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WSVN
Miami / Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Branding WSVN 7 (general)
7 News (newscasts)
Slogan The News Station
Channels Analog: 7 (VHF)

Digital: 8 (VHF)

Translators WKIZ-LP 49 Key West
Affiliations FOX
Owner Sunbeam Television
Licensee Sunbeam Television Corporation
First air date July 29, 1956
Call letters' meaning channel SeVeN
Former callsigns WCKT (1956-1983)
Former Affiliations NBC (1956-1988)
Transmitter Power 316 kW (analog)
14.4 kW (digital)
Height 293 m (analog)
291 m (digital)
Facility ID 63840
Website WSVN.com

WSVN, ch. 7, is the FOX-affiliated TV station for South Florida, licensed to Miami. It's transmitter is located in Miramar. Owned by Sunbeam Television, the station has studios on 79th Street Causeway in Miami. Sunbeam also owns NBC affiliate WHDH-TV & CW affiliate WLVI-TV in Boston. WSVN & WHDH share resources when covering each other's news. WSVN operates a Key West repeater, WKIZ-LP, on ch. 49.

HistoryEdit

The station began broadcasting on July 29, 1956. It had the call letters WCKT & was a NBC affiliate owned by Biscayne Television Corporation. The station was a partnership of the COX & Knight publishing families who owned Miami's 2 major newspapers: The Miami News & The Miami Herald. The same partnership also owned WCKR-AM 610 (now WIOD) & WCKR-FM 97.3 (now WFLC). Before WCKT signed on, NBC had been carried on WFTL-TV in Fort Lauderdale (later known as WGBS-TV after it had been acquired by Storer Broadcasting) along with some DuMont programming. However, WFTL struggled because TV sets were not required to have UHF tuning capability. When the Cox / Knight partnership won a construction permit & license for ch. 7, NBC quickly agreed to move it's affiliation to that channel since WCKR had long been the NBC Radio affiliate in Miami. Ch. 23 became an independent & eventually went dark & later came back to the air in 1967 as eventual Univision flagship station WLTV.

WCKT and Biscayne Television lose licenseEdit

In 1962, the Cox / Knight partnership was stripped of both of it's broadcast licenses due to violations of FCC licensing rules as well as ethics violations. In hearings that began back in June 1960, it was found that some of the principals of Biscayne Television, as well as some of James M. Cox's personal friends, had made improper contact with FCC Commissioner Richard Mack in order to influence the award of the construction permit & licenses. Biscayne was competing for the license with East Coast Television & South Florida TV. Mack had also been found guilty of taking payoffs & was forced to resign by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, as well as the rest of the FCC commissioners. Biscayne Television originally planned to appeal it's license revocation but was advised that it would be turned down due to the gravity of the situation. Mack had also been found guilty of taking payoffs in the licensing process of another Miami station (WPST-TV, now WPLG) to the broadcasting subsidiary of National Airlines. Biscayne then opted to put WCKT on the market. Shortly afterward a new company called Sunbeam Television Corporation bought the station for $3.4 million & assumed ownership on December 19, 1962. Upon the change in ownership, Sunbeam retained the WCKT calls & claimed the Cox / Knight station's history as it's own.

Sunbeam Television was a partnership between Edmund N. "Ed" Ansin & his father Sydney. The younger Ansin gained control of Sunbeam Television upon Sydney's death in 1983. He formally assumed control on June 7 of that year & changed the calls to the current WSVN. The WSVN calls were previously used by PBS member station WSBN in Norton, Virginia.

Sunbeam Television ownershipEdit

As an NBC station, WCKT / WSVN aired a newscast in place of whatever NBC aired weekdays @ Noon. It also, @ some times of the year, preempted shows during the 10 or 11 AM hour (but ran @ least 1 of these hours) & preempted an occasional primetime show. While NBC has traditionally been far less tolerant of pre-emptions than the other networks, it did not mind this @ first provided that any programs pre-empted by ch. 7 aired on WPTV in West Palm Beach. WPTV's signal provides city-grade coverage of Fort Lauderdale & was available on nearly every cable system in the area. However, in the early 1980s, WPTV fell off a few Miami cable systems to make room for new channels. NBC disliked the fact that much of it's programming was getting preempted in the growing Miami market & eventually concluded it needed to have an O&O station there.

