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Atlanta, Georgia
United States
BrandingChannel 2 (general)
Channel 2 Action News (newscasts)
  • Coverage You Can Count On
  • (primary)
  • Live. Local. Late Breaking.
  • (secondary)
ChannelsDigital: 32 (UHF)
Virtual: 2 (PSIP)
OwnerCox Media Group
(Georgia Television, LLC)
First air dateSeptember 29, 1948 (71 years ago) (1948-09-29)
Call letters' meaningWelcome South Brother (derived from sister station WSB radio)
Sister station(s)WALR-FM, WSB, WSB-FM, WSBB-FM, WSRV
Former channel number(s)
  • Analog:
  • 8 (VHF, 1948–1950)
  • 2 (VHF, 1950–2009)
  • Digital:
  • 39 (UHF, 1999–2019)
Former affiliations
Transmitter power305 kW (STA)
869 kW (CP)
Height328 m (1,076 ft) (STA)
326 m (1,070 ft) (CP)
Facility ID23960
Transmitter coordinates33°45′51″N 84°21′42″W / 33.76417°N 84.36167°W / 33.76417; -84.36167 (WSB-TV tower)Coordinates: 33°45′51″N 84°21′42″W / 33.76417°N 84.36167°W / 33.76417; -84.36167 (WSB-TV tower)
Licensing authorityFCC
Public license informationProfile

WSB-TV, virtual channel 2 (UHF digital channel 32), is an ABC-affiliated television station licensed to Atlanta, Georgia, United States. It is the flagship television property of the Cox Media Group subsidiary of locally based Cox Enterprises, which has owned the station since its inception in 1948. Cox also publishes The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and owns sister radio stations WSB (750 AM), WSB-FM (98.5 MHz), WSBB-FM (95.5 MHz), WSRV (97.1 FM) and WALR-FM (104.1 MHz). The stations share studios at the WSB Television and Radio Group building on West Peachtree Street in Midtown Atlanta; WSB-TV's transmitter is located on the border of the city's Poncey-Highland and Old Fourth Ward neighborhoods.

On cable, the station is available in standard definition on channel 3 on Comcast Xfinity and channel 2 on Charter Spectrum, and in high definition on Xfinity channel 803 and Spectrum channel 702.


WSB-TV first began broadcasting on September 29, 1948, originally broadcasting on channel 8. It is the second-oldest station south of Washington, D.C.; only Richmond, Virginia's WTVR-TV (channel 6) is older. The station was founded by James M. Cox, publisher of The Atlanta Journal, and who also owned WSB radio (AM 750 and 104.5 FM, now on 98.5 FM). Cox owned WSB AM-FM-TV under the banner of Miami Valley Broadcasting Inc., which later changed its name to the current Cox Enterprises. The station was originally a primary NBC affiliate, owing to its radio sister's longtime affiliation with NBC Radio. It also carried some ABC programming (from 1949, shared with WAGA-TV, channel 5) until WLTV (channel 8; now WXIA-TV, channel 11) signed on in 1951.

At that time, its present channel 2 allocation was licensed to the Journal's rival newspaper The Atlanta Constitution, who had a construction permit for WCON-TV there. In 1950, the two newspapers merged. At the time, the Federal Communications Commission did not allow one entity to own two television stations in the same market. As a result, WSB-TV and WCON-TV merged. The merged station operated under WSB-TV's license but used the stronger channel 2. This proved to be a fortunate decision, as the FCC later collapsed a large and mostly mountainous swath of northern Georgia into the Atlanta market. The channel 8 allocation was eventually given to WLWA as an ABC affiliate. When that station moved to channel 11 in 1953, channel 8 was reserved as a non-commercial educational allocation by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and is now WGTV, a PBS member station, and also the flagship television station of Georgia Public Broadcasting.

