WHIO-TV is the CBS-affiliated television station for the Miami Valley in the U.S. state of Ohio that is licensed to Dayton. Owned by the Cox Media Group subsidiary of Cox Enterprises, it broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 41 (or virtual channel 7 via PSIP) from a transmitter on Germantown Street in western Dayton. WHIO's studios are co-located with sister properties the Dayton Daily News and Cox's Miami Valley radio stations in the Cox Media Center building on South Main Street near downtown Dayton. On cable, WHIO-TV can be seen on Charter Spectrum channel 7 and in high definition on digital channel 1007.

History

WHIO-TV signed on February 23, 1949, on channel 13. It was the first television station in Dayton to begin broadcasting, although WLWD (then channel 5, now WDTN, channel 2) was the first to have its license granted.

The station has been owned by the Cox publishing family and their related companies since its inception; Cox also publishes the Dayton Daily News, the first newspaper ever purchased[5] by Cox Enterprises founder James M. Cox. In fact, WHIO-TV is only the second of three television stations built by Cox from the ground up, merely five months after its sister property WSB-TV in Atlanta, where Cox Media Group is headquartered now. WHIO-TV's licensee, Miami Valley Broadcasting, was originally used as the official name for Cox Media's television arm for decades.

WHIO-TV has been a CBS affiliate from the very beginning, and is the only station in Dayton never to have changed its primary affiliation; it did air some programming from the long-defunct DuMont Television Network during its first three years on the air.

The station moved to channel 7 in 1952 following the release of the Federal Communications Commission's Sixth Report and Order, which reorganized VHF channel assignments throughout much of Ohio and the Midwest.[3]

WHIO-TV also served as the default CBS affiliate for most of the Lima, Ohio DMA. (The station reaches most of the Lima DMA with a Grade B signal). This was especially the case before a low-powered CBS affiliate, WLMO-LP, went on the air in Lima. WHIO-TV also remains on Spectrum's Lima cable systems, along with Columbus CBS affiliate WBNS-TV.

On December 15, 2009, Cox Media Group announced that it would move WHIO-TV (as well as Cox Radio stations WHIO, WHIO-FM, WHKO and WZLR) from its home since the 1950s on Wilmington Avenue in Dayton (at the Kettering city line), to the Cox Media Center building (also the current home of the Daily News) on South Main Street in Dayton, by December 2010. WHIO-TV began broadcasting from the new facility at 2:35 a.m. on December 12, 2010.[6]

WHIO-TV's newscasts, known as NewsCenter 7 since the mid-1970s, have been in first place in the Nielsen ratings for many years, and that trend continues to this day.[34]

WHIO-TV's digital subchannel 7.2 became an affiliate of MeTV on December 1, 2014.[7] The subchannel is branded as "MeTV WHIO Classic Television". A longtime, formerly-used lower-case WHIO logo was included along with the MeTV logo. The subchannel's on-air advertisements include old WHIO radio jingles running over clips of former WHIO-TV anchors and current MeTV shows. The subchannel also runs jingles from the "Hit Radio" and "Warp Factor" packages created by JAM Creative Productions in Dallas.

Digital subchannel 7.3 was added as a Laff affiliate on April 15, 2015, the network's launch date.[8][9]

Tri-State Network

In 1953, Cox and Taft Broadcasting formed the short-lived "Tri-State Network" to compete with entertainment programming produced by Crosley Broadcasting Corporation and airing on Crosley television stations in the Dayton, Cincinnati and Columbus markets. On January 11, 1954, a new version of The Wendy Barrie Show (which had aired several years earlier on several national networks) premiered from WHIO-TV's studios; it was simulcast on Taft's WKRC-TV in Cincinnati and WTVN-TV (now WSYX) in Columbus.[5] Wendy Barrie's contract was terminated in October 1954.[5]

Digital television

Digital channels

The station's digital signal is multiplexed:

ChannelVideoAspectPSIP Short NameProgramming[5]
7.11080i16:9WHIO-HDMain WHIO-TV programming / CBS
7.2480iWHIO-MeMeTV
7.34:3WHIO-LALaff

Analog-to-digital conversion

WHIO-DT began transmitting its digital signal on channel 41 in October 2001.[5] The station shut down 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 remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 41.[5][5][5] Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analog channel 7.

Throughout the 1960s and into the early 1970s, WHIO-TV's logo was the numeral "7" with the station's call letters and city of license inside a perforated circle. By the early 1970s the logo was streamlined, with the "7" now broken at the point where the two lines in the "7" meet; by this time the "7" was by itself inside a solid unbroken circle (usually with the call letters nearby), drawing comparisons with the "Circle 7 logo" used by New York's WABC-TV and other ABC-owned stations. A graphics package used around 1996 also was used, with modifications, at three other Cox-owned stations: WSOC-TV in Charlotte, WFTV in Orlando, and KIRO-TV in Seattle. Aside from some slight changes, this logo remained until early 2007, when the break was removed. Even after the change, the "broken 7" logo remained on the anchor desk until the move to the Cox Media Center building in December 2010.

