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WFOR-TV, virtual channel 4 (digital channel 22), is the CBS owned-and-operated station in Miami, Floridamarker. WFOR shares its studio facilities with sister station WBFS-TVmarker (channel 33, Miami's MyNetworkTV affiliate) in Doral, Floridamarker, west of Miami, and its transmitter is located in Miramar, Floridamarker.

WFOR-TV also operates two translators in the Florida Keysmarker: W38AA (channel 38) in Marathonmarker and W39AC (channel 39) in Key Westmarker.

History

WCIX, channel 6

The station signed on air on September 20, 1967 on channel 6 as WCIX, owned by Coral Television, a subsidiary of General Cinema Corporation. The callsign sounded like the word "six". Channel 6 was originally licensed to Islamoradamarker in the Florida Keysmarker, but the local owners successfully convinced the FCC to move the license to Miami on the mainland where it could serve more viewers. It built a transmission tower in Homesteadmarker, which was southwest of Miami, farther south than the other Miami television stations. This arrangement was necessary to protect WPTVmarker (on adjacent channel 5) in West Palm Beachmarker and WDBO-TV (now WKMG-TVmarker, and also on channel 6) in Orlandomarker. As a result, WCIX only provided a "Grade B" over-the-air signal to Fort Lauderdalemarker, and was virtually unviewable in the northern portion of Broward County. The station made up for this shortfall in its coverage by opening translator channels throughout Broward County and in Boca Ratonmarker (part of the West Palm Beach market), identifying channels 33, 61, and 69 in its identification announcements as late as the mid-1980s. The channel 33 translator ceased operations in 1984 to allow WBFS-TV to sign on, and was then moved to channel 27 where it operated until the mid-1990s; channel 69 became WYHS-TVmarker in 1988. Translators on channels 21 (in Pompano Beachmarker) and 58 (in central Broward County) were also used in later years.

WCIX was the first general-entertainment independent station in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale market, and the second in Florida, after WSUN-TV (now WTTAmarker) in Tampamarker converted to independent status in 1965. Channel 6 ran the typical independent format of children's shows, sitcoms, movies, and other local and syndicated programs. WCIX was also one of very few stations not owned by Kaiser Broadcasting to carry The Lou Gordon Program from WKBD-TVmarker in Detroitmarker in the 1970s. It was also one of the first stations in the area to offer programming in both English and Spanish to serve South Florida's growing Hispanic population.

During the 1970s through the early-1980s, WCIX had widespread cable penetration throughout Floridamarker and was seen on cable systems as far north as Tampa Baymarker and Orlando. Outside the Miami market, WCIX shared its cable space with another Miami station, WKID-TV (channel 51, now WSCVmarker), which presented old movies and sitcoms after WCIX left the air.

A WCIX logo from 1984, which also features the corporate tag for then-owner Taft Broadcasting.
The numeric "6" was used from the station's sign-on in 1967 until 1989.
A few years after its launch, channel 6 launched The 10 O'Clock News, the first primetime newscast in South Florida. The station was the only general-entertainment independent in the market until 1976, when WHFTmarker (channel 45) was purchased by LeSEA Broadcasting and initiated a hybrid schedule of general-entertainment and religious programming. In 1980 WHFT was sold to the Trinity Broadcasting Network and switched to religious programming full-time, leaving WCIX as the market's lone independent once again. However, it would receive competition once again in 1982 when WDZL (channel 39, now WSFL-TVmarker) signed on.

General Cinema exchanged WCIX to the Taft Television and Radio Company in early 1983 for NBC affiliate WGR-TV (now WGRZ-TVmarker) in Buffalo, New Yorkmarker. Under Taft, WCIX continued to be the leading independent station in South Florida, and moved from its original studios on Brickell Avenue in downtown Miami to its current facility in Doral (then unincorporated, now a separate city) in 1985. In 1986, WCIX became one of the charter affiliates of the newly-launched Fox Broadcasting Company, and was one of a handful of VHF stations to affiliate with Fox.

