WCBD-TV is the NBC-affiliated television station for the Lowcountry area of South Carolina licensed to Charleston. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 50 from a transmitter in Awendaw. Owned by Media General, it has studios on West Coleman Boulevard (U.S. 701 Bus/U.S. 17 Bus/SC 703) in Mount Pleasant.
The station signed on the air as WUSN-TV on September 25, 1954. The station was originally owned by Drayton Hastie. It aired an analog signal VHF channel 2 and was originally an NBC affiliate with a secondary ABC affiliation. Hastie sold the station to Reeves Telecom in 1960. It shared ABC programming with WCSC-TV until 1962, when WCIV signed-on and took the NBC affiliation. WUSN then became a full-time ABC affiliate. During the late-1950s, it was also briefly affiliated with the NTA Film Network. In 1971, Reeves then sold Channel 2 to State Telecasting Company. On November 8, 1971, the station adopted its current call letters, WCBD standing for Charleston, Berkeley, and Dorchester Counties (the three counties in the Charleston metropolitan area). Current owner Media General bought the station from State Telecasting in 1983. It remained the market's ABC affiliate until August 19, 1996, when it swapped affiliations with WCIV and became an NBC affiliate once again. This was a result of an affiliation deal between ABC and WCIV's owner, Allbritton Communications.
On January 27, 2016, Media General announced that it had entered into a definite agreement to be acquired by Nexstar Broadcasting Group for $4.6 billion. The combined company will be known as Nexstar Media Group and own 171 stations (including WCBD-TV).
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|2.1||1080i||16:9||WCBD-HD||Main WCBD-TV programming / NBC|
|2.2||720p||eCBD-CW||Lowcountry CW 14|
Starting on September 18, 2006, the station began airing The CW on a new second digital subchannel.
WCBD-TV shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 2, on June 12, 2009, as part of the federally mandated transition from analog to digital television. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 50, using PSIP to display WCBD-TV's virtual channel as 2 on digital television receivers.
WCBD spent most of the 1970s and 1980s in last place until Media General bought the station in 1983. Since then, it has been a solid runner-up to longtime leader WCSC. WCBD offers more than 30 hours of news per week. Each newscasts focus on WCBD's signature elements that have become a staple in the Lowcountry; Storm Team 2, CrimeTracker, Count on 2 Medical Report, Count on 2 School Report, Count on 2 Sports,Drive Time Traffic and Reality Check.
WCBD airs a newscast Saturday nights at 7 but, unlike WCSC and WCIV, does not offer a broadcast at the same time on weeknights. The first HD telecasts was on July 29, 2012, making it the last Lowcountry station to go HD. WCBD started a weekend morning newscast that airs on Saturday and Sunday at 9:00am. In addition to its main studios, WCBD also operates a bureau located on Assembly Street/SC 48 covering the Capitol in Columbia. The operating expenses are shared among Media General's outlets in South Carolina.