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WBAL-TV, channel 11, is an NBC
NBC
-affiliated television station located in Baltimore, Maryland
Maryland
, United States
United States
. WBAL-TV
WBAL-TV
is one of three flagship television stations of Hearst Television
Hearst Television
, and is co-owned with radio stations WBAL (1090 AM) and WIYY
WIYY
(97.9 FM). The three stations share a studio and office facility on Television Hill in the Woodberry section of Baltimore, near the transmitting tower that WBAL-TV
WBAL-TV
shares with WIYY
WIYY
and four other Baltimore
Baltimore
television stations.

On cable, the station is carried on Comcast
Comcast
channels 21 (standard definition) and 811 (high definition). In outlying areas of the market, the station is carried on channel 11.

CONTENTS

* 1 History

* 2 Digital television

* 2.1 Digital channels * 2.2 Analog-to-digital conversion

* 3 Programming

* 4 News operation

* 4.1 Awards and achievements * 4.2 Notable current on-air staff * 4.3 Notable former on-air staff

* 5 See also * 6 Out-of-market coverage * 7 References * 8 External links

HISTORY

WBAL-TV
WBAL-TV
began operations on March 11, 1948, from its original studios on North Charles Street in Downtown Baltimore
Baltimore
. The station's parent, the Hearst Corporation, also owned WBAL radio and two local afternoon newspapers, the Baltimore
Baltimore
News-Post and The Baltimore
Baltimore
American (which later merged as the News American in 1965 before shutting down in 1986, as one of the city's later three daily papers). WBAL-TV
WBAL-TV
is one of two Hearst-owned broadcast properties to have been built and signed on by the company (the other being WTAE-TV
WTAE-TV
in Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh
), and the oldest to be continuously owned by Hearst through its various television subsidiaries through the years. At its launch WBAL-TV
WBAL-TV
was an NBC
NBC
affiliate, owing to its radio sister's long affiliation with the NBC
NBC
Red Network .

Early programming on channel 11 included Musical Almanac, Look and Cook and Know Baltimore, along with news and sports productions. In the 1950s, the station introduced Romper Room , a children's program produced locally by Bert and Nancy Claster that eventually became a nationally franchised and syndicated program. Another long-running show of the 1950s was the weekday Quiz Club, co-hosted by local personalities Brent Gunts and Jay Grayson. Baltimore
Baltimore
Sun local history columnist Jacques Kelly described it at the time of Grayson's death in June 2000, as "pure 1950s live television ... executed on a low budget ... the genial hosts ... ruled the 1 p.m. airwaves".

WBAL-TV
WBAL-TV
produced several local bowling shows in the 1960s and early 1970s, including Strikes and Spares, Pinbusters, Duckpins and Dollars , Bowling
Bowling
for Dollars and Spare Time. The station even went as far as building and installing several "duckpin" bowling alleys at its studios. It also launched several children's entertainment shows during this period, such as Rhea and Sunshine, Pete the Pirate, P.W. Doodle, Heads Up, and the teen-oriented rock and roll music and dance Kerby Scott Show.

WBAL-TV
WBAL-TV
has boasted many television firsts, including becoming the first Baltimore
Baltimore
television station to broadcast in color, the first station in Maryland
Maryland
(and the eighth in the world) to acquire a videotape cartridge machine (video cassette recorder of "U-matic" system); the first station in Baltimore
Baltimore
to acquire a mobile satellite news-gathering system (dubbed "NEWSTAR 11") and the first Baltimore station to hire an African-American
African-American
news anchor and a Black news director.

In the late 1970s, ABC steadily rose in the ratings to become the number one network in primetime. Accordingly, the network began to seek upgrades to its slate of affiliates, which included some stations that either had poor signals or poorly performing local programming. WBAL-TV
WBAL-TV
had been invited to switch to ABC in 1977, but opted to remain with NBC
NBC
out of concerns about the poor ratings for ABC's recently revamped evening newscasts . The WBAL-TV
WBAL-TV
studio and office facility, on "Television Hill" near Woodberry in north-central Baltimore, opened in 1962.

WBAL-TV's first stint as an NBC
NBC
affiliate ended on August 30, 1981, when the station exchanged networks with WMAR-TV
WMAR-TV
(channel 2), then owned by the A.S. Abell Company (then-publishers of the Baltimore
Baltimore
Sun ), and became a CBS
CBS
affiliate. In its reasoning for initiating the switch, CBS
CBS
cited displeasure with WMAR-TV's frequent preemptions and low ratings for the station's newscasts. As a CBS
CBS
affiliate, however, channel 11 preempted an hour of the network's daytime schedule everyday, as well as half of its Saturday cartoon lineup. Channel 11 also did not run CBS's late night programming. Baltimore
Baltimore
viewers who wanted to see the entire CBS
CBS
lineup could be able to view those programs through WDVM-TV/WUSA in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
, which was available over-the-air in most of the adjacent Baltimore
Baltimore
area and preempted little network programming.

