|Key West/Miami/Fort Lauderdale, Florida|
|City||Key West, Florida|
|Channels||Digital: 8 (VHF)|
Virtual: 8 (PSIP)
|Branding||Estrella TV Canal 8|
|Slogan||¡Estrella TV es tu canal...vivelo!|
(Estrella TV is your channel...live it!)
|Affiliations||8.1: Estrella TV (O&O)|
8.3: Shop LC
|Owner||Estrella Media |
(Estrella Television License LLC)
|Founded||May 3, 1991|
First air date
|May 26, 1996|
Former call signs
Former channel number(s)
8 (VHF, 1996–2009)
12 (VHF, until 2009)
|Spanish Independent (2006–2012, 2017–2018)|
Azteca América (2016–2017)
Call sign meaning
|HAAT||55.9 m (183 ft)|
Public license information
WGEN-TV, virtual and VHF digital channel 8, is an Estrella TV owned-and-operated television station licensed to Key West, Florida, United States. Owned by Estrella Media, it is a sister station to Miami-licensed low-power station WVFW-LD (channel 34). WGEN-TV's studios are located on Northwest 75th Street in Miami's Medley neighborhood, and its transmitter is located on Southard Street in Key West. WGEN's signal is relayed through a network of seven low-power translator stations throughout South Florida and the Florida Keys.
The station first signed on the air on May 26, 1996 as WWFD. During the 1990s, the station broadcast in Portuguese with programming aimed at the area's Brazilian population. Channel 8 subsequently changed its call letters to WWTU on February 8, 2000, then to WVIB on February 8, 2002 and finally to its current calls as WGEN-TV on July 1, 2004. Prior to December 2005, WGEN was, under the ownership of Sonia Broadcasting, co-owned with another Key West station, WDLP-TV (channel 22, now WSBS-TV).
In December 2005, WGEN came under the control of Colombian broadcaster Caracol Televisión, which holds a 25% ownership stake in Mapale LLC, the maximum allowed by Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations regarding foreign ownership of terrestrial stations. On September 18, 2006, Caracol relaunched the station under the "GenTV" brand and began serving as its primary program supplier; programming on WGEN included Colombian and Brazilian telenovelas, a Colombian-produced news program (Noticias Caracol), and a local version of Desafío 20.06, a reality show similar to Survivor.
On December 28, 2012 at 8 p.m. Eastern Time, MundoFox moved its Miami affiliation from WJAN-CD (channel 41) to WGEN-TV. While WGEN-TV is owned and operated by and airs programming from the Colombian television network Caracol Televisión, as a MundoFox affiliate, it shares an indirect connection with another Colombian television network as the network was initially half-owned by the competing RCN Televisión; in June 2015, RCN Televisión acquired Fox's stake on MundoFox and decided to rebrand the network as MundoMax on August 13 of that same year. RCN content came from the network feed of MundoMax, while Caracol programming is distributed directly to WGEN-TV through Mapale LLC. WGEN-TV formerly aired national newscasts from MundoFox through Noticias MundoFox, which used the resources of NTN24, RCN’s sister network and international Spanish-language news channel (MundoFox ended its national newscasts in July 2015, after RCN purchasing the network); WGEN-TV also aired Caracol's national newscast Noticias Caracol. On December 1, 2016, WGEN-TV became an affiliate of Azteca América. In November 2017, Azteca América returned to its previous affiliate in the market, WPMF-CD (channel 38); WGEN-TV then returned to the "GenTV" branding and an independent lineup reliant on Caracol programming.
On January 5, 2018, Radio & Television Business Report reported that Mapale LLC was in the process of filing an application to sell WGEN-TV to Liberman Broadcasting (which was renamed Estrella Media in February 2020, following a corporate reorganization of the company under private equity firm HPS Investment Partners, LLC); following the sale, the station would become an owned-and-operated station of Estrella TV, restoring a full-market outlet for the network after its previous affiliate, the second digital subchannel of WSVN (channel 7), switched to Light TV on July 14, 2017. Liberman confirmed the purchase on January 8, 2018, and announced that the station would join Estrella TV on March 1 under a 'soft launch' period. The sale was completed on March 16, 2018, officially becoming "Estrella TV Canal 8".
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect ratio||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|8.1||720p||16:9||WGEN-HD||Main WGEN-TV programming / Estrella TV|
WGEN-TV ended programming on its analog signal, on VHF channel 8, on June 12, 2009, the official date in which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition VHF channel 12 to channel 8.
As of December 2012, locally produced and outsourced programs broadcast by WGEN-TV include ALAIN, Una Mano Amiga, El Show con Tony Benítez and Club 10. Among the notable programs broadcast by WGEN-TV include: Desafío 20.06, ¿Quién manda a quién? (a remake of Who's The Boss, produced by Caracol Television and Sony Pictures Entertainment), La boca loca de Paul (hosted by Paul Bouche), La ex and María Elvira. Caracol Televisión-produced and locally-produced programming were removed from the schedule upon Liberman taking control of the station in March 2018, and currently outside of local paid programming, the Estrella TV schedule runs in full.
WGEN-TV previously broadcast five hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with one hour on weekdays), under the branding of Noticias 8 with the cooperation of its partial Caracol ownership. In 2012, WGEN began broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition. WGEN moved its half-hour weeknight 5 p.m. newscast to 6 p.m. on December 1, once it became an affiliate of Azteca America, rebranding as Hechos Miami 8 to reflect the network's news franchise, Hechos. WGEN was one of the few MundoMax affiliates (if not the only one) to keep its news department after that network shut down its news operation.
