WGSA is the CW-affiliated television station for Georgia's Coastal Empire and South Carolina's Lowcountry that is licensed to Baxley, Georgia. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 35 (or virtual channel 35.1 via PSIP) from a transmitter on Fort Argyle Road/SR 204 in western unincorporated Chatham County, Georgia. Locally-owned by the Southern TV Corporation, the station has studios on Mall Boulevard in Savannah's Skyland Terrace section. Syndicated programming on WGSA includes Access Hollywood, The Insider, 30 Rock, and Everybody Loves Raymond among others.
The station signed-on as WUBI on May 1, 1992 and aired an analog signal on UHF channel 35. It was an Independent at first but joined The WB in 1995 and became known as "WB 34". From 1997 until 1998, The WB's programming was only seen on cable and satellite providers in the Baxley and Savannah areas via the Chicago-based national superstation WGN. From 1998 onwards, WGN was displaced on those providers and was replaced with a cable-only WB-affiliated station using the fictional call letters "WBVH" (known on air as "WB 15") as a member of The WB 100+ Station Group. The station later joined UPN in early-1997 as "UPN 13" (using the station's cable channel for branding) after ABC affiliate WJCL originally carried UPN as a secondary affiliate.
During the analog era, WGSA's transmitter was located on the western fringe of the Savannah market and was too far away to provide most of the area with a good signal. As a result, it was seen in Savannah itself on WGSA-CA. That repeater was originally W34BO and was assigned in mid-November 1992 on channel 34 but the frequency proved problematic. It became WUBI-LP on channel 38 in late-April 1996 but there were still reception problems. It became WGSA-LP on channel 50 in mid-September 1998 with a further upgrade to Class A (-CA) status in August 2001. The WGSA-CA license was cancelled by the FCC on February 3, 2015, due to the station having been silent since May 2, 2012.
In January 2006, it was announced that The WB and UPN would end operations in September 2006 to form The CW, a combination of the best programs from both networks. It was made public on April 23 that WGSA would affiliate with The CW. In response to this announcement, Comcast removed "WBVH" from its channel lineup. Its successor, The CW Plus, is affiliated with WGCW, a low power station co-owned with WGSA on channel 38 and available exclusively on Comcast channel 240 as part of their digital lineup. WGCW is also available ove-the-air on channel WGSA-DT2.
WGSA had a modified construction permit for digital television on 35 which made it high-power for the first time and put the station's transmitter site just west of Savannah. On September 28, 2007, the Savannah Morning News reported after years of being the only local station Comcast rebroadcast from an over-the-air signal, WGSA had a fiber-optic cable placed into their master control connecting directly to the cable company giving the station a much clearer signal.
Upcoming loss of CW affiliation
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|35.1||1080i||16:9||WGSA-HD||Main WGSA programming / The CW|
|35.2||480i||4:3||WGCW-CW||Simulcast of WGCW-LP|
WGSA shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 34, 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 broadcasts on its pre-transition UHF channel 35.
|Call letters||Channel||City of license||Transmitter location|
|25||Statesboro||unincorporated Bulloch County, southwest of Brooklet|
|32||Beaufort, South Carolina||Burton, South Carolina|
|41||Hinesville/Richmond Hill||northern unincorporated Long County, southwest of Smiley Crossroads|
In-early October 2013, WGSA established a news share agreement with NBC affiliate WSAV-TV (owned by Media General). The arrangement resulted in a prime time newscast debuting on this station. Known on-air as WSAV News 3 at 10, the program can be seen for thirty minutes on weeknights. It was effectively "moved" from previously airing at 7 p.m. on MyNetworkTV & MeTV outlet WSAV-DT2. With the switch to 10 o'clock, the show now broadcasts in high definition on WGSA and can be seen through a standard definition simulcast on WSAV-DT2. The newscast is also streamed live on WSAV's website.