WCJB-TV is the ABC-affiliated television station for North Central Florida licensed to Gainesville. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 16 (PSIP virtual channel 20.1) from a transmitter in Wacahoota. Owned by Diversified Communications, WCJB has studios on Northwest 43rd Street in Gainesville.
WCJB began broadcasting April 7, 1971 as an NBC affiliate owned by William E. "Bill" Minshall. Originally broadcasting an analog signal on UHF channel 20, its call sign bears the first initials of his family members: Casey (daughter), JoAnn (wife), and himself, Bill. In 1973, just two years after its first broadcast, the station switched its affiliation to ABC, probably because that network held at the time exclusive rights to college football telecasts (which sometimes featured the local Florida Gators). In 1977, WCJB was sold to current owner Diversified Communications. In 2001, it began airing its digital signal on UHF channel 16. WJCB was one of the ABC affiliates that did air Saving Private Ryan in 2004, as Cox-owned Orlando affiliate WFTV preempted the film.
On January 24, 2006, UPN and The WB announced the two networks would cease broadcasting and merge. The new combined operation would be called The CW. The letters would represent the first initial of corporate parents "C"BS (the parent company of UPN) and the "W"arner Bros. unit of Time Warner. On February 22, News Corporation announced it would establish another new network called MyNetworkTV. This new service, which would be a sister network to Fox, would be operated by Fox Television Stations and News Corporation syndication division Twentieth Television. MyNetworkTV was created in order to give UPN and WB stations, not mentioned as becoming CW affiliates, another option besides becoming Independent. It was also created to compete against The CW.
The area's primary WB and secondary UPN affiliate was operated by CBS station WGFL on its second digital subchannel. This used the fictional calls "WBFL" and was known on-air as "WB 10" after the Cox channel location. On September 5, low-powered WMYG-LP (which had been repeating WGFL's main signal) became a separate station and joined MyNetworkTV. On September 18, WCJB launched a new second digital subchannel to be the area's CW affiliate as part of the national CW Plus service. This took the channel location of WGFL-DT2 on Cox systems.
Its coverage area includes Lake City (within the Jacksonville market), Ocala (in the Orlando DMA) and most of North Central Florida. It is also the sole ABC affiliate on cable systems in Live Oak and Jasper (both within the Tallahassee area). Until July 2006, WCJB was the only ABC affiliate seen on Cox systems in Ocala. Even though that city is part of the Orlando market, this station had exclusivity on that system for ABC programming. This kept WFTV, off the system for several years. In that month, the cable company received the green light to pick up WFTV's standard and high definition feeds in Ocala. WFTV and WCJB are also both seen on Bright House Networks in Belleview and unincorporated Marion County.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|20.1||720p||16:9||WCJB-abc||Main WCJB-TV programming / ABC|
|20.2||WCJB-CW||Gainesville CW 10|
WCJB-DT2 upgraded its signal to 720p in June 2012.
WCJB-TV discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over UHF channel 20, on February 17, 2009, the original target date in which full-power television stations in the United States were to transition from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate (which was later pushed back to June 12, 2009). The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 16. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 20.
Originally, WCJB was the only station to operate a news department covering the Gainesville area. As a result, it held the number one spot in Nielsen ratings by a wide margin for most of the station's existence. In addition to its main studios, this station operates a Marion County Bureau on Northeast 1st Avenue in Ocala.
Until the establishment of GTN News in 2010 (now CBS4 News), WCJB had the only local news department on a commercial station - non-commercial WUFT television airs a nightly newscast produced by University of Florida journalism and broadcasting students; and Fox affiliate WOGX simulcasts newscasts from sister station WOFL in Orlando, with no separate local inserts targeted to the Gainesville area.
On April 19, 2009, WCJB debuted a new set complete with updated graphics and music theme which had not changed in almost ten years. The graphics are yellow and orange instead of blue and white. Its updated logo now includes ABC in it unlike the previous two. WCJB began airing local newscasts in high definition on January 9, 2010. Its music theme was later updated in 2012, with a background graphics color change to blue and red. The music theme was then modified on October 22, 2015, and the background graphics was updated on February 1, 2016, showing photos relating to Gainesville and North Central Florida.
From September 18, 2006 until February 2010, it produced a weeknight prime time show on WCJB-DT2. Known as WCJB-TV 20 News at 10 on Gainesville CW, this aired for thirty minutes. The live broadcast was dropped in favor of a repeat of the main channel's 6 o'clock show. Like all CW Plus affiliates in the Eastern Time Zone, WCJB-DT2 continues airing the nationally syndicated show The Daily Buzz on weekday mornings from 6 until 9. During the program, there are local weather cut-ins.
On January 18, 2016, WCJB started airing early evening news at 5:00 p.m. instead of 5:30. The 6:00 newscast remains as scheduled.
On March 29, 2014, the Florida Gators beat the Dayton Flyers 62-52 in the NCAA basketball tournament. Since WCJB is an ABC affiliate and CBS owns the broadcast rights, the network could not show highlights until the day after per NCAA regulation. The news team instead recreated the highlights inside a conference room at the station's studios, using a mini-hoop attached to the wall and the station staff doubling as players.