Fayetteville, North Carolina
|City of license||Goldsboro, North Carolina|
WNCN News (newscasts)
|Channels||Digital: 17 (UHF)
Virtual: 17 (PSIP)
17.2 Antenna TV
17.3 Justice Network
|Owner||Media General, Inc.
(Media General Communications Holdings, LLC)
|First air date||April 11, 1988|
|Call letters' meaning||North Carolina's NBC
(or North Carolina's News, from before NBC acquisition)
|Former callsigns||WYED (1988–1994)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
17 (UHF, 1988–2009)
55 (UHF, –2009)
|Former affiliations||Independent (1988–1995)
The WB (January–September 1995)
|Transmitter power||291 kW|
|Public license information:||Profile
WNCN, channel 17, is an NBC-affiliated television station that is licensed to Goldsboro, North Carolina, United States, and serves North Carolina's Triangle region. The station's studios are located on Front Street just outside downtown Raleigh, and its transmitter is located in Auburn, North Carolina. The station is carried on cable channel 6 in Raleigh; cable channel 2 in Durham and Chapel Hill; channel 10 in Wilson, Fayetteville and Southern Pines; channel 13 in Goldsboro; channel 9 in Carrboro; and cable channel 7 in most other places, including Cary. In recent years, WNCN has been carried on cable in multiple areas within the Greensboro and Greenville markets.
The station first signed on the air on April 11, 1988 as WYED-TV, a small station that primarily carried programming from the Home Shopping Network, along with some ministry and sportsman shows that aired on weekends. WYED was the first (and only) television station owned by the Beasley Broadcasting Group, run by George Beasley, who got his start in 1961 by signing on radio station WPYB (1130 AM) in nearby Benson, North Carolina. Channel 17's original studios were located at 622 South Barbour Street in Clayton, with a 1,550-foot (470 m) transmitter tower located nearby, broadcasting with 2.6 million watts of power. The station had limited cable carriage, mainly on smaller providers outside the core counties in the metropolitan area. In 1992, Cablevision (whose Triangle area system is now operated by Time Warner Cable) added WYED to its Durham and Raleigh lineup; the station gradually shifted towards a more general entertainment independent station and added children's programming (such as Super Mario Bros. Super Show!) and syndicated talk shows. While the station could be seen clearly in Raleigh and Durham, its signal could not be seen as clearly in the far western and northern reaches of the Triangle.
In 1994, the station was bought by The Outlet Company, and on January 1, 1995, its call letters were changed to the current WNCN (standing for "North Carolina's News). The station's transmitter power was increased to five million watts, boosting its signal coverage to the entire Triangle area. The station also added more sitcoms and first-run syndicated shows. WNCN nominally became the market's affiliate of The WB Television Network when it debuted on January 11, 1995, but since the network initially had only one night of programming each week (on Wednesdays) for its first eight months, WNCN was essentially still programmed as an independent station.
One month later, NBC signed a long-term affiliation deal with The Outlet Company. Outlet had very good relations with NBC and owned two of the network's strongest affiliates, WJAR-TV in the company's home city of Providence, Rhode Island and WCMH-TV in Columbus, Ohio. Channel 17 immediately began to run NBC programs that were preempted by the network's existing affiliate, WRDC-TV (channel 28), which had been one of NBC's lowest-rated affiliates for several years. NBC had been looking for a way to get on another station for some time, especially since WRDC frequently preempted its programming. WNCN completely replaced WRDC as the Triangle's NBC affiliate on September 3, 1995 after WRDC's affiliation contract ran out, sending the WB affiliation to upstart WRAZ (channel 50), which debuted four days later. The station also moved its operations into a studio facility in North Raleigh that was formerly occupied by then-Fox affiliate WLFL (channel 22, now a CW affiliate).