Network affiliation switchEdit

NBC got it's chance in the late-1980s when CBS affiliate WTVJ, Florida's oldest TV station, went on the market. NBC won a bidding war for WTVJ in 1987. WTVJ's affiliation contract with CBS did not run out until the end of 1988, but CBS was willing to let WTVJ out of it's affiliation contract a year early. However, Ansin was not willing to let NBC out of it's affiliation contract with WSVN, which also ran out @ the end of 1988. He wanted to air NBC's strong 1988 lineup, including baseball & the 1988 Summer Olympics. As a result, NBC was forced to run WTVJ as a CBS affiliate for more than a year but all of the NBC shows preempted by WSVN moved to WTVJ. This situation did not sit well with either network. When Ansin made an offer to take the CBS affiliation, CBS turned the offer down almost out of hand. Instead, it bought Miami's original FOX affiliate, WCIX, even though it had an inadequate signal in Broward County.

Finally, on New Year's Day of 1989, NBC formally moved to WTVJ & WSVN received the FOX affiliation from WCIX (now WFOR-TV). WSVN had far fewer programming to pre-empt as a result, as FOX only programmed weekends @ the time; thus, WSVN originally considered themselves an independent station & before the network's expansion into weeknights, aired an 8 o'clock film. WSVN's affiliation with FOX could also be seen as a major coup, as WSVN had been the area's longtime NBC affiliate & FOX was pleased to move it's affiliation to a station which had been with a "Big 3" network for years.

FOX affiliationEdit

Instead of buying a lot of off-network sitcoms & running cartoons, WSVN opted to move to a news intensive format & poured most of it's resources into it's news department. It began to air a lot of first run syndicated talk shows, court shows, off-network dramas & 8 hours of news a day. It did run some cartoons on weekends as well. It originally aired FOX Kids programming in 1990 but by 1993 it moved to WDZL (now WSFL-TV). WBFS-TV now airs the current 4 Kids TV block which replaced FOX Kids.

Shows on WSVN include Live with Regis & Kelly, Inside Edition, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire & Matlock.

In 1994, when New World Communications switched most of it's stations' to FOX, the programming on them was very similar in format to WSVN except that their news format may have aimed @ an older audience than WSVN. Also, many New World stations passed on FOX Kids just like WSVN.

As a FOX affiliate, the station is branded WSVN 7, rather than FOX 7 under FOX's station standardization rule. (Curiously, sister station WHDH in Boston does brand itself with it's network name as 7 NBC.) However, FOX News Channel refers to the station as "FOX 7" when using WSVN's coverage of news from South Florida. Also, the FOX logo occasionally appears in a rolling marquee on the top left hand corner of the website (see link below).

WSVN todayEdit

WSVN tends to run a lot of lower budget first run syndicated shows that other stations pass on. FOX supplies the station with a primetime lineup & plenty of weekend sports. Even though other stations outbid WSVN for the best programming, the station has far higher ratings than WSFL & WBFS & often beats the other network affiliates in ratings. In May 2006, WSVN was the market's highest-rated English-language station from sign-on to sign-off. WPLG has since surpassed WSVN as the #1 English-language station in Miami, though WSVN has remained a strong 2nd.

DTV Edit

The station's DT channel is multiplexed:

DT channels
Virtual
Channel
Physical
RF Channel
Video Aspect Programming
7.1 8.1 720p 16:9 main WSVN programming / FOX HD
7.2 8.2 480i 4:3 FOX Accuweather Channel

In 2009, WSVN will remain on ch. 7 when the analog to DT conversion is complete.

News operationEdit

When the station gained FOX affiliation, it began to broadcast in a news intensive format & poured most of it's resources into it's news department. WSVN was the 2nd FOX affiliate to have a weekday morning newscast & was the 1st with weeknight 5 & 6 o'clock news. Led by News Director Joel Cheatwood, it airs a format based on the philosophy "if it bleeds, it leads". WSVN's newscasts are heavy on crime stories & flashy graphics. When Ed Ansin bought WHDH-TV in Boston, Cheatwood moved there & adopted a considerably watered-down version of WSVN's format.

The WSVN model would influence what most FOX affiliates would look like in years to come. Despite it's reputation as a tabloid station, it's newscasts consistently garner high reviews from some media critics. Today, it continues to attract high ratings. It even has a weeknight 11 PM news (which began in 1995 as a 15 minute O.J. Simpson murder case wrap-up) in addition to it's main 10 o'clock one. WSVN, however, is in the minority of FOX stations offering a 4 PM newscast (along with KPTM in Omaha). The station is often criticized for it's sensationalized news reports. In 1994, for instance, 9 Florida hotels (all owned or operated by Continental Companies) censored the station from their internal TVs due to WSVN's sensationalized coverage of murders around the greater Miami area. The Continental Companies reasoned that such yellow-journalistic practices would likely hinder the hotels' touristic revenue.

