WBBJ-TV is the ABC-affiliated television station for Western Tennessee that is licensed to Jackson. It broadcasts a high definitiondigital signal on UHF channel 43 (or virtual channel 7.1 via PSIP) from a transmitter on Potts Chapel Road in unincorporated Eastern Madison County. Owned by Bahakel Communications, WBBJ has studios on Muse Street in Jackson.

Digital channels

ChannelVideoAspectPSIP short namePrograming[3]
7.1720p16:9WBBJ-DTMain WBBJ-TV programming / ABC
SAP/DVS on DT2
7.2WBBJ-DV
7.3480iWBBJCBSWBBJ-DT3 / CBS & MeTV

History

The station signed on March 6, 1955 as WDXI-TV, Jackson's first television station. It operated an analog signal on VHF channel 7, and was a CBS affiliate owned by Aaron Robinson along with WDXI radio (1310 AM). Cy Bahakel bought the station in 1966[4] and changed the call letters to the current WBBJ-TV in 1967[5] (as Robinson's estate held on to WDXI radio[4]). Since then, WBBJ has had the longest ownership tenure of any station in Tennessee, surpassing stations in much larger markets in the state.

Soon after Bahakel took over, in January 1967, the station dropped CBS in favor of ABC (which WDXI-TV had carried as a secondary affiliation for some time beforehand); since then (and until the launch of WBBJ's CBS-affiliated subchannel), Jackson has received CBS programming from WREC-TV/WREG-TV in Memphis.[6] Like many of the stations that operated in analog on channel 7, the station has used various versions of the circle 7 logo over the years; since 2003, WBBJ has used the original, ABC-trademarked version. Jackson can also see ABC programming over-the-air in some areas through WATN-TV in Memphis but that outlet is not carried on local cable providers.

On January 1, 2012, WBBJ-DT3 became the area's CBS affiliate bringing the network back to the market (and back to WBBJ, which carried the network until 1967). Outside of CBS programming, WBBJ-DT3 also carries programming from MeTV, syndicated programming, and WBBJ newscasts (either simulcast with the main channel or shown exclusively on the subchannel). Prior to this launch, WBBJ-DT3 served as a 24-hour live feed of a NOAANational Weather ServiceDopplerweather radar with audio from NOAA Weather Radio.[7][8][9][11]

Programming

Syndicated programming on the station includes Wheel of Fortune, Dr. Phil, Jeopardy!, and Live! with Kelly and Michael among others. All programs listed are distributed by CBS Television Distribution except for Live! with Kelly and Michael which is distributed by Disney-ABC Domestic Television.

News operation

On August 1, 2007, WBBJ debuted new graphics, logo, music, and an updated weather set. The station, which had been using Frank Gari's "Image News" music package since 1999, switched to "In-Sink" by Nashville, Tennessee-based company 615 Music. Also on this date, the weeknight 5 o'clock newscast dropped the Live at 5 branding and returned to ABC 7 Eyewitness News at 5. Local radio stationWFHU-FM 91.5 simulcasts that broadcast. The ninety-minute weekday morning show became Good Morning West Tennessee.

In addition to network and syndicated programming, there are local newscast offerings on WBBJ-DT3 through simulcasts with the main channel and broadcasts in new time slots. It offers local news weekdays at noon for thirty minutes as well as weeknights at 5:30 and 6:30 seen exclusively on the CBS subchannel. As a result, CBS Evening News airs weeknights at 6:00 which is a half-hour later than most affiliates in the Central Time Zone.[2]

On January 23, 2013, the station debuted a brand new set that has a working newsroom behind the main anchor desk. Also, the new set shows the Circle 7 logo, but no longer features the ABC logo, since the station is affiliated with both ABC and CBS.

Notable former staff