WOWT-TV: Wikis


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Omaha, Nebraska
Branding Channel 6 (general)
Channel 6 News, 6 News (news)
Slogan Live. Local. Breaking News.
Channels Digital: 22 (UHF)
Virtual: 6 (PSIP)
Subchannels 6.1 NBC
6.2 62O (Ind./Universal Sports)
Affiliations National Broadcasting Company
Owner Gray Television, Inc.
(Gray Television Licensee, Inc.)
First air date August 29, 1949
Call letters’ meaning Woodmen Of The World (original owner of WOW radio) + Television
Former callsigns WOW-TV (1949-1975)
Former channel number(s) Analog:
6 (VHF, 1949-2009)
Former affiliations Primary:
NBC (1949-1956)
CBS (1956-1986)
ABC (1949-1953, 1954-1957)
DuMont (1949-1952)
UPN (2005-2006)
Transmitter Power 1000 kW
Height 398 m
Facility ID 65528
Transmitter Coordinates 41°18′40″N 96°1′37″W / 41.31111°N 96.02694°W / 41.31111; -96.02694

WOWT-TV, digital channel 22 and virtual channel 6 via PSIP, is the NBC affiliate in Omaha, Nebraska. WOWT also serves the state capital, Lincoln, 52 miles (84 km) away, with broadcast and cable coverage. As Lincoln is located in a different market area, satellite viewers in Lincoln receive NBC from KHAS-TV in Hastings, though WOWT has long been regarded as the primary local NBC affiliate in Lincoln.

The station's studios are located near 35th and Farnam streets, near downtown Omaha. Its transmitter tower is located on a "tower farm" near North 72nd and Crown Point.



Channel 6 signed on the air on August 29, 1949 as WOW-TV, the first television station in Nebraska and one of the oldest in the Upper Midwest. It also claims to be the first television station in four other Midwestern states (Iowa, Kansas, North Dakota and South Dakota); while the claim it is the first station in North and South Dakota is completely erroneous as WOWT's signal does not reach the Dakotas, it is true that WOWT's signal covers parts of southwest Iowa and northeast Kansas, though the station is not licensed to any of these states. Johnny Carson's first television job was at the station where he had a daily show called the The Squirrel's Nest where he told jokes.

The station was operated by Radio Station WOW, Inc. alongside WOW radio (AM 590, now KXSP, and 92.3 FM, now KEZO)[1] The owners operated under a United States Supreme Court ruling which had forced the Woodmen of the World, who had founded WOW-AM in 1923, to divest itself of the radio stations because they threatened the Woodmen's tax-exempt status.

The station was originally an NBC affiliate, but carried a secondary affiliation with ABC until 1953, when KOLN-TV signed on from Lincoln as an ABC affiliate. However, in 1954, Lincoln was broken off from the Omaha market, and WOW-TV resumed sharing ABC programming with KMTV until 1957, when KETV signed on as an ABC affiliate.

Meredith Corporation bought WOW-AM-FM-TV in 1958. The station claims it was bought by former Secretary of the Navy Francis Matthews in 1954, but this is false; Matthews died two years earlier.

In 1956, after the radio stations dropped their longtime affiliation with NBC in favor of CBS, WOW-TV switched affiliations with KMTV and became Omaha's CBS television affiliate. When Meredith sold channel 6 to Chronicle Publishing Company of San Francisco in 1975, it changed its call letters to WOWT under special FCC approval. Channel 6 later rejoined NBC under a special agreement with KMTV in 1986. In 1999, Chronicle sold its media holdings and WOWT was sold to Benedek Broadcasting via LIN TV in a three-way deal for WWLP in Springfield, Massachusetts; three years later, Benedek Broadcasting was bought out by current owner Gray Television.

WOWT was the first station to broadcast locally in color, starting in the mid-1950s; it was the first station to provide live reports during its daily newscasts; it was the first of the three local stations to broadcasts three live daily newscasts, at 5, 6, and 10pm; and in 1993, WOWT was the first of all local stations to offer a web site.

Former employees of WOWT include The Tonight Show host Johnny Carson, who worked at WOW-TV in the early 1950s, and former ABC Good Morning America reporter Steve Bell, who worked for Channel 6 in the early and mid-1960s. He was the only local reporter to go to Dallas in November 1963 to cover the aftermath of the John F. Kennedy assassination. Bell left channel 6 in 1967 to join ABC News, where he stayed until 1986. However, once stated in an interview in 1994, Bell stated that he felt unfulfilled in his current job.

Digital television

WOWT converted to digital broadcasting on February 17, 2009, the original date of the U.S. nationwide digital TV transition.[2] WOWT and NET station KYNE were the only two stations in the Omaha market to stay with the original deadline. [3] WOWT transmits its digital signal on channel 22, although digital tuners still display it as channel 6 through the use of PSIP.

For its digital transition WOWT aired a 60-second farewell video bookending the analog era from beginning to end. It began with the words "Welcome to the Future", followed with archived film footage of WOW-TV's transmitter being turned on 1949 as it was covered by then-sister station WOW radio (now KXSP), outdoor scenes set to the patriotic song America the Beautiful, and concluding with the station logo and digital call sign WOWT-DT Omaha set to the NBC chimes.[4] Afterward the analog signal aired a scrolling nightlight message and ultimately ceased transmission.

