WJHG NewsChannel 7 is the NBC-affiliated television station for Panama City, Florida. WJHG's studio is in Panama City Beach, while its transmitter tower is in Youngstown, Florida.
WJHG was founded in 1953 and was called WJDM-TV, owned by J.D. Manley. At first, the station aired local programming such as wrestling and church services, and was independent before securing an affiliation with NBC, and secondary affiliations with CBS and ABC. The station was bought by Mel Wheeler in 1957, then it was purchased by James Harrison Gray in 1960, and changed the call letters to WJHG-TV after his initials.
WJHG dropped CBS in the 1960s when WTVY in Dothan, Alabama became the default CBS affiliate for Panama City. In 1973, WJHG became a ABC affiliate when WDTV (now called WMBB) began taking the NBC affiliation. In 1982, WMBB and WJHG switched affiliations. CBS would return to WJHG as a subchannel on 7.3, simulcasting the market's regular CBS affiliate, WECP-LD.
In 1998, WJHG was almost sold then the Philipps family sold WCTV to Gray Communications. Since WJHG's grade B signal covers the western parts of the Tallahassee market, this would have violated the pre-1996 ownership rules. Gray kept WJHG because the 1996 Telecommunications Act allowed for overlapping fringe signals. Gray ended up selling its flagship station, WALB-TV in Albany, Georgia.
In 2002, Gray bought most of Benedek Broadcasting's stations, including WTVY, whose transmitter is located in Bethlehem, Florida, providing a signal that covers from Fort Walton Beach, Florida to Troy, Alabama. Signal contours were no longer an issue by this time, so Gray could keep both stations.
Since both stations were available on cable in both Dothan and Panama City, WJHG has run WTVY stories that took place in those parts of northwestern Florida that are in the Panama City market, and WTVY has run WJHG stories on Panama City and along the coast. Gray launched WRGX-LD as the Dothan-based NBC affiliate on June 1, 2013, ending WJHG's availability in the Dothan market.
On June 28, 2010, WJHG began broadcasting their newscasts in 16:9 widescreen SD format.
- Newscast Slogans
- -The World Today/Panama City Today (1960s-1970s)
- -Channel 7 Spotlight News (1960s)
- -TV-7 News (1980s-1990)
- -NewsChannel 7 (1990-present)
- Station Slogans
- -"Working for You" (1990-1997)
- -"Northwest Florida's News Leader" (1994-1997; news slogan)
- -"Spirit of the Panhandle" (1997-2007)
- -"Coverage You Can Count On!" (2007-present)
- News Team
- Current On-Air Staff
- -Donna Bell - Weekday Mornings and Noon
- -Paris Janos - Weekday Morning Field Anchor
- -Meredith TerHaar - Weekday Mornings/General Assignment Reporter
- -Tom Lewis - Weeknights at 6 and 10/Executive Producer
- -Joe Moore - Weekdays at Noon and Weeknights at 5
- -Neysa Wilkins - Weeknights at 5, 6, and 10
- -Sanika Dange - Weekends at 5(Sunday), 6(Saturday),& 10(Saturday and Sunday)
- VIPIR 7 Weather Team
- -Chris Smith (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist and NWA Seals of Approval)- Weeknights at 5, 6, &10/ Chief Meteorologist
- -Ryan Michaels - Weekday Morning/Noon Meteorologist
- -Adam Klotz - Weekend Weather Anchor/General Assignment Reporter
- -Scott Rossman - Weeknights at 6 & 10/Sports Director
- -Greg Brzozowski - Weekends at 5(Sunday), 6(Saturday), & 10(Saturday and Sunday)/Sports Reporter/General Assignment Reporter
- -A-Mila West - General Assignment Reporter
- -Bergen Baucom - Jackson County Bureau Reporter
- -Tiffany Huertas - General Assignment Reporter/Producer
- -Matt Horn - Tallahassee Bureau Reporter (through Capitol News Service)
- -Christina Pleffer - Walton County Bureau Reporter
- -Cameron Taylor - General Assignment Reporter
- -Mike Vasilinda - Tallahassee Bureau Reporter (through Capitol News Service)
- Web Producer
- -Morgan Kyrklund
- Notable Former On-Air Staff
- -Shepard Smith - Anchor/Reporter (now at FOX News)
-All credit given to Wikipedia