WSB-TV, virtual channel 2 (UHF digital channel 39), is an ABC-affiliated television station licensed to Atlanta, Georgia, United States. The station maintains studios and offices at the WSB Television and Radio Group building on West Peachtree Street in Midtown Atlanta; its transmission tower is located on the border of the city's Poncey-Highland and Old Fourth Ward neighborhoods.
WSB-TV is the flagship television property of the Cox Media Group subsidiary of Cox Enterprises, which has owned the station since its inception in 1948. Cox also publishes The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and owns sister radio stations WSB (750 AM), WSB-FM (98.5 FM), WSBB-FM (95.5 FM), WSRV (97.1 FM) and WALR-FM (104.1 FM) — all of which are based out of WSB-TV's studio facilities.
On cable, the station is available in standard definition on channel 3 on Comcast Xfinity and channel 2 on Charter Spectrum, and in high definition on Xfinity channel 803 and Spectrum channel 702.
History[edit | edit source]
WSB-TV first began broadcasting on September 29, 1948, originally broadcasting on channel 8. It is the second-oldest station south of Washington, D.C.; only Richmond, Virginia's WTVR-TV (channel 6) is older. The station was founded by James M. Cox, publisher of The Atlanta Journal, and who also owned WSB radio (AM 750 and 104.5 FM, now on 98.5 FM). Cox owned WSB AM-FM-TV under the banner of Miami Valley Broadcasting Inc., which later changed its name to the current Cox Enterprises. The station was originally a primary NBC affiliate, owing to its radio sister's longtime affiliation with NBC Radio. It also carried some ABC programming (from 1949, shared with WAGA-TV, channel 5) until WLWA-TV (channel 8; now WXIA-TV, channel 11) signed on in 1951.
At that time, its present channel 2 allocation was licensed to the Journal's rival newspaper The Atlanta Constitution, who had a construction permit for WCON-TV there. In 1950, the two newspapers merged. At the time, the Federal Communications Commission did not allow one entity to own two television stations in the same market. As a result, WSB-TV and WCON-TV merged. The merged station operated under WSB-TV's license but used the stronger channel 2. This proved to be a fortunate decision, as the FCC later collapsed a large and mostly mountainous swath of northern Georgia into the Atlanta market. The channel 8 allocation was eventually given to WLWA as an ABC affiliate. When that station moved to channel 11 in 1953, channel 8 was reserved as a non-commercial educational allocation by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and is now WGTV, a PBS affiliate, and also the flagship television station of Georgia Public Broadcasting.
In 1956, the WSB stations moved into the noted "White Columns" building, designed and built according to the Colonial Revival style, a defining characteristic of Atlanta architecture. They would remain there for 43 years, until a much more modernist concrete and glass facility was built adjacent to it (on the same property) in 1998. The new building, which has been dubbed "Digital White Columns" by some, is located just off Atlanta's famed Peachtree Street, on the dead-end northern portion of West Peachtree Street which is actually east of Peachtree Street. This is near the Brookwood Hills area, and just east of the "Brookwood split", a highway interchange where the Downtown Connector splits into Interstates 75 and 85 on the north end. The older building was razed shortly after the new building was occupied. The original columns that stood on the front portico of the old building were placed in a garden area alongside the new building. Brand new white columns have been placed inside the glass-enclosed lobby of the newer building. WSB-TV is located less than one block south of the building formerly utilized by WXIA when that station moved its operations to WATL's studios in 2008.
The station was the original local television broadcaster of the relocated Atlanta Braves baseball team, carrying the games from 1966 to 1972, until the Braves telecasts moved to WTCG (now WPCH-TV) in 1973. Its sister AM station was the longtime radio flagship of the Braves, carrying the broadcasts for 38 out of the 46 years that the franchise has been in Atlanta, dating back to 1966. Ernie Johnson, Sr., a former Braves pitcher and father of his namesake Turner Sports broadcaster, with future Hall of Fame announcer Milo Hamilton (who simultaneously pulled double-duty anchoring Channel 2's sportscasts during this time) were the main announcers for what was then the largest television network in baseball.
In December 1965, WSB was the first television station in Georgia to broadcast live in color, beginning with Ruth Kent's Today in Georgia program.
In 1972, the station aired the name of a murdered rape victim in violation of Georgia's shield law. The station successfully overturned the law before the U.S. Supreme Court in Cox Broadcasting Corp. v. Cohn in 1975.
ABC was the highest-rated network for most of the late 1970s and, at that time, was looking for stronger affiliates across the country, including Atlanta. ABC's longtime Atlanta outlet, WXIA, frequently traded second place with WAGA. However, WSB-TV was the far-and-away market leader despite being affiliated with last-place NBC. In June 1980, WSB announced that it would drop NBC and affiliate with ABC; WXIA subsequently agreed to join NBC. Some network daytime shows changed stations in August, while the full affiliation switch occurred on Sept. 1. In January 1986, the station debuted the current number "2" logo it continues to use to this day.
On March 12, 2011, WSB-TV and WGCL-TV turned on their ATSC-M/H signals for the first time, becoming the first stations in the Atlanta area to offer Mobile DTV broadcasts.
The station has carried games featuring the Atlanta Falcons on Monday Night Football since 2006 when it moved from ABC to ESPN under a syndication arrangement, to provide a local broadcast outlet for those games.
Possible sale[edit | edit source]
On July 24, 2018, WSB-TV parent Cox Enterprises announced that it was "exploring strategic options" for Cox Media Group's television stations, which the company said could involve "partnering or merging these stations into a larger TV company." Cox Media Group's president, Kim Guthrie, subsequently clarified to trade publication Radio & Television Business Report that the company was solely seeking "a merger or partnership" and not an outright sale of the television stations. Any deal involving the television stations would not include Cox's radio stations or newspapers.
|TV stations in Georgia|
|TV stations in North Georgia, including Atlanta and Athens|
|WSB 2 (ABC) |
WUVM-LP 4 (AZA)
WAGA 5 (Fox)
WGTV 8 (PBS)
WXIA 11 (NBC)
WPXA 14 (Ion)
WGGD-LD 15 (Daystar)
WYGA-CD 16 (SHOP-LC)
WPCH 17 (Ind)
WKSY-LD 21 (Ind)
WTBS-LD 26 (ESTRELLA)
WDWW-LD 28 (Ind)
WPBA 30 (PBS)
WGTA 32 (MeTV)
WANN-CD 32 (APG)
WUVG 34 (UNI)
WDTA-LD 35 (Daystar)
WATL 36 (MNTV)
WIGL-LD 38 (TCT)
WIRE-CD 40 (Info)
WTHC-LD 42 (Ind)
W45DX-D 45 (HSN2)
WGCL 46 (CBS)
WKTB-CD 47 (TLM)
WAGC-LD 51 (Info)
WATC 57 (Rel)
WHSG 63 (TBN)
WUPA 69 (CW)