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WTVT, channel 13, is a television station in Tampa, Floridamarker. It is an owned and operated station of the Fox Broadcasting Company, a subsdiary of the News Corporation. WTVT's studios are located in Tampa, and its transmitter is located in Riverview, Florida.


As a CBS affiliate

The station first started broadcasting on April 1, 1955 as a CBS affiliate. It was the third station in Tampa Baymarker, behind WSUN-TV (channel 38, frequency now occupied by WTTAmarker) and WFLA-TVmarker (channel 8). WTVT is also the second-oldest surviving station, behind WFLA. WTVT's call letters stand for the initials of its founding owner, Tampa Bay radio veteran Walter Tison and his wife, Virginia Tinson. Like many other stations located on "unlucky" channel 13, WTVT used a black cat as its mascot for several years.

Originally, the Federal Communications Commission awarded the channel 13 license to the Tampa Times, a now-defunct newspaper which owned WDAE radio (then on 1250 AM). However, the FCC reversed itself and awarded the station to Walter Tison's firm, the Tampa Television Company, who intended to open a studio in nearby St. Petersburgmarker. The Times appealed the FCC's decision, but lost.

In 1956, the Tampa Television Company merged with the Oklahoma Publishing Company of Oklahoma Citymarker. Oklahoma Publishing's broadcast subsidiary, the WKY Televisionmarker System, would later be known as Gaylord Broadcasting, named for the family who owned the company.

The Gaylords beefed up channel 13's news operation. In 1958, WTVT became the second station in the country to introduce daily editorials, and was also the first station in the country [62090] to run an hour-long news block, comprising of 45 minutes of local news (under the title Pulse) combined with the then-15-minute network newscast. By 1962, WTVT had overtaken WFLA-TV as the number-one station in the Tampa Bay market, retaining that position for over 25 years. This was largely because of the longevity of many of the station's personalities. For instance, Roy Leep was the station's weatherman from 1957 until 1997, and Hugh Smith was the station's main anchor from 1963 to 1991, spending most of that time doubling as news director. Channel 13 dropped the Pulse moniker from its newscasts in 1989, renaming the news branding Channel 13 Eyewitness News (later becoming "Fox 13 Eyewitness News" [62091] in 1996 before the Eyewitness News brand was dropped altogether in 1997).

The station's remote broadcast facilities were chosen for network pool coverage of Alan Shepard's (1961) and John Glenn's (1962) Mercury capsule splashdown. [62092] [62093] The mobile unit recorded the recoveries on videotapes that were flown to the mainland.

In 1987, WTVT was sold to Gillett Communications. In the early 1990s Gillett restructured, changing its name to GCI Broadcast Services, Inc. In 1993, GCI filed for bankruptcy, and its stations (including WTVT) were sold to New World Communications. By that time, WTVT was pre-empting CBS This Morning for a locally-produced morning news show, as well as pre-empting all but one hour of Saturday cartoons.

As a Fox station

In late 1993, the Fox Broadcasting Company won the rights to air the games of the National Football Conference of the National Football League from CBS, beginning in 1994. As a result, Fox began looking for more VHF affiliates, and signed a long term deal with New World, switching most of its stations, including WTVT, to Fox. WTVT dropped its CBS affiliation in December 1994, becoming a Fox affiliate. The former Fox affiliate, WFTSmarker (channel 28), affiliated with ABC as part of a deal between ABC and WFTS' owners, the E.W. Scripps Company. The longtime ABC affiliate, WTSPmarker (channel 10), then became a CBS affiliate.

After changing networks, WTVT began to broadcast almost 50 hours of local news a week. At one point, WTVT aired more hours of local news than any other station in the country. It chose not to renew the more expensive syndicated programming it had run while a CBS affiliate, running cheaper first-run syndicated talk and reality shows instead.

Fox bought most of the New World stations in 1997, making WTVT a Fox owned-and-operated station. Under Fox ownership the station added more high-budget syndicated shows and a few off-network sitcoms to its lineup, and changed its brand to Fox 13. WTVT is the third station in Tampa Bay to be affiliated with Fox, as WTOGmarker had it first before reverting to independent status in 1988. However, the copyright still reads "New World Communications of Tampa Bay" at the end of WTVT's newscasts.

