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Dayton, Ohio
United States
Branding Channel 2 (general)
2 News (newscasts)
Slogan Working for You
Channels Digital: 50 (UHF)
Virtual: 2 (PSIP)
Subchannels 2.1/.2 NBC
Owner Media General
(TVL Broadcasting LLC)
First air date March 15, 1949 (1949-03-15)
Call letters' meaning DayToN
Sister station(s) WBDT
Former callsigns WLWD (1949–1976)
Former channel number(s) Analog:
5 (VHF, 1949–1953)
2 (VHF, 1953–2009)
Former affiliations Primary
NBC (1949–1980)
ABC (1980–2004)
ABC (1949–1971)
DuMont (1949–1955)
Transmitter power 1,000 kW
Height 323 m
Facility ID 65690
Transmitter coordinates
Licensing authority FCC
Public license information: Profile
Website .com.wdtnwww

WDTN, virtual channel 2, is the NBC-affiliated television station licensed to Dayton, Ohio, US, serving that state's Miami Valley area. The station is owned by Media General. WDTN broadcasts its digital signal on UHF channel 50 from a transmitter in the Frytown section of Dayton. The station can also be seen on Time Warner Cable channel 2 and digital channel 1002 (high definition).

WDTN operates CW affiliate WBDT (owned by Vaughan Media LLC) through a local marketing agreement. The two stations share studios on South Dixie Drive in Moraine (though the mailing address says Dayton). However, master control and some internal operations of WDTN are based within centralcasting facilities at sister station WISH-TV in Indianapolis.


  • History 1
    • Early years 1.1
    • WDTN 1.2
    • Switch to ABC 1.3
    • As ABC affiliate 1.4
    • Return to NBC 1.5
  • Programming 2
  • Digital television 3
    • Digital channels 3.1
    • Analog-to-digital conversion 3.2
  • News operation 4
    • Notable former on-air staff 4.1
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Early years

The license for what is now WDTN was granted to the Crosley Broadcasting Corporation of Cincinnati, which was a subsidiary of the Aviation Corporation (later known as Avco), on March 3, 1947. It was the first broadcast television license granted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to the Dayton market. However, due to several delays, it did not actually go on the air until March 15, 1949,[1] twenty days after CBS affiliate WHIO-TV began broadcasting.

The station originally signed onto channel 5[2] with the call sign WLWD. Named for Crosley's flagship Cincinnati radio station WLW (World's Largest Wireless) + Dayton, it identified on-air as "WLW‑D". WLWD's offices, studios, and studio-transmitter link KUQ-43 were established in a former skating rink on Dixie Drive in Moraine. Channel 2's studios and offices remain there to this day.

WLWD was one of five stations which made up the Cincinnati-based WLW television network. Other stations included in this network were flagship WLWT in Cincinnati, WLWC (now WCMH-TV) in Columbus, WLWA (now WXIA-TV) in Atlanta and WLWI (now WTHR) in Indianapolis. WLWD provided city-grade coverage of Cincinnati, and provided at least grade B coverage to most of the Columbus market. After the FCC banned common ownership of stations with overlapping city-grade signals, it grandfathered Avco's common ownership of WLWD, WLWT and WLWC.

From its start, WLWD was affiliated with NBC. It also carried programming from DuMont and ABC. The first program shown on WLWD was the Texaco Star Theater with Milton Berle.

On April 27, 1953, WLWD switched from channel 5 to channel 2.[3][4] The move was part of a three-way frequency swap that saw sister stations WLWC and WLWT move to channels 4 and 5, respectively. It also greatly increased WLWD's penetration into nearby Cincinnati and Columbus; the analog channel 2 signal travels a very long distance under normal conditions.

WLWD lost DuMont in 1955, a few months before the network shut down. It lost ABC in 1965 (though it cleared some ABC daytime programming until 1971 as a secondary affiliate) when then-independent WONE-TV (now WKEF) picked up ABC's prime time programming.

