||This article needs additional citations for verification. (September 2008)|
|St. Petersburg / Tampa, Florida|
|Slogan||Tampa Bay's News Leader|
|Channels||Digital: 10 (VHF)
Virtual: 10 (PSIP)
10.2 10 Weather Now
|Translators||4 (VHF) St. Petersburg|
(Pacific and Southern Company, Inc.)
|Founded||July 18, 1965|
|Call letters' meaning||Tampa/St. Petersburg|
|Former callsigns||WLCY-TV (1965-1978)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
10 (VHF, 1965-2009)
Digital: 24 (UHF)
|Former affiliations||independent (1965)
|Transmitter power||69 kW|
|Public license information:||Profile
The station is owned by the Gannett Company with studios in St. Petersburg (its city of license). WTSP is one of two full-powered stations with studios located in St. Petersburg, instead of Tampa, along with nearby WTOG. It is also one of three full-powered stations based in Pinellas County, counting WCLF.
The station began broadcasting on July 18, 1965, as WLCY-TV after a lengthy court battle that lasted nearly ten years between five prospective owners seeking the license, including the St. Petersburg Times. It was owned by Rahall Communications along with WLCY radio (AM 1380, now WWMI; and FM 94.9, now WWRM). Until 1981 it was licensed to Largo, north of St. Petersburg, but its studios have always been in St. Petersburg. The station's first studios were at 2426 Central Avenue. Its current studios on Gandy Boulevard, originally known as the "Rahall Color Communications Center," were dedicated on October 15, 1968. Studio broadcasts were fully in color by 1966 but field reports remained in black and white until 1972.
The station was affiliated with ABC, but spent the first month-and-a-half as an independent station, as previous ABC affiliate WSUN-TV (channel 38; the frequency is now occupied by WTTA) went to court to keep the affiliation. The city of St. Petersburg, owners of WSUN-TV, had been one of the applicants for the channel 10 license, having jumped in out of fear of losing its ABC affiliation. WLCY ultimately won, and formally switched to ABC in a special ceremony on September 1, 1965. As a condition for being placed on VHF channel 10 instead of a UHF placement, the station was required to produce 20 hours of public service programming a week by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
The station aired other local children's programs as Submarine 10, Romper Room with June Hurley, 10 Ultimate and This Side Up, and local talk shows such as Russ Byrd's Morning Show, The John Eastman Show, The Liz Richards Show and Murphy in the Morning. From 1966-67, the station produced 10 á Go Go, a teenage dance show hosted by Roy Nilson, a disc jockey on WLCY-AM. Another early local program was a morning exercise show, The Fran Carlton Show. The most popular Channel 10 program in that era was the syndicated The Lawrence Welk Show. In the mid-1970s, the station aired Bowling for Dollars with host Jim Bradley.
In 1971, WXLT (now WWSB, channel 40) signed on from Sarasota to provide ABC network programming since WLCY's signal could not come in well in most of Sarasota County. WLCY's transmitter was in Holiday, Florida (and would remain there until 2011). Tampa Bay residents had to have a special VHF antenna that faced away from Riverview in order to view WLCY. This setup was called the "Tampa Bay Special". Ratings for the station during the early to mid-1970s were dismal, however, compared to longtime Bay Area stations WTVT and WFLA-TV and, as a result, the station nearly lost its ABC affiliation. Part of the problem was its transmitter location in the southwestern corner of Pasco County (all other stations broadcasted from Riverview, in Hillsborough County). It also operated at a lower power than the Tampa stations.
In 1977, WLCY-TV was purchased by Gulf United Broadcasting of Dallas, Texas. New owner Alan Henry (of WINS New York fame), General Manager Larry Clamage, and news director George "Bud" Faulder began to turn the station around, changing the call letters to WTSP-TV on September 12, 1978, hiring several new on-air staff who changed the face of the station.
