MeTV 2.2 Atlanta.png
Atlanta, Georgia
Branding WSB-TV, Channel 2 (general)
Channel 2 Action News (newscasts)
Slogan Coverage You Can Count On
Channels Digital: 39 (UHF)
Virtual: 2 (PSIP)
Subchannels 2.1 - ABC (720p)
2.2 - Me-TV (480i)
Translators 31 (2.5/6) Athens
46 (2.7/8) Gainesville
17 {permit} Newnan
14 (application) Rome
Affiliations ABC
Owner Cox Media Group
(Georgia Television Company)
First air date September 29, 1948
Call letters' meaning Welcome South Brother (from AM sister station)
Sister station(s) WSB AM, WSB-FM, WSBB-FM, WSRV FM, WALR-FM
Former channel number(s) Analog:
8 (VHF, 1948-1950)
2 (VHF, 1950-2009)
Former affiliations Primary:
NBC (1948-1980)
RTV (2008-2011 on DT2)
ABC (1948-1951)
Transmitter power 1000 kW
Height 316 m (1,037 ft)
Facility ID 23960
Transmitter coordinates 33°45′51″N 84°21′42″W / 33.76417°N 84.36167°W / 33.76417; -84.36167 (WSB-TV tower)Coordinates: 33°45′51″N 84°21′42″W / 33.76417°N 84.36167°W / 33.76417; -84.36167 (WSB-TV tower)

WSB-TV, virtual channel 2.1 (digital channel 39), is the ABC affiliate in Atlanta, Georgia. It is the flagship television station of Cox Enterprises and its Cox Media Group subsidiary. Its offices and TV studios are located at the WSB Television and Radio Group building in midtown Atlanta at 1601 West Peachtree Street, along with the offices and studios of sister radio stations WSB AM 750, WSB-FM 98.5, WSBB FM 95.5, WSRV FM 97.1, and WALR-FM 104.1 (all of which transmit from other sites). In the Atlanta area, it is broadcast on channel 3 on local area cable systems (cable channel 2 is held by Christian independent station WATC-DT).

The WSB-TV transmission tower is located immediately adjacent to Freedom Parkway, east of downtown Atlanta and just southwest of the Carter Center. It is so close to the highway that one of its three sets of guy wires passes over the road. Because freezing rain may accumulate in winter storms (especially since the tops of towers are colder than at ground level), the road is covered by a "tunnel" to prevent heavy ice from falling into the roadway or onto cars during and after storms. The tower has carried both analog and digital for WSB, but has no other FM or TV tenants listed by the FCC. The station has also applied for three digital broadcast translators due to the poor performance of the ATSC digital TV standard, which has caused many viewers to lose the station's over-the-air signal.

The station is also the flagship of the Mega Millions multi-state lottery.



Early history

WSB-TV first began broadcasting on September 29, 1948. It is the second-oldest station south of Washington, D.C.; only Richmond, Virginia's WTVR-TV (channel 6) is older. James M. Cox, publisher of the Atlanta Journal, started the station; he also owned WSB radio (AM 750 and 104.5 FM, now on 98.5 FM). Cox owned WSB AM/FM/TV under the banner of Miami Valley Broadcasting Inc., which later on changed its name to the modern-day Cox Enterprises.

WSB-TV originally broadcast on channel 8. At that time, its present channel 2 allocation was licensed to the Journal's rival newspaper, the Atlanta Constitution, who had plans to start WCON-TV there. In 1950, the two newspapers merged. At the time, the Federal Communications Commission did not allow one entity to own two television stations in the same market. Accordingly, WCON-TV and WSB-TV merged, operating under WSB-TV's license but using the stronger channel 2. The channel 8 allocation was eventually given to WLWA as an ABC affiliate. When that station moved to channel 11 in 1953, channel 8 was reserved as non-commercial educational by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and is now WGTV, the flagship TV station of Georgia Public Broadcasting.

In 1955, the WSB stations moved into the noted "White Columns" building, designed and built according to the Colonial Revival style, a defining characteristic of Atlanta architecture. They would remain there for 43 years, until a much more modernist concrete and glass facility was built adjacent to it (on the same property) in 1998. The new building, which has been called "Digital White Columns" by some, is located just off Atlanta's famed Peachtree Street, on the dead-end northern portion of West Peachtree Street which is actually east of Peachtree Street. This is near the Brookwood Hills area, and just east of the "Brookwood split", the well-known highway interchange where the Downtown Connector splits into Interstates 75 and 85 on the north end. The older building was razed shortly after the new building was occupied. The original columns that stood on the front portico of the old building were placed in a garden area alongside the new building. Brand new white columns have been placed inside the glass-enclosed lobby of the newer building. WSB-TV is located less than one block south of the building fomerly utilized by WXIA when that station moved its operations to WATL's studios in 2008.

