WTAP is one of the strongest NBC affiliates in the United States according to Nielsen ratings. Over the years, its various owners have invested considerable resources in its news operation, resulting for a very high-quality product for what has always been a very small market. It airs 4.5 hours of news every weekday, a considerable amount considering that Parkersburg is the 193rd market. Although it serves a largely rural area of only 125,000 people, its newscasts have more viewers than many other television stations in medium to large markets sharing audiences with up to three other affiliates.
After Gray Television bought WSAZ, there were rumors WTAP would scrap its news operation and simulcast newscasts from that station. WSAZ has long been available on cable in Parkersburg and its local newscasts, also among the highest-rated in the country, have always covered Parkersburg. However, Gray itself never considered shuttering WTAP's news department. There are times when this station pulls more revenue than WSAZ, even though Huntington/Charleston is seven times as large as Parkersburg/Marietta. Additionally, many of WTAP and WSAZ's stablemates are fairly close to each other while operating independently.
At some point in time after adding Fox, WTAP-DT2 began offering a 30-minute prime time newscast. Known as Fox Parkersburg News at 10, the weeknight show mirrors local news seen on the main channel, except for slightly different graphics and unique features. The station became the first outlet in West Virginia to upgrade newscasts to high definition on May 29, 2011. The WTAP-DT2 broadcast was included in the change. In addition to its main studios, WTAP operates a bureau in Marietta. Unlike most NBC affiliates in the Eastern Time Zone, the station does not air a full two-hour weekday morning show, half-hour newscast weeknights at 5:30 or local news Sunday nights at 6:00 p.m. All newscasts are streamed live online.
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