WBOY-TV is the NBC-affiliated television station for North Central West Virginia that is licensed to Clarksburg. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on VHF channel 12 from a transmitter east of downtown and U.S. 50. Owned by West Virginia Media Holdings, the station has studios on West Pike Street in Downtown Clarksburg. It identifies on-air as "Clarksburg/Fairmont/Morgantown" even though the third city is considered part of the Pittsburgh market. This is because it operates a bureau in Morgantown which makes it the only commercial station to have facilities there.
The station was launched November 17, 1957. It was the second television station in its small market. WBOY was originally intended to be the ABC affiliate for all of North-Central West Virginia. However the area's intended NBC affiliate, Parkersburg's WTAP-TV, did not have a signal strong enough to reach Clarksburg and Weston. North-Central West Virginia is a very rugged dissected plateau and WTAP's analog signal on UHF channel 15 was not strong enough to carry across the terrain. After it became clear that Parkersburg and Clarksburg were going to be separate markets, WBOY joined NBC and remains with the network to this day. However, it retained a secondary ABC affiliation for many years. In July 1981, WBOY was bought by Imes Communications of Columbus, Mississippi who also owned that city's CBS affiliate WCBI, as well as ABC affiliate WMUR-TV in Manchester, New Hampshire. In 2001, Hearst Television (owner of Pittsburgh's WTAE-TV) acquired WBOY and WMUR from Imes.
Hearst's acquisition of WBOY was finalized on April 30, 2001. Almost immediately, the company sold WBOY to West Virginia Media Holdings (which was creating a statewide "network" of stations to share resources) in September of that year with the sale closing on December 13. It is the only primary station owned by the company to not be affiliated with CBS as well as the only one that leads its market ratings. Along with sister station WTRF-TV in Wheeling, WBOY launched a new second digital subchannel with ABC programming on August 1, 2008 bringing shows from that network back to the station. Previously, both the Clarksburg/Weston/Fairmont and Wheeling/Steubenville, Ohio markets were served by WTAE as the de facto affiliate while WDTV aired selected ABC sports programming.
On November 17, 2015, Nexstar Broadcasting Group announced that it would purchase the West Virginia Media Holdings stations, including WBOY-TV, for $130 million. Under the terms of the deal, Nexstar will assume control of the stations through a time brokerage agreement in December 2015, with the sale of the license assets expected to be completed in late 2016.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|12.1||1080i||16:9||WBOYNBC||Main WBOY-TV programming / NBC|
WBOY-TV shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 12, on February 17, 2009, the original target date in which full-power television stations in the United States were to transition from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate (which was later pushed back to June 12, 2009). The station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 52, 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 VHF channel 12.
After being acquired by West Virginia Media Holdings, the station upgraded its news operation and built secondary studios in Morgantown on Scott Avenue. A major emphasis was placed on news from that town in the hopes of increasing ratings and thus getting the town reassigned to the Clarksburg/Fairmont market. The move made WBOY the highest rated station in Monongalia County according to Nielsen ratings beating even Pittsburgh stations. The channel produces a large amount of sports content relative to West Virginia University, located in that town, for use by the other member stations. Today, it is the only West Virginia Media Holdings station to have the lead in local news ratings in its respective market.
West Virginia Media produces a half-hour evening newscast that airs at 5:30pm. The newscast, titled West Virginia Tonight, is broadcast live from WOWK's Charleston studios in high definition on all 4 stations and is anchored by Dan Thorn. Independent WJAL in Hagerstown, Maryland simulcasts the broadcast. When WBOY-DT2 launched, it resulted in the debut of the market's first weeknight 7 o'clock newscast. Known as 12 News Live on ABC, it broadcasts exclusively on the ABC station. Otherwise, WBOY-DT2 simulcasts the weekday editions of 12 News at 6 a.m., noon, 6, and 11 p.m. It does not simulcast weekend broadcasts from the main channel. In addition, there is a public affairs program called Decision Makers. Hosted by company president and CEO, Bray Cary, it airs on Sunday mornings at 8 on all West Virginia Media Holdings stations. In another arrangement between all of the company channels, weekend weather forecasts originate from WOWK's new facilities on 350 Quarrier Street In Charleston, W.Va.
On April 1, 2013, WBOY became the second station in the market and the last station owned by West Virginia Media Holdings to upgrade its local newscasts to high definition. With the upgrade came new graphics and a new music package (Aerial by Stephen Arnold).