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WINK-TV is the CBS-affiliated television station for Southwest Florida that is licensed to Fort Myersmarker. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on VHF channel 9 from a transmitter north of Fort Myers Shoresmarker near the Leemarker and Charlottemarker County line. The station can also be seen on Comcast channel 5 and in high definition on digital channel 233. However, unlike other stations in the market, it does not identify itself on-air using its cable channel location. They are locally owned by the McBride family and their Fort Myers Broadcasting Company along with several radio stations operated by Meridian Broadcasting. It has studios on Palm Beach Boulevard (a.k.a. FL 80) in Fort Myers. Syndicated programming on the station includes: Inside Edition, Oprah, Let's Make a Deal, and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?.

Its coverage area includes Lee, Colliermarker, Sarasotamarker, Hendrymarker, Gladesmarker, Charlotte, DeSotomarker, Highlandsmarker, and Hardeemarker Counties. In the Tampa Baymarker market, WINK-TV is one of two Fort Myers stations carried by Comcast in Venicemarker and Wauchulamarker. It is the only Southwest Florida-based station on Comcast in Sebringmarker. This is due in part because Tampa Bay's CBS affiliate WTSPmarker has a signal that cannot be seen that well in Sarasota, Hardee, and Highlands Counties (all part of the Tampa Bay DMA) because that station's transmitter is in Holidaymarker in the northern part of the Tampa Bay area.

In general, WINK-TV's aerial coverage area extends as far north as southern Polkmarker County. The station clears almost the entire CBS schedule. Due to an hour-long newscast at Noon during the week, it airs two of CBS's soap operas out of pattern. The Bold and the Beautiful airs at 10:30 in the morning (normally airs at 1:30 P.M.) and The Young and the Restless airs at 1 in the afternoon which is half an hour later than most CBS affiliates.


WINK-TV was founded in March 1954 as sister to WINK radio (AM 1240 and FM 96.9). The station aired an analog signal on VHF channel 11. It was the first television station in Southwest Floridamarker and is currently the fifth-oldest surviving station in the state (behind Miamimarker's WTVJmarker, Jacksonvillemarker's WJXTmarker, Orlandomarker's WKMG-TVmarker, and West Palm Beachmarker's WPTVmarker). At the time of their beginning, Southwest Florida was underpopulated and people had to rely on television stations from Miami and Tampa Bay. Stations from these markets were and continued to be obtainable with large outdoor antennas. WINK-TV was the only station in the area for 14 years and is still the only full-powered VHF station in the market even after the analog to digital switch.

Due to Fort Myers being sandwiched between Miami to the east and Tampa Bay to the north, WINK-TV was fortunate to gain the only VHF license allocated to the area. As such, it originally carried programming from NBC, ABC, and DuMont along with CBS. That network folded in 1956 and it lost NBC when WBBH-TVmarker signed-on in 1968 but continued to share ABC with WBBH until WEVU-TV (now WZVN-TVmarker) signed-on in 1974. WINK-TV's broadcasts became digital-only at Noon on February 17, 2009.

News operation

Their morning news open.

WINK-TV has been the dominant news station in Fort Myers for nearly all of its history. This is largely because its status as the area's only VHF station. Until cable television came to the area in the 1970s, they were the only station that put a clear signal to much of the area. Due to the duopoly of WBBH and WZVN, WINK-TV primarily competes with WBBH. Starting on March 26, 2007, WINK-TV established a news share agreement with Sun Broadcasting (owner of CW affiliate WXCWmarker) and began producing a nightly 10 o'clock newscast on that station. This was the third prime time show established in the market, after FOX affiliate WFTXmarker and MyNetworkTV affiliate "WNFM", and became ranked a strong second within days of its debut. On May 25, the WZVN-produced newscast on WNFM stopped airing. This was due to Comcast's frequent technical difficulties (they operate cable-only WNFM) which hindered the show's ratings as well as the popularity of the WINK-TV production on WXCW.

