WTVJ

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WTVJ
WTVJ 2009 Logo.png
MiamiFort Lauderdale, Florida
United States
City of license Miami, Florida
Branding NBC 6 South Florida (general)
NBC 6 South Florida News (newscasts)
Slogan NBC 6 (or Team 6) is everywhere
Channels Digital: 31 (VHF)
Virtual: 6 (PSIP)
Subchannels 6.1 NBC
6.2 Cozi TV
Translators W44AC 44 Key West
Affiliations NBC (O&O)
Owner NBCUniversal
(NBC Telemundo License, LLC)
First air date March 21, 1949; 65 years ago (1949-03-21)
Call letters' meaning none; assumed backronym for TeleVision Journalism
Sister station(s) WSCV
Former channel number(s) Analog:
4 (VHF, 1949–1995)
6 (VHF, 1995–2009)
Former affiliations CBS (1949–1989)
ABC (secondary, 1949–1957)
DuMont (secondary, 1949–1956)
Transmitter power 1000 kW
Height 311 m (1,020 ft)
Facility ID 63154
Transmitter coordinates 25°58′7″N 80°13′20″W / 25.96861°N 80.22222°W / 25.96861; -80.22222
Licensing authority FCC
Public license information: Profile
CDBS
Website www.nbcmiami.com

WTVJ, channel 6, is the NBC owned-and-operated television station in Miami, Florida, United States. The station is owned by the NBC Owned Television Stations subsidiary of NBCUniversal, in a duopoly with Telemundo owned-and-operated station WSCV (channel 51). The two stations share studio and office facilities in Miramar, Florida, and WTVJ's transmitter is located near Sun Life Stadium in north Miami-Dade County.

History[edit]

Florida's first television station[edit]

Archived WTVJ news tape as seen from the Florida Moving Image Archive. The logo shown was adopted shortly before the switch to NBC in 1989.

WTVJ went on the air at noon on March 21, 1949. It was Florida's first television station and the 16th in the country. Originally broadcasting on VHF channel 4, WTVJ was owned by Wometco Enterprises, a national movie theater chain headquartered in Miami. The original studios were located in the former Capitol Theater in Downtown Miami, which was Wometco's first theater when the company was founded in 1926. The station carried programming from all four major networks of that era (ABC, NBC, CBS, and DuMont), but was a primary CBS affiliate. During the late 1950s, the station was also briefly affiliated with the NTA Film Network.[1]

WTVJ was the only commercial station in Miami until December 24, 1954, when WFTL-TV (channel 23) signed on from Fort Lauderdale as an NBC affiliate. However, WFTL had no success whatsoever against WTVJ, in part because television sets were not required to have UHF tuning until 1964. NBC continued to allow WTVJ to cherry-pick NBC programming until WCKT (channel 7, now WSVN) signed on in 1956 and WFTL went dark (the frequency which was used by WFTL-TV is now occupied by WLTV). Channel 4 continued to share ABC with WCKT until 1957 when WPST-TV (channel 10, now WPLG) signed on. It also doubled as the CBS affiliate for West Palm Beach until WTVX (channel 34, now a CW affiliate) signed on in 1966.[citation needed]

WTVJ served as the producing station for CBS's Jackie Gleason Show after the comedian moved the program from New York City to Miami Beach in 1964.[citation needed]

Acquisition by KKR[edit]

Wometco founder and president Mitchell Wolfson died in 1983 and a long-rumored secret plan to run the company after his death was never found. Remaining Wolfson heirs had no desire to keep the company in the family, and it quickly unraveled, making it a ripe takeover target. Investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. took over Wometco in 1984 in a $1 billion deal, the largest corporate buyout ever to that date. KKR sold most of Wometco's entertainment assets to Wometco chief operating officer Arthur Hertz in 1985. With the cash from this sale, KKR then purchased the Storer Broadcasting group of stations, shortly after the FCC raised the television station ownership limit from seven stations (with no more than five on VHF) to twelve. KKR's intent was to sell the properties within a few years for a higher price.[citation needed]

