|Branding||WFTV Channel 9 (general)
Channel 9 Eyewitness News (newscasts)
Can Count On
|Channels||Digital: 39 (UHF)
Virtual: 9 (PSIP)
|Translators||W36DV-D 36 Sebastian|
9.2 Mega TV
|Owner||Cox Media Group
|First air date||February 1, 1958|
|Call letters' meaning||Florida TeleVision|
|Former callsigns||WLOF-TV (1958-1963)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
9 (VHF, 1958-2009)
|Transmitter power||1,000 kW|
|Public license information:||Profile
WFTV, channel 9, is the ABC-affiliated television station for Central Florida that is licensed to Orlando. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 39 from a transmitter between Bithlo and Christmas. Owned by Cox Media Group, WFTV is sister to Independent WRDQ. The two stations share studios on East South Street (SR 15) in downtown Orlando. Syndicated programming on the station includes: Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, The Dr. Oz Show, Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy!, The Jeff Probst Show, Family Feud, and The Steve Harvey Show.
Digital channels 
WFTV's signal is multiplexed.
|9.1||720p||16:9||Main WFTV programming / ABC|
On January 25, 2013, Severe Weather Center 9 was replaced by Spanish language Mega TV.
In April 2010, WFTV announced plans to add a simulcast of GenTV affiliate WAWA-LD on a third digital subchannel. However, before the subchannel could launch, WAWA's chief investor pulled out, effectively closing that station and dissolving the partnership with WFTV.
The station signed on-the-air on February 1, 1958 as WLOF-TV (for We Love Orlando, Florida). It has been an ABC affiliate since its launch. For years, the station was owned by a consortium of local investors. It changed its call letters to the current WFTV in 1963. The SFN Companies purchased the station in 1984. SFN in turn sold the station to Cox Communications in 1985. As of July 2006, WFTV is now seen on the co-owned Cox cable system in Ocala (basic on channel 9 and high definition on digital channel 729) in addition to Gainesville's WCJB-TV. Ocala and Marion County are both part of the Orlando market. Prior to this, the Cox system in Ocala only offered WCJB due to contractual obligations even though that city is not in the same television market as Gainesville. To further complicate matters for viewers in the area of Northwest Marion county, WNBW-DT an NBC affiliate located in Gainesville, Florida and in operation since 2008 also identifies itself as channel 9.
As part of the analog television shutdown and digital conversion, WFTV shut down its analog transmitter on June 12, 2009, and continued to broadcast on its pre-transition digital channel 39. However, through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display WFTV's virtual channel as 9. Since February 25, 2009, it has had an application filed with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to air a digital auxiliary facility from a transmitter in northeastern Osceola County.
Out-of-market cable carriage 
WFTV is carried in Lakeland which is part of the Tampa Bay DMA.
Syndicated programming on WFTV includes: Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, The Dr. Oz Show, Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy! In the fall of 2012 WFTV now airs the Jef Probst Show replacing The Doctors at 9am. WFTV also added Family Feud and Steve Harvy to its line up.
Pre-emptions over the years and today 
In the 1970s, WFTV preempted the ABC Sunday morning cartoon rerun lineup, which many affiliates also did not run. Until the $20,000 Pyramid moved to the noon slot, WFTV chose to not run whatever show ABC had on at Noon on weekdays in order to run a local newscast. In May 1975, the station controversially preempted the Emmy Award-winning TV movie A Moon for the Misbegotten starring Jason Robards and Colleen Dewhurst, due to the film's adult language. In 1978, Mork & Mindy was rescheduled by the station to air on Sunday afternoons, but was cleared to air in primetime after a few weeks. After Pyramid was moved to that slot, WFTV ran it earlier in the morning and a day behind. From the mid-1970s through the early-1980s, WFTV preempted the soap opera The Edge of Night which was preempted by many other ABC affiliates as well. From 1985 to the early 1990s, WFTV ran only half of the shows ABC put in the 11 AM to Noon slot. From 1994 through 1996, the station did not air ABC's weekday morning programs at 11 (The Home Show and Mike and Maty). The station began to carry such programming overnights starting in 1996 not starting to air it in its proper timeslot until The View debuted in 1997. WFTV ran the entire Saturday morning cartoon lineup from ABC until 1990, when it began preempting two hours of it in favor of a two-hour local newscast. In 1993, WFTV expanded the newscast to three hours and dropped the entire Saturday morning ABC cartoon lineup, adding a few educational children's shows and other syndicated programming. In 1996 an hour of ABC cartoons was restored on Sunday mornings and another hour was restored to Saturday mornings early in 1997. In the fall of 1997, WFTV began to carry two hours of the lineup that were under the One Saturday Morning banner. In 1999, the station increased the amount of Saturday morning cartoons from ABC to three hours and increased it to four hours in 2002.
