WJXX, virtual channel 25 (VHF digital channel 10), is an ABC-affiliated television station serving Jacksonville, Florida, United States that is licensed to Orange Park. The station is owned by Tegna Inc., as part of a duopoly with Jacksonville-licensed NBC affiliate WTLV (channel 12) (ironically a former ABC affiliate itself from 1980 to 1988). The two stations share studio facilities on East Adams Street (near TIAA Bank Field) in downtown Jacksonville; WJXX's transmitter is located on Eve Drive in the city's Kilarney Shores section.
On cable, the station is available on channel 5 on most systems in the market.
The station first signed on the air on February 9, 1997; the station was founded by WPR, L.P. and operated by Allbritton Communications under a local marketing agreement. In 1996, Allbritton had signed another LMA with WB affiliate WBSG-TV (channel 21) in nearby Brunswick, Georgia; in April of that year, ABC signed a ten-year affiliation agreement with Allbritton, which renewed contracts with the group's five existing ABC affiliates—WJLA-TV in Washington, D.C.; WSET-TV in Lynchburg, Virginia; KATV in Little Rock; KTUL in Tulsa; and WHTM in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania—and resulted in five of its other television stations switching to the network—among them were NBC affiliate WCIV (now Heroes & Icons affiliate WGWG) in Charleston, South Carolina, and low-power independent station W58CK (now WBMA-LD) in Birmingham, Alabama, and CBS affiliates WCFT-TV (now Heroes & Icons affiliate WSES) in Tuscaloosa and WJSU-TV (now Heroes & Icons affiliate WGWW) in Anniston (the three of which would form a triple-simulcast to serve as the ABC affiliate for central Alabama).
One of the stations involved in the affiliation agreement was WBSG, which Allbritton announced that it would replace WJKS (channel 17, now CW affiliate WCWJ) as Jacksonville's ABC affiliate. WJXX was originally slated to launch as an independent station. However, since WBSG's signal did not extend into the southern portions of the Jacksonville market south of the city proper, WPR, L.P. reached an LMA with Allbritton with the intent to have it serve as the ABC affiliate for the Florida side of the market. Allbritton subsequently planned to sign WJXX on April 1 as the market's primary ABC affiliate, with WBSG serving as a semi-satellite for the Georgia side. However, after WJKS began phasing out ABC programming as it transitioned into becoming the market's WB affiliate, later changing its callsign to WJWB, ABC asked Allbritton to sign on WJXX two months early. Construction of the station's new full-power transmitter was still pending approval from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) at the time, forcing the station to broadcast at low power for several months. This rendered the station more or less unviewable in much of northeastern Florida and extreme southeastern Georgia, even in parts of Jacksonville proper. Allbritton bought WJXX outright in September 1997.
Allbritton heavily invested in WJXX, including constructing a state-of-the-art studio facility on A.C. Skinner Parkway in south Jacksonville. It was the first television station in the United States to be designed from the ground up for digital television, a medium which was then fairly new. At one point, WJXX faced the prospect of becoming an ABC owned-and-operated station; in June 1998, ABC parent The Walt Disney Company entered into negotiations to purchase the eight Allbritton stations and the LMAs with WJXX and WJSU, reportedly offering the company more than $1 billion to acquire them. The sale would have made WJXX the first commercial station in Jacksonville to be an owned and operated station of a network. Negotiations between Disney and Allbritton broke down when the former dropped out of discussions to buy the stations the following month.
Despite Allbritton's best efforts to improve the station, WJXX failed to gain significant ratings traction in the market; in addition to lingering confusion from the early announcement that WBSG would be the ABC affiliate for Jacksonville and the subsequent early launch of channel 25, the combined signal of WJXX and WBSG was somewhat inferior to that of their two VHF competitors, CBS affiliate WJXT (channel 4, now an independent station) and NBC affiliate WTLV (channel 12). Not helping matters was the fact that WJXX was initially placed on channel 7 by local cable provider MediaOne (which later sold its Jacksonville system franchise to Comcast), which suffered from co-channel interference from PBS member station WJCT, which transmitted its broadcast signal on VHF channel 7. Additionally, until the station's studios opened in December, WJXX relayed its signal to MediaOne directly from its transmitter, resulting in a lower-quality signal as it did not yet have a fiber optic relay to transmit the station feed to the provider.
