Radio-TV Broadcast History

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Branding Fox 29 (general)

Fox 29 News (newscasts)

Slogan The Next Generation of News (news)

The Weather Station (weather) So Fox 29 (general)

Channels Digital: 31 (UHF)

Virtual: 29 (PSIP)

Subchannels 29.1 Fox
Owner Fox Television Stations

(Fox Television Stations of Philadelphia, Inc.)

First air date May 16, 1965
Call letters' meaning TVX and TaFt - former owners, partially through former callsign WTAF-TV
Former callsigns WIBF-TV (1965-1969)

WTAF-TV (1969-1988)

Former channel number(s) Analog:

29 (UHF, 1965-2009)

Former affiliations Independent (1965-1986)
Transmitter power 1,000 kW
Height 282.3 m
Facility ID 51568
Transmitter coordinates 40°2′26″N 75°14′19″W / 40.04056°N 75.23861°W / 40.04056; -75.23861


[hide]*1 History

  • 2 Digital television
  • 3 Out-of-market coverage
  • 4 News operation
    • 4.1 News/station presentation
      • 4.1.1 Newscast titles
      • 4.1.2 Station slogans
    • 4.2 Notable on-air staff
      • 4.2.1 Current on-air staff
      • 4.2.2 Notable former staff
  • 5 Trivia
  • 6 External links
  • 7 References

[edit] History[]

The station signed on the air on May 16, 1965 as independent station WIBF-TV, owned by brothers William, Irwin, and Benjamin Fox. The Fox brothers had already been operating WIBF-FM (103.9 MHz., now WPPZ) for several years. Channel 29's original studio was located in the Fox family's Benson East apartment building on Old York Road in the suburb of Jenkintown, north of Philadelphia. WIBF-TV was the first commercial UHF station in Philadelphia, and the first of three UHF independents in the Philadelphia market to sign-on during 1965, with WPHL-TV (channel 17) and WKBS-TV (channel 48) both arriving in September.

WIBF-TV struggled at first, in part because it signed on only a year after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) required television manufacturers to include UHF tuning capability. In 1969, the Fox brothers sold the station to the Cincinnati-based Taft Television and Radio Company. Taft already owned WNEP-TV (channel 16) in Scranton, a station whose signal overlapped with channel 29 in the Lehigh Valley area north of Philadelphia. Taft sought a waiver to keep both stations, since the FCC at that time normally did not allow common ownership of two stations with overlapping coverage areas, even if they were in different markets. The FCC initially granted the waiver [1], but later reversed itself and forced Taft to sell WNEP as a condition of buying WIBF-TV. WTAF-TV logo under Taft ownership, c. 1985.Taft assumed control of channel 29 in mid-1969 and changed the calls to WTAF-TV (for TAFt). Under Taft's ownership, WTAF soon established itself as a local powerhouse. By the start of the 1980s, WTAF had passed WKBS as Philadelphia's leading independent station. When WKBS left the air in the late summer of 1983, the station placed advertisements in TV Guide and local papers reminding Philadelphia viewers that channel 29 was still around and that channel 48's former audience was welcome to sample channel 29. But interestingly, the station passed on picking up any of channel 48's shows, most of which went to WPHL-TV.

WTAF-TV also became a strong sports station. At various times, it owned the broadcast rights to Major League Baseball's Philadelphia Phillies (Taft also owned a small portion of the team for much of the 1980s), the NHL's Philadelphia Flyers, and the NBA's Philadelphia 76ers. In the 1980s, the station also aired network shows that NBC's then-affiliate KYW-TV and ABC station WPVI-TV preempted in favor of local programming. In the fall of 1986, WTAF-TV became a charter affiliate of the fledgling Fox network.

As part of a group deal, all of Taft's independent and Fox-affiliated stations, including WTAF, were sold to the Norfolk, Virginia-based TVX Broadcast Group in February 1987. In 1988, the new owners changed the station's call letters to the current WTXF-TV. The Taft purchase created a large debt load for TVX, and as a result the company sold a number of its smaller stations. Paramount Pictures purchased a minority stake in TVX in 1989. A year later, after calling itself TV-29 for many years, the station changed its on-air branding to Fox 29.

In 1991, Paramount acquired the remainder of TVX which it did not own, and the company's name was changed to Paramount Stations Group, with WTXF as its largest-market station. Viacom gained control of the stations as part of its purchase of Paramount Pictures in 1993. In 1994 Viacom announced plans to create a new network service, the United Paramount Network, which it co-owned with Chris-Craft Industries. The initial affiliation plans called for WTXF dropping Fox and becoming the Philadelphia outlet for the new network, which launched in January 1995. Though Fox received no official notification from Viacom that the affiliation would be cancelled, Fox made a preliminary deal to buy rival station WGBS-TV (channel 57, now WPSG). Signs of the planned switch began showing up at the start of the 1994-95 season, when WTXF began calling itself simply "29".

