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Tampa / St. Petersburg, Florida
Branding FOX13
Slogan The Most Powerful Name in Local News
We've Got You Covered
Channels 13 (VHF) analog,
12 (VHF) digital
Affiliations Fox
Owner Fox Television Stations Group
(New World Communications of Tampa)
Founded April 1, 1955
Call letters meaning Walter Tison, Virginia Tison (original owner and his wife)
Former affiliations CBS (1955-94)
Website www.myfoxtampabay.com/

WTVT is a television station in Tampa, Florida. It's an owned and operated station of the Fox Broadcasting Company. It broadcasts its analog signal on VHF channel 13 and its digital signal on VHF channel 12. WTVT's transmitter is located in Riverview, Florida. WTVT and sister station WOFL of the bordering Orlando market commonly share reporters and footage, as other station groups do.


[edit] History

The station first started broadcasting on April 1, 1955 as a CBS affiliate. It was the third station in Tampa Bay, behind WSUN-TV (channel 38, now WTTA) and WFLA-TV (channel 8). WTVT is also the second-oldest surviving station, behind WFLA.

Originally, the Federal Communications Commission awarded the channel 13 license to the Tampa Times, a now-defunct newspaper which owned WDAE radio (then on 1250 AM). However, the FCC reversed itself and awarded the station to the Tampa Television Company headed by Tampa Bay radio veteran Walter Tison, who intended to open a studio in nearby St. Petersburg. The Times appealed the FCC's decision, but lost. WTVT's call letters stand for the initials of Walter Tison and his wife, Virginia Tison. Like many other stations located on "unlucky" channel 13, WTVT used a black cat as its mascot for several years.

In 1956 the Tampa Television Company merged with the Oklahoma Publishing Company of Oklahoma City. Oklahoma Publishing's broadcast subsidiary, the WKY Television System, would later be known as Gaylord Broadcasting, named for the family who owned the company.

The Gaylords beefed up channel 13's news operation. In 1958, WTVT became the second station in the country to introduce daily editorials, and was also the first Florida station to run an hour-long news block, comprising of 45 minutes of local news (under the title Pulse 13) combined with the then-15-minute network newscast. By 1962, WTVT had overtaken WFLA-TV as the number-one station in the Tampa Bay market, retaining that position for over 25 years. This was largely because of the longevity of many of the station's personalities. For instance, Roy Leep was the station's weatherman from 1957 until 1997, and Hugh Smith was the station's main anchor from 1963 to 1991, spending most of that time doubling as news director. Channel 13 dropped the Pulse 13 moniker from its newscasts in 1989, renaming them as Eyewitness News.

In 1987 WTVT was sold to Gillett Broadcasting. In the early 1990s Gillett restructured, changing its name to SCI Broadcasting. In 1993 SCI filed for bankruptcy, and its stations (including WTVT) were sold to New World Communications. By that time, WTVT was pre-empting CBS This Morning for a locally-produced morning news show, as well as pre-empting all but one hour of Saturday cartoons.

In late 1993, the Fox Broadcasting Company won the rights to air the games of the National Football Conference of the National Football League from CBS, beginning in 1994. As a result, Fox began looking for more VHF affiliates, and signed a long term deal with New World, switching most of its stations, including WTVT, to Fox. WTVT dropped its CBS affiliation in December 1994, becoming a Fox affiliate. The former Fox affiliate, WFTS (channel 28), affiliated with ABC as part of a deal between ABC and WFTS' owners, the E.W. Scripps Company. The longtime ABC affiliate, WTSP (channel 10), then became a CBS affiliate.

After changing networks, WTVT began to broadcast almost 50 hours of local news a week. At one point, WTVT aired more hours of local news than any other station in the country. It chose not to renew the more expensive syndicated programming it had run while a CBS affiliate, running cheaper first-run syndicated talk and reality shows instead.

Fox bought most of the New World stations in 1997, making WTVT a Fox owned-and-operated station. Under Fox ownership the station added more high-budget syndicated shows and a few off-network sitcoms to its lineup, and changed its brand to Fox 13.