In June 2009, WTVT interviewed late television pitchman Billy Mays shortly before his death. His interview, which was conducted at the Tampa International Airportmarker, is believed to have been his final appearance on television.

Digital television

The station's digital channel is multiplexed:


WTVT-DT broadcasts on digital channel 12.Digital channels
Channel Name Programming
13.1 WTVT-DT main WTVT/Fox programming HD
13.2 WTVT-SD main WTVT/Fox programming SD

Analog-to-Digital Conversion

WTVT shut down its analog signal on June 12, 2009 , as part of the DTV transition in the United States. WTVT remained on its current pre-transition channel number, 12 using PSIP to display WTVT's virtual channel as 13.

News Operation

WTVT broadcasts a total of 50 hours of local news a week (eight hours on weekdays, and five hours each on Saturdays and Sundays), more than any other station in the Tampa area, and second only to fellow Fox station WSVN (channel 7) in Miami in terms of the most hours of local news in the state of Florida; however as is standard with Fox stations that carry early evening weekend newscasts, WTVT's Saturday and Sunday 5PM newscasts are subject to preemption or delay due to sports coverage. WTVT is the only station in the market to have two women regularly anchoring a newscast; Denise White and Kathy Fountain anchor the 5:00 news. WTVT currently uses the SkyTower Omni system for weather forecasting.

WTVT began to adopt its current logo, which is similar to that of the Fox News Channel, on December 12, 2005 as part of NewsEdge at 11:00, although they did not completely switch to it until February 2006. The station was the first Fox O&O to use this logo style, which was gradually pushed to its sister stations as well. However, the current logo retains the numeric "13" which has been part of the station's logos since 1989.

WTVT and WFLA-TV are chief competitors for the number one newscast in the Tampa Bay Areamarker. WTVT currently has the number one spot for Good Day Tampa Bay between 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. and has the number one newscast in the 5 to 6 p.m. timeslot. NewsEdge at 11:00 is statistically tied with WFTSmarker for the lowest rated newscast for that time period, although WTVT does have a 10:00 p.m. newscast with significantly higher ratings without any competition in the market. [62094]

Until 2009, WTVT was also the only station in Tampa Bay to use two news helicopters. The first one, SkyFOX, is a Bell 206 and is painted black. The second, SkyFOX 2, is a Robinson R44 and is painted blue. This helicopter is used whenever SkyFOX is grounded for mechanical reasons. When warranted, both helicopters are used to cover significant news stories. However, this will change when Fox plans to scrap SkyFOX in favor of a share-lease agreement with WFTSmarker as part of the Scripps/FOX news service. This will allow WTVT, WFTS, and WTSP to utilize only one helicopter (Action Air One) to cover news events. [62095].

WTVT's weather team is the most experienced weather team in the State of Florida, with over 115 years of combined experience, with most of that experience spent at Channel 13 forecasting tropical weather.

WTVT was the first TV news station in Florida to use radar in its weather presentation, and has made many advancements with the technology. Its newest advancement is SkyTower OMNI, combining the already existing SkyTower radar system with OMNI and VIPIR technology, which is also used by competitor WFLA-TV and the cable-only news channel Bay News 9. On May 25, 2006, the station's radar was made even more powerful and is now "SkyTower HD VIPIR." [62096] WTVT was also one of the first to use computer graphics in weather forecasts in the late-1970s, originally called "Weathervision" (no relation to the weather reporting company of the same name). The station also has the most meteorologists on a news team (in the market), with five meteorologists, and the only station (in the nation) with all of them American Meteorological Society certified. In addition, Andy Johnson has served since 1998 as the President of the West Central Florida Chapter of the American Meteorological Society.

Starting in March 2007, WTVT began upgrading their main studio. The new set debuted on April 23. Some aspects of the set include a 6' by 8' rear projection screen, a new anchor desk, a whole new weather center, and an area for the Lightning Round and a second anchor desk. There are also several plasma televisions behind the main news desk in the newsroom. WTVT announced that it will be part of the .2 Network when it launches.

On June 30, 2009 starting with its 5PM newscast, WTVT became the fourth broadcast television station in the Tampa DMA to broadcast its newscasts in high definition.