WSB-TV was originally a primary NBC affiliate, owing to its radio sister's long affiliation with NBC Radio. It also carried some ABC programming (from 1949, shared with WAGA-TV, channel 5) until WLWA-TV (channel 8, now WXIA-TV, channel 11) signed on in 1951.

The station was the original home to the relocated Atlanta Braves baseball team, carrying the games from 1966 to 1972 until the Braves moved to their current longtime home of what is now WPCH-TV, in 1973. Its sister AM station, was the longtime radio flagship of the Braves, carrying the broadcasts for a total of 38 of the 43 years that the franchise has been in Atlanta, dating back to 1966. Ernie Johnson, Sr., a former Braves pitcher and father of his namesake Turner Sports broadcaster, with future Hall of Fame announcer Milo Hamilton (who simutaneously pulled double-duty anchoring Channel 2's sportscasts during this time) were the main announcers for what was then the largest television network in baseball.

As an ABC affiliate

ABC was the highest-rated network for most of the late 1970s and, at that time, was looking for stronger affiliates across the country, including Atlanta. ABC's longtime Atlanta outlet, WXIA, frequently traded second place with WAGA. However, WSB-TV was the far-and-away market leader despite being affiliated with last-place NBC. So during the summer of 1980, both stations conducted an experiment unusual for a large market: WXIA aired NBC daytime shows in the morning and ABC daytime shows in the afternoon, while WSB aired ABC shows in the morning and NBC shows in the afternoons. By the time it was over in September 1980, WSB-TV finally swapped affiliations with WXIA, and joined ABC.

On March 12, 2011, WSB-TV and WGCL-TV turned on their ATSC-M/H signals for the first time, becoming the first stations in the Atlanta area to offer Mobile DTV broadcasts.

Digital television

WSB-DT went on the air on April 17, 1998, making it one of the first regular-service digital TV stations in the country. (The -DT suffix is not mandated by the FCC, thus it is WSB-TV even for digital.)

WSB-TV transmits digital TV on channel 39, but like other stations is remapped via virtual channels.

Channel Label Format Aspect Programming
2.1 / 2.5 / 2.7 WSB-TV 720p 16:9 Main WSB-TV programming / ABC
2.2 / 2.6 / 2.8 WSB-TV 480i Me-TV

WSB-TV also has a mobile DTV feed of subchannel 2.1, labelled "WSB MH", broadcasting at 1.83 Mbit/s.[1][2]

WSB-DT passes-through network programming featuring 5.1 surround sound. It also uses 720p60, the same high-motion HDTV used by ABC.

The over-the-air digital subchannel 2.2 started carrying the Retro Television Network on January 28, 2008.[3] Prior to this, the channel was blank, or later with a small station ID in the lower corner. Weigel Broadcasting, the Chicago-based television group, and partner and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. (MGM) announced April 4, 2011 that Me-TV, the new digital classic television network, has surpassed the 45% clearance mark with the finalization of deals with 14 leading station groups nationwide of which Cox's WSB-TV is included. Me-TV launched at 4:00 a.m. on June 1, 2011 starting with Rawhide.

Analog-to-digital conversion

Don McClellan, celebrating 50 years at the station, shut down its analog signal for last time on June 12, 2009 at 12:30 PM, live from the station's transmitter room on the noon newscast, as part of the DTV transition in the United States. The station permanently remained on digital channel 39,[4] it uses PSIP to display WSB-TV's virtual channel as 2 on digital television receivers.

During late August and into September 2009, the station removed its analog TV antenna from the top of the tower, and moved its side-mounted digital antenna up from lower on the tower.

Broadcast translators

In March 2009, the station filed applications for two digital fill-in broadcast translators, due to expected loss of signal toward the east and northeast because of the digital transition, and the shortcomings of the ATSC standard. One is on channel 46, which was vacated by analog WGCL-TV on June 26 after two extra weeks as an analog nightlight station. It is located on the same radio tower as Cox's WSRV FM and WSBB-FM (34°7′32″N 83°51′32″W / 34.12556°N 83.85889°W / 34.12556; -83.85889), having Gainesville, Georgia as its city of license, but reaching as far into the north-northeastern Atlanta suburbs as Lilburn with 5000 watts. The other is for channel 31, licensed to serve Athens, Georgia, but located only about halfway to there from Atlanta on a tower southwest of Winder (32°55′51″N 83°47′0″W / 32.93083°N 83.783333°W / 32.93083; -83.783333), and again reaching as far west as Lilburn with 9000 watts. WSB-TV requested special temporary authority to begin operating these stations immediately, pending approval of its regular applications.