In total, the station currently airs 9 & a 1/2 hours of news on weekdays (5-9 AM, Noon-1, 4-7 & 10-11:30 PM) & typically about 4 hours on weekends, not counting entertainment programming or breaking news coverage. It's reporters of various ethnic backgrounds & sexual orientations displays the diversity of the South Florida community. The station's weather radar is called "Storm Tracker 7". All newscasts, including entertainment show Deco Drive, can be viewed live on WSVN's website.

News / Station PresentationEdit

Newscast TitlesEdit

  • WCKT-TV News (1956-1962)
  • The World Today/The World Tonight (1962-1973, later used on WTVJ in Miami)
  • TV-7 News (1973-1975, presented on air simply as News)
  • Channel 7 News (1975-1980, 1988-1993)
  • NewsCenter 7 (1980-1988)
  • 7 News (1993-present)

News TeamEdit

Anchors

  • Blake Burman - weekends at 5:00, 6:00, 6:30, 10:00 and 11:00 p.m.; also weeknight reporter
  • Christine Cruz - weekday mornings on Today in Florida (5:00-10:00 a.m.) and weekdays at noon; also morning reporter
  • Diana Diaz - weekday mornings on Today in Florida (5:00-10:00 a.m.) and weekdays at noon; also morning and health reporter
  • Jeff Lennox - Saturday mornings on Today in Florida (7:00-10:00 a.m.); also reporter and fill-in anchor
  • Lynn Martinez - weekdays at 4:00 and 4:30 and weeknights at 5:30 and 6:30 p.m.; also fill-in anchor and weeknight 10:00 and 11:00 p.m. reporter
  • Mike Marza - weekdays at 4:00 and 4:30 and weeknights at 5:30 and 6:30 p.m.; also fill-in anchor and weeknight 10:00 and 11:00 p.m. reporter
  • Belkys Nerey - weeknights at 5:00, 6:00, 10:00 and 11:00 p.m.; also fill-in anchor
  • Alexis Rivera - weekday mornings on Today in Florida (5:00-10:00 a.m.); also morning reporter
  • Robbin Simmons - weekends at 5:00, 6:00, 6:30, 10:00 and 11:00 p.m.; also weeknight reporter
  • Craig Stevens - weeknights at 5:00, 6:00, 10:00 and 11:00 p.m.; also fill-in anchor

Meteorologists

  • Phil Ferro (AMS and NWA Seals of Approval) - chief meteorologist; weekdays at 4:00 and 4:30 and weeknights at 5:00, 5:30, 6:00, 6:30, 10:00 and 11:00 p.m.; also Saturday morning and weekend fill-in
  • Brent Cameron (member, NWA) - meteorologist; weekends at 5:00, 6:00, 6:30, 10:00 and 11:00 p.m.; also weeknight fill-in
  • Vivian Gonzalez (AMS Seal of Approval; member, NWA) - meteorologist; weekday mornings on Today in Florida (5:00-10:00 a.m.) and weekdays at noon
  • Karlene Chavis - meteorologist; Saturday mornings on Today in Florida (7:00-10:00 a.m.)
7 Sports (entire team is seen on Sunday Sports Xtra)
  • Steve Shapiro - sports director; weeknights at 6:00, 6:30, 10:00 and 11:00 p.m.
  • Mike DiPasquale - sports anchor; weekends at 5:00, 6:00, 6:30, 10:00 and 11:00 p.m.; also sports reporter and fill-in
  • Donovan Campbell - sports reporter; also fill-in

Reporters

  • Brandon Beyer - general assignment reporter
  • Carmel Cafiero - investigative reporter (Carmel on the Case)
  • Alex Diprato - general assignment reporter
  • Howard Finkelstein - legal analyst (Help Me Howard)
  • Patrick Fraser - investigative and political reporter (Help Me Howard and Out for Justice)
  • Sheldon Fox - general assignment reporter; also fill-in anchor
  • Derek Hayward - general assignment reporter
  • Alexa Helms - general assignment reporter; also fill-in anchor
  • Adrianna Hopkins - general assignment reporter; also fill-in anchor
  • Nicole Linsalata - general assignment reporter; also fill-in anchor
  • Rosh Lowe - general assignment reporter
  • Vanessa Medina - general assignment reporter
  • Liz Nagy - general assignment reporter; also fill-in anchor
  • Kevin Ozebek - general assignment reporter; also fill-in anchor
  • Eugene Ramirez - general assignment reporter
  • Ralph Rayburn - "7 Skyforce HD" photographerCarmel Cafiero - Investigative Reporter

