WJLA-TV, virtual and VHF digital channel 7, is an ABC -affiliated
television station licensed to the American capital city of
Washington, District of Columbia . The station is owned by Hunt Valley
Sinclair Broadcast Group
Sinclair Broadcast Group , which also operates local
NewsChannel 8 . The two stations share broadcast
facilities located on Wilson Blvd. in the Rosslyn section of Arlington
Virginia ; WJLA-TV's transmitter is located in the Tenleytown
neighborhood of northwest Washington .
* 1 History
* 1.1 Acquisition by
Sinclair Broadcast Group
Sinclair Broadcast Group
* 1.2 Logos and imaging
* 2 Digital channels
* 3 Programming
* 4 News operation
* 4.1 Notable current on-air staff
* 4.2 Notable former on-air staff
* 5 References
* 6 External links
The District of Columbia's third television station began
broadcasting on October 3, 1947 as WTVW, owned by the _Washington Star
_, along with WMAL radio (630 AM and 107.3 FM, now
WRQX ). It was the
Band III VHF television station (channels 7-13) in the United
States. A few months later, the station changed its call letters to
WMAL-TV after its radio sisters. WMAL radio had been an affiliate of
NBC Blue Network since 1933, and remained with the network after
it was spun off by
NBC and evolved into ABC. However, channel 7
started as a
CBS station since ABC had not yet established its
television network. When ABC launched on television in 1948, WMAL-TV
became ABC's third primary affiliate; the station continued to carry
CBS programming until WOIC (channel 9, now WUSA ) signed on in
1949. During the late 1950s, the station was also briefly affiliated
NTA Film Network
NTA Film Network . (_Note_: The
WTVW call letters were later
picked up by what is now
WISN-TV , the ABC affiliate in
Wisconsin , when it signed on in 1954. Now the callsign is residing in
Indiana on a CW -affiliated station that is also on
Joe Allbritton , the owner of
Riggs Bank , purchased a controlling interest in the
_Star_'s media properties, which by that time also included
and WLVA-TV (now
WSET-TV ) in Lynchburg,
Virginia ; and
South Carolina . As a condition of the purchase,
Allbritton was given three years to break up the Washington
newspaper/broadcast combination, which the Federal Communications
Commission (FCC) was seeking to prohibit under the tightening of its
concentration of media ownership policy. WMAL-TV was separated first
from its radio sisters when ABC purchased WMAL-AM-FM in March 1977.
Upon the radio transfer, channel 7 changed its call letters to the
current WJLA-TV, after the owner's initials. In April 1977,
Allbritton negotiated a deal to trade the station to Combined
Communications Corporation in return for
Oklahoma City ,
but called off the deal due to last-minute complications despite
receiving FCC approval. Allbritton instead sold the _Washington Star_
Time Inc. in January 1978, and retained
WJLA-TV and the Lynchburg
and Charleston television stations for what would eventually become
Allbritton Communications .
Rumors abounded from the mid-1990s onward that ABC might buy WJLA-TV,
effectively reuniting it with its former radio sisters. Indeed, in the
summer of 1998, ABC's corporate parent the Walt Disney Company
discussed a possible acquisition of Allbritton Communications, but a
sale agreement failed to materialize. ABC eventually sold most of its
radio properties, including WMAL and WRQX, to Citadel Broadcasting
Corporation in June 2007. Even so, WJLA remained an ABC affiliate
under Allbritton because the company had an exclusive affiliation deal
with the network. After
Baltimore switched to
CBS in 1995,
WJLA became ABC's longest-tenured television affiliate.
In December 2007, WJLA began simulcasting
WTOP-FM on its "Weather
Now" digital sub-channel; this continued through late July 2009. Until
July 28, 2008,
WJLA-TV offered Local Point TV on 7.2, which was a
local version of Current , featuring five-minute video segments
created by area residents. Abby Fenton, the station's Director of
Community Relations said in an interview with _Broadcasting the
station continued to broadcast an analog feed of WJLA after the
digital transition. In late July 2009, WJLA dropped its locally
produced "WeatherNow" channel for The
Local AccuWeather Channel on its
DT2 subchannel under the "Doug Hill's WeatherNow" brand. On March 13,
2012, WJLA dropped the
Local AccuWeather Channel in favor of forecasts
from their own meteorologists. With that, the name of the channel was
slightly changed to "ABC7's WeatherNow". WJLA began carrying "
a competing syndicated digital broadcast TV network with older classic
and re-runs of television series on March 2013 on WJLA's digital
subchannel 7.2, replacing "ABC7's WeatherNow" on Channel 7.2.
