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Sunbeam Television Corporation is a broadcasting company based in Miami, Floridamarker, and owns three television stations in the United Statesmarker.

History

Sunbeam Television was founded in 1962 by Sydney ("Sid") Ansin, who inherited his family's shoemaking business in Massachusettsmarker and later purchased South Floridamarker real estate in the years after World War II, eventually settling in Miami Beachmarker. Sydney's son, Edmund ("Ed") Ansin, joined his father when the elder Ansin prevailed in a lengthy quest to acquire Miami television station WCKT from the Cox and Knight publishing families. The Cox/Knight cooperative, Biscayne Television Corporation, had its license to operate the station revoked by the Federal Communications Commission due to improper contact with an FCC commissioner.

Ed Ansin was installed as WCKT's executive vice president upon Sunbeam's takeover of the station. He became the company's president and chief operating officer after Sydney's death in 1971. WCKT would change its call letters to WSVNmarker in 1983, and would remain Sunbeam's lone property until 1993, when they acquired WHDH-TVmarker in Bostonmarker from New England Television.

On September 14, 2006, it was announced that Boston's WLVI-TVmarker would be acquired by Sunbeam from Tribune Broadcasting. The sale was approved in late November 2006, and Sunbeam took control of the station on December 18, 2006.

Controversies

Miami loses NBC, gains Fox

Sunbeam's flagship station, WCKT/WSVN in Miami, had been an NBC affiliate from the day it began operations in 1956. However, it suffered from poor viewership for its local news, and frequently pre-empted lower-rated network programming. As NBC rose to ratings prominence during the middle 1980s, the network sought to upgrade its visibility in the growing Miami-Fort Lauderdalemarker market.

In 1987, NBC parent company General Electric purchased CBS affiliate WTVJmarker, then the area's number one news station, from investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. Sunbeam immediately sought to block the purchase, and spent over a year fighting NBC in court, forcing NBC to run WTVJ as a CBS affiliate, something neither network was too happy about. Their efforts were ultimately unsuccessful, and on December 31, 1988, NBC ended its 32-year relationship with WCKT/WSVN and moved all its programming to WTVJ.

After a failed attempt to gain the market's CBS affiliation, WSVN was slated to become an independent station. However, as a sidebar to the NBC purchase of WTVJ, CBS acquired independent/Fox affiliate WCIX (now WFOR-TVmarker) in the spring of 1988, leaving Fox without a Miami outlet. WSVN and Fox soon agreed to an affiliation deal, initiating a partnership which began on January 1, 1989.

Sensational news

Not long after becoming a Fox station, WSVN increased its news output (the station currently has more hours of local news than any network-affiliated station in the U.S.). The station also revamped its coverage to place an emphasis on crime stories. Under the direction of news director Joel Cheatwood, WSVN came to be known both in and out of South Florida as the station where "if it bleeds, it leads", with the slogan espousing a tabloid-like philosophy. This sensational approach, along with a flash-heavy visual look, vaulted WSVN from perennial third-place finisher to the market's number-one news operation. It also served as an template for other stations in the Fox affiliate chain for their own newscasts.

The tabloid approach also garnered heavy criticism, both positive and negative, from within the television industry. WSVN continues with this format today, and WHDH-TV adopted it (to a lesser extent) after Sunbeam bought that station in 1993.

Boston says no (then yes) to Jay Leno

On April 2, 2009, WHDH-TV in Boston announced that it would not join other NBC affiliates in airing a new hour-long program fronted by outgoing Tonight Show host Jay Leno. Instead, the station said it would simulcast an hour of local news at 10:00 P.M. with its sister station WLVI-TV. In its statement, Sunbeam CEO Ed Ansin cited concerns with both ratings and advertising revenue for its existing 11:00 P.M. newscast as the main impetus for the decision. NBC answered Sunbeam with a threat to strip WHDH of its affiliation. WHDH had offered to air the new program at 11:00 as a compromise, but the network rejected that offer.

With the threats of lawsuits and the strong possibility of NBC making good on its threat, Sunbeam/WHDH-TV reconsidered its decision two weeks later.

Stations

DMA# City of license/Market Station Channel
TV (RF)
Owned since Affiliation
7. Bostonmarker WHDH-TVmarker 7 / 42 1993 NBC (on 7.1)
This TV (on 7.2)
Cambridge, Massachusettsmarker WLVI-TVmarker 56 / 41 2006 CW
17. Miamimarker - Fort Lauderdalemarker WSVNmarker 7 / 7 1962 Fox


References



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