WGSA is an independent television station for southeastern Georgia's Coastal Empire and southern South Carolina's Lowcountry. Licensed to Baxley, Georgia, United States, it broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 35 (or virtual channel 34 via PSIP) from a transmitter on Fort Argyle Road/SR 204 in unincorporated western Chatham County. Locally owned by the Southern TV Corporation, the station has studios on Mall Boulevard in Savannah's Skyland Terrace section.

History

The station signed on as WUBI on May 1, 1992 and aired an analog signal on UHF channel 35. It was an independent station at first but joined The WB Television Network in 1995 and became known as "WB 34". The station affiliated with UPN in early 1997 as "UPN 13" (using the station's cable channel for branding) after ABC affiliate WJCL originally carried UPN as a secondary affiliate. From 1997 until 1998, The WB's programming was only seen on cable and satellite providers in the Baxley and Savannah areas via the national feed of Chicago-based superstation WGN-TV. From 1998 onwards, WGN was displaced on those providers by a cable-only WB-affiliated station using the fictional call letters "WBVH" (known on air as "WB 15") as a member of The WB 100+ Station Group.

During the analog era, WGSA's transmitter was located on the western fringe of the Savannah market and was too far away to provide most of the area with a good signal. As a result, it was seen in Savannah itself on Class A repeater WGSA-CA. That repeater was originally W34BO and was assigned in mid-November 1992 on channel 34 but the frequency proved problematic. It became WUBI-LP on channel 38 in late-April 1996 but there were still reception problems. It became WGSA-LP on channel 50 in mid-September 1998 with a further upgrade to Class A (-CA) status in August 2001. The WGSA-CA license was cancelled by the FCC on February 3, 2015, due to the station having been silent since May 2, 2012.

In January 2006, it was announced that The WB and UPN would end operations in September 2006 to form The CW, a combination of the best programs from both networks. It was made public on April 23 that WGSA would affiliate with The CW. In response to this announcement, Comcast removed "WBVH" from its channel lineup. Its successor, The CW Plus, affiliated with WGCW-LP, a low power station co-owned with WGSA on channel 38 and available exclusively on Comcast channel 240 as part of their digital lineup. WGCW was also available over-the-air via WGSA's second digital subchannel until September 11, 2016.

WGSA had a modified construction permit for digital television on 35 which made it high-power for the first time and put the station's transmitter site just west of Savannah.[2] On September 28, 2007, the Savannah Morning News reported after years of being the only local station Comcast rebroadcast from an over-the-air signal, WGSA had a fiber-optic cable placed into their master control connecting directly to the cable company giving the station a much clearer signal.[3]

On April 1, 2016, it was announced that WGSA would lose its CW affiliation to the second digital subchannel of WSAV-TV on September 12 of that year.[4][5][21] Following a Chapter 11 bankruptcy auction in September 2017, Low Country Media 35, LLC agreed to buy the station from Southern TV Corporation for $1.2 million.[22] Low Country Media has reserved the call sign WSCG for assignment when it takes control.[23]

Digital television

Digital channels

The station's digital signal is multiplexed:

ChannelPSIP Short NameVideoAspectProgramming[6]
35.1WGSA-HD1080i16:9Main WGSA programming
35.2WGSA-SD480i4:3Justice Network
35.3WGSA-3This TV
35.4WGSA-4Telemundo

Analog-to-digital conversion

WGSA shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 34, 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 broadcasts on its pre-transition UHF channel 35.[34][8]

Translators

In addition to its main signal, WGSA operates three analog repeaters.

Call lettersChannelCity of licenseTransmitter location
25Statesborounincorporated Bulloch County, southwest of Brooklet
32Beaufort, South CarolinaBurton, South Carolina
41Hinesville/Richmond Hillnorthern unincorporated Long County, southwest of Smiley Crossroads

WGSA's signal was also repeated by WGCW-LP in Savannah, Georgia. WGCW-LP's license was cancelled by the Federal Communications Commission effective February 16, 2017, due to having been silent since September 12, 2016.

Programming

Syndicated programming on WGSA includes Access Hollywood, The Insider, The Jerry Springer Show, and The Dr. Oz Show among others.[2]

Newscast

In-early October 2013, WGSA established a news share agreement with NBC affiliate WSAV-TV, channel 3 (at the time owned by Media General). The arrangement resulted in a prime time newscast debuting on this station.[2] Known on-air as WSAV News 3 at 10, the program was seen for thirty minutes on weeknights. It was effectively "moved" from previously airing at 7 p.m. on MyNetworkTV/MeTV outlet WSAV-DT2 (now a CW affiliate). With the switch to 10 o'clock, the show later broadcast in high definition on WGSA and was seen through a standard definition simulcast on WSAV-DT2. The newscast was also streamed live on WSAV's website.[2]

See also