|Hardeeville, South Carolina/|
|City||Hardeeville, South Carolina|
|Branding||Fox 28 (general)|
Fox 28 News at 10pm (newscast)
|Channels||Digital: 28 (UHF)|
(to move to 26 (UHF))
Virtual: 28 (PSIP)
28.2: Comet TV
28.3: Antenna TV
|Owner||Sinclair Broadcast Group|
(WTGS Licensee, LLC)
|First air date||March 22, 1982|
|Call letters' meaning||We're Television for Georgia|
and South Carolina
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:|
28 (UHF, 1982–2009)
27 (UHF, 1999–2009)
|Former affiliations||Independent (1982–1986)|
|Transmitter power||1,000 kW|
957 kW (CP)
|Height||455 m (1,493 ft)|
|Public license information||Profile|
WTGS is a Fox-affiliated television station licensed to Hardeeville, South Carolina, United States, serving southern South Carolina's Lowcountry and southeastern Georgia's Coastal Empire, including Savannah. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on virtual and UHF channel 28 from a transmitter on Fort Argyle Road/SR 204 in western unincorporated Chatham County, Georgia. Owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group, WTGS shares studios with Savannah-licensed ABC affiliate and former sister station WJCL (channel 22, now owned by Hearst Television) in the Savannah Morning News building on Chatham Parkway in Savannah.
The station signed-on March 22, 1982 as the market's first general entertainment Independent outlet. It became a charter affiliate with Fox on October 9, 1986. Even then, it still operated technically as an independent station as Fox only aired a late night talk show at first before gradually adding nights of programming until Fox programming expanded to a whole week in 1993. Bluenose Broadcasting sold WTGS to California-based Parkin Broadcasting in May 2007 for $17.5 million. The station was previously owned by L.P. Media Inc., an affiliated company of Lewis Broadcasting which owned WJCL. Since Lewis' sale of WTGS and WJCL in 1999, the two outlets have been bought, sold, and refinanced twice. In fact in the most recent sale in 2007, WTGS was sold for $2 million less than its sale price in 1999 with WJCL.
Since the station's sale to L.P. Media in the early-1990s, WTGS has been a sister outlet to WJCL. That station was most recently sold to New Vision Television. While owned-and-operated as a separate entity from WJCL, the station maintained facilities on Independence Boulevard/US 278/SC 141 in Hardeeville. On October 28, 2010, it was announced the two outlets would combine operations with the Savannah Morning News and be relocated to the newspaper's facility on Chatham Parkway in Savannah. The stations began broadcasting at their new location on October 4, 2011. WTGS and WJCL originally operated out of studios on Abercorn Street in Savannah.
On May 7, 2012, LIN TV Corporation announced that it will acquire New Vision Television for $330.4 million and the assumption of $12 million in debt. Along with the outright ownership of WJCL, the agreement includes the acquisition of New Vision's shared services agreement with PBC Broadcasting (who is also transferring the licenses of the PBC-owned stations to Vaughan Media), giving LIN operational control of WTGS. On October 2, the FCC approved the sale to LIN TV. The transaction was completed that October 12.
During Super Bowl XLVIII, WTGS notably aired a two-minute long advertisement by local personal injury lawyer Jamie Casino, which featured a thriller-styled retelling of how he stopped representing "cold-hearted villains" to avenge the shooting death of his brother Michael Biancosino in 2012, culminating with Casino digging through a grave with a sledgehammer. The ad gained media attention following the game as a viral video, and while the station did not provide exact numbers, a WTGS spokesperson stated that the ad was its most expensive advertising sale in history.
On March 21, 2014, LIN Media entered into an agreement to merge with Media General in a $1.6 billion deal. Because Media General already owned NBC affiliate WSAV-TV (channel 3), the companies were required to sell either WSAV or WJCL to another station owner in order to comply with FCC ownership rules as well as planned changes to those rules regarding same-market television stations which would prohibit sharing agreements. On August 20, 2014, Media General announced that it would keep WSAV and sell WJCL to Hearst Television, with certain assets of WTGS, along with WJAR in Providence, Rhode Island and WLUK-TV and WCWF in Green Bay, Wisconsin, going to Sinclair Broadcast Group in exchange for KXRM-TV and KXTU-LD in Colorado Springs and WTTA in Tampa Bay. Sinclair will also acquire the right to purchase other WTGS assets from WTGS Television LLC. The sale was completed on December 19.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||PSIP Short Name||Video||Aspect||Programming|
|28.1||WTGS-HD||720p||16:9||Main WTGS programming / Fox|
WTGS discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over UHF channel 28, 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 relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 27 to channel 28.
Through a news share agreement established in 1996, WJCL produces a nightly prime time newscast on WTGS (currently known as WJCL News at 10 on Fox 28). For a while, this station also simulcasted WJCL's Good Morning Show on weekdays (from 5 until 7) but that broadcast was ultimately dropped at some point in time. On March 16, 2009, WJCL became the first outlet in Savannah to upgrade local newscasts to high definition and the nightly news on WTGS was included. This station also once offered a weekday morning program (airing from 8 until 9) known as a.m. ALIVE!.
On October 28, 2010, it was announced WJCL and WTGS would combine operations with the Savannah Morning News and be relocated to the newspaper's facility on Chatham Parkway in Savannah. The stations began broadcasting at their new location on October 4, 2011. As of October 2013, WTGS has competition to its newscast with another local broadcast airing on CW affiliate WGSA and MyNetworkTV/MeTV affiliate WSAV-DT2. That program is simulcasted on those two outlets and only airs on weeknights. In April 2014, WJCL expanded its weekday morning show to air for an additional hour on WTGS (from 7 until 8). In addition to its main studios, WJCL maintain a physical presence in South Carolina's Lowcountry with a bureau on Fording Island Road in Hilton Head.
On June 1, 2016, WTGS began producing its in-house 10 p.m. broadcast, taking over the responsibility from WJCL. The newscast is produced, technically directed, and anchored at its sister station WPDE-TV in Myrtle Beach/Florence, South Carolina. All news reports and weather duties are handled with local reporters assigned to Savannah to cover the area.
- Malone, Michael (May 7, 2012). "LIN Acquiring New Vision Stations for $330 Million". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved May 7, 2012.
- "Georgia Lawyer Jamie Casino Turns His Local Super Bowl Ad Into Revenge Fantasy". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 3 February 2014.
- "Savannah lawyer Jamie Casino's Super Bowl ad turns heads". Savannah Morning News. Retrieved 3 February 2014.
- TV Station Mega Merger: Media General, LIN Set $1.6 Billion Deal from Variety (March 21, 2014)
- Media General acquiring LIN Media for $1.6 billion, Los Angeles Times, March 21, 2014.
- Media Gen/LIN To Sell/Swap In Five Markets, TVNewsCheck, March 21, 2014.
- "Media General, LIN Sell Stations In 5 Markets". TVNewsCheck. August 20, 2014. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
- Malone, Michael (August 20, 2014). "Media General, LIN Divest Stations in Five Markets". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
- Sinclair Broadcast Group Closes on Certain Station Acquisitions and Divestitures with Media General Archived 2014-12-19 at the Wayback Machine, Press Release, Sinclair Broadcast Group, Retrieved 19 December 2014
- RabbitEars TV Query for WTGS
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-08-29. Retrieved 2012-03-24.