|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|
WTTA, virtual channel 38 (UHF digital channel 32), is the MyNetworkTV-affiliated television station located in St. Petersburg, Florida, United States, that also serves the city of Tampa. The station is owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group, and is Sinclair's only market where it 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 has studios at Bald Cypress Place in Tampa, and its transmitter in Riverview. On cable, it can be seen on Bright House and Knology channel 6, Comcast channel 11 in Sarasota County, and Comcast channel 29 in Hardee County. Syndicated programming on the station includes Seinfeld, Community, Everybody Loves Raymond and The People's Court.
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 subchannel 38.2. On the afternoon of August 31, 2012, TheCoolTV was dropped from all 32 Sinclair stations that carried the channel, including WTTA, with no replacement.
Like most Sinclair-owned stations, WTTA shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 38, on February 17, 2009, as part of the federally mandated transition from analog to digital television. The station and competing CW owned-and-operated station WTOG moved back to their respective analog channels at the end of the 2009 digital transition because of the FCC auctioning UHF channels 52-69, effectively removing those channels from broadcasting use. Originally, the station's digital signal operated on UHF channel 57, before moving back to channel 38. In October 2009, the FCC approved the request by WTTA to relocate its digital signal to UHF channel 32 to avoid adjacent channel problems from WFTV in Orlando. On August 23, 2010, WTTA completed the channel move.
Prior history of channel 38 in Tampa Bay
The analog UHF channel 38 allotment 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, making WSUN an independent station until the station went dark in 1970.
WTTA station history
In 1986, a local group won a new license for analog 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 magazine. 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 who owned Sinclair Broadcasting making the station a subsidiary of Sinclair.
On June 21 of that year, WTTA began regular broadcasting as an independent station consisting mainly of syndicated shows passed over by 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 show called Q Morning Zoo until the radio station changed formats to country music in the early 1990s. In December 1994, Fox programming moved from WFTS-TV (channel 28) to WTVT as part of a group deal with its then-owners, New World Communications. Upon the changeover, that station did not pick up Fox Kids, which was passed over to WTTA. WTTA also picked up some of the shows bumped off WFTS 28 which had switched to ABC from Fox, giving WTTA a stronger schedule. Fox Kids later moved to rival WMOR-TV, which also aired the later 4KidsTV block on Sunday mornings until it was discontinued on December 28, 2008. 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.
In 1999, WTTA owner Bay Television entered into a local marketing agreement with the Sinclair Broadcast Group, 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 David Smith, J. Duncan Smith, Frederick Smith, Robert Smith, and Robert Simmons. The Smith brothers also control Sinclair making Bay Television a de facto subsidiary of Sinclair. It 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. One year earlier, in 1998, WTTA became Tampa Bay's second affiliate of The WB, after the network entered into a group deal with Sinclair to affiliate the company's independent stations and UPN affiliates with The WB. WMOR had been the network's charter affiliate and reverted to being an independent station. 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 the wake of the UPN/WB merger into the Time Warner/CBS joint venture The CW which was announced on January 24, 2006</ref>, CBS Corporation-owned UPN affiliate WTOG (Channel 44) was named as one of the network's charter affiliates, meaning WTTA would have to find new programming by September 2006. Sinclair then announced WTTA would be the market's affiliate for Fox's MyNetworkTV network which was marketed as a replacement service for non-CW stations, and the station became "My TV Tampa Bay" a week before the 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 affiliate WXPX-TV 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 gave it its approval on August 27. The sale was consummated on December 3, but its still pending a renewal of the station's license.
In September 2013, the station was rebranded "Great 38", but continues to carry the MyNetworkTV schedule. WTTA is the second Sinclair station with MyNetworkTV affiliation to remove mention of the network from their branding since Cincinnati's WSTR-TV began to bring back their "Star 64" branding in September 2009, and the first entirely not use the network's "blue TV" branding and imaging motif.
In August 2003, WTTA established a news department and began airing a weeknight primetime newscast at 10 p.m. in an attempt to compete with WTVT. Known as WB 38 News at 10, it was part of Sinclair's controversial centralized News Central operation based at the company's headquarters on Beaver Dam Road in Hunt Valley, Maryland. Although national news, weather forecasts and some sports originated from News Central, local news and sports operations were based at WTTA's Tampa studios. It also aired "The Point", a one-minute conservative political commentary, that was also controversial and a requirement of all Sinclair-owned stations with newscasts. Due to poor ratings, WTTA's news department was shut down on March 31, 2006, as were the majority of Sinclair's news operations under the News Central format. Syndicated programming replaced the newscasts.
On October 8, 2007, Sinclair and NBC affiliate WFLA-TV (flagship of owner Media General) 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 aired 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 news share and WFLA broadcasts ended on April 30, 2009.
- RabbitEars TV Query for WTTA
- radiodiscussions.com: "Sinclair drops theCoolTV from stations", August 31, 2012.
- FCC document: "APPENDIX B: ALL FULL-POWER TELEVISION STATIONS BY DMA, INDICATING THOSE TERMINATING ANALOG SERVICE BEFORE ON OR FEBRUARY 17, 2009."
- WB woos and wins Sinclair, Broadcasting & Cable, July 21, 1997. Retrieved June 8, 2013 from HighBeam Research.
- UPN and WB to Combine, Forming New TV Network, The New York Times, January 24, 2006.
- "Sinclair Broadcast to buy 7 TV outlets for $452.5M". MarketWatch. Retrieved 19 July 2012.