In 1986, KKR opted to put WTVJ and the Storer stations on the market. The firm had plans to sell channel 4 for a record price of close to half a billion dollars (as part of a $1.85 billion group deal with six of the Storer stations), although the station was actually worth far less. CBS saw a chance to get an owned-and-operated station in the fast-growing Miami market. However, it lost a bidding war to television syndication firm Telepictures (now part of Warner Bros. Television).[2] CBS then suggested that it intended to purchase WCIX (channel 6), Miami's Fox affiliate owned by Taft Broadcasting. Such a deal would have made WTVJ the area's Fox affiliate. Although CBS only made a half-hearted bid for WCIX, Telepictures realized that the value of its purchase would be significantly depreciated with the loss of CBS. Also, while it was a major force in television syndication in its own right, Telepictures did not anticipate having to buy an additional 15 hours per day of programming (Fox had just debuted and would not air a full week's worth of programming for seven years). It walked away from the group deal in May 1986,[3] and sold off its only other television station, WPGH-TV in Pittsburgh, to Renaissance Broadcasting.[citation needed]

WTVJ's newsroom.

Acquisition by NBC[edit]

Over the next few months, the only offers for WTVJ came from companies that owned large groups of independent stations, such as Tribune Broadcasting, Pappas Telecasting Companies and Chris-Craft Industries/United Television. These and other companies wanted to make WTVJ an independent station, or a Fox affiliate, for a price far lower than KKR's asking price. The only way that KKR could make such a large profit was to sell WTVJ to another network, as the only potential buyers who had no interest in keeping CBS while paying the asking price were ABC and NBC. A major network had never bought a VHF station affiliated with another network.[citation needed]

CBS did not believe that KKR would sell WTVJ to another network, so it returned with a very low offer. KKR turned the CBS offer down almost out of hand and then approached the other networks. ABC was not interested, since it was more than satisfied with its longtime affiliate, WPLG. However, NBC was very interested because its longtime affiliate, WSVN, heavily preempted the network's daytime lineup—including the network's noon programs in favor of local news, as well as an occasional prime time show. NBC was far less tolerant of preemptions than CBS and ABC at the time, and was particularly annoyed at losing valuable advertising in such a fast-growing market. This had not been a problem at first since most programs preempted by WSVN aired on West Palm Beach's WPTV. WPTV provided at least grade B coverage of nearly the entire Miami-Ft. Lauderdale market, and had been available on cable in the area for decades. In the few cases where WPTV and WSVN both turned down an NBC show, the network usually aired its programming on alternate stations in the area. However, by 1985, WPTV had disappeared from most Miami cable systems to make way for new cable channels, resulting in some NBC programs preempted by WSVN being unavailable to some viewers. NBC realized that buying its own station with less restrictive ownership laws would guarantee that all of its shows would air. Hence, it made an offer almost as high as Telepictures did a few months before, and in 1987, KKR agreed to sell WTVJ to NBC.[4]

NBC assumed control of WTVJ in mid-September 1987. However, both WTVJ's and WSVN's existing affiliation contracts lasted until December 31, 1988. As a result, NBC faced the prospect of having to run WTVJ as a CBS affiliate for over a year. This did not sit well with either NBC or CBS, and both approached WSVN's parent Sunbeam Television about ending the station's NBC affiliation early. However, Sunbeam balked; its owner, Edmund Ansin, did not want to lose NBC's strong lineup of sports programming that year, including the Major League Baseball World Series and the Summer Olympics. Sunbeam also made an unsuccessful play to take the CBS affiliation. NBC did strip nearly all CBS branding from channel 4, and began airing nearly all NBC programs that were preempted by channel 7. In turn, this resulted in some CBS shows being preempted on WTVJ, with those shows airing on WCIX. CBS then formally approached channel 6, despite the fact that it would have provided a much weaker signal to Fort Lauderdale than that provided by WTVJ or WSVN. WCIX's transmitter was located near Homestead, 20 miles southwest of downtown Miami, giving Fort Lauderdale only a weaker, "Grade B" signal. Accordingly, CBS persuaded West Palm Beach's longtime ABC affiliate, WPEC, to change its affiliation to CBS to ensure full coverage in Fort Lauderdale and northern Broward County. In the spring of 1988, CBS announced that it was purchasing WCIX from the TVX Broadcast Group, who had purchased the station from Taft in 1987.[citation needed]

