WVIR-TV is the NBC-affiliated television station for Charlottesville, Virginia. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 32 from a transmitter on Carters Mountain south of Charlottesville. The station can also be seen on Comcast channel 4 and in high definition on digital channel 211. Owned by the Waterman Broadcasting Corporation, WVIR has studios on East Market Street (US 250 Bus) in Downtown Charlottesville.

WVIR is the default NBC affiliate for the Harrisonburg/Staunton market, which doesn't have an NBC affiliate of its own. However, Washington, D.C.'s WRC-TV, Richmond's WWBT and Roanoke's WSLS can be seen on different cable providers as well.

History

It signed-on March 11, 1973 as the first television station based in Charlottesville and second outlet (after WHSV-TV) between Richmond and Roanoke. In 1986, Waterman Broadcasting purchased the station. Until August 15, 2004, it was the only full-power commercial outlet in the Charlottesville market affiliated with a major network with outside stations being seen on cable and over-the-air. On that date, WCAV signed-on becoming the area's first CBS affiliate and first station to mount a challenge against WVIR.

As part of the analog nightlight service, the station was required by the FCC to leave its analog signal on-air for two months after the end of digital transition at an estimated cost to the station of $20,000 to broadcast an endless loop of instructional video on digital converter box installation. This was interrupted daily to carry local newscasts.[2]

Every year, WVIR holds an annual telethon to help raise money for University of Virginia Health System's Children's Hospital. The telethon, as part of the Children's Miracle Network, is held at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. The broadcast consists of current and former WVIR on-air staff answering phones and talking to patients at the hospital.

WVIR is a sister station to fellow NBC affiliate WBBH-TV (company flagship) and ABC affiliate WZVN-TV (operated by Waterman through LMA) in Fort Myers, Florida.

In addition to WVIR, Comcast systems offer WWBT Richmond on digital channel 194.

In popular culture

The WVIR Dateline News set with former News Director/weeknight anchor Dave Cupp and meteorologist Robert Van Winkle were featured in the Dave Matthews Band video "Everyday" released in 2001.

Its call letters were featured in a sketch on episode of Saturday Night Live on October 7, 2006; however, no references of Charlottesville or its surrounding counties were given.[3]

The station is featured in the 2007 film Evan Almighty; portions of that film were filmed in Charlottesville and a few other communities within WVIR's viewing area.

Digital television

Digital channels

The station's digital signal is multiplexed:

ChannelVideoAspectPSIP Short NameProgramming[4]
29.11080i16:9NBC29HDMain WVIR-TV programming / NBC
29.2480iNBC29WPWeatherNation TV
29.3720pCW 29CW 29

On September 18, 2006, this channel launched a new second digital subchannel to be the area's CW affiliate. On September 13, 2007, WVIR began offering NBC Weather Plus on that digital subchannel resulting in The CW moving to a new third subchannel. WVIR-DT3 often pre-empts programming from The CW Plus in order to air local shows. In December 2008, the national Weather Plus feed on 29.2 was shut down and a local weather channel programmed by WVIR was added in its place until March 30, 2015 when it became the newest affiliate of WeatherNation TV.[5]

On October 17, 2012 WVIR-DT3 upgraded to 720p HD.

Analog-to-digital conversion

WVIR-TV shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 29, at 12:30 p.m. 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 32.[6][7] Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 29.

Repeaters

In addition to the main signal, WVIR can be seen on two digital translators.

Call lettersChannelCity of licenseTransmitter location
30HarrisonburgMassanutten Peak
41BridgewaterElliott Knob

Programming

Syndicated programming on the station includes: Wheel of Fortune, Live! with Kelly and Michael, Jeopardy! and Dr. Phil.

News operation

WVIR's news department covers both the immediate Charlottesville region and the Shenandoah Valley. In addition to its main studios, WVIR operates a bureau in The News Virginian newsroom (owned by BH Media) in Waynesboro and a sales office in Staunton. Newscasts on WVIR's primary channel have been broadcast in HD since April 2008.

Although the station does not operate a weather radar of its own, WVIR features live NOAA National Weather Service radar data from several regional sites. This is presented in a forecasting system on-air known as "Storm Team 29 Live Triple Doppler". It also offers local weather to computer users via the WeatherBug service. All weekday broadcasts except the prime time news at 10 are streamed live on WVIR's website. In September 2011, NBC29 News at Sunrise was extended which now airs from 4:30 AM to 7 AM.

Two newscasts air on WVIR-DT3, the nationally syndicated morning show The Daily Buzz on weekday mornings from 6 until 9, and a locally originated 10 PM newscast branded as "NBC 29 News at 10" that largely mirrors content shown on the primary channel. These newscasts, like all programming on WVIR-DT3, air in standard definition.

On October 17, 2012 when WVIR-DT3 upgraded to HD the 10:00 pm newscast is now in HD as well.

Notable alumni