Most of both stations' broadcast range overlaps with each other, and are almost entirely within the predicted coverage area of the main station, however distributed transmission (on-channel boosters) will not be used. The translators are intended to overcome the terrain obstructions caused by Stone Mountain to the east of the WSB transmitter, and were in operation by January 2011. The Athens station uses virtual channels 2.5 and 2.6 instead of 2.1 and 2.2, while the Gainesville station uses 2.7 and 2.8. This is so that viewers have their choice of whichever station is coming in more clearly at a given time. (Certain ATSC tuners may have trouble with two stations using the same virtual channel, and even if not, the user would have enter the channel number and press channel-up or -down buttons to access the alternates, which would not be separately labeled or identified by the tuner.) All have the same callsign WSB-TV.

In late June 2009, the station also applied for a translator on channel 14 just southwest of Rome, vacated by analog WPXA TV. This would cover a significant portion of northwest Georgia with only 1000 watts, from the same tower as WQTU FM 102.3 and WSRM FM 93.5 (34°14′2″N 85°13′50″W / 34.23389°N 85.23056°W / 34.23389; -85.23056), and the same site as WGPB FM 97.7, W212AR FM 90.3, and W215BA FM 90.9.[5] There is no request for STA with this station however, and as of September 2011 it is still listed as only an application. In October 2010, WSB-TV applied for and later received a construction permit for another translator southwest of Atlanta in Newnan on channel 17, which was vacated by analog WPCH-TV. This station will be 10,000 watts, co-located on the same tower as Cox-owned WALR-FM 104.1 (33°24′43″N 84°50′3″W / 33.41194°N 84.83417°W / 33.41194; -84.83417), and less than a quarter mile (400m) west of another tower holding WBZY FM 105.3 (not owned by Cox).[6]

News operations

WSB-TV reporter Ross Cavitt in front of the CNN Center in the aftermath of the 2008 Atlanta tornado.

Currently, WSB-TV broadcasts a total of 41 hours of local newscasts every week (with six hours on weekdays and Sundays, and five hours on Saturdays); as such, WSB-TV is one of the few Big Three network affiliates to offer more than 35 hours of local news content each week and one of the few Big Three affiliates to carry a midday newscast on weekends. In addition, WSB-TV's weekend newscast output is larger than that of Fox owned-and-operated station WAGA (channel 5), which offers a larger overall weekly (and weekday) newscast output than WSB-TV. Appropriately for a station with roots in a newspaper, WSB-TV has a strong TV news tradition. It has led the news TV ratings in Atlanta for as long as records have been kept.

One factor behind its dominance is talent continuity. Many of the station's personalities have been on the air for 15 years or more. Monica Pearson (known as Monica Kaufman until 2005) has been the station's top anchorwoman since 1975, and was one of the first African-American female anchors in the South. Since 1994, her anchor desk partner has been John Pruitt, who started at channel 2 in 1973 before beginning a 16-year run at WXIA. Glenn Burns has been the main weatherman since 1981. Chuck Dowdle (previously on TV in Miami) served as sports director from 1985 until his December 2009 retirement. Pearson, Pruitt, Burns and Dowdle had been together since Pruitt's return to channel 2 in 1994 — longer than any news team in Atlanta. On December 17, 2010, Pruitt retired after 46 years in the business, as he anchored his final 6PM newscast.

WSB-TV debuted local newscasts in high definition during its noon broadcast on September 27, 2006. It was the second in the Atlanta market to do so, behind WXIA-TV. It is also the second Cox station behind WFTV in Orlando to switch to HD. With the switch to HD came a new HD set and HD graphics from Giant Octopus, which are similar to those seen on WFTV.