The changeover occurred on January 1, 1989, when WTVJ ended its 40-year affiliation with CBS and became the third station in Miami to carry NBC. CBS moved the rest of its programming over to WCIX, while WSVN became the new Fox affiliate for South Florida, and most of WCIX's syndicated programs such as most cartoons and sitcoms – with exceptions such as I Love Lucy, Family Ties, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and a few others – went to WDZL (channel 39, now WSFL-TV). In a bit of irony, WTVJ also continued preempting NBC's noon offering in favor of its own local newscast. That time would be given back to affiliates in 1991.[citation needed] Shortly after the switch, the station began using an image campaign based on the Bobby McFerrin song Don't Worry, Be Happy, that lasted until 1993.[5]

WTVJ's former set.

Changing channels[edit]

Main article: 1994 United States broadcast TV realignment

In 1994, Westinghouse and its broadcasting division Group W signed a long-term deal with CBS, in which three Westinghouse-owned stations would become CBS affiliates, joining two other stations owned by the company that were already affiliated with that network. Westinghouse and CBS would merge later that year, making all the Group W stations CBS O&Os. One of the stations was Philadelphia's longtime NBC affiliate, KYW-TV. CBS decided to sell off its longtime owned-and-operated station in that same market, WCAU-TV. This led to a 1995 deal between CBS and NBC, where CBS sold the channel 6 transmitter and license to NBC as compensation for the loss of KYW-TV and Westinghouse's other NBC affiliate, WBZ-TV in Boston. In return, CBS received the stronger channel 4 facility and cash as compensation for the loss of WCAU (Denver's KCNC-TV and Salt Lake City's KUTV were both purchased by, and ended up switching to CBS as a result of this deal). In April 1995, WTVJ dropped all references to its then-channel 4 position outside of news programming in preparation for the channel swap (newscasts continued to be titled Channel 4 News until the move to channel 6), instead branding as "WTVJ NBC", using a logo featuring only the NBC peacock logo with the callsign underneath rendered in Univers typeface.

On September 10, 1995, WTVJ and WCIX swapped dial positions. WTVJ's entire intellectual unit (calls, shows, NBC network, and staff) moved from channel 4 to channel 6, while the WCIX intellectual unit moved to channel 4 as WFOR-TV. However, both stations' studios remained the same. Due to the way the transfer was structured, the two stations were required to swap licenses in addition to the transmitting facilities. As a result, the FCC considers WTVJ to be legally the same station as the old WCIX. This move led to WPTV picking up NBC market share in Broward County from WTVJ, as WTVJ moved its transmitter from its longtime home on the Broward-Dade line to WCIX's old transmitter in Homestead. WPTV's signal in Fort Lauderale is actually closer to city-grade than WTVJ's (though still Grade B).

In April 1998, WTVJ sold the former Capitol Theatre, its longtime studios in downtown Miami to the General Services Administration for $11.6 million, which planned to build a courthouse on the space. Three months later, it was announced that the station purchased land located off the intersection of Interstate 75 and Miramar Parkway in the Broward County community of Miramar, with plans to build the present-day 64,000 square foot studio facility housing the station, which opened in 2000.[6]

Failed sale to Post-Newsweek[edit]

On March 19, 2008, NBCUniversal announced that it was putting WTVJ up for sale for an estimated asking price of $350 million. On July 18, Post-Newsweek Stations entered into an agreement to buy the station for $205 million;[7] the purchase would have created a duopoly between WTVJ and Post-Newsweek's existing ABC affiliate in the market, WPLG. FCC duopoly rules require that one of the two stations involved must not be among the market's four highest-rated stations in terms of audience share. Ordinarily, this would preclude a duopoly between two "Big Three" stations; however during the May 2008 Nielsen ratings period, WTVJ ranked sixth overall in total-day viewership and WPLG ranked in first place, allowing the possibility of a purchase. Incidentally, this would have resulted in a rare instance in which the senior partner in one duopoly became the junior partner in another, as NBC owned both WTVJ and WSCV.