In 1956, the WSB stations moved into the noted "White Columns" building, designed and built according to the Colonial Revival style, a defining characteristic of Atlanta architecture.[2] They would remain there for 43 years, until a much more modernist concrete and glass facility was built adjacent to it (on the same property) in 1998. The new building, which has been dubbed "Digital White Columns" by some, is located just off Atlanta's famed Peachtree Street, on the dead-end northern portion of West Peachtree Street which is actually east of Peachtree Street. This is near the Brookwood Hills area, and just east of the "Brookwood split", a highway interchange where the Downtown Connector splits into Interstates 75 and 85 on the north end. The older building was razed shortly after the new building was occupied. The original columns that stood on the front portico of the old building were placed in a garden area alongside the new building. Brand new white columns have been placed inside the glass-enclosed lobby of the newer building. WSB-TV is located less than one block south of the building formerly utilized by WXIA when that station moved its operations to WATL's studios in 2008.

In December 1965, WSB was the first television station in Georgia to broadcast live in color, beginning with Ruth Kent's Today in Georgia program.[3]

In 1972, the station aired the name of a murdered rape victim in violation of Georgia's shield law. The U.S. Supreme Court overturned the law in Cox Broadcasting Corp. v. Cohn in 1975.

ABC was the highest-rated network for most of the late 1970s and, at that time, was looking for stronger affiliates across the country, including Atlanta. ABC's longtime Atlanta outlet, WXIA, frequently traded second place with WAGA. However, WSB-TV was the far-and-away market leader despite being affiliated with last-place NBC. In June 1980, WSB announced that it would drop NBC and affiliate with ABC; WXIA subsequently agreed to join NBC. Some network daytime shows changed stations in August, while the full affiliation switch occurred on Sept. 1. In January 1986, the station debuted the current number "2" logo it continues to use to this day.

On March 12, 2011, WSB-TV and WGCL-TV turned on their ATSC-M/H signals for the first time, becoming the first stations in the Atlanta area to offer Mobile DTV broadcasts.

The station has carried games featuring the Atlanta Falcons on Monday Night Football since 2006 when it moved from ABC to ESPN under a syndication arrangement, to provide a local broadcast outlet for those games (it also aired Falcons games as an NBC station from 1970 to 1979 whenever the team played at home against an AFC opponent).

Sale to Apollo Global Management[edit]

On July 24, 2018, WSB-TV parent Cox Enterprises announced that it was "exploring strategic options" for Cox Media Group's television stations, which the company said could involve "partnering or merging these stations into a larger TV company."[4] Cox Media Group's president, Kim Guthrie, subsequently clarified to trade publication Radio & Television Business Report that the company was solely seeking "a merger or partnership" and not an outright sale of the television stations.[5]

In February 2019, it was announced that Apollo Global Management would acquire Cox Media Group and Northwest Broadcasting's stations.[6][7] Although the group planned to operate under the name Terrier Media, it was later announced in June 2019 that Apollo would also acquire Cox's radio and advertising businesses, and retain the Cox Media Group name.[8]

Digital television[edit]

Digital channels[edit]

The station's digital signal is multiplexed:

Gainesville Athens Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[1]
2.1 2.4 2.7 720p 16:9 WSB-HD Main WSB-TV programming / ABC
2.2 2.5 2.8 480i BOUNCE Bounce TV
2.3 2.6 2.9 LAFF Laff[9]
DT2 logo during MeTV affiliation.

WSB's digital channel went on the air on April 17, 1998, making it one of the first regular-service digital television stations in the country. The over-the-air digital subchannel 2.2 started carrying the Retro Television Network on January 28, 2008.[10] Prior to this, the channel was blank, or later with a small station ID in the lower corner. RTV programming was replaced with MeTV on June 1, 2011. Later on March 25, 2017, MeTV was replaced with Escape and on September 25, 2017, Escape was replaced with Bounce TV.

WSB-TV also has a mobile DTV feed of subchannel 2.1, labelled "WSB MH", broadcasting at 1.83 Mbit/s.[11][12]

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

WSB-TV shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 2, on June 12, 2009, at 12:30 p.m., during a live broadcast from the station's transmitter room on the noon newscast, as part of the federally mandated transition from analog to digital television.[13] The switchover was led by Don McClellan, who was celebrating his 50th year at the station. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 39,[14] using PSIP to display WSB-TV's virtual channel as 2 on digital television receivers.

