Radio-TV Broadcast History

Sarasota-Bradenton-Venice-North Port, Florida
City of license Sarasota
Branding ABC 7 (general)

ABC 7 News (newscasts)

Slogan Your Suncoast News
Channels Digital: 24 (UHF)
Subchannels 40.1 ABC
Owner Calkins Media

(WWSB License, LLC)

First air date October 23, 1971
Call letters' meaning Sarasota & Bradenton
Former callsigns WXLT-TV (1971-1986)
Former channel number(s) Analog:

40 (UHF, 1971-2009) Digital: 52 (UHF)

Former affiliations CBS and NBC (secondary throughout the 1970s)
Transmitter power 90 kW
Height 234 m
Facility ID 61251
Transmitter coordinates 27°33′21″N 82°21′48″W / 27.55583°N 82.36333°W / 27.55583; -82.36333

As a result, this station is technically a secondary ABC affiliate particularly for the eastern side of Tampa Bay. The city of Tampa 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 Myers-based WZVN-TV (also known on-air as "ABC 7") in Desoto and Charlotte Counties and Orlando's WFTV in Hardee County. 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 Pasco County systems in October 2006.[1]

Syndicated programming on WWSB includes Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!, both seen during the 7 pm hour, simultaneous with WFTS. On weekdays, WWSB shows Hawaii Five-O, The Andy Griffith Show, and Better, a syndicated lifestyle television program based on Better Homes and Gardens magazine. In previous years, WWSB carried generally the same syndicated programs as the other Tampa Bay stations, despite the overlap in signals, such as The Rosie O'Donnell Show (which was also held by WTVT during its entire run), Extra (also seen on WFLA-TV) and M*A*S*H (seen over the years on many stations, most recently WTVT).


[hide]*1 History

  • 2 News operation
    • 2.1 Black Almanac
  • 3 ABC 7 News Team
    • 3.1 Former staff
  • 4 News/station presentation
    • 4.1 Newscast titles
    • 4.2 Station slogans
  • 5 References
  • 6 External links

[edit] 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, its former analog channel, in Roman numerals) 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 WTSP) because of that station's lower-powered transmitter location well north of the area's other televisions stations. Until WLCY upgraded its facilities in the late 1970s, both that station and WXLT competed for viewers in Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties. It was not uncommon to see WXLT's billboards in Tampa, St. Petersburg, or Largo. In the 1970s, WXLT also cleared some CBS and NBC programming passed on by WTVT 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, WFTS (now the area's primary ABC affiliate after a market realignment triggered by the Fox Network'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 its area lineups. The latter was due to contractual conditions drawn up in the early 1990s by WTSP and later WFTS.

On 27 September 1994, WWSB received an affiliation termination notice from the ABC network, likely related to ABC's forced change to WFTS - had the station not petitioned the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) (and won, which it did) to keep its affiliation, the then-23-year-long ABC affiliation would have come to a close on 2 April 1995.[2]

On November 5, 2001, the station changed its studio location 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 Wauchula system carries it on channel 2 and its Port Charlotte 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.[3] [4] Even though the national turn-off date was changed to June 12, WWSB announced that its analog signal would not be reactivated.[5] The station broadcasts its digital signal on channel 24.

[edit] 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.[6] 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.[7]

A second mobile newsroom was added in 1996 giving the station the ability to cover live news from multiple locations during newscasts.

In October 2002, it expanded its 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 Hardee Counties. In addition to its 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.

[edit] Black Almanac[]

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.[8]

[edit] ABC 7 News Team[]


  • Lauren Dorsett - weeknights at 5 pm, 5:30 pm, and 6 pm
  • Scott Dennis - weeknights at 6 pm and 11 pm
    • "Living Green" segment producer
  • Linda Carson - weekday mornings at sunrise and noon
    • "Suncoast Scene" Reporter

ABC 7 Storm Center Weather Team

  • Bob Harrigan - Chief Meteorologist seen weeknights at 5 pm, 5:30 pm, 6 pm and 11 pm and "Fishin' with Bob and Captain Jonnie" segment producer
  • John Scalzi (Certified Broadcast Meteorologist) - weekday sunrise and noon
  • Callie Zanandrie - weekend forecaster/reporter
  • Wendy Ross - fill-in forecaster


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


  • Josh Taylor - "7 South Newsroom" Bureau
  • Michelle Rieg - "Manatee Newsroom" Bureau
  • Shannon Cornwell - Reporter/Photojournalist with Lakewood Ranch Focus
  • Leigh Paytner - General


  • Dr. Ed James - producer and host of Black Almanac
  • Richard Stern - Business Commentator seen weeknights at 5:30 pm 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 at noon and at 5:30 pm
  • Chuck Whitaker - Sunrise Traffic (via phone)

