|Miami / Fort Lauderdale, Florida|
|Slogan||South Florida's CW
For the Fun of It
|Channels||Digital: 19 (UHF)
Virtual: 39 (PSIP)
|Subchannels||39.1 The CW
39.2 Azteca America
39.3 Antenna TV
39.4 This TV
|First air date||June 1, 1982|
|Call letters' meaning||South FLorida|
|Former callsigns||WDZL (1982-1998)
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
39 (UHF, 1982-2009)
|Former affiliations||Independent (1982-1995)
The WB (1995-2006)
The Tube (39.2, 2006-2007)
|Transmitter power||1000 kW|
WSFL-TV is the CW-affiliated television station for Miami, Florida and the South Florida metropolitan area. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 19 (virtual channel 39.1 via PSIP) from a transmitter in Andover. Owned by the Tribune Company, WSFL-TV shares studios with the co-owned Sun-Sentinel newspaper in Fort Lauderdale. The station is also available on cable in West Palm Beach through Comcast Xfinity (despite the presence of in-market CW affiliate WTVX).
As an independent station
Channel 39 signed on as WDZL on June 1, 1982. It was owned by Channel 39 Broadcasting Ltd. As an independent station, it aired a general entertainment format consisting of cartoons, off-network dramas, old movies, a few old off-network sitcoms, and religious shows. Odyssey Partners, a firm which would later become Renaissance Broadcasting (and who owned WTXX (now WCCT-TV) in Waterbury, Connecticut) owned an interest in WDZL.
In 1984, WBFS-TV (owned by Grant Broadcasting System II) signed on with a stronger general entertainment lineup and surpassed WDZL in the ratings immediately. Still, WDZL was profitable especially with the huge amount of barter cartoons available to the station. It was still running shows other stations passed up until the wave of affiliation switches in 1989. When WCIX (now WFOR-TV) was sold to CBS and dropped most of its syndicated shows, Fox programming moved to WSVN. A couple of the cartoons from WCIX moved to WSVN to run on weekends. Most of WCIX's movies also went to WSVN. A couple syndicated shows also remained on WCIX. But the rest of the programming dropped from WCIX, mostly cartoons and sitcoms, moved to WDZL. By the early-1990s, WDZL had become a far stronger independent station. It acquired Fox Kids programming from WSVN in 1993.
As a WB affiliate
WDZL became a charter WB affiliate on January 11, 1995. In 1997, the Tribune Company acquired the six television station group that was owned by Renaissance Communications. Kids' WB programming on WDZL expanded to three hours on weekdays and the station dropped Fox Kids (which moved to Home Shopping Network station WYHS (now WAMI-TV). WDZL changed its call letters to WBZL in 1998 to emphasize its affiliation with The WB. Throughout this affiliation, the station was known on-air as "WB 39". By then, the station began airing more first-run talk and reality shows during the day along with children programming and off-network sitcoms in the evenings. By 2005, it was the only remaining station in South Florida that still ran kids' shows weekday afternoons with Kids' WB (a practice which ended on December 30, 2005).
As a CW affiliate
On January 24, 2006, the Warner Bros. Television unit of Time Warner and CBS announced that they would close the WB and UPN networks and merge them to form The CW Television Network. Tribune announced that most of its WB affiliates, including WBZL, would become affiliated with The CW. This was a result of Tribune signing a ten year affiliation agreement with the new network. It would not have been an upset had WBFS (which is owned by CBS) been chosen, however. The CW officials were on record as preferring the "strongest" WB and UPN stations for their new network, and South Florida was one of the few markets where The WB and UPN stations were both relatively strong.
Throughout the summer, WBZL started using the CW logo for local television ads and also began referring to itself as "CW South Florida". On September 17, WBZL changed its call letters to the current WSFL-TV to remove the reference to the no-longer-existent WB in its calls and generalize them to its geographic location. The next day, The CW debuted on WSFL. Starting in 2006, the station aired The Tube, a 24-hour music video channel, on its second digital subchannel and Comcast digital cable channel 224. It was dropped on October 1, 2007 when that network went off the air due to a multitude of factors.
