WWAY TV3

Introduction

On Oct. 30, 1964, WWAY signed on as the second television station in Wilmington. The station was owned by several Wilmington area business men who formed Cape Fear Telecasting. WWAY has been an ABC affiliate from its very first day.

The station’s original home was on the 10th floor of the Murchison Building in downtown Wilmington, which provided beautiful vistas of downtown, Brunswick County and the Battleship North Carolina just across the Cape Fear River.

With studios today located on N. Front Street across from Cape Fear Community College’s downtown campus, WWAY currently serves New Hanover County, Brunswick County, Bladen County, Columbus County and Pender County.

In 1968, Cape Fear sold WWAY to Clay Broadcasting (later to become Clay Communications). In 1987 Clay sold its broadcasting interests, including WWAY, to Price Communications, setting off a revolving door of owners over the course of the next two decades. In 1988, Price sold WWAY to Adams Television who flipped the station to Hillside Broadcasting a few years later. Hillside then sold WWAY to Cosmos Broadcasting, a subsidiary of the Liberty Corporation, in 1999. That company sold off its insurance interests two years later bringing WWAY directly under the Liberty banner. In 2005, Liberty merged with Raycom Media. Due to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) duopoly rules that do not allow common ownership of two of the four largest stations in a single market, WWAY was sold to current owner Morris Multimedia in 2006.

On May 8, 2008, the FCC announced that Wilmington had been selected as a test market for the 2009 national digital television transition. Five stations in Wilmington, including WWAY, agreed to voluntarily cease analog broadcasting on Sept. 8, 2008. WWAY made its transition from analog to digital at noon on that date.

On June 15, 2008, WWAY started broadcasting the Retro Television Network on its second digital channel. This had previously served as a 24-hour local weather channel.

In 2013, WWAY announced that it would add The CW on a digital subchannel; the channel, which is known as “The Cape Fear CW,” launched on September 30, 2013.

 

Videos

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2010 – Present

Highlights

In 2012, WWAY was one of the first stations in Wilmington to utilize cell-phone signals to transmit a live feed using the Dejero Live-to-air broadcasting system. This essential upgrade allowed WWAY to transmit a live signal from anywhere in the country without the need of a live truck or microwave transmitter. The Dejero system is the size of a briefcase and weighs around 15 pounds.

In 2013, WWAY said goodbye to its old-fashioned studio set and opted for a new advanced “virtual set” from VizRT.  The VizRT set allows the station to use a different set for each show, all while using the same studio space.

In 2013, WWAY announced that it would start broadcasting The CW network. The Cape Fear CW is the CW+ affiliate for the Wilmington market. It’s the Cape Fear’s home for shows like “The Vampire Diaries,” “Hart of Dixie,” “90210,” “The 100,” “America’s Next Top Model,” “Arrow” and “Supernatural.”

In October 2014 WWAY celebrates its 50th year of broadcasting in the Cape Fear region.

 

Timeline

  • Live Streaming on the Web

    wway-timeline-livestream 2011 - WWAY starts streaming live video content of news and special events on the web.

  • Virtual Sets

    wway-timeline-virt-set WWAY begins using virtual sets in some of its programs such as Full Court Press, Fifth Quarter and The Rant and later all newscasts.

  • News and Weather Mobile Apps

    wway-timeline-photo-mobile-appsWWAY launches News and Weather apps for Apple iOS and Android phones and tablets.

  • CW Network

    wway-timeline-cw Sept. 30, 2013 - WWAY launches The Cape Fear CW on Digital Channel 3.2. The Cape Fear CW is the CW+ affiliate for the Wilmington market. It’s the Cape Fear’s home for shows like “The Vampire Diaries,” “Hart of Dixie,” “90210,” “The 100,” “America’s Next Top Model,” “Arrow” and “Supernatural.”

  • WWAY Celebrates 50 Years!

    WWAY TV3 50th Anniversary Logo October 30, 2014 - WWAY celebrates 50 years of broadcasting in the Cape Fear region.

2000 – 2009

Live. Local. Interactive.

Highlights

In 2005, Liberty merged with Raycom Media. That company already owned Wilmington’s WECT and could not keep both stations due to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) duopoly rules that do not allow common ownership of two of the four largest stations in a single market. Raycom opted to keep WECT and sold WWAY to Morris Multimedia in 2006.

