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WADL, virtual channel 38 (UHF digital channel 27), is a MyNetworkTV affiliated-station serving Detroit, Michigan, United States that is licensed to Mount Clemens. The station is locally owned by the Adell Broadcasting Corporation. WADL's studios and transmitter are located on Adell Drive in Clinton Township.Although WADL broadcasts a digital signal of its own, reception is spotty in western and southern portions of the market since its transmitter tower is shorter and located farther east than the market's other stations. Therefore, WADL must rely on cable and satellite carriage to reach the entire market.

WADL has announced that it would affiliate with MyNetworkTV beginning September 20, 2021, with WMYD (the current MyNetworkTV affiliate) then becoming an independent station.

History[]

Early history[]

Although Adell Broadcasting filed for an application for the channel 38 license on September 25, 1985, it took four years for WADL to begin broadcasting, signing on the air for the first time on May 20, 1989. The station was founded by Franklin Z. Adell, previously the owner of an automotive parts supplier company. His son Kevin Adell joined the company after graduating from Arizona State University in 1988. Its original programming blocks were filled with mostly Home Shopping Network programs, religious shows and other paid programming, classic movies and hourly blocks of the syndicated music video show Hit Video USA. In 1990, it began running several hours of syndicated programs. In 1992, channel 38 began running CBS shows that were preempted by that network's then-affiliate WJBK-TV (channel 2). Despite its relationship with WJBK, WADL was barely competitive in the ratings at first. Most of the stronger syndicated programs had been acquired by Fox affiliate WKBD-TV (channel 50; which, for all intents and purposes, was programmed as an independent as Fox did not carry a full week's worth of programming until 1993) and fellow independent station WXON (channel 20, now WMYD). There simply was not enough programming to go around, even for a market as large as Detroit. Channel 38 faced an additional problem in the form of CBC-owned CBET (channel 9) in Windsor, which owned the Detroit market rights to other syndicated programs. It relied mostly on paid programming; the few entertainment shows seen on WADL's schedule consisted of barter programming.

In May 1994, WJBK's then-owner, New World Communications signed a groupwide deal with Fox to switch the network affiliations of twelve of the company's 14 stations to Fox (two of which New World would sell to Fox outright as it could not keep them due to ownership conflicts). One of the stations due to switch was WJBK. CBS approached three of Detroit's major stations—WXYZ-TV (channel 7, which renewed its ABC affiliation), WKBD, and WXON—all of which turned CBS down; WDIV was eliminated as a possibility due to the station's long-term affiliation contract with NBC. Fearing it would be left without an affiliate in Detroit, CBS began talks with WADL. As a measure of how desperate CBS was at the time, it approached WADL even though most Detroit-area viewers didn't even know the station existed. However, Franklin Adell and CBS could not come to a mutual agreement, due to what CBS called unreasonable demands on Adell's part. CBS eventually bought Detroit's other low-profile independent, WGPR-TV (channel 62), changing its calls to WWJ-TV and moved the network's programming there on December 11, 1994, months before its purchase was finalized.

On August 31, 1998, WADL began carrying children's programming from Fox Kids (later FoxBox and 4KidsTV), after picking up the rights to the block from then-UPN affiliate WKBD, which had continued to air the Fox Kids weekday and Saturday blocks even after losing its Fox affiliation to WJBK. The station also acquired several syndicated children's programs. After Fox discontinued the Fox Kids weekday block in 2002, WADL continued running the revamped Fox Box until the fall of 2003, when Fox's 4Kids TV Saturday morning block moved to then-WB affiliate WDWB (now MyNetworkTV affiliate WMYD). During this time, until October 2007, WADL was the only other station besides WKBD and WMYD to continuously air children's programming. From the program's 1999 debut until 2002, WADL also broadcast the NBC daytime soap opera Passions, which WDIV originally declined to broadcast, before adding the serial to its schedule in the fall of 2002.

Breakthrough[]

In September 2007, WADL began to cement its standing as a major player among the Detroit market's television stations with the acquisition of popular syndicated shows, including older series such as The Nanny, Mad About You, The Jeffersons and Good Times; the station also kept many religious programs and a few infomercials as well, and eliminated the remaining animated shows. Over the years, WADL began positioning itself as being a voice of Detroit's urban community, with local programs including a weekly feature with the Mayor of Detroit and former player for the Detroit Pistons, Dave Bing.

In the fall of 2007, WADL was relaunched as "Detroit's Urban Station" in order to appeal to the African-American community (much as the old WGPR-TV did) and acquired syndicated programs such as The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, American Chopper, Reno 911!, The Montel Williams Show, In the Heat of the Night, Chappelle's Show, A Different World, Magnum, P.I. and Sanford and Son. In 2009, the station added classic television series such as The Brady Bunch, I Love Lucy, Happy Days, M*A*S*H, The Jeffersons and Laverne and Shirley to its schedule. By this time, WADL began running a mix of both recent and older syndicated programs. WADL also increased its local public affairs programming with shows such as Real Talk (hosted by political activist Rev. Horace Sheffield). WADL has further cemented its presence in the community, broadcasting political debates with all candidates and inviting the community to attend.

On June 18, 2014, WADL named broadcasting veteran David Bangura as its new president; Bangura had formerly held a similar position at WMYD, which was later sold to the E. W. Scripps Company, owner of WXYZ-TV.

On July 9, 2021, it was announced that WADL would become the new MyNetworkTV affiliate for the Detroit market beginning September 20, replacing WMYD.

TV stations in Michigan
Detroit: Grand Rapids–Kalamazoo–Battle Creek: Mid-Michigan: Berrien Springs:
WHNE-LD, Detroit WUHQ-LD, Grand Rapids W24DL-D, Saginaw WYGN-LD, Berrien Springs
WDWO-CD, Detroit WMKG-CD, Muskegon WAQP, Saginaw
WUDL-LD, Detroit WTLJ, Muskegon WUWB-LD, West Branch
WUDT-LD, Detroit WLLA, Kalamazoo
WMYD, Detroit
WHPS-CD, Detroit
WLPC-CD, Detroit
TV stations in Southeast Michigan, including Detroit
WJBK 2 (Fox)
WDIV 4 (NBC)
WXYZ 7 (ABC)
WHNE-LD 14 (LIGHT)
WDWO-CD 18 (AZA)
WUDL-LD 19 (Info)
WMYD 20 (Ind)
WUDT-LD 23 (Daystar)
WPXD 31 (Ion)
WHPS-CD 33 (Ind)
WADL 38 (MNTV)
WLPC-CD 40 (Impact)
WKBD 50 (CW)
WTVS 56 (PBS)
WWJ 62 (CBS)
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