WTVT, WTSP, and WFTS (Scripps/FOX/Gannett) News Service

In April 2009, Fox announced that its O&O stations in three markets (Tampa, Detroit, and Phoenix) will undergo a partnership agreement with E.W. Scripps Co owned TV stations. This venture will allow stations from both entities to combine news-gathering resources at general media events then distribute the video to participating stations within the market to use in their own reports. This means that some news-gathering resources of WTVT and WFTSmarker will be combined. All other news operations at both stations will remain unchanged. [62097]. WTSPmarker joined in on the news service in June 2009 [62098].

Monsanto controversy

In 1997, WTVT fired journalists Jane Akre and her husband Steve Wilson for "refusing to include knowingly false information in their report concerning the Monsanto Company's production of rBGH, a drug designed to make cows produce more milk than what is natural." They sued Fox under Florida's whistleblower law. In August 18, 2000, the jury unanimously determined that Fox "'acted intentionally and deliberately to falsify or distort the plaintiffs' news reporting on BGH.' In that decision, the jury also found that Jane's threat to blow the whistle on Fox's misconduct to the FCC was the sole reason for the termination..

However, Fox appealed to an appellate court and won in 2004, after the court declared that the FCC policy against falsification that Fox violated was just a policy and not a "law, rule, or regulation", and so the whistle blower law did not apply. The Florida appellate court agreed with WTVT's (Fox) argument "that the FCC's policy against the intentional falsification of the news -- which the FCC has called its "news distortion policy" -- does not qualify as the required "law, rule, or regulation" under section 448.102.[...]Because the FCC's news distortion policy is not a "law, rule, or regulation" under section 448.102, Akre has failed to state a claim under the whistle-blower's statute."

Graphics for Fox's O&Os

On March 20, 2009, the Florida News Center website received word from sources that Fox has chosen WTVT to produce graphics and media for Fox's owned-and-operated stations, beginning by summer 2009. While the position will create more jobs at WTVT, similar positions at Fox's other stations are likely to be eliminated.

News/station presentation

Newscast titles

  • Newsroom (1955-1958)
  • Pulse (1958-1980)
  • Pulse 13 Newshour (1980-1989)
  • Channel 13 Eyewitness News (1989-1996)
  • Fox 13 Eyewitness News (1996-1997)
  • Fox 13 News (1997-present)

Station slogans

  • The Heartbeat of a Changing World (ca. 1958)
  • It's a Tradition (ca. 1979)
  • Reach for the Stars on Channel 13 (1981-1982; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
  • Big 13: Where News Comes First! (1983-1985)
  • We've Got the Touch on Channel 13 (1985-1986; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
  • News Comes First. (1985-1989; news)
  • People Make the Difference. (1985-1989; non-news)
  • Coverage You Can Count On (1989-1997; primary news slogan)
  • Your 24-Hour News Source (1989-1994; news slogan)
  • Florida's News Leader (1989-1997; secondary news slogan)
  • Just One Fox (1997-2000; localized version of Fox slogan)
  • We've Got You Covered (2004-present)
  • The Most Powerful Name in Local News (2005-present)


Weekday newscasts

Good Day Tampa Bay

Good Day Tampa Bay is a morning show that airs weekdays from 4:30AM–9:00AM and weekends from 6:00AM–9:00AM on WTVT, the Fox owned station in the Tampa Baymarker market. The show started on September 12, 1994, three months before WTVT became a Fox affiliate.

Good Day Tampa Bay team

  • Anchors: Laura Moody (4:30-7 a.m), Tom Curran (4:30-7 a.m.), Anne Dwyer (7-9 a.m.), Russell Rhodes (7-9 a.m.)
  • Weather: Dave Osterberg
  • Traffic: Jennifer Epstein
  • Other featured presenters: Charley Belcher ("Charley's World" feature reports), Geoff Simon (financial analyst)

