|Tampa - St. Petersburg, Florida|
|City of license||Tampa, Florida|
8 Prime (DT2)
|Slogan||On Your Side|
|Channels||Digital: 7 (VHF)
Virtual: 8 (PSIP)
(Media General Communications Holdings, LLC)
|First air date||February 14, 1955|
|Call letters' meaning||Taken from former sister radio station WFLA|
|Former callsigns||WXFL (1983-1988)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
8 (VHF, 1955-2009)
|Transmitter power||32 kW|
|Public license information:||Profile
WFLA-TV, channel 8, is an NBC-affiliated television station located in Tampa, Florida, USA. WFLA-TV is the flagship station of its owner and operator, Media General. The station's transmitter is located in Riverview, and its studios and offices are co-located in Tampa with former sister properties The Tampa Tribune and TBO.com.
Digital television 
Digital channels 
|8.1||1080i||16:9||WFLA-HD||Main WFLA-TV programming / NBC|
The station's digital is multiplexed. WFLA-TV replaced RTV with Me-TV on digital subchannel 8.2 on September 26, 2011, as part of a groupwide affiliation agreement with Media General; the channel replaced RTV on some Media General-owned stations in other markets.
Analog-to-digital conversion 
WFLA-TV shut down its analog signal on June 12, 2009, as part of the DTV transition in the United States. The station remained on its pre-transition channel 7  using PSIP to display the station's virtual channel as 8.
WFLA-TV signed on February 14, 1955 with a live broadcast of the Gasparilla Pirate Festival. The station was owned by the Tribune along with WFLA radio (AM 970 and FM 93.3, now WFLZ). Largely because of its newspaper background, it was the early ratings leader in Tampa until WTVT passed it in 1962.
Arch Deal and Bill Henry were the prominent faces of WFLA's newscasts in the 1960s. Arch Deal's tenure was abruptly cut short in 1975, when he suffered injuries during a parachute accident. Bob Koop served as the evening anchor from 1977–1979. Longtime anchorman Bob Hite came to the anchor desk in 1979.
In 1966, Richmond Newspapers, publishers of the Richmond Times-Dispatch and part-owner of the Tribune, acquired full control of the paper and WFLA-AM-FM-TV. Three years later, Richmond Newspapers renamed itself Media General, and WFLA-TV, the first television station owned and operated by Media General, has been its flagship television station since then. WFLA and the Tribune were corporate siblings until Media General sold the newspaper to Tampa Media Group, Inc. in October 2012. Despite the split, the two outlets will continue their long-standing partnership.
The station was renamed WXFL on January 19, 1983 after the WFLA radio stations were sold. (Both radio stations are currently owned by Clear Channel Communications.) At the time, Federal Communications Commission cross-ownership regulations forced Media General to sell the radio stations; however, the company was granted a permanent waiver permitting it to keep the Tribune and the television station. Channel 8 regained its original call letters on January 1, 1989. That same year, it surged to first place in the Tampa Bay ratings and has stayed there for most of that time, led by one of the most popular anchor teams in the country. "Eagle 8" made its debut in October 1985.
In the midst of a market shake-up in 1994 which saw many of the Tampa area stations swapping network affiliations, WFLA was one of the few major stations in the market that did not change networks. As a result it became number 1 in the market, a position formerly held by WTVT, which saw its ratings drop after switching from CBS to Fox. However, since NBC's ill-fated experiment with The Jay Leno Show in primetime in late 2009 and early 2010, WTVT regained its number 1 status. In the February 2012 Sweeps period, WFLA was the clear ratings winner for early morning news, evening news and late news. It was also was the only station in the market to gain audience for its primetime newscast even after lackluster NBC programming.
News operation 
|This section requires expansion with: further information on the history of WFLA's news department. (October 2010)|
WFLA has been broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition since early 2007. Following Bob Hite's November 2007 retirement after 30 years, Keith Cate assumed anchor duties of the 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts along with veteran anchor Gayle Sierens.
Bill Ratliff, who was brought in to anchor the evening newscasts in 1982 and had been morning and noon anchor since 1985, retired from WFLA on June 25, 2009. Ratliff was previously at rival WTSP as a political contributor. Ratliff passed away on May 8, 2012.
On July 30, 2012, WFLA began a new weeknight 7PM newscast, which is seen on WFLA channel 8 -- this was the station's relaunch of a live 7PM newscast since producing a similar newscast for WXPX-TV from 2000 to 2002.
