WCTI-TV is an ABC-affiliated television station licensed to New Bern, North Carolina, United States and serving Eastern North Carolina's Inner Banks region. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on virtual and VHF channel 12 from a transmitter, north of Trenton, along NC 41. The station is owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group, which also operates Greenville-licensed Fox affiliate WYDO (channel 14) through a shared services agreement (SSA) with owner Cunningham Broadcasting. However, Sinclair effectively owns WYDO as the majority of Cunningham's stock is owned by the family of deceased group founder Julian Smith. The two stations share studios on Glenburnie Drive in New Bern.
Nathan Frank, a businessman from Henderson, had filed an application for channel 13 in New Bern in 1954. However, final approval was delayed for almost seven years due to numerous challenges. The Army, Navy and Air Force were concerned that the proposed 1,000-foot (305 m) tower on Glenburnie Drive would interfere with the operations of the numerous military installations located in Eastern North Carolina. Several commercial airlines and pilot associations also expressed concerns about the tower.
A new problem arose in 1958, when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) dropped in a channel 13 allocation in Hampton, Virginia to give the Hampton Roads area a third VHF station; WVEC-TV moved there from channel 15 shortly afterward. To alleviate concerns about short-spacing, the channel 13 allocation for New Bern was moved to channel 12. Almost immediately, WRVA-TV in Richmond, Virginia (now WWBT) raised concerns of its own about short-spacing. All objections were eventually overcome by 1961, and the station went on the air on September 7, 1963, as WNBE-TV (for "New B Ern"). The call letters were changed to the current WCTI-TV in 1970. The station has been an ABC affiliate since its inception. When it signed on, the Greenville/Washington/New Bern market became one of the smallest DMAs in the country with three commercial network affiliates. Continental Television sold the station to Malrite Communications in 1976.
In 1980, WCTI erected a 2,000-foot (610 m) tower north of Trenton. The new tower expanded the station's secondary coverage as far east as the Outer Banks, as far south as Wilmington and as far west as the Triangle (including Rocky Mount and much of eastern Raleigh). The station's original tower at its New Bern studios is still used as a backup. Malrite sold the station to Heritage Broadcasting in 1983. The 1,000-foot tower south of Trenton that the station had used prior to their move to the new site on NC 41 now holds the antenna for WSFL-FM 106.5. Heritage Broadcasting sold WCTI to Diversified Communications in 1986. In 1993, Lamco Communications bought the station. It was sold to Bluestone Television in 2001. In 2007, Bluestone merged with Bonten Media Group.
On November 6 of that year, it was announced that the FCC approved the sale of certain WFXI/WYDO assets by Piedmont Television to the Bonten Media Group. As part of the deal, WFXI moved from its longtime home on Arendell Street (U.S. 70) in Morehead City to WCTI's facilities in New Bern. In 2000, WCTI launched the first over-the-air digital station in the market on UHF channel 48. A high-definition feed was launched on DirecTV on January 30, 2009. It is also available on satellite through Dish Network. WCTI's broadcasts became digital-only, effective June 12, 2009.
On April 21, 2017, Sinclair announced its intent to purchase the Bonten stations for $240 million. The sale was completed on September 1.
On September 13, 2018, Hurricane Florence forced WCTI to evacuate its building as flood waters continued to rise. For the duration of the storm, WCTI simulcast coverage from Sinclair sister station and fellow ABC affiliate WPDE-TV in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. By September 16, floodwaters had receded to the point that initial cleanup efforts began.
|TV stations in North Carolina|
|TV stations in Eastern North Carolina, including Greenville, New Bern, Washington, Jacksonville and Morehead City|
|WITN 7 (NBC) |
WNCT 9 (CBS)
WCTI 12 (ABC)
WYDO 14 (Fox)
WUNM 19 (PBS)
WTMH-LD 21 (HEARTLAND)
WUNK 25 (PBS)
WPXU 35 (Ion)
WEPX 38 (Ion)