|This article needs additional citations for verification. (April 2013)|
|St. Petersburg–Tampa, Florida
|City of license||St. Petersburg, Florida|
|Channels||Digital: 32 (UHF)
Virtual: 38 (PSIP)
|Owner||Sinclair Broadcast Group
(WTTA Licensee, LLC)
|First air date||June 21, 1991|
|Call letters' meaning||Television TampA|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
38 (UHF, 1991–2009)
57 (UHF, 1998–2009)
38 (UHF, 2009–2010)
The WB (1998–2006)
DT2: TheCoolTV (2010–2012)
|Transmitter power||1,000 kW|
|Public license information:||Profile
WTTA, virtual channel 38 (UHF digital channel 32), is a MyNetworkTV-affiliated television station serving Tampa, Florida, United States that is licensed to St. Petersburg. The station is owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group (as such, Tampa is the only market where Sinclair only has an interest in one netlet station – either MyNetworkTV or The CW – rather than a duopoly of two owned stations or another station in a joint marketing agreement). WTTA maintains studio facilities located on Bald Cypress Place in Tampa, and its transmitter in Riverview. On cable, it is available on Bright House Networks and Knology channel 6, and on Comcast on channel 11 in Sarasota County and channel 29 in Hardee County. Syndicated programming on the station includes Seinfeld, Community, Everybody Loves Raymond and The People's Court.
Prior history of channel 38 in Tampa Bay
The UHF channel 38 allotment in the Tampa-St. Petersburg market had previously been home to the area's first television station, WSUN-TV, which operated from 1953 to 1970. That station had served as the area's original ABC affiliate until WLCY (channel 10, now WTSP) signed on in 1965, effectively resulting in WSUN becoming an independent station until it went dark in 1970.
WTTA station history
In 1986, a local group won a new license to operate a station on UHF channel 38. WTTA was originally scheduled to sign on in the fall of 1990, with programming from the "Star Television Network", which offered a mix of older programming and infomercials under the "TV Heaven" brand. In September 1990, there was also an ad for "TV Heaven 38" in the Tampa/Sarasota edition of TV Guide. However, the station was not ready to broadcast yet since Star was in financial trouble and the network went dark on January 16, 1991. The construction permit was then sold to Bay TV, which was owned by the Smith family, including David Smith of Baltimore, the owners of Sinclair Broadcast Group making the station a subsidiary of that company.
On June 21 of that year, WTTA signed on the air as an independent station consisting mainly of syndicated programs passed over by the market's other stations, barter programming, network shows not cleared by WFLA-TV (channel 8), WTSP (channel 10) and WTVT (channel 13) and infomercials. Due to its low budget, weekend programming tended to consist entirely of infomercials. WTTA also presented a televised simulcast of the WRBQ (104.7 FM) weekday morning radio show, the Q Morning Zoo, until that station changed formats to country music in the early 1990s. On December 12, 1994, Fox programming moved from WFTS-TV (channel 28) to WTVT as part of a group deal with its then-owners, New World Communications. At the same time, the E. W. Scripps Company (owners of WFTS) cut an affiliation deal with ABC, which resulted in WFTS selling most of its syndicated shows to WTTA. Meanwhile, CBS would move from WTVT to WTSP. Upon the changeover, WTVT chose not to carry the network's children's program block, Fox Kids, which was picked up by WTTA instead. Channel 38 also picked up some syndicated programs that WFTS had no room for on its schedule due to ABC's network-heavy schedule, giving WTTA a stronger programming inventory. Fox Kids later moved to rival WMOR-TV (channel 32), which also carried the successor 4KidsTV block on Sunday mornings until it was discontinued by Fox on December 28, 2008.
One year earlier, in January 1998, WTTA became Tampa Bay's affiliate of The WB (replacing charter affiliate WMOR, which reverted to being an independent station), after the network entered into a group deal with Sinclair to affiliate the company's independent stations and UPN affiliates with The WB. The station began using the on-air brand "WB 38", and ran cartoons from Kids' WB during the week until January 2006, when the network discontinued its weekday kids block. In 1999, WTTA's operations were taken over by Sinclair after the company entered into a local marketing agreement with Bay Television, which over time had grown become one of the nation's largest television station owners. However, Bay Television was effectively a subsidiary of Sinclair; it was owned by Sinclair CEO David Smith, his brothers J. Duncan, Frederick and Robert Smith, and Robert Simmons. Bay Television could also be considered a shell corporation used for the purpose of circumventing Federal Communication Commission (FCC) ownership rules. Normally, this would apply to a duopoly that Sinclair operates, but the Tampa Bay market is one of the few markets where the company does not own or operate more than one television station.
On January 24, 2006, the Warner Bros. unit of Time Warner and CBS Corporation announced that the two companies would shut down The WB and UPN and combine the networks' respective programming to create a new "fifth" network called The CW. UPN station WTOG (channel 44) was named as one of the network's charter affiliates through an 11-station group deal with owner CBS Corporation. On February 22, 2006, News Corporation announced the launch of a new "sixth" network called MyNetworkTV, which would be operated by Fox Television Stations and its syndication division Twentieth Television. Sinclair then announced WTTA would be the market's MyNetworkTV affiliate; the station rebranded as "My TV Tampa Bay" the week before that network's September 5, 2006 debut.