Had the sale gone through, WTVJ would have consolidated its operations with WPLG at that station's Hallandale Beach Boulevard studios in Pembroke Park.[8] Post-Newsweek would have also acquired all of WTVJ's new high definition production equipment that was installed in its Miramar sudios (including WSCV). Despite a formal petition having been filed with the FCC against the proposed sale, the sale was cleared by the Federal Trade Commission on October 6.[citation needed] The sale of WTVJ was canceled on December 23, 2008, citing poor economic conditions and the lack of FCC approval.[9]

On March 21, 2009, WTVJ celebrated its 60th anniversary and aired a half-hour special called WTVJ: The First 60 Years, which highlighted the station's history since its March 21, 1949 sign-on.[1]

Digital television[edit]

Digital channels[edit]

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming
6.1 1080i 16:9 WTVJ-DT Main WTVJ programming / NBC
6.2 480i Cozi TV Cozi TV

The station offered NBC Weather Plus on its second digital subchannel from 2004 to 2008, when the network began winding down operations and became an automated local weather channel known as NBC Plus. On February 25, 2009, WTVJ became the last NBC O&O station to carry Universal Sports, doing so on its digital subchannel 6.3; it was removed on January 1, 2012, when Universal Sports transitioned into a cable and satellite-only network. In early 2011, WTVJ's 4.2 digital subchannel switched its programming from NBC Plus to a 24-hour news and lifestyle network carried only on NBC's O&Os called NBC Nonstop (under the branding "NBC Miami Nonstop");[10] the subchannel also carried a weeknight 9 p.m. newscast, which was eventually cancelled.[11] NBC Nonstop relaunched as Cozi TV on December 20, 2012.

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

WTVJ terminated its analog signal, on VHF channel 6, at noon on June 12, 2009, and began transmitting the "Analog Nightlight" educational video produced by the National Association of Broadcasters. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 31.[12] Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display WTVJ's virtual channel as its former analog channel 6. After the digital transition, the station moved its main transmitter from WCIX's old site in Homestead to the Broward-Dade line, bringing WTVJ's signal on par with the other Miami television stations for the first time in 14 years.

On June 26 WTVJ ended its "Analog Nightlight" service. After the programming loop completed, the station ran a pre-recorded video of news anchor Bob Mayer introducing a black-and-white film clip of Ralph Renick uttering his closing phrase, "Good night... and may the good news be yours." The playing of the NBC chimes was heard just as engineers shut down the analog channel 6 transmitter for the final time.[13]

Repeaters[edit]

In addition to its main signals, WTVJ is also carried on repeater W44AC (channel 44) in Key West, which is owned by Miranda Broadcasting Company of Key West, LLC.[citation needed]

WTVJ was previously seen on two other translators, W58BU (channel 58) in Hallandale (from a transmitter in Pembroke Park) and W52BB (channel 52) in Big Pine Key. Prior to the switch to digital broadcasts for full-power stations, W58BU (originally W61AA until late 1992) was necessary because of WTVJ's former analog transmitter location in Redland, which is 20 miles (32 km) southwest of downtown Miami. This location is farther south than other Miami television stations. As a result, Fort Lauderdale and the rest of Broward County received a grade-B signal from the analog tower. WTVJ shut off the analog transmitter for the last time on June 26, 2009, though W58BU remained on the air for nearly two years afterward; however, with WTVJ's digital transmitter now located in the same area as other major Miami television stations, the need for W58BU was diminished, and by April 5, 2011 the translator was closed down and NBC surrendered its license,[14] with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) formally deleting it on June 2. W52BB remains in operation as a separate station, WGZT-LP channel 27 in Key West.[citation needed]

News operation[edit]

WTVJ's current weeknight 5:00 and 5:30 news open.