WJLA-TV stopped transmitting on its analog signal, over VHF channel
7, 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 39 to VHF channel 7 for
post-transition operations. While 90% of the station's viewers
received WJLA's signal via cable or satellite, many of the
over-the-air viewers had problems after the final transition. Some
needed to rescan, and others needed a VHF antenna. WJLA applied on
August 29, 2009 for special authorization by the FCC to increase its
effective radiated power (ERP) to 52 kW. The power increase was put
into effect on September 18, 2009. WJLA already ran 30 kW of ERP,
which was higher than the other three VHF stations in the area: WUSA
WBAL-TV (5 kW), and
WJZ-TV (28.8 kW) (post transition power
On May 1, 2012,
WJLA-TV announced it would add the Disney-ABC-owned
Live Well Network
Live Well Network to digital subchannel 7.3 on July 1, 2012, replacing
ACQUISITION BY SINCLAIR BROADCAST GROUP
On May 1, 2013, reports surfaced that Allbritton was planning to sell
its television stations so it could put more of its focus on running
its political website
Politico . Allbritton announced nearly three
months later that it would sell all of its stations to Sinclair
Broadcast Group for $985 million. After nearly a year of delays, the
deal was approved by the FCC on July 24, 2014. The deal was finalized
on August 1, 2014. The new ownership meant that WJLA by default
became the Washington affiliate of Sinclair's American Sports Network
which launched in the same month; however on the main signal, ABC\'s
sports coverage from
ESPN takes preference over ASN's lower-tier
conference rights and it is generally carried over the station's 7.2
and 7.3 subchannels instead.
On May 8, 2017,
Sinclair Broadcast Group
Sinclair Broadcast Group entered into an agreement to
Tribune Media – owner of CW affiliate
WDCW (channel 50) –
for $3.9 billion, plus the assumption of $2.7 billion in debt held by
Tribune. If the acquisition receives regulatory approval by the FCC
and the U.S. Department of Justice\'s Antitrust Division , it would
result in the formation of a duopoly between
addition to NewsChannel 8) as the market would have more than eight
independent television station owners once channel 50 becomes a
LOGOS AND IMAGING
Circle 7 logo from 1975 to 2001
Seven Network in
Australia used a logo identical to that of WJLA-TV.
Since 1970, WMAL-TV/WJLA has used a variation of the _Circle 7 _
logo, which has long been primarily associated with ABC affiliates
located on Channel 7. From 1970 to 2001, WMAL/WJLA used its own
version of the logo, with the "7" modified to accommodate the circle.
In 1984, it saw a minor update with rounded ends on the "7" being
modified to use sharp, straight edges, like the logo later used by
Seven Network . This version of the logo was probably the
longest continuously used numeric logo in Washington's television
history. The only real modification came in 1998, after it began
calling itself "ABC 7" on-air and added the ABC logo to the left side.
In 2001, WJLA adopted the standard version of the "Circle 7" logo,
refueling speculation that ABC would purchase the station.
the largest ABC affiliate to use the _Circle 7_ that is not an ABC
owned-and-operated station . In addition, sister station
Little Rock ,
Arkansas , has used the standard _Circle 7_ since the
1960s, longer than all WJLA versions combined.
The station's digital channel is multiplexed :
PSIP SHORT NAME
WJLA-TV programming / ABC
As one of the largest ABC stations not owned-and-operated by the
network, the station generally clears all ABC programming. However,
locally produced sports and election specials preempt the first hour
of the network's primetime lineup on a few days in late summer and
early fall, while the low-rated Saturday night network lineup is
occasionally preempted during the summer months in favor of a feature
film broadcast, back when the station was owned by Allbriton. If
needed, WJLA reschedules network programming at its earliest
convenience, usually during the overnight hours. In most cases, any
preempted network programming can be seen on
which is receivable in Washington and its close suburbs with a rooftop
antenna. WJLA was the last ABC station to carry _
Jimmy Kimmel Live _.
Syndicated programming broadcast by
WJLA-TV including _Live with
Kelly and Ryan _, _Extra _, _
Jeopardy! _ and _Wheel of Fortune _,
among others. The former show is produced by ABC's New York City
WABC-TV and is distributed by ABC's corporate sibling
Disney-ABC Domestic Television .