WTSP is also a station of firsts: in October 1979, the station acquired "Sky 10," Tampa Bay's first television news helicopter. This stunned the local news community and showed that Channel 10 was serious about local news coverage. It was the only local news helicopter to broadcast the aftermath of the infamous Skyway Bridge disaster on live television in May 1980. Another technological advance was Tampa Bay's first satellite news truck (1984) called "Star 10" that beamed signals from far away locations to WTSP's Gandy Blvd. studios. WTSP also acquired Tampa Bay's first Doppler weather radar called "StormSeeker" in 1980 and was one of the first television stations in the country to use a computer in weather forecasting called "WeatherEye" (1979) and was the first station in the market with a 7-day forecast (1992). The station pioneered the use of satellite technology among local television stations in the United States, deploying its own satellite dish in 1979.
In 1979, the station launched an aggressive marketing campaign. By 1982, WTSP had passed WFLA (channel 8) in the evening news ratings and did so until the later part of the decade. WTSP has won many prestigious awards, including the George Foster Peabody award in 1983. Taft Broadcasting purchased the station along with four other Gulf properties in 1985. Then, in 1988, Taft sold its independent stations and Fox affiliates to TVX, and sold most of its network affiliates, including WTSP, to Great American Broadcasting (which became known as Citicasters by 1995).
In 1994, Scripps Howard arranged for several of its stations (including WFTS-TV (channel 28), which was about to lose its Fox affiliation to then-CBS affiliate WTVT (channel 13) due to a corporate deal between New World Communications, WTVT's owner at the time, and Fox) to affiliate with ABC. As a result, WTSP lost its ABC affiliation, and gained the CBS affiliation from WTVT. CBS's programming moved to WTSP on December 12, 1994, in a three-way affiliation switch that caused much viewer confusion. The change to CBS occurred on December 12, 1994, and resulted in the station moving from third to second place in the local news ratings although a later resurgent WTVT and competition from newly started WFTS would make second place a toss-up for the rest of the 1990s. WFLA was the market leader, until dipping to second after the premiere of the 10 p.m. The Jay Leno Show.
Citicasters (which held on to WTSP and WKRC-TV in Cincinnati, Ohio after it sold its other television stations to New World and Fox Television Stations) merged with Jacor in September 1996. Three months later, in December 1996, Gannett acquired WTSP in a swap deal, selling six of its radio stations — WDAE and WUSA-FM (now WMTX) in Tampa, KIIS AM (now KTLK) and KIIS-FM in Los Angeles, and KSDO AM and KSDO-FM (now KLQV) in San Diego — to Jacor in return.
In the spring of 1999, WTSP debuted "Double Doppler" and it remains the only station in Florida to own two radar sites. On January 14, 2008, WTSP became the third station in the Tampa Bay area to broadcast its local newscasts in high definition, behind rivals WFTS-TV and WFLA-TV. Along with the new HD format came a brand-new news set, graphics, and music package. The new HD set was designed by broadcast powerhouse Jack Morton Design/PDG and fabricated by HD specialists blackwalnut, llc. The set was lit by Mick Smith of Ferri Lighting Design Associates.
Digital Television 
|10.1||WTSP-HD||Main WTSP programming / CBS|
|10.2||WTSP SD||10 Weather Now|
Tampa-area cable provider Bright House Networks is the main sponsor of WTSP's digital programming.
Analog-to-digital conversion 
WTSP shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 10, on June 12, 2009, as part of the DTV transition in the United States. The station had been broadcasting its pre-transition digital signal over UHF channel 24, but returned to channel 10 for its post-transition operations. Its previous digital frequency, channel 24, is now occupied by WWSB.
On February 6, 2010 Channel 10 doubled its broadcast power from 35 kW to 78 kW to help with reception issues that plagued the station's VHF digital signal. At the time the station's transmitter tower was still segregated farther north in Holiday due to bygone analog spacing requirements. However, even after the increase in power the reception problems persisted for area viewers which aim their antennas toward the majority of transmitters for the Tampa market located 35 miles south in Riverview.
On January 7, 2011, WTSP filed an application with the FCC to move its transmitter from Holiday toward the south to Riverview, finally joining other Tampa stations; however, while WTSP remains short-spaced with WPLG, it will give more spacing for its Jacksonville sister station WJXX; both WPLG and WJXX also operate their post-conversion signals on channel 10. The FCC granted WTSP a construction permit on January 26. The move was completed on October 1, 2011.