WTVT was the first TV news station in Florida to use radar in its weather presentation, and has made many advancements with the technology. Its newest advancement is SkyTower VIPIR, combining the already existing SkyTower radar system with VIPIR technology, which is also used by competitor WFLA-TV and the cable-only news channel Bay News 9. On May 25, 2006, the station's radar was made even more powerful and is now "SkyTower HD VIPIR." [1] WTVT was also one of the first to use computer graphics in weather forecasts in the late-1970s, originally called "Weathervision" (no relation to the weather reporting company of the same name). The station also has the most meteorologists on a news team, with five meteorologists, and the only station with all of them American Meteorological Society certified.

[edit] Today

WTVT is the only station in the market to have two women regularly anchoring a newscast; Denise White and Kathy Fountain anchor the 5:00 p.m. news.

WTVT began to adopt its current logo, which is similar to that of the Fox News Channel, in December 2005 as part of a new 11:00 newscast, although they did not completely switch to it until February 2006. The station was the first Fox O&O to use this logo style, which is gradually being adopted by its sister stations in other markets.

WTVT and WFLA continually compete with each other for the number one newscast in the Tampa Bay Area. WTVT currently has the number one spot for Good Day Tampa Bay between 5 a.m. to 6 a.m. and is number one in the 5 to 6 p.m. timeslot. NewsEdge at 11:00 is statistically tied with WFTS for the lowest rated newscast for that time period, although WTVT does have a 10:00 p.m. newscast without any competition in the market. [2]

[edit] First Tampa Bay newscast in high definition

It has been announced that starting in March 2007, WTVT will begin upgrading their studios and set for Tampa Bay's first high definition newscast.[1] WTVT is the second television station in Florida (after WFTV) to produce its newscasts in true HD. On April 6th, 2007, WTVT revealed construction photos of the set.[2] The new set is expected to debut in mid April. [3]

[edit] Monsanto controversy

In 1997 Fox's WTVT fired journalists Jane Akre and her husband Steve Wilson for "refusing to include knowingly false information information in their report concerning the Monsanto Corporation's production of RBGH, a drug designed to make cows produce more milk than what is natural."[3] They sued Fox under Florida's whistleblower law. In Agugust 18, 2000, the jury unanimously determined that Fox "'acted intentionally and deliberately to falsify or distort the plaintiffs' news reporting on BGH.' In that decision, the jury also found that Jane's threat to blow the whistle on Fox's misconduct to the FCC was the sole reason for the termination.[4].

However, FOX appealed to an appellate court and won in 2004, after the court declared that the FCC policy against falsification that FOX violated was just a policy and not a "law, rule, or regulation", and so the whistle blower law did not apply. The Florida appellate court agreed with WTVT's (Fox) argument "that the FCC's policy against the intentional falsification of the news -- which the FCC has called its "news distortion policy" -- does not qualify as the required "law, rule, or regulation" under section 448.102.[...]Because the FCC's news distortion policy is not a "law, rule, or regulation" under section 448.102, Akre has failed to state a claim under the whistle-blower's statute."[5] Basically, Fox was able to defeat the claim on a technicality.

[edit] Newscasts/Locally produced programming

Good Day Tampa Bay
Good Day Tampa Bay
FOX13 logo for all newscasts since February 2006
FOX13 logo for all newscasts since February 2006

[edit] Weekdays

Anchors: Anne Dwyer (5-9 a.m.), Tom Curran (5-7 a.m.), Russell Rhodes (7-9 a.m.)
Weather: Dave Osterberg
Traffic: Jennifer Epstein
  • FOX13 News at Noon: 12:00-12:30 p.m.
Anchor: Denise White
Weather: Howard Shapiro
  • Your Turn (local debate/discussion show) 12:30-1:00 p.m.
Host: Kathy Fountain
  • FOX13 5:00 News: 5:00-5:30 p.m.
Anchors: Denise White, Kathy Fountain
Weather: Paul Dellegatto
  • FOX13 5:30 News: 5:30-6:00 p.m.
Anchors: Frank Robertson, Cynthia Smoot
Weather: Paul Dellegatto
Sports: Chip Carter
  • FOX13 6:00 News: 6:00-7:00 p.m.
Anchors: John Wilson, Kelly Ring
Weather: Paul Dellegatto
Sports: Chip Carter
  • FOX13 10:00 News: 10:00-11:00 p.m.
Anchors: John Wilson, Kelly Ring
Weather: Paul Dellegatto
Sports: Chip Carter
  • NewsEdge at 11:00: 11:00-11:35 p.m.
Anchor: Mark Wilson
Weather: Paul Dellegatto
Sports: Chip Carter
NewsEdge Reporter: Gloria Gomez

