broadcast Group
(WPDE Licensee, LLC)
broadcast: WWMB
cable: Bally Sports South, Bally Sports Southeast[1]
First air date
November 22, 1980 (40 years ago) (1980-11-22)
Former channel number(s)
15 (UHF, 1980–2009)
16 (UHF, until 2019)
Call sign meaning
We're in the Big and Little Pee DEe Rivers
Technical information
Licensing authority
Facility ID17012
ERP580 kW
HAAT600 m (1,969 ft)
Transmitter coordinates34°22′3″N 79°19′48″W / 34.36750°N 79.33000°W / 34.36750; -79.33000
Public license information

WPDE-TV, virtual channel 15 (UHF digital channel 27), is an ABC-affiliated television station licensed to Florence, South Carolina, United States, serving the Pee Dee and Grand Strand regions of South Carolina. The station is owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group, which also operates dual CW/CW+ affiliate WWMB (channel 21, also licensed to Florence) under a shared services agreement (SSA) with owner Howard Stirk Holdings. The two stations share studios on University Boulevard in Conway; WPDE-TV's transmitter is located on Pee Dee Church Road in Floydale, South Carolina.

On cable, WPDE is available on channel 9 in most parts of the market.


WPDE signed on November 22, 1980 with an analog signal on UHF channel 15. Originally owned by Eastern Carolinas Broadcasting Company, Inc.,[2] a group of local investors, it was the area's second commercial outlet after CBS affiliate WBTW (channel 13). The call letters stand for the Big and Little Pee DEe Rivers. Unofficially, the calls also represent the station's commitment to viewers: "We're People Dedicated to Excellence."

It has always been an ABC affiliate. The station signed on just two years after ABC, which had long been the smallest and weakest of the three major networks, surged to #1 in the ratings for the first time ever. Before WPDE's arrival, ABC was relegated to secondary status on WBTW. Viewers in the Grand Strand could get the full ABC schedule via WWAY in Wilmington. However, it is likely that WPDE would have aligned with ABC in any event. The market was already very well served by NBC, with Florence and the Pee Dee covered by WIS-TV in Columbia and the Grand Strand by WECT in Wilmington. In contrast, at the time WPDE signed on, no ABC affiliate put even a grade B signal into the western portion of the market.

The former Florence Civic Auditorium building on South Cashua Drive was transformed into the station's first facilities. This location would serve WPDE for twenty-two years. Dedication of WPDE's first studio in Florence was conducted in early 1981 with remarks by then-Governor Richard Riley. Eastern Carolinas Broadcasting sold WPDE to Diversified Communications of Portland, Maine in 1985. WPDE would eventually be purchased by Barrington Broadcasting in 2006. WPDE's broadcasts became digital-only, effective June 12, 2009.

Last logo as "NewsChannel 15," used from 2013 through April 2015; earlier versions of this logo date to 1997. The "15" had been used since 1993.
Last logo as "NewsChannel 15," used from 2013 through April 2015; earlier versions of this logo date to 1997. The "15" had been used since 1993.

During the analog era, WPDE's over-the-air signal was spotty at best in much of the market, as was typical with most UHF stations at the time. At one point, the North Carolina side of the market obtained a weaker signal from WPDE compared with WWAY and/or WTVD from Durham. It survived mainly due to the very high penetration of cable in the region. As of the digital transition, this station can now be regularly picked up in North Carolina because its digital signal is much stronger. In addition, the southern areas of Greensboro got a better signal from WPDE than from their home affiliate WXLV-TV in Winston-Salem until that station moved their tower in 2009. WTVD has good reception in that area as well due to its powerful digital signal on VHF channel 9. This station's reception area includes eastern areas of the Charlotte and Columbia markets.

On February 28, 2013, Barrington announced the sale of its entire group, including WPDE-TV, to Sinclair Broadcast Group.[3] The sale was completed on November 25.[4]

Digital channels

The station's digital signal is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP short name Programming[5]
15.1 720p 16:9 ABC Main WPDE-TV programming / ABC
15.2 480i Weather Local weather
15.3 Comet Comet TV
15.4 Stadium Stadium
15.5 DABL Dabl


Syndicated programming on WPDE-TV includes Entertainment Tonight, The Dr. Oz Show, and Judge Judy among others.

News operation

WPDE currently broadcasts 31½ hours of news per week (including 5½ hours each weekday and three hours each on Saturdays and Sundays). Staff members also produce and anchor up to one hour of news per day for Savannah-based WTGS, which has a Georgia-based team of reporters and a weekday meteorologist. Like the other two stations in the market, the news operation is split in two, with the majority of staff members working out of the Conway studios and a small bureau based on South Floyd Drive in Florence to cover the inland portion of the region.

For most of its history, WBTW was the dominant station in Florence/Myrtle Beach according to local Nielsen ratings. This is in part because that station essentially had the area to itself for over a quarter-century with the only real competition being Grade B signals from WECT in Wilmington and Columbia's WIS (both affiliates of NBC). WPDE's launch offered a second option of newscasts from WBTW. It was the first station in the market to move the majority of its operations to Horry County in 2002, a few years after setting up a weather studio in the Myrtle Beach Pavilion.

