|Cape Coral/Fort Myers/
|Branding||Fox 4 (general)
Fox 4 In Your Corner
|Channels||Digital: 35 (UHF)
Virtual: 36 (PSIP)
|Owner||Journal Broadcast Group
(Journal Broadcast Corporation)
|First air date||October 14, 1985|
|Call letters' meaning||We're ForT Myers FoX or disambiguation of WFTS|
|Former channel number(s)||36 (UHF analog, 1985-2009)|
|Former affiliations||Independent (1985-1986)|
|Transmitter power||930 kW|
WFTX-TV is the Fox-affiliated television station for Southwest Florida that is licensed to Cape Coral. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 35 (or virtual channel 36.1 via PSIP) from a transmitter in Punta Gorda (east of I-75/SR 93) near the Charlotte and Lee County line. It identifies on-air as Fox 4, a reference to its location on Comcast channel 4; most stations in this region identify by their cable locations. It is also available in high definition on digital channel 434. Owned by the Journal Broadcast Group, WFTX has studios on Southwest Pine Island Road/SR 78 in Cape Coral. Syndicated programming on this station includes The Simpsons, Judge Judy, Judge Joe Brown, and Friends among others.
The station began broadcasting on October 14, 1985 as an independent station owned-and-operated by Family Group Broadcasting. The company had previously owned WFTS-TV in Tampa, from which the WFTX call letters are derived. It became a charter Fox affiliate on October 9, 1986. Family Group Broadcasting would sell the station to Wabash Valley Broadcasting of Terre Haute, Indiana, controlled by the family of Tony Hulman, that December. Under Wabash Valley Broadcasting, elements of the station closely paralleled that of Wabash Valley's flagship station in Terre Haute, WTHI-TV; the two stations used the same voice-over announcer and identical logos, and one of WTHI's news anchors subsequently transferred to WFTX.
The station changed hands again in 1998, when Emmis Communications purchased the assets of Wabash Valley Broadcasting. From 2001 until 2005, WFTX's master control and other internal operations were operated from WKCF, its sister station in Orlando, as its studios in Lake Mary served as a centralcasting location for Emmis' stations in the Southeastern United States. From WKCF's facilities, Emmis maintained broadcast capabilities during several major hurricanes, including Charley, that impacted WFTX and WKCF.
The arrangement was discontinued in 2005, when Emmis decided to sell its television stations; that August, WFTX and two of its sister stations were sold to the Journal Broadcast Group. Journal introduced a new logo known as the "big red 4", which is generally used along with the Fox logo, but excludes any Fox reference during local newscasts. In March 2007, WFTX redesigned its website with a new look and began offering more interactive content to viewers.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|36.1||720p||16:9||WFTX-DT||Main WFTX-TV programming / Fox|
WFTX was the last station in the area airing in analog. The market's other stations converted to digital-only broadcasts on the original transition date, February 17, 2009, but WFTX's analog signal continued in operation until June 12.
After the sale to Journal, WFTX expanded its news department with a focus on consumer advocacy and investigative reporting as the main theme. A weekday morning show known as Fox 4 News Rising was added and originally aired from 5 until 9. However, due to the lack of ratings and consistent viewership, it was cut back to two hours, from 6 until 8; the 5 a.m. hour would return on January 17, 2011. To complement the 10 p.m. show, WFTX eventually launched Fox 4 News Tracker at 11 on weeknights.
Starting on August 13, 2007, in place of the last hour of its morning newscast, WFTX began producing a lifestyle and entertainment magazine show. Known as Fox 4 Morning Blend, the program was adapted from a similar talk show on Journal flagship WTMJ-TV in Milwaukee. Airing for an hour weekday mornings at 8 from a secondary set, it had been solo hosted by Bill Wood but was most recently joined by Carley Wegner. Bill Wood is formerly of the Food Network and had been serving as the weekday morning news feature reporter. On September 17, 2007, longtime weeknight co-anchor Krista Fogelsong left WFTX in a much publicized departure; she is now at rival WBBH-TV. Weekday morning co-anchor and Cape Coral native Amy Wegmann moved to the weeknight broadcasts to fill the vacancy.
