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WSVN, channel 7, is a television station located in Miami, Floridamarker. WSVN is owned by Sunbeam Television, and is affiliated with the Fox Broadcasting Company. The station has its studio facilities located in North Bay Village, and transmitter based in North Miami-Dade County. WSVN operates a Key Westmarker repeater, WKIZ-LP, on channel 49.


The station began broadcasting on July 29, 1956. It had the call letters WCKT and was a NBC affiliate owned by Biscayne Television Corporation. The station was a partnership of the Cox and Knight publishing families who owned Miami's two major newspapers: the Miami News and Miami Herald, respectively. The same partnership also owned WCKR radio (610 AM, now WIOD) and WCKR-FM (97.3, now WFLCmarker). 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 television sets were not required to have UHF tuning capability. When the Cox/Knight partnership won a construction permit and license for channel 7, NBC quickly agreed to move its affiliation to that channel since WCKR had long been the NBC Radio affiliate in Miami. Channel 23 became an independent and eventually went dark, and later came back to the air in 1967 as eventual Univision flagship station WLTVmarker.

WCKT and Biscayne Television lose license

WCKT logo in 1966 as seen on its tenth anniversary special.

In 1962, the Cox/Knight partnership was stripped of both of its 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 and licenses. Biscayne was competing for the license with East Coast Television and South Florida TV. Mack had also been found guilty of taking payoffs and was forced to resign by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, as well as the rest of the FCC commissioners. Biscayne Television originally planned to appeal its 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 WPLGmarker) 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 and assumed ownership on December 19, 1962. Upon the change in ownership, Sunbeam retained the WCKT calls and claimed the Cox/Knight station's history as its own. Sunbeam Television was a partnership between Sydney Ansin, a Miami Beachmarker-based real estate developer, and his son Edmund ("Ed") Ansin. The younger Ansin would succeed his father as president of Sunbeam Television in 1971. On June 7, 1983, the station's call letters were changed to the current WSVN.

Sunbeam Television ownership

As an NBC station, WCKT / WSVN aired a newscast in place of whatever NBC aired weekdays at Noon. It also, at some times of the year, preempted shows during the 10 or 11 a.m. hour (but ran at least one of these hours) and preempted an occasional primetime show. While NBC was traditionally far less tolerant of pre-emptions than the other networks, it did not mind this at first provided that NBC was able to contact alternate independent stations in the Miami area to air whatever programs that WSVN did not air. In addition, NBC programs that WSVN didn't air were cleared by WPTVmarker in West Palm Beachmarker. WPTV's signal provides city-grade coverage of Fort Lauderdale and 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. Though the independent stations NBC contacted continued to air programs not shown on WSVN, NBC preferred that their whole schedule aired on one station and eventually concluded that they needed to own their own outlet in the growing Miami/Ft. Lauderdale market.

Network affiliation switch

NBC got its chance in the late-1980s when CBS affiliate WTVJmarker, Florida's oldest television station, went on the market. NBC purchased that station in 1987, but WTVJ's affiliation contract with CBS did not run out until the end of 1988. CBS was willing to let WTVJ out of its affiliation contract a year early. Conversely, Ed Ansin was not interested in letting NBC out of its pact with WSVN, which also expired at the same time. He wanted channel 7 to air NBC's strong fall 1988 lineup, which included the Major League Baseball World Series and the Summer Olympics. As a result, NBC was forced to run WTVJ as a CBS affiliate for more than a year, with all of the NBC shows preempted by WSVN airing to WTVJ (a situation that did not sit well with either network). When Ansin made an offer to take the CBS affiliation, CBS turned the offer down. Instead, it bought Miami's original Fox affiliate, WCIX, even though it had an inadequate signal in Broward County.

Finally, on January 1, 1989, South Florida's first network affiliation switch occured, with NBC moving to WTVJ full-time and WSVN receiving the Fox affiliation, which had previously been covered by WCIX (now WFOR-TVmarker). WSVN had far fewer programming to pre-empt as a result, as Fox only programmed weekends at the time; thus, WSVN originally considered themselves an independent station and 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 for the fledgling network, as WSVN had been the area's longtime NBC affiliate and Fox was pleased to gain affiliation with a station which had been with a "Big Three" network for years (Miami-Fort Lauderdale remains the only market where the Fox affiliation moved from one VHF station to another).

Fox affiliation

Instead of buying a lot of off-network sitcoms and running cartoons, WSVN opted to move to a news intensive format and poured most of its resources into its news department. It began to air a lot of first-run syndicated talk shows, court shows, off-network dramas, and eight 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-TVmarker). WBFS-TVmarker aired the 4Kids TV block until the block ended on December 28, 2008.