In 1994, the E. W. Scripps Company
E. W. Scripps Company
, present owners of WMAR-TV, negotiated with ABC to affiliate with its Baltimore
Baltimore
station as part of a multi-station deal. In response, CBS
CBS
and Westinghouse Broadcasting formed a partnership which resulted in the CBS
CBS
affiliation moving from WBAL-TV
WBAL-TV
to Westinghouse's WJZ-TV
WJZ-TV
(channel 13), Baltimore's longtime ABC affiliate. Largely by default, channel 11 rejoined NBC
NBC
on January 2, 1995.

The station was a prominent feature in the 1982 movie Diner , set in Baltimore. One of the main characters' girlfriends worked at the station, and another character watches College Bowl
College Bowl
, an NBC
NBC
program that aired on WBAL-TV. It was also the primary setting for the 1991 film He Said, She Said , in which two newspaper columnists for the Baltimore
Baltimore
Sun ( Kevin Bacon
Kevin Bacon
and Elizabeth Perkins
Elizabeth Perkins
) serve as hosts of an opinion/debate segment on the station.

DIGITAL TELEVISION

DIGITAL CHANNELS

The station's digital channel is multiplexed :

CHANNEL VIDEO ASPECT PSIP SHORT NAME PROGRAMMING

11.1 1080i 16:9 WBAL-DT Main WBAL-TV
WBAL-TV
programming / NBC

11.2 480i 4:3 WBAL-SD MeTV
MeTV

WBAL-TV
WBAL-TV
carries a digital subchannel on 11.2, which launched in August 2005 as "11 Insta-Weather Plus", an affiliate of NBC
NBC
Weather Plus until the network dissolved in November 2008; after that, the subchannel carried automated local and regional weather information provided by NBC
NBC
Plus until April 2009, when an alternate programming format was adopted featuring local weather information, newscasts and other special programming. On March 5, 2012, WBAL launched a 10 p.m. newscast on the subchannel (which was renamed "WBAL Plus" the previous year).

On July 24, 2012, Hearst Television
Hearst Television
renewed its affiliation agreement with MeTV
MeTV
through 2015, to maintain existing affiliations with eight Hearst-owned stations that were already carrying the digital multicast network. As part of the renewal, Hearst also signed agreements to add the network as digital subchannels of WBAL-TV
WBAL-TV
and four other Hearst stations in Sacramento , Boston
Boston
, Oklahoma City and Greensboro . MeTV was added to subchannel 11.2 on October 1, 2012.

ANALOG-TO-DIGITAL CONVERSION

WBAL-TV
WBAL-TV
shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 11, on June 12, 2009, the official date in which full-power television stations in the United States
United States
transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 59, 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 assignment of VHF channel 11. Several VHF digital stations received permission for a power increase later that month after stations experienced signal problems as a result of changing their digital channel from UHF to VHF. WBAL-TV chose to test its equipment before making a commitment.

As a part of the repacking process following the 2016-2017 FCC incentive auction , WBAL-TV
WBAL-TV
will relocate to VHF channel 12 by 2020, using PSIP to display its virtual channel number as 11.

PROGRAMMING

Outside of the NBC
NBC
network schedule, syndicated programs seen on WBAL-TV
WBAL-TV
include The Ellen DeGeneres Show
The Ellen DeGeneres Show
, The Dr. Oz Show
The Dr. Oz Show
, Inside Edition , Steve Harvey and Access Hollywood
Access Hollywood
, the last two which are distributed NBC's sister company NBCUniversal Television Distribution . WBAL-TV
WBAL-TV
is one of the few NBC
NBC
affiliates that does not air the fourth hour of Today (which can be seen in the area via NBC
NBC
O the station also airs any games in which the Ravens are shown on NBC's Sunday Night Football .

NEWS OPERATION

WBAL-TV
WBAL-TV
reporters Deborah Weiner and Jayne Miller prepare for a live shot during the funeral of former Maryland
Maryland
Governor William Donald Schaefer , April 27, 2011

WBAL-TV
WBAL-TV
presently broadcasts 39 hours of locally produced newscasts each week (5⅔ hours on Monday, 5 hours 35 minutes on Tuesday-Friday, 4½ hours on Saturday and 6½ hours on Sunday); the station also produces a weekly public affairs program on Sunday mornings called 11 TV Hill.

