The News Herald
Monty Brinton | CBS
WECP-TV will begin broadcasting Monday as an affiliate of CBS, airing hit shows such as "How I Met Your Mother," which has its season premiere Monday night.

New CBS station on air Monday

PANAMA CITY BEACH — Bay County’s first CBS affiliate since the 1960s will be “flipping the switch” Monday, company officials said.

The new station, WECP, will be available over the air — that is, using rabbit ears — on channel 18 at mid-morning. Viewers will need to rescan their TVs to pick up the signal, said Curt Molander, general manager for WJHG, the sister station of WECP and WTVY in Dothan, Ala., which has served as the Panama City market’s CBS affiliate since the early 1960s.

“Over the next couple of weeks we’ll be migrating onto all of the cable and satellite systems,” Molander said. “We’ll be replacing WTVY, the out-of-the market CBS signal affiliate’s dial position and place.”

Local viewers looking for CBS programming will be able to find it in the same place.

“Since we are replacing one CBS for another, we will simply remove WTVY from channel 4 and replace it with WECP on channel 4,” Allan Goodson, vice president of Knology, wrote in an email. “The change of our CBS affiliates from WTVY out of Dothan, Ala., to the new WECP out of Panama City will have minimal effect on our customers. Since both are CBS affiliates, the programming should be similar with the biggest, if not only, change being the loss of local news about or produced locally in Dothan.”

Knology is currently planning to change over Oct. 23, according to Goodson.

WECP for Comcast customers will launch Oct. 16. It will be added to limited basic cable on channel 4 and HD limited basic cable on channel 433, the channels WTVY currently occupy.

Dates for adding WECP on DirecTV, Dish Network and other area cable systems were not available Friday.

The WECP studios will be located on Front Beach Road with WJHG. Both stations, along with WTVY, are owned by Atlanta-based Gray Television.

WECP’s broadcast towers will be located in Youngstown, so the addition will not affect viewers’ reception of CBS, Molander said. CBS is the “network of record” for Southeastern Conference football and will carry March Madness and the Super Bowl.

It has not been determined whether the new channel will carry local news.

“The opportunity for us to do local news here on WECP is something they are looking into,” Molander said. “It’s something we are not ready to jump into immediately. We are going to be maintaining Channel 7 operations, but in the future we will look into it.”


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