WNCN is the fourth station in the Triangle to have a primary affiliation with NBC. The network had first been affiliated with WTVD (channel 11) from 1954 to 1956, then moved to WRAL-TV (channel 5) from 1956 to 1962. After WRAL became a full-time ABC affiliate in 1962, WTVD shoehorned CBS and NBC programs onto its schedule until 1968, when WRDC-TV signed on that year as WRDU-TV (channel 28 later used the WPTF-TV callsign from 1978 to 1991). When WNCN became a NBC affiliate, it marked the first time that network's complete schedule had aired in the Triangle since WRAL added ABC part-time in 1959.
Outlet sold its broadcasting holdings to NBC in 1996, this resulted in WNCN becoming NBC's first owned-and-operated station on the UHF band since the 1950s. During that decade the network briefly owned WBUF-TV (later to become PBS station WNED-TV) in Buffalo, New York and the then-WNBC-TV in New Britain, Connecticut, the latter of which NBC reacquired as WVIT in 1997. When WNCN was owned by NBC, it was one of three network-owned stations on the UHF dial (alongside KNSD in San Diego and WVIT in Hartford) and was also one of two network-owned stations in the Raleigh-Durham market (alongside ABC-owned WTVD, which continues to be owned by that network's corporate parent The Walt Disney Company). After WNCN became an NBC-owned station, it began branding itself as "NBC 17."
In 2000, WNCN relocated its transmitter facilities from the Clayton tower to a nearly 2,000-foot (610 m) perch on an arm of Capitol Broadcasting Company's new digital candelabra tower 8 miles (13 km) closer to Raleigh, near Auburn. WNCN signed on its digital signal on UHF channel 55 at the same time. The station had to get a waiver from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to move to the Auburn tower, as FCC rules require a station's transmitter to be no further than 15 miles (24 km) from its city of license.
On January 9, 2006, NBCUniversal announced it was putting WNCN up for sale, along with WVTM-TV in Birmingham, Alabama and the other two former Outlet stations, WJAR and WCMH. On April 6, 2006, Media General announced that it would acquire the four stations. This made WNCN a sister station to WNCT-TV in Greenville. The sale was finalized on June 26, 2006. In April 2013, as part of a new branding campaign, the station switched its branding from "NBC 17" to just WNCN. The new brand is intended to emphasize the station's "strong desire to more aggressively serve its local communities". For the past 17 years, WNCN had almost never used its call letters on air, except during legal identifications.
On October 1, 2013, WNCN and other Media General stations were dropped from DISH Network when its retransmission contract expired. Coverage has since been restored following a retransmission agreement brokered by the two parties on November 16.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|17.1||1080i||16:9||NBC17-HD||Main WNCN programming / NBC|
NBC Weather Plus was offered on WNCN's digital subchannel 17.3, under the "NBC 17 WeatherPlus" brand. It was later replaced by a feed of WNCN's VIPIR radar titled "Live Precision Viper Radar". On August 1, 2011, it was replaced by Universal Sports, when it moved to 17.3 to make way for Antenna TV in its original 17.2 spot. 17.3 was removed when Universal Sports transitioned to cable-only distribution in January 2012.
WNCN discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over UHF channel 17, at 12:30 p.m. on June 12, 2009, the official date in which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 55, which was among the high band UHF channels (52-69) that were removed from broadcasting use as a result of the transition, to its analog-era UHF channel 17.
Shortly after being acquired by The Outlet Company, WNCN began developing a full-scale news department. The station debuted its local newscasts concurrent on September 3, 1995, its first day as an NBC affiliate, with a half-hour early evening newscast at 6:00 pm and a late evening newscast at 11:00 pm nightly. During the late 1990s, the station debuted a two-hour weekday morning newscast, and was the first television station in the market to produce a 4:00 P.M. newscast, even though it had a brief run.
WNCN presently broadcasts 26½ hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with four hours on weekdays, 3½ hours on Saturdays and 3 hours on Sundays).
Since switching to NBC, WNCN's newscasts have traditionally ranked third in the ratings behind WRAL and WTVD, though they garnered far higher ratings than WPTF ever did as an NBC affiliate. However, recently, the station has been on a path of change and ratings growth. The station now wages a spirited battle with WTVD for second place behind longtime leader WRAL. Revamped morning and evening newscasts, an emphasis on stronger investigative reporting, a new website and more community involvement has helped lead this charge.
