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Newport News, Virginia
Branding NewsChannel 3
Slogan Taking Action, Getting Results
Channels Digital: 40 (UHF)
Virtual: 3 (PSIP)
Affiliations CBS (secondary until 1953)
Owner Local TV, LLC
(sale to Dreamcatcher Broadcasting pending, to be operated by Tribune under SSA)
(Local TV Virginia License, LLC)
First air date April 2, 1950
Call letters' meaning Dual meaning:
* Tidewater Knight Ridder (former owners)[1]
* tribute nod to WTAR (rhyming scheme)
Sister station(s) WGNT
Former callsigns WTAR-TV (1950–1981)
Former channel number(s) Analog:
4 (1950-1952)
3 (1952-2009)
Former affiliations Primary:
NBC (1950–1953)
DuMont (1950–1955)
ABC (1950–1957)
Transmitter power 950 kW
Height 377 m
Facility ID 47401
Transmitter coordinates

36°48′31″N 76°30′13″W / 36.80861°N 76.50361°W / 36.80861; -76.50361


WTKR is the CBS affiliate television station serving the Hampton Roads area of Virginia, officially known as the Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News DMA. The station is licensed to Norfolk and broadcasts on channel 40 (virtual channel 3). Its transmitter is located in Suffolk, Virginia. Owned by Local TV, the station is sister to The CW affiliate WGNT.

The main office and studio is located in Norfolk, and has additional studios in Virginia Beach on Atlantic Avenue at the Oceanfront and inside the office of the Daily Press in Newport News. The station formerly operated news bureaus in the Town Center area of Virginia Beach and in the City Center at Oyster Point section of Newport News. The station's transmission tower is located in northwest part of Suffolk, Virginia, transmitting with 950 kilowatts of power at a height of 1,250 feet (380 m) on a tower owned by ATC and co-located with WHRO, WTVZ and WPXV. It is the tallest antenna in southeastern Virginia.


The station began operation on channel 4 on April 2, 1950 as WTAR-TV, Virginia's second television station. It carried programming from all four networks of the time – NBC, CBS, ABC, and DuMont – but was a primary NBC affiliate. It was owned by the Virginian-Pilot along with WTAR radio (AM 790, now on AM 850), Virginia's first radio station. It moved to channel 3 in 1952. When WVEC-TV signed on a year later as an NBC affiliate, WTAR-TV became a primary CBS affliliate, retaining its secondary ABC and DuMont affiliations (DuMont folded two years later).

WTAR became solely affiliated with CBS in 1957, when WAVY-TV signed on as the ABC affiliate (WAVY and WVEC would swap affiliations in 1959 making the latter station the ABC affiliate) When the Virginian-Pilot reorganized its various holdings as Landmark Communications in 1967, WTAR-AM-FM-TV became the flagship stations.

The station was one of several in the country to produce a local version of PM Magazine from the late 1970s to mid-1980s.

The Federal Communications Commission began tightening its ownership restrictions in the 1970s, eventually barring common ownership of newspapers and broadcasting outlets. Landmark was able to get grandfathered protection for its flagship Hampton Roads cluster. However, in 1981, it opted to sell channel 3 to Knight-Ridder, who changed the station's calls to WTKR. The new calls reflected the new ownership and also sounded similar to the old ones. Knight-Ridder sold WTKR and sister station WPRI-TV in Providence, Rhode Island to Narragansett Television in 1989. Narragansett sold WTKR to The New York Times Company in 1995. On May 7, 2007; the Times sold its entire broadcasting division, including WTKR, to current owner Local TV.[2]

In June 2010, Local TV announced that it would be acquiring The CW affiliate WGNT from CBS Corporation. WTKR managed the station through a time brokerage agreement from that point until Local TV closed on the purchase on August 4. This purchase created the market's second co-owned duopoly operation, after the LIN TV-owned combination of WAVY and Fox affiliate WVBT.

