About WAFF 48WAKA, virtual channel 8, is a CBS-affiliated television station serving Montgomery, Alabama, United States that is licensed to Selma.
Channel 8 debuted on March 17, 1960 as WSLA (acronym for SeLmA). The station was originally owned by the Brennan family and their company, Deep South Broadcasting, along with WBAM radio in Montgomery (740 AM, now WMSP), and broadcast from a converted home in Selma with the studio located in the garage. Deep South originally sought the WBAM-TV call letters for channel 8. However, in those days, Selma and Montgomery were separate markets, and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations at the time would not allow companion call letters to be issued to stations located in different markets. Originally an independent, it picked up an ABC affiliation soon afterward.
Channel 8 was the only primary ABC affiliate in south-central Alabama. In Montgomery, ABC was relegated to off-hours clearances on NBC affiliate WSFA-TV and CBS affiliate WCOV-TV. Originally, Deep South could not afford a direct network feed. Instead, station engineers switched in and out of the signal of WBRC-TV in Birmingham whenever ABC programming was available. Often, if the engineer was not paying attention, local WBRC breaks and IDs would air on WSLA. It operated from a tiny 360-foot (110 m) tower just west of Selma, with only 3,000 watts of power. This effectively limited its coverage area to Dallas County.
In 1964, WKAB-TV (later WHOA-TV and now WNCF) started up as Montgomery's ABC affiliate, but WSLA continued to broadcast ABC programming to the western part of the market because of UHF's limited coverage at the time. It could be argued that WSLA was almost always a CBS affiliate. Once it ended a brief stint as an independent station and affiliated with ABC, it also established a secondary affiliation with CBS by carrying one hour of that network's programming every week