On September 1, 2008, in a corporate move by Tribune to de-emphasize the references of "The CW" branding for their CW affiliates, channel 39 was rebranded as "SFL" and it debuted a logo featuring the capital "S" in the Sun-Sentinel nameplate. Around the same time, WSFL moved its operations into the Fort Lauderdale offices of the Sun-Sentinel. By February 2012, the station rebranded to de-emphasize its connection to the Sun-Sentinel, as WSFL no longer offers full-scale local newscasts.
On July 10, 2013, Tribune announced plans to spin off its publishing division into a separate company. Once the split is finalized in 2014, WSFL-TV will remain with the Tribune Company (which will retain all non-publishing assets, including the broadcasting, digital media and Media Services units), while its newspapers (including the Sun-Sentinel) will become part of the similarly named Tribune Publishing Company.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|39.1||1080i||16:9||WSFL-DT||Main WSFL-TV programming / The CW|
|39.3||Ant TV||Antenna TV|
On June 12, 2009, WSFL-TV left channel 39 and continued broadcasting on channel 19 to complete its analog to digital conversion. However, through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display WSFL-TV's virtual channel as "39".
In 1997, NBC affiliate WTVJ and the Sun-Sentinel began to co-produce a nightly 10 o'clock newscast on WDZL known as WB 39 News at 10. When the station became a CW affiliate, the news title changed to CW News at 10. On March 5, 2008, WSFL began broadcasting the 10 o'clock newscast in high definition when WTVJ made the upgrade. For the duration of the 2008 Summer Olympics, WSFL's newscast featured two anchors and closely mirrored news programs that air on WTVJ. The 10 p.m. news was broadcast from the same set WTVJ uses at Peacock Plaza in Miramar. Only that the set's duratrans were changed nightly to reflect the 10 p.m. newscast. The WTVJ news on WSFL was a similar operation to Tribune-outsourced newscasts that air on sister stations WPHL-TV and KRCW-TV.
On August 26, 2008, WTVJ and WSFL agreed to end the 10 o'clock newscast, most likely due to WTVJ's now-aborted acquisition by Post-Newsweek Stations who owns ABC affiliate WPLG, with the final broadcast airing on August 31. A weekday morning show began airing on April 13, 2009. It was broadcast out of the newspaper's former auditorium on the first floor of the Sun-Sentinel building on Las Olas in Fort Lauderdale, and aired from 5 to 9 a.m. The Morning Show was canceled on August 4, 2010 due to low ratings. The station continues to produce the public affairs program South Florida Voices, on Sunday mornings at 6 a.m., that is hosted by Deborah Ally; this program was relaunched with a new host and under a new title in September 2010. WSFL also launched five nightly news updates in mid-August 2010. It also airs local news inserts during the KDAF-produced EyeOpener morning show.
Other than the news updates, WSFL does not carry traditional local newscasts; it is one of only five Tribune-owned stations not carrying daily newscasts (alongside WNOL/New Orleans, WCCT/Hartford-New Haven, WTTV/Indianapolis and WDCW/Washington, D.C.).
- Tribune Closes TV Purchases, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, March 26, 1997.
- Channel 39 Changes Its Call Letters, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, April 27, 1998.
- 'Gilmore Girls' meet 'Smackdown'; CW Network to combine WB, UPN in CBS-Warner venture beginning in September, CNNMoney.com, January 24, 2006.
- UPN and WB to Combine, Forming New TV Network, The New York Times, January 24, 2006.
- TV station, paper to share offices, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, March 20, 2008.
- Malone, Michael (February 10, 2012). "Tribune's WSFL Rebrands in Miami". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved February 10, 2012.
- "Tribune Co. to Split in Two". New York Times. Retrieved July 10, 2013.
- RabbitEars TV Query for WSFL
- Ch. 39 Adds Ch. 6 Newscast At 10, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, December 13, 1996.
- Carey, Bridget (August 4, 2010). "WSFL-Channel 39 cancels morning show". The Miami Herald. Retrieved August 4, 2010.