WTLV

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WTLV
WTLV NBC 12.png
Jacksonville, Florida
United States
Branding WTLV NBC 12 (general)
First Coast News (newscasts)
Slogan First For You (newscasts)
NBC 12, More Colorful (general)
Channels Digital: 13 (VHF)
Virtual: 12 (PSIP)
Subchannels 12.1 NBC
12.2 Soul of the South Network
Affiliations NBC
Owner Gannett Company
(Multimedia Holdings Corporation)
First air date September 1, 1957; 57 years ago (1957-09-01)
Call letters' meaning TeLeVision or TweLVe (former analog channel)
Sister station(s) WJXX
Former callsigns WFGA-TV (1957–1972)
Former channel number(s) Analog:
12 (VHF; 1957–2009)
Former affiliations Primary:
NBC (1957-1979)
ABC (1980–1988)
Secondary:
ABC (1957–1966)
DT2:
NBC Weather Plus (2006–2008)
Transmitter power 53.3 kW
Height 290.7 m
Facility ID 65046
Transmitter coordinates 30°16′24″N 81°33′13″W / 30.27333°N 81.55361°W / 30.27333; -81.55361
Licensing authority FCC
Public license information: Profile
CDBS
Website www.firstcoastnews.com

WTLV, virtual channel 12 (VHF digital channel 13), is an NBC-affiliated television station located in Jacksonville, Florida, United States. The station is owned by the Gannett Company, as part of a duopoly with ABC affiliate WJXX (channel 25). The two stations share studio facilities located on East Adams Street (near EverBank Field) in downtown Jacksonville; WTLV maintains transmitter facilities located on Eve Drive in the city's Kilarney Shores section.

History[edit]

The station first signed on the air on September 1, 1957 as WFGA-TV (which stood for "We're Florida and GeorgiA"). Founded by the Florida-Georgia Television Company, it was originally a primary NBC affiliate with a secondary affiliation with ABC. It was the first television station in the United States that was designed for color broadcasting, and many of the country's color commercials were filmed at the station. Two years later, WFGA donated tower space, money and transmitting facilities to the market's National Educational Television member station WJCT (channel 7, now a PBS member station). In 1958, WFGA was selected "Newsfilm Station of the Year" by the National Press Photographers Association.

On October 11, 1958, channel 12 became the first television station to air a live launch from Cape CanaveralThor-Able's successful launch of the Pioneer I lunar probe. The station also provided the remote facilities, and supplied video and audio for all three major networks (ABC, NBC and CBS). This earned WFGA-TV the exclusive spot for NBC's space coverage. WFGA lost the ABC affiliation to WJKS (channel 17, later WJWB and now CW affiliate WCWJ), when it signed on September 1966; as a result, channel 12 became an exclusive NBC affiliate. In 1972, the station changed its call letters to WTLV. Later that year, the station was purchased by Harte-Hanks Communications. On March 31, 1980, WTLV swapped affiliations with WJKS, joining ABC, which at the time was the most-watched of the then-three major U.S. broadcast television networks.[1]

In 1988, the Gannett Company bought WTLV from Harte-Hanks, in a two-station deal with Greensboro, North Carolina sister station WFMY-TV. On April 3 of that year, WTLV reversed the 1980 affiliation swap with WJKS, returning to NBC in what the network called one of its most successful affiliation switches ever. By this time, NBC had once again become the highest-rated broadcast network. WTLV became the de facto official station of the Jacksonville Jaguars when the NFL team began operations in 1995, by virtue of NBC holding the broadcast rights to the American Football Conference. It aired most Jaguars games until 1998, when the team's telecasts moved to WJXT (channel 4) after CBS acquired the broadcast rights to the AFC's regular season and playoff games (most Jaguars games are now televised on WJAX-TV (channel 47), which obtained the CBS affiliation in July 2002). WTLV also aired a weekly television show called Monday Night Live, which aired at 7:00 p.m. every Monday evening during the NFL football season, and was hosted by sports director Dan Hicken and John Jurkovic.

Duopoly with WJXX[edit]

After the Federal Communications Commission legalized television station duopolies on November 15, 1999, the Allbritton Communications Company announced the following day that it would sell ABC affiliate WJXX (channel 25) to Gannett, creating a duopoly with WTLV.[2] 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 highest-rated stations in a market based on total-day viewership. However, WJXX had ranked as the fifth highest-rated 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) and Fox affiliate WAWS (channel 30, now WFOX-TV), in addition to WJXT and WTLV.[2] Once the sale was finalized on March 17, 2000, Gannett's purchase of WJXX became the first instance where a single company owned two television stations that both had affiliations 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 WJAX {then WTEV-TV} – which is operated alongside Cox Media Group's WFOX – replaced WJXT as the market's CBS affiliate).

