WVLT-TV is a CBS-affiliated television station licensed to Knoxville, Tennessee, United States. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 30 (or virtual channel 8 via PSIP) from a transmitter on Sharp's Ridge in North Knoxville. Owned by Gray Television, WVLT is part of a duopoly with Crossville-licensed CW affiliate WBXX-TV (channel 20); the two stations share studios on Papermill Drive (near I-40/I-75) on the city's westside.
On cable, WVLT is available on Charter Spectrum channel 8, Comcast Xfinity channel 6, WOW! channel 5, and AT&T U-Verse channel 8.
WVLT-TV debuted on October 18, 1953 as WTSK-TV on channel 26. It was Tennessee's first UHF station, and the second television station in East Tennessee, signing on just a few hours after WROL-TV in Knoxville (channel 6, now WATE-TV). The station was a CBS affiliate, but also shared ABC programming with WROL-TV.
Channel 26 found the going difficult at first, since television manufacturers weren't required to build in UHF tuning capability at the time. Viewers needed an expensive converter to watch WTSK, and even then the picture quality was marginal at best. In addition, most of East Tennessee is very mountainous, and UHF signals at the time usually did not carry very well over rugged terrain. In 1954, the station's original local owners, Television Services of Knoxville, sold the station to South Central Communications, a radio company in Evansville, Indiana, who changed its calls to WTVK.
When WBIR-TV signed on in 1956 and took the CBS affiliation, WTVK became a full-time ABC affiliate. However, it spent most of the next 20 years as a very distant third in the ratings. While this was due in part to ABC being a much weaker network (it wouldn't be on par with CBS and NBC in terms of programming until the 1970s), another problem was the terrain issue. Many viewers didn't get a clear signal from channel 26 until cable arrived in Knoxville in the 1970s. In fact, many viewers got a better signal from WLOS-TV (channel 13) in Asheville, North Carolina; WLOS' transmitter is located almost 118 miles (190 km) east of Knoxville.
On September 17, 1979, the station swapped affiliations with WATE-TV and became an NBC affiliate. By this time, ABC had become the highest-rated network in the country, and was seeking to affiliate with stronger stations. Under the circumstances, ABC jumped at the chance to move its programming to long-dominant WATE-TV. Even as NBC dominated the ratings in the 1980s, channel 26 stayed in the local ratings basement. However, it did win the rights to broadcast a daily one-hour show from the 1982 World's Fair, held in Knoxville. The program was hosted by Jim Hess and Jim Hampton and featured news updates with WTVK news anchors including Melinda Kramer.
On September 10, 1988, the station returned to CBS, swapping affiliations with WBIR-TV; and two months later on December 1, the station changed its calls to WKXT-TV and moved to channel 8, one of the last remaining VHF channel allocations in the U.S. (The WTVK call letters were later used by WXCW in Naples/Fort Myers, Florida, which used WTVK calls from 1995 to 2007). It became one of the few stations in America to have been a primary affiliate of all "Big 3" networks. Soon after the move to the VHF band, South Central sold the station to a local ownership group in 1992. Current owner Gray Communications (now Gray Television) bought the station in 1996. The new owners changed the callsign to the current WVLT-TV on February 10, 1997.
On January 9, 2011, channel 8's 11 p.m. newscast became the first in the Knoxville market to originate in high definition. On April 20, 2013, WVLT became the last station in the market to add a weekend morning newscast.
WVLT-DT2 is the MyNetworkTV-affiliated second digital subchannel of WVLT-TV, broadcasting in 720p high definition on UHF channel 30.2 (or virtual channel 8.2 via PSIP). On cable, the subchannel is available on Spectrum channel 15, Xfinity and WOW! channel 8, and U-verse channel 21.
WVLT-DT2 began broadcasting in 2003 as an affiliate of the United Paramount Network (UPN), and was originally branded as UPN Knoxville. It cleared UPN's entire schedule. The original UPN affiliate in Knoxville was the now-defunct WEEE-LP, which was also a secondary affiliate of FamilyNet.
In September 2006, UPN and The WB networks ceased operations and merged to create The CW Television Network. WBXX, the original WB affiliate for Knoxville, took the CW affiliation. The same month, Fox Television Stations launched MyNetworkTV to give UPN and WB stations not selected for the CW another option besides going independent. WVLT-DT2 was announced as Knoxville's MyNetworkTV affiliate beginning September 2006. Since then, it has been branded as My VLT, although for the first few years of MyNetworkTV affiliation, it had a branding of My VLT 2.
WVLT-DT2 began broadcasting a 720p high definition signal in mid-2011.
|TV stations in Tennessee|
| WTVF, Nashville|
|TV stations in Tennessee|
| WUXP, Nashville|
|TV stations in East Tennessee, including Knoxville|
| WATE 6 (ABC) |
WKNX 7 (Ind)
WVLT 8 (CBS)
WBIR 10 (NBC)
W14CX-D 14 (3ABN)
WKOP 15 (PBS)
WBXX 20 (CW)
WDTT-LD 24 (Daystar)
WTNZ 43 (Fox)
WAGV 44 (Ind)
W45DF-D 45 (HSN)
WVLR 48 (CTN)
WPXK 54 (Ion)