Station alumniEdit

  • Jessica Aguirre - now @ KNTV in San Francisco
  • Lisa Baldwin - now @ KPRC-TV in Houston
  • Jill Beach - anchor, later worked @ WTVJ
  • Jim Berry - sports anchor (now @ WFOR-TV & WBFS-TV)
  • Joel Brown - now @ CBS Newspath in Washington, D.C.
  • Ann Bishop - script writer (moved to WPLG & became a legendary anchor)
  • Tom Burse - Meteorologist
  • Rick Chambers - now with KCAL-TV in Los Angeles
  • Wayne Chandler - meteorologist & host of "Sunday Funnies"
  • Steve Dawson - anchor
  • Chris Dunn - now Chief Meteorologist @ KDVR in Denver
  • Sally Fitz - anchor
  • Peter Ford - anchor
  • Pam Giganti - weather anchor, now morning anchor @ WTVJ
  • Donna Hanover - one of Rudy Giuliani's ex wives
  • Tom Haynes - currently with WAGA in Atlanta as host of FOX 5 News Edge.
  • J.P. Hervis - now @ WPBF-TV in West Palm Beach
  • Jackie Johnson - now @ KCBS-TV in Los Angeles
  • Tom Johnston - now Chief Meteorologist @ WFTX-TV in Cape Coral, FL
  • Bill Kamal - former Chief Meteorologist (found guilty for soliciting sex to a minor)
  • Alycia Lane - former main anchor @ KYW-TV in Philadelphia
  • Rick Leventhal - now @ FOX News Channel
  • Elita Loresca - now @ KNBC in Los Angeles
  • Mark Lodner - Senior Reporter (now deceased)
  • Delaine Mathieu - now @ WOAI-TV in San Antonio
  • Robin Meade - now @ CNN Headline News
  • Sharron Melton - now @ KTRK-TV in Houston
  • Kelley Mitchell, anchor/reporter, now morning show co-anchor @ WFTL in Ft. Lauderdale
  • Sharon Reed - now @ WOIO in Cleveland
  • Jillian Reynolds - now @ KTTV & FOX NFL Sunday
  • Frank Robertson - now @ WTVT in Tampa
  • Shaun Robinson - now @ Access Hollywood
  • Steve Rondinaro - now @ WWAY in Wilmington, NC
  • Rick Sanchez - now @ CNN
  • Shepard Smith - now @ FOX News Channel
  • Bob Soper - meteorologist (now retired)
  • Linda Stouffer - now @ CNN Headline News (went by Cinnamon Stouffer during her stint @ WSVN)
  • Mike Tobin - now @ FOX News Channel based in Israel
  • Tiffani Tucker - now @ WOIO in Cleveland
  • John Turchin - now @ America's Most Wanted as a reporter
  • Michelle Tuzee - now anchor @ KABC-TV in Los Angeles
  • Lee Webb - sports anchor during late 1970s, now news anchor for the 700 Club
  • Denise White - now @ WTVT in Tampa
  • Michael Williams - Now @ WFOR-TV
  • Julia Yarbough - Now @ WTVJ
  • Don Guevara- in California

Other NotesEdit

  • WSVN has used it's own version of the circle 7 logo since the early 1980s. When Sunbeam purchased WHDH in Boston, the WSVN logo was adopted for the new acquisition.
  • WKIZ's calls are a play on the Florida Keys since the translator serves Key West.
  • The opening sequence of the Flight of the Navigator with the dogs catching Frisbees was filmed in a grass field alongside WSVN's studios.
  • WSVN's newscasts were featured in @ least 2 movies - The Mean Season (1985) & Flight of the Navigator (1986).
  • WSVN's current broadcast license dates to 1956. The other station involved in the Richard Mack affair, WPST (now WPLG) ch. 10, had actually had it's license revoked. The owners of WPST were forced to sell the station only after they had to cease broadcasting.
  • Once WPLG moves into new studios in Broward County by 2009, It will be one of 3 stations based in Miami-Dade County alongside WFOR-TV & WBFS (both owned by CBS).

External linksEdit

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