|Miami–Fort Lauderdale, Florida
|City of license||Miami, Florida|
|Branding||WSVN 7 (general)
7 News (newscasts)
|Slogan||The News Station|
|Channels||Digital: 7 (VHF)
Virtual: 7 (PSIP)
7.2 Estrella TV
|Translators||WKIZ-LP 49 Key West, Florida|
|First air date||July 29, 1956|
|Call letters' meaning||SeVeN|
|Former callsigns||WCKT (1956–1983)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
7 (VHF, 1956–2009)
8 (VHF, 2000–2009)
|Former affiliations||NBC (1956–1988)|
|Transmitter power||158 kW|
|Public license information:||Profile
WSVN, channel 7, is a Fox-affiliated television station located in Miami, Florida, United States, locally owned by Sunbeam Television. WSVN maintains studio facilities located in North Bay Village, and its transmitter is located in north Miami-Dade County. The station's signal is relayed on low-powered translator WKIZ-LP (channel 49) in Key West.
- 1 History
- 2 Digital television
- 3 Programming
- 4 News operation
- 5 Other notes
- 6 References
- 7 External links
The station first signed on the air on July 29, 1956 as NBC affiliate WCKT. It was originally owned by Biscayne Television Corporation, a partnership between the Cox and Knight publishing families, who respectively owned Miami's two major newspapers: the Miami News and Miami Herald. The same Cox/Knight partnership also owned WCKR radio (610 AM, now WIOD; and 97.3 FM, now WFLC). Nile Trammell, a former NBC president, held a 15 percent ownership interest in WCKT.
Before WCKT signed on, NBC programming had been carried on Fort Lauderdale's WFTL-TV (channel 23; later known as WGBS-TV after it had been acquired by Storer Broadcasting), which also held a secondary affiliation with the DuMont Television Network. However, WFTL struggled because television sets were not required to have UHF tuning capability (the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) would later require such tuners to be included in sets manufactured from 1964 onward). When the Cox/Knight partnership won a construction permit and broadcast license for channel 7, NBC quickly agreed to move its affiliation to WCKT, since WCKR radio had been the longtime Miami affiliate of the NBC Blue Network. Channel 23 became an independent station and eventually went dark, and later came back to the air in 1967 as WAJA-TV (it is now Univision owned-and-operated station WLTV-DT).
WCKT and Biscayne Television lose license
In 1962, the Cox/Knight/Trammell partnership was stripped of its broadcast licenses due to violations of the Federal Communications Commission's licensing rules and ethics violations. In hearings that began in June 1960, it was found that some of the principals of Biscayne Television, as well as some of James Cox's personal friends, had made improper contact with FCC commissioner Richard Mack in order to influence the awarding of the construction permit and licenses. Biscayne had competed for the license with East Coast Television and South Florida TV. Mack had also been found guilty of taking payoffs and was forced to resign by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, as well as the rest of the FCC commissioners.
Biscayne Television originally planned to appeal its license revocation, but was advised that the appeal would be turned down due to the gravity of the situation. Mack had also been found guilty of taking payoffs in the licensing process of another Miami station, WPST-TV (channel 10, now WPLG), to the broadcasting subsidiary of National Airlines. WPST had its license revoked and Biscayne then opted to put WCKT up for sale. The owners of WPST were forced to sell the station only after they had to cease broadcasting.
Sunbeam Television ownership
Shortly afterward, a new company called Sunbeam Television Corporation bought the station for $3.4 million and assumed ownership of channel 7 on December 19, 1962. Upon the change in ownership, Sunbeam retained the WCKT call letters and claimed the Cox/Knight station's history as its own. Sunbeam was a partnership between Miami Beach-based real estate developer Sydney Ansin, and his son Edmund Ansin. The younger Ansin succeeded his father as president of Sunbeam Television in 1971. The station began using its own version of the circle 7 logo in the mid-1970s. On June 7, 1983, the station's callsign was changed to the current WSVN, after those call letters were acquired from a PBS member station in Norton, Virginia.
