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WAPT
WAPT
Jackson, Mississippi
Branding 16 WAPT (general)
16 WAPT News (newscasts)
Slogan Building Our Station Around You
Channels Digital: 21 (UHF)
Affiliations ABC
Owner Hearst Television, Inc.
(WAPT Hearst Television, Inc.)
First air date October 3, 1970
Call letters’ meaning We're American
Public
Television
(reference to American Public Life Insurance Company)
Former channel number(s) Analog:
16 (1970-2009)
Transmitter Power 1000 kW (digital)
Height 332 m (digital)
Facility ID 49712
Transmitter Coordinates 32°16′41″N 90°17′40″W / 32.27806°N 90.29444°W / 32.27806; -90.29444 (WAPT)
Website www.wapt.com/

WAPT, virtual channel 16 (digital channel 21), is the longtime ABC network affiliate serving the Jackson, Mississippi television market. The station is owned by Hearst Television, Inc.

Contents

History

The station began broadcasting on Saturday, October 3, 1970 with, appropriately enough, ABC's coverage of an Ole Miss football game; newscasts debuted in 1971. Prior to its debut, Jackson was one of the largest, if not the largest, markets in the U.S. to have only two television stations (WLBT and WJTV). It is possible (although no direct evidence exists) that the FCC delayed granting licenses to any potential broadcasters in central Mississippi until WLBT, which had a long history of discrimination against African-Americans in news coverage and advocacy against Civil Rights, either changed its ways or lost its license. The latter happened in 1969, and the following year saw this station and Mississippi Educational Television (now Mississippi Public Broadcasting) debut, doubling viewing choices for central Mississippians within a year's time.

WAPT was founded by the American Public Life Insurance Company, an insurer which is still in business today but is now an affiliate of American Fidelity Assurance. American Public Life sold the station to Clay Communications in 1979. That company then sold its television stations--WAPT, plus KJAC-TV (now KBTV-TV) in Port Arthur, Texas, KFDX-TV in Wichita Falls, Texas and WWAY in Wilmington, North Carolina--to Price Communications in 1987. Price Communications sold three of its stations--WAPT and then-sister stations WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan and WNAC-TV in Providence, Rhode Island--to the newly-founded Northstar Television Group in 1989. Northstar Television was bought out by Argyle Television Holdings II, a company which was formed in late 1994 by a group of managers and executives who left the first incarnation of Argyle Television (the former Times-Mirror Broadcasting) after that company sold all of its stations to New World Communications, in January 1995. In August 1997, Argyle merged with the Hearst Corporation's broadcasting unit to form what was then known as Hearst-Argyle Television (now Hearst Television after the Hearst Corporation became sole owner of the group in mid-2009).

In the 1990s, WAPT became one of many ABC affiliates (mostly in rural and Southern markets like Jackson) to ban Steven Bochco's controversial crime drama NYPD Blue. However, in January 1995, some sixteen months after its premiere, the station lifted its ban on the show.

In 2004, all of Hearst-Argyle's ABC affiliates, including WAPT, preempted the network's airing of Saving Private Ryan.

In 2005, WAPT was the victim of a prank by Sacha Baron Cohen for the mockumentary, Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.[1]

In 2008, WAPT announced that it would begin a Noon newscast, becoming the third noon newscast in Jackson.[2] WAPT also broadcasts its radar live on a digital subchannel.

Digital Television

The station's digital channel is multiplexed:

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WAPT-DT

WAPT-DT broadcasts on digital channel 21.

Digital channels

Channel Name Programming
16.1 WAPT-DT main WAPT/ABC programming
16.2 WAPT-DT2 Weather radar

Post-Analog Shutdown

After the analog television shutdown on June 12, 2009 [3], WAPT remained on its pre-transition channel number, 21, [4] using PSIP to display WAPT's virtual channel as 16.

News Staff

Current Personalities

Anchors

  • Brad McMullan - weekday mornings and 5pm; also does the "Pothole Patrol" report
  • Scott Simmons - 6 and 10 pm weeknights
  • Stephanie Maxwell- 5, 6 and 10pm weeknights
  • Sharita Erves - weekday morning anchor/reporter
  • Megan West - weekend anchor/reporter

Reporters

  • Crystal Hilliard - also a producer
  • Joseph Pleasant
  • Kathryn Kight
  • Perna Roberson

Meteorologists

  • David Hartman - chief meteorologist; weeknights
  • Ethan Huston - weekday mornings
  • Heather Sophia - weekend meteorologist

Sports

  • Brittany Diehl - weekend sports anchor
  • Christian Steckel - sports director; weeknight anchor
  • Ray Coleman - sports reporter; photojournalist

Past Personalities

  • Greg Flynn- now public information officer with MEMA
  • Joyce Brewer
  • Desare Frazier
  • Don Champion - now Reporter at KMGH-TV Denver
  • Kevin Robinson - now Chief meteorologist for WLWT
  • Barbie Bassett - now Chief Meteorologist at WLBT
  • Tom Burse - Chief Meteorologist
  • Chantee Lans - also a producer
  • Meg Ryan (not the famous movie actress)
  • Stephanie Doss
  • Adrienne Stein
  • Katina Rankin - now Weekday Morning Anchor at WLBT
  • Tony Bahou
  • Andrea Molloy
  • Cal Adams
  • Cynthia Bowers-now at CBS News
  • Stephanie Bell Flynt- now at WLBT
  • Jamie Triplet
  • Gene Edwards
  • Whitney Vann
  • Rick Whitlow - was at WJTV, but fired.
  • Melissa Tamplin
  • Tom Russo
  • Brett Bullers
  • Ken Johnson
  • Jennifer Cook
  • Elaina Jackson - producer
  • Craig Edwards

News/Station Presentation

Newscast Titles

  • WAPT News (1971-1975)
  • Action News 16 (1975-1982)
  • The News on WAPT (1982-1989)
  • Channel 16 News (1989-1993)
  • Eyewitness News 16 (1993-1997)
  • 16 WAPT News (1997-present)

Station Slogans

  • We're WAPT Television, Channel 16 (1970-1975)
  • Part of Your Life (1975-1978)
  • If it Happens in Mississippi, It Happens on Action News 16 (1978-1982)
  • You and Me and Channel 16 (1980-1981; local version of ABC campaign)
  • We're With You on Channel 16 (1984-1985; local version of ABC campaign)
  • You'll Love It on Channel 16 (1985-1986; local version of ABC campaign)
  • Always One Step Ahead (1986-1989)
  • Your 24 Hour News Source (1989-1993)
  • Metro Jackson's #1 News (1993-1997)
  • Stories That Hit Home (1997-2002)
  • Building Our Station Around You (2002-2007)
  • Built Around You (late 2007-present)
  • Who's Accountable (2008-present)

References

External links


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