Other newscasts

  • Fox 13 News at Noon: 12:00-12:25 p.m.
Anchor: Denise White
Weather: Jim Weber
  • Your Turn (local debate/discussion show) 12:25-1:00 p.m.
Host: Kathy Fountain
  • Fox 13 5:00 News: 5:00-6:00 p.m.
Anchors: Denise White, Kathy Fountain
Weather: Paul Dellegatto
Sports: Chip Carter (M-Th), Chris Field (F)
  • Fox 13 6:00 News: 6:00-7:00 p.m.
Anchors: John Wilson, Kelly Ring
Weather: Paul Dellegatto
Sports: Chip Carter (M-Th), Chris Field (F)
  • Fox 13 10:00 News: 10:00-11:00 p.m.
Anchors: John Wilson, Kelly Ring
Weather: Paul Dellegatto
Sports: Chip Carter (M-Th), Chris Field (F)
Anchors: Mark Wilson, Cynthia Smoot
Weather: Paul Dellegatto
Sports: Chip Carter (M-Th), Chris Field (F)
NewsEdge Reporter: Gloria Gomez


Anchor: Nerissa Prest
Weather: Sheena Samanipour, meteorologist (joining the station soon from WCTV in Tallahassee) [9]
Traffic: Beth Ames
  • Fox ThirTEEN Magazine: (Teen produced newscast) 10:30-11:00 a.m. (Saturdays)

  • Fox 13 6:00 News: 6:00-7:00 p.m. :
Anchors: Lloyd Sowers, Deborah Bowden
Weather: Andy Johnson ,
Sports: Chris Field (Saturday), Chip Carter (Sunday)
  • Fox 13 10:00 News: 10:00-11:00 p.m.
Anchors: Lloyd Sowers, Deborah Bowden
Weather: Andy Johnson
Sports: Chris Field (Saturday), Chip Carter (Sunday)

FOX13 notable personalities

Current on-air talent

(Accurate as of May 31, 2009)

Current anchors
  • Deborah Bowden - weekends at 6 and 10PM (also reporter) (1998-present)
  • Tom Curran - weekday mornings "Good Day Tampa Bay" (5-7AM) (1994-present)
  • Anne Dwyer - weekday mornings "Good Day Tampa Bay" (7-9AM) (1986-present)
  • Kathy Fountain - weeknights at 5PM (also host of "Your Turn") (1985-present) (Married to former anchor Frank Robertson)
  • Nerissa Prest - weekend mornings "Good Day Tampa Bay" (also reporter) (2007-present)
  • Laura Moody - weekday mornings "Good Day Tampa Bay" (5-7AM) (2006-present)
  • Russell Rhodes - weekday mornings "Good Day Tampa Bay" (7-9AM) (1994-present)
  • Kelly Ring - weeknights at 6 and 10PM (1985-present)
  • Cynthia Smoot - weeknights at 11PM (1997-present)
  • Lloyd Sowers - weekends at 6 and 10PM (also reporter) (1987-present)
  • Denise White - weekdays at noon and 5PM (1990-present)
  • John Wilson - weeknights at 6 and 10PM (1993-present; sons are 11PM anchor Mark Wilson and actor Patrick Wilson)
  • Mark Wilson - weeknights at 11PM (1997-present)

  • Tanya Arja - general assignment reporter (2001-present)
  • Charley Belcher - "Charley's World" feature reporter and entertainment reporter (1998-present)
  • Chris Chmura - general assignment reporter (2007-present)
  • Warren Elly - general assignment reporter (1982-present)
  • Jennifer Epstein - traffic analyst (2006-present)
  • Dr. Joette Giovinco ("Dr. Jo") - medical reporter (2005-present)
  • Gloria Gomez - 11PM reporter (2005-present)
  • Liane Jackson - morning reporter (2006-present)
  • April Kellogg - general assignment reporter (2006-present)
  • Peter Linton-Smith - Pasco County reporter (2007-present)
  • Doug Luzader - Fox News Washington D.C. correspondent (2002-present)
  • Steve Nichols - Pinellas County reporter (1990-present)
  • Craig Patrick - general assignment reporter (2005-present)
  • Alcides Segui - general assignment reporter (2008-present)
  • Eric Seidel - consumer lawyer (1992-present)
  • Geoff Simon - financial advisor (1994-present)
  • Doug Smith - investigative reporter (also fill-in anchor)
  • Ken Suarez - Polk County reporter (1998-present)
  • Alan "Captain Al" Taylor - helicopter pilot/reporter (2009-present, also with WFTS)
  • Kristin Wright - general assignment reporter (2008-present)

