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Memphis, Tennessee
United States
Branding WREG News Channel 3
Slogan Here for Breaking News
Channels Digital: 28 (UHF)
Virtual: 3 (PSIP)
Subchannels 3.1 CBS
3.2 News Channel 3 Anytime
3.3 Antenna TV
Affiliations CBS
Owner Tribune Broadcasting
(WREG License, LLC)
First air date January 1, 1956 (1956-01-01)
Call letters' meaning Variation of original calls
Former callsigns WREC-TV (1956–1975)
Former channel number(s) Analog:
3 (VHF, 1956–2009)
Transmitter power 906 kW
Height 313 m
Facility ID 66174
Transmitter coordinates
Licensing authority FCC
Public license information: Profile

WREG-TV, virtual channel 3 (UHF digital channel 28), is a CBS-affiliated television station located in Memphis, Tennessee, United States. The station is owned by Tribune Broadcasting, subsidiary of the Tribune Media Company. WREG maintains studios located near the Mississippi River at Channel 3 Drive and West Virginia Avenue (off of Interstate 55) on the west side of Memphis, and its transmitter is located between I-40 and Whitten Road, approximately 5 miles (8.0 km) southeast of Bartlett.


  • History 1
  • Digital television 2
    • Digital channels 2.1
    • Analog-to-digital conversion 2.2
  • Programming 3
  • News operation 4
    • Notable former on-air staff 4.1
  • References 5
  • External links 6


The station first signed on the air on January 1, 1956 as WREC-TV, and began regular broadcasts the following day on January 2. It was originally owned by electrical engineer and radio dealer Hoyt Wooten (who had applied for one of the first television licenses in the country in 1928), along with WREC radio (AM 600 and FM 102.7, now WEGR). The call letters stood for Wooten's radio store, the Wooten Radio-Electric Company. It took the CBS affiliation from WHBQ-TV (channel 13, which had been a CBS affiliate since it signed on in September 1953), as WREC-AM had been a CBS Radio affiliate since 1929. WREC-TV's original studios were located inside the Peabody Hotel in downtown Memphis.

For its first six years, WREC-TV was the only locally-owned station in Memphis (WHBQ-TV was owned by General Tire and WMC-TV was owned by Scripps). However, in 1963, Wooten sold WREC-AM-FM-TV to Cowles Communications. In turn, Cowles sold WREC-TV to The New York Times Company in 1971. It later sold the radio stations to other interests.[1] Four years later, the Times Company built new studio facilities for WREC on one of the highest points on Chickasaw Bluff, overlooking the Mississippi River. On March 2, 1975, WREC signed off the air from the Peabody Hotel, and signed back on 45 minutes later, rebranded as WREG-TV with its first transmission from the new studios on Channel 3 Drive. [2] The station also maintained studio space in the Peabody Place shopping center, adjacent to the Peabody Hotel, marking a partial return of sorts to its early years. The studio was shut down in 2011 when Peabody Place closed.

On September 12, 2006, The New York Times Company announced its intention to sell its nine television stations. On January 4, 2007, the company entered into an agreement with private equity group Oak Hill Capital Partners to sell the stations to the Oak Hill-operated holding company Local TV,[3][4] the sale was finalized on May 7.[5] On July 1, 2013, Local TV announced that it would sell its stations to Tribune Broadcasting (which formed a management company that operated both Tribune and Local TV's stations in 2008) for $2.75 billion.[6] The sale was completed on December 27.[7]

Digital television

Digital channels

The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[8]
3.1 1080i 16:9 WREG-DT Main WREG-TV programming / CBS
3.2 480i 4:3 NC3A-DT News Channel 3 Anytime
3.3 Antenna TV

The station became a charter affiliate of Antenna TV upon its launch on January 1, 2011 and is carried on digital subchannel 3.3.[9]

Analog-to-digital conversion

WREG-TV discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over VHF channel 3, on June 12, 2009, the official date in which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 28,[10] using PSIP to display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analog channel 3.


