WSMV-TV: Wikis


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Nashville, Tennessee
Branding WSMV Channel 4 (general)
Channel 4 News (newscasts)
Telemundo Nashville
(on DT2)
Slogan Working 4 You
Channels Digital: 10 (VHF)
Subchannels 4.1 NBC
4.2 Telemundo
Owner Meredith Corporation
First air date September 30, 1950
Call letters’ meaning We Shield Millions (V for "Vision" added to differentiate from WSM radio)
Former callsigns WSM-TV (1950-1981)
Former channel number(s) Analog:
4 (1950-2009)
Former affiliations All secondary:
ABC (1950-1954)
CBS (1950-1953)
DuMont (1950-1956)[1]
Transmitter Power 60 kW
Height 413 m
Facility ID 41232
Transmitter Coordinates Coordinates: 36°08′28″N 86°51′44″W / 36.1412°N 86.8623°W / 36.1412; -86.8623 36°08′28″N 86°51′57″W / 36.1410°N 86.8657°W / 36.1410; -86.8657

WSMV-TV is the NBC television affiliate serving the Nashville, Tennessee area. It broadcasts its digital signal on VHF channel 10. Its transmitter and tower are located adjacent to its studios on Knob Road in west Nashville, south of Charlotte Pike. Prior to the government-mandated conversion to a digital signal, WSMV broadcast on analog channel 4.

WSMV also airs programming from the NBC-owned Spanish-language network, Telemundo, on its DT2 subcarrier,[1] since the Nashville DMA lacks a Telemundo affiliate of its own. The subchannel began airing in the summer of 2006.




Early years

WSMV began broadcasting as WSM-TV on September 30, 1950 at 1:10 p.m. It was Nashville's first television station and the second in Tennessee, behind WMCT (now WMC-TV, coincidentally an NBC affiliate also) in Memphis. It was owned by the locally-based National Life and Accident Insurance Company along with WSM radio (650 AM & 95.5 FM); the AM station is renowned for broadcasts of the country music show "The Grand Ole Opry," which has been heard since 1925. The stations took their calls from their parent's slogan, "We Shield Millions."

The television station has been an NBC affiliate from the very first day, though it carried some programming from CBS, DuMont, and ABC until 1953, when WSIX-TV channel 8 (now WKRN-TV channel 2) started as a CBS primary affiliate. WSM shared ABC programming with WSIX for a year until WLAC-TV (now WTVF) began, taking CBS. Before the advent of satellite delivery, network programming was delivered to WSM-TV by microwave transmission from WAVE in Louisville, Kentucky.

Growth, 1960s and 1970s

WSM-TV originally was headquartered in south Nashville on 15th and Compton Avenues, near the present Belmont University. In 1957, the station attempted to a build a large tower in west Nashville near Charlotte Avenue, but the supporting wires broke, causing the tower to collapse and killing several people. Afterward, it purchased its present property on Knob Road, farther west of the previous site and built a tower there in a forested section away from potential damage to life and property.

Beginning in 1962, WSM-TV shared its broadcast facilities with new public station WDCN, then broadcasting on channel 2. In 1963, NL&AI built new studios for WSM-TV adjacent to the transmission tower on Knob Road; this left WDCN as the sole occupant of the south Nashville building, where that station stayed until 1976. During the 1970s until NL&AI sold them to Gaylord Entertainment in 1981, WSM-AM and WSM-FM (begun in 1968) also broadcast from Knob Road, after which time they moved to the Opryland Hotel complex (the AM and FM stations are no longer related as of 2009).

The WSM stations' close ties to Nashville's country music business has meant that the Knob Road facility and/or its personnel was, from time to time, used for the recording of network and syndicated programs featuring Nashville-based performers. This was especially the case during the 1960s and 1970s. Most if not all of these shows were packaged by Show Biz, Inc., headquartered in Nashville. Show Biz, Inc. produced The Porter Wagoner Show, That Nashville Music, The Bill Anderson Show, and several other programs seen throughout the U.S., especially on stations in the Southern and rural Midwestern U.S. The company dissolved in the late 1970s when its owner-president, Jane Grams, became vice president and general manager of WTVC-TV in Chattanooga, Tennessee. However, the Show Biz programs were seen on some stations well into the early 1980s.