During late August and into September 2009, the station removed its analog transmitter from the top of the tower, and moved its side-mounted digital antenna up from its previous lower location on the tower.

In September 2019, WSB-TV was forced to change from physical channel 39 (621.31 MHz) down to 32 (589.31 MHz) as a result of the spectrum incentive auction, which revoked channels 38 to 51 from the UHF TV bandplan, repacking those stations into channels 2 to 36. This change occurred for WSB at 9 a.m. on September 6, which was ATSC tuner "rescan day" for most stations in the Atlanta media market. As of 8 September 2019, it is operating at a lower power on special temporary authority until it can make changes to its antenna to accommodate the 5% longer wavelength of its new lower carrier frequency.[15] Eventually, WSB-TV was moved further to physical channel 14 sometime in late September.[16]

Broadcast translators[edit]

City of license Callsign/channel Transmitter power Coordinates
Athens WSB-TV 31 5,000 watts 34°7′32″N 83°51′32″W / 34.12556°N 83.85889°W / 34.12556; -83.85889
Gainesville WSB-TV 46 9,000 watts 32°55′51″N 83°47′0″W / 32.93083°N 83.78333°W / 32.93083; -83.78333
Newnan WSB-TV 17 10,000 watts (CP) 33°24′43″N 84°50′3″W / 33.41194°N 84.83417°W / 33.41194; -84.83417 (CP)
Rome WSB-TV 14 1,000 watts (application) 34°14′2″N 85°13′50″W / 34.23389°N 85.23056°W / 34.23389; -85.23056 (application)

In March 2009, the station filed applications for two digital fill-in translators (both of which also carry the WSB-TV callsign), due to expected loss of signal strength toward the east and northeast of Atlanta as a result of the shortcomings of the ATSC digital broadcast standard. The station's Gainesville-licensed translator broadcasts on UHF channel 46, and began operations on June 26. It is located on the same radio tower as Cox's WSRV FM and WSBB-FM, and reaches as far into Atlanta's north-northeastern suburbs as Lilburn. The Athens-licensed translator broadcasts on UHF channel 31, with its transmitter located southwest of Winder, and its signal also reaches as far west as Lilburn. WSB-TV requested special temporary authority to begin immediate operation of these stations, pending approval of its regular applications.

The signal coverage of both stations largely overlap with one another, and are almost entirely within the estimated coverage area of the main station, however distributed transmission (on-channel boosters) will not be used. The translators are intended to overcome the terrain obstructions caused by Stone Mountain to the east of the WSB transmitter, and were in operation by January 2011. The Athens station uses virtual channels 2.5 and 2.6 instead of 2.1 and 2.2, while the Gainesville station uses 2.7 and 2.8, allowing viewers to choose whichever station whose signal is better receivable at a given time (certain ATSC tuners may have trouble with two stations using the same virtual channel, and even if not, the user would have to enter the channel number and press "channel-up" or "channel-down" buttons to access the alternates, which would not be separately labeled or identified by the tuner).

In late June 2009, the station also applied for a translator on channel 14 just southwest of Rome. That translator would cover a significant portion of northwest Georgia from the same tower as WQTU (102.3 FM) and WSRM (93.5 FM), and the same site as WGPB (97.7 FM), W212AR (90.3 FM), and W215BA (90.9 FM).[17] There is no STA request for this station however, and as of September 2011 it is still listed as only an application. In October 2010, WSB-TV applied for and later received a construction permit for another translator southwest of Atlanta in Newnan on channel 17. This translator will be co-located on the same tower as Cox-owned WALR-FM (104.1), and less than .25 miles (0.40 km) west of another tower holding WBZY (105.3 FM; which is not owned by Cox).[18]


WSB-TV carries most of the ABC lineup in pattern. ABC World News Tonight is broadcast a half-hour later (at 7 p.m.) than most ABC stations in the Eastern Time Zone, due to an hour-long 6 p.m. newscast. The network's Sunday morning talk show, This Week, airs on a two-hour delay to accommodate the station's Sunday morning newscast. Prior to September 2015, WSB-TV has preempted America This Morning due to another half-hour of World News Now until the start of the station's morning newscast. Syndicated programs broadcast by WSB-TV include Live with Kelly and Ryan, Right This Minute, Daily Mail TV, The Kelly Clarkson Show and Entertainment Tonight among others.