As an NBC station, WCKT/WSVN aired a newscast in place of programs that NBC had aired at noon on weekdays. It also occasionally preempted shows during the 10 or 11 a.m. timeslot (but ran at least one of these hours) and preempted an occasional primetime program. While NBC was traditionally far less tolerant of program preemptions than the other major broadcast networks, it did not mind this at first provided that NBC was able to get Miami area independent stations to air whatever programs that WSVN chose not to air. In addition, NBC programs that were not broadcast by WSVN were cleared by the network's West Palm Beach affiliate, WPTV (channel 5), whose signal provides city-grade coverage of Fort Lauderdale and was available on nearly every cable provider in the area. However, in the early 1980s, WPTV was removed from some Miami area cable systems to make room for new channels. Largely due to those preemptions, WCKT/WSVN was one of NBC's weaker affiliates. Though NBC continued to arrange for independent stations to air network programs not shown on WSVN, the network grew increasingly annoyed at having to resort to such an arrangement in what had grown into a major market. NBC eventually decided that it needed to acquire its own station in the growing South Florida market.
Network affiliation switch
NBC got its chance in the late 1980s, when Kohlberg Kravis Roberts put CBS affiliate WTVJ (then on channel 4, now on channel 6) on the market. NBC's then-corporate parent General Electric purchased that station in 1987, but WTVJ's affiliation contract with CBS was not set to expire until December 1988. CBS was willing to let WTVJ out of its contract one year early. However, Ed Ansin was not interested in letting NBC out of its affiliation agreement with WSVN, which also expired at the same time; Ansin even made an unsuccessful petition to the FCC to stop NBC's purchase of WTVJ. He wanted channel 7 to air NBC's strong fall 1988 lineup, which included the Major League Baseball World Series and the Summer Olympics.
As a result, NBC was forced to run WTVJ as a CBS affiliate for more than a year, with all of the NBC shows preempted by WSVN airing on WTVJ instead (a situation that did not sit well with either network). When Ansin made an offer to take the CBS affiliation, the network turned the offer down. Instead, CBS bought Miami's original Fox affiliate, WCIX (channel 6, now WFOR-TV on channel 4), even though that station had an inadequate signal in Broward County. In May 1988, Ed Ansin filed an antitrust lawsuit against General Electric/NBC and CBS, one week after he had claimed that CBS backed out of contract negotiations to affiliate with WSVN.
On January 1, 1989, South Florida's first network affiliation switch occurred, with NBC moving to WTVJ full-time and WSVN taking the Fox affiliation. Channel 7 had far less network shows to preempt as a result, as Fox only ran primetime programming on weekends at the time and would not air an entire week's worth of programming until 1993. As a result, WSVN was for essential intents and purposes, programmed as an independent station (even referring to itself as such in promotions regarding the switch, despite still being affiliated with a network). Until Fox began airing programming every weeknight, WSVN aired a movie in primetime at 8 p.m. on nights that the network did not air programming. WSVN's affiliation with Fox could be seen as a major coup for the fledgling network, as WSVN had been a longtime NBC affiliate and Fox was pleased to affiliate with a station that had been with a "Big Three" network for years. At the time, WSVN was one of the largest heritage "Big Three" stations to join Fox. The combination of WSVN not following a similar pattern to other Fox affiliates at the time (which focused more on syndicated programming and movies, than news), and WCIX becoming a "Big Three" affiliate had also led then-struggling independent WDZL (channel 39, now CW affiliate WSFL-TV) to rise to prominence, as WDZL picked up many shows formerly seen on WCIX.
Instead of acquiring a large amount of off-network sitcoms and cartoons, WSVN opted to pour most of its resources into its news department and took on a news-intensive format – expanding its newscasts to seven hours on weekdays – a move that was pilloried at the time since its newscasts had consistently finished well behind WTVJ and WPLG in the ratings. Because of this, the station had a higher local newscast output than the rest of Fox's stations did at the time of the switch; when WSVN became a Fox affiliate, only a small number of Fox stations ran local newscasts, which were largely limited to late primetime slots (as of 2013, only about one-quarter of Fox's affiliates carry newscasts in either the midday or late afternoon/early evening time periods, in addition to morning and primetime newscasts). In addition to newscasts, WSVN began to air a lot of first-run syndicated talk shows, court shows and off-network drama series as well as a short-lived newsmagazine called Inside Story.