Ownership Changes since 1981

National Life was taken over by American General, a Houston-based insurer, in 1980. The new owners sold off WSM-AM-FM-TV, the Opry and Opryland USA in order to maintain focus on the insurance business. Gaylord Entertainment Company bought the Opry, Opryland USA and WSM-AM-FM. Gaylord would have bought WSM-TV as well, but was already at the FCC's television ownership limit at the time; the FCC has since practically abandoned such restrictions. Instead, Gillett Broadcasting (property of George N. Gillett Jr.) bought WSM-TV on November 3, 1981 and changed the callsign to WSMV, in order to trade on the well-known WSM identity while at the same time separating it from its former radio sisters (later, the TV and radio stations would engage in news department cross promotions). WSMV was later sold on June 8, 1989, to Cook Inlet Television Partners, an Alaska-based company which was a subsidiary of an Alaska Native Regional Corporation; Cook Inlet, in turn, sold it on January 5, 1995 to Meredith Corporation, its present licensee.

WSMV was not part of the affiliation deal between Meredith and CBS (however, two other Meredith stations, then-independent KPHO-TV in Phoenix, Arizona and then-NBC affiliate WNEM-TV in Saginaw, Michigan, were) because the purchase was made after the affiliation deal had already been finalized. As a result, WSMV became the only NBC affiliate in Meredith's present-day station group.

Past Personalities and Programs

The station's famous alumni include Pat Sajak (announcer and weekend weatherman from 1974 to 1977), Robin Roberts (sports anchor and reporter from 1986 to 1988), John Tesh (news anchor in 1975-1976), John Seigenthaler, Jr. (weekend anchor in the late 1980s) and Huell Howser (features reporter in the 1970s).

Ralph Emery, the longtime country music disc jockey on WSM-AM for many years, hosted morning (and at times, afternoon) shows on WSM(V) from the mid-1960s until the early 1990s; for much of that time, they were the highest-rated locally-produced early morning shows on American television. They featured performances by prominent country stars like Tex Ritter and current star Lorrie Morgan; also, the studio band consisted of top-notch Music Row session musicians.

Larry Munson, WSM-TV's sports director from 1956 untl 1967 and later known as the play-by-play announcer for radio broadcasts of Georgia Bulldogs football, created and hosted a long-running hunting and fishing show called The Rod & Gun Club.

Dan Miller was co-anchor of the main evening newscasts for nearly 40 years, except for a six-year absence (1986-1992) during which he spent time in Los Angeles as a news anchor at KCBS-TV and Sajak's sidekick on his short-lived late-night talk show. In 1992-93, he hosted 5 O'Clock with Dan Miller and returned to anchoring duties in March 1995. Miller died unexpectedly of a heart attack on April 8, 2009, while visiting the Masters golf tournament in his hometown of Augusta, Georgia.[2]


WSM-TV developed, beginning in the mid-1970s, a strong news division that, in the 1980s, won numerous regional and national awards (Peabody Awards among them) for in-depth and investigative reporting. Mike Kettenring was the news director for much of that period.

In recent times, WSMV has alternated with WTVF for first place in the Nashville ratings. Generally speaking, the station takes a softer approach to news than WTVF. Surprisingly, the reverse was true in the 1980s, as WSMV earned awards for hard-hitting investigative stories, while WTVF took a more cautious approach. While WTVF usually leads the way in the city of Nashville itself, WSMV generally leads in Nashville's more conservative suburbs, as well as outlying rural parts of the market, many of whose residents recall readily the station's past association with WSM-AM.

In September 1973, WSM/WSMV decided to fill the 6:30-7 p.m. time slot opened up by the Prime Time Access Rule in 1971 by expanding its 6 p.m. newscast; it has been so successful that the station to this day programs a newscast (although now broken up into two 30-minute segments) from 6 to 7. In fact, it has succeeded to the point of being imitated by WTVF, which expanded to 7 p.m. in 1987 after years of low-rated syndicated offerings in the 6:30 slot. WSMV and WTVF are among the very few stations in the Central Time Zone to run news at 6:30 presently; stations elsewhere have attempted it since the 1970s with varying degrees of success. WKRN is the only traditional network affiliate in the Nashville market to run only a half hour of news at 6 p.m., with Wheel of Fortune (hosted by former WSM personality Pat Sajak) at 6:30.

Recent Events

Early in 2006, WSMV attracted some attention by becoming the largest-market NBC affiliate to refuse to carry the controversial NBC show The Book of Daniel on its programming schedule, after the premiere episode. This action, along with that of several smaller affiliates in the Midwest and South, prompted NBC to cancel the series after only three episodes.

During the May sweeps period that began on April 26, 2007, WSMV debuted its own live news helicopter known as Air 4, becoming the second station in Nashville to do so (WTVF's news helicopter Sky 5 debuted a year earlier, in 2006).

On September 15, 2008, beginning with the 5:00 p.m. newscast, WSMV became the second Nashville station (behind WTVF) to broadcast local news in High Definition.

In early March 2009, it was announced that WSMV's master control operations would be hubbed out of WGCL-TV in Atlanta, another Meredith station. The new hub operation is expected to launch in summer 2009.