WFTV was one of the few ABC affiliates that preempted Jimmy Kimmel Live!. Its sister stations in Atlanta (WSB-TV) and Charlotte (WSOC-TV) as well as Allbritton Communications station KTUL in Tulsa and Sinclair Broadcast Group station WEAR-TV in Pensacola also initially did not air the program. However on November 21, 2005, the station did start airing the late night talk show and now airs almost the entire ABC schedule with little preemption. The only current regularly preempted program is the Sunday edition of Good Morning America; in the past, WFTV has declined some of ABC's other weekend morning programming. Four out of five hours of the ABC Saturday morning lineup were run through 2010, including three out of four hours of the ABC Kids lineup. The station began carrying the Saturday edition of Good Morning America in the beginning of July 2007 along with its sister stations in Atlanta and Charlotte. While the station now airs the entire three-hour ABC Kids lineup, which complies with federal E/I regulations, it preempted the block's former fourth hour with shows such as the Power Rangers series which did not comply with E/I standards (ABC dropped Power Rangers on August 28, 2010). In 2004, all Cox-owned ABC affiliates preempted the movie Saving Private Ryan due to the graphic violence and profanity in the film after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) stepped up its vigilance following the Janet Jackson / Justin Timberlake Super Bowl incident that year. The FCC declared the film as not indecent after the fact. Since the late 1990s, WFTV has not shown the ABC News Brief that airs between One Life To Live and General Hospital in favor of locally sold advertising.
In March 2010, WFTV stopped using its station ID bug after commercial break returns during Good Morning America and elected to show its own time and temperature graphic, instead of the standardized version that the program uses. This move is similar to CBS affiliate WKMG (channel 6, owned by Post-Newsweek Stations), which also shows its own time and temperature graphic, instead of using the standardized format that CBS uses for The Early Show and the new CBS This Morning. On March 20, 2010 WFTV reinstated the station ID bug during Good Morning America.
News operation 
In 1992, WFTV dropped two of the five hours of ABC's Saturday morning cartoons in order to add a local newscast. The station ceased airing the block completely in 1993 when the broadcast expanded to three hours. Alongside its own Eyewitness News shows, WFTV has also been producing a nightly 10 o'clock news (Eyewitness News at 10 formerly known as Action News at 10) for sister station WRDQ since 2000. It added a two-hour long weekday morning newscast (Eyewitness News This Morning) at 7 on WRDQ in 2007, and a half-hour 6:30 p.m. newscast on that station in 2010.
The main anchor duo on Eyewitness News, Bob Opsahl and Martie Salt, have been together on-air for over 15 years, from 1984–1994 and again since 2003. Opsahl has been the primary anchor at WFTV since 1984. Salt was originally an anchor from 1982–1994, departing for Tampa, Florida ABC affiliate WFTS-TV from 1994 to 2003 (where she anchored the news under her married name, Martie Tucker); she returned to WFTV in 2003.
On June 29, 2006, this station became the first Florida station to offer newscasts in 720p high definition. It was also the first Cox owned-and-operated station and the tenth in the country to begin producing HD newscasts. With the switch to HD came a new set from FX Group and graphics from Giant Octopus. The station operates a Baron Services weather radar called "Early Warning Doppler 9 HD" at its old analog transmitter site north of Bithlo along the Orange and Seminole County line. WFTV palns to upgrade the radar's power to one million watts, that would make it the second most powerful radar in central Florida (WOFL's also having one million watts).
For most of the time since the 1980s, WFTV has been the dominant news station in Central Florida. Although NBC affiliate WESH made some temporary advances in the 1990s, WFTV often enjoys ratings higher than the combined rating of the other network affiliates in the Central Florida market. In some airings, it has been the highest rated ABC station in the Southeastern United States. In the May 2009 sweeps period, only WESH's weekday morning news programs even came close to tying WFTV in the ratings race while the prime time programs on CBS affiliate WKMG-TV led overall.
In fact, during much of the first half of 2009, WFTV's dominance was not as absolute as it had been in the past decade or so even though it continues to lead in most time slots. However, in the November 2009 sweeps period, WFTV regained its dominance over the other stations in the market. It has been one of ABC's strongest affiliates over the years.
For the February 2012 sweeps period, WFTV continued to win morning, noon and evening time slots. However, WFTV finished in third place in the 25-to-54 demographic at 11 p.m. despite the return of Bob Opsahl to the anchor desk for the month. WKMG beat WFTV by 5,700 viewers while second-place WESH beat WFTV by 700 viewers.
Newscast titles 
- Mid Florida News (1958–1960s)
- Newsline 9 (1970s–1976)
- Eyewitness (1970s)
- (Channel 9) Eyewitness News (1976–present)
Station slogans 
- Powerful 9 (1960s)
- Eyewitness News is Everywhere! (1977–1980)
- Central Florida's Leading News Station (1982–1987)
- People You Can Count On (1987–1991; general slogan)
- Central Florida's News Leader (1988–1999; news slogan)
- Coverage You Can Count On (1999–present)
- Nancy Alvarez - weekends at 6:00, 10:00 (WRDQ) and 11:00 p.m.
