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WWSB Channel 40 is the ABC-affiliated television station for the Florida Suncoast that is licensed to Sarasotamarker. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 24 from a transmitter on Rutland Road (a.k.a. Manatee Countymarker Road 675) in Rye. Owned by Calkins Media, the station has studios on 10th Street in the Rosemary District of Sarasota. Its primary target area to provides ABC programming is Manateemarker and Sarasotamarker Counties even though the area is in the shadow of WFTSmarker whose transmitter is only about twenty miles north of WWSB. As a consequence to this station's transmitter location, its coverage area expands as far north as Northern Hillsboroughmarker and Polkmarker Counties giving some aerial viewers a choice of two or three ABC affiliates depending on location.

As a result, this station is technically a secondary ABC affiliate for St. Petersburgmarker particularly on the eastern side of Tampa Baymarker. The city of Tampamarker itself is on the rim of WWSB's signal. On cable, the station is the sole ABC affiliate on Comcast's Southern Sarasota County systems and it competes with Fort Myersmarker-based WZVN-TVmarker (also known on-air as "ABC 7") in Desotomarker and Charlottemarker Counties and Orlandomarker's WFTVmarker in Hardee Countymarker. They have faced an uphill battle gaining carriage on cable and satellite television providers in some cases. Dish Network does not carry WWSB. Verizon FiOS added the channel to its Hillsborough and Pascomarker County systems in October 2006.

Syndicated programming on WWSB includes: Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy!, Hawaii Five-O, Mission: Impossible, Cheers, and Family Ties

History

Final channel 40 logo used from 2001 to 2004.


The station first went on-the-air as WXLT-TV (XL Television with "XL" representing 40 in roman numerals its former analog channel) on October 23, 1971 as the first television affiliate in the area based neither in Tampa nor St. Petersburg. It signed-on to provide ABC programming in an area insufficiently covered by WLCY-TV (now WTSPmarker) because of that station's lower-powered transmitter location well north of the area's other televisions stations. Until WLCY upgraded their facilities in the late-1970s, both that station and WXLT competed for viewers in Hillsborough and Pinellasmarker Counties. It was not uncommon to see WXLT's billboards in Tampa, St. Petersburg, or Largomarker. In the 1970s, WXLT also cleared some CBS and NBC programming passed on by WTVTmarker and WFLA.

In 1972, for example, when The Joker's Wild debuted on CBS, it was pre-empted on WTVT but picked up by WXLT. The call letters became WWSB in 1986. On cable, WFTSmarker (now the area's primary ABC affiliate after a market realignment triggered by FOX's purchase of WTVT) was not carried south of the Sarasota area while WWSB was not largely available on cable north of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge until Verizon FiOS added WWSB to all of their area lineups. The latter was due to contractual conditions drawn up in the early-1990s by WTSP and later WFTS. On November 5, 2001, the station changed studio locations to a new building in downtown Sarasota and switched logos in 2002. Until March 2004, the station's news department operated under the News 40 branding and the station as a whole branded as "Channel 40". This was changed to "ABC 7" because most viewers watch the station on Bright House Networks or Comcast channel 7. However, not all cable systems carry WWSB on that channel. Comcast's Wauchulamarker system carries it on channel 2 and its Port Charlottemarker system offers WWSB on channel 10 since its home-market station WZVN is seen on channel 7. The station discontinued its analog signal on February 1, 2009 about two weeks before the original national deadline of February 17.
Even though the national turn-off date was changed to June 12, WWSB announced that their analog signal would not be reactivated. The station broadcasts its digital signal on channel 24.


News operation

The early days of WXLT's news coverage focused on local news and events, but to improve ratings, later expanded to "blood and guts" journalism focusing mainly on crime stories. The station became notorious in 1974 when news anchor and talk-show host Christine Chubbuck committed suicide by shooting herself in the head on-the-air making reference to the station's "blood and guts" policies in her final monologue. Her suicide occurred the day after a story she filed was cut for a story on a shootout at an area restaurant. A second mobile newsroom was added in 1996 giving them the ability to cover live news from multiple locations during newscasts. In October 2002, they expanded their weekday morning news to an hour starting at 6. WWSB's conversion to "ABC 7" involved a redress of the station's news set, a new logo to a unique version and color scheme of the well known circle 7 logo, a new slogan, and a major local promotion and advertising campaign. The station's news department focuses its coverage Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte, DeSoto, and Hardeemarker Counties. In addition to their main studios, WWSB operates a South Bureau (covering Southern Sarasota and Charlotte Counties) and Manatee Bureau (for Manatee County). Unlike most ABC affiliates in the Eastern Time Zone, this station does not air local news on weekday mornings in the 5 o'clock hour. Black Almanac is a locally-produced public affairs program that airs on Sunday mornings 7:30. It is hosted by Ed James who is a longtime anchor and personality of the station since just after their sign-on as WXLT. The show focuses on the issues that African Americans face in the community. The program has aired since 1972 making it the longest running locally-produced public affairs program in the Southeastern United States.