Appropriately for a station with roots in a newspaper, channel 11 has a rich news tradition. WBAL's newscasts have spent the better part of its history in either first or second place in the ratings. It led the ratings from the 1960s until WJZ-TV
WJZ-TV
passed it in the early 1970s. However, for the better part of the last 40 years, WBAL-TV
WBAL-TV
had waged a spirited battle for first place in the ratings with WJZ-TV. In recent years, WBAL-TV's newscasts placed first at 5, 6 and 11 p.m. However, in the November 2009 Nielsen ratings sweeps period – the first since the debut of The Jay Leno Show
The Jay Leno Show
– WBAL's 11 p.m. newscast fell precipitously from first to a distant second behind WJZ (by contrast, the 11 p.m. newscast on WRC-TV
WRC-TV
in nearby Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
was one of the least affected late-night newscasts of any NBC
NBC
affiliate or owned-and-operated station in the country; it continued to dominate its competitors). WBAL still continued to lead at 5 and 6 p.m. until the November 2011 sweeps period. Since NBC
NBC
took Leno off of primetime in February 2010 – in part due to complaints from WBAL and other affiliates about effects on its newscasts – viewership of channel 11's late newscast has often come close to the WJZ newscast. However, since the November 2011 sweeps period, WJZ's newscasts took the lead in nearly all time slots but WBAL is still a strong second.

In 1974, WBAL introduced the Action News
Action News
format to Baltimore. Characterized by short, usually 90 second, news "packages" and upbeat introductory news themes, Baltimore's Action News
Action News
briefly replaced WJZ as the number one news station in Baltimore
Baltimore
during the mid-1970s. The architect of the success was news director Ron Kershaw , who had come to Baltimore
Baltimore
from Texas and was considered somewhat ahead of his time. He brought in talented anchors like Sue Simmons and Spencer Christian but also replaced long-time local news anchor Rolf Hertsgaard with controversial out-of-towner Don Harrison and streamlined the news operation. Kershaw later brought other innovations to WNBC-TV in New York City and WBBM-TV
WBBM-TV
in Chicago
Chicago
as news director at those stations.

WBAL-TV
WBAL-TV
lent then-meteorologist Sandra Shaw to Hearst-Argyle sister station WDSU-TV in New Orleans on September 1, 2008, to assist with the Louisiana station's coverage of Hurricane Gustav.

On January 3, 2009, WBAL-TV
WBAL-TV
became the second station in Baltimore (behind WBFF-TV ) to begin broadcasting its local news programming in high definition . Only the in-studio cameras and footage from the station's helicopter were in HD at the time of the switch. For over a year, most field reports were still in pillarboxed 4:3 standard definition . Most field reports are switched from 16:9 widescreen enhanced definition to 16:9 high definition in March 2012. On March 5, 2012, WBAL debuted a half-hour 10 p.m. newscast on its WBAL Plus digital subchannel, which competes against an hour-long newscast on WBFF .

On January 12, 2015, WBAL-TV
WBAL-TV
expanded their morning newscast "11 News Today" to 4:30 a.m.

News Anchor Rod Daniels retired from WBAL-TV
WBAL-TV
in 2015 after more than 30 years with the station.

AWARDS AND ACHIEVEMENTS

Former WBAL-TV
WBAL-TV
reporter Rob Roblin, April 27, 2011.

In addition, WBAL-TV
WBAL-TV
became the first Baltimore
Baltimore
television station to win a Peabody Award
Peabody Award
for local news coverage, specifically of their Chesapeake Bay pollution investigation (and the first Baltimore television station to win the award in any category in more than fifty years). WBAL's news department was also awarded as one of the top three Best Television Newscasts by the National Headliners Association, alongside WFAA-TV
WFAA-TV
in Dallas
Dallas
, and WBAL's Boston
Boston
sister station WCVB-TV
WCVB-TV
. The station has also won regional Edward R. Murrow Awards, the George Polk Award and the American Bar Association
American Bar Association
Gavel Award for excellence in reporting and journalism; it has also been rated the most outstanding television news operation in Baltimore
Baltimore
(by the Associated Press
Associated Press
and United Press International
United Press International
).

