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WVBT, virtual channel 43 (UHF digital channel 29), is a Fox-affiliated television station licensed to Virginia Beach, Virginia, United States, serving the Hampton Roads area of southeastern Virginia (comprising the cities of Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Newport News, Hampton and environs), and the Outer Banks region of northeastern North Carolina. The station is owned by Nexstar Media Group, as part of a duopoly with Portsmouth-licensed NBC affiliate WAVY-TV (channel 10). The two stations share studios on Wavy Street in downtown Portsmouth; WVBT's transmitter is located in the Driver neighborhood of Suffolk, Virginia.

WVBT's programming can also be seen on two Class A repeaters: WPMC-CD (channel 36) in Mappsville, Virginia; and WNLO-CD (channel 45) in Norfolk.

HistoryEdit

WVBT began operation on March 22, 1993 with Home Shopping Network programming along with infomercials and religious shows. It became a charter affiliate of The WB starting on January 11, 1995. Shortly thereafter, the station's original local owners signed a local marketing agreement (LMA) with LIN TV. Under that agreement, WAVY took over the station's operations, and WVBT moved to WAVY's studios in Portsmouth. In May 1996, WVBT began broadcasting from a new transmitter, giving it a coverage area comparable to the other major Hampton Roads stations. Before then, its over-the-air signal was effectively limited to Virginia Beach and parts of Norfolk.

LIN TV reached an affiliation agreement with Fox in November 1995, and outright purchased the station in 2002. Due to an affiliation deal between The WB and WTVZ's (channel 33) owner, Sinclair Broadcast Group, WTVZ swapped affiliations with WVBT in August 1998.

Until January 2007, WAVY operated a 24-hour local weather channel called "WAVY Weather Station" on WVBT's second digital subchannel taking advantage of its 720p signal to present the service without interfering with video quality on either WAVY or WVBT. It was made cable-only in 2007 for unknown reasons, and eventually went dark in 2011. It was seen on Mediacom channel 9, Charter channel 22, and Cox digital channel 227. There were live current conditions, updated forecasts, and a live feed of "Super Doppler 10".

On March 21, 2014, Richmond-based Media General announced that it would buy LIN Media for $1.6 billion in cash and stock. The merger was completed on December 19, at which point WAVY and WVBT came under common ownership with ABC affiliate WRIC-TV in Petersburg (serving the Richmond market).

On January 27, 2016, Media General signed an agreement to have its assets acquired by Irving, Texas-based Nexstar Broadcasting Group for $4.6 billion, plus the assumption of $2.3 billion in Media General-held debt. The agreement followed Media General's termination of an earlier sale agreement with Des Moines-based Meredith Corporation, which received the right of first refusal to acquire any broadcast or digital properties that may be divested (a clause that Meredith did not exercise) in exchange for terminating its agreement with Media General for $60 million. The transaction was approved by the FCC on January 11, 2017; the sale was completed on January 17, at which point the existing Nexstar stations and the former Media General outlets that neither group had to sell in order to rectify ownership conflicts in certain markets became part of the renamed Nexstar Media Group; this brought WAVY-TV and WVBT under common ownership with the Roanoke duopoly of Fox affiliate WFXR and CW affiliate WWCW (which necessitated Media General to sell its NBC-affiliated station in that market, WSLS-TV, to Graham Media Group in order to alleviate said ownership conflict with the two existing Nexstar-owned stations).

On December 3, 2018, Nexstar announced it would acquire the assets of Chicago-based Tribune Media—which has operated CBS affiliate WTKR (channel 3) and CW affiliate WGNT (channel 27) through a shared services agreement with partner company Dreamcatcher Broadcasting since December 2013—for $6.4 billion in cash and debt. Nexstar is precluded from acquiring WTKR and WGNT directly or indirectly, as FCC regulations prohibit common ownership of more than two stations in the same media market, or two or more of the four highest-rated stations in the market. (WAVY and WTKR consistently rank among the top four in terms of total-day viewership in the Norfolk–Virginia Beach–Hampton Roads market, while WVBT and WGNT have occasionally rotated between fourth and fifth place, a situation that allowed for Media General and, later, Nexstar to acquire WVBT directly in their respective group acquisitions involving the WAVY/WVBT duopoly. Furthermore, any attempt by Nexstar to assume the operations of WTKR/WGNT through local marketing or shared services agreements may be subject to regulatory hurdles that could delay completion of the FCC and Justice Department's review and approval process for the acquisition.) As such, Nexstar will be required to sell two of the stations (and potentially, depending on its ratings status during the acquisition review, WVBT, either sold alongside WAVY or spun off to an independent buyer) to a separate, unrelated company to address the ownership conflict. On January 31, 2019, Nexstar announced it will retain the WAVY/WVBT duopoly and sell WTKR and WGNT to a different buyer.


TV stations in Commonwealth of Virginia
WVBT, Hampton Roads/Norfolk

WFXR/WWCW-DT2, Roanoke
WRLH, Richmond
WTTG, Arlington/Washington, DC
WCAV-DT3, Charlottesville
WSVF-CD, Harrisonburg/Staunton

TV stations in the Hampton Roads region, including Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Newport News, Virginia
WUND 2 (PBS)
WTKR 3 (CBS)
WSKY 4 (Ind)
WGBS-LD 7 (RTV)
WAVY 10 (NBC)
WVEC 13 (ABC)
W14DC 14 (HSN2)
WHRO 15 (PBS)
WYSJ-CA 19 (Classic TV)
WTPC 21 (TBN)
WVAD-LD 25 (Daystar)
WGNT 27 (CW)
WTVZ 33 (MNTV)
WJGN-CD 38 (NRB)
WVBT 43 (Fox)
WPXV 49 (Ion)
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