Game show host and announcer Johnny Gilbert hosted his own local daytime variety/talk show immediately after the local airing of WLW television's Paul Dixon Show in the mid-1960s.[5][6]

Phil Donahue (former news anchor and radio talk show host at WHIO) began hosting a talk show on WLWD in 1967,[7] called The Phil Donahue Show, that was more issue oriented (greatly reducing the station's program budget). Donahue's show went national in 1970. Since most programs on the WLW television regional network originated from WLWT in Cincinnati, it was the first time WLWD was the originator of a program.

Aside from Paul Dixon's weekday morning show, other Cincinnati-based programming that aired on WLWD included: The 50-50 Club, hosted by Ruth Lyons (hosted by Bob Braun after Lyons' 1967 retirement), and the Saturday evening country music program Midwestern Hayride.

Due to WLWD's heavy local and regional programming schedule, many network programs from NBC and ABC were recorded on film as a kinescope for later airing. On rare occasions when a program was unavailable (sometimes due to network technical difficulties or if fill time was available before or after a network sportscast), a half-hour series entitled Star Performance, consisting mostly of drama pilots from the 1950s, would air. Fifteen-minute mini-documentaries or newsreels would also air as a time filler under the title Miniature Theater.

Avco's broadcasting division continued to operate under the Crosley Broadcasting name until 1968, when it took on the name of its parent company.


In 1975, Avco decided to exit broadcasting. As a result, WLWD lost its grandfathered protection, and had to be sold off separately from WLWT and WLWC. WLWD ended up being the last of Avco's television stations to be sold off, going to Grinnell College in Iowa,[8][9][10] which changed the call letters to WDTN shortly after the sale closed in spring 1976. (Since October 12, 2010, the call sign WLWD-LP has been used by a Daystar station, low-power analog channel 20, licensed to Springfield. From April 2003 until April 2010, the WLWD call sign was used by an FM station licensed to Columbus Grove, Ohio, serving the Lima market with a rhythmic hits format. That station has since changed its call sign to WBKS.)

Switch to ABC

By the mid to late-1970s, ABC was searching for stronger affiliates in order to cement its status as the leading network in the country. Its existing affiliate, WKEF, was a distant third in the ratings, and only ran ABC's primetime and sports programming, plus whatever daytime programming that Cincinnati's WKRC-TV and Columbus' WTVN-TV (now WSYX) turned down. It also did not have a functioning news department until 1979. Meanwhile, WKRC-TV and WTVN-TV were not only pre-empting ABC's daytime programs, but also its late night shows and some of its Saturday morning cartoons. ABC also wanted a station in Dayton with stronger ratings and a better over-the-air signal. It also wanted a station that could reach Cincinnati and Columbus. In late 1979, ABC approached WDTN, which provided at least grade B coverage from northern Kentucky all the way to Columbus, and reached a deal. Almost by default, NBC was then left with WKEF.

On January 1, 1980, WDTN and WKEF swapped affiliations. Under the deal, WDTN was exempted from running ABC's soap operas after 2 p.m., since WKRC-TV easily covered Dayton. In place of One Life to Live and General Hospital, WDTN ran cartoons and off-network sitcoms.

As ABC affiliate

In early September, 1981, Hearst Broadcasting bought the station.[11]

By the late 1980s, cartoons and sitcoms made way for first run talk shows such as The Oprah Winfrey Show (at 4 p.m.), The Montel Williams Show, and The Jerry Springer Show. WDTN would begin its talk block at 2 p.m. during the week.

In August, 1997, Hearst's television group merged with Argyle Television Holdings II to form what was then known as Hearst-Argyle Television. Argyle had purchased WDTN's former sister station, WLWT, that January. For the same reason that forced the breakup of Avco's television group 20 years earlier, Hearst-Argyle could not keep both stations (common ownership of stations with overlapping city-grade signals would not be allowed until 2000). It opted to keep the larger WLWT and trade WDTN, together with WNAC-TV in Providence, Rhode Island, to Sunrise Television for WPTZ in Plattsburgh, New York, WNNE in Hartford, Vermont, and KSBW in Salinas, California. The sale was finalized on July 2, 1998.

In 2000, Time Warner Cable (Dayton's largest cable system) dropped the Cincinnati network affiliates to make room for new cable channels. The Cincinnati stations had been available on cable in the Dayton area ever since cable arrived there in the mid-1960s. As a result, ABC soap viewers could no longer see One Life to Live or General Hospital, while over-the-air viewers could still pick them up on WCPO-TV (which had become Cincinnati's ABC affiliate in 1996). As a result, in the fall of 2000, General Hospital was added to WDTN's schedule.