In 1994, when New World Communications switched most of its stations' to Fox, the programming on them was very similar in format to WSVN except that their news format may have aimed at 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 its network name as 7 NBC, though NBC is not as strict with branding as Fox.) 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 today

WSVN's former news open.
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 and plenty of weekend sports. Even though other stations outbid WSVN for the best programming, the station has far higher ratings than WSFL and WBFS and often beats the other network affiliates in ratings, considering Fox's growing ratings, especially when Fox finished the 2007/2008 season as the #1 network in the nation for the first time in its 22-year history. In May 2006, WSVN was the market's highest-rated English-language station from sign-on to sign-off. [105450] WPLG has since surpassed WSVN as the number one English-language station in Miami, though WSVN has remained a strong second.

Digital television

The station's digital channel is multiplexed:Digital channels
Video Aspect Programming
7.1 720p 16:9 Main WSVN/Fox programming 7.2 480i 4:3 Estrella TV

On June 12, 2009, WSVN ceased analog transmission on channel 7. Digital transmission began on channel 7 shortly thereafter. The station was one of four VHF digital stations granted a power increase later that month after stations experienced signal problems on VHF that did not occur with UHF.

News operation

WSVN's current news open.
When the station gained Fox affiliation, it began to broadcast in a news intensive format and poured most of its resources into its news department. WSVN was the second Fox affiliate to have a weekday morning newscast and was the first with weeknight 5 and 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 and flashy graphics. When Ed Ansin bought WHDH-TVmarker in Bostonmarker, Cheatwood moved there and 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 its reputation as a tabloid station, its newscasts consistently garner high reviews from some media critics. Today, it continues to attract high ratings. It even has an 11 p.m. newscast (which began in its current incarnation in 1995 as a 15 minute O.J. Simpson murder case wrap-up, and did not air on the weekends until September 26, 2009, but an 11 p.m. newscast previously existed before the 1989 switch to Fox) in addition to its main 10 o'clock one. WSVN, however, is in the minority of Fox stations offering a 4 p.m. newscast (the only others being KPTVmarker in Portland, Oregon, KBTVmarker in Beaumont, Texas, WDRBmarker in Louisville, Kentucky, WXINmarker in Indianapolis and WUPWmarker in Toledo). The station is often criticized for its sensationalized news reports. In 1994, for instance, nine Florida hotels (all owned or operated by Continental Companies) censored the station from their internal televisions 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. This rationalization was never proved.

WSVN's enhanced HD studio.
total, WSVN broadcasts a total of 54½ hours of local news each week, more than any other local television station in the United States. The station currently airs nine-and-a-half hours of news on weekdays (5-9 AM, noon-1 PM, 4-7 PM, 10-11:30 PM), and typically about four hours on weekends, not counting entertainment programming or breaking news coverage. However as is standard with Fox stations that carry early evening weekend newscasts, WSVN's weekend 5 and 6PM newscasts are subject to preemption and/or delay due to sports coverage. Its reporters of various ethnic backgrounds and sexual orientations displays the diversity of the South Floridamarker 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.

On January 11, 2009, starting with their 5 PM newscast, WSVN became the second station (behind WTVJmarker) to broadcast news in high definition. With the switch to HD came a new updated newsplex that premiered on December 29, 2008 and new HD graphics which are a flashier update to sister station WHDH's HD graphics.

On September 26th, 2009 the station expanded its 11PM newscast to seven nights a week.

News / Station Presentation

Newscast Titles

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

Station Slogans

  • Bringing It Home to You (1975-1979; slogan which jingle was the base for The News Image, music package used by WSVN from 1979 to 1984)
  • Channel 7, Proud as a Peacock (1979-1981; localized version of the NBC ad campaign)
  • Channel 7's Pride Is Showing (1981-1982; localized version of the NBC ad campaign)
  • We're Channel 7, Just Watch Us Now (1982-1983; localized version of the NBC ad campaign)
  • The Team to Watch (1982-1984; news slogan)
  • WSVN, the New Channel 7 (1983; provisional slogan to promote its new call sign)
  • Channel 7, Be There (1983-1984; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • The Hometown Station (1984-1988)
  • WSVN, Let's All Be There (1984-1986; localized version of the NBC ad campaign)
  • Come Home to WSVN (1986-1987; localized version of the NBC ad campaign)
  • Come on Home to WSVN (1987-1988; localized version of an NBC ad campaign)
  • Come Home to the Best, WSVN (1988; the last localized version of an NBC ad campaign)
  • South Florida's News Station (1988-1998)
  • The News Station (1998-present)

