WDRB 41 - Louisville, Kentucky (2024)

WDRB is a television station in Louisville, Kentucky, broadcasting locally on channel 41 (digital 49) as a Fox affiliate. Owned by Block Communications, the station's transmitter is located in Floyds Knobs, Indiana alongside sister-station WMYO. Along with WMYO, WDRB broadcasts a one million-watt omni-directional signal with a top-mounted antenna, providing the strongest signal in the market.

WDRB signed on as the first independent television station in Louisville on February 28, 1971. Airing low-budget afternoon children's programming and occasional news updates from anchor Wilson Hatcher, the station was best known in its early years for its shock-theater program Fright Night and afternoon children's host "Presto the Magic Clown."

Fright Night showed low-budget horror movies, similar to The Shroud on WFFT-TV. Fright Night was hosted by local theater actor Charlie Kissinger and was unique in that it ran during Saturday-night prime time, directly competing against high-rated network programming.

Presto the Magic Clown was a daily mix of cartoons, magic tricks, viewer participation and birthday greetings, all hosted by Bill "Presto" Dopp and his puppet sidekicks, J. Fred Frog and Hunny Bunny.

By 1976, WDRB was still signing on at 3 p.m. and was running cartoons, westerns, outdoor shows and old movies. By 1977, the station added religious shows from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. By 1979, WDRB began a 7 a.m. sign-on. By then they had cartoons from 7 to 9 a.m., religion 9 a.m. to noon, movies or westerns from noon to 3 p.m., cartoons from 3 to 5 p.m., classic sitcoms from 5 to 8 p.m., movies 8 to 10 p.m. and a mix of sitcoms and drama shows after 10 p.m. until signoff.

After being acquired by Block Communications, Inc. of Toledo, Ohio in 1984, WDRB began adding stronger, more recent off-network sitcoms and dramas to the schedule, becoming a stronger independent station. On April 5, 1987, WDRB became a charter Fox affiliate. It remains a Fox affiliate to this day although between 1990 and 1999 WDRB shared the Fox affiliation in the Louisville market with Campbellsville-based WGRB (now CW affiliate WBKI-TV), which served the southern reaches of the market before moving their transmitter north to service more of the Louisville metro area.

For many years, WDRB held the broadcast rights to University of Louisville football and basketball. In the 1990s, WDRB moved away from older movies and classic sitcoms in favor of more talk and reality shows, due to changes in the industry. The cartoons would be dropped when Fox stopped offering its weekday kids lineup at the end of 2001, bumping over to WFTE/WMYO until the discontinuation of 4KidsTV at the beginning of 2009.

On April 21, 2007, WDRB became the first Louisville station to televise the Kentucky Derby Festival's all-day "Thunder Over Louisville" air and fireworks show in high definition -- at the time, one of the largest technical undertakings ever attempted by an American TV station. That was followed by a second -- even more elaborate -- "Thunder" telecast in HD in April, 2008.

In late 2010 Block began testing digital subchannels on both WDRB and WMYO, and on or about January 30, 2011, launched Tribune Broadcasting's Antenna TV subchannel over Channel 41.2.

In 1990, WDRB debuted The News at 10, a half-hour weeknight broadcast (later renamed Fox News @ 10 and expanded to a full-hour, with weekend newscasts later added. More newscasts were added as the station's market position strengthened: with the launch of the 4-hour long Fox in the Morning and midday newscast Fox News @ 11:30 in 1999 and the debut of Fox News @ 4 in 2001. WDRB currently runs a total of 34½ hours of local newscasts each week (with 6½ hours on weekdays and one hour each on weekends), including newscasts from 5-9 a.m., 11:30 a.m.-12 noon and 4-5 p.m. on weekdays and a primetime newscast at 10 p.m. seven nights a week.

The station is also one of the few stations in the nation to run a regular editorial segment, "Point of View." which is usually delivered twice weekly by WDRB/WMYO President and General Manager Bill Lamb. "Point of View" premiered in June 2002, introduced a weekly segment featuring phone response from viewers in 2007 and has evolved into one of the community's most prominent opinion forums, featuring frequent guest editorials by a wide cross-section of community members.

In 2006, WDRB -- in partnership with Norton Healthcare -- became the first and only station in Louisville to offer real-time closed captioning on all its newscasts, making 100% of the station's news content available to over 147,000 deaf or hard of hearing viewers in the market. Prior to this innovation, only pre-written studio-originated content was closed-captioned, while reports from the field and breaking news stories were not.

On April 17, 2010, WDRB-TV became the second Louisville station to convert its news operation to high definition, although it is the first in the market with all aspects of the operation, including field reporting, studio and weather operations completely in the format. WAVE -- which broadcasts from the studio in HD -- continues to produce field pieces in widescreen standard definition, while the other two news stations in the market (WHAS and WLKY) still broadcast in standard definition with the picture expanded to fill 16:9 widescreen dimensions.

On January 17, 2011, WDRB launched a weeknight-only early evening newscast at 6:30 p.m., which brought the station's weekday newscast output to seven hours a day (the station will also be the only station in the U.S. to carry newscasts at 4 and 6:30 p.m. without newscasts in the 5-6:30 p.m. time period).

WDRB 41 - Louisville, Kentucky (2024)
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