WVBT, channel 43, is a television station licensed to Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA, serving as the Fox affiliate for the Hampton Roads area of Virginia (comprising the cities of Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Newport News, Hampton and environs), and the Outer Banks region of North Carolina. WVBT is owned by Media General, and is a sister station to NBC affiliate WAVY-TV (channel 10). The two stations share studios and offices located on Wavy Street in Portsmouth, and WVBT broadcasts from a transmitter located in the Driver neighborhood of Suffolk, Virginia.
WVBT began operation on March 22, 1993 with Home Shopping Network programming along with infomercials and religious shows. It became a charter affiliate of The WB starting on January 11, 1995. Shortly thereafter, the station's original local owners signed a local marketing agreement (LMA) with LIN TV. Under that agreement, WAVY took over the station's operations, and WVBT moved to WAVY's studios in Portsmouth. In May 1996, WVBT began broadcasting from a new transmitter, giving it a coverage area comparable to the other major Hampton Roads stations. Before then, its over-the-air signal was effectively limited to Virginia Beach and parts of Norfolk.
LIN TV reached an affiliation agreement with Fox in November 1995, and outright purchased the station in 2002. Due to an affiliation deal between The WB and WTVZ's (channel 33) owner, Sinclair Broadcast Group, WTVZ swapped affiliations with WVBT in August 1998 ,.
Until January 2007, WAVY operated a 24-hour local weather channel called "WAVY Weather Station" on WVBT's second digital subchannel taking advantage of its 720p signal to present the service without interfering with video quality on either WAVY or WVBT. It was made cable-only in 2007 for unknown reasons, and eventually went dark in 2011. It was seen on Mediacom channel 9, Charter channel 22, and Cox digital channel 227. There were live current conditions, updated forecasts, and a live feed of "Super Doppler 10".
On March 21, 2014, it was announced that Media General would acquire LIN. The merger was completed on December 19, bringing WAVY-TV and WVBT under common ownership with WRIC-TV in Petersburg and WSLS-TV in Roanoke.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|43.1||720p||16:9||WVBT||Main WVBT programming / Fox|
WVBT discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over UHF channel 43, at 9 a.m. on June 12, 2009, as part of the federally mandated transition from analog to digital television. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 29, using PSIP to display WVBT's virtual channel as 43 on digital television receivers.
What is now WNLO-CD began as W45BG (call sign assigned November 1993) becoming WNLO-LP in November 2000 and WNLO-CA in January 2002. It went all-digital in January 2005 making it one of the first low-power stations in the country to begin digital broadcasting. Its calls became the current WNLO-CD ("CD" for "Class A Digital") in July 2009. This should not be confused with a CW-affiliated sister station in Buffalo, New York that uses the same call letters in full-power form. The channel could have used the calls WVBT-CA (as most of these situations in other markets do) but likely decided against it due to the mere two-channel separation between channels 43 and 45 to avert confusion.
WVBT is rebroadcast on two low-powered class A translators. While one translator (WNLO-CD) is licensed in Norfolk, Virginia with its digital transmitter located in Driver, Virginia the other one (WPMC-CD) is licensed in Mappsville, Virginia with its transmitter located in Bloxom, Virginia in Accomack County of which is in the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Both class A translators are owned and operated by WAVY Broadcasting, LLC and LIN TV.
When WVBT made the switch to Fox in 1998, WAVY started producing a nightly prime time newscast on this station called Fox 43 News at 10. It was not the market's first broadcast in the time slot as CBS affiliate WTKR produced a short-lived show on WGNT from 1995 until 1997. ABC affiliate WVEC-TV aired its own prime time broadcast on low-powered WPEN-LP from 1995 until it started cable-only LNC 4 (eventually renamed LNC 5) in 1997. WVEC continued to produce a 10 o'clock show on the cable channel until January 30, 2009.
WVBT's news has been very successful over the years with consistent viewership and ratings and is the only offering of late, local news an hour earlier. The nightly 45 minute broadcast is followed by the Fox 43 Sports Wrap that airs for fifteen minutes featuring sports news and highlights. It is similar in format to a highlight program currently seen weeknights on sister station WNAC-TV. On July 21, 2008, the station's newscast and sports show started to be produced in high definition after WAVY made the upgrade.
On February 2, 2009, WVBT added Fox 43 News at 7 on weekday mornings with local news, weather, and traffic updates along with various entertainment/lifestyle features. This morning show (which was essentially an hour-long extension of WAVY's morning broadcast) ended January 8, 2010. The program was then replaced by The Hampton Roads Show which launched January 18, 2010 from a new secondary set complete with a fully functional kitchen. The Hampton Roads Show moved to WAVY at 11 in the morning on September 12, 2011. It is a similar broadcast to one currently seen on sister station WPRI-TV called The Rhode Show.
In 2012, WVBT aired The Daily Buzz on weekdays from 6:00-7:00 and again from 8:00-9:00 a.m. Sandwiched in between those 2 hours, is the revised program of WAVY News 10 at 7:00 on FOX 43, which was originally cancelled back in 2010. As of 2013, The Daily Buzz no longer airs on WVBT and the morning newscast became a two-hour show. On October 28, 2013, WVBT's 10:00 newscast was renamed WAVY News 10 at 10 on FOX 43.
LIN TV-Cox dispute
On January 1, 2000, people in Hampton Roads lost connection on Channel 43 due to Cox placing the channel between 2 and 14 due to the pay channel HBO Family occupied Channel 43. It was not until February 6, 2000 that WVBT was again available on Channel 43.