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Wink 2007.png
Fort Myers/Naples, Florida
United States
BrandingWINK-TV (general)
WINK News (newscasts)
SloganSouthwest Florida's News Leader
ChannelsDigital: 50 (UHF)
(to move to 31 (UHF))
Virtual: 11 (PSIP)
Subchannels(see article)
OwnerFort Myers Broadcasting Company
First air dateMarch 23, 1954 (64 years ago) (1954-03-23)
Call letters' meaningFrom former sister radio station WINK-AM
Sister station(s)WXCW, WAXA, WINK-FM, WNPL, WTLQ-FM
Former channel number(s)Analog:
11 (VHF, 1954–2009)
9 (VHF, 2008–2011)
Former affiliationsDuMont (1954–1955)
NBC (1954–1968)
ABC (1954–1974)
all secondary
Transmitter power1,000 kW
700 kW (CP)
Height443 m (1,453 ft)
416 m (1,365 ft) (CP)
Facility ID22093
Transmitter coordinates26°48′1″N 81°45′48″W / 26.80028°N 81.76333°W / 26.80028; -81.76333
Licensing authorityFCC
Public license information:Profile

WINK-TV, virtual channel 11 (UHF digital channel 50), is a CBS-affiliated television station licensed to Fort Myers, Florida, United States and also serving Naples and Cape Coral. The station is owned by the McBride family and their Fort Myers Broadcasting Company, making it one of a handful of TV stations today to have locally-based ownership. Fort Myers Broadcasting also operates Naples-licensed CW affiliate WXCW (channel 46) under a shared services agreement with its owner Sun Broadcasting. The two stations share studios on Palm Beach Boulevard (SR 80) in northeast Fort Myers; WINK-TV's transmitter is located north of Fort Myers Shores. On cable, the station is carried on Comcast Xfinity channel 5 and in high definition on digital channel 433.


The station began broadcasting on March 23, 1954, owned by the family of taxicab magnate and Cleveland Browns founder Mickey McBride along with WINK radio (1240 AM, now WAXA at 1200 AM; and 96.9 FM). WINK-TV was the first television station in Southwest Florida and is the fifth-oldest surviving station in the state. Although the call letters appear to be an outgrowth of its CBS affiliation, in fact they were simply carried over from its radio sister, which adopted them in 1944—seven years before the CBS Eye made its first appearance.[1] It carried programming from the four major networks of its era: CBS, NBC, ABC and DuMont in the first two decades of its existence. However, it has always been a primary CBS affiliate.

Channel 11 lost DuMont when that network ended operations in 1956. In December 1968, WINK-TV finally gained a local competitor when WBBH-TV signed on and took the NBC affiliation. The two stations continued to share ABC until WEVU-TV (now WZVN-TV) signed on in 1974. However, viewers could watch the full ABC and NBC schedules via stations from MiamiFort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and TampaSt. Petersburg, which were and continue to be available with outdoor antennas.

WINK-TV was a major beneficiary of a quirk in the FCC's plan for allocating stations. In the early days of broadcast television, there were twelve VHF channels available and 69 UHF channels (later reduced to 55 in 1983). The VHF bands were more desirable because they carried longer distances. Since there were only twelve VHF channels available, there were limitations as to how closely the stations could be spaced.

After the FCC's Sixth Report and Order ended the license freeze and opened the UHF band in 1952, it devised a plan for allocating VHF licenses. Under this plan, almost all of the country would be able to receive two commercial VHF channels plus one noncommercial channel. Most of the rest of the country ("1/2") would be able to receive a third VHF channel. Other areas would be designated as "UHF islands" since they were too close to larger cities for VHF service. The "2" networks became CBS and NBC, "+1" represented non-commercial educational stations, and "1/2" became ABC (which was the weakest network then usually winding up with the UHF allocation where no VHF was available).

However, Fort Myers is sandwiched between Miami–Fort Lauderdale (channels 2, 4, 6, 7 and 10) and West Palm Beach (channels 5 and 12) to the east and Tampa Bay (channels 3, 8, 10, and 13) to the north. This created a large doughnut in southwest Florida where there could be only one VHF license. WINK-TV was fortunate to gain that license, and as a result was the only local station that provided a clear picture to outlying portions of the market until cable television arrived in the mid-1970s.

The station has identified almost exclusively with its call letters since the mid-1980s. This is due in large part to the extremely high penetration of cable and satellite in Southwest Florida—one of the highest in the nation. Cable and satellite are all but essential for acceptable television in much of the market, even in digital.

On October 20, 2007, WINK-TV became the first television station in Southwest Florida to begin broadcasting in high definition. In January 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.[citation needed]

WINK has been digital-only since February 17, 2009.[2] It moved its digital signal to UHF channel 50 in mid-2011.[3][citation needed]

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.[4] On June 11, 2011 WINK-TV debuted a 90-minute morning newscast on Saturday and Sunday mornings.[5] WINK-TV also added a half-hour late morning newscast at 10 a.m. on September 6, 2011.[6] 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.[7] In January 2015, WINK-TV expanded the 6:30 p.m. newscast to weekends on WXCW.[8]

Notable former staff include Hoda Kotb (1989-1991),[citation needed] Trey Radel[9] and Kerry Sanders.[citation needed]

Digital channels[edit]

Channel Video Aspect PSIP short name Programming [10]
11.1 1080i 16:9 WINK HD Main WINK-TV programming / CBS
11.2 480i 4:3 WINK D2 24/7 Weather


Syndicated programs broadcast on WINK-TV include Live with Kelly and Ryan, TMZ on TV, Castle, Inside Edition, and Rachael Ray.

News operation[edit]

WINK-TV presently broadcasts 41 hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 6½ hours on weekdays, 3½ hours on Saturdays and five hours on Sundays).[citation needed] WINK-TV operates two news bureaus: the Charlotte County Bureau in the Charlotte Sun newsroom in Charlotte Harbor and the Collier County Bureau in Naples. The station's weather radar 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.[citation needed] 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.[11]


  1. ^ Station history
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^
  4. ^ In Fort Myers, WINK Replacing ‘Oprah’ with Newscast, Media Bistro, April 29, 2011.
  5. ^ On the Heels of New Afternoon Newscast, WINK Prepares Weekend Expansion, Media Bistro, May 24, 2011.
  6. ^ WINK Adds 10 a.m. Newscast to Daily Programming, "Media Bistro", August 22, 2011.
  7. ^ More News on WINK... Florida NewsCenter, September 11, 2013.
  8. ^ WINK's 6:30 p.m. newscast expands to weekends on WXCW. The Changing Newscasts Blog, January 28th, 2015.
  9. ^ Knox, Merrill (7 November 2012). "Former WINK Anchor Trey Radel Elected to the U.S. House of Representatives". Mediabistro. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
  10. ^
  11. ^

External links[edit]