News team

Current personalities

Current Anchors/Hosts
  • Louis Aguirre - co-host of Deco Drive (7:30-8PM) (also entertainment reporter)
  • Charles Billi - weeknights at 4, 4:30, 5:30 and 6:30PM
  • Reed Cowan - weekends at 5, 6, 7 News Nightteam (10PM) and 11PM
  • Christine Cruz - weekday mornings Today in Florida (5-9AM) and noon
  • Diana Diaz - weekday mornings Today in Florida (5-9AM) and noon (also health reporter)
  • Richard Lemus - weekday mornings Today in Florida (5-9AM) (also health reporter)
  • Lynn Martinez - weeknights at 4, 4:30, 5:30 and 6:30PM and co-host of Deco Drive (7:30-8PM)
  • Belkys Nereymarker - weeknights at 5, 6, 7 News Nightteam (10PM) and 11PM
  • Robbin Simmons - weekends at 5, 6, 7 News Nightteam (10PM) and 11PM
  • LuAnne Sorrell - Saturday mornings Today in Florida
  • Craig Stevens - weeknights at 5, 6, 7 News Nightteam (10PM) and 11PM

  • Phil Ferro (AMS Seal of Approval) - Chief Meteorologist; weeknights at 4, 4:30, 5, 5:30, 6, 6:30, 10 and 11PM
  • Brent Cameron - weekends at 5, 6, 7 News Nightteam (10PM) and 11PM
  • Julie Durda (NWA Member) - weekday mornings Today in Florida (5-9AM) and noon
  • Vivian Gonzalez (NWA Member) - Saturday mornings Today in Florida

Sports (entire team is seen on Sunday Sports Xtra)
  • Steve Shapiro - Sports Director; weeknights at 6, 6:30, 7 News Nightteam (10PM) and 11PM
  • Mike DiPasquale - weekends at 6, 10 and 11PM (also sports reporter)
  • Donovan Campbell - sports reporter

  • Blake Burman - general assignment reporter
  • Carmel Cafiero - investigative reporter
  • Howard Finkelstein - legal analyst
  • Dianne Fernandez - general assignment reporter
  • Patrick Fraser - investigative/political reporter
  • Stephen J. Grey - Today In Florida traffic reporter and "7 Skyforce" photographer
  • Don Guevara - general assignment reporter
  • Derek Hayward - general assignment reporter
  • Richard Jordan - general assignment reporter
  • Laura Lane - Today In Florida traffic reporter
  • Nicole Linsalata - general assignment reporter
  • Rosh Lowe - general assignment reporter
  • René Marsh - general assignment reporter
  • Vanessa Medina - general assignment reporter
  • Hugh Nolan - 4PM traffic reporter
  • Ralph Rayburn - "7 Skyforce" photographer
  • Ellie Rodriguez - Deco Drive and entertainment reporter
  • Vanessa Ruiz - general assignment reporter
  • Shireen Sandoval - Deco Drive and entertainment reporter

Station alumni

Deco Drive

Deco Drive is a daily television entertainment news show that airs on WSVN (in WSVN's studios), typically after Inside Edition at 7:30pm ET on the weekdays. It follows the roots to shows such as Access Hollywood, Extra, and Showbiz Tonight, generally discussing entertainment and gossip. Lynn Martinez and Louis Aguirre are the regular anchors with reporters Shireen Sandoval and Elle Rodriguez occasionally filling in. Deco Drive airs different features such as Style File, discussing fashion; Reel Review, critiquing the newly released movies; Reverse Drive, flashbacking the best of week; Idol Insider, talking about the latest American Idol news; Deco Dayside, an entertainment news update during the afternoon and Party Patrol, talking about the latest parties in town that celebrities attend.

Sports Xtra

WSVN's Sports Xtra
Lexus Sports Xtra is a sports talk/wrap-up and news show airing Sunday nights at 11:30pm. The entire WSVN sports crew (Steve Shapiro, Mike DiPasquale, & Donovan Campbell) are seen with Steve Shapiro usually the host. In addition, NFL sports agent Drew Rosenhaus contributes to the show. The shows usually talks about the local teams (Canes, Heat, Dolphins, Marlins, and Panthers) but also discusses big games and news from the sports world.

Other Notes

  • WSVN has used its 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.
  • WSVN's newscasts were featured in at least two movies, The Mean Season (1985) and Flight of the Navigator (1986). The opening sequence of Flight of the Navigator, with the dogs catching Frisbees, was filmed in a grass field alongside WSVN's studios.
  • WSVN's current broadcast license dates to 1956. The other station involved in the Richard Mack affair, WPST (now WPLG) channel 10, had actually had its license revoked. The owners of WPST were forced to sell the station only after they had to cease broadcasting.
  • In 2009 WPLG moved into its new studios in Broward Countymarker the second station since WTVJ in 2000. WSVN is now one of three stations based in Miami-Dade Countymarker alongside WFOR-TVmarker and WBFSmarker (both owned by CBS).



External links

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