|Orange Park/Jacksonville, Florida|
|City of license||Orange Park, Florida|
|Branding||WJXX ABC 25 (general)
First Coast News (newscasts)
|Slogan||First For You (newscasts)
ABC 25, Start Here (general)
|Channels||Digital: 10 (VHF)
Virtual: 25 (PSIP)
|Owner||Gannett Company, Inc.
(Gannett River States Publishing Corporation)
|First air date||February 9, 1997|
|Call letters' meaning||JaX (informal abbreviation for Jacksonville)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
25 (UHF; 1997–2009)
|Transmitter power||29.5 kW|
WJXX is the ABC-affiliated television station in Jacksonville, Florida, serving Florida's First Coast and Georgia's Colonial Coast. Licensed to Orange Park, it broadcasts a high definition digital signal on VHF channel 10 (virtual channel 25.1 via PSIP) from a transmitter in the city's Kilarney Shores section. Owned by Gannett Company, WJXX is part of a duopoly with NBC affiliate WTLV and both stations share studios on East Adams Street (near EverBank Field) in downtown Jacksonville. Syndicated programming on this station includes Live! with Kelly and Michael, Community, and The Closer.
WJXX first went on the air on February 9, 1997 owned by WPR, L.P. and operated by Allbritton Communications under a local marketing agreement. While at one point WJXX was slated to be an independent, Allbritton had signed an LMA in 1996 with Brunswick, Georgia-based WBSG-TV (channel 21); it also signed a long-term groupwide affiliation deal with ABC, and announced that WBSG would replace WJKS (channel 17) as Jacksonville's ABC affiliate. Allbritton subsequently planned to sign WJXX on April 1 to serve as the ABC affiliate for the Florida side of the market, with WBSG serving as a semi-satellite for the Georgia side. However, after WJKS began phasing out ABC programming in favor of becoming the market's WB affiliate under the callsign WJWB (now WCWJ), ABC asked Allbritton to sign on WJXX two months early. Unfortunately, the station's new full-power transmitter was still pending FCC approval at the time, forcing the station to broadcast at low power for several months. This rendered the station more or less unviewable even in some parts of Jacksonville itself. In September 1997, Allbritton bought WJXX outright.
Allbritton heavily invested in WJXX, including building a state-of-the-art studio on A.C. Skinner Parkway in south Jacksonville. It was the first station in the country designed from the ground up for digital television, a medium which was then fairly new. However, WJXX failed to gain significant traction in the market; in addition to lingering confusion from the early announcement of WBSG being the ABC affiliate for Jacksonville and the subsequent early launch, the stations' combined signal was somewhat inferior to VHF competitors WJXT (channel 4; then a CBS affiliate) and WTLV. Not helping matters was WJXX's early placement on MediaOne channel 7, which suffered from interference from local PBS member WJCT, which broadcast on channel 7 over the air. Additionally, until the station's studio opened in December, WJXX sent its signal to MediaOne directly from its transmitter, resulting in a lower-quality signal.
Duopoly with WTLV
After the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) legalized duopolies on November 15, 1999, Allbritton announced the sale of WJXX to WTLV owner Gannett Company the next day. Normally, duopolies between two "big four" affiliates or even "big three" affiliates would not be allowed because they usually constituted the top four stations in a market. FCC regulations do not allow common ownership of any two of the four biggest stations in a market. However, WJXX was ranked as the fifth-watched station in the market, often trailing WJWB (which had gone from one of ABC's weakest affiliates to becoming one of The WB's strongest affiliates) and Fox affiliate WAWS (channel 30), in addition to WJXT and WTLV. Once the sale was finalized on March 17, 2000, Gannett's purchase of WJXX became the first instance where a single owner maintained a duopoly involving two stations that were both affiliated with a "big three" television network (all of Jacksonville's "big four" network affiliates ended up under the control of two media companies by 2002, when WTEV-TV – which is operated alongside Cox Media Group's WAWS – replaced WJXT as the market's CBS affiliate).
Gannett moved WJXX into WTLV's facilities and combined the news personnel of both stations, resulting in the creation of the joint news operation presently known as First Coast News. However, most of the news personnel were veterans of WTLV (the deal did not include WBSG, which then joined Pax and was soon acquired by Paxson Communications, becoming WPXC-TV). First Coast News adopted the "Global Village" theme by Stephen Arnold Music in 2000 shortly after acquiring WJXX (the package used before then was "The NBC Collection"). This package stayed until December 2006, when the station switched to "Seize The Day" by 615 Music. Earlier that year, First Coast News renovated its studios and changed their graphics after longtime anchor Alan Gionet departed.
