|Fort Myers / Naples, Florida|
WINK News (newscasts)
|Channels||Digital: 50 (UHF)
Virtual: 11 (PSIP)
11.2 WINK NEWS 24/7
|Affiliations||CBS Television Network|
|Owner||Fort Myers Broadcasting Company (McBride family)|
|First air date||March 23, 1954|
|Call letters' meaning||"WINK" (refers to
CBS eye for affiliation)
|Sister station(s)||WJUA, WINK-FM, WNPL, WTLQ-FM|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
11 (VHF, 1954-2009)
9 (VHF, 2008-2011)
|Former affiliations||DuMont (1954-1955)
|Transmitter power||1000 kW|
WINK-TV, virtual channel 11, is the CBS-affiliated television station for Southwest Florida that is licensed to Fort Myers. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 50 from a transmitter north of Fort Myers Shores near the Lee and Charlotte County line in Tuckers Corner, FL. The station can also be seen on Comcast channel 5 and in high definition on digital channel 433. However, unlike other stations in the market, it does not identify itself on-air using its cable channel location. It is locally owned by the McBride family and their Fort Myers Broadcasting Company along with several radio stations. It has studios on Palm Beach Boulevard (SR 80) in Fort Myers.
Its coverage area includes Lee, Collier, Sarasota, Hendry, Glades, Charlotte, DeSoto, Highlands, and Hardee Counties. In the Tampa Bay market, WINK-TV is one of two Fort Myers stations carried by Comcast in Venice and Wauchula. It is the only Southwest Florida-based station on Comcast in Sebring. This is originally due in part because Tampa Bay's CBS affiliate WTSP had a signal that could not be seen that well in Sarasota, Hardee, and Highlands Counties (all part of the Tampa Bay DMA), at the time when that station's transmitter was in Holiday in the northern part of the Tampa Bay area (it had since relocated to Riverview in October 2011). In general, WINK-TV's aerial coverage area extends as far north as southern Polk County.
WINK-TV was founded in March 1954 as sister to WINK radio (1240 AM, now at 1200 AM; and 96.9 FM). The station aired an analog signal on VHF channel 11. It was the first television station in Southwest Florida and is currently the fifth-oldest surviving station in the state (behind Miami's WTVJ, Jacksonville's WJXT, Orlando's WKMG-TV, and West Palm Beach's WPTV-TV). At the time of its beginning, Southwest Florida was underpopulated and people had to rely on television stations from Miami and Tampa Bay. Stations from these markets were and continued to be obtainable with large outdoor antennas. WINK-TV was the only station in the area for 14 years and remained the only full-powered VHF station in the market for nearly two years after the analog to digital switch.
Due to Fort Myers being sandwiched between Miami to the east and Tampa Bay to the north, WINK-TV was fortunate to gain the only VHF license allocated to the area. As such, it originally carried programming from NBC, ABC, and DuMont along with CBS. DuMont folded in 1956 and it lost NBC when WBBH-TV signed-on in 1968 but continued to share ABC with WBBH until WEVU-TV (now WZVN-TV) signed-on in 1974. The station also ran PBS's Sesame Street weekdays at 9 a.m. until 1978 due to a lack of a PBS station in the market. A PBS station did not sign on until 1983. WINK-TV's broadcasts became digital-only at noon on February 17, 2009. The station's digital signal moved to channel 50 on the UHF dial in mid-2011 because of viewer reception issues on channel 9.
|11.1||Main WINK programming / CBS|
|11.2||WINK News 24/7|
Syndicated programming on the station includes: Inside Edition, Oprah, and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?. The station clears almost the entire CBS schedule. Due to an hour-long newscast at noon during the week, it airs both of CBS's remaining soap operas out of pattern: The Bold and the Beautiful airs at 10:30 a.m. local time (normally airs at 1:30 p.m. in the Eastern Time Zone) and The Young and the Restless airs at 1 p.m., half an hour later than most CBS affiliates.
