WDHN Article

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WDHN logo.png
Dothan, Alabama
United States
BrandingWDHN (general)
WDHN News 18 (newscasts)
SloganFirst In Local News
Channels Digital: 21 ( UHF)
Virtual: 18 ( PSIP)
Subchannels18.1 ABC
18.2 Escape
18.3 Laff
18.4 Cozi TV
Owner Nexstar Media Group
(Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc.)
First air dateAugust 7, 1970 (48 years ago) (1970-08-07)
Call letters' meaningDotHaN
Sister station(s) WZDX, WMBB
Former callsignsWDHN-TV (1970–1998)
Former channel number(s)18 (UHF analog, 1970–2009)
Transmitter power1,000 kW
Height190.4 m (625 ft)
Class DT
Facility ID43846
Transmitter coordinates 31°14′25″N 85°18′43″W / 31.24028°N 85.31194°W / 31.24028; -85.31194
Licensing authority FCC
Public license information: Profile
Website www.dothanfirst.com

WDHN is an ABC- affiliated television station licensed to Dothan, Alabama, United States and serving the Wiregrass Region of southeastern Alabama. Owned by the Nexstar Media Group, it broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 21 (or virtual channel 18 via PSIP) from a transmitter co-located with its studios on AL 52 in Webb.


2006-2009 logo.

WDHN-TV launched August 7, 1970 as the area's second television station and aired an analog signal on UHF channel 18. It was owned by Dothan businessman Betts Slingluff, Jr. and a partnership of other local investors. Although conventional wisdom then suggested that it should have opted for an NBC affiliation, it has been an ABC affiliate for its entire existence. This seemed to be an unusual move for a two-station market, especially one (then as now) as small as Dothan. ABC was the smallest and weakest network, and would not be anywhere near par with CBS and NBC in terms of ratings until later in the decade. However, geography played a decisive part in channel 18 going with ABC. The Alabama side of the market received a fairly strong signal from WSFA-TV in Montgomery. Further, at the time the station signed on, no ABC affiliate provided even a grade B signal to the Wiregrass. The only nearby ABC programs were on WJHG-TV in Panama City, Florida on a part-time basis. Slingluff thus figured that WDHN wouldn't face much local competition if it took an affiliation with ABC.

In 1979, reflecting an era when small, locally owned stations were losing profitability, Slingluff's group sold WDHN to Hi Ho Television, which also owned WVGA in Valdosta, Georgia. In 1986, Hi Ho sold WDHN and WVGA to Morris Multimedia. It dropped the -TV suffix in 1998. In 2003, Nexstar purchased WDHN along with KARK-TV in Little Rock, Arkansas from Morris.

As part of the DTV transition in 2009, WDHN turned off its analog transmitter and began broadcasting exclusively in digital. [1]

On January 27, 2016, it was announced that Nexstar would buy Media General for $4.6 billion. WDHN, along with recently acquired Fox affiliate WZDX in Huntsville, became a part of "Nexstar Media Group" and joined a cluster of stations Nexstar would own in Alabama including WIAT in Birmingham and WKRG-TV in Mobile, as well as WRBL in Columbus, Georgia, which covers much of east Alabama including Opelika and Auburn. All three of these stations are CBS affiliates.

On June 15, 2016, Nexstar announced that it had entered into an affiliation agreement with Katz Broadcasting for the Escape, Laff, Grit, and Bounce TV networks (the last one of which is owned by Bounce Media LLC, whose COO Jonathan Katz is president/CEO of Katz Broadcasting), bringing one or more of the four networks to 81 stations owned and/or operated by Nexstar, including WDHN (Bounce TV and Grit are already available in the area on digital subchannels of WDFX-TV). [2]

Digital channels

Channel Video Aspect PSIP short name Programming [3]
18.1 720p 16:9 WDHN-DT Main WDHN programming / ABC
18.2 480i 4:3 Escape
18.3 Laff
18.4 Cozi TV


Syndicated programming on WDHN includes Entertainment Tonight, Dr. Phil, The Doctors, Hot Bench, The 700 Club, and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.

News operation

WDHN produces two and a half hours of news each weekday starting with 'Wake Up Wiregrass' at 6 am and then in the evening with WDHN News at 5, 6, & 10 pm. 'Wake Up Wiregrass' replacedTop of the Morning with Charlie Platt after its cancellation. The newscast airs weekday mornings from 6-7 a.m.

Historically, WDHN has been behind WTVY in the ratings. This is partly because WDHN has a coverage area only half the size of WTVY due to its short transmitter tower. It also had to deal with competition from WSFA, which was available on Wiregrass cable systems for decades. Unlike most ABC outlets and other big three network-affiliated stations, it does not offer local news on weekends. On December 19, 2017, WDHN unveiled a brand new set and began broadcasting local news in high definition.

On-air Staff


  • Ben Stanfield - News 18 weeknights at 5 and 6
  • Tonya Pruitt - News 18 “Wake Up Wiregrass” anchor

WDHN Storm Team

  • Scott Roberts - Chief Meteorologist - weeknights at 5, 6, and 10
  • Mandy McQueen - Wake Up Wiregrass weather

News 18 Sports

  • Mike Gurspan - Sports Director: weeknights at 6 and 10 also 10pm news anchor


  1. ^ CDBS Print
  2. ^ "Bounce TV, Grit, Escape, Laff Multicast Deal Covers 81 Stations, 54 Markets". Broadcasting & Cable. June 15, 2016. Retrieved July 16, 2016.
  3. ^ http://www.rabbitears.info/market.php?request=station_search&callsign=WDHN#station

External links