CBS46 changing call letters, redubbing itself Atlanta News First

New ownership is dropping WGCL in favor of WANF

Starting early next month, CBS46 will begin calling itself Atlanta News First and will change its call letters to WANF-TV.

It’s part of a rebranding campaign by new owners Atlanta-based Gray Television, which took over the station, along with Peachtree TV (WPCH-TV), last December after purchasing Meredith Corp.’s TV stations.

Gray is trying to reinvigorate CBS46, a longtime ratings laggard under Meredith and has gone on a hiring spree this year with the intent of growing its newsroom by the end of the year by at least 40 people. Recently, its local news operation has seen a lift in ratings against NBC affiliate 11Alive (WXIA-TV) but remains behind leaders WSB-TV (Channel 2 Action News) and Fox 5 (WAGA-TV).

The slogan “Atlanta News First,” said general manager Erik Shrader, “really matches up with what we’re trying to do. It seems like there is so much cable and national news. There’s room for us to be hyper local and make sure people understand that when we cover the news.”

The call letters have been WGCL since 2000 when the station briefly used it to promote “Clear News.”

Gray this year has added newscasts at 9 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. on CBS46. It now has eight hours of local news on the channel, up from six hours a year ago. It has also added regular “One on One” interview specials on Peachtree TV from longtime journalist Monica Pearson, who so far has talked to a range of local celebrities such as rapper Yung Joc, comic Jeff Foxworthy and Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens.

Gray is now one of the largest owners of TV stations in the United States.