FOX13 Weather Team
  • Paul Dellegatto (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval) - Chief Meteorologist; weeknights at 5, 5:30, 6, 10 and 11PM (1990-present; chief since 1997)
  • Andy Johnson (AMS Certified and Certified Consulting Meteorologist) - Meteorologist; weekend mornings "Good Day Tampa Bay" (1979-present)
  • Dave Osterberg (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval) - Meteorologist; weekday mornings "Good Day Tampa Bay" (2003-present)
  • Jim Weber (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval) - Meteorologist; weekends at 6 and 10PM (1995-present)
  • Sheena Samanipour, meteorologist (joining the station soon from WCTVmarker in Tallahassee)

Sports Team
  • Chip Carter - Sports Director; weeknights at 5, 5:30, 6, 10 and 11PM (1988-present)
  • Chris Field - Sports anchor; weekends at 6 and 10PM (1998-present)
  • Kevin O'Donnell - sports reporter/fill-in sports anchor (1988-present)

Former personalities

  • Sharyl Atkisson (1988-1991), reporter (now at CBS News)
  • Guy Bagli (1955-1957), sports anchor/director (deceased)
  • Bob Barnard, reporter (1991-1997) (now at WTTGmarker)
  • Eric Blackburn (2008-2009), photojournalist (currently in multimedia)
  • Ray Blush (1967-1982), reporter, Project 13 chief, news director
  • Karen (King) Borta(?-1995), anchor/reporter (now at KTVTmarker/KTXAmarker)
  • Bob Breck (1971-1973), meteorologist (now at WVUEmarker)
  • Liz Brunner (late 1980s-1994), anchor/host (now at WCVBmarker)
  • Ann Carlon (1978-1979), sports reporter, weekend sports anchor
  • Terry Casey (1982-1989), 11pm news anchor/6pm commentary
  • Rod Challenger (1975-1978), 11pm anchor
  • Amani Channel (Late 1990s-2006), anchor (later the Black Family Channel)
  • Eric Chilton (1997-2003), morning meteorologist (now at WFMYmarker)
  • Chip Collins (1965-1966), St. Petersburg anchor
  • Ray Collins (2004-2009) Sarasota/Manatee county reporter (2004-2009), weekend morning anchor (2008-2009)
  • Pat Colmenares (1975-1979), host, Pulse Plus at Noon (deceased)
  • Jack Cosgrove (1955-1958), chief photographer (retired)
  • Colin Cowherd (?-1996), sports anchor (now at ESPN Radio)
  • Kara Cox (late 1990s), traffic reporter (now news producer)
  • Kelly Craig (1985-1990), 6 & 11pm anchor (now at WTVJmarker)
  • Ray Dantzler (1963-1986), reporter, news director, station general manager (deceased)
  • Arch Deal (1958), general assignment reporter/anchor
  • Phil Dean (1977-1980s), anchor, reporter
  • Jim Dick (1977-1979), reporter, weekend anchor (now at WRN Radio, Madison, WI)
  • Tom Dunn (1962-1964), reporter/anchor (deceased)
  • Larry Elliston (1977-1991), general assignment reporter; Project 13 staff
  • Wayne Fariss (1955-1958), anchor, news director (retired)
  • Bob Fellows (1968-1984) general assignment, feature reporter (deceased)
  • John Ferrugia (1975-1978), anchor/reporter (now at KMGHmarker)
  • Sol Fleischman (1957-1974), sports anchor/director (deceased)
  • Bonnie Ginzburg (1978-1981), reporter, weekend anchor (now at PBS)
  • Brian Goff (1995-2006), morning/noon reporter (retired)
  • Sara Golinveaux (1973-1976), general assignment reporter, Tallahassee bureau
  • Dayle Green, reporter, host "Black Contact" (1971-1978)
  • Ron Hailey (1979-1980), weekend sports anchor
  • Andy Hardy (1963-1996), sports anchor (deceased)
  • Don Harris (1958-1968), general assignment reporter (deceased)
  • Jack Harris (1984-1989) "Pulse PLUS!" host. (now at WFTS-TVmarker and WFLA )
  • John Hayes, (1972-1980), Tallahassee bureau chief, assignment editor (retired)
