WGNO: Wikis


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WGNO 2008 Logo.png
New Orleans, Louisiana
Branding ABC 26 (general)
ABC 26 News (newscasts)
Slogan Getting Answers
Channels Digital: 26 (UHF)
Virtual: 26 (PSIP)
Affiliations ABC (since 1996)
Owner Tribune Company
(Tribune Television New Orleans, Inc.)
First air date October 1967[1]
Call letters’ meaning Greater New Orleans
We've Got New Orleans
(also a homage to Tribune's Chicago flagship station WGN-TV, and a portmanteau of "WGN" and "NO" abbreviation for New Orleans)
Sister station(s) WNOL-TV
Former callsigns WWOM-TV (1967-1971)
Former channel number(s) Analog:
26 (UHF, 1967-2009)
Former affiliations independent (1967-1995)
The WB (1995-1996)
Transmitter Power 1000 kW
Height 305 m
Facility ID 72119
Transmitter Coordinates 29°58′57.4″N 89°56′57.8″W / 29.982611°N 89.949389°W / 29.982611; -89.949389
Website www.abc26.com

WGNO is the ABC affiliate for the greater New Orleans, Louisiana area, as well parts of southern and coastal Mississippi. It broadcasts on channel 26, and is owned by Tribune Broadcasting. The station offers ABC programming along with syndicated programming and local news. Its transmitter is located in New Orleans.



The station signed on in October 1967 as WWOM-TV (The Wonderful World Of Movies). It was the first independent station in Louisiana, as well as the first new commercial station to sign on in the city since WWL-TV (channel 4) signed on in 1957. Initially, the station was on the air 8 hours a day from late afternoon to midnight. It programmed mostly old movies, some theatrical cartoons, and a couple off network shows. It was owned by David Wagenvoord until its sale to Communications Corp. of the South in 1971, and its call letters were changed to the current WGNO.

As WGNO, the station began running more off network sitcoms and westerns and moderate amounts of cartoons. The station was on the air about 12 hours a day by 1972. The station began signing on at 10 a.m. in 1974 and expanded to about 19 hours a day by 1975. WGNO was sold to Seymour Smith and family in 1976. It continued to program a general entertainment format with vintage sitcoms, older movies, and religious shows.

From 1982-87 WGNO aired 1000 PSAs (public service announcements) called "Tom Foote". Tom was a local entertainer in area schools and in the Quarter. For a time an hour-long program ("Tom Foote's Video Clubhouse") aired as well as News For Kids, produced by Tom.

WGNO was purchased by Glendive Media in 1978, who would later sell the station to Tribune Broadcasting in 1983. By coincidence, the station's call letters reflect a connection with Tribune's flagship station, WGN-TV in Chicago, but channel 26 had WGN in their calls long before Tribune even thought of buying the station. And, with two other Tribune television properties also sporting the three letters in their call signs (KWGN-TV in Denver and WGNX in Atlanta), channel 26 kept the WGNO call letters. With the slogan "New Orleans Style," the station continued to grow, and as other competitors signed on, WGNO remained the leading independent station in the market.

In 1993, legendary programmer Brandon Tartikoff created a game show for WGNO called "NO It Alls" with host Isis Casanova. In 1996, Tartikoff would take the popular game show national as "Know It Alls"[1].

In January 1995, after 28 years, WGNO ceased to be an independent station when it affiliated with the new WB Network. At that time WB only offered a couple hours of programming a day, so WGNO was still programming non network programming over 20 hours a day.

WVUE (channel 8), the long-time ABC affiliate was sold to a company with interest in Fox. WVUE evicted ABC to become a Fox station on January 1, 1996. WGNO then became the market's new ABC affiliate. The WB affiliation, along with the cartoons and some of the syndicated programming, moved to WNOL channel 38, the former Fox affiliate. WGNO then launched newscasts in the evening and at 10pm in March 1996.

In 1997, WNOL later came under management by Tribune, and WGNO officially became sister station to WNOL after Tribune purchased the latter in 2000, creating a "duopoly" operation in the market.

In July 2005, the station moved its facilities from the World Trade Center New Orleans to a facility at the New Orleans Centre.

On the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina (August 29, 2007), WGNO began broadcasting from new high-definition-ready studios in the Galleria Center in nearby Metairie. Included in WGNO's new facility are a brand-new news set and weather center. Revamped logos and graphics were introduced at this time.

The station at one time was unique for having its own bounty hunter, Tat-2, as part of its "Wheel of Justice" series. [2], [3]

Hurricane Katrina

WGNO anchor Michael Hill, during a newscast from the station's temporary facility in 2006.

As Hurricane Katrina approached in August 2005, WGNO's operations were moved to fellow ABC affiliate WBRZ-TV in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

For a time after Hurricane Katrina hit, nightly newscasts were broadcast from various locations throughout the New Orleans area because the main studio was inaccessible. Temporary facilities (including a makeshift studio and control room) were eventually established in two trailers outside of the Louisiana Superdome, and most of the station's broadcast equipment was purchased from eBay resellers.

In April 2006, WGNO announced that it was temporarily moving its broadcast operations back to the World Trade Center New Orleans tower. Management at the New Orleans Centre terminated the station's lease when it decided not to reopen the complex -- the station had only moved into the facility a few weeks before Katrina. In February 2007, Tribune announced that rather than move WGNO to WNOL's facility on Canal Street, it would be moving to the Galleria building in nearby Metairie. This would make WGNO the first local station to move outside of New Orleans - station management indicated that they wanted to keep WGNO in New Orleans, but that there wasn't a facility suitable for the purpose.[2] The move to the Galleria was complete and broadcasting began at their new home on August 29, 2007, the second-year anniversary of Katrina.

