WFXB is the Fox-affiliated television station for South Carolina's Grand Strand and Pee Dee regions licensed to Myrtle Beach. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 18 (or virtual channel 43.1 via PSIP) from a transmitter on Grices Ferry Court near US 76 east of Mullins. Owned by Bahakel Communications, WFXB has studios on Huger Street in Myrtle Beach (on Myrtle Beach International Airport's western side) and operates an advertising sales office on East Evans Street in Florence.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP short name||Programming|
|43.1||720p||16:9||WFXB-DT||Main WFXB programming / Fox|
|43.2||480i||QVC-Tv||QVC Over The Air|
The station began operation on July 5, 1984 as WGSE, an independent station owned by Carolina Christian Broadcasting. It was the first station in the market licensed to Myrtle Beach. WGSE carried about 2/3 religious shows and 1/3 secular shows. The station's original studios were located on Seaboard Street in Myrtle Beach. One of its programs was Grand Strand Tonight. The religious shows included The PTL Club, Jimmy Swaggart, Richard Roberts, and The 700 Club. It also carried a Christian show called Niteline which initially was produced at then-sister station WGGS-TV in Greenville. Eventually, WGSE began producing a local edition of Niteline as well.
Initially, secular shows ran weekdays from 3 to 8 p.m. and most of Saturday. On Sundays, the station ran strictly Christian programming. It also ran other WGGS produced programs like Beverly Exercise, Peggy Denny, and others. Gradually as WGGS became a full-time Christian station, WGSE began running more of a secular line-up. However, it relied mainly on barter programming. By 1991, it was airing Christian shows from 5 to 7 a.m. and from 10 a.m. to noon. During the rest of the day, the station had a traditional Independent schedule. WGSE aired secular shows after 10 a.m. on Sundays. The station ran a lot of first run barter cartoons family shows, and some talk shows.
WGSE became a charter WB affiliate on January 11, 1995. Carolina Christian Broadcasting sold the station to James McGregor Everett in 1996. At this point, the religious shows were dropped except for a few on Sunday mornings. In 1997, after The WB announced it would only air on cable outside the top-100 markets, WGSE became a Fox affiliate and changed its call letters to the current WFXB. Prior to 1997, Florence/Myrtle Beach had been the only area of South Carolina, and one of the few in the Eastern Time Zone, without an over-the-air Fox affiliate. Area cable systems piped in Wilmington, North Carolina's WSFX-TV, as the area's default Fox affiliate (it identified as "Wilmington/Florence/Myrtle Beach") or Columbia's WACH. The station kept a secondary WB affiliation for another two years, when a cable-only affiliate under the fictitious calls "WFWB" was added to most of the area's cable systems. The WB aired in pattern via cable on WGN-TV until 1999. By this point, more talk and reality shows as well as recent sitcoms were added. Children's programming left the station in 2002 when Fox ended its weekday kids block. Current owner Bahakel Communications bought WFXB in 2006 and dropped the remaining WB shows from the schedule. In late-February 2009, the station added a 24-hour local weather service on a new third digital subchannel and area cable systems. On June 7, 2011 WFXB began transmission of the 43.4 subchannel as a MeTV affiliate.
Until WMBF-TV signed on in 2008, WFXB was the only station in the market licensed in the Grand Strand.
In 2004, WFXB entered into a news share agreement with CBS affiliate WBTW (owned by Media General). This partnership resulted in a 35 minute prime time broadcast to debut on weeknights known as Fox 43 News at 10. In 2006, the program title changed to Fox News at 10. During Summer 2007, WBTW moved the majority of its operations to new studios in Myrtle Beach. A smaller facility at the same location had been serving as a news bureau since 1989 but was demolished in early-2007 in order to construct the expanded facility. During the move, the station continued operating from its original studios on TV Road in the Back Swamp section north of Quinby, near Florence.
A physical Lumberton Bureau staffed with a reporter closed in 2007. In March 2008, WBTW converted its news operation to all-digital. The revamp included new graphics, sets, robotic studio cameras, and newscasts in 16:9 High-Definition widescreen. Although not true high definition, broadcasts match the aspect ratio of HD television screens. At the time, WFXB's weeknight show was not upgraded to the new format. In early-2009, WBTW shifted to the "digital journalism" model. It reduced the use of two person news gathering teams and each reporter must now shoot the majority of video and produce the story. While sounding new, the concept is actually a return to the days of yesteryear for WBTW which often used "one-man-band" reporters in the 1980s and 1990s.
That station operates a weather radar of its own on the northwestern side of the US 501/SC 41 interchange in Rains. It also features live, NOAA National Weather Service radar data from several regional sites. During the weeknight weather forecast segments on WFXB, these two sources are known together as "Storm Tracker 13 Titan". On December 1, 2011, WBTW began producing an hour-long newscast for WFXB airing on weekday mornings at 7 a.m. titled Fox Morning News. That has since been expanded to two hours.