In the 2014 season , WJLA began to air additional college football
games through Sinclair's
American Sports Network .
In 2015 ,
D.C. United of
Major League Soccer
Major League Soccer reached a new multi-year
Sinclair Broadcast Group
Sinclair Broadcast Group to broadcast all 26 of the team's
regional matches on
WJLA-TV and NewsChannel 8, succeeding CSN
WJLA-TV presently broadcasts a total of 30 1⁄2 hours of locally
produced newscasts each week (with 5 1⁄2 hours on weekdays, two
hours on Saturdays and 1 1⁄2 hours on Sundays). The station has
the largest news team in the Washington area, which includes around 40
on-air staff members. As the flagship station of the Allbritton
Communications station group, WJLA provided national news headlines
for other Allbritton-owned stations.
Prior to 2001, WJLA's newscasts had long placed third in the market's
news ratings, behind WUSA and NBC-owned
WRC-TV . The station hired
Maureen Bunyan , former longtime anchor at WUSA, and in 2003, former
Leon Harris joined the station as an anchor. In 2004, WJLA
hired Bunyan's former anchor desk partner,
Gordon Peterson ; and
reunited the two as anchors for the 6:00 p.m. newscast. These
personnel moves, combined with WUSA's recent ratings troubles, led to
a resurgence in the ratings. In the May 2010 sweeps, it placed number
one at 5:00 p.m. in total viewers, and in the 25–54 demo.
WJLA became the second television station in the Washington, D.C.
CBS affiliate WUSA ) to begin broadcasting its local
newscasts in high definition on December 8, 2008. The upgrade included
the introduction of a new on-air graphics package as well as minor
changes made to the news desk for better viewing quality with high
definition. Field reports and promotions for WJLA's newscasts
continued to be broadcast in standard definition until the end of
March 2013, when the station upgraded to HD field cameras for field
shots and some news promotions.
On January 23, 2009, WJLA laid off 26 staff members, including
several on-air reporters, due to financial constraints. The laid off
reporters included Andrea McCarren, Sarah C. Lee , Alisa Parenti,
Emily Schmidt, Jennefer Donelan, and weekend sports anchor Greg
Toland. Most of the dismissals took effect immediately, but some were
allowed to serve out their contracts. WJLA also announced a 4.9%
salary cut for all remaining staff and a halt to company contributions
to 401(k) retirement plans.
Post-acquisition, concerns began to emerge surrounding how Sinclair's
historic right-wing slant may affect WJLA's news coverage. After
Sinclair took over the station, WJLA began to air conservative
commentaries by Sinclair executive
Mark E. Hyman , along with stories
from Sinclair's Washington bureau—all of which were critical of the
Obama administration . The station also partnered with the
Washington Times _ to feature its weekly "Golden Hammer"
award—highlighting "the most egregious examples of government waste,
fraud and abuse", as a segment during its newscasts. WJLA staff
members felt that it was inappropriate for a station in Washington,
D.C. to air stories that are critical of the federal government; one
employee told _
The Washington Post _ that with these changes, the
station may "lose the trust they built up with people over years and
years. We've told people, 'We're just like you,' not, 'We're looking
out for the tea party .'"
On January 26, 2015, the station made changes to its news set and
also debuted a fresh new on-air look along with new theme music for
On November 2, 2015, WJLA debuted an entirely new set for its
newscasts, replacing the previous set that had been used since its
relocation to its current Rosslyn studios in September 2002. On
December 21, 2015, WJLA became the last of the four English-language
local broadcast stations in the
Washington, D.C. market to have its
newscasts switched to a 16:9 letterbox format, with a revised graphics
package optimized for the 16:9 format. Concurrently, its sister local
cable news channel,
NewsChannel 8 , also switched to the same 16:9
NOTABLE CURRENT ON-AIR STAFF
Lisa Fletcher - investigative reporter
Erin Hawksworth – sports anchor (2015–present)
* Doug Hill – (AMS seal of approval) – chief meteorologist
Alison Starling – anchor
NOTABLE FORMER ON-AIR STAFF
Tim Brant (left station in May 2015 after his contract was not
Maureen Bunyan (left station in January 2017)
Kendis Gibson (now at
ABC News )
Leon Harris (left station in October 2016; now at
Megyn Kelly (now at
NBC News )
Britt McHenry (was at
ESPN until April 26, 2017)
Gordon Peterson (retired in December 2014; also host of _Inside
Lori Stokes (now at
New York City
New York City )
Joe Witte (now a researcher at the
Goddard Space Flight Center )
* ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ "Digital TV Listing for WJLA".