It ran some cartoons on weekends as well; it originally aired Fox Kids when the block began in 1990, however Fox Kids programming would later move to WDZL by 1993; WBFS-TV (channel 33) aired the 4Kids TV block until it ended on December 27, 2008. By coincidence, when New World Communications switched most of its "Big Three"-affiliated stations to Fox between 1994 and 1996, the programming on those stations was very similar in format to WSVN, except that their news formats may have been aimed at an older audience than WSVN's; many stations owned by New World also passed on Fox Kids just as WSVN did.
As a Fox affiliate, the station brands itself as "WSVN 7", rather than "Fox 7" under Fox's station branding guidelines (Boston sister station WHDH sometimes uses its affiliated network's name in its branding as "7 NBC", though NBC is not as strict with branding as Fox is). However, Fox News Channel refers to the station as "Fox 7" when carrying WSVN's coverage of breaking news stories from South Florida; until its website was remodeled in late 2009, the Fox logo also occasionally appeared in a rolling marquee alongside the station's "circle 7" logo on the top left hand corner of the website.
On January 14, 2012, WSVN and Boston sister stations WHDH and WLVI were pulled from DirecTV after negotiations with Sunbeam Television on a new carriage contract broke down due to a proposal to increase retransmission fees paid to the company by a reported 300%. In response, a Facebook page called "Boycott WSVN" was started to pressure businesses to pull their advertising from the station. However, WSVN did allow DirecTV customers to view the NFC championship game and an episode of American Idol that aired immediately after the game while negotiations were still ongoing. Sunbeam and DirecTV reached a new carriage deal on January 26, 2012, ending the blackout.
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|7.1||720p||16:9||WSVN-D1||Main WSVN programming / Fox|
WSVN shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 7, on June 12, 2009, the official date in which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition VHF channel 8 as its former analog-era VHF channel 7 for post-transition operations. The station was one of four that operated digital signals on the VHF band to be granted a power increase later that month after stations experienced signal problems on VHF that did not occur with the UHF band following the transition.
The station has continued to draw down its syndication output for years, choosing to fill the majority of its schedule with lower-tier and barter programming such as The Wendy Williams Show, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, Matlock, Divorce Court and Justice for All with Judge Cristina Pérez, with the majority of the weekend morning and afternoon schedule outside of news, E/I and Fox Sports programming with paid programming and Sunday services from national televangelists, all of it scheduled by WSVN as the station has refused carriage of Fox's Weekend Marketplace infomercial package, which is not broadcast in the South Florida market. Despite this, the purchasing of low-tier programs allows much more latitude for breaking news preemptions than the traditional talk show-heavy daytime lineup of most Fox stations.
Even though other stations usually take more of the higher-tier programming in the market, the station has far higher viewership than WSFL and WBFS and often has higher ratings than the other stations in the market, depending on the strength of Fox's schedule or sports rights from year to year. WSVN currently shows most of Fox's entertainment and sports programs in pattern, with a few exceptions; it airs the Saturday night Animation Domination High-Def block on a half-hour delay (at 11:30 p.m.) due to its 11:00 p.m. newscast, and delays Fox News Sunday to early Monday mornings (just before WSVN's weekday morning newscast) in favor of a 3½-hour block of religious programs.
