WGFL - History

History

WGFL signed on September 20, 1997, offering an analog signal on UHF channel 53. It was a primary WB and secondary UPN affiliate known on-air as "WB 53". In 2002, Jacksonville's longtime CBS affiliate WJXT became an independent station after losing the network due to a dispute. During its tenure with the network, that station served as the default affiliate for much of North Central Florida. WGFL quickly joined CBS to keep the network available in Gainesville. It also changed its on-air moniker from "WB 53" to "CBS 4" (named after its cable channel number on Cox systems).

The CBS affiliation brought Florida Gators football to the station through the network's rights to air Southeastern Conference football games. These games have been high ratings draws especially during the national championship years of 2006 and 2008. Corresponding with the network change, the station began broadcasting a digital signal on UHF channel 28. A second digital subchannel was established to continue a primary WB (through The WB 100+) and secondary UPN affiliation. This service used the calls "WBFL" in a fictional manner (to match an off-air analog repeater on VHF channel 11 which is now WMYG) and was known on-air as "WB 10" after the cable channel on Cox.

On January 24, 2006, UPN and The WB announced the two networks would cease broadcasting and merge. The new combined operation would be called The CW. The letters would represent the first initial of corporate parents "C"BS (the parent company of UPN) and the "W"arner Bros. unit of Time Warner. On February 22, News Corporation announced it would start up another new network called MyNetworkTV. This new service, which would be a sister network to Fox, would be operated by Fox Television Stations and its syndication division Twentieth Television. MyNetworkTV was created in order to give UPN and WB stations, not mentioned as becoming CW affiliates, another option besides becoming Independent. It was also created to compete against The CW.

On September 5, WMYG became a separate station and joined MyNetworkTV. The call letters stayed the same since they refer to the network. That station became known on-air as "My 11" (again referring to its cable channel slot). Meanwhile on September 18, 2006, ABC affiliate WCJB-TV added a new second digital subchannel of its own to be part of The CW provided through The CW Plus. Eventually, WYME (a Class A analog repeater of WMYG) became a separate station and joined Me-TV.

WNBW launched a second digital subchannel to offer WYME a digital signal since the station did not offer one of its own, like most low powered stations currently. On July 18, 2008, WGFL shut down its analog signal and remained on its pre-transitional digital channel (28). It was one of very few big three affiliates permitted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to cease analog transmission prior to the national digital switchover on June 12, 2009. The transmitter facility space formerly occupied by WGFL's analog signal on UHF channel 53 is now used for WNBW's transmission.

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