In mid-November 2009, reporter Tom Jones and a cameraman escaped serious injury when the telescoping radio mast of their electronic news-gathering van (holding a microwave TV antenna for the remote pickup unit used for outside broadcasting) contacted 115-kilovolt high-voltage powerlines while leaving the Fulton County Jail. Georgia Power staff were surprised anyone survived, but the two were treated for minor burns and smoke inhalation at Grady Memorial Hospital and released later in the day. The massive electric spark caused an explosion, left a crater underneath the van, arced to and broke a water main, and caused a brief power outage; the vehicle was a total loss.[5][6][7]

In July 2010, WSB-TV expanded its weekday morning newscast to 2½ hours, with the start time moved to 4:30 a.m. It announced a news partnership with Telemundo affiliate WKTB-LD on August 23, 2010.[8] On September 29, 2010 beginning with the noon newscast, WSB-TV fully switched its graphics package from the 2006 Giant Octopus graphics to a new graphics package.[9] WSB had already been using this graphics package since late 2009 for its promos. It features a sleeker "2" logo, located in the bottom right hand corner that is not solid but gray (later changed to gold). The news ticker used during the morning newscasts is a similar design to the one on Charlotte sister station WSOC-TV. Coverage by 615 Music is still used as the station's news theme with the package, but now news opens feature an animated "News Chopper 2" flying across the screen while views of Downtown Atlanta are displayed in the background; the graphics still consist of blue and red colors.[10]

On November 23, 2010, WSB-TV announced that it will debut an hour-long 4 p.m. newscast, that would replace Oprah when the daytime talk show ended its 25-year run; along with the additional newscast, WSB-TV announced that it will hire additional on-air and behind-the-scenes news staff members.[11] The newscast debuted on May 26, 2011.[12]

Out-of-market coverage

Unlike the co-owned Atlanta Journal-Constitution, WSB-TV has not abandoned service to outlying counties.

In northwest Georgia, it is carried in the counties covered by the Chattanooga DMA: Catoosa, Dade, Murray, Walker and Whitfield. WSB is also carried in the far northeast Georgia counties in the Greenville/Spartanburg/Asheville DMA in Elbert, Franklin, Hart and Stephens counties.

In middle Georgia, WSB-TV is available to Cox Cable subscribers in the Macon area, although ABC programming is usually blacked-out by another local ABC affiliate, WGXA-DT2. Given the long distance to Middle Georgia, it is likely that WSB-TV is uplinked to the AMC-10 TV satellite. WSB is also carried in Vidalia in the Savannah DMA.

In south Georgia (as far south as the Florida border), it is carried on Cox Cable providers due to historically a lack of an ABC affiliate in the Albany media market covering southwest Georgia. Now that ABC programming is carried on 10.2 from WALB, the NBC affiliate in Albany, there are usually blacked-out on syndicated programming. Given the long distance to South Georgia, it is likely that WSB-TV is uplinked to the AMC-10 TV satellite. Douglas in Coffee county also carries WSB for Charter Cable subscribers.

In western North Carolina, it is carried in Murphy, Cherokee county. This is alongside WLOS-TV, the ABC affiliate out of Asheville, North Carolina.

News/station presentation

Newscast titles

  • The Esso Reporter (1948–1959)
  • Newsroom/WSB News (1959–1965)
  • Channel 2 News (1965–1972)
  • The World Tonight/24 Hours (11 p.m. newscast; 1965-1968 and 1968-1972)
  • (Channel 2) Action News (1972–present)

Station slogans

  • Channel 2, Proud As A Peacock! (1979–1980; last local version of NBC ad campaign)
  • You and Me and Channel 2 (1980–1981; local version of ABC ad campaign)
  • 2 Steps Ahead (1980–1983)
  • Now is the Time, Channel 2 is the Place (1981–1982; local version of ABC ad campaign)
  • Come on Along with Channel 2 (1982–1983; local version of ABC ad campaign)
  • That Special Feeling on Channel 2 (1983–1984; local version of ABC ad campaign)
  • We're With You on Channel 2 (1984–1985; local version of ABC ad campaign)
  • You'll Love it on Channel 2 (1985–1986; local version of ABC ad campaign)[13]
  • Together on Channel 2 (1986–1987; local version of ABC ad campaign)
  • Georgia's News Leader (1986–1994)
  • Something's Happening on Channel 2 (1987–1990; local version of ABC ad campaign)
  • Georgia's Watching Channel 2 (1990–1992; local version of "America's Watching ABC" ad campaign)
  • Coverage You Can Count On (1991–present)
  • If It's Georgia, It Must Be Channel 2 (1992–1993; local version of "It Must Be ABC" ad campaign)
  • Watch By More Georgians, Channel 2, ABC (1993–1996; local version of ABC ad campaign)
  • Nobody Does It Like Channel 2 (1996–1997; local version of ABC ad campaign)
  • TV is Good, on Channel 2 (1997–1998; local version of ABC ad campaign)
  • Live, Local, Latebreaking (1998–present; used in news opens)
  • We Love TV on Channel 2 (1998–1999; local version of ABC ad campaign)
  • WSB-TV Channel 2, Start Here (2008–present; local version of ABC ad campaign)