The planned move coincided with the biggest affiliation shuffle in Philadelphia television history. In the spring of 1994, CBS and Westinghouse Broadcasting, owners of KYW-TV, had entered into a long-term affiliation agreement, which resulted in KYW-TV dropping NBC in favor of CBS. CBS would then sell its longtime owned-and-operated station, WCAU-TV. Several months earlier, Fox entered into a multi-station, multi-year partnership with New World Communications. New World and NBC emerged as the leading bidders for WCAU, with New World intending to switch WCAU to Fox if it emerged victorious. Fox later cancelled its preliminary deal to purchase WGBS and joined the bidding for WCAU, which was eventually sold to NBC. During this time, Viacom/Paramount changed its Philadelphia plans and decided to sell WTXF to Fox. Almost simultaneously, Viacom bought WGBS and made it the market's UPN station. Both transactions involving Viacom and Fox closed on the same day -- August 25, 1995.

As a Fox owned-and-operated station, WTXF immediately added more first run talk and reality shows to the schedule. Throughout the mid-to-late 1990s, WTXF was available nationally on satellite as the east coast Fox feed, most notably on PrimeStar.

The station's branding tagline was changed to Fox Philadelphia in 1995, but in 2003 it reverted back to Fox 29 because of confusion with the Fox News Channel. WTXF also underwent a major overhaul of its building and studios in Old City Philadelphia, with a "Window on the World" type studio making its debut on June 6, 2005. The "Window of the World" studio was originally intended for Good Day Philadelphia. On October 1, 2006 the station became the second station in Philadelphia to broadcast its local news programs in high definition.

[edit] Digital television[]

After the analog television shutdown and digital conversion to take place on June 12, 2009 [1], WTXF-DT continued digital broadcasts on its current pre-transition channel number, 42.[2] However, through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers will display WTXF's virtual channel as 29.

[edit] Out-of-market coverage[]

WTXF is carried in central New Jersey in parts of Hunterdon, Middlesex, Monmouth, Somerset and Warren counties. It is available to all customers in Ocean County with Comcast or Cablevision. It is also carried in Cecil County, Maryland as well. There is no satellite coverage outside of the Philadelphia market.

[edit] News operation[]

WTXF broadcasts a total of 42½ hours of local news a week (8½ hours on weekdays, and two hours each on Saturdays and Sundays), currently the most news of any major network affiliate in the Philadelphia market.

Throughout the early 1980s, WTAF aired the syndicated Independent Network News, produced by Tribune-owned WPIX in New York City. This lasted until 29 began its own in-house news department. In the spring of 1986, Taft Broadcasting opened WTAF-TV's news department with a nightly 10:00 p.m. newscast. It was the second attempt at a primetime newscast in the market, after WKBS-TV ran a short-lived program in the late 1970s. Channel 29's effort has been longest-running, and the most successful. On April 1, 1996, shortly after channel 29 became a Fox-owned station, morning children's programming was dropped in favor of a weekday morning newscast, Good Day Philadelphia.

In areas of central New Jersey where the Philadelphia and New York City markets overlap, WTXF shares resources with New York sister stations WNYW and WWOR-TV. The stations share reporters for stories occurring in New Jersey.

On January 22, 2007, WTXF-TV overhauled its on-air look, adopting a logo, graphics & music similar to that of the Fox News Channel. Many other Fox-owned stations have made similar imaging changes. Channel 29 also expanded its facilities to include a new studio for its newscasts, and started to broadcast its local newscast in High-definition. With the new imaging, WTXF-TV has also expanded its news coverage.

On October 9, 2006, WTXF added a half-hour newscast at 11:00 a.m. On January 22, 2007, a new hour-long program at 5:00 p.m. debuted, enabling channel 29 to go head-to-head with two of the three other network-owned stations. On October 6, 2007, WTXF launched hour-long 6 p.m. newscasts on Saturday and Sunday evenings. From September 1, 2008 and running through November 3, 2008, WTXF aired a 2008 election-themed 11 p.m. newscast, called The Last Word, anchored by 5 p.m. anchor Kerri-Lee Halkett. On September 7, 2009, WTXF added a weekday half-hour 6 p.m. newscast. It is co-anchored by Kerri-Lee Halkett and Thomas Drayton, with John Bolaris forecasting the weather.

On November 13, 2008 Fox Television Stations and NBC Local Media reached news deal in Philadelphia to test a system that will allow Fox-owned stations and NBC-owned stations to pool their news resources ranging from shared video to any aerial video from a helicopter. WTXF and WCAU were the first affiliates in the nation to undertake the plan as an effective way to deal with the difficulties in costs in news operations.[3]

Good Day Philadelphia expanded to five hours on September 7, 2009. The station also announced that former Good Day Philadelphia co-anchor (and former co-host of The Morning Show with Mike & Juliet) Mike Jerrick would return to the show to anchor from 7-10 a.m. starting July 27, 2009. On March 29, 2010, WTXF expanded Good Day to start at 4:30 a.m. That brings the station's weekdaily news production to 8 1/2 hours a day.