Acquiring CBS

After losing a bid to purchase then-CBS affiliate WTVJmarker (then on channel 4) from then-owner Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., CBS made a half-hearted offer to buy WCIX from Taft in January 1987. Taft declined, but a month later opted to sell all their independent stations and Fox affiliates, including WCIX, to the TVX Broadcast Group. However, TVX became mired in debt as a result of the purchase, and began to sell off many of its medium- and small-market stations. Although TVX originally planned to keep WCIX, the company eventually decided that the station would have to be divested. One of the primary factors in the decision to sell was that WCIX was TVX's only VHF station, whereas its sisters were all on UHF.

KKR sold WTVJ to NBC in September 1987. However, CBS' affiliation contract with WTVJ expired at the end of 1988, as did NBC's contract with WSVNmarker (channel 7), its Miami affiliate since 1956. WSVN's owner, Sunbeam Television, was not willing to end channel 7's affiliation with NBC a year early. NBC was thus forced to run WTVJ as a CBS affiliate for over a year—a situation that didn't sit well with either NBC or CBS.

With the defection of WTVJ looming, CBS made another offer to TVX for WCIX in the spring of 1988. The two sides agreed to a final deal in August. In the interim, channel 6 agreed to air CBS programs pre-empted by WTVJ. Meanwhile, WSVN fought to retain its relationship with NBC, but later relented and approached CBS for an affiliation deal. CBS turned it down and went forward with its plans for WCIX despite its weak signal in Broward County, making WCIX one of the first two network owned-and-operated stations in Florida.

WCIX's first "CBS 6" logo, introduced in November 1989.
The official affiliation changeover occurred on January 1, 1989: CBS' full schedule moved to WCIX, while NBC's full schedule of programming moved to WTVJ. Fox moved its programming over to WSVN, while most of WCIX's syndicated programs (a notable exception being Star Trek: The Next Generation) went to WDZL. WCIX also began a half-hour newscast at 6:00 p.m., moved their 10:00 newscast to 11:00, and continued to increase its local news output in the early 1990s. CBS formally closed on its purchase of WCIX the next day. In the case of Miami-Fort Lauderdale, it is the only television market where Fox switched affiliates both on the VHF dial.

Despite a significant technical overhaul and upgraded programming, WCIX struggled as a CBS station due to its weak signal in Fort Lauderdale. Despite operating a translator in the area on channel 27, CBS persuaded WPECmarker (channel 12), the longtime ABC affiliate in West Palm Beach, to switch to CBS (replacing UHF station WTVXmarker) in order to give the network a stronger signal in northern Broward County.

WCIX's transmission tower was brought down by Hurricane Andrew on August 24, 1992, forcing the station off-air. Within hours, the station resumed transmission via its low power translator in Fort Lauderdale. WDZL began carrying WCIX's newscasts the next day, with the entire CBS schedule following a few days later. Within a week, WCIX was back on the air using an emergency transmitter on a borrowed tower. In the wake of the devastation, WCIX's staff helped create Neighbors Helping Neighbors, a grass roots charitable organization which aimed to help people rebuild. The organization lives on as Neighbors 4 Neighbors, which is still supported by the station.

Move to channel 4

WCIX moved to channel 4 on Sept.
10, 1995, becoming WFOR-TV.
In 1994, CBS and Westinghouse Broadcasting signed a long-term affiliation deal, part of which resulted in three Westinghouse-owned stations becoming CBS affiliates. As a sidebar, a subsequent deal between NBC and a new Group W/CBS joint venture was made in 1995, with CBS selling the channel 6 facility to NBC as compensation for the loss of two Westinghouse-owned NBC affiliates, KYW-TVmarker in Philadelphiamarker and WBZ-TVmarker in Bostonmarker. In return, Group W/CBS received the stronger channel 4 facility and cash as compensation for the loss of WCAU-TVmarker in Philadelphia, which was being acquired by NBC. NBC also included stations in Denvermarker and Salt Lake Citymarker in the tradeoff to Group W/CBS.