As part of the purchase, the company integrated WJXX's operations into WTLV's Adams Street facility and combined both stations' news personnel, creating a joint news operation known as First Coast News. The studios of the newly created duopoly were also renovated and a new graphics and music package ("Global Village" by Stephen Arnold Music)[3] was introduced for the newscasts. On October 29, 2007, as part of the introduction of a new graphics package for the First Coast News broadcasts, the station debuted a new non-italic staggered "12" logo for general branding purposes, replacing the bold-italic, retro "12" that had been in use since the 1980s.

Digital television[edit]

Digital channels[edit]

The station's digital channel is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[4]
12.1 1080i 16:9 WTLV-DT Main WTLV programming / NBC
12.2 480i 4:3 WTLV 2 Soul of the South Network

Digital subchannel 12.2 originally carried NBC Weather Plus until the network ceased operations in November 2008; branded as First Coast News Weather Plus, it subsequently became a locally originated weather channel as part of the NBC Plus automated weather service. In April 2009, WTLV moved First Coast News Weather Plus to WJXX on a newly created second digital subchannel of that station. WTLV then began carrying Universal Sports over digital subchannel 12.2, which was subsequently replaced with The Country Network (now ZUUS Country) in January 2012, after Universal Sports ended operations as a digital multicast network and transitioned to a digital cable and satellite network. In the fall of 2013, the subchannel became an affiliate of Soul of the South Network.

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

On June 12, 2009, WTLV terminated its analog signal, on VHF channel 12, as part of the federally mandated transition from analog to digital television.[5] The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition VHF channel 13.[6] Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display WTLV's virtual channel as 12.

As part of the SAFER Act,[7] WTLV kept its analog signal on the air until June 27 to inform viewers of the digital television transition through a loop of public service announcements from the National Association of Broadcasters.

Programming[edit]

WTLV broadcasts the entire NBC network schedule in pattern. Syndicated programs broadcast by WTLV include Extra, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!. The station also produces the talk and lifestyle program First Coast Living, which airs weekdays at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.

News operation[edit]

WTLV presently broadcasts 29 hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with five hours on weekdays, three hours on Saturdays and one hour on Sundays); in addition, the station produces the sports highlight program First Coast News Sports Final, which airs Sunday nights at 11:30 p.m. and is simulcast on WJXX. WJXX does not simulcast the 4:30 a.m. half-hour of the weekday edition and the Saturday morning edition of Good Morning Jacksonville and the weekday noon and weekend 6:00 p.m. newscasts, which air exclusively on WTLV; however, WJXX exclusively airs a half-hour weeknight 7:00 p.m. newscast, a half-hour Sunday edition of Good Morning Jacksonville and a half-hour 6:30 p.m. newscast on weekend evenings. In addition to their main studios, WTLV and WJXX operate a "Southern Bureau," which covers stories within St. Johns, Clay and Putnam Counties. WJXX and WTLV operate their own weather radar, which is located next to WJXX and WTLV's Kilarney Shores transmitter, and also utilizes radar data from the National Weather Service Forecast Office near Jacksonville International Airport.

After being acquired by Harte-Hanks in 1968, WTLV began producing the market's first hour-long evening newscast, branded as Action News; channel 12 began producing Jacksonville's first midday newscast at noon soon afterwards.[8] WTLV's Action News launched the city's first morning newscast, Good Morning Jacksonville, in the early 1980s.[8] Some of the first shows featured Pamela Rittenhouse and current First Coast News chief meteorologist Tim Deegan.

WTLV's newscasts, which were known as 12 News until the merger with WJXX in 1999, have always had tough competition with rival station WJXT in the ratings. As a CBS affiliate, WJXT had a strong lead in the number of households viewing its newscasts.[9] However, once WTLV and WJXX merged their news departments, the gap in viewership slowly closed to create tough competition in the Jacksonville market.[10][11][12] The gap fully closed after WJXT dropped its CBS affiliation in July 2002 due to a compensation and programming dispute with the network. In the May 2007 Nielsen ratings, WTLV and WJXX had a powerful lead, with their newscasts winning in every timeslot except at 5:00 p.m. (losing that half-hour to WJXT due to its powerful lead-in from The Oprah Winfrey Show). The 11:00 p.m. newscast had higher viewership than any other station in the market. However in the November 2007 Nielsen ratings, WTLV/WJXX's First Coast News newscasts lost the lead to WJXT in the 5:30 and 6:00 p.m. slots.

First Coast News' new high definition ready set, designed by FX Group.