Since the station's revamping, WNCN has received national recognition. The 2013 Edward R. Murrow Award (Radio Television Digital News Association) competition named WNCN as its regional winner for best "Video Newscast.". WNCN also won its first Emmy awards in January 2014, including one for "Best Evening Newscast." Two of those awards were in direct competition with WRAL and its FOX affiliate WRAZ.
In 2007, WNCN debuted a half-hour newscast at 7:00 pm, becoming the market's first local newscast in that timeslot. The station became the first in the market to move the start time of its weekday morning newscast to 4:30 am in 2010.
On January 27, 2014, WNCN launched a half-hour weekday news program at 11:00 am, featuring talent from "WNCN Today." It is the market's first local newscast in that timeslot. The launch coincided with the discontinuation of the 4:30 am half-hour morning news and the shifting of the advertorial "My Carolina Today" to 11:30 am. In August 2014, it began producing a 9:00-10:00 a.m. newscast on Saturday and Sunday Mornings because the weather cut-in through The Today Show showed the radar that boosted the debut. Then the weekend after, it debuted a Saturday morning newscast from 6:00-7:00 and 9:00-10:00 a.m., with a Sunday morning newscast from 7:00-8:00 and 9:00-10:00 a.m..
WNCN-TV won three categories in the 28th Midsouth Emmy Awards: Graphic Arts, Evening Newscast and Promo Campaign.
WNCN News at 7:00 pm won best Evening Newscast for its investigative special "Poison in the Water." The report earned national fame after exposing the existence of toxic chemicals in the private wells of some Wake Forest neighborhoods and the state's failure to warn neighbors. The coverage sparked legislative action encouraging private well water testing and a public service announcement by Gov. Pat McCrory.
The station was also nominated for its news special, "The Wilmington 10." The special broadcast looked back on one of North Carolina's most heralded civil rights cases and featured a rare interview with the prosecutor Jay Stroud, in which he said he had no regrets for the way he handled the case.
WNCN has been named regional winner for "Video Newscast" by the 2013 Edward R. Murrow Award (Radio Television Digital News Association) competition for its 7:00 pm newscast on Oct. 25, 2012.
The award-winning show began by tracking Superstorm Sandy before quickly transitioning into comprehensive coverage of a special investigative report -- "Poison in the Water."
The report exposed statewide groundwater contamination and the failure of multiple government agencies to notify citizens. It also included live reaction from residents in one of the affected neighborhoods after they gathered to view the report's premiere.
In June 2014, the North Carolina Association of Broadcasters awarded WNCN the honor of "Outstanding Newscast" for its 11:00 pm show airing on Oct. 24, 2013. The award is given each year to the North Carolina television station that "best exemplifies the highest standard of news broadcasting." The winning newscast focused on the breaking news of the North Carolina State Fair's accident, which injured five people all between the ages of 14 and 39 years old.
WNCN had an outstanding day at the Radio Television Digital News Association of the Carolinas awards banquet in November 2014.
WNCN won first place for Best Newscast, Best News Website, Best Hard News Feature, Best Sports Special and Best Health-Medicine story. WNCN also won Best Newscast for North Carolina as selected by the Associated Press.
- Cox, Jonathan B. (January 10, 2006). "NBC to sell station: Network puts 3 others on the block". Raleigh News & Observer.
- "Triangle's NBC affiliate station to be sold". Raleigh News & Observer. April 6, 2006.
- "Media General Completes Purchase of Four NBC Television Stations" (Press Release). Media General. June 26, 2006. Retrieved June 14, 2015.
- "WNCN Emphasizes Local In New Branding". TVNewsCheck. Retrieved 26 April 2013.
- Bracken, David (October 1, 2013). "WNCN-TV goes dark on Dish Network after agreement expires". Raleigh News & Observer. Retrieved October 12, 2013.
- RabbitEars TV Query for WNCN
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24.
- WNCN Today Announces New 11 a.m. Newscast, WNCN.com, January 20th, 2014.
- North Carolina State Fair#Accidents and incidents