Morris Multimedia Inc., parent company of Morris Newspaper Corporation and Morris Network, is among the largest privately held media companies in the United States. Founded in 1970 in Savannah, GA., by Charles H. Morris, the company today owns and operates over 70 publications, network affiliate television stations, and other media related ventures in ten states and the Caribbean. Headquartered in the Historic Oliver Sturges House in Savannah, Morris Multimedia Inc., continues to grow.

From March 10, 2008 until February 27, 2009 through a news share agreement, WWAY produced a prime time newscast weeknights at 7 p.m. on WILM, which offered local coverage.

On May 8, 2008, the FCC announced that Wilmington had been selected as a test market for the 2009 national digital television transition. Five stations in Wilmington, including WWAY, agreed to voluntarily cease analog broadcasting on Sept. 8, 2008. WWAY made its transition from analog to digital at noon on that date.

On June 15, 2008, WWAY started broadcasting the Retro Television Network on digital channel 3.2. The classic TV show programming replaced 24/7 Weather, which provided continuous weather information and coverage.

Timeline

  • Secondary Channel

    wway-timeline-weather WWAY was the first TV station in the market to start broadcasting in digital. WWAY Started broadcasting 24/7 local weather on its secondary channel 3.2

  • Morris Multimedia buys WWAY

    wway-timeline-morris 2006 - Morris Multimedia, a media company based in Savannah, GA, buys WWAY

  • WWAY Web Site launched

    WWAY TV 3 Web Site WWAY launches its wwaytv3.com web site. The site currently receives more than 240,000 visitors and more than 1.1 million pageviews a month ( Source Google Analytics: Jan 2014)

  • RTV

    Retro TV - Wilmington, NC June 15, 2008 - WWAY replaces 24/7 Weather with Retro Television on digital channel 3.2. The channel mainly airs classic television sitcoms and drama series from the 1950s through the 1980s, although it also includes more recent programs from the 1990s and 2000s.

  • Analog to Digital Broadcasting

    wway-timeline-dtv September 8, 2008 - At 12 noon, WWAY, WECT, WSFX, WILM-LP and W51CW all turned off their analog signals, making Wilmington the first market in the nation to go digital-only as part of a test by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to iron out transition and reception concerns before the nationwide shutoff. Wilmington was chosen as the test market because the area's digital channel positions will remain unchanged after the transition.

1990 – 1999

Coverage You Can Count On

Highlights

During the 1990s WWAY went through a succession of owners.

Adams Television, which purchased the station in 1988, flipped the station to Hillside Broadcasting a few years later. Hillside then sold WWAY to Cosmos Broadcasting, a subsidiary of the Liberty Corporation, in 1999. That company sold off its insurance interests two years later bringing WWAY directly under the Liberty banner.

The mid to late ’90s in Wilmington were highlighted by the coverage of several hurricanes to hit the region, including Bertha and Fran in 1996, Bonnie in 1998 and Floyd  in 1999.

Timeline

  • Digital Production

    wway-timeline-photo-edius Satellite technology, computer generated graphics, and visual techniques change the look of things. Computers revolutionize news and production departments

1980 – 1989

Your Way

Highlights

On Saturday January 24, 1981, shortly after 1 p.m., the phone rang in the WWAY newsroom. John Randt the, news director at the time, answered.

“Is this WWAY?” the caller asked, which Randt confirmed it was. “Are y’all off the air?”

“I don’t have the TV on,” Randt said. “Let me look and see.”

A couple of seconds passed, and then Randt said, “Yes sir we are. I don’t know why. I need to look into it.”

The man on the other end had the answer.

“Well I know why,” he said. “Your tower’s layin’ in the middle of the road down here at Boiling Spring Lakes!”

An Air Force jet from Maryland on a training flight clipped a guy wire on the tower, which started it swaying. The swaying action picked up momentum that caused it to collapse and fall. Luckily, no one was killed or injured. The plane flew all the way back to Maryland. The engineering staff found pieces of the plane’s wing tank on the ground. There were two jets, and they were on a low-level reconnaissance training mission. That was a monumental event in our history that affected us in a big, big way.