News/station presentation 
Newscast titles 
- Channel 8 News (1955–1960s)
- The Big News/TV-8 News (1960s)
- Channel 8 Reports (1960s–1970s)
- Newswatch 8 (1975–1993)
- NewsChannel 8 (1993–present)
Station slogans 
- 8 Country (1970s)
- Part Of Your Life (1975–1979)
- The Look. Alive. (1981–1982)
- The Spirit of Tampa Bay (general slogan)/Newswatching Out for You (news slogan; 1982–1985)
- Helping You Win! (1985–1989)
- Tampa Bay's Fastest Growing News (1987–1992)
- In Touch with Tampa Bay (1989–1992)
- On Your Side (1992–present)
News music packages 
- Home Country (early 1970s)
- Part of Your Life (1975–1981)
- Hello News (1981–1982)
- Spirit of Tampa Bay (1982–1985)
- Power News (1985–1992)
- On Your Side (1992–1995)
- Bold Horizons (1995–2000)
- Metropolis (2000–2006)
- The Ticket (2003–present)
- Media General Station Group Package (2006–present)
Voiceovers heard 
- Russ Offenbach
- Don Harrison (deceased)
- Ed O'Brien (for news promos and intros, 1990s)
- Al Vanik (for news promos and intros, late 1990s-2006)
- Bill Ratner
On-air staff 
- Rod Carter – weekday mornings "NewsChannel 8 Today" (4:30-7:00 a.m.); also fill-in anchor (reporter 2000-2007, anchor since 2010)
- Keith Cate – weeknights at 5:00, 5:30, 6:00 and 11:00 p.m.; also investigative reporter (since 2000)
- Yolanda Fernandez – weekend mornings "NewsChannel 8 Today" (9:00-10:00 a.m.) and weekends at noon (since 1989)
- Gayle Guyardo - weekday mornings "NewsChannel 8 Today" (4:30-7:00 a.m.; from 1993-2/2010 and since 11/2010)
- Jennifer Leigh – weeknights at 7:00 p.m. (since 2006)
- Stacie Schaible – weeknights at 5:30 p.m.; also investigative reporter (since 2000)
- Natalie Shepherd – weekdays at 11:30 a.m.; also general assignment reporter and fill-in anchor (since 2007)
- Gayle Sierens – weeknights at 5:00, 6:00 and 11:00 p.m. (since 1985, sports anchor from 1977–1985)
- Josh Thomas – weekends at 6:00 and 11:00 p.m. (since 2003)
- Steve Jerve (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval) – chief meteorologist; weeknights at 5:00, 5:30, 6:00, 7:00 and 11:00 p.m. (since 1999)
- Leigh Spann (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist and NWA Seals of Approval) – meteorologist; weekday mornings "NewsChannel 8 Today" (4:30-7:00) and weekdays at 11:30 a.m. (since 2007)
- Jeremy Eisenzopf (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval) - meteorologist
- Bryan Bennett - weekend mornings (9:00-10:00 a.m.) and weekends at noon (starting May 25, 2013)
- TBD - weekends at 6:00 and 11:00 p.m.
- Julie Phillips - meteorologist (starting June 10, 2013)
- Dan Lucas – sports anchor; weeknights at 6:00, 7:00 and 11:00 p.m. (since 2011)
- Jason Jennings - sports reporter; weekends at 6:00 and 11:00 p.m. (since August 20, 2012)
- Joline Roberts – sports producer (since ?)
- Steve Andrews – investigative reporter; also fill-in anchor (since 1985)
- Melissa Beckman – general assignment reporter (since 2012)
- Shannon Behnken – real estate/property rights/consumer reporter (since 2000)
- Peter Bernard – general assignment reporter (since 2002)
- Judd Chapin – Eagle 8 pilot/reporter (since 1985)
- Mark Douglas – investigative reporter
- Josh Green – general assignment reporter (since 2010)
- Leslee Lacey - weekday morning traffic reporter (4:30-7:00 a.m. - since 2010)
- Jennifer Leigh – Polk County reporter
- Lauren Mayk – general assignment reporter (since 2010)
- Chip Osowski – general assignment reporter (since 1999)
- Jeff Patterson – general assignment reporter (since 1988)
- Adrienne Pedersen – general assignment reporter (since 2010)
- John Rogers – Sarasota Bureau Reporter (since 2013)
- Cyndi Edwards – co-host
- Jerry Penacoli – co-host
Notable former on-air staff 
- Suzanne Bates – anchor (1981–1984)
- Steve Porter - Anchor, News Director, 1960's, later NBC Radio Network News Sr. Correspondent & NBC TV White House Correspondent
- John Mannelli - Anchor, mid-1970's. Later programmer of major market radio stations in Los Angeles and New York City
- Dick Crippen – sports director (1981–1999)
- Rich Fields – meteorology intern (2000–2002; now at KCBS/KCAL in Los Angeles; previously an announcer for The Price is Right)
- Paul Fischer – weekend anchor (1976–1978)
- David Grant – chief meteorologist (1986–1999)
- Jack Harris – noon host (1989–1992); "Harris and Company Live" (1992–2000)
- Chris Hansen - reporter (1981–1983) (Now at NBC News)
- Bobby Hicks – fishing and hunting studio anchor (1956–1966; deceased)
- Bob Hite - news anchor (1977–2007, now retired)
- Tom Korun – weekend sports anchor (1987–1997; now at WFTS-TV)
- Tom McEwen – weekend sports analyst (1965–1968)
- John Muller – reporter (1989–2001)
- Steve Overton – morning/weekend anchor/consumer reporter (1983–2000)
- Don Paul – meteorologist (1978–1979)
- Byron Pitts - reporter (1988–1990); now with CBS News
- Bill Ratliff - morning and midday anchor (1982–2009), later Political Contrtibutor with rival WTSP-TV; died May 8, 2012
- Randy Scott – sports director (1979–1981)
- Don Starr – Pinellas County anchor (1962–1967)
- Mike Walter – morning anchor (1998–2000)
- Lance Williams – reporter (1987–2005)
- John Winter – morning meteorologist (1994–2007; deceased)
- Laura York - weekend meteorologist (1988-1995)
- Tony Zappone – news correspondent (1965–1977)
- Mace Michaels - weekend meteorologist (2000–2008; then at KGAN, now at WeatherNation TV)
- Megan Hatton – meteorologist; weekend mornings "NewsChannel 8 Today" (9:00-10:00 a.m.) and weekends at noon (2008-2013)
- Brooks Garner – meteorologist; weekends at 6:00 and 11:00 p.m. (2010-2013)
Controversy and criticism 
Daytime is a lifestyle and entertainment program which encompasses something to interest everyone who tunes in. The show features regular correspondents and contributors for various topics.
