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WOAI-TV, virtual channel 4 (UHF digital channel 48), is an NBC-affiliated television station licensed to San Antonio, Texas, United States. The station is owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group, as part of a duopoly with Fox affiliate KABB (channel 29); Sinclair also operates Kerrville-licensed CW affiliate KMYS (channel 35) through joint sales and shared services agreements with owner Deerfield Media. The three stations share studios between Babcock Road and Sovereign Drive (off Loop 410) in northwest San Antonio; WOAI-TV's transmitter is located off of Route 181 in northwest Wilson County (northeast of Elmendorf). On cable, the station is available on Charter Spectrum channel 3, and Grande Communications and AT&T U-verse channel 4.

HistoryEdit

The station first signed on the air on December 11, 1949 as WOAI-TV. It was the first television station in the San Antonio market, owned by Southland Industries along with AM 1200 WOAI. WOAI-TV and WOAI radio are among the few broadcast stations located west of the Mississippi River that have a call sign beginning with "W." In the early days of broadcasting, most Central Time Zone states were in the "W" territory. In 1923, the dividing line was changed to the Mississippi River. Since WOAI Radio was already on the air, it kept its W call letters and when it put a TV station on the air, it shared that call sign.

WOAI-TV has been an NBC affiliate since its sign-on, due to WOAI (AM)'s longtime affiliation with the NBC Red Network. But at first, it also carried programming from the three other major networks of the time: CBS, ABC and DuMont. WOAI lost the CBS and DuMont affiliations to KEYL (channel 5, now KENS) when that station signed on in February 1950. The two stations continued to share ABC programming until KONO-TV (channel 12, now KSAT-TV) signed on in January 1957.

In 1965, WOAI-AM-TV were bought by Crosley Broadcasting, which changed its name to Avco Broadcasting in 1968. Avco began to exit from broadcasting in 1974. WOAI-TV was one of the first Crosley-owned television stations to end up being sold. In 1974, it was acquired by United Television (at the time, a subsidiary of 20th Century Fox). On December 11, 1974, coinciding with the station's 25th anniversary, WOAI-TV changed its call letters to KMOL-TV. (The change was brought on by an FCC regulation in place at that time that prohibited TV and radio stations in the same market, but with different owners from sharing the same call letters.) At that time, the AM station, which retained the WOAI call sign, became one of the founding stations of its current owner, iHeartMedia (then known as Clear Channel Communications). Chris-Craft Industries gained majority ownership of United in 1981, merging the group with BHC Communications (the owners of KCOP in Los Angeles and KPTV in Portland, Oregon).

When KRRT (channel 35, now KMYS) dropped its affiliation with the United Paramount Network (UPN) to join The WB in January 1998, KMOL began carrying UPN programming during the overnight hours. At the time, Chris-Craft had owned a 50% interest in UPN. The UPN affiliation later moved to Fredericksburg-licensed KBEJ (channel 2, now MyNetworkTV affiliate KCWX), which signed on the air in August 2000.

On August 12, 2000, Chris-Craft Industries sold its television stations to the Fox Television Stations subsidiary of The News Corporation for $5.5 billion. The deal was finalized on July 31, 2001. News Corporation then traded KMOL and sister station KTVX in Salt Lake City to Clear Channel in exchange for WFTC in Minneapolis. This tradeoff protected future sister station KABB (channel 29) from losing its Fox affiliation. Not only did the purchase reunite KMOL-TV with WOAI Radio, but channel 4 also became the television flagship of the San Antonio-based conglomerate. Speculation immediately began that Clear Channel would restore the heritage WOAI-TV call sign to channel 4. This officially occurred on September 1, 2002. Although Clear Channel's San Antonio radio cluster is located in Northwest San Antonio, off I-10, WOAI-TV remained based in its downtown studios on Navarro Street.

On November 16, 2006, after being bought by private equity firms, Clear Channel announced that it would sell all of its television stations. On April 20, 2007, Clear Channel sold its entire television group to Providence Equity Partners-controlled holding company Newport Television; the group deal was finalized on March 14, 2008. However, channel 4 continued a news partnership with its former radio sister, and the two stations continued to share a website for two years afterward.

