WREG-TV (UHF digital channel 28), is a CBS-affiliated television station located in Memphis, Tennessee, United States. It started broadcasting in 1956. WREG maintains studios located near the Mississippi River at Channel 3 Drive and West Virginia Avenue (off of Interstate 55) on the west side of Memphis, and its transmitter is located between I-40 and Whitten Road.
WREG-TV, virtual channel 3 (UHF digital channel 28), is a CBS-affiliated television station licensed to Memphis, Tennessee, United States. Its third digital subchannel serves as an owned-and-operated station of the classic TV network Antenna TV. The station is owned by Nexstar Media Group. WREG’s studios are located on Channel 3 Drive (off of I-55) near the Mississippi River on the west side of Memphis, and its transmitter is located between I-40 and Whitten Road, approximately five miles (8 km) southeast of Bartlett.
he station first signed on the air on January 1, 1956 as WREC-TV, and began regular broadcasts the following day on January 2. It was originally owned by electrical engineer and radio dealer Hoyt Wooten (who had applied for one of the first television licenses in the country in 1928), along with WREC radio (AM 600 and FM 102.7, now WEGR). The call letters stood for Wooten’s radio store, the Wooten Radio-Electric Company, where he had founded WREC radio in 1922. It took the CBS affiliation from WHBQ-TV (channel 13, which had been a CBS affiliate since it signed on in September 1953), as WREC-AM had been a CBS Radio affiliate since 1929. WREC-TV’s original studios were located inside the Peabody Hotel in downtown Memphis.
For its first six years, WREC-TV was the only locally owned station in Memphis (WHBQ-TV was owned by General Tire and NBC affiliate WMC-TV was owned by Scripps-Howard). However, in 1963, Wooten sold WREC-AM-FM-TV to Cowles Communications, earning a handsome return on his original investment of 40 years earlier. In turn, Cowles sold WREC-TV to The New York Times Company in 1971. Cowles later sold the radio stations to other interests. Four years later, the Times Company built new studio facilities for WREC on one of the highest points on Chickasaw Bluff, overlooking the Mississippi River. The station had long since outgrown the Peabody Hotel, and management felt that building a new studio near the Mississippi would be appropriate since Memphis has long been identified with the river. On March 2, 1975, channel 3 signed off from the Peabody Hotel for the last time as WREC-TV, and signed back on 45 minutes later, re-branded as WREG-TV, with its first transmission from the new studios on Channel 3 Drive. The station also maintained studio space in the Peabody Place shopping center, adjacent to the Peabody Hotel, marking a partial return of sorts to its early years. The studio was shut down in 2011 when Peabody Place closed.
On September 12, 2006, The New York Times Company announced its intention to sell its nine television stations. On January 4, 2007, the company entered into an agreement with private equity group Oak Hill Capital Partners to sell the stations to the Oak Hill-operated holding company Local TV, the sale was finalized on May 7. On July 1, 2013, Local TV announced that it would sell its stations to Tribune Broadcasting (which formed a management company that operated both Tribune and Local TV’s stations in 2008) for $2.75 billion. The sale was completed on December 27.