WINK-TV has been the dominant news station in Fort Myers for nearly all of its history. This is largely due to its status as the area's only VHF station for most of the analog era (the only other such station being low-power WUVF-LP on channel 2, which signed on in the early 1990s). Until cable television came to the area in the 1970s, WINK-TV was the only station that put a clear signal to much of the area. Due to the duopoly of WBBH and WZVN, WINK-TV primarily competes with WBBH. Starting on March 26, 2007, WINK-TV began producing a nightly 10 o'clock newscast for Sun Broadcasting on WXCW).
On October 20, 2007, WINK-TV became the first station in Southwest Florida to broadcast local news in high definition. It purchased new high definition studio cameras, field cameras, weather computers, and graphics to complete the launch. The newscasts on WXCW were included in the upgrade. Back on July 12, WZVN began to broadcast its local news in 16x9 widescreen standard definition calling it "enhanced digital definition". However, this was not true high definition compared to WINK-TV. WBBH followed soon after with its own launch of news in the format. On January 7, 2008, several programming changes were made on WINK-TV. It started showing The Early Show in its entirety because CBS now requires all of its affiliates to do that. The Early Show received a makeover and hopes to compete against its rivals, NBC's Today and ABC's Good Morning America. Originally, WINK-TV had preempted the first hour of that show to air an extra hour of local news known as Hello Southwest Florida. The station moved this broadcast to WXCW and expanded it to two hours. In addition, WINK-TV launched a 7 o'clock newscast. To coincide with all of these changes, it began branding its newscasts as WINK News Now.
In addition to its main studios, WINK-TV operates two news bureaus. The Charlotte County Bureau is in the Charlotte Sun newsroom in Charlotte Harbor while the Collier County Bureau is on 8th Street South in downtown Naples. The station's weather radar, called "SKY Tracker Doppler HD", is located next to the its studios. During the spring training season for the Boston Red Sox, WINK-TV shares its coverage of the team with fellow CBS affiliate WBZ-TV in Boston. It also cooperates with FOX affiliate WFLX in West Palm Beach on some occasions. On September 8, 2009, WZVN began airing a weeknight broadcast at 7 known as The 7 O'Clock News to compete with WINK-TV's prime time show. Both news departments of WZVN and WBBH contribute to this show. At some point in time, this station began airing a weekday 11 a.m. show on WXCW to compete with WBBH, which has since been cancelled.
On May 26, 2011, WINK-TV debuted an hour-long 4 p.m. newscast, one of many added on television stations around the United States on that date to replace The Oprah Winfrey Show, which ended its 25-year run the day before. On June 11, 2011 WINK-TV debuted a 90-minute morning newscast on Saturday and Sunday mornings. (now 2 hours on Saturdays from 6:00-8:00 and 3 hours on Sundays from 6:00-9:00 a.m.) WINK-TV also added a half-hour broadcast at 10 a.m. on September 6, 2011. On September 16, 2013, WINK-TV added a half-hour to its WINK News This Morning weekday broadcast which now starts at 4:30 and added another hour of news from 9:00-10:00 a.m. on WXCW. As a result, the 10:00 a.m. weekday newscast was discontinued. 
WINK-TV's weekday 5:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. newscasts were simulcast on WINK Radio (1200 AM) and WNPL (1460 AM); both stations used to carry a news radio format that utilizes WINK-TV's resources, as well as those of The News-Press and the Naples Daily News, for local news until the station was recently flipped into a Spanish Latin Hits format called Juan 1200/1460 on September 2, 2013.
- WINK-TV News (1960s–1972)
- News Eleven (1972-?)
- WINK News (1980s-present)
- WINK News Now (2007–2013)
- Turn to the Leader (1986–1995)
- Share the Spirit with WINK-TV (1986-1987, local version of CBS campaign)
- The Spirit of Southwest Florida (mid 1990s)
- Southwest Florida's News Leader (1983–present)
- We've Got You Covered (early 2000s)
- Stacey Adams - weekdays at 4:00 and weeknights at 10:00 (WXCW) and 11:00 p.m.