Hurricane Katrina also destroyed WGNO's analog and digital transmitters. As of March 1, 2008, WGNO completed its "post transition" channel 26 DTV transmitter. Since this transmitter operates on the same frequency as their analog transmitter (26) it could not be powered up until their analog transmitter shut down on June 12, 2009, at which time the station flash-cut to digital.[4] Prior to June 12, 2009, its digital signal (with full resolution HDTV content) was carried on a sub-channel of WNOL's digital transmitter on channel 15.

Hurricane Gustav

With the approach of Hurricane Gustav, WGNO's audio was simulcast on WTIX-FM (94.3); the station also cancelled the local segments of the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon, which was airing as normally scheduled on sister station WNOL-TV. [3] WGNO received help covering Gustav from the Tribune Company/Local TV partnership, which combines the control and Internet operations for both entities -- stations that sent crews to New Orleans include WBRC, WHO-TV and WHNT-TV. On Monday, September 1, CNN.com began to simulcast WGNO's broadcast on one of CNN's four live video feeds.

Digital Television

The station's broadcasts its HD 720p digital signal on UHF 26. WGNO had been sharing digital channel 15 with WNOL. On June 12, 2009, WGNO remained on channel 26 when the analog to digital conversion completed. This allowed on WNOL to resume high definition broadcasting on UHF channel 15.

Currently, the local newscasts are broadcast in widescreen 16:9 ED.

News Operation

WGNO launched two new weekday newscasts — a two-hour morning news broadcast from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. (which debuted Monday, September 29, 2008), and a 30-minute newscast at 11:00 a.m (which debuted Monday, September 8, 2008). The station has also hired a new vice president and general manager, Phil Waterman from WVLA (NBC), WGMB (FOX), WBRL (CW), and KZUP (RTV) in Baton Rouge. [5]

On April 20th, 2009, WGNO moved its 6pm newscast to 6:30pm. The move is intended to reach a believed large segment of New Orleans who commute to work and do not arrive home in time to watch a 6pm newscast. Billed as "Your Only Newscast at 6:30", the show is hosted by anchor Michael Hill.

News Staff


  • Michael Hill - weekdays 5:00, 6:30 and 10:00pm
  • Jessica Holly - weekdays 5:00, 9:00 (WNOL) and 10:00pm
  • Jon Huffman - "Good Morning New Orleans" 5-7am weekday mornings
  • Jocelyn Lockwood - "Good Morning New Orleans" 5-7am and 11:00am weekday mornings
  • Curt Sprang - weekends


  • Hank Allen (AMS Seal of Approval) - "Good Morning New Orleans" 5-7am and 11am weekday mornings
  • Bruce Katz (AMS Seal of Approval) - chief meteorologist; weekday evenings 5:00, 6:30, 9:00 (WNOL) and 10:00pm
  • Molly Rosenblatt - weekend weather/reporter

Sports Team

  • Ed Daniels - sports director; weekdays 6:30 and 10pm
  • Adam Norris - sports; weekends


  • Glynn Boyd - "The 411" host
  • Sheldon Fox
  • Meg Gatto
  • Sandra Gonzalez
  • Chriss Knight
  • Lalia Marcos
  • Joe Rawley - Website
  • Robyn Walensky

News Management

  • Rick Erbach News Director
  • Phil Waterman General Manager

Former On-Air Staff

  • Anna Adair
  • Jason Allen (currently with WGCL-TV in Atlanta)
  • Tom Bagwell (currently at WLAE)
  • Rick Barrett
  • Val Bracy - reporter (currently at WVUE)
  • Isis Casanova - Host of "No it All's" (game show developed at WGNO)
  • Kim Davis (later at KPRC-TV in Houston)
  • Yunji de Nies - reporter (currently with ABC News)
  • Mark Deane
  • Brooke Erickson - sports reporter (now at Cox Sports Television)
  • Jon Fairbanks
  • Tom Foote ("KidVid Host" 1982-87)
  • Brad Giffen Now at CTV Toronto Canada
  • Mitty Giffts Former Weekend Weather Anchor
  • Mike Janssen
  • Harry McCulla (now at KFOL-CD in Houma, LA)
  • Pat Minnis
  • Meredith Mendez - Spokesperson St. Tammany Parish School System.
  • Doug Mouton - reporter (currently at WWL-TV)
  • Paul Murphy - reporter (currently at WWL-TV)
  • Chris Nakamoto (currently at WBRZ in Baton Rouge)
  • Joni Naquin (later at WWL-TV)
  • Janella Newsome (now associate director of university communications and marketing Dillard University)
  • Cindi Nguyen
  • Bob Noonan Now at WREG-CBS3
  • Dawn Ostrom (currently doing freelance work)
  • Jeff Peterson
  • Liz Reyes - anchor (1997-2009; now runs her own media website at Liz Reyes.com
  • Larry Delia Former General Manager of WGNO
  • Kris Rhodes
  • Eric Richey - (Was at AM 690 WIST, now at Cox Sports Television)
  • Susan Roesgen (currently with CNN)
  • Mike Russ (currently at WPMI in Mobile, Alabama)
  • Melinda Spaulding (currently at KRIV in Houston)
  • André Trevigne - anchor

News/Station Presentation

Newscast Titles

  • 'ABC26 News (1996-present)

Station Slogans

  • We've Got New Orleans (1971-late 1970s, 1995-1996 and 2003-2004)
  • New Orleans Style (1983?-1995?)
  • More News (1996-2005)
  • Getting Answers (2005-2008)
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External links



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