WJSU-TV first signed on the air back in 1969, its studios were on Noble St. in downtown Anniston. In fact, you can still see the sign on the building where the studios were located.
Back then, the TV station was owned by the same family who runs the Anniston Star today. And back in 1996, when WBRC-TV was bought by FOX, Allbritton Communications took WJSU-TV, WCFT-TV out of Tuscaloosa, and started WBMA-TV in Birmingham, and combined the operations to form Alabama’s ABC 33/40. ABC 33/40 has grown into a popular TV station in the Birmingham market, and now the station is about to be sold to Sinclair Broadcast Group. Sinclair is trying to do anything it can to complete the deal with Allbrittion, and if the latest deal is approved by the FCC, you might say goodbye to channel 40 forever!
In the latest shakeup over the Sinclair/Allbrittion deal, Sinclair is thinking about surrendering the licenses to WJSU, WCFT, and other TV stations to complete the deal. At the same time, ABC 33/40 would move to WABM MY 68, and I guess the name would change to ABC 68? And if this move does ultimately happen, it would be the end of any broadcasts from WJSU-TV channel 40, unless someone comes in and buys the license. And I hope someone comes in and buys the license, because most stories here in East Alabama are often ignored by the media in Birmingham, unless the story is big.
Here in the Anniston/Gadsden/East Alabama region, we have newspapers like the Anniston Star and Gadsden Times, a few great radio stations, and one small TV station that does some news and is popular for Pigskin Roundup, TV 24. That’s it! If Sinclair surrenders the license to WJSU-TV, I think this could be a great time for a local TV station to form in East Alabama, that only caters to the news, weather, and sports in Anniston, Gadsden, and East Alabama. WJSU-TV has some rich history as a CBS and ABC affiliate, and although a re-birthed WJSU-TV could not affiliate with the big networks, it could become popular again here.
The Anniston/Gadsden areas needs a TV station that can provide severe weather coverage when it happens, breaking news events, sports coverage from high schools and JSU, and more, without having to rely on the Birmingham media folks, no offense, but they mostly concentrate on Birmingham first, then the rest of the coverage area. TV 24 does not have the technology to use radar from in-house equipment and they don’t have live trucks for live news reports. There are several very talented media people here in the East Alabama region, me and others, who are willing to start something new, and bring back local coverage to East Alabama and West Georgia, or everything in between Atlanta and Birmingham.
So, if Sinclair gives up the license to WJSU-TV, I hope the FCC will either give or sell the license to someone who will start-up a local TV station for East Alabama, and give the people here the local coverage they want and deserve!
Allbritton Says it Expects Sinclair Deal to be Approved After Recent Changes Sinclair To Surrender Licenses To Three TV Stations, Blames New FCC TV Ownership Restrictions Sinclair Intends to Pull the Plug on Three ABC Affiliates As Part of Allbritton Deal Sinclair to surrender licenses to three TV stations