WSVN presently broadcasts 68 hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 10½ hours on weekdays, six hours on Saturdays and three hours on Sundays); in regards to the number of hours devoted to news programming, it is the highest local newscast output of any local television station in Florida and the highest total in the United States. Unlike other news-intensive Fox stations, WSVN carries newscasts at 5, 6 and 6:30 p.m. on both Saturdays and Sundays (others either air early evening newscasts on weekends at different times on Saturdays and Sundays [i.e., Saturdays at 6 and Sundays at 5 p.m.], air them either at only 5 or 6 p.m. on both nights or do not carry newscasts in that particular weekend time period at all); however, WSVN's weekend 5 and 6 p.m. newscasts are subject to preemption and/or delay due to network sports telecasts running into the timeslot. In addition, the station produces the entertainment news/lifestyle program Deco Drive (which airs at 7:30 p.m. weeknights, its timeslot lending itself to its original title when the program started in 1994). The station's weather radar is called "Storm Tracker 7".
When the station gained the Fox affiliation, it retained a news schedule similar to the one it had as an NBC affiliate; in its early years with the Fox network, local news programming on the station ran on weekdays from 6 to 9 a.m., 12 to 1 p.m., 5 to 7 p.m., and 10 to 11 p.m. The station became the second Fox affiliate to have a weekday morning newscast as a result and was the first with weeknight 5 and 6 p.m. newscasts. Under news director Joel Cheatwood, WSVN became well known in South Florida, and throughout the nation, for its emphasis on crime stories and sensationalistic reporting – summarized in the phrase, "if it bleeds, it leads." Although this embrace of tabloid television was criticized, it rejuvenated a station that had languished in third place for most of its tenure with NBC.
Within a few years, WSVN was the market's highest-rated English-language station from sign-on to sign-off, a rank it would hold for the better part of two decades until it was overtaken for the title by WFOR, though WSVN has been a solid runner-up and has tied with WPLG. WSVN's success also influenced how newscasts on other Fox affiliates would look in later years to come. It was also the first station to take a cue from CNN, integrating their newsroom and studio into one large area, which they have termed the "newsplex" (a similar version is used at Boston sister WHDH). It evolved out of their initial two sets around the time of the network switch in the late 1980s: one used for its morning newscast, which was a small, enclosed area in the newsroom, and their main set, which was positioned in their control room. Other stations and networks, both in the U.S. and internationally, have taken cues from WSVN's set.
The station's 11 p.m. newscast became an hour-long 10 p.m. program after joining Fox, but was revived in 1995 as a 15-minute wrap-up of the proceedings in O.J. Simpson murder case; the 11 p.m. newscast expanded to weekend evenings on September 26, 2009. The station debuted a half-hour 4 p.m. newscast on September 11, 2006, which later expanded to one hour in 2007. On January 11, 2009, starting with its 5 p.m. newscast, WSVN became the second station in Miami (behind WTVJ) to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition. With the switch to HD, came an updated newsplex set that premiered on December 29, 2008 and new HD graphics. On July 11, 2010, WSVN expanded its Saturday and Sunday 6 p.m. newscasts to one hour with the addition of half-hour newscasts at 6:30 p.m. On August 22, 2011, WSVN added a fifth hour to the weekday edition of Today in Florida from 9-10 a.m., by way of the move of Live! with Regis and Kelly to WPLG.