Due to the highly competitive nature of the Fort Myers/Naples market, WFTX's flagship 10 p.m. newscast has attracted competition over the years. In August 2006 when ABC affiliate WZVN-TV announced that it would launch a nightly prime time show on cable-only MyNetworkTV affiliate "WNFM". On March 26, 2007, CBS affiliate WINK-TV entering into the 10 p.m. race with its own broadcast on CW affiliate WXCW. Right from the start, this emerged as a strong second place production to WFTX, building on WINK-TV's longtime status as the most watched station in the market. On May 25 after only eight months on-the-air, the nightly WZVN-produced newscasts on WNFM were dropped, due to Comcast's frequent technical difficulties (the cable provider operates the MyNetworkTV affiliate) which hindered in the program's ratings, as well as the success of the WXCW production.
To take on the big three stations, WFTX began airing an hour-long newscast weeknights at 6 p.m. on August 2, 2010, with the second half competing against the national evening news programs. The station had aired a broadcast at that time in the 1990s when the news department was first established, but it was dropped in 2000 in favor of syndicated programming. The new show required the hiring of new reporters. In addition to its main studios, WFTX operates a Naples Newsroom on Tamiami Trail North (U.S. 41/SR 45) in that city. There is currently no sports department.
- "We're The Ones!" (1985-1986)
- "The Network for the 90s" (1991–1994)
- "The Fastest Growing Newscast in Florida" (1998–2002)
- "This is Your News" (2002–2005)
- "Southwest Florida's News Source" (2005–2007)
- "Fox 4 In Your Corner" (2007–present)
- Emily Dishnow - weeknights at 10:00 and 11:00 p.m.; also consumer advocacy reporter
- Miriam Zamorano - weekday mornings (5:00-8:00 a.m.)
- Patrick Nolan - weeknights at 6:00, 10:00 and 11:00 p.m.; also "Patrick Nolan's Real Florida" and "4 In Your Corner Medical Reports" segments producer
- Kelli Stegeman - weekends at 10:00 p.m.; also reporter
- Carley Wegner - Fox 4 Morning Blend host (weekday mornings at 8:00 a.m.)
- Stephanie Summers - Fox 4 Morning Blend host (weekday mornings at 8:00 a.m.)
- Storm Patrol 4 VIPIR Weather
- Michelle Cunningham (AMS Seal of Approval) - meteorologist
- Liza Fernandez - weather forecaster; weekends at 10:00 p.m.
- Jamie Kagol - meteorologist; weekday mornings (5:00-8:00 a.m.)
- Jim Syoen - chief meteorologist; weeknights at 6:00, 10:00 and 11:00 p.m.
- Alex Butler - general assignment reporter
- Warren Wright - general assignment reporter
- Dave Culbreth - investigative reporter
- Katie Jones - Naples Newsroom reporter
- Julian Glover - morning reporter
- Chris Day - weekend reporter
- Sara Belsole - general assignment reporter
- Christy Dimond - general assignment reporter
- Gabrielle Sarann - general assignment reporter
Notable former on-air staff
- Broadcasting & Cable Market Place (PDF). 1992. p. B-15. Retrieved March 22, 2011.
- Jerse, Dorothy (April 5, 2008). "LOOKING BACK: 1983-Terre Haute receives 13 mentions in new state promotional booklet". Tribune-Star. Retrieved March 21, 2011.
- WFTX Fox Fort Myers Open 2000
- WFTX-TV 6PM Open (June 2011)
- Fox 4 Team
- "Michelle Tuzee biography". KABC-TV. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
- Official website
- WFTX-TV mobile
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WFTX-TV
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WFTX-TV