As an NBC affiliate, WSB-TV preempted programs airing from 12 PM to 2 PM in favor of airing a motion picture presentation during that time. It would also air at least one film from its lineup in primetime, and it would also preempt the non-NFL-related NBC Sports programs in favor of carrying still another film, plus The Lawrence Welk Show.[19] WSB-TV continued this practice as late as 2007, when it reportedly preempted a telecast of the Pixar film Finding Nemo in favor of the Ron Howard-directed comedy Parenthood.[20]

The station was the original local television broadcaster of the relocated Atlanta Braves baseball team, carrying the games from 1966 to 1972, until the Braves telecasts moved to WTCG (now WPCH-TV) in 1973. Its sister AM station was the longtime radio flagship of the Braves, carrying the broadcasts for 38 out of the 46 years that the franchise has been in Atlanta, dating back to 1966. Ernie Johnson, Sr., a former Braves pitcher and father of his namesake Turner Sports broadcaster, with future Hall of Fame announcer Milo Hamilton (who simultaneously pulled double-duty anchoring Channel 2's sportscasts during this time) were the main announcers for what was then the largest television network in the history of baseball.

News operation[edit]

WSB-TV presently broadcasts 45 hours, 25 minutes of locally produced newscasts each week (with 7 hours, 5 minutes each weekday, 4½ hours on Saturdays and 5½ hours on Sundays).

Local news programming has had a strong presence on channel 2 since its debut, and it has led the news ratings in Atlanta for as long as records have been kept. WSB-TV is one of the few Big Three affiliates to carry a midday newscast on weekends (sister stations WFTV Orlando, WSOC-TV Charlotte and WHIO-TV Dayton also offer a half-hour noon newscast on weekends).[21]In addition, WSB-TV's weekend newscast output is larger than that of Fox owned-and-operated station WAGA-TV (channel 5), which offers a larger overall weekly (and weekday) newscast output than WSB-TV.

WSB-TV became the second station in the Atlanta market (behind WXIA-TV) and the second Cox-owned station (behind Orlando's WFTV) to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition. The first HD broadcast was on September 27, 2006; during its noon broadcast. With the switch came a new HD-ready set and a graphics package designed by Giant Octopus.

In mid-November 2009, reporter Tom Jones and a cameraman escaped serious injury when the telescoping radio mast of their electronic news-gathering van (holding a microwave antenna for the remote pickup unit used for outside broadcasting) contacted 115-kilovolt high-voltage powerlines while leaving the Fulton County Jail. Georgia Power staff were surprised that anyone survived, but the two were treated for minor burns and smoke inhalation at Grady Memorial Hospital and released later in the day. The massive electric spark caused an explosion, left a crater underneath the van, arced to and broke a water main, and caused a brief power outage; the vehicle was a total loss.[22][23][24]

In August 2018, WSB-TV added two additional hours to its weekday morning newscast during Good Morning America, an expansion exclusive to its 24-hour streaming channel, WSB NOW, available on its website and apps.[25]

Notable current on-air staff[edit]

Notable former on-air staff[edit]

Out-of-market coverage[edit]

In northwest Georgia, it was carried in some of the counties covered by the Chattanooga DMA: Catoosa, Dade, Murray, and Walker, but remains on line-ups in Whitfield County. WSB is carried in the far northeast Georgia counties in the Greenville/Spartanburg/Asheville DMA in Elbert, Franklin, Hart and Stephens counties.

In central Georgia, WSB-TV was available to subscribers of co-owned cable provider Cox Communications in the Macon area, although ABC programming was usually blacked out by another local ABC affiliate, WGXA. Given the long distance to Middle Georgia, it was likely that WSB-TV was uplinked to the AMC-10 TV satellite. WSB was also carried in Vidalia in the Savannah DMA.

