WKCF is The CW-affiliated television station for Central Florida that is licensed to Clermont.
broadcasts a high
definition digital signal on UHF channel 17
from a transmitter northeast of Bithlo.
Hearst Television, the station is
sister to NBC affiliate WESH.
share studios on North Wymore Road in Winter
programming on the station
includes: King of Queens
Sex and the City
WKCF's signal is multiplexed.
The station first went on-the-air in November 1988. It originally
broadcasted on UHF channel 68 from studios at a strip mall in
Winter Park. WKCF was owned by Press Broadcasting which
previously owned WMOD (now WOTF-TV).
early programming lineup consisted of shows previously shown on
station provided a city-grade signal to Orlando and a Grade B
signal to Daytona
Beach and Melbourne.
This was not the case for WMOD which had no
signal in Daytona Beach and a weak signal in Orlando. WKCF was
branded on-air as "TV 68". The station eventually moved from the
strip mall to facilities in a multi-floor office building also in
Winter Park. Press Broadcasting wanted to move WKCF's transmitter
northeast to Bithlo in order improve its signal in the other two
major cities in the market, Daytona Beach and Melbourne.
However, it soon discovered that as long as WKCF broadcast on
channel 68 it could not move its transmitter to Bithlo and still
reach Clermont with a city-grade signal. FCC
regulations require a station's transmitter to be located within 15
miles of its city of license. In 1991, Press Broadcasting approached
Community College about swapping channels with its educational
Under this plan both stations would move
their transmitters to Bithlo.
time, WRES was a relatively low-powered station serving the
County area on UHF channel 18.
However if it moved
to Bithlo, it would be able to boost its power to the maximum five
. The college agreed and the FCC
approved the swap. As a result in 1992, WKCF moved to channel 18
which was re-classified as a commercial license and WRES moved to
channel 68 as well as adopting the call sign WBCC.
After the switch, WKCF re-branded itself as "TV 18". WKCF started
producing a kids club program called The Buckaroo Club
hosted by Ranger Bob.
Despite low ratings, it seemed most people in central Florida knew
who Ranger Bob was. The show was on-the-air from 1992 until 1994. A
reunion show was aired on WKCF in 2004. Another move that put the
station on the map was partnering up with the Orlando Magic
and broadcasting many of their
road-games. In 1994, the station was re-branded as "18 WKCF". They
joined The WB
on January 11, 1995 as a
charter affiliate. A year after the network affiliation was in
place, the station rebranded itself as "WB 18". For most of The
WB's eleven-year run, WKCF was consistently the network's top
affiliate and was even the fourth-highest rated station in Central
Florida. In 1998, the studios of WKCF were then moved
Mary into a building that Press Broadcasting had built
on a empty lot right next to the main competition, WOFL.
station was sold to Emmis
in 1998 for $200 million dollars. As the station
focused more on its network commitments, they did not renew their
contract with the Orlando Magic in 1999. The games then went
From 2001 until 2005 the WKCF studios in Lake Mary served as the
home of Emmis Centralcasting. Using Florical Automation, Emmis was
responsible for master control operations for several Emmis owned
and WB affiliates in the Southeastern United States
stations included: WVUE in New Orleans, WALA-TV and WBPG (now WFNA) in Mobile,
Alabama, and WFTX in Fort Myers.
From WKCF's facilities, Emmis maintained
broadcast capabilities during several major hurricanes impacts on
several of their stations including: Katrina
(affecting WVUE), Ivan
(affecting WALA), and Charley
(affecting WFTX and WKCF). The
Emmis model was later discontinued as the company sold off the
stations. On January 24, 2006, UPN
and The WB
announced that they cease broadcasting and merge. The new combined
network would be called The CW. The letters would represent the
first initial of its corporate parents, CBS
parent company of UPN) and the Warner
unit of Time Warner
. On March
1, Emmis officials confirmed that WKCF would affiliate with The CW.
Channel 18 had been the obvious choice as Orlando's CW affiliate in
any case. CW officials were on record as preferring the "strongest"
WB and UPN affiliates, and as mentioned, WKCF had been The WB's
strongest affiliate for virtually all of the network's run.
On May 8, Emmis announced the sale of WKCF to what was then known
as Hearst-Argyle Television for $217.5 million dollars. The sale
was finalized on August 31. This created the third duopoly in the
Orlando market joining WFTV / WRDQ and WOFL /
As part of the move, WKCF moved its operations to
WESH's facilities in Winter Park. It may now take on the
responsibility of airing NBC programs when WESH is not able to so
such as in a news-related emergency. Until October 2008, WKCF was
the only Hearst-owned station whose web site was not powered by
changed when Hearst and Internet Broadcasting created a separate
page for the station within WESH's web address.
On January 22, 2009, a tube in WKCF's analog transmitter failed
forcing the station to transmit its analog signal at a reduced 3
power (which is 60 percent of
its authorized 5-megawatt ERP) under special temporary authority
from the FCC. The station had applied to cease analog transmissions
on the original February 17, 2009 but its application was rejected
by the FCC. WKCF like most other Hearst-owned stations, continued
to broadcast regular programming on its analog signal until June
12. On that day, they discontinued regular programming on its
analog signal and became one of three Orlando-area stations (along
with WKMG-TV and WOFL) to participate in the analog
program which lasted until July 12.
August 2004 to 2007, WKCF's studios were home to the nationally
syndicated morning show
The Daily Buzz which was
originally produced at former sister station WBDT in Dayton, Ohio. As a result of the ownership changeover in
2007, the show moved their base of operations to the Disney-MGM
Studios with local telecasts moving to independent station WRDQ.
Their weekday morning 7 o'clock news
was the first television station in the area to air a 10 P.M.
newscast. It launched in 1991 and was originally
produced by WCPX-TV (now WKMG-TV).
Later on, future sister station WESH took
over production. It was canceled in September 2002 in response to
increased competition from WOFL and WRDQ (whose newscasts are
produced by WFTV).
After Hearst-Argyle bought WKCF, it led to speculation that WESH
could someday bring back prime time news on this station. That
station began producing a two-hour long extension of its weekday
morning newscast for WKCF in January 2007. More recently, a
simulcast of the 6 o'clock hour of WESH's morning news was added.
That station began broadcasting its newscasts in high definition
on November 1 of that year and the WKCF
broadcasts were included in the upgrade. After a seven year hiatus,
it was announced that a nightly 10 P.M. broadcast would return to
WKCF starting August 31, 2009.
WESH 2 News Sunrise (Weekday Mornings
6 to 7, simulcasted from WESH)
WESH 2 News on CW 18 (Weekday
Mornings 7 to 9)
WESH 2 News on CW 18 at 10 (10 to
- National Correspondent:
- Jeff Lennox
- Todd Wilson - Monday through Thursday
- Eryka Washington - Monday, Tuesday, and Friday
- Danielle Bellini - Wednesday through Friday
WKCF features additional news personnel from WESH.
that article for a complete listing.
- Jim Payne
- Martha Suglaski
Martha Sugalski, Jim Payne to anchor 10 p.m. news on Channel