WAHU: Fox TV station takes PAX spot

That Gray Television is starting a third station here has been whispered for months. Now it's official. The company that opened CBS and ABC affiliates last year has acquired WADA from PAX, and will be re-launching it as a Fox network.

Fox fans now watch The OC and 24 from its station out of Washington. "The opportunity became available to have something local," says WCAV/WVAW general manager Roger Burchett. "Fox is very excited to have a presence in Charlottesville."

WAHU will air on Channel 27, Adelphia Channel 19.

The new station will share studios with WCAV and WVAW in the Frank Ix building. "It will require additional employees," says Burchett. "We'll stagger broadcasts and use existing equipment."

Burchett is looking to be on the air by April or May, but warns there's quite a bit to be done before the latest affiliate in town can join its young CBS and ABC sibling stations in broadcasting. "We're not even to the point of having a logo," he says.

A year ago, Charlottesville was a one-station town, long dominated by NBC 29. WAHU completes major network representation.

Missing in the flood of new stations is WCVL, the proposed "all Charlottesville, all the time" channel. Last year, former Hollywood guys Denny King and Bob Sigmon teamed up to launch an independent station airing local content 24/7. The two were trying to raise $2 million to begin broadcasting from the old WINA studios underneath the Market Street garage.

Since then, the storefront portion of the 10,000-square-foot space has been leased to a retailer; the balance is still for rent. King did not return repeated phone calls.

Will WCAV/WVAW news director and weather forecaster Ric Barrick be predicting the weather for Fox WAHU?