WYDO, virtual channel 14 (UHF digital channel 47), is a Fox-affiliated television station licensed to Greenville, North Carolina, United States and serving Eastern North Carolina's Inner Banks region. The station is owned by Cunningham Broadcasting; the Sinclair Broadcast Group, which owns New Bern-licensed ABC affiliate WCTI-TV (channel 12), operates WYDO under a shared services agreement (SSA). However, Sinclair effectively owns WYDO as the majority of Cunningham's stock is owned by the family of deceased group founder Julian Smith. The two stations share studios on Glenburnie Drive in New Bern; WYDO's transmitter is located near Trenton, North Carolina.
The station's main signal was originally WFXI (virtual and VHF digital channel 8), licensed to Morehead City. WFXI's signal covered the eastern portion of the market, while WYDO served as a full satellite for the western portion. On September 6, 2017, WFXI was shut down as a result of the FCC's spectrum auction, leaving WYDO as the sole Fox affiliate for the region. At the same time, the station was sold by Esteem Broadcasting—an affiliate of WCTI owner Bonten Media Group—to Cunningham Broadcasting, a partner company of Sinclair (which had acquired Bonten).
WFXI signed on November 1, 1989 as the area's fourth commercial television station. It immediately assumed the Fox affiliation and aired an analog signal on VHF channel 8. Prior to WFXI's sign-on, residents in the eastern North Carolina area received their Fox programs on cable via Raleigh's WLFL or Washington, D.C.'s Fox owned-and-operated WTTG. The station had to operate at considerably lower power than the other stations in this large market because it was short-spaced to both Washington, North Carolina-licensed WITN-TV (channel 7) and Greenville-based WNCT-TV (channel 9). WFXI's signal also had to protect WXEX-TV (now WRIC-TV) in Petersburg, Virginia, which also operated on channel 8. This resulted in a broadcasting radius that only reached the southeastern portions of the Eastern North Carolina designated market area--namely Morehead City, Jacksonville, and New Bern.
As a condition of keeping its Fox affiliation, WFXI signed on full-time satellite WYDO on June 30, 1992. This station aired an analog signal on UHF channel 14 from a transmitter southeast of Ayden that covered Greenville, Washington and the northwestern parts of the Inner Banks region. In addition to resolving reception issues for WFXI, WYDO also provided an additional opportunity for local advertising. While WFXI's studios were always based in Morehead City on Arendell Street/U.S. 70, WYDO operated an advertising sales office in different locations in Greenville (the last one was located on Red Banks Road).
On April 18, 2006, a preliminary announcement was made public stating WFXI and WYDO would each add new second digital subchannels in order to affiliate with MyNetworkTV (a new broadcast network and sister operation to Fox). However, officials later changed their mind, and on August 11, moved the pending affiliation to a secondary arrangement through Ion Television owned-and-operated station WEPX-TV (and its full-time satellite, WPXU-TV). MyNetworkTV is currently seen in the market on a second digital subchannel of NBC outlet WITN-TV. Right now, WYDO-DT2 is affiliated with Bounce TV. For a time, WFXI shared its call sign with a now defunct Class A repeater of a fellow Fox affiliate in Youngstown, Ohio. Although both stations were owned by Piedmont Television until 2007, the two were otherwise unrelated.
On November 6, 2007, it was announced the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved the sale of certain WFXI/WYDO assets from Piedmont Television to the Bonten Media Group (owner of WCTI) with the license being sold to Esteem Broadcasting. As part of the deal, WFXI moved from its longtime home to WCTI's facility in New Bern while WYDO closed its sales office. For a while, WFXI's studios in Morehead City continued to be used for a WCTI advertising sales office. In January 2008, after Bonten took over operation of the two stations through a shared services arrangement, they were co-branded together as "Fox Eastern Carolina" and a new logo was made public. The outlets had previously been known on-air as "Fox 8/Fox 14" for many years. The web address remained in that branding until August 2010 when it was integrated into a separate section of WCTI's website.
WFXI/WYDO made local headlines with difficulties transmitting Super Bowl XLII on February 3, 2008. The transmission outage left several thousand viewers unable to watch the game in Eastern North Carolina.
A high definition feed of WYDO was launched on DirecTV on January 7, 2009 while Dish Network did the same for WFXI at the end of February. At midnight on June 13, both stations went all-digital as part of the DTV transition.
On April 21, 2017, Sinclair announced its intent to purchase the Bonten stations (including WCTI-TV) for $240 million. As an aspect of the deal, the Esteem stations were sold to Sinclair affiliate Cunningham Broadcasting, maintaining the current operational arrangement. The sale was completed September 1.
In the FCC's incentive auction, WFXI sold its spectrum for $42,070,860 and indicated that it would go off the air with no channel sharing agreement. On July 30, 2017, WCTI-TV announced that WFXI would shut down on September 6, 2017; WYDO will remain on the air as the market's Fox affiliate. Few viewers lost access to Fox programming due to the extremely dense penetration of cable and satellite, which are all but essential for acceptable television in much of this vast market. On October 6, 2017, Cunningham Broadcasting requested the cancellation of the WFXI license.
|TV stations in North Carolina|
|TV stations in Eastern North Carolina, including Greenville, New Bern, Washington, Jacksonville and Morehead City|
|WITN 7 (NBC) |
WNCT 9 (CBS)
WCTI 12 (ABC)
WYDO 14 (Fox)
WUNM 19 (PBS)
WTMH-LD 21 (HEARTLAND)
WUNK 25 (PBS)
WPXU 35 (Ion)
WEPX 38 (Ion)