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Florence/Huntsville/Decatur, Alabama
Branding The Valley's CW
Channels Digital: 14 (UHF)
Affiliations The CW
Owner Lockwood Broadcast Group
(Huntsville TV, LLC)
First air date October 28, 1957
Call letters’ meaning Huntsville
Former callsigns WOWL-TV (1957-2000)
Former channel number(s) analog: 15 (1957-2009)
Former affiliations NBC (1957-2000)
UPN (2000-2006)
Transmitter Power 1000 kW (digital)
Height 431 m
Facility ID 65128
Transmitter Coordinates 35°0′5.7″N 87°8′3.9″W / 35.001583°N 87.134417°W / 35.001583; -87.134417

WHDF is The CW affiliate in northern Alabama, airing on channel 15. WHDF is under the ownership of Lockwood Broadcasting.

WHDF's studios are located in Florence, and the station maintains a Huntsville sales office on Andrew Jackson Way, in the Five Points neighborhood. The station's transmitter is located southeast of Minor Hill, Tennessee, just 500 yards (450 m) north of the Alabama state line.



The station began on October 28, 1957 as WOWL-TV, based in Florence. The station was owned by Richard "Dick" Biddle. Up until late 1999, that station broadcast NBC programs to northwestern Alabama and portions of southern middle Tennessee and northeastern Mississippi; it carried also some popular CBS shows like the soap opera As the World Turns.

WOWL-TV always faced competing NBC affiliates in Huntsville or Decatur, whose signals reached much of its broadcast area; however, it retained viewership in the Shoals region (Florence, Sheffield, Muscle Shoals, Tuscumbia and areas known as "The Shoals" recently and referred to as the "The Quad Cities" years ago) by offering local newscasts, which for most of the station's 40-plus years were the only TV newscasts concerned with that area only. However, channel 15 lost much of that advantage when the Huntsville stations began opening news bureaus in the Shoals in the 1980s or so. That factor, along with NBC's termination of its affiliation with the station (resulting in WAFF becoming the sole NBC affiliate in the Huntsville DMA) probably played the decisive role in influencing WOWL-TV's local owners to sell to outside interests, who decided to redirect the signal and the coverage area eastward, toward the growing Huntsville-Decatur market and roll out UPN in the market under the new call letters WHDF. WAAY-TV packaged a 9 p.m. newscast for WHDF for its first two years with UPN.

In September 2006, both UPN and The WB television network ceased operations. A single new network, The CW, replaced those two struggling entities. WHDF, the UPN affiliate, was granted the northern Alabama affiliation rights for the new network earlier that year, and rebranded as The Valley's CW at Midnight on July 27, 2006. (The former WB affiliate, meanwhile, became WAMY-TV, affiliated with My Network TV.)

Post-analog shutdown

After the analog television shutdown scheduled for June 12, 2009 [2], WHDF will remain on its current pre-transition channel number, 14 [3] PSIP is used to display WHDF's virtual channel as 15.

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