By NATHAN GREGORY
Tupelo NBC affiliate WTVA announced in a press release Tuesday that it has entered into an affiliation agreement with the ABC Television Network, meaning there will be no interruption in ABC programming for viewers in the Starkville area despite outgoing ABC affiliate WKDH discontinuing broadcasting at 11:59 p.m. Aug. 31.
According to WTVA station manager Phil Sullivan, the affiliation goes into effect at 12:35 a.m. Sept. 1.
“We are delighted to reach a long-term affiliation agreement with ABC and be able to provide a solid line-up of programming such as ‘Modern Family,’ ‘Dancing with the Stars,’ ‘Once Upon A Time,’ ‘Revenge’ and ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live;’ critically-acclaimed news and information series including ‘Good Morning America’ and ‘World News with Diane Sawyer;’ and high profile sports programming like ‘Saturday Night Football,’” Sullivan said in the release.
WTVA will provide viewers of the station with local news coverage as part of the agreement, the statement says. WKDH, which is owned by Tupelo-based Southern Broadcasting, did not have a local news broadcast.
No call letters have been provided for the new affiliate. The release calls the new station ABC-WTVA.
The programming will be available on channel 9.2 on digital receivers, channel 10 on DirecTV, channel 45 on Dish and channel 6 on MetroCast. It will broadcast on channel 706 in high definition on MetroCast.
For Comcast viewers, programming will stay on the channel it has been on in standard and high definition — channels 7 and 431 — according to Comcast Director of Government Affairs Otha Brandon.
“To the customer, it should be seamless in terms of ABC programming,” Brandon said.
It was first announced in a release on Aug. 7 that WKDH would cease broadcasting “due to financial conditions in recent years.”
WKDH had been the local affiliate since 2001. It had not been clear until the announcement was made Tuesday how viewers in the Columbus/Tupelo/West Point market would continue to be able to watch ABC programming.
Programming on WTVA’s NBC station will not be affected.