On May 21, 2008, WTLV and WJXX launched a new combined website for both station. It was announced by online manager Linda Mock that the new site was to have a new forum system known as "Pluck", which would require users to sign up for an account, unlike their existing Topix system. A new banner that changes with the weather conditions replaced the old banner that showed the current on-air anchors. Ads also began for every newscast at the top of the screen, which cycles through with previous ads. The new website was also announced via a breaking news alert at the top of the existing website.
On June 12, 2009, WJXX shut down its analog transmitter in Clay County, Florida. This caused viewers in areas such as Gainesville to lose reception of WJXX, but viewers in Flagler County, Florida and on the Colonial Coast of Georgia gained access to WJXX's broadcast signal.
|25.1||WJXX-DT||720p||16:9||Main WJXX programming / ABC|
|25.2||WJXX 2||480i||4:3||First Coast News Weather Plus|
On June 12, 2009, WJXX turned off its analog transmitter and converted its broadcasts to digital television-only, remaining on its pre-transition channel 10. However, through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display WJXX's virtual channel as its former analog channel 25.
WJXX's news department launched in September 1997, with the debut of a weeknight 7 p.m. newscast titled ABC 25 Tonight. After the station moved into its original studio facilities following its completion, WJXX dramatically increased its local news programming on December 15, 1997, adding newscasts at 5:30 a.m., noon, 5, 6, 6:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. (the latter newscast used the Nightcast title) on Monday through Fridays totaling 4½ hours each weekday, along with weekend newscasts at 6, 6:30 and 11 p.m. (before the full-scale launch of ABC 25 News, WJXX showed M*A*S*H reruns at 6 and 11 p.m., while then-satellite WBSG broke off to show its own Georgia-targeted newscasts that had predated the ABC affiliation). Allbritton poured significant resources into the news department, resulting in a very high-quality product for a newly launched station. Indeed, most media observers considered WJXX' newscasts to be of far better quality than WJKS' newscasts during the latter years of channel 17's tenure with ABC. However, WJXX' ratings took a severe hit from the aforementioned technical problems and never recovered. It didn't help matters that channel 25 was going head to head with WJXT and WTLV, two of their networks' strongest performers. As mentioned above, the station's separate news department was shut down after Gannett bought the station
WJXX is the only television station in Jacksonville to have a weeknight 7 p.m. newscast, and airs a half-hour Sunday morning edition of Good Morning Jacksonville. In addition to their main studios, WJXX and WTLV operate a "Southern Bureau" that covers St. Johns, Clay and Putnam counties. WJXX and WTLV operate their own Doppler weather radar operating near the transmitter site for both stations in Kilarney Shores, and utilizes live radar data from several radars operated by regional National Weather Service forecast offices, including a radar site located near Jacksonville International Airport at the local NWS Weather Forecast Office. WJXX and WTLV also offer a "Weather Call" service that send automated calls to cellular and corded telephones in the event that a severe weather advisory is issued for a specific location, utilizing National Weather Service warning data for call placements.
In the May 2007 Nielsen ratings, WTLV and WJXX had a powerful lead. They won the weekday morning, noon, 5:30, and 6 p.m. slots. Also at 11 p.m., more people watched WTLV and WJXX than any other local station combined. However, as of the November 2007 Nielsen ratings, WTLV and WJXX only won the weekday morning, noon and 11 p.m. news slot. The 5, 5:30, and 6 p.m. slots went to WJXT.
On September 10, 2007, First Coast News stopped simulcasting the 5 and 5:30 p.m. weekday broadcasts on WJXX. The Ellen DeGeneres Show replaced the broadcasts at 5 p.m. on WJXX instead. Since NBC's Today expanded to four hours, the station moved Live with Regis and Kelly, which had previously aired at 10 a.m. on WTLV, to WJXX at 9 a.m. Divorce Court was also moved from WJXX (where it had aired at Noon) to 2 p.m. on WTLV. Joy Purdy (who previously worked at WFOR-TV, the CBS affiliate in Miami) also debuted as the new anchor of First Coast News at 7. On October 29, 2007, First Coast News once again debuted new graphics in time for the November sweeps. Along with new graphics, Donna Hicken officially identified herself on-air as Donna Deegan.
On October 23, 2008, First Coast News debuted new graphics and music, the same standardized packages as on every other Gannett television station. The new uniformed graphics were created by G3 (or the Gannett Graphics Group) based near sister station KUSA-TV in Denver; the music was composed by Rampage Music New York.