- Chris Cifatte - weeknights at 5:00, 5:30, 6:00, 10:00 (WXCW) and 11:00 p.m.
- Haley Hinds - Saturdays at 6:00, Sundays at 6:30 and weekends at 10:00 (WXCW) and 11:00 p.m.; also weekday reporter
- Bob Irzyk - Saturdays at 6:00, Sundays at 6:30 and weekends at 10:00 (WXCW) and 11:00 p.m.; also weekday reporter
- Lois Thome - weeknights at 5:00, 5:30, 6:00 and 7:00 p.m.
- Cayle Thompson - weekdays at noon and 4:00 and weeknights at 7:00 p.m.
- Rob Spicker - weekday mornings on WINK News This Morning (4:30-7:00 on WINK and 7:00-10:00 a.m. on WXCW)
- Jennifer Stacy - weekday mornings on WINK News This Morning (4:30-7:00 on WINK and 7:00-10:00 a.m. on WXCW); also weekday morning reporter
- Amanda Hall - weekdays at noon; also weekday reporter
- Stephanie Susskind - weekend mornings on WINK News This Morning (6:00-8:00 weekends and 8:00-9:00 a.m. Sundays)
WINK-TV SKY Tracker Weather Team
- Jim Farrell (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval) - chief meteorologist; weeknights at 5:00, 5:30, 6:00 and 11:00 p.m.
- Joey Sovine - meteorologist; weekday mornings on WINK News This Morning (4:30-7:00 on WINK and 7:00-10:00 a.m. on WXCW) and weekdays at noon
- Eric Stone - meteorologist; Saturdays at 6:00, Sundays at 6:30 and weekends at 10:00 (WXCW) and 11:00 p.m.
- Katie Walls (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist) - meteorologist; weekend mornings on WINK News This Morning (6:00-8:00 weekends and 8:00-9:00 a.m. Sundays)
- Scott Zedeker (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist) - meteorologist; weekdays at 4:00 and weeknights at 7:00 and 10:00 p.m. (WXCW)
- Janine Albert (AMS and NWA Seals of Approval) - fill-in meteorologist and hurricane landfall coverage
- Clayton Ferraro - sports director; weeknights at 6:00, 7:00, 10:00 (WXCW) and 11:00 p.m.
- TBD - Saturdays at 6:00, Sundays at 6:30 and weekends at 10:00 (WXCW) and 11:00 p.m.
- David Bodden - general assignment reporter
- Robert Burns - general assignment reporter
- Amanda Hall - general assignment reporter
- Genevieve Judge - general assignment reporter and "Call for Action" investigative reporter
- Ryan Kruger - general assignment reporter and "Call for Action" investigative reporter
- Corey Lazar - general assignment reporter
- Rachael Rafanelli - general assignment reporter
- Nicole Papageorge - weekday morning traffic reporter (4:30-7:00 on WINK and 7:00-10:00 a.m. on WXCW); also general assignment reporter
- Sarah Robarge - general assignment reporter
- Colby Robertson - general assignment reporter
- Rachel Spangenthal - general assignment reporter
- Vanessa Ruffes - general assignment reporter
- Kristen Skovira - general assignment reporter
- Stephanie Susskind - general assignment reporter
- Mike Walcher - senior reporter
Notable former on-air staff
- In Fort Myers, WINK Replacing ‘Oprah’ with Newscast, Media Bistro, April 29, 2011.
- On the Heels of New Afternoon Newscast, WINK Prepares Weekend Expansion, Media Bistro, May 24, 2011.
- WINK Adds 10 a.m. Newscast to Daily Programming, "Media Bistro", August 22, 2011.
- More News on WINK... Florida NewsCenter, September 11, 2013.
- "News Team". WINK. Retrieved 30 August 2011.
- Knox, Merrill (7 November 2012). "Former WINK Anchor Trey Radel Elected to the U.S. House of Representatives". Mediabistro. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
- Broadcast Center | Fort Myers Broadcasting Co. | Sun Broadcasting, Inc.
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WINK-TV