At 1:00 a.m. on September 10, 1995, WCIX and WTVJ swapped dial positions. The entire WCIX intellectual unit (studios, CBS affiliation, programming and staff) moved from channel 6 to channel 4, thus returning CBS programming to channel 4 after a six-year hiatus. WTVJ had been Miami's CBS affiliate from its sign-on in 1949 until the 1989 switch to NBC. Along with the frequency change came a new set of call letters, WFOR-TV. Due to the way the asset exchange deal was structured, the two stations were required to swap licenses in addition to the transmitting facilities. ([155753], [155754]) As a result, the FCC considers WFOR-TV to be legally the same station as the original WTVJ; however, the studios of both WFOR-TV and WTVJ remained the same.

Under the terms of the deal, CBS sold controlling interest (55 percent) in WFOR-TV to Westinghouse, while retaining a minority interest (45 percent). WFOR became fully owned by CBS once again when the Westinghouse Electric Corporation purchased CBS at the end of 1995.

WFOR began its digital television service on May 1, 2001.

With the hiring of a new news director, Shannon High-Bassalik, in 2000, major changes came to WFOR's news department. New anchors, a younger and hipper look, and flashy news coverage were all similar to the style seen at WSVN, where she was assistant news director. She also changed the newscast's name from News 4 South Florida to CBS 4 News. A short time later, Viacom bought CBS, making WFOR a sister station to UPN affiliate WBFS-TV, who subsequently moved into WFOR's studios. The station also handled some support operations for WTVXmarker in West Palm Beach until it was sold to Cerberus Capital Management in 2007. When Viacom spun off CBS Corporation in 2005, WFOR-TV and WBFS-TV became part of the new company.

Until June 2007, anchor Maggie Rodriguez and Elliot Rodriguez co-anchored the 5 and 11 PM newscasts. Maggie left the station to co-anchor the Saturday Early Show. Shannon Hori, formerly of sister station KTVTmarker in Fort Worth, Texasmarker, was named main anchor in June 2007. Also that month, news director High-Bassalik was forced to resign, and was replaced by Adrienne Roark.

WFOR-TV is currently the only English-language TV station in the Miami-Ft. Lauderdale market that has not switched to high definition newscasts as of yet. As of October 25, 2009, it is now the only CBS O&O with an in-house news operation which has yet to upgrade to high-definition newscasts.

Controversy

In February 2007, shortly after proving that the head of South Florida's largest police agency, MDPD Director Robert Parker, lied under oath to county commissioners about citizen complaint forms, WFOR investigative reporter Mike Kirsch was surrounded by ten police units from Parker's department after a routine traffic stop and falsely arrested for felony assault on a police officer and resisting with violence, charges quickly dropped by the Miami Dade County State Attorney's Office. To date Director Parker has not been investigated for violating Florida Statute Florida statute 838.24: “A public servant who under oath in an official proceeding makes a false statement, which he or she does not believe to be true, in regard to any material matter that relates to his or her duties or actions as a public servant, commits a felony of the second degree.” (http://blogs.miaminewtimes.com/riptide/2007/06/reporter_claims_police_directo.php)

Digital television

On June 12, 2009, WFOR-TV left channel 4 and continued broadcasting on channel 22 to complete its analog to digital conversion. However, through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display WFOR-TV's virtual channel as "4".

News team

Anchors
  • Antonio Mora - weeknights at 5pm, 6pm and 11pm
  • Shannon Hori - weeknights at 5pm, 6pm and 11pm
    • host of 4 Sunday Morning
  • Eliott Rodriguez - weekdays at Noon and 5:30pm
    • host of News and Views with Eliott Rodriguez
  • Erika Von Tiehl - weeknights at 5:30pm and 10pm (MY 33)
  • Jawan Strader - weeknights at 10pm (MY 33) and reporter
  • Jim Berry - weekday mornings 5am-7am
  • Cynthia Demos - weekday mornings 5am-7am and Noon
  • Marybel Rodriguez - weekends at 6pm and 11pm and reporter during the week