News team

Anchors
  • Monica Yadav - Weekday "Sunrise" and "Noon"
    • "7 Uncovers" Investigative Reporter
  • Heidi Godman - Weeknights at 5pm and 5:30pm
    • Medical Editor
  • Scott Dennis - Weeknights at 6pm and 11pm
    • "Living Green" segment producer
  • Linda Carson - weekends
    • "Suncoast Scene" Reporter


ABC 7 Storm Center Weather Team
  • Bob Harrigan - Chief Meteorologist seen Weeknights at 5pm, 5:30pm, 6pm and 11pm and "Fishin' with Bob and Captain Jonnie" segment producer
  • John Scalzi (Certified Broadcast Meteorologist) - Weekday "Sunrise" and "Noon"
  • Callie Zanandrie - Weekend Weathercaster/Reporter


Sports
  • Don Brennan - Weeknights at 5pm, 6pm and 11pm
  • Leah Secondo - fill-in


Reporters
  • Josh Taylor - "7 South Newsroom" Bureau
  • Michelle Rieg - "Manatee Newsroom" Bureau
  • Shannon Cornwell - Photojournalist with Lakewood Ranchmarker Focus
  • Bob DeNinnis - General Assignments
  • Leigh Paytner" - General


Contributors
  • Dr. Ed James - producer and host of Black Almanac
  • Richard Stern - Business Commentator seen Weeknights at 5:30p and Mondays at Noon
  • Chef Judi Gallagher - Culinary Director seen Weekdays at Noon
  • Captain Johnny Walker - seen on "Fishin' with Bob and Captain Jonnie"
  • Frank Alcock - Political Commentator
  • Anne L. Weintraub - Law Consultant seen Fridays on "Noon" and at 5:30pm
  • Chuck Whitaker - Sunrise Traffic (via phone)