[edit] News/station presentation[]

[edit] Newscast titles[]

  • The Ten O'Clock News (1986-1997)
  • Fox Philadelphia News (1997-2003)
  • Fox 29 News (2003-present)

[edit] Station slogans[]

  • The Delaware Valley's Only Primetime Newscast (1986-1997)
  • Think Fox First (1997-2003)
  • Your Local News... First (2003-2007)
  • The Weather Station (2007-2009)
  • The Next Generation of News (2008-2009; secondary slogan)
  • The Power to Lead (2009-present; primary slogan)
This film, television or video-related list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it with reliably sourced additions.===[edit] Notable on-air staff===

[edit] Current on-air staff[]

(as of December 19, 2009) Anchors

  • John Anderson - weekday mornings "Good Day Philadelphia" (4:30-7 a.m.) and 11 a.m. (rotating)
  • Thomas Drayton - weeknights at 5, 6 and 10 p.m.
  • Joyce Evans - weekends at 6 and 10 p.m.; also weeknight reporter
  • Kerri-Lee Halkett - weeknights at 5, 6 and 10 p.m.
  • Mike Jerrick - weekday mornings "Good Day Philadelphia"
  • Sheinelle Jones - weekday mornings "Good Day Philadelphia" (7-10 a.m.) and noon (rotating)
  • Shawnette Wilson - weekday mornings "Good Day Philadelphia" (4:30-7 a.m.) and noon (rotating)

Fox 29 Weather Authority

  • John Bolaris - Chief Meteorologist; weeknights at 5, and Sunday-Fridays at 6 and 10 p.m.
  • SallyAnn Mosey (AMS Seal of Approval) - Meteorologist; weekday mornings "Good Day Philadelphia" (7-10 a.m.)
  • Sue Serio - Weather Anchor; Tuesday-Friday mornings "Good Day Philadelphia" (4:30-7 a.m.), noon and Saturdays at 10 p.m.; also 8-10 a.m. features reporter
  • Dr. John Krasting (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval) - Meteorologist; fill-in
  • Christa Quinn (AMS Seal of Approval) - Meteorologist; fill-in

Sports team

  • Joe Staszak - Sports Anchor; weekends at 6 and 10 p.m.; also sports reporter
  • Hugh Douglas - sports personality and contributor
  • Anthony Gargano - sports contributor
  • Tom Sredenschek - sports executive producer, sports anchor and sports reporter


  • Kerry Barrett - general assignment reporter
  • Michelle Buckman - consumer reporter
  • Dr. Mike Cirigliano - medical contributor
  • Jeff Cole - investigative reporter
  • Sharon Crowley - general assignment reporter
  • Jennaphr Frederick - morning reporter/features
  • Claudia Gomez - general assignment reporter
  • Bruce Gordon - general assignment reporter
  • Steve Keeley - morning reporter
  • Julie Kim - general assignment reporter
  • Dave Schratwieser - general assignment reporter
  • Sean Tobin - general assignment reporter

[edit] Notable former staff[]

  • David Aldrich
  • John Atwater
  • Frank Cariello
  • Jill Chernekoff
  • Howard Eskin (now at WIP-AM)
  • Christian Farr (now at WTTW in Chicago)
  • Rob Guarino
  • Dave Huddleston (now 10 p.m. anchor/reporter for KYW/WPSG)
  • Nefertiti Jaquez (now at KPRC in Houston)
  • Gerald Kolpan
  • Dorothy Krysiuk (As of June, 2010: traffic reporter for WCVB, Channel 5 (ABC) Boston, MA)
  • George Mallet (now on WTMJ-TV in Milwaukee)
  • Dr. Brian McDonough (now at KYW Newsradio 1060)
  • Clayton Morris (now co-host for Fox & Friends weekend)
  • Rich Noonan
  • Jamie Shupak (now at WNBC in New York)
  • Dawn Stensland
  • Robin Taylor (now at WPXI in Pittsburgh, PA)
  • Don Tollefson
  • Bill Vargus
  • Tasha Jamerson


[edit] Trivia[]

  • Philadelphia is the largest television market where My Network TV was not awarded to a Fox owned-and-operated station, as the affiliation is with WPHL-TV. As a result, WTXF does not have a secondary affiliation with the network. Along these lines, WTXF is the largest Fox affiliate/station not part of any duopoly.

[edit] External links[]

[edit] References[]

  1. ^
  2. ^ CDBS Print
  3. ^