_RabbitEars.Info_. Retrieved January 26, 2017.
* ^ "Require Prime Evening Time for NTA Films". _Boxoffice_: 13.
November 10, 1956. Archived from the original on June 14, 2009.
* ^ "Houston's Allbritton buys into 'Star-News' parent company, is
expected to take active role." _Broadcasting_, July 22, 1974, pg. 22.
* ^ "Allbritton gets his deal for Washington." _Broadcasting_,
December 22, 1975, pp. 19-20.
* ^ "ABC will buy Washington's WMAL-AM-FM for $16 million."
_Broadcasting_, October 10, 1976, pg. 40.
* ^ "His name in lights." _Broadcasting_, May 16, 1977, pg. 45
* ^ "WMAL-TV fetches $100 million, trading record." _Broadcasting_,
April 4, 1977, pp. 28-29.
* ^ "Allbritton backs out of
WJLA-TV deal." _Broadcasting_, March
27, 1978, pg. 27.
* ^ Hershey, Robert (December 12, 2012). "Joe Allbritton, TV and
Banking Titan, Dies at 87". _
The New York Times _. Retrieved 15 March
* ^ Farhi, Paul (July 25, 1998). "Disney Ends Talks to Buy WJLA".
The Washington Post _. Retrieved 16 March 2013. – via HighBeam
Research (subscription required)
* ^ WJLA
Washington, D.C. Going Retro
* ^ WJLA Going Retro with Retro Television Network
* ^ Where to Watch Me-TV
* ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the
Second Rounds" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-08-29.
* ^ Eggerton, John (2009-06-23). "WJLA Says It Is Taking Care OF
DTV Business". _
Multichannel News _. Retrieved 2009-06-25.
* ^ FCC TV Query: WJLA
* ^ WJLA Washington Adds Live Well Network, _TVNewsCheck_, May 1,
* ^ Wemple, Erik. "Allbritton exploring sale of TV assets". The
Washington Post. Retrieved 2 May 2013.
* ^ Heath, Thomas; Wilgoren, Debbi (July 29, 2013). "Allbritton to
sell 7 TV stations, including WJLA, to Sinclair for $985 million".
_The Washington Post_. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
* ^ Eggerton, John (24 July 2014). "FCC Approves
Sinclair/Allbritton Deal". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved 24 July
* ^ Sinclair\'s Deal For Allbritton Closes,
Broadcasting & Cable ,
1 August 2014, Retrieved 4 August 2014.
* ^ Stephen Battaglio (May 8, 2017). "
Sinclair Broadcast Group
Sinclair Broadcast Group to
Tribune Media for $3.9 billion plus debt". _
Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times _.
Tronc . Retrieved June 6, 2017.
* ^ Cynthia Littleton (May 8, 2017). "
Sinclair Broadcast Group
Sinclair Broadcast Group Sets
$3.9 Billion Deal to Acquire Tribune Media". _Variety _. Prometheus
Global Media . Retrieved June 6, 2017.
* ^ Todd Frankel (May 8, 2017). "Sinclair Broadcast to buy Tribune
Media for $3.9 billion, giving it control over 215 local TV stations".
The Washington Post _. Nash Holdings, LLC . Retrieved June 6, 2017.
* ^ Liana Baker; Jessica Toonkel (May 7, 2017). "Sinclair Broadcast
nears deal for Tribune Media".
Reuters . Retrieved June 6, 2017.
* ^ Harry A. Jessell; Mark K. Miller (May 8, 2017). "The New
Sinclair: 72% Coverage + WGNA". _TVNewsCheck_. NewsCheck Media.
* ^ Minium, Harry (August 27, 2014). "ODU\'s opener with Hampton to
be televised in 66 markets". _HamptonRoads.com_. The Virginian-Pilot.
Retrieved September 8, 2014.
* ^ "
D.C. United matches to appear on NewsChannel 8, ABC7".
_Washington Post_. Retrieved December 20, 2015.
* ^ Tucker, Neely (Jan 24, 2009). "Citing Economy, WJLA Fires 26
Staffers". _Washington Post_. p. C1.
* ^ "Under new ownership,