The early part of 2006 marked a significant transition period for First Coast News. Primary co-anchor Alan Gionet, who had anchored the 5:00, 6:00 and 11:00 p.m. anchor for eight years, announced in October 2005 that he would be leaving the station the following year;[13][14] Gionet was later hired by CBS owned-and-operated station KCNC-TV in Denver (where he had previously served as an anchor and reporter) in November 2005, and left WTLV/WJXX in March 2006. The stations' general manager, Ken Tonning, said he received hundreds of applications for the position and had also considered hiring from within its on-air staff. Seven potential applicants were brought in and filmed with 5:00 and 6:00 p.m. anchor Jeannie Blaylock and 11:00 p.m. anchor Donna Hicken (later known as Donna Deegan after her marriage to chief meteorologist Tim Deegan in October 2007), with focus groups being brought in to critique each one. On March 28, 2006, the station announced the hiring of Shannon Ogden, anchor of New England Cable News's Good Morning Live, as Gionet's replacement.[15][16] During the period between Gionet's departure and Ogden's arrival, First Coast News reporter Kyle Meenan anchored with Blaylock and Hicken beginning on April 10, 2006.

During the May 2008 Nielsen ratings period, WTLV/WJXX lost the #1 slot to WJXT in most timeslots, while retaining its lead at 11:00 p.m. Overall, First Coast News remains at #2 in the market, behind WJXT but ahead of WAWS/WTEV's Action News operation. In mid-2008, WTLV/WJXX launched "First Coast News Weather Call," a subscription service which provides recorded messages informing viewers via telephone of National Weather Service weather alerts occurring in their area, based on county. On October 23, 2008, First Coast News began utilizing Gannett's standardized graphics and music package for its newscasts (the graphics were created by the Denver-based Gannett Graphics Group, which is based near the studios of sister station KUSA, and the music was composed by Rampage Music New York).[17]

In January 2009, First Coast News fired weekend meteorologist Dave Vanore, and rehired Michelle Jacobs to serve as meteorologist and traffic reporter for the weekday morning newscasts. The station also reassigned meteorologists Steve Smith (from the weekday morning newscast to the WJXX 7:00 p.m. newscast) and Mark Collins (who replaced Vanore on the weekend newscasts) to new positions. Subsequently in July 2009, the stations reassigned its anchor staff: Joy Purdy was moved from the WJXX 7:00 p.m. newscast to co-anchor Good Morning Jacksonville, replacing Patty Crosby, who became co-anchor of the 7:00 p.m. broadcast; 7:00 p.m. anchor Deanna Fene was also moved to the weekend evening newscasts to replace the departing Victor Blackwell.

On February 1, 2010, WTLV/WJXX became the third and last television news operation in the Jacksonville market to begin broadcasting their local newscasts in high definition, after WTEV/WAWS, which upgraded their newscasts to HD the day before. A modified version of the Gannett standardized graphics was introduced with the upgrade, along with the introduction of a new set designed by FX Group.

Notable current on-air staff[edit]

Notable former on-air staff[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Big Switch Is Upon Us, The Florida Times-Union, March 27, 1980.
  2. ^ a b Patton, Charlie (December 13, 1999). "Changing the channel". The Florida Times-Union. Retrieved May 20, 2011. 
  3. ^ "News Music Search Archive". SouthernMedia. Retrieved October 29, 2007. 
  4. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WTLV
  5. ^ List of Digital Full-Power Stations
  6. ^ CDBS Print
  7. ^ "UPDATED List of Participants in the Analog Nightlight Program" (PDF). Federal Communications Commission. June 12, 2009. Retrieved June 4, 2012. 
  8. ^ a b "GMJ: The City's First Morning Newscast". First Coast News. Retrieved October 29, 2007. 
  9. ^ Rausch, Paula (June 17, 1996). "Channel 4 beats 12 in May 1996 Nielsens". The Jacksonville Business Journal. Retrieved October 5, 2007. 
  10. ^ "Nielsen ratings show WTLV gain". The Jacksonville Business Journal. June 19, 1998. Retrieved October 5, 2007. 
  11. ^ "Verdict's still out on WJXT's move". The Florida Times-Union. Retrieved October 5, 2007. 
  12. ^ McManus, Sean (June 9, 2003). "TV news in transition". The Jacksonville Business Journal. Retrieved October 5, 2007. 
  13. ^ "Gionet's October Departure". Florida News Center. Retrieved June 15, 2008. 
  14. ^ "Gionet's October Departure". The Florida Times-Union. Retrieved June 15, 2008. 
  15. ^ "Ogden's April Arrival". Florida News Center. Retrieved June 15, 2008. 
  16. ^ "Ogden's April Arrival". The Florida Times-Union. Retrieved June 15, 2008. 
  17. ^ "Gannett Graphics to Revolve Around AXIS". TVNEWSDAY. Retrieved October 24, 2008. 

External links[edit]