The station debuted its new "button 7" logo on March 30, 2013, which sports a simple white "7" on a blue circular background.

The television station's call letters, as well as those of its sister radio stations, were depicted in a particular lower-case font from the 1970s until 1992.[3] That logo was resurrected to become part of the branding for the MeTV digital subchannel.

Programming

Outside of the CBS network schedule, syndicated programming on WHIO-TV includes Live with Kelly and Ryan, Dr. Phil, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Wheel of Fortune, and Entertainment Tonight. This is one of the few U.S. markets where Wheel and Jeopardy! are seen on separate TV stations—the latter airing on WDTN. The highest quality surviving broadcast copy of The Star Wars Holiday Special is derived from this TV station.[3] The Dayton Dragons began televising games on digital channel 7.2 (Time Warner Cable channels 23 and 372) on April 9, 2009,[3] eventually airing 25 games per season. In the 2016 season, the Dragons telecasts moved to WBDT.

Weather

Storm Center 7

WHIO-TV currently calls its team of meteorologists the "Storm Center 7 weather team". WHIO-TV bills its radar (which is powered by Baron Services) as "Live Doppler 7".

WHIO-TV did not use its own professional meteorologists until 1993, with the hiring of Penn State meteorology graduate Heidi Sonen.[3][3] The station dropped the AccuWeather service it had previously featured and hired other meteorologists to fill out the staff, including former Weather Channel meteorologist Fred Barnhill. USAF meteorologist Warren Madden was hired from nearby Wright-Patterson Air Force Base; he went to The Weather Channel in December, 1996.

After Sonen's retirement in 1997, the station hired more Penn State graduates for the role of Chief Meteorologist, including Brian Orzel and Jamie Simpson.

In December, 2004, the station introduced StormCenter 7, which is a weather center created by FX Group that doubles as a set where weather reports can be done.

On May 7, 2015, the station announced that it had hired Eric Elwell as the its new chief meteorologist, with Brett Collar hired as the new weekend morning meteorologist. Both were announced to be starting in June, with all existing meteorologists at the station remaining, but in some cases being rotated on the schedule.[25] Collar officially began on June 20, 2015, with Elwell's first day on June 29, 2015.[26]

Live Doppler 7

On June 29, 2007, WHIO-TV debuted its new doppler weather radar, initially billed as "New Live Doppler 7", currently called "Live Doppler 7 HD". The radar is available anytime on the station's website.

7 Weather Now

On December 15, 2006, WHIO-TV launched 7 Weather Now, programmed 24 hours a day, with a mix of frequently updated locally-produced forecasts and content from the AccuWeather Channel. Live coverage of developing severe weather could be found on 7 Weather Now, as well as the latest watches and warnings. Weekday mornings from 7 to 8 a.m., the final hour of News Center 7 Daybreak was rebroadcast on the channel.[27][28] Effective December 1, 2014, 7 Weather Now is no longer programmed on digital channel 7.2 but can be found as a live stream at the station's and through the WHIO Weather mobile app.[7]

Widescreen and high definition news

WHIO-TV began broadcasting its newscasts in a 16:9 widescreen standard definition format on April 1, 2007; it was the first Ohio station outside of Cleveland to switch to this new format.

In the station's December 12, 2010 move to the Cox Media Center, all of its cameras, graphics and equipment were replaced with full high definition equipment. Beginning with that day's late-night newscast (which was delayed to 11:26 p.m. due to an overrun of CBS network programming), WHIO-TV began broadcasting all locally-shot portions of its newscasts — studio segments and live field reports — in high definition.

WHIO-TV remained the only station in the Dayton area that broadcast local newscasts in high definition or 16:9 widescreen until July 21, 2012, when WDTN made the upgrade to HD. WKEF followed suit during a move to a new facility. Local commercials on WHIO-TV, however, continue to be stretched from their original 4:3 standard definition to widescreen dimensions.

On January 21, 2016, WHIO-TV debuted a new set, designed by FX Group.[3]

Notable alumni

  • Jim Baldridge, co-anchor 1972–1988, lead anchor 1988–2009, now retired
  • Phil Donahue, co-anchor during the 1960s, left for WLWD in 1967
  • Mick Hubert, sports anchor/director 1979–1989, now radio play-by-play announcer for University of Florida
  • Ed Krahling, longtime lead and co-anchor 1967-1993; died in 1998
  • Joe Rockhold, as children's show host "Uncle Orrie" in the 1950s and 1960s; died in 1981
  • Tracie Savage, anchor/reporter 1986–1991
  • Bob Shreve, overnight host of Night People Theater, a Friday night/Saturday morning movie program, similar to his Saturday night program in Cincinnati (died in 1990)
  • Don Wayne, longtime lead anchor 1949-1988 (began with WHIO radio in 1941); died in 1997
  • Gil Whitney, weather specialist, reporter, anchor and emcee; died in 1982

See also