WDEF-TV, channel 12, is the CBS affiliate television station for Chattanooga and the Tennessee Valley. The station, whose call letters came from its former AM and FM sister stations, is owned by Morris Multimedia. Its studios are located on Broad Street in Chattanooga, while its transmitter is located in nearby Signal Mountain. On cable, WDEF-TV is carried on Comcast channel 13, and on EPB Fiber Optics channels 12 and 312 in the Chattanooga area. Syndicated programming on WDEF includes: Judge Judy, Dr. Phil, The Insider, and The Andy Griffith Show.
The station signed on the air on April 25, 1954, carrying programming from all four networks, though it has always been a primary CBS affiliate. It was owned by Joe Engel, who owned the Chattanooga Lookouts baseball team as well as WDEF radio (AM 1370 and FM 92.3). It took the CBS affiliation from WROM-TV (now WTVC, (channel 9). It lost NBC to WRGP-TV (now WRCB-TV) in 1956, and lost ABC to WTVC (the former WROM) in 1958. During the late 1950s, the station was also briefly affiliated with the NTA Film Network.
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|12.1||1080i||16:9||WDEF-DT||Main WDEF-TV programming / CBS|
WDEF-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 47 to VHF channel 12 for post-transition operations. Immediately before the shutdown, anchor Joe Legge gives a brief retrospective of the station's history as well as the farewell message for all analog viewers. The message ends with images of the past newscasts.
In its early years, WDEF was locally oriented, offering a mix of children's shows, talk and variety programs, including Point Of View, one of the longest–running local public–affairs programs in the United States.
WDEF has been the local home of Tennessee Titans (based in Nashville) games since 1998 (when the team was still called the Oilers). This comes with its CBS affiliation, as CBS carries all National Football League games played in the afternoon that feature a road team from the American Football Conference, which the Titans play in.
On April 4, 2009 beginning with the station's 11 p.m. newscast, WDEF-TV became the first station in the Chattanooga market to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition.
Notable current on-air staff
- James P Mahon - general assignment reporter