NOTABLE CURRENT ON-AIR STAFF

* Gerry Sandusky — Sports anchor

NOTABLE FORMER ON-AIR STAFF

* Curt Anderson (now in the Maryland General Assembly
Maryland General Assembly
) * Sade Baderinwa (now with WABC-TV in New York City
New York City
) * Campbell Brown (formerly at CNN
CNN
) * Ron Canada - newscaster (1970s–early 1980s; now working as an actor) * Spencer Christian (now with KGO-TV
KGO-TV
in San Francisco
San Francisco
) * Carol Costello (now at CNN) * Rod Daniels (Retired) * Mike Hambrick * Vicki Mabrey (now with ABC News
ABC News
) * Royal Parker (1962-mid-1990s) * Lisa Salters
Lisa Salters
(now with ESPN
ESPN
) * Sue Simmons (later with WNBC-TV in New York City
New York City
1980–2012; was at WRC-TV
WRC-TV
in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
1978–1980 before that) * Ron Smith (died on December 19, 2011, at age 70, after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer) * Julius Westheimer (deceased)

SEE ALSO

* Bernard H. Paul - Paul's Puppets children program for 10 years

OUT-OF-MARKET COVERAGE

Outside of Baltimore, WBAL-TV
WBAL-TV
can be seen in Maryland's Eastern Shore from Cecil County to Worcester County , and Sussex County, Delaware
Sussex County, Delaware
. Both Comcast
Comcast
and Mediacom
Mediacom
systems in the Salisbury, Maryland
Salisbury, Maryland
/Dover, Delaware market carry WBAL-TV
WBAL-TV
along with that market's NBC
NBC
affiliate, WRDE-LD
WRDE-LD
(Comcast's system in Sussex County, Delaware
Sussex County, Delaware
carries both WRDE-LD
WRDE-LD
and WBAL-TV, as well as NBC's Philadelphia
Philadelphia
owned-and-operated station WCAU
WCAU
).

WBAL-TV
WBAL-TV
is also viewed in many parts of southern Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
such as Gettysburg in Adams County , and Hanover and York as well as the majority of York County due to its proximity to Baltimore. In Lancaster County , WBAL is only available in Marietta , Columbia , and Elizabethtown mainly because of competition and prevalence of Philadelphia
Philadelphia
and local television stations in the area that are more well-known such as WGAL
WGAL
and WCAU
WCAU
.

In the Shenandoah Valley
Shenandoah Valley
, WBAL-TV
WBAL-TV
can been seen in Frederick , Clarke and Warren counties along with the independent city of Winchester, Virginia
Winchester, Virginia
.

The station also live streams its newscasts on the internet several times a day.

REFERENCES

* ^ "Television stations granted to three." Broadcasting - Telecasting , May 27, 1946, pg. 90. * ^ "WBAL-TV; Baltimore
Baltimore
NBC
NBC
outlet begins operations." Broadcasting - Telecasting, March 15, 1948, pg. 97. * ^ A B Kelly, Jacques (June 24, 2000). "'Quiz Club' had an impact". The Baltimore
Baltimore
Sun . p. 2E. * ^ "Station History". WBAL-TV. Retrieved 2009-10-09. * ^ "In brief." Broadcasting, March 21, 1977, pg. 30 * ^ "In brief." Broadcasting, March 28, 1977, pg. 34 * ^ " CBS
CBS
switches affiliation to WBAL-TV
WBAL-TV
in Baltimore." Broadcasting, March 9, 1981, pg. 152. * ^ Foisie, Geoffrey (June 20, 1994). "ABC pre-empts CBS
CBS
in Cleveland, Detroit." (PDF). Broadcasting and Cable. Retrieved February 13, 2013. * ^ Zier, Julie A. (July 18, 1994). "CBS, Group W form historic alliance" (PDF). Broadcasting and Cable. Retrieved February 13, 2013. * ^ McClellan, Steve (August 1, 1994). "Keeping up with the affiliates" (PDF). Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved March 16, 2013. * ^ Zurawik, David (1 January 1995). "Get ready, get set, get confused, in TV\'s big switch in Baltimore
Baltimore
Changing Channels". Baltimore
Baltimore
Sun. Retrieved 29 June 2012. * ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WBAL * ^ "Ravens Draft Special
Special
Airs Saturday On WBAL-TV". April 23, 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-09. * ^ A B WBAL-TV
WBAL-TV
to launch 10 p.m. newscast with Kate Amara March 5, The Baltimore
Baltimore
Sun , February 8, 2012. * ^ Me-TV Adds Five More Hearst Stations, TVNewsCheck, July 24, 2012. * ^ Where to Watch Me-TV: WBAL * ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24. * ^ CDBS Print * ^ "DTV Transition Plan". FCC. Retrieved 2009-10-09. * ^ Eggerton, John (2009-06-29). "Boise station gets power boost". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved 2009-07-01. * ^ http://www.nab.org/repacking/clearinghouse.asp * ^ Dunne, John Gregory (2006). Regards: The Selected Nonfiction of John Gregory Dunne. Thunder's Mouth Press. p. 80. ISBN 978-1-56025-816-2 . * ^ http://www.wbaltv.com/blob