Past personalities

  • Christine Chubbuck (1971-1974) (Anchor, shot self live on air)
  • Craig Sager (1970s) (reporter)
  • John Hill (1986-1995) (5, 6 and 11 p.m. Anchor) (Currently at SNN Local News 6)
  • Kathy Winkler-Leon (1993-2003) (News Anchor) (Currently at SNN Local News 6)
  • Kristi Krueger (1986-1990) (6 and 11 p.m. co-anchor 1988-1990) (Currently at WPLGmarker)
  • Peter Linton-Smith (1987-1994) (reporter) (Currently at WTVTmarker)
  • Kevin Daniels (1987-1994) (reporter)
  • Valerie Amsterdam (1989-1990) (Weekend news anchor)
  • Kelly McGee (1989-1990) (morning and noon anchor)
  • Nancy White (1990-1997) (producer, anchor)
  • Jason Howe (1995-1997) (Reporter)
  • Lynn Huston (1991-1999) (Currently at KOINmarker)
  • Tony Cornish, Jr (1998-2003) (Sports Anchor) (Currently at WZBN)
  • Michelle Jordan (2003-July 2005) (News Anchor)
  • Jackie Barron (1993-1998) (Reporter) (Currently at WFLA-TVmarker)
  • Grayson Kamm (2003-2005) (Reporter) (Currently at WTSPmarker)
  • Sheryl Greene (1997-2005) (Reporter) (Currently at WJBFmarker as Sheryl Williams)
  • Vida Urbonas (1999-2003) (Anchor) (Currently at KRDO-TVmarker)
  • Liz Weaver (2000-2003) (Reporter) (Currently producer at The Morning Show with Mike & Juliet)
  • Dan Smart (2004-2005) (Reporter)
  • Cathi Carson (2003-2005) (Reporter, daughter of anchor ABC 7 Linda Carson and NFL coach Bud Carson) (Currently the consumer reporter "Cathi on the Case" WTEVmarker/WAWSmarker)
  • Richelle Ridgeway (2002-2005) (Sunrise and Noon Anchor)
  • Erik Von Ancken (2000-2003) (Reporter) (Currently at WKMG-TVmarker)
  • Kyle Kraska (1985-1988) (Sports) (Currently at KFMB-TVmarker)
  • Don Bellmarker (2002-2003) (Sports Anchor) (Currently at KYW-TVmarker)
  • Kevin Negandhi (1999-2002, 2004-2006) (Weekday Sports Anchor) (Currently at ESPN)
  • Fred Meade (Weekend Anchor) 1975-1978 - currently international development consultant (see Wikipedia)
  • Dave Knops (2005-2006) (fill-in Forecaster)
  • Eric Blackburn (2005-2007) (Photojournalist) (Currently at WTVT-TVmarker)
  • Kim Dean (1999-2003) (reporter) (Currently at Inside Edition)
  • Dionne Miller (2006-2007) (weekend Sports anchor) (later at Columbus Sports Networkmarker; current whereabouts unknown)
  • Alcides Segui (2004-2007) (Reporter) (Currently at WTVTmarker)
  • Vickie Oldham (1976-1980)
  • Monica Buchanan (2006-2007) (Reporter) (Currently at WVITmarker)
  • Travell Eiland (2005-2007) (Reporter) (Currently at KLAS-TVmarker)
  • Eli Kuo (1996-2000) (Reporter)
  • Dave Deeley (1991-1996) (Sports Anchor/Reporter), Sports Anchor/Director WAAY, WNCF (1996-2002), professor, Truman State Universitymarker (2002-2004), Ph.D. Alumni Graduate Fellow, University of Floridamarker, (2004-present).
  • Brad Giffen (2003-2008) (5:30pm Anchor/Reporter) (Currently at CFTO-TVmarker and CTV News Channel)
  • Tania Dall (2007-2008) (Producer/Reporter) (Currently at KXLY-TVmarker)
  • Amanda Stanzilis (2005-2008) (Reporter/Fill-in Anchor) (Currently at KENS-TVmarker)
  • Ben Kaplan (Weekend Sports Anchor/News Reporter) (2007-2008) (Currently at KXLY-TVmarker)
  • Silke Rible (2002-2003, 2005-2008) (Sunrise, Noon News Anchor) - Currently at American Cancer Society in Charlotte, NC.
  • Mark Boyle (2007-2008) (Reporter) (Currently at WFTVmarker)
  • Takara Fuller (2007-2008) (Reporter)
  • Lindsay Bramson (2007-2008) (Photojournalist/Reporter) (Currently at WPMImarker)
  • Doug Miles [142348] (1996-1997) (News Editor) Currently Broadcaster/Writer Sarasota, FL
  • Ken Jefferson (2002-2009) (Sunrise, Noon News Anchor)
  • Lowell Galindo (weekend sports anchor/sports reporter 2004-2006) (now with ESPN U)
  • Wendy Ross (1976-1979, 1998-2009) (Weather anchor)


News/Station Presentation

Newscast Titles

  • TV-40 NewsWatch (1970s)
  • News 40 (1994-2004)
  • ABC 7 News (2004-present)


Station Slogans

  • ABC for the Suncoast (1994-2004)
  • Local News. Everyday. Every Newscast. (2004-2007)
  • Your Suncoast News (2007-present)


References

  1. http://www22.verizon.com/NROneRetail/NR/rdonlyres/A6D51319-17A2-4D3D-9BF1-B060DCDA9F25/0/FLGulfCoast.pdf
  2. FCC document: "APPENDIX B: ALL FULL-POWER TELEVISION STATIONS BY DMA, INDICATING THOSE TERMINATING ANALOG SERVICE BEFORE ON OR FEBRUARY 17, 2009."
  3. WWSB: "ABC 7 engineers explain this weekend's Analog/Digital TV switch", 1/30/2009.
  4. WWSB: "Switch to Digital TV delayed until June", 2/5/2009.
  5. http://www.manship2.lsu.edu/perkins/Handouts/chubbucknew.pdf
  6. http://www.mysuncoast.com/station/staffDisplay.cfm?staID=33
  7. HeraldTribune.com - News - News stories about Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties in Florida, from the newspapers of record. - HeraldTribune.com
  8. Columbus Sports Network Press Release


External links




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