On October 20, WINK-TV became the first station in Southwest Florida to broadcast local news in high definition. They purchased new high definition studio cameras, field cameras, weather computers, and graphics to complete the launch. The newscasts on WXCW were included in the upgrade. Back on July 12, WZVN began to broadcast its local news in 16x9 widescreen standard definition calling it "enhanced digital definition". However, this was not true high definition compared to WINK-TV. WBBH followed soon after with its own launch of news in the format. On January 7, 2008, several programming changes were made on WINK-TV. It started showing The Early Show in its entirety because CBS now requires all of its affiliates to do that. The Early Show received a makeover and hopes to compete against its rivals, NBC's Today and ABC's Good Morning America. Originally, WINK-TV had preempted the first hour of that show to air an extra hour of local news known as Good Morning Southwest Florida. The station moved this broadcast to WXCW and expanded it to two hours. It also began to repeat its Noon news at 1 o'clock on that station. In addition, WINK-TV launched the market's first weeknight 7 o'clock newscast. To coincide with all of these changes, it began branding its newscasts as WINK News Now.

On July 19, 2008, WBBH and WZVN started broadcasting their local newscasts in full high definition becoming the second and third stations respectively in Fort Myers to do so. In addition to their main studios, WINK-TV operates two news bureaus. The Charlotte County Bureau is in the Charlotte Sun newsroom in Charlotte Harbormarker while the Collier County Bureau is on 8th Street South in downtown Naples. The station's weather radar, called "SKY Tracker Doppler HD", is located next to the its studios. Consequently, two new condominium towers built across the street from WINK-TV cause a blind / dead spot in the radar's ability to detect rain. Their microphones alongside the more-familiar microphones and mobile news vans from fellow CBS affiliate WFOR-TVmarker can now be seen regularly on CSI Miami when there are press conferences at the crime lab. During the spring training season for the Boston Red Sox, WINK-TV shares their coverage of the team with fellow CBS affiliate WBZ-TVmarker in Bostonmarker. It also cooperates with FOX affiliate WFLXmarker in West Palm Beachmarker on some occasions. On September 8, 2009, WZVN began airing a weeknight broadcast at 7 known as The 7 O'Clock News to compete with WINK-TV's prime time show. Both news departments of WZVN and WBBH contribute to this show. At some point in time, this station began airing a weekday 11 A.M. show to compete with WBBH.

News team

  • Rob Spicker - weekday mornings and Noon
  • Kyle Jordan - weekdays at 11 A.M. and weekday morning reporter
  • Lindsay Liepman - weekday mornings and Noon
  • Chris Cifatte - weeknights at 5, 5:30, 6 and 11
  • Lois Thome - weeknights at 5, 5:30, 6 and 7
    • "Eye on Education" segment producer
  • Trey Radel - weeknights at 7 and 10
  • Stacey Adams - weeknights at 10 and 11
  • Jennifer Stacy - weekend evenings and weekday health reporter
  • Jeremiah Jacobsen - weekend evenings and reporter
  • Clayton Ferraro - Sports Director seen weeknights at 6 and 11

WINK-TV SKY Tracker Weather Team

  • Judd Cribbs - features and "Cribbs Notes" segment producer
  • Miriam Zamorano - weekday morning traffic
    • weekdays at 11 A.M. and Noon
  • Melissa Yeager - consumer
  • Renee Stoll - Collier County Bureau
  • Mike Walcher - Senior Reporter
  • Nicole Papageorge
  • Maggie Crane
  • Nick Spinetto
  • Max Turnier
  • Christina Hernandez
  • Sarah Augusthy

  • Mike Fiol - photojournalist
  • Donny Sobnosky - photojournalist
  • Andrew Garrison
  • Andrew Miller
  • Jason Nguyen

News/Station Presentation

Newscast Titles

  • WINK News (1980s-2007)
  • WINK News Now (2007-present)

Station Slogans

  • We've Got the Touch on WINK-TV (1985-1986; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
  • Share the Spirit with WINK-TV (1986-1987; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
  • Turn to the Leader (1986-1995)
  • The Spirit of Southwest Florida (mid 1990s)
  • We've Got You Covered (late 1990s)
  • Southwest Florida's News Leader (1995-present)

External links

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