- WCKT-TV News (1956–1962)
- The World Today / The World Tonight (1962–1973; later used by WTVJ)
- TV-7 News (1973–1975, presented on air simply as News)
- Channel 7 News (1975–1980 and 1988–1993; presented on-air as 7 News)
- NewsCenter 7 (1980–1988)
- Today in Florida (morning newscast, 1988–present; WTVJ previously used the similar title, Today in South Florida for its morning newscast until 2011, based on WSVN's former and WTVJ's current morning lead-in, Today)
- 7 News (1993–present)
- Blake Burman - weekends at 5:00, 6:00, 6:30, 10:00 and 11:00 p.m.; also weeknight reporter
- Christine Cruz - weekday mornings on Today in Florida (5:00-10:00 a.m.) and weekdays at noon; also morning reporter
- Diana Diaz - weekday mornings on Today in Florida (5:00-10:00 a.m.) and weekdays at noon; also morning and health reporter
- Jeff Lennox - Saturday mornings on Today in Florida (7:00-10:00 a.m.); also reporter and fill-in anchor
- Lynn Martinez - weekdays at 4:00 and 4:30, and weeknights at 5:30 and 6:30 p.m.; also fill-in anchor and weeknight 10:00 and 11:00 p.m. reporter
- Mike Marza - weekdays at 4:00 and 4:30, and weeknights at 5:30 and 6:30 p.m.; also fill-in anchor and weeknight 10:00 and 11:00 p.m. reporter
- Belkys Nerey - weeknights at 5:00, 6:00, 10:00 and 11:00 p.m.; also fill-in anchor
- Alexis Rivera - weekday mornings on Today in Florida (5:00-10:00 a.m.); also morning reporter
- Robbin Simmons - weekends at 5:00, 6:00, 6:30, 10:00 and 11:00 p.m.; also weeknight reporter
- Craig Stevens - weeknights at 5:00, 6:00, 10:00 and 11:00 p.m.; also fill-in anchor
- 7 Weather
- Phil Ferro (AMS and NWA Seals of Approval) - chief meteorologist; weekdays at 4:00 and 4:30 and weeknights at 5:00, 5:30, 6:00, 6:30, 10:00 and 11:00 p.m.; also Saturday morning and weekend fill-in
- Brent Cameron (member, NWA) - meteorologist; weekends at 5:00, 6:00, 6:30, 10:00 and 11:00 p.m.; also weeknight fill-in
- Vivian Gonzalez (AMS Seal of Approval; member, NWA) - meteorologist; weekday mornings on Today in Florida (5:00-10:00 a.m.) and weekdays at noon
- Karlene Chavis - meteorologist; Saturday mornings on Today in Florida (7:00-10:00 a.m.)
- 7 Sports (entire team is seen on Sunday Sports Xtra)
- Steve Shapiro - sports director; weeknights at 6:00, 6:30, 10:00 and 11:00 p.m.
- Mike DiPasquale - sports anchor; weekends at 5:00, 6:00, 6:30, 10:00 and 11:00 p.m.; also sports reporter and fill-in
- Donovan Campbell - sports reporter; also fill-in
- 7 FastTrak Traffic
- Stephen J. Grey - traffic reporter; weekday mornings on Today in Florida (5:00-10:00 a.m.); also "7 Skyforce HD" photographer
- Lauren Lane - traffic reporter; weekday mornings on Today in Florida (5:00-10:00 a.m.)
- Rio Grant - traffic reporter; weekdays at 4:00 and 4:30 p.m.
- Brandon Beyer - general assignment reporter
- Carmel Cafiero - investigative reporter (Carmel on the Case)
- Alex Diprato - general assignment reporter
- Howard Finkelstein - legal analyst (Help Me Howard)
- Patrick Fraser - investigative and political reporter (Help Me Howard and Out for Justice)
- Sheldon Fox - general assignment reporter; also fill-in anchor
- Derek Hayward - general assignment reporter
- Alexa Helms - general assignment reporter; also fill-in anchor
- Adrianna Hopkins - general assignment reporter; also fill-in anchor
- Nicole Linsalata - general assignment reporter; also fill-in anchor
- Rosh Lowe - general assignment reporter
- Vanessa Medina - general assignment reporter
- Liz Nagy - general assignment reporter; also fill-in anchor
- Kevin Ozebek - general assignment reporter; also fill-in anchor
- Eugene Ramirez - general assignment reporter
- Ralph Rayburn - "7 Skyforce HD" photographer
Local program hosts
Deco Drive (weeknights at 7:30 p.m.)
- Louis Aguirre - co-host; also entertainment reporter
- Lynn Martinez - co-host
- Shireen Sandoval - Deco Drive and entertainment reporter; also fill-in
- Jessica Aguirre (now at KNTV/San Jose, California)
- Brian Andrews - weekend anchor/reporter (now at WFOR-TV)
- Charles Billi weeknight anchor (now evening anchor at WTSP-TV/Tampa, Florida)
- Ann Bishop - script writer (moved to WPLG/Miami and became a legendary anchor, died November 14, 1997)
- Penny Daniels (retired)
- Donna Hanover (ex-wife of former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani)
- Robb Hanrahan (now at WHP-TV/Harrisburg, Pennsylvania)
- Jackie Johnson (now at KCBS-TV/Los Angeles)
- Bill Kamal - former WSVN chief meteorologist who was jailed in 2004 for soliciting sex with a minor.