On July 1, 2013, Local TV announced that its 19 stations would be acquired by the Tribune Company, the owner of the Daily Press in Newport News, for $2.75 billion;[3] Since this would conflict with FCC regulations that prohibit newspaper-television crossownership within a single market[4] (although Tribune has maintained crossownership waivers for its newspaper-television station combinations in four other media markets), Tribune will spin off WTKR and WGNT to Dreamcatcher Broadcasting, an unrelated company owned by former Tribune Company executive Ed Wilson. Tribune will provide services to the stations through a shared services agreement, and will hold an option to buy back WTKR and WGNT outright in the future.[5] Tribune later announced on July 10, 2013 that it would spin off its newspapers (including the Daily Press) into a separate company, the Tribune Publishing Company, in 2014, pending shareholder and regulatory approval.[6]

Eastern Shore translator

There is one low-powered translator of WTKR on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, W18EG-D in Onancock.[7] It is owned by the Accomack County government rather than Local TV.[8] WTKR-TV and Local TV do not own any translators located in the Greater Hampton Roads area.

Digital television

WTKR began digital broadcasts on channel 40 on March 11, 2002 at 4:15pm. On June 12, 2009, WTKR-TV's digital signal remained on channel 40 when the analog to digital conversion was completed.

News operation

Over the years, the station expanded its news operation to include about 30 hours of local news production per week. During the 2009 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship, independent station WSKY-TV aired two weeknight 11 o'clock newscasts from WTKR during its coverage of the basketball tournament. The station did broadcast late newscasts at Midnight when the coverage concluded.[9]

WTKR started the area's first 4 p.m. newscast on September 8, 2009.[10] This is the station's second attempt at a newscast during the 4 p.m. hour, as WTKR had aired a short-lived 4:30 p.m. newscast in 1995.[11]

WTKR began producing and airing its local newscasts in high definition on January 26, 2009 with the 5:00PM broadcast.[12] WTKR is the third station in the Hampton Roads market, after WAVY-TV and WVBT, to begin airing high definition newscasts (as opposed to the upconverted widescreen standard definition format of WVEC's newscasts).

As of August 25, 2011, a two-hour extension of WTKR's weekday morning newscast airs from 7 to 9 am on sister station WGNT.

News staff

Position Year Joined
Juliet Bickford[13] Weeknights at 4pm and 5pm 2008
Barbara Ciara Weeknights at 4pm, 5pm and 5:30pm 2000
Erica Greenway[14] Weekend evenings 2010
Bianca Martinez[15] Weeknights at 4pm, 6pm and 11pm 2003
Laila Muhammad[16] Weekday mornings and noon 2007
Blaine Stewart Weekday mornings and noon 2007
Kurt Williams[17] Weeknights at 5:30pm, 6pm, and 11pm 1988
Year Joined
Reed Andrews[18] General assignment 2010
Juliet Bickford "Don't Waste Your Money"/"Taking Action Against Crime" 2008
Barbara Ciara Reports for evening shows 2000
Darragh Copley[19] General assignment 2012
Todd Corillo[20] General assignment 2012
Kristen Crowley[21] Traffic/Look What's Cookin' 2007
Jackie Faye[22] 2013
Erica Greenway General assignment 2010
Marissa Jasek[23] General assignment 2012
Jessica Larche[24] Investigative 2010
Eric Levy[25] General assignment 2010
Mike Mather[26] Investigative 1998
Jackie Morlock[27] General assignment 2013
Laurie Simmons[28] General assignment 2011
VIPIR Weather
Position Year Joined
Patrick Rockey[29] Chief Meteorologist; weekday evenings 2002
Myles Henderson[30] Meteorologist; weekday mornings and noon 2010
Dominic Brown[31] Meteorologist; weekend evenings 2012
Blaine Stewart Forecaster, fill-in 2007

Notable former on-air staff


External links

  • WTKR website
  • WTKR Facebook Page
  • WTKR MySpace Page
  • WTKR Twitter Page
  • Query the FCC's TV station database for WTKR
  • Query TV Fool's coverage map for WTKR
  • BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WTKR-TV
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