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WZVN-TV is the ABC-affiliated television station for Southwest Florida that is licensed to Naplesmarker. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 41 from a transmitter north of Fort Myers Shoresmarker near the Leemarker and Charlottemarker County line. The station can also be seen on Comcast channel 7 (hence the ABC 7 branding) and in high definition on digital channel 231. Owned by Montclaire Communications, WZVN is operated by the Waterman Broadcasting Corporation through a local marketing agreement (a.k.a. LMA). This makes it sister to NBC affiliate WBBH-TVmarker and the two share studios on Central Avenue in Fort Myers. Syndicated programming on WZVN includes: Entertainment Tonight, Dr. Phil, The Doctors, and Family Feud. It is one of two Fort Myers-based stations licensed to Naples (the other is CW affiliate WXCWmarker).


WEVU logo in 1991.

They began broadcasting on August 31, 1974 with the call letters WEVU. Its aired an analog signal on UHF channel 26 from a transmitter northeast of Bonita Springsmarker near the Colliermarker and Lee County line. This location put a stronger signal into Naples and southern Collier County. The station was owned by Caloosa Television. In 1976, the Home News Company purchased channel 26. WEVU began its partnership with WBBH in 1994 through a local marketing agreement according to a USA Today article on media consolidation. It became owned by Montclair Communications but was now a junior partner in the LMA. Without this arrangement, WEVU would have had to shut down its news department.

The station's call letters became WZVN-TV on October 16, 1995. The previous calls currently reside on a Class Amarker station. In 1995, WZVN began identifying itself on-air by its cable channel and started using a variant of the common circle 7 logo. This station's version has the ABC logo attached to the bottom left corner boxed in by a black rectangle. Unlike the more common varieties, as used by WABC-TVmarker in New York Citymarker, the "seven" numeral is curved differently. Digital signals of WZVN and WBBH went on-the-air on October 31, 2002. As a result, the two became the first stations in the market to make such a launch. On February 17, 2009, WZVN shut down its analog signal and became digital exclusive.

News operation

Their morning news open.

In 1994 when WZVN and WBBH begin their partnership, reporters would appear on either station. The combined forces of the two were billed as the "Eyewitness News Network". However, each station used its own primary personalities, news set, and on-air style. Today this continues with Darrel Adams as current News Director for both stations. Although the two have separate on-air identities, it common for news personnel to share video because WZVN has a smaller news department than WBBH. With its city of license being Naples and its previous analog transmitter location farther south than other stations, WZVN has a slight focus on Collier County. WBBH tends to cover more news from Charlotte Countymarker. That station is the primary competitor with CBS affiliate WINK-TVmarker which has been and continues to be the market leader.

Compared with WBBH, this station's newscasts tend to air in a fast-paced format with on-air promotions referring to the airing of more news in thirty minutes. There are also fewer live shots out in the field. WZVN's best known former personality is Harry Horn who was also a veteran of WBBH and WINK-TV. He anchored weeknights on this station for fifteen years until his retirement in 2004. Horn lost his battle with ALS in August 2005.

On August 14, 2006, WZVN re-branded its evening newscasts as Gulfshore News and added a nightly 10 o'clock show on cable-only "WNFM" (that had just joined MyNetworkTV) known as ABC 7 Gulfshore News at 10 on My TV 8. However, it only ran for nine months as a result of Comcast's frequent technical difficulties (the cable company operates that station). This hindered the show's ratings, and as a result, WZVN canceled the production on May 25, 2007. This move was also in response to the popularity of WINK-TV's nightly prime time news on WXCW. Back on November 8, 2006, re-branding of WZVN's newscasts continued with Good Morning Southwest Florida becoming Good Morning Gulfshore. On April 9, 2007, WZVN pulled the Gulfshore News label from its newscasts and now refers to them as ABC 7 News. The morning news reverted back to the previous title.

During major hurricanes, recently Charley and Wilma, the news teams of WZVN and WBBH-TVmarker join together to put on 24-hour coverage. There is a simulcast on both stations and a common live video stream on their websites. During previous years, WBBH's anchor desk was used along with both station's weather centers. As of the 2007 season, WZVN's high definition set will be used in the event of a hurricane as it provides the best protection against damaging winds. Commercial breaks are dropped for several hours preceding and following landfall.

