Media in Columbia, South Carolina

Columbia is the capital and second-largest city in South Carolina with a population of over 130,000 residents. As the state capital and home to the University of South Carolina, Columbia has a diverse array of media outlets serving the local community and beyond.

This guide provides an overview of broadcast media, print publications, arts and entertainment, and online/digital media based in Columbia.

Broadcast Media

Columbia is home to a variety of radio and television stations. As a mid-sized city and capital, Columbia attracts interest from national broadcasters while also supporting local community stations.

Television Stations

The Columbia designated market area (DMA) is the 82nd largest TV market in the U.S. with over 500,000 households. Popular stations include:

WIS (NBC affiliate): The first TV station in Columbia, broadcasting since 1953. Owned by Allen Media Broadcasting.

WOLO (ABC affiliate): Columbia’s ABC network affiliate station, broadcasting since 1961. Owned by Bahakel Communications.

WLTX (CBS affiliate): Columbia’s CBS affiliate since 1953. Owned by Tegna Inc.

WACH (FOX affiliate): FOX affiliate in Columbia since 1954. Owned by Allen Media Broadcasting.

In addition to major network affiliates, Columbia has a number of other broadcasters:

  • South Carolina Educational Television (SCETV) – statewide public broadcasting network
  • WGCV – independent religious broadcaster
  • WKDC-LD – low power community broadcaster

Radio Stations

As a college town and state capital, Columbia supports over 30 FM and AM radio stations covering a wide range of programming:

News/Talk Stations

  • WVOC – news/talk focus owned by Cumulus Media
  • WZMJ – NPR affiliate from University of South Carolina

Sports Broadcasting

  • WNKT – statewide syndicated sports talk and game coverage
  • WXBT – ESPN sports talk and commentary

Classic/Adult Contemporary

  • WFMV – “Today’s Hits and Yesterday’s Favorites”
  • WLFF – adult contemporary owned by Cumulus

College Radio

  • WUSC – student-run station from USC
  • WORD – Christian contemporary from Columbia International Univ.

Urban Contemporary

  • WXST – hip hop and R&B “Hot 103.9”
  • WFMV – urban adult contemporary

And more country, rock, Spanish language, and religious formats.

Print Publications

As a mid-sized metro, Columbia supports several print publications focused on local news, politics, arts, and culture.

Newspapers

The daily newspaper is The State, published since 1891. Now owned by McClatchy, The State covers local, regional, and state news.

Weekly alternative papers include:

  • Free Times – news and culture focused on Columbia area
  • Columbia Star – locally-owned monthly community paper

Columbia Metro Magazine offers monthly lifestyle and arts coverage. The Daily Gamecock is the editorially independent student newspaper of USC.

Spanish language publications include El Informador Columbia, a monthly paper.

Magazines

Select magazines and journals published in Columbia include:

  • Columbia Metropolitan Magazine – glossy lifestyle monthly
  • PrimeTimes Monthly – publication for seniors and retirements
  • SC Lawyer – journal of the SC Bar Association
  • Sandlapper – magazine focused on SC history and culture

Columbia also serves as a hub for statewide magazine and niche publications on politics, business, medicine and more.

Arts and Entertainment

Columbia offers a variety of arts, culture, music, and entertainment options. As a college town and capital city, it attracts both local and national performers and events.

Performance Venues

From small clubs to large theaters, notable venues include:

  • Koger Center for the Arts – 2,300 seat center hosting touring Broadway shows, orchestra performances, and more
  • Colonial Life Arena – 18,000 seat arena hosting major concerts and events
  • Township Auditorium – historic 1929 auditorium hosting touring musical acts and local performances
  • Trustus Theatre – professional theatre company performing contemporary works

Additionally, the Columbia Music Festival Association organizes an annual summer concert series at the Koger Center along with other events. And the South Carolina Philharmonic Orchestra is based in Columbia, performing at the Koger Center among other venues.

For small, indie concerts and shows, locations like New Brookland Tavern, The Senate, and Art Bar feature local and regional bands across genres. And venues associated with the University of South Carolina like Russell House Theater also host events.

