|Fort Myers/Naples, Florida
WINK News (newscasts)
|Channels||Digital: 50 (UHF)
Virtual: 11 (PSIP)
11.2 Simulcast of 11.1
|Affiliations||CBS (secondary through 1974)|
|Owner||Fort Myers Broadcasting Company (McBride family)|
|First air date||March 23, 1954|
|Call letters' meaning||"WINK" (refers to
CBS eye for affiliation)
|Sister station(s)||WJUA, WINK-FM, WNPL, WTLQ-FM|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
11 (VHF, 1954–2009)
9 (VHF, 2008–2011)
|Former affiliations||All secondary:
|Transmitter power||1,000 kW|
|Public license information:||Profile
WINK-TV, virtual channel 11 (UHF digital channel 50), is a CBS-affiliated television station located in Fort Myers, Florida, United States. The station is locally owned by the Fort Myers Broadcasting Company, owned by the McBride family. WINK maintains studio facilities located on Palm Beach Boulevard (SR 80) in Fort Myers, and its transmitter is located north of Fort Myers Shores near the Lee and Charlotte County line in Tucker's Corner. The station is also available on Comcast channel 5 and in high definition on digital channel 433. It is the only television station in the market that does not identify itself on-air using its cable channel location, the station instead brands only by its call letters.
The station first signed on the air on March 23, 1954; it has been owned by Fort Myers Broadcasting Company since its sign-on and was initially co-owned alongside WINK radio (1240 AM, now WJUA at 1200 AM; and 96.9 FM). WINK-TV was the first television station in Southwest Florida and is currently the fifth-oldest surviving station in the state (behind Miami's WTVJ, Jacksonville's WJXT, Orlando's WKMG-TV and West Palm Beach's WPTV-TV). Due to Fort Myers being sandwiched between Miami to the east and Tampa Bay to the north, WINK-TV was fortunate to gain the only VHF license allocated to the area. As such, in addition to having a primary affiliation with CBS, it also originally carried programming from NBC, ABC and DuMont. At the time of its sign-on, Southwest Florida was underpopulated and people had to rely on television stations from Miami and Tampa. Stations from these markets were and continued to be obtainable with large outdoor antennas. WINK-TV was the only station in the market for 14 years and remained the only full-powered VHF station in the market for nearly two years after the analog to digital switch.
WINK lost the DuMont affiliation when that network folded in 1956 and it lost NBC programming when WBBH-TV (channel 20) signed on in December 1968; however, the station continued to share ABC programming with WBBH until WEVU-TV (channel 26, now WZVN-TV) signed on in August 1974. The station also ran PBS's Sesame Street each weekday morning at 9 a.m. until 1978 as the Fort Myers-Naples market did not have a PBS member station of its own until WSFP-TV (channel 31, now WGCU) signed on in August 1983.
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|11.1||1080i||16:9||WINK HD||Main WINK-TV programming / CBS|
|11.2||480i||4:3||WINK D2||Simulcast of 11.1 (Letterbox)|
WINK-TV discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over VHF channel 11, at noon on February 17, 2009, the original target date in which full-power television stations in the United States were to transition from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate (which was later pushed back to June 12, 2009). The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition VHF channel 9. The station's digital signal relocated to UHF channel 50 in mid-2011, because of issues with the station's reception while on channel 9, using PSIP to display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analog channel 11.
Syndicated programs broadcast on WINK-TV include Live! with Kelly and Michael, TMZ on TV, Castle, Inside Edition, and Rachael Ray. The station clears almost the entire CBS network schedule. In 2011, due to an hour-long newscast at noon during the week, it airs both of CBS's remaining soap operas out of pattern: The Bold and the Beautiful airs at 10:30 a.m. local time (normally airs at 1:30 p.m. in the Eastern Time Zone) and The Young and the Restless airs at 1 p.m., half an hour later than most CBS affiliates. As of 2014, the newscast at noon was reverted to half-hour and the CBS daytime programs are back on regular network schedule.
WINK-TV presently broadcasts 40 hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with seven hours on weekdays, two hours on Saturdays and three hours on Sundays). WINK-TV has led the ratings in Fort Myers for most of its history. This is due to a number of factors. Not only did it essentially have the market to itself for 14 years, but it was the area's only VHF station for most of the analog era (the only other such station being low-power WUVF-LP on channel 2, which signed on in the early 1990s). Until cable television came to the area in the 1970s, WINK-TV was the only station that put a clear signal to much of the area. Due to the duopoly of WBBH and WZVN, WINK-TV primarily competes with WBBH.