In 2003, WFLA and its morning show Daytime caused a controversy after The New York Times reported of its "pay for play" practices. The article revealed that businesses were charged several thousand dollars to appear on the show, effectively making their segments "paid segments". Many people saw this as payola, a practice that is illegal under a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ruling. After much dispute, WFLA agreed to ID each paid segment as such to avoid an intervention from Congress.
From 2008 until late September 2011, the show aired nationally on RTV as part of Media General's carriage deal of the network, but was discontinued when Media General affiliated their stations with Weigel's Me-TV. The show is currently syndicated on MyFamily TV and is available in over 39,000,000 households.
Silencing Christians 
On June 27, 2009, WFLA aired a one-hour documentary, Silencing Christians, which dealt with the Christian position of condemning homosexuality as a sin, and claims of the gay community's drive to make all criticism of homosexuality as hate speech, in the name of political correctness. The documentary, presented as a paid program from the American Family Association, was televised at 7PM, on the same day St. Petersburg held their pride parade, St. Pete Pride, on the weekend of the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. Prior to the telecast, the station was swamped with numerous phone calls and e-mails against the station showing the program; however, the station decided to present the documentary anyway. After the program ended, the station logged hundreds of phone calls and over 1000 e-mails, all in protest against the show. General Manager Mike Pumo refused to elaborate on the decision, other than the show's content did not "raise the red flag" during pre-screening. Stratton Pollitzer, deputy director of Equality Florida, considered the show as hate speech, saying, "I think this program is a piece of homophobic propaganda and it has no place on a major network like NBC."
On Wednesday, July 15, 2009, 70 to 100 protesters gathered outside of WFLA's studios to protest against the special and the station's attitude towards the community—the station, however, remained firm on its decision to show the program.
- Where to Watch Me-TV:WFLA
- Me-TV Beefs Up Roster With 10 New Stations, TVNewsCheck, September 15, 2011.
- CDBS Print
- ABC News: "The Tampa Tribune Sold to Private Equity Firm", October 8, 2012.
- "Media General Taps WorldNow CMS". NetNewsCheck. Retrieved 13 February 2013.
- Tampa Bay Times: "After calls about an online job description, WFLA-Ch. 8 admits it plans a 7 p.m. newscast", July 17, 2012.
- WFLA Personalities, TBO.com, Accessed October 18, 2010
- Daytime Host Bios, Daytime.TBO.com, Accessed October 18, 2010.
- O'Brien, Bobbie (December 2, 2003). "TV's Version of Payola Draws FCC Interest". All Things Considered. NPR.
- Crabtree, Susan (November 5, 2003). "McCain, FCC seek input on payola". Variety.
- Eggerton, John (November 9, 2003). "WFLA-TV Will ID Paid Segments". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved April 10, 2011.
- "Newspaper Archives – tampabay.com - St. Petersburg Times".
- About "Speechless: Silencing the Christians" (the weekly serial version), fron their official website.
- Tampa Tribune: "'Silencing Christians' paid program draws protest calls, e-mails", 6/27/2009.
- St. Petersburg Times: "Demonstrators protest anti-gay-rights program aired by WFLA-Ch. 8", 7/16/2009.
- Tampa Tribune: "Gay-/rights groups protest outside News Channel 8", 7/16/2009.
- WFLA.com - Official WFLA-TV Website
- MeTVTampa.com - Official Me-TV Tampa Website
- Photos of WFLA's news set
- Daytime web site
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WFLA
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WFLA-TV