- Bianca Castro - weekday mornings (7:00-9:00 a.m. on WRDQ); also reporter
- Vanessa Echols - weekday mornings (5:00-7:00 a.m. on WFTV) and weekdays at noon
- Jorge Estevez - weeknights 6:30 and 10:00 p.m. (WRDQ)
- Jamie Holmes - weekday mornings (5:00-7:00 a.m. on WFTV) and weekdays at noon
- Mark Joyella - weekend mornings (5:00-9:00 on WFTV and 9:00-10:00 a.m. on WRDQ) and weekends at noon
- Bob Opsahl - weeknights at 5:00 and 6:00 p.m.
- Martie Salt - weeknights at 6:00, 10:00 (WRDQ) and 11:00 p.m.
- George Spencer - weekday mornings (7:00-9:00 a.m. on WRDQ)
- Greg Warmoth - weeknights at 5:30 and 11:00 p.m.; host of Central Florida Spotlight
- Vanessa Welch - weeknights at 5:00, 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. (WRDQ); also reporter
Severe Weather Center 9
- Tom Terry (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval) - chief meteorologist; weeknights at 5:00, 5:30, 6:00 (6:30 and 10:00 on WRDQ) and 11:00 p.m.
- Brian Shields (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist and NWA Seals of Approval) - meteorologist; weekday mornings (5:00-7:00 a.m. on WFTV) and weekdays at noon
- Kassandra Crimi - (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval); weekday mornings (7:00-9:00 a.m. on WRDQ)
- Eboni Deon - meteorologist; weekend mornings (5:00-9:00 on WFTV and 9:00-10:00 a.m. on WRDQ) and weekends at noon
- George Waldenberger - (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval) meteorologist; weekends at 6:00, 10:00 (WRDQ) and 11:00 p.m.
Sports team (both are seen on Sports Night on 9 Sundays at 11:30 p.m.)
- Joe Kepner - sports director; Monday-Thursdays at 6:00, 10:00 (WRDQ) and 11:00 p.m.
- Christian Bruey - sports anchor; Friday-Sundays at 6:00, 10:00 (WRDQ) and 11:00 p.m.; also sports reporter
- Racquel Asa - weekday morning traffic reporter (5:00-7:00 on WFTV and 7:00-9:00 a.m. on WRDQ)
- Steve Barrett - weeknight 10:00 (WRDQ) and 11:00 p.m. reporter
- Kevin Smith - weekday morning (5:00-7:00 on WFTV and 7:00-9:00 a.m. on WRDQ) and weekday at noon reporter
- Kathi Belich - weeknight 5:00, 5:30 and 6:00 p.m. reporter
- Kenneth Craig - weeknight 10:00 (WRDQ) and 11:00 p.m. reporter
- Jeff Deal - weeknight 10:00 (WRDQ) and 11:00 p.m. reporter
- Ryan Hughes - weekday morning (5:00-7:00 on WFTV and 7:00-9:00 a.m. on WRDQ) and weekday at noon reporter
- Daralene Jones - weekday morning (5:00-7:00 on WFTV and 7:00-9:00 a.m. on WRDQ) and weekday at noon reporter
- Q. McCray - Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays at 5:00, 5:30 and 6:00 p.m. + weekend reporter at 6:00, 10:00 (WRDQ) and 11:00 p.m.
- Vacant - Brevard County reporter; weeknights at 5:00, 5:30 and 6:00 p.m.
- Berndt Petersen - weeknight 5:00, 5:30 and 6:00 p.m. reporter
- Blaine Tolison - Mondays-Tuesdays at 10:00 (WRDQ) and 11:00, Fridays at 5:00, 5:30 and 6:00 and weekends at noon and 6:00 p.m. reporter
- Todd Ulrich - consumer and investigative reporter (Action 9)
Former on-air staff 
- Deborah Roberts - NASA/Brevard County Bureau chief reporter/weekend anchor (now at ABC News)
- Barbara West
- Marla Weech - anchor (later at WKMG, now morning anchor at Central Florida News 13)
- Kevin Oliver
- Don Smith
- Gustavo Almodovar - reporter (now works at Florida Hospital Orlando as a Marketing Brand Manager)
- Boedeker, Hal (September 30, 2010). "Investor pulls out of Spanish station, surprises WFTV". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved October 3, 2010.
- CDBS Print
- "‘The View,’ ABC soaps to air on WRDQ starting today". The Orlando Sentinel. June 8, 2011. Retrieved June 8, 2011.
- WFTV to add 6:30 p.m. newscast on WRDQ, Orlando Sentinel, June 17, 2010.
- WFTV-Channel 9 out of Orlando goes high-def, Engadget, June 29, 2006.
- February ratings: WKMG, WOFL win in late news; WFTV tops in other slots, Orlando Sentinel, March 1, 2012.
- WFTV Eyewitness News open - 4/26/11
- Gustavo Almodovar’s signoff goes viral—four years later, Yahoo! News, November 19, 2012.
- WFTV.com - Official WFTV Website
- TV27.com - Official WRDQ-TV Website
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WFTV