In May 2002, Sunrise merged with LIN TV. After the LIN TV acquisition, One Life to Live was added to the station's schedule as well. From this point on, WDTN aired ABC's entire schedule until the station returned to NBC in 2004.

Return to NBC

On August 30, 2004, in a reversal of the 1980 switch, WDTN became an NBC affiliate for the second time to take advantage of the network's then stronger programming. In another reversal, ABC was left with WKEF by default. Ironically, several months after the affiliation shift, ABC's ratings overtook those of NBC and the network wouldn't rebound for nearly a decade. By 2014, NBC has since regained the lead over ABC.

On May 18, 2007, LIN TV announced that it was exploring strategic alternatives that could have resulted in the sale of the company. In early June, WDTN's website (along with those of several other LIN TV-owned stations not affiliated with Fox such as WNDY-TV, WWHO, WAND, WWLP, and WLFI-TV) underwent a redesign. The web addresses were then operated by the Local Media Network division of World Now for a little over a year until October, 2008, when LIN TV relaunched most of its station websites through Fox Interactive Media (later spun off as the independent company known today as EndPlay). Prior to the World Now contract, the web addresses were powered by Web Pros.

On October 3, 2008, LIN TV pulled WDTN (and its other stations) from Time Warner Cable, due to a dispute over "retransmission fees."[12][13][14] Time Warner replaced WDTN with a free preview of HBO Family. On October 29, LIN TV and Time Warner Cable reached an agreement, restoring WDTN, as well as offering it in high definition on the cable system for the first time.[15][16][17]

On June 4, 2010, it was announced LIN TV would begin operating CW affiliate WBDT (then owned by ACME Communications) through shared service and joint sales agreements.[18][19] Three months later, LIN TV exercised an option to purchase that channel along with another LIN-operated ACME station, fellow CW affiliate WCWF in Green Bay, Wisconsin.[20] LIN TV requested WBDT's license be assigned to a subsidiary of Vaughan Media (owner of Austin, Texas CW affiliate KNVA, which is also operated by LIN TV). The company holds a 4.5% equity stake in Vaughan Media, but controls most of that company's voting stock, effectively making it a shell corporation for LIN TV.[21] WBDT was integrated into WDTN's facilities and the merger between the two stations occurred sometime around October, 2010. WBDT originally had studios at Corporate Place in Miamisburg, along Byers Road.

On March 4, 2011, LIN TV's contract with DISH Network expired, and all TV stations owned or operated by LIN, including WDTN and WBDT, were pulled from DISH.[22][23][24][25][26] On March 13, LIN and DISH entered into a retransmission consent agreement, and all affected channels were restored.[27][28][29][30]

On March 21, 2014, Media General announced that it would buy LIN.[31] The FCC approved the merger on December 12, 2014, but a condition of the deal requires Media General to end the JSA between WBDT and WDTN due to tighter scrutiny such deals are getting by the FCC. Media General received a two-year waiver to end the JSA between WDTN and WBDT.[32] The merger was completed on December 19, reuniting WDTN with WCMH-TV (the former WLWC).[33]


Syndicated programming on WDTN includes Inside Edition, Jeopardy!, and The Doctors, among others.

Digital television

Digital channels

The station's digital signal is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[34]
2.1 1080i 16:9 WDTN-HD Main WDTN programming / NBC
2.2 480i 4:3 WDTN-SD

Analog-to-digital conversion

WDTN shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 2, 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 50.[35][36] Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analog channel 2.

News operation

2 News Top Story title seen during local news.

In the 1970s and 1980s, WDTN used the Eyewitness News branding. For most of its history, its newscasts have been a runner-up to market leader WHIO-TV. On April 11, 2012, the station announced that it was in the process of reconstructing its studios in preparation for the production of high definition content.[37][38] After June 8, 2012, newscasts were moved to the station's newsroom as the new news set was being built in the same location as the old one.[39] The first high definition newscast was at 6 p.m. on Saturday, July 21, 2012.[40] WDTN was the second station in Dayton to have made the upgrade to HD newscasts; the shows on WBDT were included in the upgrade.