In January 2009, First Coast News fired weekend meteorologist Dave Vanore. Michelle Jacobs returned to First Coast News to anchor weather and traffic in the mornings. The entire weather team shifted, with Steve Smith moving from mornings to 7 p.m. weekdays, and Mark Collins moving to weekend newscasts. In July 2009, First Coast News yet again shuffled anchors around. Joy Purdy and Deanna Fene departed First Coast News at 7, with Purdy switching places with Patty Crosby and joining Phil Amato on Good Morning Jacksonville, and Fene replacing departing Victor Blackwell on weekend evenings. Crosby moved to 7 p.m. broadcasts anchoring news, with Steve Smith anchoring weather, and Dan Hicken anchoring sports. Corrine Hautala was hired to anchor weekend morning newscasts.
On February 1, 2010, WTLV and WJXX began broadcasting their First Coast News programs in high definition, becoming the final two television stations in Jacksonville to make the upgrade. Coincidentally, WTEV and WAWS upgraded its Action News newscasts to high definition the day before. The entire on-air appearance was revamped, with differently stylized versions of Gannett's standardized graphics being introduced, as well as a brand new set being unveiled, designed by FX Group.
- ABC 25 News (1997–March 2000)
- 12 News on ABC 25 (March–April 2000)
- First Coast News (April 2000–present; with WTLV)
- "The Spirit of The First Coast" (2000–2002)
- "Your News Leader" (2002–2011)
- "First For You" (2011–present)
- Impact by 615 Music (1997–2000; when WJXX had its own news department)
- Global Village by Stephen Arnold Music (2000–2006; with WTLV)
- Seize The Day by 615 Music (2006–present; with WTLV)
- Gannett News Music Package by Rampage Music New York (2008-2013; with WTLV)
- This is Home by Gari Media Group (2013–present; with WTLV)
- Phil Amato - weekday mornings on Good Morning Jacksonville (5–7 a.m.)
- Jeannie Blaylock - weeknights at 5:30 and 6 p.m.
- Jessica Clark - weekends at 6:30 and 11 p.m.
- Lewis Turner - weeknights at 5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.
- Shannon Ogden - weeknights at 5, 6 and 11 p.m.
- Heather Crawford - weeknights at 7 p.m.
First Coast Weather Team
- Tim Deegan (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval) - chief meteorologist; weeknights at 5, 5:30, 6 and 11 p.m.
- Mike Prangley - meteorologist; Sunday mornings at 7 a.m., and weekends at 6:30 and 11 p.m.
- Steve Smith (AMS Seal of Approval) - meteorologist; weekday mornings on Good Morning Jacksonville (5–7 a.m.)
- Lewis Turner - meteorologist; fill-in
- Chris Porter - sports anchor; Saturdays at 6:30 and 11 p.m.
- Ken Amaro - 5 and 6 p.m. consumer reporter
- Kathyrn Jeffries - general assignment reporter
- Michelle Quesada - general assignment reporter
- Kaitlyn Ross - general assignment reporter
- Roger Weeder - weekday morning reporter.
Notable former on-air staff
- Broadcasting & Cable Yearbook 1999 (PDF). 1999. p. B-51. Retrieved May 20, 2011.
- "Response to Public Notice" (PDF). Electronic Comment Filing System. Federal Communications Commission. June 27, 1997. Retrieved May 20, 2011.
- Patton, Charlie (August 21, 1997). "Jags fans in lather over TV". The Florida Times-Union. Retrieved May 20, 2011.
- Patton, Charlie (December 13, 1999). "Changing the channel". The Florida Times-Union. Retrieved May 20, 2011.
- Patton, Charlie (May 3, 1997). "Allbritton gives strong signal that ABC's here to stay". The Florida Times-Union. Retrieved May 20, 2011.
- Dickson, Terry (March 22, 2000). "Not easy as ABC for Georgia TV viewers". The Florida Times-Union. Retrieved May 20, 2011.
- "ONLINE EXTRA: Preview the all-new firstcoastnews.com". First Coast News. Retrieved May 15, 2008.
- "Firstcoastnews.com | Jacksonville, St. Augustine and Brunswick". First Coast News. Retrieved 2008-05-21.
- CDBS Print
- "Gannett Graphics to Revolve Around AXIS". TVNEWSDAY. Retrieved 2008-10-24.
- WJXX 1999 Anchor Open
- WJXX First Coast News at 6 Open 1/19/10
- Anchor and Reporter Biographies
- Official website (Mobile)
- WJXX Outtakes and Bloopers
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WJXX
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WJXX-TV