Voiceover artist Charlie Van Dyke provided narration: "Sixty years ago, WOWT turned on its analog signal to be the first television station in Omaha. Now, join us for the digital age as we shut off our analog signal and transition to digital television. We look forward to the new journey ahead. This is WOWT, Channel 6."

Previous 62O logo, since September 2006.


In October 2005, WOWT-DT launched UPN Omaha on digital sub-channel 6.2. The station became an independent station named 62O when The WB and UPN networks merged in September 2006. KXVO, formerly the local WB affiliate, now carries The CW, while KPTM, the local Fox affiliate, shows My Network TV on a digital subchannel of its own. The channel has since been changed to the Universal Sports format as seen on many other NBC subchannels.


Syndicated programming on WOWT includes Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, The Insider, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Jeopardy!, and Extra.

News Operation

In 1991, WOWT changed the name of its news division from "Action News 6" to its current moniker of "Channel 6 News". In 1995 Channel 6 began live simulcasts and taped replays of its daily newscasts on Omaha Cox Cable channel 1. The venture was known as "NEWS on ONE" until it became "News 4 You", Cox Cable channel 4, in 2009. Also in 1995, WOWT's sports division launched a weekly 30-minute sports news program titled "Channel 6 Sunday Sports Extra". It is the only program of its kind in Omaha, and it has been hosted since its inception by Sports Producer Ross Jernstrom.

WOWT was the most watched station for local news from 1996 until November 2006 when rival KETV, a Hearst-Argyle station, overtook WOWT to become the ratings leader. In recent years, the two stations have been neck-and-neck for the top spot, with KMTV, operated by Journal Broadcast Group, lagging far behind in a distant third place.

On October 30, 2008, WOWT debuted its new, updated studio. The updated studio featured two dozen flat-panel televisions, according to 6 News at 10 co-anchor Tracy Madden. Although the remodel took a little less than a month, the transformation is significant. The studio features a new news desk with a computer built into it, allowing breaking news to be broadcast immediately. Also, a new center shows the station's website. A new weather center and sports desk complete the new, fresh look.

On Monday, October 26, 2009, WOWT became the second station in Omaha to present local news in a 16x9 widescreen format (KMTV was the first station to do so), and the first to present the news in partial high-definition. As of March 2010, WOWT remains the only station in the Omaha market who airs portions of its newscasts in HD (KMTV and KETV both air newscasts in upconverted 16:9 ED).


Current On-Air Talent

Current Anchors


Channel 6 Weather Authority

Sports Team

Former On-Air Talent

  • Scott Akin - meteorologist (2000-2007; now freelance meteorologist for WRTV in Indianapolis and WDRB in Louisville)
  • Bryce Anderson - midday agricultural news/weather (1980s-1990s)
  • Steve Bell - anchor/reporter (1960s; later became a reporter/correspondent for ABC News until his retirement in 1986)
  • Michael Born - meteorologist (2004-2008; now customer development specialist/meteorologist for Weather Central LLC)
  • Michelle Boss - meteorologist (1990s; x=currently fill-in meteorologist at KREM-TV in Spokane, WA)
  • Paul Bouchereau - meteorologist (1988-1989, later with KETV, now with Feed The Children in Oklahoma City)
  • Johnny Carson - meteorologist/television host; (1950s; became legendary longtime host of The Tonight Show on NBC; deceased)
  • Brian Durst - chief meteorologist (1991-1992; later a meteorologist for The Weather Channel in the 1990s-early 2000s)
  • Courtny Gerrish - morning anchor (1996-2005; now anchor at WTMJ in Milwaukee)
  • Gary Kerr - anchor/reporter (1960s-1999; lead anchor from 1971-1991, 5 p.m. co-anchor from 1992-1998)
  • John McCaa - anchor/reporter; (1977-1983; now weekday co-anchor for WFAA in Dallas)
  • Dale Munson - chief meteorologist/voice overs (1960s-1991)
  • Tom Murray - anchor/news director (1965-1971; later news director with KSTP-TV in Minneapolis-St Paul, then Communications Officer for Control Data Corp) Retired
  • Pat Persaud (1986-2005; lead anchor)
  • Patrick Powell - meteorologist (1996-2004; now Chief Meteorologist for WLUK in Green Bay, WI)
  • Byron Wood - anchor/reporter (1970s-early 1990s; later anchor at KPTM in the late 1990s)
  • Colleen Williams - weekend anchor (1978-1981; now weekday co-anchor for KNBC in Los Angeles)

News/Station Presentation

Newscast Titles

  • Action News 6 (1980s-1991)
  • Channel 6 News (1991-present)
  • 6 News (2007-present)

Station Slogans

  • Part of Your Life (1970s)
  • Action News: Leading the Way (1980s)
  • This is WOWT Channel 6. Where The News Comes First. (1990-1992)
  • News The Way You Live Your Life. (1992-1996)
  • This is Channel 6 For the Heartland. WOWT Omaha. (1996-present)
  • Live. Local. Breaking News. (1998-present)
  • This is 6 News! (2007-present)
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External links


  1. ^ Commercial Television Stations of the U. S., 1949
  2. ^ Digital delay muddles broadcasters' plans, BRYAN REDEMSKE, Omaha WORLD-HERALD, February 6, 2009
  4. ^ "Goodbye", WOWT analog farewell video; archived on WOWT's YouTube page at, retrieved 19 October 2009.


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