WTVJ presently broadcasts 31 hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with five hours on weekdays and three hours on weekends). During weather segments, WTVJ uses two weather radar systems, "TITAN" and "VIPIR". The VIPIR Radar is branded on-air as "Live First Alert Doppler."

Soon after WTVJ signed on, it hired Ralph Renick, who had just graduated from the University of Miami, as its first anchorman and news director. Renick would be the face of WTVJ for nearly 36 years best known for his catchphrase at the end of every newscast, "Good night, and may the good news be yours". At the same time, the station also hired Bernie Rosen and Bob Weaver. One of the nation's first ever television news meteorologists, Weaver reported weather for the station for more than five decades. Rosen, who went on to run the station's award-winning sports department for more than three decades, is the only remaining original employee still working at the station, and is currently in his 64th consecutive year at WTVJ. On February 6, 2008, Rosen was presented with the prestigious Golden Circle Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. The Academy honored Rosen for his more than 50 years of service to the South Florida television community. While many of South Florida's veteran television personalities have received the Silver Circle Award for marking 25 years in the business, the Golden Circle Award has been given only once before in South Florida, in 2004 when it went to Bob Weaver, also a lifelong WTVJ employee.

In 1992, when Hurricane Andrew struck South Florida, WTVJ was the only station to give complete coverage of the story non-stop with meteorologist Bryan Norcross. WTVJ won local Emmys for its coverage of Hurricane Andrew. Most of WTVJ's archival footage from 1949 through 2004 (as well as other Florida television stations) is stored at the Lynn and Louis Wolfson II Florida Moving Image Archives in downtown Miami. In 1997, WTVJ and the Sun-Sentinel began co-producing a nightly 10 p.m. newscast on then-WB affiliate WDZL (now CW affiliate WSFL-TV). The program was broadcast from a secondary set at WTVJ's studios. The final WTVJ-produced newscast on channel 39 aired on August 31, 2008, as that station's owner Tribune Broadcasting did not renew the partnership as a result of the then-pending sale of WTVJ to Post-Newsweek Stations, a newspaper publishing competitor to Tribune.

On September 10, 2007, WTVJ launched the market's first weeknight 7 p.m. newscast, a format that NBC extended to several of its other owned-and-operated stations including WNBC and KNSD. At the same time, WTVJ dropped its 5 p.m. newscast, opting to show The Ellen DeGeneres Show instead (this lasted until May 2011, when they reinstated the 5 p.m. newscast, canceling the 7 p.m. program). On March 5, 2008, WTVJ became the first television station in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale market and the fourth station in South Florida to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition. On October 1, 2011, WTVJ debuted weekend morning newscasts, airing from 6-7 and 9-10 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays after having to cancel them in years past due to the NBCU 2.0 budget cuts.[15]

On May 14, 2012, WTVJ debuted airing a half-hour midday newscast at 11:00 a.m., along with the launch of a new entertainment and lifestyle program that follows the newscast called NBC 6 in the Mix, the program is similar to sister station WSCV's Acceso Total, which airs in the same time slot as 6 in the Mix; both programs replaced a local talk/lifestyle program called Live Miami at 11 a.m. On July 18, 2012, WTVJ debuted a brand new set designed by Clickspring Design, and the new "Look F" graphics package designed by NBC ArtWorks that is used by the other NBC-owned stations. Additionally, WTVJ dropped most references to Miami in its branding, renaming itself "NBC 6 South Florida".[16]

On-air staff[edit]

Current on-air staff[17][edit]