[edit] Former staff[]

  • Christine Chubbuck (1971–1974) (anchor, shot self live on air)
  • Craig Sager (1970s) (reporter)
  • Bob Keene First Anchor. Opening till 1986.
  • John Hill[disambiguation needed] (1986–1995) (5, 6 and 11 pm 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 pm co-anchor 1988-1990) (currently at WPLG)
  • Peter Linton-Smith (1987–1994) (reporter) (currently at WTVT)
  • 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 (1995–1999) (currently at Emeritus News Channel)
  • 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-TV)
  • Grayson Kamm (2003–2005) (reporter) (currently at WTSP)
  • Sheryl Greene (1997–2005) (reporter) (currently at WJBF as Sheryl Williams)
  • Vida Urbonas (1999–2003) (anchor) (currently at KRDO-TV)
  • Liz Weaver (2000–2003) (reporter) (currently producer at The Morning Show with Mike & Juliet)
  • Dan Smart (2004–2005) (reporter) [9]
  • Cathi Carson (2003–2005) (reporter, daughter of anchor ABC 7's Linda Carson and NFL coach Bud Carson) (currently the consumer reporter "Cathi on the Case" WTEV/WAWS)
  • Richelle Ridgeway (2002–2005) (Sunrise and Noon anchor)
  • Erik Von Ancken (2000–2003) (reporter) (currently at WKMG-TV)
  • Kyle Kraska (1985–1988) (sports) (currently at KFMB-TV)
  • Don Bell (2002–2003) (sports anchor) (currently at KYW-TV)
  • 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-TV)
  • Kim Dean (1999–2003) (reporter) (currently at Inside Edition)
  • Dionne Miller (2006–2007) (weekend sports anchor) (later at Columbus Sports Network;[10] current whereabouts unknown)
  • Alcides Segui (2004–2007) (reporter) (currently at WTVT)
  • Vickie Oldham (1976–1980)
  • Monica Buchanan Negandhi (2006–2007) (reporter) (currently at WVIT)
  • Travell Eiland (2005–2007) (rporter) (currently at KLAS-TV)
  • Eli Kuo (1996–2000) (reporter)
  • Dave Deeley (1991–1996) (sports anchor/reporter), sports anchor/director WAAY, WNCF (1996–2002), professor, Truman State University (2002–2004), Ph.D. Alumni Graduate Fellow, University of Florida, (2004–present).
  • Brad Giffen (2003–2008) (5:30 pm anchor/reporter) (currently at CFTO-TV and CTV News Channel)
  • Tania Dall (2007–2008) (producer/reporter) (currently at KXLY-TV)
  • Amanda Stanzilis (2005–2008) (reporter/fill-in anchor) (currently at KENS-TV)
  • Ben Kaplan (Weekend Sports Anchor/News reporter) (2007–2008) (currently at KXLY-TV)
  • 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 WFTV)
  • Takara Fuller (2007–2008) (reporter)
  • Lindsay Bramson (2007–2008) (photojournalist/reporter) (currently at WPMI)
  • Doug Miles[1] (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)
  • Todd Templin (1985-1987 weekend anchor/reporter)(1988-1990 News Director)
  • Triston Sanders (late 1990s) (reporter) (currently at WCTV)
  • Monica Yadav (1999–2010) (reporter/anchor) (currently host of The Showcase of Homes)
  • Heidi Godman (1988–2010) (reporter, anchor and medical editor) (currently owner and President of "Heidi Godman Media, Inc.")

[edit] News/station presentation[]

[edit] Newscast titles[]

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

[edit] Station slogans[]

  • 40 is yours (1982–1986)
  • The Home Team (1986-1994)
  • ABC for the Suncoast (1994–2004)
  • Local News. Everyday. Every Newscast. (2004–2007)
  • Your Suncoast News (2007–present)
This film, television or video-related list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it with reliably sourced additions.==[edit] References==
  1. ^
  2. ^ "Station cut from ABC roster" - Adweek Western Edition, 17 October 1994
  4. ^ WWSB: "ABC 7 engineers explain this weekend's Analog/Digital TV switch", 1/30/2009.
  5. ^ WWSB: "Switch to Digital TV delayed until June", 2/5/2009.
  6. ^
  7. ^ Quinn, Sally (4 August 1974). "Christine Chubbuck: 29, Good-Looking, Educated. A Television Personality. Dead. Live and in Color (PDF)" (PDF). Washington Post.
  8. ^
  9. ^ - News - News stories about Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties in Florida, from the newspapers of record. -
  10. ^ Columbus Sports Network Press Release

[edit] External links[]