  • Ed Herbert (1957-1958), anchor, reporter
  • Jim Hill (2004-2007), reporter
  • Suzanne Huffman (1980s), education reporter
  • Bruce Hutchcraft (1968-1980) reporter, farm reports (noon) (deceased)
  • Ron Jackson (1983-1988), sports reporter, weekend sports anchor
  • Walter "Flash" Jarocki (1972-1980s) reporter/photographer, Tarpon Springs (deceased)
  • Stan Jayson (1991-2001), reporter
  • Pete Johnson (1973-1980) sports anchor/reporter
  • Bill Keneely (1980-1982), meteorologist (now at The Weather Channel)
  • Bill Kowal (1974-1978), meteorologist
  • Ken Krawley (1992-1996), investigative reporter
  • Jerry Krumbholz (1955-1960), booth news announcer
  • Jerry Lambert (1992-1995), reporter (now at WICSmarker)
  • Deanna Lawrence, reporter/anchor (1970s-1990s) (producer, "What's Right with Tampa Bay")
  • Roy Leep (1957-1997), chief meteorologist (retired)
  • Hagit Limor, consumer reporter (late 1980s-1994) (now at WCPOmarker)
  • Joe Loughlin (1959-1962), anchor/news director
  • Mike McCall (1988-1993), overnight meteorologist (now at WCTVmarker)
  • Jule McGee (1967-2008), reporter, chief photographer, news operations manager,etc.
  • Nelson Medina (1963-1967), meteorologist (retired)
  • Dave Monsees, reporter (mid 1990s)
  • Bill Murphy (1994-2008), original Good Day anchor, later weekend AM anchor & feature reporter (One Tank Trips, Murphy at the Movies). (now with Bright House Networks)
  • Carl Nichols (1969-1972), meteorologist (now at WDTNmarker)
  • John Nicholson (1978-1981), 11pm anchor
  • Nancy Perla (2005-2007), reporter
  • Don Piccolo, sports anchor/reporter (1978-1979)
  • Gary Rebstock, 11pm anchor (1977-1978)
  • Crawford Rice (1958-1960), anchor/news director, (1978-79), general manager (retired)
  • Frank Robertson (1988-2009), lead anchor (1988-1996), weekend sports (1996-1997), 5:30pm anchor (1997-2009) (retired)
  • Kerry Sanders (1987-1992), reporter (now at NBC News)
  • Lesley Schissell (1972-1979), Sunday anchor, government reporter, Tallahassee bureau chief
  • Marvin Scott (1955-1968), general assignment reporter (deceased)
  • Glenn Selig (1995-2007), reporter
  • Roger Sharp (1956-1957), news anchor (deceased)
  • Howard Shapiro (1974-2009), (retired)
  • Scott Shuster, noon anchor (1972-1975)
  • Cy Smith (1956-1980s), reporter, editorial researcher/writer (retired)
  • Hugh Smith (1963-1991), anchor (deceased)
  • Tim Smith (1974-1980), general assignment reporter
  • Leslie Spencer, anchor (1970s-1996)
  • Greg Starddard (1987-1989, reporter, assignment editor, left for KFMB-TVmarker San Diego
  • Bob Stone (1975-1978), sports anchor, staff announcer (deceased)
  • Stacy Strazis, "Good Day, Tampa Bay" (1994-1997) (now an associate producer on The Oprah Winfrey Show)
  • Charlie Stump (1955-1957), chief meteorologist (deceased)
  • Cathy Unruh, reporter (1991-2000) (now at WEDUmarker as a talk show host)
  • Theresa Varga (late 1980s-early 1990s), meteorologist
  • Bob Walker (1965-1980s), stringer, hard news (deceased)
  • Earl Wells (1960-1967), general assignment reporter
  • Alan Wendt, anchor/reporter (1978-1993)
  • Jim West (1978-1986), anchor/reporter, news director
  • Landis Wilkinson(1955-1956), anchor (retired)
  • Secily Wilson (late 1990s), weekend anchor
  • Steve Wilson, investigative reporter, (now at WXYZmarker)
  • Jessica Yellin (2000-2002), reporter (now at CNN)
  • Tony Zappone (1965), (1976-1982), news correspondent
  • Randy Powers (1997-2009), SkyFOX pilot/reporter

External links


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