WVAW-LD is the low-powered ABC-affiliated television station for Charlottesville, Virginia. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 16 from a transmitter on Carters Mountain. The station can also be seen on Comcast channel 3 and in high definition on digital channel 803. Owned by Gray Television, WVAW is sister to CBS affiliate WCAV and low-powered Fox affiliate WAHU-CD.
All three share studios, known as the "Charlottesville Newsplex", on 2nd Street Southeast in Downtown Charlottesville. In addition, some behind-the-scenes duties are run alongside that of sister station WHSV-TV in Harrisonburg (which the "Newsplex" has a resource sharing alliance with).
What is now WVAW-LD originally began in 1979 on analog UHF channel 64 with the call sign W64AO. The station was a low-powered repeater of WHSV, which was the area's default ABC affiliate even though Richmond's WRIC-TV puts a strong signal into Charlottesville. In 2004, W64AO moved to UHF channel 16, gained the WVAW-LP call letters, and became the market's first ABC affiliate not long after WCAV signed-on. However, it was still officially licensed as a translator station according to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
In early 2005 after the launch of WCAV and WVAW, Gray Television launched a third station in the area, Fox affiliate WAHU-CA. Since 2006, the three have been the official flagships of University of Virginia sports. WVAW was temporarily taken off-the-air by a fire on its transmitter tower at the top of Carters Mountain on November 9, 2006. The signal was restored on November 13. On December 28, WVAW moved to Comcast channel 3.
Of all of the Richmond and Washington stations replaced on the main tier for the new Charlottesville ABC, CBS, and Fox affiliates, only WTTG survived. On Comcast digital cable, Richmond channels include WRIC and WTVR-TV. WUSA is not on digital cable nor is any other district station. Other Comcast systems north and west of Charlottesville do pick up Washington and Richmond locals either on the main tier or digital lineup. On October 27, 2009, WVAW's digital transmitter had a glitch over-the-air. The signal was put on WAHU-DT2 for a short time and the problem was fixed a day later.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|16.1||720p||16:9||ABC16||Main WVAW-LD programming / ABC|
WVAW shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 16, on February 16, 2009, and "flash-cut" its digital signal into operation on UHF channel 16. It also changed its calls to the current WVAW-LD with "LD" standing for low-powered digital.
WVAW and its sister stations employ the largest television news team dedicated exclusively to the Charlottesville market. While WVIR dedicates some staff to adjacent areas, WVAW focuses its coverage solely on the counties that comprise the Charlottesville viewing area. As the primary station in the "Charlottesville Newsplex" operation, WCAV airs the most newscasts. WVAW simulcasts the second hour of Good Morning Charlottesville on weekday mornings (6:00-7:00 a.m.), CBS19 News weeknights at 5:00, 5:30 and 6:00, and 19News Nightcast weeknights at 11:00 p.m.