[edit] Weekends

Anchors: Bill Murphy, Laura Moody
Weather: Andy Johnson
Traffic: Scott Crowder or Kathy Sousawitz
  • FOX Thirteen Magazine: (Teen produced newscast) 10:30-11:00 a.m. (Saturdays)
  • FOX13 6:00 News: 6:00-7:00 p.m. :
Anchors: Lloyd Sowers, Deborah Bowden
Weather: Jim Weber,
Sports: Chris Field (Saturday), Chip Carter (Sunday)
  • FOX13 10:00 News: 10:00-11:00 p.m.
Anchors: Lloyd Sowers, Deborah Bowden
Weather: Jim Weber
Sports: Chris Field (Saturday), Chip Carter (Sunday)

[edit] NewsEdge at 11:00

NewsEdge at 11:00 is an 11:00-11:35 p.m. newscast on WTVT hosted by Mark Wilson (with Lloyd Sowers, Frank Robertson, or Doug Smith filling in if Wilson is off). It is described as a fast-paced, Fox News Channel-type news show, with shorter report segments, and a more tabloid-feel. The newscast is split in to multiple parts, which mainly are: "Top Stories", "48 Hour Forecast", "FOX Up Front", "FloridaEdge", "NationalEdge", "FOX Focus", "WeatherEdge", "SportsEdge", and "The Lightning Round". The Lightning Round is a 5-minute debate/opinion segment which features the host, the meteorologist, and the sports anchor, along with a "special guest" debating somewhat controversial news topics. NewsEdge was, and still is somewhat, considered independent from WTVT's main news operation, and at one point, NewsEdge had different graphics and a different theme than the main news operation until the NewsEdge graphics and theme were integrated into the main news operation in February of 2006. Fox Television Stations Group, which owns WTVT, is using Tampa as the test market for this 11:00 p.m. newscast format. If successful, the plan is to have all Fox owned and operated stations producing news at 11:00 p.m.. Similar to this, sister stations KDFW in Dallas-Fort Worth, WDAF in Kansas City, WITI in Milwaukee, and KSAZ in Phoenix currently have a 10 p.m. newscast as a Fox O&O in the Central and Mountain Time Zones.

[edit] Screenshots

[edit] Logos

[edit] Key personalities

[edit] Current personalities

John Wilson and Kelly Ring
John Wilson and Kelly Ring
Mark Wilson
Mark Wilson
Paul Dellegatto
Paul Dellegatto
  • Chip Carter, sports director
  • Paul Dellegatto, chief meteorologist
  • Kathy Fountain, host of "Your Turn" during the noon and anchor of the 5 p.m. newscast
  • Bill Murphy, Good Day Tampa Bay weekend anchor/weekday reporter, host of locally popular "One Tank Trips" segment.
  • Laura Moody, Good Day Tampa Bay weekend anchor
  • Kelly Ring, 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. anchor (Ring is now her maiden name, her name since 1995 being Kelly Bulleit)
  • John Wilson, 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. anchor, Trivia: (Sons are WTVT NewsEdge anchor Mark Wilson, and notable actor Patrick Wilson)
  • Denise White, noon and 5 p.m. anchor
  • Cynthia Smoot, 5:30 p.m. anchor
  • Frank Robertson, 5:30 p.m. anchor (married to WTVT anchor Kathy Fountain)
  • Anne Dwyer, Good Day Tampa Bay weekday anchor
  • Tom Curran, Good Day Tampa Bay weekday 5-7 a.m. anchor
  • Russell Rhodes, Good Day Tampa Bay weekday 7-9 a.m. anchor
  • Dave Osterberg, Good Day Tampa Bay meteorologist
  • Eric Seidel, Consumer Lawyer
  • Glenn Selig, Reporter, 5 p.m. & 6 p.m.
  • Mark Wilson, NewsEdge at 11 anchor
  • Gloria Gomez, NewsEdge at 11 reporter
  • Doug Smith, investigative reporter/fill-in anchor
  • Dr. Joette Giovinco ("Dr. Jo"), medical reporter
  • Deborah Bowden, reporter, weekend 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. anchor
  • Lloyd Sowers, reporter, weekend 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. anchor
  • Nancy Perla, general assignment reporter
  • Ray Collins, Sarasota/Manatee County reporter/fill-in anchor
  • Howard Shapiro, noon meteorologist
  • Jennifer Epstein, Good Day Tampa Bay Traffic Analyst
  • Nerissa Prest (from WFLA-TV; will be joining Good Day Tampa Bay sometime in 2007. Source: St. Petersburg Times)
  • Liane Jackson, Good Day Tampa Bay reporter