On August 18, 2007, the station began to produce a nightly prime time newscast for WBDT, known as 2 News at 10 on Dayton's CW. This show achieved higher ratings than WRGT-TV's nightly prime time news in Dayton's metered market households on the 26th day of its broadcast. That year, 2 News won the "Edward R. Murrow Award for Overall Excellence" for the second straight year.

In May 2011, the station changed the name of its weekday 5:00-7:00 a.m. newscast from 2 News Sunrise to 2 News Today.[41] On November 14, 2011, the station moved 2 News Today's start time to 4:30 a.m.,[42][43] probably in response to WHIO-TV's similar lengthening of its morning news on August 15.

In August 2011, the station announced plans to replace its weekday hour-long newscast, 2 News at Noon, with a local lifestyle talk show called Living Dayton, starting in early January 2012. It was planned that anchor Marsha Bonhart, Holly Samuels and meteorologist Jamie Jarosik would deliver news and weather at the top of the broadcast, and that the show would cover any breaking news.[44][45] Living Dayton premiered on February 6, 2012,[46] with newly hired hosts Nathalie Basha and Zuri Hall. Later on February 6, it was announced that Jim Bucher would join the show as a contributor.[47] The inclusion of news headlines and a weather forecast began on February 9; on the same day, Basha and Hall began providing a brief commentary-style discussion of topical issues, sometimes with a guest contributor, immediately following the news/weather segment.[48]

On January 7, 2013, WBDT began to air a weekday news program from 7:00-9:00 a.m., called 2 News Today on Dayton's CW.[49] The newscast is now live from 7:00-9:00 am.

WDTN includes segments from the syndicated consumer and personal finance series Money Talks with Stacy Johnson as part of its newscasts.

The station maintains news partnerships with several area newspapers. In addition to its main studios, WDTN operates bureaus in Springfield (on West Main Street) and in Xenia (in the Xenia Daily Gazette newsroom on South Detroit Street).

WDTN operates its own weather radar known on-air as "Live Doppler 2 HD" (formerly as "Live Doppler 2X"). The station's weather reports are branded as "Storm Team 2" and were sometimes branded as "Live Doppler 2X."

For many years, Charlie Van Dyke was the voice heard on WDTN's station IDs, news intros, promos, and other voice-over work. In September 2011, Van Dyke was replaced by Roger Rose.[50]