In addition to its main studios, WINK-TV operates two news bureaus: the Charlotte County Bureau is located in the Charlotte Sun newsroom in Charlotte Harbor while the Collier County Bureau is on 8th Street South in downtown Naples. The station's weather radar, called "SKY Tracker Doppler HD", is located next to its studios. The Boston Red Sox have held spring training in Fort Myers since 1993, and WINK-TV shares its coverage of the team with fellow CBS station WBZ-TV in Boston. It also cooperates with Fox affiliate WFLX in West Palm Beach on some occasions. WINK-TV's weekday 5:00 a.m. and weeknight 6:00 p.m. newscasts were simulcast on WINK radio (1200 AM, now WJUA) and WNPL (1460 AM); both stations formerly carried a news radio format that utilized WINK-TV's resources, as well as those of The News-Press and the Naples Daily News, for local news until both stations flipped to a Latin Hits music format on September 2, 2013.
On March 26, 2007, WINK-TV began producing a nightly half-hour 10 p.m. newscast for CW affiliate WXCW (channel 46). On October 20, 2007, WINK-TV became the first television station in Southwest Florida to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition. The station provided news video from the field in true high definition from the upgrade, as WINK upgraded its ENG vehicles, satellite truck, studio and field cameras and other equipment in order to broadcast news footage from the field in high definition, in addition to segments broadcast from the main studio. The newscasts on WXCW were included in the upgrade. Earlier that year on July 12, WZVN began broadcast its newscasts in 16:9 widescreen standard definition; WBBH followed soon after with its own launch of news in the format. On January 7, 2008, several programming changes were made on WINK-TV. It began airing The Early Show (which was replaced by CBS This Morning in January 2012) in its entirety after CBS began requiring all of its affiliates to air the full two-hour broadcast of the program. Originally, WINK-TV had preempted the first hour of that program due to the third hour of its weekday morning newscast, which was specifically titled as Hello Southwest Florida. The station moved that broadcast to WXCW and expanded it to two hours. In addition, WINK-TV launched a half-hour 7 p.m. newscast. To coincide with all of these changes, it began branding its newscasts as WINK News Now. On September 8, 2009, WZVN began airing a weeknight newscast at 7 p.m. to compete with WINK-TV's pre-primetime newscast. Both news departments of WZVN and WBBH contribute to this show. In the fall of 2010, WINK began airing a weekday 11 a.m. newscast on WXCW to compete with WBBH, which has since been cancelled.
On May 26, 2011, WINK-TV debuted an hour-long 4 p.m. newscast, one of many added on television stations around the United States on that date to replace The Oprah Winfrey Show, which ended its 25-year run the day before. On June 11, 2011 WINK-TV debuted a 90-minute morning newscast on Saturday and Sunday mornings (now running two hours on Saturdays and three hours on Sundays) WINK-TV also added a half-hour late morning newscast at 10 a.m. on September 6, 2011. On September 16, 2013, WINK-TV expanded its weekday morning newscast a half-hour early to 4:30 a.m. and expanded the extension of that program on WXCW by one hour to 7 to 10 a.m. As a result, the 10 a.m. newscast was discontinued.
Notable former on-air staff
- Hoda Kotb - Weekend Anchor and Reporter (1989-1991); now, host of the 4th hour of Today
- Trey Radel - morning anchor (former member of the U.S. House of Representatives 19th District)
- Kerry Sanders- Reporter; Now at NBC News
Out-of-market cable carriage
In the Tampa Bay market, WINK-TV is one of two Fort Myers stations carried by Comcast in Venice and Wauchula. It is the only Southwest Florida-based station carried on Comcast's Sebring system. This was originally due in part because Tampa Bay's CBS affiliate WTSP had a signal that could not be seen that well in Sarasota, Hardee and Highlands Counties (which are all part of the Tampa Bay market), at the time when that station's transmitter was in Holiday in the northern part of the Tampa Bay area (it had since relocated to Riverview in October 2011). In general, WINK-TV's aerial coverage area extends as far north as southern Polk County.
- RabbitEars TV Query for WINK
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24.
- In Fort Myers, WINK Replacing ‘Oprah’ with Newscast, Media Bistro, April 29, 2011.
- On the Heels of New Afternoon Newscast, WINK Prepares Weekend Expansion, Media Bistro, May 24, 2011.
- WINK Adds 10 a.m. Newscast to Daily Programming, "Media Bistro", August 22, 2011.
- More News on WINK... Florida NewsCenter, September 11, 2013.
- WINK's 6:30 p.m. newscast expands to weekends on WXCW. The Changing Newscasts Blog, January 28th, 2015.
- Knox, Merrill (7 November 2012). "Former WINK Anchor Trey Radel Elected to the U.S. House of Representatives". Mediabistro. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
- WINK-TV official website
- Broadcast Center | Fort Myers Broadcasting Co. | Sun Broadcasting, Inc.
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WINK-TV