The station went from transmitting over a 1,200-foot tower to a temporary 350-foot tower in Navassa. WWAY was on the short stick for 18 months and could barely put a signal over Wrightsville Beach. The station lost audience and market share immediately. It had a far lasting affect. To ownership and management’s credit, the company did not lay anyone off or reduce salaries.  WWAY finally settled with the Air Force, and in the fall of 1982 construction of a 2,000-foot tower was completed to begin a new era for WWAY.

In 1984 Hurricane Diana came a callin’! Almost every network and major station up and down the east and gulf coasts sent reporters and crews to Wilmington. WWAY was the only station at the time that had satellite uplink capability. This was before that kind of technology was readily available. All these crews were looking to uplink their stories to their networks and stations. The station had reporters reporting from out the back door, side doors, front doors, in the yard and the parking lot.

In 1987 WWAY was sold to Price Communications, a New York based company with several other TV stations.

 

Timeline

  • Tower Hit!

    WWAY tower January 24, 1981 - An Air Force jet clips the station’s 1192 ft. tower causing it to collapse and fall.

  • New Tower

    wway-timeline-photo-coverage-map-82 1982 - Construction of a new 2000 foot tower was completed and WWAY switched over to begin a new era in the stations history. Our coverage area with the new 2000 foot tower reached from Jacksonville, NC to Georgetown, SC and inland to the Cumberland county line.

  • Hurricane Diana

    wway-timeline-diana 1984 - Hurricane Diana came a callin’! Almost every network and major station up and down the east and gulf coasts sent reporters and crews to Wilmington. WWAY was the only station in town at the time that had satellite uplink capability. This was before that kind of technology was readily available. All these crews were looking to uplink their stories to their networks and stations. The station had reporters reporting from out the back door, side doors, front doors, in the yard and the parking lot.

 

1970 – 1979

Highlights

Color was the big thing, and despite being the second station on the air in Wilmington, WWAY was the first to go color in the studio. The networks were color, but the local stations had not yet converted to color for local shows. The ’70s and ’80s were a busy time in our industry, as television grew by leaps and bounds. In the late ’70s WWAY started live news.

WWAY had bureaus in Myrtle Beach and Whiteville. As time moved forward, technology improved, and news coverage converted from film to ENG (Electronic News Gathering.) Photographers became videographers. Video tape replaced film in the field. It was not without problems, but as the industry moved more and more that way, the problems subsided as equipment got better.

 

Timeline

  • Azalea Open Golf Tournament Coverage

    wway-timeline-photo-azalea1 1971 - WWAY provided live coverage of the Azalea Open Invitational, a golf tournament on the PGA Tour from 1946 - 1970 at the Cape Fear Country Club.

  • Color!

    wway-timeline-color-tv Color was the big thing and despite being the second station on the air in Wilmington, we were the first to go color in the studio. The networks were color but the local stations had not yet converted to color for local shows.

  • The transition from 16mm news film to ENG (Electronic News Gathering)

    wway-timeline-photo-eng-news As time moved forward technology improved and news coverage converted from film to ENG (Electronic News Gathering.) Photographers became videographers. Video tape replaced film in the field. It was not without problems but as the industry moved more and more that way the problems subsided as equipment got better. Even though ENG was more efficient and high tech, there was a lot of fun in getting to a news story and pulling out that old Bell and Howell or Canon film camera and whirring away, then rushing back to the station to get it into the film processor and edited in time to air.

  • News Coverage

    wway-timeline-photo-bureaus 1970's - WWAY opened live news bureaus in Myrtle Beach and Whiteville.

1960 – 1969

Highlights

On Oct. 30, 1964, WWAY signed on as the second television station in Wilmington. The station was owned by several Wilmington area business men who formed Cape Fear Telecasting. WWAY has been an ABC affiliate from its very first day.

When WWAY signed on, the station ran a month long contest to establish a slogan for the WWAY call letters. The winning entry, submitted by a Whiteville resident, was Wonderful Watching All Year.  The winner won a color TV, even though back in 1964, the station was airing programming only in black and white.

WWAY’s first home was on the tenth floor of the Murchison Building at Front and Chestnut streets in downtown Wilmington. At the time, the Star News Newspaper offices and printing operations were located on the bottom two floors of the building, so with a TV station on top and a newspaper at the bottom, the Murchison Building was a busy, bustling place most of the time.