Northern portions of the viewing area lost the station's signal after the move to Riverview; in response to this, the station received a construction permit for a digital fill-in translator on channel 4. While the fill-in is licensed to St. Petersburg, the translator will primarily serve northern Citrus County, from a transmitter located near the town of Hernando.
News operation 
Channel 10's on-air staff during its early years included Dick Crippen, who originally presented weather and then sports; Marshall Cleaver, Al Stockmeyer, Art Johnson, who provided news; and Karol Kelly (weather). Cleaver was the original news anchor for much of the 1960s and early 1970s, when the program was called NewsNight. Crippen also hosted a children's show, Space Station 10. In 1975, former WFLA-TV anchor Arch Deal became the news director and co-anchor with Marshall Cleaver for Eyewitness News. Cleaver was removed in 1977, and Deal continued to anchor until Action NewsCenter, a format similar to Indianapolis station WTHR's newscasts at the time, debuted with former WTVT anchors Rod Challenger and Gary Rebstock along with Rick Moore. WLCY broadcast the first 5:30 newscast in the Tampa Bay area during the late 1970s up until September 15, 1980, when the newscast was moved to 6 p.m. Beginning in 1979, Don Harrison (previously from KMSP-TV in Minneapolis-St. Paul), Wally Kinnan and Dick Crippen were the new anchors of the Channel 10 evening newscasts. Ratings surged, making the Tampa Bay market more competitive. In June 1979, Channel 10 acquired the original sunset logo (which was later duplicated by its sister station KTSP in Phoenix, Arizona) along with the "Action News" format. In April 1979, the station built a taller transmission tower, improving the station's broadcasting capabilities.
In late 1982, news anchor Don Harrison left WTSP to become an anchor at upstart cable channel CNN2, now HLN. John Wilson and Liz Ayers replaced Harrison as anchor. On January 9, 1983, Sheryl Browne, from WKYC-TV in Cleveland, Ohio joined Wilson at the anchor desk on "Action News," rounding out the station's main anchor team. Longtime WTSP chief meteorologist Dick Fletcher joined the station in March 1980 and became famous for his forecasting during Hurricane Elena in 1985. Award-winning reporter Mike Deeson, legendary sports anchor Ken Broo and feature reporter Bill Campbell, famous for his "Campbell's Corner" spots, bolstered the station in the 1980s. WTSP was the second television station in the Bay Area to launch an hour long 6 p.m. newscast in 1986. Rival WTVT had been the first to do so many years earlier and WTSP attempted it in an effort to pass WTVT to the top of the local news ratings. The effort only lasted until 1987, however.
On June 4, 1989, "Action News" became "NewsCenter 10" and a 5 p.m. newscast was launched. In January 1998, Reginald Roundtree replaced Pat Minarcin as the lead male anchor of "10 News". Minarcin later sued the station for age discrimination. On October 14, 2002, the station launched a new news format and image. A new, state-of-the-art digital newsroom was also constructed for WTSP's news staff. In September 2008, Chris Suchan replaced morning meteorologist Anna Allen, who had been at the station since 2004. Soon after, Tammie Souza was named chief meteorologist, taking long-time chief meteorologist Dick Fletcher's place after he died from a stroke in February. In 2005, the station debuted "Vortex", a powerful new forecasting tool.
On October 9, 2008, WTSP rebranded itself yet again, from "Tampa Bay's 10" to "10 Connects", with "10 Connects Network" used alternatively. Along with the new name came a new music and graphics package, which is also used by other Gannett stations. The station's "10 Connects" logo was similar to the previous one minus the wave, along with a small notch in the oval portion of the logo for the "Connects" text. This logo was nicknamed "Pacman" for its resemblance to the video game character. WTSP made big gains at 11 p.m. in the May 2009 sweeps, edging out WFLA for first place. In August 2010, veteran former WFLA-TV anchor Bill Ratliff joined the station as a political analyst.