On September 3, 2007, channel 38 began airing the controversial Live Prayer with Bill Keller. Keller had been bounced from station to station in the Tampa Bay area and landed on WTTA after a sudden departure from WTOG. The show moved to Ion Television owned-and-operated station WXPX-TV (channel 66) in November 2007, after WTTA imposed new restrictions regarding live programming.
On July 19, 2012, concurrently with Sinclair's announcement that it would purchase six television stations from Newport Television, Sinclair exercised its option to acquire WTTA outright. The FCC approved the sale on August 27, and it was consummated on December 3. In September 2013, WTTA rebranded as "Great 38", becoming the second Sinclair-owned or -operated MyNetworkTV affiliate to drop references to the programming from the station's on-air branding since Cincinnati's WSTR-TV restored its "Star 64" branding in September 2009, and the first entirely not use the network's "blue TV" branding and imaging motif.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|38.1||720p||16:9||WTTA-MY||Main WTTA programming / MyNetworkTV|
From 2010 to 2012, WTTA and several other Sinclair-owned stations carried TheCoolTV, seen locally on digital subchannel 38.2. On the afternoon of August 31, 2012, TheCoolTV was dropped from the 32 Sinclair stations that carried the network, including WTTA, with no replacement.
On February 2, 2009, Sinclair told cable and satellite television providers via e-mail that regardless of the exact mandatory switchover date to digital-only broadcasting for full-power stations (which Congress rescheduled for June 12 days later), the station would shut down its analog signal on the original transition date of February 17; with this as well as competing CW owned-and-operated station WTOG transitioning on the same date, WTTA was among the first stations in the market to convert to digital-only broadcast transmissions.
WTTA shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 38, on February 17, 2009. The station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 57, which was among the high band UHF channels (52-69) that were removed from broadcasting use as a result of the transition, to its former analog-era UHF channel 38. In October 2009, the FCC approved a request by WTTA to relocate its digital signal to UHF channel 32 to avoid adjacent channel problems from WFTV in Orlando. WTTA moved its digital signal to channel 32 on August 23, 2010 (the channel 38 allocation is now used for the digital signal of MundoFox affiliate WSPF-CD).
In August 2003, WTTA established a news department and began airing a late evening newscast at 10 p.m. weeknights in an attempt to compete with WTVT's longer-established primetime newscast. Known as WB 38 News at 10, it was part of Sinclair's controversial centralized News Central operation and featured a mix of local news and sports stories from staff at WTTA's facility, and national and international reports, weather forecasts and sports segments produced out of Sinclair's corporate headquarters on Beaver Dam Road in Hunt Valley, Maryland. It also aired "The Point", a controversial one-minute conservative political commentary feature, that was a requirement of all Sinclair-owned stations that aired newscasts (regardless of whether it carried the News Central format or not). Due to poor ratings, WTTA's news department was shut down on March 31, 2006, due to cutbacks in Sinclair's news operations companywide, which included the disbandment of its News Central division, with the newscast being replaced by syndicated programming.
Newscasts returned to the station on October 8, 2007, after Sinclair and NBC affiliate WFLA-TV (channel 8) entered into a news share agreement resulting in a weeknight prime time newscast produced by that station called NewsChannel 8 at 10 on My TV Tampa Bay. Original personnel included news anchors Peter Bernard and Katie Coronado with weather from meteorologists Mace Michaels or Leigh Spann. The broadcast was produced from WFLA's studios on South Parker Street in Downtown Tampa. This arrangement was similar to ones established at Sinclair stations in Raleigh, Buffalo, Flint, Charleston, and Las Vegas. The WFLA-produced newscast was cancelled and ended on April 30, 2009.
- WB woos and wins Sinclair, Broadcasting & Cable, July 21, 1997. Retrieved June 8, 2013 from HighBeam Research.
- '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.
- "News Corp. to launch new mini-network for UPN stations". USA Today. February 22, 2006. Retrieved January 21, 2013.
- News Corp. Unveils MyNetworkTV, Broadcasting & Cable, February 22, 2006.
- "Sinclair Broadcast to buy 7 TV outlets for $452.5M". MarketWatch. Retrieved 19 July 2012.
- RabbitEars TV Query for WTTA
- radiodiscussions.com: "Sinclair drops theCoolTV from stations", August 31, 2012.
- Hearn, Ted (February 2, 2009). "Sinclair Sticks To Feb. 17 Analog Cutoff". Digital Video Report. Retrieved February 24, 2009.
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24.
- FCC document: "APPENDIX B: ALL FULL-POWER TELEVISION STATIONS BY DMA, INDICATING THOSE TERMINATING ANALOG SERVICE BEFORE ON OR FEBRUARY 17, 2009."