Syndicated programs seen on WREG-TV include Inside Edition, Jeopardy!, and Entertainment Tonight. WREG is one of the few CBS stations that pre-empts CBS This Morning Saturday, airing a three-hour Saturday morning newscast in its place. Over the years, WREG has produced many local programs, such as News Channel 3 Knowledge Bowl and Mid-South Outdoors (later known as News Channel 3 Outdoors). The station also currently produces Live at 9, a weekday morning program that maintains a talk show-style format and the public affairs program Informed Sources, which airs on Saturday evenings and sometimes Sunday nights and discusses current local issues.

Throughout the early 1960s into the late 1980s, WREC/WREG claimed to possess the largest feature film library of any television station in the United States, which was evidenced in its daily (late afternoons and late nights) and weekend programming lineup at the time. The station used some of those features for theme weeks (such as "Godzilla Week" and "John Wayne Week"), which proved to be very popular with viewers. However, like most major network affiliates in the early 1980s, WREG-TV began cutting back on the heavy amount of movies that occupied much of its off-network schedule, a move prompted by the presence of cable, VCRs, and the emergence of then-independent competitors WPTY (channel 24, now WATN-TV) in 1978 and WMKW (channel 30, now WLMT) in 1983.

News operation

WREG NewsChannel 3 at 5pm newscast open.

The station presently broadcasts 40 hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 6½ hours on weekdays, 4½ hours on Saturdays and three hours on Sundays). For more than two decades, WREG has been in a Nielsen ratings war for first place with longtime powerhouse WMC-TV. WREG did not actually win a ratings period, however, until February 2006 after it paired former WHBQ anchor Claudia Barr and former WMC morning anchor Richard Ransom as its main evening anchors. Since that time, WREG has gradually built on its wins in the all-important 10 p.m. slot and now consistently dominates that time period. Since the February 2014 sweeps period, the station's newscasts have placed first in all time slots.

WREG-TV offers locally produced programs in addition to its news programming. Every Saturday morning, it offers "Knowledge Bowl" which features competing high school teams the chance to show their knowledge on a variety of topics. It all leads up to a championship round in which the winning students get scholarships worth thousands of dollars. Saturday evenings, the station airs "Informed Sources" - a half-hour program whose panel discusses the prior week's top news stories.

On June 13, 2011 beginning with the 10 p.m. newscast, WREG-TV became the third station in the Memphis market (behind WMC-TV and WHBQ-TV) to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition. However, it was the first station to broadcast in 100% HD including field cameras. The switch came with a refresh of the newsroom set and new graphics, however major technical glitches occurred during the week following the conversion. In mid-2011, the WREG news studio received a major overhaul with the unveiling of a "newsplex" set (designed by FX Group) that occupies a large studio with loft areas and continues into a smaller newsroom area in the back and includes numerous live areas and a set for the Live at 9 program.

Notable former on-air staff


  1. ^ "New York Times buys first TV." Broadcasting, November 2, 1970, pg. 161. [1]
  2. ^ "TV-3, Memphis builds on the banks of the Mississippi. RCA Broadcast News, Vol. 157, December 1975, pg. 19. [2]
  3. ^ NY Times CO. Sell TV Group to Equity Firm for $530M; Second equity group to buy a media business in two weeks., NewsInc. (via HighBeam Research), January 8, 2007.
  4. ^ "New York Times Company : Investors : Press Release". Retrieved 2011-03-24. 
  5. ^ "The New York Times Company Reports April Revenues" (The New York Times Company Financial Report) (Press release).  
  6. ^ Channick, Robert (July 1, 2013). "Acquisition to make Tribune Co. largest U.S. TV station operator".  
  7. ^ Company Completes Final Steps of Transaction Announced in July, Tribune Company, 27 December, 2013
  8. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WREG
  9. ^
  10. ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24. 

External links

  • - WREG-TV official website
  • - Antenna TV Memphis official website
  • Query the FCC's TV station database for WREG
  • BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WREG-TV
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