In south Georgia (as far south as the Florida border), it was carried on Cox Communications, and virtually all TCI, later Mediacom systems, with the exception of the Columbus operation due to a historical lack of an ABC affiliate in the Albany media market covering southwest Georgia. Since the market's NBC affiliate WALB began carrying ABC on its 10.2 digital subchannel in 2010, WSB has been dropped by almost all systems. Given the long distance to South Georgia, it was likely that WSB-TV was uplinked to the AMC-10 TV satellite. Charter Communications also carried WSB for its subscribers in the town of Douglas in Coffee County.

In western North Carolina it is carried in the Cherokee County town of Murphy, alongside Asheville, North Carolina ABC affiliate WLOS.

In northeast Alabama, it was carried on the cable systems in Gadsden (Comcast) and Anniston (New Channel now Cable One) in the 80s.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Digital TV Market Listing for WSB". RabbitEars.Info. Archived from the original on February 11, 2017. Retrieved January 26, 2017.
  2. ^ "'White Columns'...WSB's Fabulous New Home". Atlanta Journal and Constitution Magazine. 7 November 1956. Archived from the original on 3 October 2018.
  3. ^ Gray, Dick (December 17, 1965). "WSB-TV Pioneers with Colorcast". Atlanta Journal.
  4. ^ Simon, Mollie (July 24, 2018). "Cox Enterprises looks to sell its TV stations". Atlanta Business Chronicle. Retrieved July 24, 2018.
  5. ^ Jacobson, Adam (July 24, 2018). "Cox On The Block: TV 'Merger or Partnership' Confirmed". Radio & Television Business Report. Archived from the original on July 25, 2018. Retrieved July 25, 2018.
  6. ^ "Apollo Global Management Acquires Cox's Television Stations Plus Radio & Newspapers In Dayton". RadioInsight. February 15, 2019. Archived from the original on February 16, 2019. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
  7. ^ Jessell, Harry A. (March 6, 2019). "Cox TV Valued At $3.1 Billion In Apollo Acquisition". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheckMedia LLC. Archived from the original on March 7, 2019. Retrieved March 6, 2019.
  8. ^ Jacobson, Adam (June 26, 2019). "It's Official: Cox Radio, Gamut, CoxReps Going To Apollo". Radio & Television Business Report. Archived from the original on June 26, 2019. Retrieved June 26, 2019.
  9. ^ Exclusive: Cox Gets Joke And Gives Viewers LAFF Archived 2015-03-15 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ Atlanta Business Chronicle (2007-11-20). "TV classics come to WSB with RTN". American City Business Journals, Inc. Archived from the original on 2008-03-21. Retrieved 2007-12-12.
  11. ^ Mobile DTV Service List Archived 2012-03-05 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ "Mobile DTV Signal Map from the National Association of Broadcasters". Archived from the original on 2016-10-17. Retrieved 2012-03-24.
  13. ^ List of Digital Full-Power Stations
  14. ^ CDBS Print
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-02-21. Retrieved 2014-02-04.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  16. ^
  17. ^ [1]
  18. ^ [2]
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^ This article requires some articles that prove its verity and credibility since April 2016.
  22. ^ News photographer, reporter escape serious injury in ENG van accident Archived 2018-07-31 at the Wayback Machine, Broadcast Engineering, November 24, 2009.
  23. ^ WSB-TV employees survive truck explosion Archived 2018-07-31 at the Wayback Machine, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, November 18, 2009.
  24. ^ TV ENG Van Explodes Archived 2018-08-01 at the Wayback Machine, TVTechnology, November 19, 2009.
  25. ^ "WSB has expanded its morning news, but only for those with streaming devices". Changing Newscasts. August 2, 2018. Archived from the original on August 15, 2018. Retrieved August 15, 2018.
  26. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-07-07. Retrieved 2007-06-30.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  27. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2007-06-30.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  28. ^ "Ukee Washington biography". KYW-TV. Archived from the original on 28 September 2013. Retrieved 26 September 2013.

External links[edit]