Being on the top floor on the Murchison Building, many referred to it as the penthouse studios. The station had a beautiful view of downtown Wilmington, unobstructed shots up and down the river and across to Brunswick County. Most of the staff agreed that the favorite view was out the back window. The station had a great shot of the Battleship North Carolina, which they used as the backdrop for the morning newscasts. It made for a great view, especially if there was any river traffic moving at the time WWAY was on air. It was referred to as the “Million Dollar Set.”

 

Timeline

  • WWAY Goes On The Air

    wway-timeline-photo-on-air October 30, 1964 - WWAY signed on the air as an ABC affiliated station.

  • WWAY's First Home

    Murchison Building, Wilmington, NC WWAY’s first home was on the tenth floor of the Murchison Building at Front and Chestnut streets downtown. At the time, the Star News Newspaper offices and printing operations were located on the bottom two floors of the building so with a TV station on top and a newspaper at the bottom, the Murchison Building was a busy, bustling place most of the time.

  • Wonderful Watching All Year

    wway-timeline-photo-wway-slogan 1964 -  When WWAY signed on a month long contest was used to establish a slogan for our call letters. The winning entry was Wonderful Watching All Year. A lady from Whiteville was the winner and she won a color TV!

  • Programming

    wway-timeline-photo-morning-report The station had a beautiful view of downtown Wilmington, unobstructed shots up and down the river and across to Brunswick County. Most of the staff agreed that the favorite view was out the back window. The station had a great shot of the Battleship North Carolina which they used as the backdrop for the morning newscasts. It made for a great view especially if there was any river traffic moving at the time WWAY was on air. It was referred to as the “Million Dollar Set”.

  • WWAY Moves to New Home

    wway-timeline-photo-615-north-front-bldg 1968 - WWAY was sold to Clay Communications from Charleston, WV. One of the first things they did was buy land on the north end of Front Street, which had been property of the Atlantic Coastline Railroad.  When the railroad moved its headquarters to Florida, the land stood vacant. Urban Renewal came in and started clearing it and offering it for sale through the urban redevelopment program.

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Awards & Recognition

2013

Radio Television Digital News Association of the Carolinas Awards – Division II
1st Place
Political General: Democratic National Convention (Kevin Wuzzardo, Cacky Catlett, Ryan Franklin)
Political Election: Election Night Update (WWAY NewsChannel 3 staff, Chad Adams and Rep. Bob Etheridge)
News Documentary: Blood in the Water: The Expedition Hurricane of 1861 (Jerry Jackson, Tim Buckley, Christina Anthony)
2nd Place
Best Anchor: Makenzi Henderson
Best Producer: Paul Blackmore
Best Sports Special: 5th Quarter (John Rendleman, Trot Nixon, Jesse Jones, Holden Kurwicki)

2012

North Carolina Associated Press Radio and Television Awards
Best Newscast
Best Weather Reporting: Jerry Jackson
Best Spot News: Gov. Perdue issues Pardon of Innocence for Wilmington 10 (Holden Kurwicki)
Best Sportscast: “5th Quarter” (John Rendleman, Trot Nixon, Jesse Jones, Holden Kurwicki)
Best General News: Two accused in CFCC student’s murder talk about the crime, impact (Scott Pickey, Matt Ray)
Best Enterprise/Investigative: Captured: Human trafficking in the Port City (Cacky Catlett)
Honorable Mention
Best General News: Suspect in cabbie beating charged with felony (Holden Kurwicki)
Best Sports Feature: 4th Annual Beach Wrestling State Championship wraps up at Carolina Beach (John Rendleman)
Best Weather Reporting: Tim Buckley
Best Consumer: JUST ADD HOPE: Business turns trash into treatment for breast cancer patients (Asha Dave)
Best Health Reporting: ONLY ON 3: New techniques battling hearing loss in military, civilians (Cacky Catlett, Kevin Wuzzardo)
Best Newswriting: Kevin Wuzzardo
Best Series: Democratic National Convention (Cacky Catlett, Kevin Wuzzardo, Ryan Franklin, Marissa Jasek)

Radio Television Digital News Association of the Carolinas Awards – Division II 
1st Place Political-Election: May 18 NC Primary Election
1st Place Special Report: Hurricane Irene coverage
1st Place TV News Producer of the Year: Paul Blackmore
1st Place Documentary: Battleship North Carolina: 50 Years in Wilmington
2nd Place TV News Anchor of the Year: Cacky Catlett
2nd Place Investigative: Leland Police Department Corruption
2nd Place Documentary: Out of this World: Cosmic Storm