In March 2008, WBTW became the first station in the market to upgrade newscasts to 16:9 enhanced definition widescreen. Although not true high definition, broadcasts match the aspect ratio of HD television screens. Since its sign-on August 7, 2008, NBC affiliate WMBF-TV has been offering local news in full high definition. WPDE remained the last outlet with pillarboxed 4:3 standard definition news until October 26, 2010 when it upgraded to 16:9 enhanced definition widescreen. Corresponding with the change came a new set and updated graphics package.

On April 22, 2015, WPDE changed its longtime logo and branding from NewsChannel 15 to ABC 15, with its newscasts also being re-branded separately as ABC 15 News. To coincide with the re-branding, WPDE became the last major network station in the Florence/Myrtle Beach market to broadcast its local news in HD. The upgrade also came with a refresh to the studio and a new slogan.

Previously, weekdays at noon, WPDE aired a lifestyle/entertainment show called Carolina & Company Live. Airing in a magazine-type format from a secondary set, the broadcast was hosted by Cecil Chandler (formerly at WBTW for 36 years) and Amanda Sellers. During the program, there were various interview segments and business spotlights. WPDE began offering newscasts at 5 and 5:30 in 2016. It maintains partnerships with local radio stations WTKN FM 94.5, WRNN-FM 99.5, WWRK AM 970, and WWHK AM 1450.

During Hurricane Florence in September 2018, WPDE simulcast its coverage on sister station WCTI-TV after that station was knocked off the air by flood waters. WCTI reporters were eventually able to contribute to the newscasts from equipment field crews carried with them. WPDE remained in wall-to-wall coverage for 50 total hours during and after the storm and was broadcast to eastern North Carolina homes for days.

In April 2020, the station became the first in the market to produce a dedicated Spanish-language segment. [6] Called Trabajando Por Ti (the Spanish translation of the station's slogan), it was anchored by Simon Williams with occasional contributions by other Spanish-speaking staff members. The five-minute segment is digital-only and is produced on Saturdays.

The station's studios on most weeks originate the weekly national public affairs program The Right Side with Armstrong Williams, which is aired by most Sinclair stations; Williams, a political commentator, holds an interest in WPDE's parent Sinclair Broadcast Group, including purchasing several stations through them via his holding company Howard Stirk Holdings, which holds the license and transmitting facilities for WWMB.[7]


In 1996, sister station WWMB began airing the market's first prime time news on weeknights. Produced by WPDE, the show aired for thirty minutes and was originally known as NewsChannel 15 at 10 on TV 21. It was initially anchored by Steve Hawley until late-1996 when he left the station. The program was then alternately hosted by Dave Gilbert and Tiffany Cochran. After the latter personality departed WPDE and Gilbert died in 1997, the show was renamed UPN 21 News at 10 and anchored by Leo Stallworth (later Audra Grant) until its cancellation in 2000. In 2003, WPDE introduced another prime time newscast on WWMB under the title WPDE NewsChannel 15 at 10 on UPN. Now airing every night, it was anchored on weeknights by Jim Heath. This second generation of the show featured interactive segments such as "Say What?" and "Quick Hits" in a more fast-paced format.

WWMB began having competition to its broadcast in 2004 when Fox affiliate WFXB (channel 43) entered into a news share agreement with WBTW. This partnership resulted in the area's second prime time broadcast at 10 seen weeknights for a half-hour. On September 18, 2006 with the launch of The CW, WPDE's production on WWMB became known as NewsChannel 15 at 10 on CW 21 and featured an updated graphics theme. There was a further expansion of local newscasts in 2007 when WPDE added a third hour of its weekday Good Morning Carolinas broadcast to WWMB. This was seen from 7 until 8 and was the first local show to debut in the time slot and partially air against the national weekday morning show seen on the big three networks. For an unknown reason, the production was ultimately dropped.

On January 26, 2009 days after anchor Jim Heath left WPDE, WWMB's nightly 10 o'clock show was canceled. A repeat of NewsChannel 15 at 7 was subsequently added in its place on weeknights with live weather updates. Eventually, this program was dropped as well. WWMB airs a rebroadcast of WPDE's Carolina & Company Live in the weeknight 10:30 p.m. time slot. On August 19, 2013, WPDE revived a weeknight prime time newscast on WWMB called The CW21 News At 10, which lasted a few years before ending.[citation needed]

Notable former on-air staff


  1. ^ Miller, Mark K. (August 23, 2019). "Sinclair Closes $10.6B Disney RSN Purchase". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheckMedia. Retrieved August 23, 2019.
  2. ^
  3. ^ Malone, Michael (February 28, 2013). "Sinclair's Chesapeake TV Acquires Barrington Stations". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved March 1, 2013.
  4. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on December 3, 2013. Retrieved November 25, 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WPDE
  6. ^ Williams, Simon. "Informing a community that has grown used to not having local news". Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  7. ^ McFadden, Naeem (5 March 2013). "Williams lands WWMB, WPDE sold". Marion Star and Mullins Enterprise. Retrieved 24 December 2014.

External links

This page was last edited on 6 July 2021, at 00:43
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