Museums and Galleries

As the state capital, Columbia has a number of museums focused on South Carolina’s history and culture:

  • South Carolina State Museum – huge general history museum with science/tech galleries
  • McKissick Museum (University of South Carolina) – showcase of Southern arts and culture
  • South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum – Civil War history displays

Columbia Museum of Art has a permanent collection spanning over seven centuries along with visiting exhibitions. Additional museums cover topics ranging from local sports to historic homes to cotton mills.

Columbia’s arts scene is supported by organizations and spaces like:

  • 701 Center for Contemporary Art – nonprofit gallery supporting SC artists
  • City Art Gallery – co-op gallery operated by local artists
  • Vista Studios / Gallery 80808 – artist-run spaces focused on emerging creators

And galleries can be found throughout districts like Vista and North Main supporting visual arts.

Online and Digital Media

With a technologically-oriented university community and young population, Columbia has an emerging social media and technology presence both locally-oriented and connecting to the wider world.

Local News and Media Sites

Popular Columbia/local area news and information websites include:

  • Coladaily.com – online news site specifically focused on the Columbia area
  • ColumbiaSC.net – event listings, business directory, and visitor info
  • Free Times – weekly alt-paper with strong music/arts focus in its online presence
  • Cola Daily – online-only community news site

Established media like The State newspaper also have popular Columbia-focused online presences, along with broadcasters like WLTX.

Arts and Culture Sites

Websites highlighting Columbia’s arts, entertainment, food, and culture scene include:

ColaCulture – focused on music, food, and local events
ColaTix – event listings and ticketing site oriented towards Columbia region specifically
SC Artisan Guild – promoting local artists and creators

And most performance venues, museums, galleries, and other organizations maintain websites showcasing their exhibitions, concerts, shows and offerings.

Popular hashtags covering Columbia arts/culture on social media include #ColaCulture, #ColaCreates, and #SodaCityCulture.

Community Groups and Forums

Columbia has an active presence on community sites and forums oriented towards locals, including:

  • Columbia forum on Reddit – online discussion board with 30,000+ community members conversing about local news, events and issues
  • Soda City Neighborhoods group on Facebook – public group with 75,000+ members focused on Columbia area dialog
  • City of Columbia Citizens Connect – official municipal site for resident questions/requests

These forums enable locals to discuss events, seek recommendations, find assistance, and participate in the community.

In Conclusion..

Columbia has a thriving local media environment encompassing everything from broadcast television stations to print magazines to online culture hubs and community forums. As the capital attracting students and newcomers alike, Columbia can support innovative digital platforms alongside established journals and talk shows that have served the region for decades.

With engaged local residents and transplants continually creating new spaces for artistic expression and civic dialog, the local media landscape promises to remain vibrant and fast-changing into the future.

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  • Start out going south on Main Street toward Oak Avenue. Turn right onto Oak Avenue and continue for 2 miles. Take the ramp onto Highway 77 South and drive for 5 miles. Take exit 42 for Slash Pine Road. Turn left onto Slash Pine Road and drive west for 3 miles. Turn right onto Slash Pine Lane. 1012 Slash Pine Ln will be on your left.
  • Begin by heading west on Park Street for 0.6 miles. Turn left onto Elm Boulevard and go straight for 1.1 miles. Turn right onto Highway 77 South and continue for about 8 miles. Use the left 2 lanes to take exit 42 for Slash Pine Road. Keep left at the fork and turn left onto Slash Pine Road. In 2.5 miles, turn right onto Slash Pine Lane. 1012 Slash Pine Ln is on the right side of the street.
  • Start out on Creek View Drive heading south. Drive for 0.9 miles and turn right onto Oak Avenue. Take Oak Avenue across the bridge over the creek and continue west for 1.7 miles. Turn left onto Highway 77 South and stay on it for approximately 7 miles. Take exit 42 for Slash Pine Road. At the stop sign, turn left onto Slash Pine Road heading west. After 2.8 miles, make a right onto Slash Pine Lane. 1012 Slash Pine Ln will be a gray house on your right side.