On-air staff

Current on-air staff

As of 26 May 2011 (2011 -05-26):


Severe Weather Team 2

  • Glenn Burns (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval) - chief meteorologist; weeknights at 4, 6 and 11 p.m.
  • David Chandley (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval) - meteorologist; weeknights at 5 p.m.
  • Karen Minton (AMS Seal of Approval) - meteorologist; weekday mornings and noon
  • Brad Nitz (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval) - meteorologist; weekend mornings, weekends at noon, 6 and 11 p.m.
Sports team
  • Zach Klein - sports director; weeknights at 6 and 11 p.m.
  • Anthony Amey - sports anchor; weekends at 6 and 11 p.m., also sports reporter
Local program hosts
  • Heather Catlin - host of Hot Topics; also multimedia journalist
  • John Crow - Georgia Lottery emcee
  • Rene Miller - Georgia Lottery emcee
  • Jocelyn Dorsey - host of People 2 People; also community affairs director
  • Chuck Dowdle - Bulldogs Game Week contributor/co-host
  • John Pruitt - Georgia's Hidden Treasures and other special features
Triple Team Traffic
  • Mark Arum - weekday mornings
  • Captain Herb Emory - weekday mornings
  • Doug Turnbull - weekday mornings
  • Scott Kimbeler - weekend mornings
  • Naki Frierson - Fill in
  • Chris lucas - Fill in
  • Ed Arnold - Weekends at noon.
Past on-air staff
Name Position at WSB Years active Whereabouts
Dan Atkinson Meteorologist early 1970s Meteorologist, WSFA-TV in Montgomery, Alabama
Sandra Bookman WABC-TV bio Weekend anchor/reporter 1988–1998 Weekend anchor/reporter at WABC-TV in New York.
Tom Brokaw Anchor/reporter 1965–1966 Retired NBC Nightly News anchor; began his journalism career at WSB-TV
Steve Buckhantz Sports anchor/reporter Unknown Play by play broadcaster for Washington Wizards
Dale Cardwell Investigative reporter 1996–2007 2008 Democratic candidate for Georgia in the U.S. Senate, now has own consumer website called, [8][9]
Chris Clark Reporter 1962–1965 Retired from WTVF-TV in Nashville
John Doyle Meteorologist Unknown Retired from broadcasting; currently doing voiceovers, working part-time as bailiff at the Gwinnett County Courthouse
Ernie Johnson Jr. Sports Anchor/Reporter 1982–1989 Turner Sports Broadcasting
Don Kennedy Atlanta's "Officer Don" on WSB-TV's classic Popeye Club children's show 1957–1970 Prior to 1996, an owner of Atlanta radio station WKLS (96.1 FM);[14] through July 22, 2009, owner, producer and host of the nationally syndicated “Big Band Jump,” or “BBJ,” on XM satellite radio.
Stu Klitenic Sports Anchor/Reporter 1989–1996 Atlanta Braves Radio Network post-game anchor
Michael Marsh General Assignment Reporter 1987-1994 now Weekend Evening Anchor at WBRZ-TV in Baton Rouge
Lynna Lai General Assignment Reporter 1995–1997 Morning/Noon Anchor at WOIO-TV in Cleveland
Toni Neal Traffic Reporter 2003–2005 Now at Microsoft
John Palmer Anchor/Reporter 1960–1962 Retired from NBC News in 2002
Byron Pitts General Assignment Reporter 1994–1996 CBS News
John Pruitt Anchor 1973-1978; 1994-2010 Retired
Amanda Rosseter Weekend morning anchor and weekday reporter 2006–2009 Media relations for St. Josephs Hospital
Jonathan Serrie Reporter 1994–1999 Atlanta-based reporter for Fox News Channel
Hal Suit Anchor/News Director 1948–1978 Former Republican candidate for Governor of Georgia in 1970 [10]
Ukee Washington Sports Anchor/Reporter Unknown Morning/noon news anchor at KYW-TV
JaQuitta Williams Anchor/Reporter 2004–2008 Anchor/Reporter, WGCL-TV
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