WVUA-CD, virtual channel 7 (UHF digital channel 23), is a This TV-affiliated television station serving Tuscaloosa, Alabama, United States that is licensed to Northport. Owned by the University of Alabama, the Class A station maintains studio and transmitter facilities located within the Digital Media Center at Bryant–Denny Stadium on the University's campus. WVUA-CD is one of two commercial television stations that are owned by a public institution (the other being NBC affiliate KOMU-TV in Columbia, Missouri, which is owned by the University of Missouri).

As WVUA-CD's low-powered broadcasting radius does not reach the entire Birmingham–Tuscaloosa–Anniston market, the station's programming is simulcast to the remainder of the area on full-power satellite station WVUA, virtual channel 23 (VHF digital channel 6), which is licensed to Tuscaloosa. This station maintains transmitter facilities located atop Red Mountain, near the southern edge of Birmingham.

In addition to full-power WVUA, WVUA-CD's signal is relayed on low-power digital translators WDVZ-CD (channel 3) in Greensboro and WJMY-CD (channel 25) in Demopolis.

On cable, WVUA is available on Charter Spectrum channel 6 (Fox affiliate WBRC, which broadcasts over-the-air on virtual channel 6, is carried on cable channel 7), Comcast Xfinity channel 17, and AT&T U-verse channel 23 in standard definition; and in high definition on Spectrum channel 1013 (channel 706 in outlying areas), Xfinity channel 1004, and U-verse channel 1023.

Overview[edit | edit source]

Despite being owned by the University of Alabama System, the station is financially independent from the University of Alabama. WVUA-CD is licensed and operates as a commercial television station, and as such, most of its funding is generated from advertising revenue; WVUA-CD is one of only three commercial television stations in the United States that is owned by a public institution, alongside University of Missouri-owned NBC affiliate KOMU-TV in Columbia, Missouri and Tougaloo College-owned MyNetworkTV affiliate WLOO in Jackson, Mississippi. The station has a full-time paid staff including station and advertising sales executives, production and news department staff (including anchors, reporters and a news director), and relies heavily on University of Alabama students who act as on-air and production staff, and sales assistants.

History[edit | edit source]

The station's original construction permit, for operation on UHF channel 49, was issued by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 1994 under the call letters W49BO; the permit was held by Krypton Broadcasting, who intended to operate the station as a repeater of Birmingham independent station WABM (channel 68). Channel 49 first signed on the air in 1998 as WJRD-LP, broadcasting on UHF channel 49. It originally operated out of studio facilities located on Jug Factory Road in Tuscaloosa, that formerly housed the operations of WDBB (channel 17) until the shutdown of its news department in December 1995. The station became a charter affiliate of Pax TV (now Ion Television) when the network launched on August 31 of that year; in August 1999, WJRD-LP became the secondary Pax TV outlet for the Birmingham–Tuscaloosa–Anniston market, when the network's parent company Paxson Communications (now Ion Media Networks) converted its CBS affiliate in Gadsden, WNAL-TV (channel 44), into a Pax owned-and-operated station under the callsign WPXH-TV.

The University of Alabama acquired WJRD-LP in 2001, as part of the donation of a $1 million gift from the family of Alabama Crimson Tide football coach Paul "Bear" Bryant. Once the donation was finalized, the station moved its operations to the University of Alabama campus. In January 2002, its call letters were changed to WVUA-CA (named after the call letters of the university-owned radio station WVUA-FM (90.7)), after its license was upgraded to Class A status; the station subsequently became an affiliate of America One at that time.

In November 2004, Channel 23 LLC filed an application with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to donate full-power station, WLDM (channel 23), to the university. Shortly after that donation was finalized in March 2005, the station's call letters were changed to WUOA (for the University Of Alabama), taken from the original call letters of the university-owned Alabama Public Radio station WUAL-FM (91.5); the University of Alabama then converted WUOA into a full-power satellite station of WVUA-CA in order to extend its signal deeper into most of the Birmingham market. In 2006, satellite providers Dish Network and DirecTV both began carrying WVUA-CA as part of their respective lineups of Birmingham area broadcast television stations.

In November 2008, WVUA-CA became a part-time affiliate of This TV, while continuing to carry syndicated programming and local newscasts to fill certain time slots during which the station does not air the network's programs (this results in periodic scheduling issues due to the network's movie-dominant schedule, as some films run into time slots where WVUA-CD runs syndicated programs depending on their length or scheduled airtime). Since the station does not carry all of This TV's programming on its main channel nor on one of its subchannels, WVUA-CD is the largest part-time affiliate by market size that does not carry the network's full schedule.

On May 8, 2015, the call sign of the full-power satellite station was changed from WUOA to WVUA. On June 3, 2015, WVUA-CA was granted a license to operate a digital signal on UHF channel 23, and amended its call letters to WVUA-CD.

TV stations in Alabama
Huntsville market: Birmingham market: Montgomery market: Columbus, GA market: Dothan market: Mobile market:
WTZT-CD, Athens WBXA-CD, Birmingham WBIH, Selma WLGA, Opelika WJJN-LD, Dothan WDPM, Mobile
WVUA-CD/WVUA, Northport/Tuscaloosa WFRZ-LD, Montgomery WMPV, Mobile
WOTM-LP, Montevallo WMCF, Montgomery
WEAC-CD, Sylacauga WIYC, Troy
WSES/WGWW, Tuscaloosa/Anniston
WUOA-LD, Birmingham
W47EI-D, Birmingham
WTJP, Gadsden
TV stations in serving Central Alabama, including Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Anniston, and Gadsden
WBRC 6 (Fox)
WVUA-CD 7 (This TV)
WDBB 17 (CW)
WOTM-LP 19 (Ind.)
WTTO 21 (CW)
WVUA 23 (This TV)
WEAC-CD 24 (The Walk/AMGTV)
WBXA-CD 24 (Biz TV)
WCQT-LP 27 (The Walk)
WBUN-LD 28 (Daystar)
WSES 33 (H&I)
W20DE-D 34 (HSN2)
WGWW 40 (H&I)
WPXH 44 (Ion)
WUOA-LD 46 (Laff)
W47EI-D 47 (Rel.)
WOIL-CD 47 (Youtoo)
WSFG-LD 51 (Daystar)
W16CM-D 55 (Rel)
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