Notable former on-air staff

See also


  1. ^ "WLW-D Serves Area 13 Years" (PDF). Broadcasting (April 2, 1962): p. 171 (Crosley Supplement, p. 23). Retrieved June 4, 2011. via 
  2. ^ "Crosley is Awarded Third Television CP" (PDF). Broadcasting/Telecasting (April 14, 1947): p. 80. Retrieved June 4, 2011. via 
  3. ^ "WLWD (TV) Channel Shift" (PDF). Broadcasting/Telecasting (May 11, 1953): p. 50. Retrieved June 4, 2011. via 
  4. ^ "Plus Pour Vous" (PDF). Broadcasting/Telecasting (May 11, 1953): p. 93. Retrieved June 4, 2011. via 
  5. ^ The Official Johnny Gilbert Web Site
  6. ^ Johnny Gilbert's bio on the Jeopardy! website
  7. ^ Entertainment Weekly: "Donahue Dawns on Daytime", November 8, 1996.
  8. ^ Voedisch, Lynn. "TV in Ohio, college trustees tune in" (PDF). The Scarlet & Black (Grinnell College) (vol. 84, issue 1, August 29, 1975): p. 1. Retrieved June 6, 2011. 
  9. ^ Zwieg, Jason (June 1, 2000). , June 1, 2000"Money"The Best Investor You've Never Heard Of, . CNN. 
  10. ^ Zweig, Jason. "The Best Investor You've Never Heard Of" (PDF). Money (June, 2000): pp. 142–144. Retrieved June 6, 2011. 
  11. ^ "Hearst to buy Kansas City VHF for $79 million ... Hearst completes purchase of WDTN-TV Dayton" (PDF). Broadcasting (September 14, 1981): p. 81. Retrieved June 9, 2011. via 
  12. ^ "WDTN pulled from Time Warner". Dayton Business Journal. 2008-10-03. 
  13. ^ "Time Warner Cable pulls WDTN-TV,, October 4, 2008". 
  14. ^ "Lin TV dark on Time Warner". Reuters. 2009-10-06. Retrieved 2011-03-20. 
  15. ^
  16. ^ "WDTN-TV back on Time Warner". Dayton Business Journal. 2008-10-29. 
  17. ^ "Hooray! Channel 2 is back on cable,, October 31, 2008". 
  18. ^ "LIN, ACME Share Services in Three Markets", from, 6/4/2010
  19. ^ "LIN and ACME in 3 new SSA Deals", from, 6/4/2010
  20. ^ "LIN Buys Pair of Acme Stations", from, 9/2/2010
  21. ^ LIN Seeks OK for Dayton, Green Bay Duops", from, 9/21/2010
  22. ^’s-Current-Retransmission-Contract-with-DISH-Network-Expires-Without-New-Agreement.pdf
  23. ^ "DISH Network may drop WDTN". Dayton Business Journal. 2011-03-01. 
  24. ^ "Channel 2, CW could go dark for Dish subscribers,, March 2, 2011". 
  25. ^ "WDTN, Dayton’s CW go dark for Dish Network subscribers". Dayton Daily News. 2011-03-06. 
  26. ^ "NBC, CW remain blocked in dispute,, March 8, 2011". 
  27. ^
  28. ^ "Dish Network and Lin Media agree, restore channels". Dayton Daily News. 2011-03-13. 
  29. ^ "Dish Network, Lin Media reach agreement". Dayton Business Journal. 2011-03-14. 
  30. ^ "NBC, CW restored for Dish customers,, March 15, 2011". 
  31. ^ Sruthi Ramakrishnan (March 21, 2014). "Media General to buy LIN Media for $1.6 billion". Reuters. Retrieved March 21, 2014. 
  32. ^ "FCC Okays Media General/LIN Merger".  
  33. ^ Media General Completes Merger With LIN Media, Press Release, Media General, Retrieved December 19, 2014
  34. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WDTN
  35. ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24. 
  36. ^ CDBS Print
  37. ^ "We just updated our HD construction photo gallery. We are excited to deliver our news in HD for you.....soon!". April 11, 2012. Retrieved April 17, 2012. 
  38. ^ "Construction underway for HD". Retrieved April 17, 2012. 
  39. ^ "2 NEWS prepares for HD transition". June 8, 2012. Retrieved June 16, 2012. 
  40. ^ "WDTN-TV goes HD this weekend". July 20, 2012. Retrieved July 21, 2012. 
  41. ^ "". May 8, 2011. 
  42. ^ "2 News Today moves to 4:30 am". November 10, 2011. Retrieved November 19, 2011. 
  43. ^ Ginger Christ (November 10, 2011). "WDTN-TV expands morning show". Dayton Business Journal. 
  44. ^ "Call for lifestyle show hosts, experts". August 30, 2011. 
  45. ^ Amelia Robinson (2011-09-01). "WDTN-TV to replace noon news with lifestyle show". Dayton Daily News. 
  46. ^ "Living Dayton premiers on WDTN". February 6, 2012. 
  47. ^ "Buch joins Living Dayton". February 6, 2012. 
  48. ^
  49. ^ "Starting Monday, 2...". January 3, 2013. Retrieved January 5, 2013. 
  50. ^ "Mark's Mailbag: October 21st". October 22, 2011. 
  51. ^
  52. ^
  53. ^ Julie Chen Biography
  54. ^ WDTN-TV Big Brother Star Julie Chen Reports 1996
  55. ^ "Carl Nichols is laying down the clicker". January 2, 2009. Retrieved December 9, 2011. 
  56. ^ Dan Patrick Biography
  57. ^ Lisheron, Mark. "On Top of His Game". American Journalism Review (University System of Maryland) (May, 1999). Retrieved July 5, 2011. 

External links

  • Official website
  • Query the FCC's TV station database for WDTN
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