- Clennon King - reporter (later at WTLV-TV/Jacksonville, Florida, a freelance field producer at NBC News and ABC News)
- Alycia Lane (later at KYW-TV/Philadelphia, now morning anchor with KNBC-TV/Los Angeles)
- Rick Leventhal (now at Fox News Channel)
- Elita Loresca (now at KNBC/Los Angeles)
- Robin Meade (now at HLN)
- Marilyn Mitzel – anchor/reporter (1988-2005)
- Charles Perez (later at WABC-TV/New York City, then at WPLG/Miami; retired)
- Jillian Warry (Reynolds) (later at KTTV/Los Angeles)
- Shaun Robinson (now weekend anchor/correspondent for syndicated entertainment newsmagazine Access Hollywood)
- Ducis Rodgers - sports anchor (left for WCBS-TV/New York City, later at ESPNews and ESPN, now with WPVI-TV/Philadelphia)
- Rick Sanchez (later at MSNBC and then CNN and now Fox News Latino; was fired from CNN in 2010 for anti-Semitic remarks)
- Shepard Smith (now at Fox News Channel)
- Linda Stouffer (now at HLN; went by Cinnamon Stouffer during her stint at WSVN)
- Michelle Tuzee (now anchor at KABC-TV/Los Angeles)
- Lee Webb - sports anchor (1976-1980), now news anchor for The 700 Club)
- WSVN's newscasts were featured in at least two movies, The Mean Season (1985) and Flight of the Navigator (1986). WSVN can also be seen in several episodes of Miami Vice before the NBC affiliation switched to WTVJ.
- Channel 7 Fights Sale Of Rival TV Station's Owner, Wants Channel 4 Deal Stopped, Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, March 11, 1987.
- "WSVN owner contests NBC purchase of WTVJ Miami." Broadcasting, March 16, 1987, pp. 43-44. 
- CBS Snubs WTVJ, Network Affiliation Flap Is Setting Precedents, Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, June 19, 1988.
- WSVN Owner Files Suit Against Networks, Firm, Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, May 7, 1988.
- Emphasis On News A Bold Move For Ch. 7, Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, September 13, 1988.
- Sunbeam Television Shuts Out DIRECTV NFL Fans In Miami In Attempt To Extract 300 Percent Pay Increase
- RabbitEars TV Query for WSVN
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24.
- Eggerton, John (2009-06-29). "Boise Station Gets Power Boost". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved 2009-07-01.
- Jicha, Tom (29 March 1991). "News Show To Get WSVN's Familiar Tabloid Touch". Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
- 2006 May Sweeps: Miami/Fort Lauderdale..
- "WSVN-TV Announces More News at the News Station". WSVN.com. September 23, 2009. Retrieved September 23, 2009.
- Bandell, Brian (September 4, 2006). "More news is good news for WSVN Channel 7".
- WSVN Adding More Weekend News, TVNewsCheck.com, June 21, 2010. Accessed October 19, 2010.
- WSVN Miami Expands Morning News Block, TVNewsCheck, August 9, 2011.
- WSVN NBC Miami 1986 Weekend News Open
- WSVN News Open 2001 - Today In Florida
- WSVN-TV News Team
- "Robb Hanrahan bio". WHP-TV. Retrieved 10 March 2013.
- "Marilyn Mitzel Resume". Retrieved 12 March 2013.
- Perez, Charles (27 May 2004). "What Would You Do: Fear Of Bullies". WSVN. Retrieved 10 March 2013.
- "About Rick Sanchez". Retrieved 13 March 2013.
- "Michelle Tuzee biography". KABC-TV. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
- WSVN.com - Official website
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WSVN
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WKIZ-LP