2011

North Carolina Associated Press Radio and Television Awards
Best Documentary: Battleship North Carolina: 50 Years in Wilmington
Best General News: Spider-Man Robber Coverage
Best Investigative: Trooper Misconduct Investigation
Honorable Mention – Best Feature: Age Rule Ends Special Athlete’s Football Career
Honorable Mention – Best Investigative: Leland Police Department Issues
Honorable Mention – Best Weather: Tim Buckley: Hurricane Irene Coverage

Radio Television Digital News Association of the Carolinas Awards – Division II 
1st Place Best Newscast
1st Place Sports Special: Coach’s Corner, April 17, 2011 – John Rendleman
2nd Place Sports Special: 5th Quarter – John Rendleman/Trot Nixon/Jesse Jones
1st Place Sports Reporting: Girl With Cerebral Palsy Runs Track – John Rendleman
1st Place News Documentary: Pirates of the Carolinas: Storm at Sea – Jerry Jackson
2nd Place News Documentary: USS Gravely Commissioning – Kevin Wuzzardo
1st Place Investigative: Trooper Misconduct Investigation – Ramon Herrera
1st Place Special Report: Tornado Outbreak, April 16, 2011

2010

North Carolina Associated Press Radio and Television Awards
Best Weather: Jerry Jackson
Best Sportscast: John Rendleman (Coach’s Corner, The 5th Quarter, Full Court Press)
Enterprise/Documentary: Kevin Wuzzardo (USS Gravely Commissioning)
Enterprise/Documentary: Jerry Jackson (Hurricanes101)
Honorable Mention Best Web Site

2009

North Carolina Associated Press Radio and Television Awards
Best Weather: Chris Phillips
Enterprise/Investigative: Ann McAdams (Sen. R.C. Soles Saga)
Enterprise/Documentary: Hailey Winslow (Science of the Sea)
Honorable Mention Best Newscast
Honorable Mention Best Sports Feature: John Rendleman (Wilmington Tigers practice after head coach dies unexpectedly)

Radio Television News Directors Association of the Carolinas Awards – Division II 
1st Place Political-General: Kevin Wuzzardo (WWAY Goes to Washington)
2nd Place Consumer/Economic: Ann McAdams & Sam McAdams (Troubleshooters: Missing down payment)
2nd Place Education: Margo Gray (Seclusion Room)

2008

North Carolina Associated Press Radio and Television Awards
Best Newscast
Best Weather: Jerry Jackson
Best Consumer Report: Meghan Torjussen
Best Health Report: Joe Mauceri
Rookie of the Year: Joe Mauceri
Honorable Mention General News: Ann McAdams
Honorable Mention Spot News: John Rendleman

Radio Television News Directors Association of the Carolinas Awards – Division II 
1st Place Education: Margo Gray & Stephanie Beecken
1st Place Feature: Kevin Wuzzardo (Mrs. Davis’s Chair)
2nd Place Consumer/Economic: Meghan Torjussen
2nd Place Series: Andy Scherr (Cape Fear 2020: Religion)
2nd Place Health Report: Stephanie Beecken
2nd Place Photography: Michael Pelzer

2007

North Carolina Associated Press Radio and Television Awards
Rookie of the Year: Andy Scherr
Best Health Report: Stephanie Beecken
Best Feature: Kevin Wuzzardo (Mrs. Davis’s Chair)

2006

North Carolina Associated Press Radio and Television Awards
Best Enterprise/Investigative – Former NY Firefighter
Best Newswriting

2005

North Carolina Associated Press Radio and Television Awards
Best Newscast

2004

North Carolina Associated Press Radio and Television Awards
Rookie-of-the-Year – Jeff Lennox
Best Weather Report

2003

North Carolina Associated Press Radio and Television Awards
Best Spot News
Best Weather

2002

North Carolina Associated Press Radio and Television Awards
Best Spot News
Best Sports Feature
Best Sportscast

2001

North Carolina Associated Press Radio and Television Awards
Best Spot News Rookie-of-the-Year – Holly Headrick
Best Weather

2000

North Carolina Associated Press Radio and Television Awards
Best Consumer Report