Anchors
  • Pam Giganti - weekday mornings (4:30-7:00) and weekdays at 11:00 a.m.
  • Adam Kuperstein - weeknights at 5:00, 6:00 and 11:00 p.m.; also reporter
  • Keith Jones - weekends at 6:00 and 11:00 p.m.; also reporter
  • Sharon Lawson - (6:00-7:00 on Saturday mornings, 7:00-8:00 on Sunday mornings and weekend mornings 9:00-10:00 a.m.); also reporter
  • Jackie Nespral - weeknights at 5:00, 5:30, 6:00 and 11:00 p.m.
  • Trina Robinson - weeknights at 5:30 p.m.; also reporter, fill-in anchor and consumer investigative reporter ("Team 6 Investigates")
  • Jawan Strader - weekday mornings (4:30-7:00) and weekdays at 11:00 a.m.; also reporter
NBC 6 First Alert Weather
  • John Morales (AMS CBM and Consulting Meteorologist and NWA Seals of Approval) - chief meteorologist; weeknights at 5:00, 5:30, 6:00 and 11:00 p.m.
  • Adam Berg - meteorologist; weekends at 6:00 and 11:00 p.m.
  • Ryan Phillips (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist and NWA Seals of Approval) - meteorologist; weekday mornings (4:30-7:00) and weekdays at 11:00 a.m.
  • Erika Delgado - meteorologist; (6:00-7:00 on Saturday mornings, 7:00-8:00 on Sunday mornings and weekend mornings 9:00-10:00 a.m.)
  • Erik Salna (AMS Seal of Approval) - meteorologist; fill-in
Xfinity SportsDesk
  • Joe Rose - sports director; weeknights at 5:00, 5:30, 6:00 and 11:00 p.m.
  • Courtney Fallon - sports anchor; weekends at 6:00 and 11:00 p.m.
Reporters
  • Gilma Avalos - general assignment reporter
  • Julia Bagg - general assignment reporter
  • Kelly Blanco - weekday morning traffic reporter (4:30-7:00 a.m.)
  • Justin Finch - general assignment reporter
  • Christina Hernandez - weeknight reporter at 5:00, 5:30, 6:00 and 11:00 p.m.
  • Steve Litz - political reporter
  • Ari Odzer - general assignment reporter
  • Hank Tester - weeknight 5:00, 5:30 and 6:00 p.m. reporter
Team 6 Investigators

Local program hosts[edit]

  • 6 in the Mix (weekday mornings at 11:30 a.m.)
    • Roxanne Vargas - host

Notable former on-air staff[edit]

Former WTVJ anchor Ralph Renick (1985).

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Require Prime Evening Time for NTA Films". Boxoffice: 13. November 10, 1956. 
  2. ^ Lorimar Buying WTVJ, 6 Other Stations, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, May 22, 1986.
  3. ^ Channel 4 Purchase Called Off, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, October 23, 1986.
  4. ^ NBC To Buy Miami's Channel 4, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, January 17, 1987.
  5. ^ Does Worry, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, September 28, 1993.
  6. ^ WTVJ Moving Headquarters To Miramar, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, July 31, 1998.
  7. ^ TVNEWSDAY - NBC Nets $205 Million for WTVJ Miami
  8. ^ Washington Post Company Announces Plans To Buy WTVJ - Local News Story - WTVJ | Miami
  9. ^ "Sale Of WTVJ To The Washington Post Company Terminated". NBC6.net. December 23, 2008. Retrieved December 24, 2008. 
  10. ^ Munzenrieder, Kyle (October 22, 2010). "NBC 6 To Launch 24/7 Local News Channel". Miami New Times. Retrieved 22 July 2012. 
  11. ^ NBC Miami: Nonstop News at 9p
  12. ^ List of Digital Full-Power Stations
  13. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=llkCCPxQfzs
  14. ^ Tobey, Margaret L. (April 5, 2011). "Re: W58BU Hallandale, Florida (FIN 63151)…". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved June 7, 2011. 
  15. ^ NBC Miami Adds 4 Hours of Weekend News, TVNewsCheck, September 29, 2011.
  16. ^ "NBC South Florida debuts new set, graphics, brand". NewscastStudio. Retrieved 19 July 2012. 
  17. ^ About Us
  18. ^ "About Rick Sanchez". Retrieved 13 March 2013. 

External links[edit]