On July 12, 2007, WZVN began broadcasting its news in wide-screen 16x9 standard definition. They branded it as "enhanced digital definition" which was not the same as full high definition. On October 20, competitor WINK-TV became the first Southwest Florida station to broadcast local news in full high definition. In early-February 2008 following the lead of WZVN, WBBH upgraded to enhanced digital definition. On July 19, the two started broadcasting their local newscasts in full high definition becoming the second and third stations respectively in Fort Myers to do so (WZVN upgraded five hours after WBBH).

There are no regular sports segments seen on WZVN's weekend evening shows. Unlike most ABC affiliates, this station does not air news at Noon or at 5 P.M. during the week. However, it aired a 10 o'clock edition of it morning news until October 26, 2008. On that date, several changes occurred at both stations. WZVN dropped the first hour of its weekday morning news as well as the 10 A.M. broadcast. WBBH also debuted a new 11 A.M. newscast while keeping its Noon broadcast. On September 8, 2009, this station began airing a weeknight broadcast at 7 known as The 7 O'Clock News which competes with WINK-TV's prime time show. Both news departments of WZVN and WBBH contribute to this new show. The two stations own and share a Baron weather radar. It is located at their studios and is known on WZVN as "ABC 7 Precision VIPIR".

News team

+ denotes personnel from WBBH

Anchors and Reporters
  • Eric Weisfeld - weekday mornings
  • Len Jennings - weeknights
  • Stacey Deffenbaugh - weeknights at 6 and 11
  • + Jamie Yuccas - weeknights at 7
  • Kelly Imrick - weekends and reporter
  • Brian Colleran - weeknight sports anchor
  • Katie LaGrone - consumer reporter

ABC 7 Precision Weather Team
  • Jim Reif (AMS Seal of Approval) - Chief seen weeknights and Waterman Broadcasting Director of Meteorology
  • + Robert Van Winkle - weeknights at 7
  • John Patrick (NWA and AMS Seals of Approval) - weekday mornings and heard on WGUFmarker-FM 98.9, WWGR-FM 101.9, and WSGL-FM 104.7
  • + Chris Lambert (Certified Broadcast Meteorologist) - weekends

Station alumni

  • Nancy Alvarez - weekday morning and 10 A.M. (now at WBBH)
    • consumer and investigative reporter
  • Wayne Farris - seen for a few months after leaving WCKT in 1984
  • Sharon Gregory - weeknights (now at sister station WVIR-TVmarker)
  • Bay Scroggins - now at KSTP-TVmarker
  • Heather Turco - now at WBBH
  • Patrick Taney - weekday mornings (now at WKBW-TVmarker)
  • Catherine Bergerson - weekends and reporter
  • Harry Horn
  • Emily Norman
  • Meredith Putney

  • Gordon Barnes - Chief
  • Erik Salna - Chief
  • Jim Clarke - weekends and fill-in
  • Tim Drawbridge - weekends (2002-2003)
  • Meghan Danahey - weekends (now at WFAA-TVmarker)
  • Skip Waters - now at WCTI-TVmarker / WFXImarker
  • Paul Conrad
  • Michelle Cunningham
  • Ibby Carothers

  • Kent Overmeyer - Director
  • Shelby Goldman
  • Julian Gonzalez
  • Phil Jean

  • David Carro - producer
  • Max Turnier - now reporter at WINK-TV
  • Scott Dobroski - weekday mornings
  • Susie Hassan - now at WBBH-TVmarker
  • Noah Pransky - now at WTSPmarker
  • Kristen Nastasia
  • Gary Widom
  • Mike Baldyga
  • Curtis Jay
  • Bonnie Kenny
  • Scott Madus
  • Joshua Landon
  • Stephanie Tsoflias

News/Station Presentation

Newscast Titles

  • WEVU Newswatch (1980s-1990s)
  • ABC 7 News (1998-present)

Station Slogans

  • If It's 26/Cable 7, It Must Be ABC (1992-1993, localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • News For Your Life (c. 1997-1998)
  • ABC 7 Works for You (2004-2006)
  • The News Team That Works for You (2006-2007)
  • The News That Works for You (2007-present; news slogan)
  • Start Here (2007-present; localized version of ABC ad campaign)

External links

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