[edit] Former personalities

This film, television, or video-related list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it.
  • Roy Leep (1957-1997), chief meteorologist (retired)
  • Sol Fleischman (1957-1974), sports anchor
  • Tom Dunn (1962-1964), reporter/anchor (deceased)
  • Hugh Smith (1963-1991), anchor (retired)
  • Andy Hardy (1963-1996), sports anchor (deceased)
  • Tony Zappone (1965), (1976-1982), news correspondent
  • Leslie Spencer, anchor (1970s-1990s)
  • Deanna Lawrence, reporter/anchor (1970s-1990s) (now a producer for Fox 13's "What's Right with Tampa Bay" segment)
  • Bob Breck (1971-1973), meteorologist (now at WVUE)
  • John Nicholson (1978-1981), 11pm anchor
  • Alan Wendt, reporter (1978-1993)
  • Rod Challenger (-1978), anchor
  • Bill Keneely (1980-1982), meteorologist (now at The Weather Channel)
  • Jack Harris (1984-1989) "Pulse PLUS!" host. (now at WFTS and on "AM Tampa Bay", WFLA-AM)
  • Terry Casey (1985-1989), 6/11pm news commentary
  • Kelly Craig (1985-1990), 6 & 11pm anchor (now at WTVJ)
  • Kerry Sanders (1987-1992), reporter (now at NBC News)
  • Hagit Limor, consumer reporter (late 1980s-1994) (now at WCPO)
  • Stan Jayson (1991-2001), reporter
  • Ken Krawley (1992-1996), investigative reporter
  • Brian Goff (1995-2006), morning/noon reporter (retired)
  • Jessica Yellin (2000-2002), reporter (now at ABC News)
  • Steve Wilson, investigative reporter, (now at WXYZ)
  • Karen King, morning anchor
  • Stacy Strazis, "Good Day, Tampa Bay" (1994-1997)
  • Karen Borta (?-1995), anchor/reporter (now at KTVT/KTXA)
  • Dave Monsees, reporter (mid 1990s)
  • Bob Barnard, reporter (mid 1990s-1997) (now at WTTG)
  • Amani Channel (Late 1990s-2006), anchor (now at the Black Family Channel)
  • Cathy Unruh, reporter (1991-1999) (now at WEDU as a talk show host)
  • Eric Chilton (1997-2003), morning meteorologist (now at WFMY)
  • Kara Cox (late 1990s), traffic reporter

[edit] External links

[edit] References

  1. ^ WTVT announces new HD set
  2. ^ Construction photos of WTVT HD set
  3. ^ Jane Akre
  4. ^ http://www.foxbghsuit.com/
  5. ^ New World Communs. of Tampa, Inc. v. Akre, 866 So. 2d 1231(2003)
Fox Network Affiliates in the state of Florida

WSVN 7 (Miami) - WTVT 13 (Tampa) - WPGX 28 (Panama City) - WFLX 29 (West Palm Beach) - WAWS 30 (Jacksonville) - WOFL 35 (Orlando) - WFTX 36 (Cape Coral) - WTLH 49 (Bainbridge / Tallahassee) - WOGX 51 (Ocala / Gainesville)

See also: ABC, CBS, CW, MyNetworkTV, NBC, PBS, Religious, Spanish and Other stations in the state of Florida