WFIE is the NBC-afifliated television station for the Tri-State area of Southwestern Indiana, Northwestern Kentucky and Southeastern Illinois that's licensed to Evansville, Indiana. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 46 (mapping to virtual channel 14 via PSIP) from a transmitter in the Wolf Hills section of Henderson, Kentucky. Owned by Raycom Media, the station has studios on Mount Auburn Road in Evansville. Syndicated programming on WFIE includes: Jeopardy!, Wheel of Fortune, and America Now.
WFIE was granted a construction permit on June 10, 1953, and began broadcasting on November 15, 1953 on analog UHF channel 62. The station, Indiana's sixth, was originally co-owned by Jesse, Isadore, and Oscar Fine.
WFIE was originally a primary NBC outlet with secondary ABC (shared with WEHT) and DuMont affiliations. Both of those networks were dropped in August 1956 with the launch of WTVW (which took ABC) and the shutdown of DuMont. This left WFIE as a full-time NBC affiliate. It is the only station in the market to have never changed its primary affiliation; as such, WFIE, along with WISE-TV (which signed on six days after WFIE) in Fort Wayne, are the longest-tenured NBC affiliates in the state of Indiana. Also in 1956, WFIE became the area's first station to telecast color programming (by virtue of its NBC affiliation).
The Fine family sold the station to the George Norton family of Louisville, Kentucky (owners of fellow NBC affiliate WAVE-TV) in 1956. The Nortons' broadcasting holdings would eventually become known as Orion Broadcasting. With FCC approval, it moved to channel 14 in August 1961. It was the first station in Evansville to telecast live and local color programs beginning on March 10, 1966.
In October 1981, Orion merged with Cosmos Broadcasting Corporation, a subsidiary of insurance and broadcasting conglomerate Liberty Corporation. WFIE became the first television station in the market to broadcast in stereo in September 1985. Liberty bowed out of the insurance business in 2000 bringing WFIE directly under the company banner. In May 2002, the station began broadcasting digitally on channel 46.
On February 1, 2006, the Liberty Corporation merged with Raycom Media. In November 2006, WFIE added The Tube (a 24-hour music video channel similar to the early years of MTV) on digital channel 14.3 in accordance with many Raycom Media stations. In Summer 2007, The Tube shut down from the lack of advertiser support and this station ceased programming on 14.3 for the time. WFIE, along with many Raycom Media stations, added This TV to 14.3 on February 4, 2009. On November 1, 2013, This TV ceased programming on 14.3 after Tribune Broadcasting bought out Weigel Broadcasting's Ownership of the network. WFIE, along with some other stations, added Movies! to 14.3 on November 1, 2013. When WTSN-CD Discontinued the MeTV affiliation on October 23, 2014 with Heroes and Icons from 20.2 replacing the 20.1 subchannel. WFIE replaced its Movies! affiliation on 14.3 that same day with MeTV, to have it kept in the area. On October 28, 2014 at 12:00 PM, 14Xtra was replaced with the MeTV affiliation from the 14.3 subchannel. At that same time MeTV from 14.3 was replaced with a free-to-air movies network called Grit, meaning that there will be no more weather channels that are on broadcast TV in the area. Secondary Affiliations on 14.2 are College Basketball on early Saturday afternoons from the ACC Network (which is owned by Raycom Media) for its airings at that time, which was the same since the change.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|14.1||1080i||16:9||WFIE-DT||Main WFIE programming / NBC|
WFIE discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over UHF channel 14, 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 remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 46, using PSIP to display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 14.
The station currently carries 32 hours of local newscasts per week (with six hours on weekdays, and one hour each on Saturdays and Sundays); in addition, the station produces a half-hour weeknight-only newscast for its second digital subchannel, bringing the total amount to 34½ hours per week. As a result of the merger of the news operations of WTVW and WEHT on December 1, 2011, WFIE and CBS affiliate WEVV-TV are now the only independent local news operations in the Evansville market.
In August 1977, the station became first in Evansville to remotely broadcast local news, sports, and weather outside its studios. It was the second station in Indiana (first in Evansville) to build its own Doppler weather radar system (located adjacent to the studios) in February 1988. In Fall 2005, it launched a 24-hour local weather channel on digital channel 14.2. Known as "First Alert Weather Now", it was part of NBC Weather Plus and featured continuous weather and news information, with local and national forecasts, as well as metro Evansville and regional traffic updates. With the shutdown of the national service in 2008, WFIE-DT2 remained as a local weather channel until October 28, 2014.
On April 3, 2006, WFIE abandoned 615 Music's popular "News One" theme music in favor of "NBC Flagship" as part of "The NBC Collection" by Gari Communications. This marked the station's first theme change since 1996. In early-August 2006, it began branding its newscasts as "14 News" dropping the "NewsWatch 14" identity. In a further transition, the station rebranded the weather department under the "First Alert" label on September 22, 2006. This is a departure from the "Storm Team" brand used since the mid-1990s.
On April 16, 2007, WFIE introduced "Dual Doppler" to the market with the debut of a second weather radar in Owensboro, Kentucky atop the Owensboro Medical Health System Hospital main building on East Parrish Avenue (KY 54). In addition to its main studios, the station operates Western Kentucky Newsrooms in Owensboro and Madisonville. It is the only channel in the area to have a weekday morning show that begins at 4:30. WFIE-DT2 also airs a prime time newscast weeknights at 9 p.m., which competes with an hour-long show on CW affiliate WTVW.
On July 11, 2011, WFIE began broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition during the station's 5 p.m. newscast, becoming the first station in the Evansville market to begin offering local newscasts in high definition. On September 12, 2011, WFIE debuted a 4 p.m. newscast that competes against the 4 p.m. newscast on ABC affiliate WEHT; Jackie Monroe (currently the anchor of the station's 10 p.m. newscast and the 9 p.m. newscast seen on digital channel 14.2) serves as anchor of the new late-afternoon newscast, which lasted until 2013.