CBS 4 Storm Specialists
  • David Bernard (Certified Broadcast Meteorologist) - Chief seen weeknights at 5pm, 5:30pm, 6pm and 11pm
  • Craig Setzer (AMS Seal of Approval and NWA member) - weeknights at 10pm (MY 33)
    • fill-in
  • Lissette Gonzalez - weekday mornings and Noon
  • Jeff Berardelli (AMS Seal of Approval) - weekends


Sports syleys roberts weeknight at 5-6 am and 6-10-11pm

Reporters
  • Gwen Belton
  • Gio Benitez
  • Carey Codd
  • Jim DeFede - evening news commentator and host of The Jim DeFede Show on WFTL-AM 850
  • Peter D'Oench
  • Jorge Estevez
  • Michele Gillen - Chief Investigator
  • Samantha Hayes - CNN NewsSource national politics
  • Tiffani Helberg
  • Christina Loren - weekday morning traffic
  • Joan Murray - Broward County Bureau
  • Gary Nelson
  • Lisa Petrillo - entertainment and Extra Miamimarker correspondent
  • Ted Scouten
  • Stephen Stock - investigative
  • Al Sunshine - investigative and consumer
    • "Shame On You" segment producer and Miami Herald columnist
  • David Sutta
  • Michael Williams
  • Natalia Zea


Station Alumni

  • Ralph Renick - commentator (1988 - 1990) (deceased)
  • Bill O'Reilly (political commentator)
  • Jeff Baskin - Freelance weather now at KLRT-TVmarker
  • Michael Evans - reporter (1976-1978)
  • Beatriz Canals


  • Jade Alexander - weekday mornings (on WBFS)
  • Aaron Alvarez, Meteorologist (now at KYW-TV)
  • Shomari Stone
  • Dr. Sean Kenniff - health specialist
  • Ileana Varela - weekend anchor




  • Barbara Sloan
  • Jim Dyer


  • Kathleen Corso, Reporter/morning anchor 1989-1995, now Special Projects Producer at WPLG-TVmarker in Miamimarker
  • Rachel Aram
  • Brian Andrews - Now English Language News Director RCN-TV in Bogotámarker
  • Bryan Norcross - (AMS Certified) "Hurricane Specialist" seen during hurricane coverage
    • executive producer for WFOR's hurricane specials
    • CBS News hurricane consultant
  • Stan Miller - currently lead anchor at KFMB-TVmarker
  • John Hambrick - Retired to Texas - doing commercials & movies (1990 - 1993)


  • Larry Klass
  • Anne Roberts
  • Laurie Stein - investigative and fill-in anchor
  • Liv Davalos
  • Tom Doerr - VP Station Manager 2006-2009. Now VP of News for Fox TV in Houston.


News/Station Presentation

Newscast Titles

  • TV-6 News (1970s, as WCIX)
  • News Watch 6 (Late 1970s-Early 1980s)
  • Eyewitness News at Ten (Early-Mid 1980s)
  • The Ten O'Clock News (Mid 1980s-January 1989)
  • Channel 6 News (January-April 1989)
  • Channel 6 Action News (April 1989-1995)
  • News 4 South Florida (1995-1999, used when the station moved to Channel 4)
  • CBS 4 News (1999-2008)
  • South Florida's CBS 4 News (2008-present)


Station Slogans

  • Say 6 (????-19??)
  • We're Earning Our Reputation One Story At A Time (19??-????)
  • WCIX, Channel 6-Be a Part of It All! (mid-to-late 1980s)
  • Taking Action For You (1992-1995)
  • Taking Action to Bring You a More Balanced View of South Florida (1992-1995)
  • Working For You (1995-1999)
  • News That Works For You (1995-)
  • CBS 4 is Always On (2007-present)


References

  1. http://www.nytimes.com/1988/08/09/business/the-media-business-cbs-to-buy-tv-station-in-miami.html
  2. http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-06-1082A2.pdf


External links




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