In June 2009, WTSP joined in on a news service, a joint venture between Fox, Gannett, and E.W. Scripps broadcasting companies. This will allow stations from all three entities to combine news-gathering resources at general media events then distribute the video to participating stations within the market to use in their own reports. This means that some news-gathering resources of WTSP, WTVT (Fox 13), and WFTS (ABC Action News) will be combined. All other news operations at the three stations will remain unchanged.  As part of this new arrangement, WTSP officially grounded Sky 10 on August 1, 2009 . This will require WTVT, WFTS, and WTSP to utilize only one helicopter (Action Air One) to cover news events. .
On July 26, 2010, the station reverted their branding back to "10 News"; their previous logo was also resurrected. The about-face was due to the fact that WTSP was reverting to a more-traditional news formula, and the fact that the "10 Connects" moniker was not understood by many viewers.
In February 2011, talk show host Bubba the Love Sponge began a nightly editorial segment, Bring it on Bubba, for 10 News at 11. On September 12, 2011, WTSP added a mid-morning newscast. The half-hour program at 9 a.m. is an extension of the station's existing weekday morning newscast, using the anchors and meteorologist of 5-7 a.m. newscast.
In December 2012, WTSP became one of the first Gannett stations to implement a new standard graphics package designed by The Mill, and new music composed by Gari Communications. The new look was designed to be more cleaner than the previous look (which designers felt was too busy and cluttered), and uses a horizontal design influenced by the web and mobile app design. The new look also utilizes color-coded tabs to represent certain categories of news, using the same colors used by Gannett's newspaper USA Today.
On April 1, 2009, WTSP fired longtime anchor Marty Matthews due to budget cuts at Gannett. Matthews' termination was controversial because the station informed Matthews of her termination by leaving a manila envelope on her doorstep. The termination of Matthews' employment came after the controversial 2008 terminations of weekend anchor Jennifer Howe, weekend meteorologist Randy Rauch, and morning meteorologist Anna Allen.
Matthews was the anchor of WTSP's 4 p.m. newscasts and hosted the station's "Wednesday's Child" child adoption segment. The 4 p.m. newscast was later canceled, and Matthews' former co-anchor Dave Wirth became the station's lead sports anchor. Wirth had been a sports anchor for the station for 20 years, until moving to the news desk in 2004.
News/station presentation 
Newscast titles 
- NewsNight (1965–1970)
- Eyewitness News (1970–1977)
- Action NewsCenter (1977–1977)
- Action 10 News (1977–1979)
- Action News (1979–1989)
- NewsCenter 10 (1989–1992)
- 10 News (1992–2002 and 2010–present)
- Tampa Bay's 10 News (2002–2008)
- 10 Connects News (2008–2010)
Station slogans 
On-air staff 
- Charles Billi - weeknights at 5:00 p.m.; also reporter (since May 2012)
- Tammie Fields – Saturdays at 6:00, Sundays at 6:30 and weekends at 11:00 p.m.; (since 2009)
- Ginger Gadsden – weekday mornings (5:00-7:00 and 9:00-9:30 a.m.) and weekdays at noon (since 2006)
- Joe Gumm – weekday mornings (5:00-7:00 and 9:00-9:30 a.m.) and weekdays at noon (since October 15, 2012)
- Allison Kropff - Saturday mornings (6:00-8:00 a.m.)