Liberman shut down the news operation upon taking control of the station due to its connection to Caracol being severed and considered an audit of WGEN's existing news staff for an eventual relaunch. The Liberman bankruptcy that was filed in November 2018 however likely put these plans on hold, and no further announcements have been made about the return of news to WGEN.
WGEN-TV's signal is relayed on seven translator stations in the Miami area and the Florida Keys. From north to south, these translators are:
|City of license||Callsign||Channel||Notes|
|Miami/Pompano Beach||WDLP-CD||21+||Now defunct; transmitted from the Carver Ranches tower|
|Miami||W24DE-D||24||Transmits from the Carver Ranches tower)|
|Miami||WGEN-LD||45||Transmits from downtown Miami|
|Marathon||W21CL-D||21||Transmits from northeastern Grassy Key; co-located with unrelated W42DM, W29CW, and permit for W18DU-D|
|Marathon||W63AL||63||Transmits from southwestern Vaca Key;|
permit modified in June 2010 to flash-cut to digital on UHF channel 35 by October 2010
|Marathon||W08ED-D||8||Transmits from southwestern Vaca Key;|
permit extended again in July 2010 to construct by January 2011
W21CL-D was established before 1979 as W65AP, until forced to move out of the 700MHz band by the digital television transition. W17DG-D was also established before 1979, as was W63AL, which was briefly W23BG from late 1990 to early 1991. WDLP-CA began operations in 1992 as W21BD, which was deleted in June 1994 after its permit expired, and restored the following December. In April 2003, its license was upgraded to Class A status and its calls were changed to WGEN-CA; it was then changed to WDLP-CA the following month, and later to WDLP-CD on August 11, 2011.
W49CL and WGEN-LP in Miami are both now listed as having WSBS-TV in Key West as their parent station, indicating that they may be leased to that station. Both are still owned by WGEN-TV owner Mapale, which does not identify them on the GenTV website's station map. Their successor "digital companion channels" respectively are W24DE-D and WGEN-LD, which both rebroadcast WGEN-TV (unlike full-power stations, they are separate facilities, and as LPTV stations they are not required to simulcast the analog feed on digital).
W38AA in Marathon and W39AC in Key West are listed as having WSBS-TV as their primary station, although in the past the two stations had retransmitted Miami CBS owned-and-operated station WFOR-TV (channel 4). Their respective digital companion channels W08ED-D (under construction) and W12DI-D are shown as having WGEN-TV as the primary station, and 12.1 is shown on WGEN's map as an additional channel for Key West (though only analog channel 21 is shown for Marathon). Because Key West and even Marathon are well within the broadcast range of both WSBS and WGEN, it is unclear why this would be necessary (or in Key West, useful at all), given the total flatness of the terrain and water and the complete lack of other obstructions like tall buildings. The only advantage for WSBS is to continue to be seen on analog television.
All translator stations are owned by Mapale (from the Colombian music genre Mapalé) as they have always been. Digital stations (ending in -D, -LD, or -CD) may use virtual channel 8.1 as the main station does, or may use their physical (RF) channel numbers as their virtual channel. The -CA or -CD suffixes indicate Class A protection from other stations.
On April 13, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced that WDLP-CD was a successful bidder in the spectrum auction, and would be surrendering its license in exchange for $3,673,224. Mapale LLC surrendered WDLP-CD's license to the FCC for cancellation on June 5, 2017.
- Jacobson, Adam (January 5, 2018). "Exclusive: 'Estrella TV' ready for a big Miami return". Radio & Television Business Report. Retrieved January 7, 2018.
- Hoag, Christina (2005-12-20). "Caracol buys stake in WGEN-TV". The Miami Herald. Backchannelmedia. Archived from the original (Republished) on 2006-10-04. Retrieved 2006-10-09.
- Hoag, Christina (2006-08-25). "Caracol revamps South Florida station". The Miami Herald. Archived from the original on 2006-09-21. Retrieved 2006-10-09.
- Lafayette, Jon (December 28, 2012). "MundoFox upgrades affiliation in Miami market with WGEN". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved December 29, 2012.
- Palacios, Luis E. (December 30, 2012). "MundoFOX cambia de casa en el sur de la Florida". El Nuevo Herald (in Spanish). Archived from the original on January 22, 2013. Retrieved December 30, 2012.
- Miller, Mark K. (January 8, 2018). "LBI Media buying WGEN in Miami". TVNewsCheck. Retrieved January 8, 2018.
- "$11 million WGEN Key West sale closes". TVNewsCheck. March 16, 2018. Retrieved March 16, 2018.
- RabbitEars TV Query for WGEN
- "DTV tentative channel designations for the first and the second rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24.
- "WGEN officially launches Estrella TV programming". MediaMoves. 16 February 2018. Retrieved 17 March 2018.
- FCC broadcast television spectrum incentive auction — Auction 1001 winning bids
- Official website
- WGEN in the FCC's TV station database
- W16CA in the FCC's TV station database
- W48DE in the FCC's TV station database
- W39AC in the FCC's TV station database
- W38AA in the FCC's TV station database
- W63AL in the FCC's TV station database
- W21CL-D in the FCC's TV station database
- W49CL in the FCC's TV station database
- WDLP in the FCC's TV station database
- W17DG-D in the FCC's TV station database
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WGEN-TV