In May 2008, Newport Television agreed to sell WOAI-TV and five other stations to High Plains Broadcasting because of ownership conflicts. Providence Equity Partners also holds a 19% ownership stake in Univision Communications, the owner of Univision owned-and-operated station KWEX-TV (channel 41) and Telefutura station KNIC-TV (channel 17). In the case of San Antonio, it would have given Providence Equity control of three stations in the market. Even without KNIC in the picture, both WOAI and KWEX were among the four highest-rated stations in the San Antonio market at the time of the Clear Channel sale (and remain so today). The FCC normally does not allow two of the four highest-rated stations to be owned by a single entity. The sale was finalized on September 15, 2008. However, the sale to High Plains Broadcasting was in name only. Newport continued to operate the station under a shared services agreement, with High Plains only holding the FCC assets of the station (including the license). This effectively made High Plains Broadcasting a front company for Newport Television in a relationship similar to that between Mission Broadcasting and Nexstar Broadcasting Group as well as between Cunningham Broadcasting (and later Deerfield Media) and the Sinclair Broadcast Group. On December 17, 2007, WOAI debuted a slightly altered logo.

On July 19, 2012, Newport Television/High Plains Broadcasting reached a deal to sell 22 of the company's 27 stations to Sinclair, Nexstar and Cox Media Group. WOAI-TV was among the six that would be sold to Sinclair, making it a sister station to Fox affiliate KABB (channel 29) and CW affiliate KMYS (channel 35). Since FCC duopoly regulations forbid common ownership of more than two full-power stations in a single market from being under the same ownership, Sinclair spun off KMYS to Deerfield Media; however, Sinclair retained control of KMYS through a shared services agreement. In addition, while FCC rules disallow ownership of two of the four highest-rated stations in the same market, which normally precludes duopolies involving two "Big Four" network affiliates, Sinclair cited in its FCC purchase application that WOAI ranked as the fourth highest-rated station (behind KWEX-DT) and KABB the fifth-rated station in the San Antonio market in total day viewership. The Sinclair and Deerfield Media deals were consummated on December 3, 2012. KTVX, which had been a sister station to WOAI-TV since United Television acquired both stations in 1975, was sold to Nexstar, resulting in the two stations coming under entirely separate ownership and management for the first time in over 37 years.

The operations of KABB and KMYS initially remained separate from WOAI-TV, with the two stations retaining competing news operations. On the morning on March 19, 2013, a fire started in offices located on the second floor of WOAI-TV's studios, which resulted in the evacuation of the station's staff and forcing channel 4 to carry a broadcast from Vatican City for about six hours; with WOAI-TV unable to broadcast from the building, the station used a makeshift set in a nearby parking lot for that day's late afternoon newscasts, before temporarily moving to KABB/KMYS's facility on Babcock Road. Station and San Antonio Fire Department representatives cited an electrical short for causing the blaze. WOAI-TV moved back to the downtown facility on March 24. In October 2013, the San Antonio Express-News reported that Sinclair planned to move WOAI-TV's sales, promotions and executive offices from its Navarro Street studios to a new building adjacent to KABB and KMYS' shared facility; the transition of WOAI-TV employees to the KABB/KMYS complex was finalized in the summer of 2014, with the completion of a shared newsroom on the second floor of the building that accommodates both WOAI-TV and KABB's respective news staffs.


TV stations in Texas
KPRC, Houston

WOAI, San Antonio
KXAN, Austin
KXAS, Dallas–Fort Worth
KFDX, Wichita Falls
KCEN, Waco
KTAL, Texarkana
KAGS-LD, College Station
KBMT-DT2, Beaumont
KAMR, Amarillo
KSAN, San Angelo
KETK, Tyler
KMOL-LD, Victoria
KCBD, Lubbock
KGNS, Laredo
KRBC, Abilene
KRIS, Corpus Christi
KVEO, Weslaco
KWES, Odessa
KTSM, El Paso

TV stations in inland South Texas, including San Antonio
KCWX 2 (MNTV)
WOAI 4 (NBC)
KENS 5 (CBS)
KVFW-LD 6 (Ind)
KLRN 9 (PBS)
KYVV 10 (GRIT)
KSAT 12 (ABC)
K27LF-D 14 (3ABN)
KNIC 17 (UMas)
KOBS-LD 19 (BOUNCE)
KRTX-LP 20 (HEARTLAND)
KHCE 23 (TBN)
KVAW 24 (Ind)
KGMM-CD 24 (Info)
KPXL 26 (Ion)
KABB 29 (Fox)
KVDF-CD 31 (AZA)
KMYS 35 (CW)
KISA-LD 40 (QVC)
KWEX 41 (UNI)
KQVE-LP 46 (Daystar)
KVDA 60 (TLM)
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