- Reginald Roundtree – weeknights at 6:00 and 11:00 p.m. (since 1989)
- Heather Van Nest – weeknights at 5:00, 6:00 and 11:00 p.m. (since 2002)
10 Weather Authority
- Bobby Deskins (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval) – meteorologist; weekday mornings (5:00-7:00 and 9:00-9:30 a.m.) and weekdays at noon (since January 2009)
- Mark Collins (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval) – meteorologist; Saturday mornings (6:00-8:00 a.m.; since September 24, 2011)
- Kate Wentzel (NWA Seal of Approval) - meteorologist; Saturdays at 6:00, Sundays at 6:30 and weekends at 11:00 p.m. (since October 2011)
- Jim Van Fleet (NWA Seal of Approval) - Chief Meteorologist; weeknights at 5:00, 6:00 and 11:00 p.m. (since December 5, 2011)
- Dave Wirth – sports anchor; weeknights at 6:00 and 11:00 p.m., also fill-in news anchor (sports anchor from 1984–2004, 2009–present; news anchor from 2004–2009)
- Chris Fischer – sports anchor; Saturdays at 6:00, Sundays at 6:30 and weekends at 11:00 p.m., also sports reporter (since June 2012)
- Bobby Lewis – sports reporter and fill-in sports anchor (since Sept 2012)
- Holley Sinn - weekday mornings (5:00-7:00 and 9:00-9:30 a.m. - since 2013)
- Kathryn Bursch – general assignment reporter (since 1999)
- Mike Deeson – senior reporter (since 1982)
- Eric Glasser – general assignment reporter; also fill-in anchor (since 2010)
- Dave Heller - Tallahassee bureau reporter (since 2010)
- Laura Bryne – general assignment reporter (since 2009)
- Grayson Kamm – morning reporter (5:00-7:00 and 9:00-9:30 a.m. - since 2008)
- Isabel Mascareñas – education reporter (since 1995)
- Melanie Michael - general assignment reporter; also fill-in anchor (since 2008) (formerly known as Melanie Brooks)
- Althea Paul - general assignment reporter (since 2011)
- Ashley Porter - general assignment reporter (since 2011)
- Noah Pransky – general assignment reporter (since 2009)
- Preston Rudie – general assignment reporter (since 2002)
- Beau Zimmer – general assignment reporter (since 2005)
- Scott Farrell – commentary (2009–11)
- Bubba the Love Sponge - 11:00 p.m. commentary (2011–12)
Notable past on-air staff 
- Michelle Caruso-Cabrera – reporter (1994–1998; now at CNBC)
- Dick Crippen – sports director (1965–1981)
- Dick Fletcher – chief meteorologist (1980–2008; deceased)
- Linda Gialanella – meteorologist (1992–2001; moved to WFTS-TV, left in February 2009)
- Don Harrison – 6:00 and 11:00 p.m. anchor (1979–1982)
- Rob Jones – freelance meteorologist (2008–2009)
- Wally Kinnan – chief meteorologist (1978–1980)
- Miles O'Brien – reporter (1984-1986)
- Craig Sager - sports anchor/reporter (1977–1979)
- Tammie Souza - chief meteorologist - (2008–2011, now back at WFLD-TV in Chicago)
- Sue Zelenko - evening Anchor - (1991-2004)
- Randy Rauch - weekend meteorologist (2002-2008)
- Bill Logan - morning anchor (late '90s)
- John Wilson - 6:00 and 11:00 p.m. anchor (1981-1993), now at WTVT
- Rick Moore - news director/anchor (1977–78)
Notes and references 
- The Broadcasting and Cable Yearbook says July 17, while the Television and Cable Factbook says July 18.
- Station history page
- FCC document: "APPENDIX B: ALL FULL-POWER TELEVISION STATIONS BY DMA, INDICATING THOSE TERMINATING ANALOG SERVICE BEFORE ON OR FEBRUARY 17, 2009."
- CDBS Print
- Florida News Center "Goodbye PacMan"
- St. Petersburg Times: "Citing viewer confusion, local CBS affiliate changes name from 10 Connects to 10 News", July 29, 2010.
- WTSP: "Bubba the Love Sponge on 10 News tonight at 11", February 17, 2011.
- St. Petersburg's WTSP-Ch. 10 to debut 9 a.m. newscast on Monday, St. Petersburg Times, September 8, 2011.
- "Gannett Stations Clean Up Their Graphics". TVNewsCheck. Retrieved 16 January 2013.
- "Anchor Marty Matthews out at WTSP-Ch. 10". Tampabay.com. Retrieved 2009-04-01.
- WTSP-Ch. 10 confirms Dave Wirth will take over as station's lead sports anchor
- WTSP News team, WTSP.com, Accessed October 18, 2010
- Official website
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WTSP
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WTSP-TV
- mcsittel.com: 1990s DX screengrabs from Tallahassee -- includes a 1992 WTSP ABC schedule screengrab