Duopoly with WTLV
After the FCC legalized television station duopolies on November 15, 1999, Allbritton announced the following day (November 16) that it would sell WJXX to the Gannett Company, then-owner of WTLV. Normally, duopolies between two "big four" network affiliates—or even "big three" affiliates—would not be permissible under the then-newly implemented duopoly rules because they usually constituted the four highest-rated television stations within a market. FCC regulations do not allow common ownership of any two of the four highest-rated stations in a market, basing the ownership restrictions on the monthly total-day viewership of the market's broadcast television outlets. However, WJXX was ranked at fifth place in the ratings among the Jacksonville market's television stations, often trailing WJWB (which had gone from being one of ABC's weakest affiliates to becoming one of The WB's strongest) and Fox affiliate WAWS (channel 30, now WFOX-TV), in addition to WJXT and WTLV.
Once the sale was finalized on March 17, 2000, Gannett's purchase of WJXX became the first instance where a single owner maintained a duopoly involving two stations that were both affiliated with a "big three" television network (all of Jacksonville's "big four" network affiliates ended up under the control of two media companies by July 2002, when WTEV-TV (channel 47, now WJAX-TV)—which was operated alongside Clear Channel Communications-owned WAWS—replaced WJXT as the market's CBS affiliate; WJAX and WFOX are now controlled by Cox Media Group, which owns the latter outright). Gannett integrated WJXX's operations into WTLV's facilities near downtown Jacksonville's Stadium District and combined both stations' news personnel, resulting in the creation of a joint news operation presently known as First Coast News. However, most of the news staff was composed of veterans of WTLV (the deal did not include WBSG, which subsequently affiliated with Pax TV and was soon acquired by that network's owner Paxson Communications, and changed its call letters to WPXC-TV). The studios of the newly created duopoly were also renovated and a new graphics and music package ("Global Village" by Stephen Arnold Music) was introduced for the newscasts.
Around the first week of October 2012, Gannett entered a dispute against Dish Network regarding compensation fees and Dish's AutoHop commercial-skip feature on its Hopper digital video recorders. Gannett ordered that Dish discontinue AutoHop on the account that it is affecting advertising revenues for its Jacksonville television stations. Gannett threatened to pull them both from the satellite provider should the skirmish continue beyond October 7 and Dish and Gannett fail to reach an agreement. The two parties eventually reached an agreement after extending the deadline for a few hours.
On June 29, 2015, the Gannett Company split into two separate companies, with one side specializing in print media and the other side specializing in broadcast and digital media. WJXX and WTLV—along with Gannett's other television station properties—were retained by the latter company, named Tegna.
|TV stations in Florida|
|TV stations in the First Coast and Colonial Coast, including Jacksonville and Brunswick|
|WJXT 4 (Ind) |
WJCT 7 (PBS)
WXGA 8 (PBS)
WTLV 12 (NBC)
WCWJ 17 (CW)
WUJX-LD 18 (UNI)
WKBJ-LD 20 (BUZZR)
WPXC 21 (Ion)
WQXT-CD 22 (RTV)
WJXX 25 (ABC)
WWRJ-LP 27 (Rel)
WFOX 30 (Fox)
WUJF-LD 33 (Daystar)
WRCZ-LD 35 (GRIT)
W39DF-D 39 (HSN)
WBXJ-CD 43 (BIZ)
WJAX 47 (CBS)
WJGV-CD 48 (Ind)
W50CO-D 50 (3ABN)
WJEB 59 (TBN)