Digital television

The station's digital channel:

Digital channels

RF Channel
Video Aspect Programming
4.1 10.1 1080i 16:9 Main WSMV-TV programming / NBC HD
4.2 10.2 480i 4:3 Telemundo

In June 2009, WSMV-TV remained on its current pre-transition channel number, 10.[3][4] However, through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display WSMV-TV's virtual channel as 4.


Current On-Air Talent

(as of October 2009)
Current Anchors

  • Sara Dorsey - weekend mornings "Channel 4 News Today"
  • Alan Frio - Saturdays at 6, Sundays at 5 and weekends at 10PM
  • Jennifer Johnson - weekdays at noon and 6:30PM
  • Demetria Kalodimos - weeknights at 5, 6 and 10PM
  • Jonathan Martin - weekend mornings "Channel 4 News Today"
  • Tom Randles - weekdays at noon, 5PM and 6:30PM
  • Bob Sellers - weeknights at 6 and 10PM
  • Aaron Solomon - weekday mornings "Channel 4 News Today"
  • Holly Thompson - weekday mornings "Channel 4 News Today" (also co-host of "More at Midday" (12:30PM))


  • Nancy Amons - general assignment, investigative and technology reporter
  • Josh DeVine - general assignment reporter
  • Dennis Ferrier - general assignment reporter
  • Jeremy Finley - Investigative reporter
  • Larry Flowers - general assignment reporter (also photographer)
  • Carley Gordon - Clarksville reporter
  • Jennifer Herron - traffic reporter
  • Cara Kumari - State Capitol reporter
  • Deanna Lambert - general assignment reporter
  • Regina Raccuglia - general assignment reporter
  • Marc Stewart - general assignment reporter (also fill-in anchor)
  • Cynthia Williams - general assignment reporter

Pinpoint 4 Weather Team

  • Paul Heggen - (AMS Seal of Approval) - Meteorologist; weekday mornings "Channel 4 News Today"
  • Lisa Spencer (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist/NWA Seal of Approval) - Chief Meteorologist; weekdays at noon, weeknights at 5 and 6PM
  • Dan Thomas (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval) - weeknights at 6:30 and 10PM
  • Nancy Van Camp (AMS Seal of Approval) - Meteorologist; weekend mornings, Saturdays at 6, Sundays at 5 and weekends at 10PM

Sports Team

  • Rudy Kalis - Sports Director; weeknights at 6 and 10PM
  • Terry Bulger - Sports Anchor; Saturdays at 6, Sundays at 5 and weekends at 10PM (also sports reporter)

Former On-Air Talent

  • Charlie Chase (1970's; currently host for the Crook and Chase TV show and countdown)
  • Bill Hall - chief meteorologist/news anchor (now retired)
  • Carol Marin - investigative reporter/anchor (1976-1978; now at WMAQ-TV in Chicago as the station's political editor)
  • Katie McCall - reporter (1998 to 2000; now returned to Houston for KTRK-TV)
  • Dan Miller - anchor (died at age 67 on April 8, 2009)
  • Pat Sajak - meteorologist (1970s; currently host of the syndicated game show Wheel of Fortune)
  • Steve Wrigley - sports reporter (now at WTEV-TV in Jacksonville, FL)
  • Scott Chapin - announcer for news opens (1994-1996)
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News/Station Presentation

Newscast Titles

  • Dateline Nashville (late 1950s)
  • Dateline Today (6 p.m. newscast)/The Ten O'Clock News (10 p.m. newscast; 1960s-1970)
  • Channel 4 News (1970-present)
  • The Scene at 6 (6 p.m. newscast)/The Scene at 10 (10 p.m. newscast; 1970-2001)

Station Slogans

  • King 4 (1960-1961)
  • It's the Time of Your Life on WSM-TV (1965)
  • Color 4 (1966-1968)
  • Have a Ball This Fall on Color 4 (Fall 1966)
  • Today's News is History Tomorrow (1969-1970)
  • Hour Team/No. 1 NeWSMen (1973-1975)
  • First Team for Hour News (1977-1978)
  • 4 Country (1978-1980)
  • We're 4 (1980-1981; used during period station used "We're 4" by Klein &)
  • Hello Nashville, Channel 4 Loves You (1981-1989; used during period station used Frank Gari's "Hello News")
  • We`re Channel 4, Just Watch Us Now (1982-1983; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • Hello Nashville, Be There (1983; localized version of NBC's "Be There" campaign)
  • 4 The Family (1985-1993)
  • Say Hello (1991-1992; used during period station used Frank Gari's "Hello News")
  • THE Channel 4 News (1993-1997)
  • Working 4 You (1996-2002 and 2005-present)
  • Coverage You Can Count On (2002-2005)
Television.svg This film, television or video-related list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it with reliably sourced additions.


External links


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