WGGS-TV, virtual channel 16 (VHFdigital channel 2), is a religiousindependenttelevision stationlicensed to Greenville, South Carolina, United States, serving Upstate South Carolina and Western North Carolina. Owned by Carolina Christian Broadcasting (also known as Dove Broadcasting), it is a sister station to Hendersonville, North Carolina-licensed low-poweredGEB AmericaaffiliateWDKT-LD (channel 31). The two stations share studios on Rutherford Road in Taylors, South Carolina; WGGS-TV’s transmitter is located at Paris Mountain State Park (just outside Greenville).
The station first signed on the air on October 29, 1972. It is the oldest independent station in the state of South Carolina, and was also the first new commercial station to sign on in the Greenville–Spartanburg–Asheville market since CBS affiliate WSPA-TV (channel 7) signed on in April 1956. Carolina Christian Broadcasting has owned the station for its entire existence.
The station initially ran a mixture of secular general entertainment programming for half the broadcast day (which over the years had mainly featured classic series such as The Lone Ranger, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, The Brady Bunch, Dennis the Menace, The Donna Reed Show, Leave It to Beaver, Father Knows Best and Rawhide, as well as Little Rascals, Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies and Popeye shorts) and Christian-related religious programming for the other half. It aired a larger amount of secular programming on Saturdays, and exclusively carried religious programs on Sundays. The station’s programming policy, then as now, was very conservative in regards to content so as not to offend the sensibilities of its mostly fundamentalist and Pentecostal viewership.
WGGS came under fire for allegedly using a copyrighted name for one of its locally produced programs after ABC premiered the newsmagazine Nightline in 1980; this was despite the fact that the program used the title Niteline long before Nightline‘s existence. Some of WGGS’s other local productions at the time included the exercise program Beverly Exercise; a talk show hosted by Peggy Denny and the children’s programDrick’s Follies (running during the 1980s and 1990s), which featured public domaincartoon shorts from the 1930s to the 1950s.
In the early 1980s, Carolina Christian Broadcasting signed on two more stations: WCCT (now WACH) in Columbia and WGSE (now WFXB) in Myrtle Beach. WCCT produced its own version of Niteline once a week, and aired WGGS’ version during the rest of the week. WCCT and WGSE aired far more cartoons, barter talk and game shows, and sitcoms than WGGS did, with Christian programming comprising only about a third of the schedules of both. Both stations were later sold off to secular interests (both WACH and WFXB are now affiliates of Fox; WACH is now owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group and WFXB is now owned by Bahakel Communications).
WGGS was the only independent station in the western Carolinas until the winter of 1979, when WAIM-TV (channel 40, now MyNetworkTV affiliate WMYA-TV) lost its secondary ABC affiliation and reformatted itself as independent station WAXA. WGGS began to phase out secular programs from its lineup in 1982, a process that sped up when WHNS (channel 21, now a Fox affiliate) signed on in April 1984. By 1986, the station almost entirely ran Christian-oriented religious programs. WGGS did acquire some additional secular cartoons and barter sitcoms to air during the late afternoons from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. in the early 1990s, but by 1999, the station was back to airing a schedule almost entirely made up of religious programming. The station also turned down an offer by Paxson Communications to affiliate with Pax TV in 1998. The station originally signed off on a nightly basis until the early 1990s, when it reduced its off-hours to late Sunday night/early Monday mornings; channel 16 began broadcasting on a 24-hour schedule in late 1999.
Even after the digital television transition, WGGS’ transmitter only provides grade B signal coverage to the North Carolina portion of the market. From the late 1970s until 1984, WGGS operated a low-powertranslator in Asheville on UHF channel 21. This was necessary in the days before there was significant cable penetration in the Greenville–Spartanburg–Asheville market. When this translator was displaced by WHNS when it signed on in 1984, WGGS reached a deal with the owners of WASV-TV (channel 62, now WYCW) in Asheville, to operate it as a full-power satellite until it was sold in 1995 to former WHNS owner Pappas Telecasting Companies.
On April 13, 2017, the FCC announced that WGGS participated in the 2016–17 spectrum reallocation auction and will be compensated $44.3 million to move its signal to the Low-VHF band. On September 6, 2019, WGGS transitioned from channel 16 to channel 2.