|Fort Pierce/Stuart/Vero Beach/|
West Palm Beach, Florida
|City||Fort Pierce, Florida|
|Branding||CW 34 (general) |
CBS 12 News (newscasts)
Azteca 48 (on DT2)
My 15 WTCN-TV (on DT3)
|Slogan||Dare to Defy (general)|
The one to turn to. (newscasts)
|Channels||Digital: 20 (UHF)|
Virtual: 34 (PSIP)
|Affiliations||34.1: The CW (2006–present)|
34.2: Azteca América
|Owner||Sinclair Broadcast Group|
(WTVX Licensee, LLC)
|First air date||April 5, 1966|
|Call letters' meaning||disambiguation of WTVJ (which WTVX replaced at sign-on)|
|Sister station(s)||broadcast: WWHB-CD, WTCN-CD, WPEC|
cable: Fox Sports Florida, Fox Sports Sun
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:|
34 (UHF, 1966–2009)
50 (UHF, 2001–2009)
34 (UHF, 2009–2019)
The WB (secondary, 2001–2005)
LATV (until 2019)
|Transmitter power||1,000 kW|
|Height||455.7 m (1,495 ft)|
|Public license information||Profile|
WTVX, virtual channel 34 (UHF digital channel 20), is a CW-affiliated television station licensed to Fort Pierce, Florida, United States, serving the Gold and Treasure Coasts of South Florida. The station is owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group, as part of a duopoly with West Palm Beach-licensed CBS affiliate WPEC (channel 12); it is also sister to two low-powered, Class A stations: Palm Beach-licensed MyNetworkTV affiliate WTCN-CD (channel 43) and Stuart-licensed Azteca América affiliate WWHB-CD (channel 48), both of which are simulcast on WTVX's respective second and third digital subchannels. The four stations share studios on Fairfield Drive in Mangonia Park (with a West Palm Beach postal address); WTVX's transmitter is located in unincorporated Martin County, southwest of Palm City and I-95/SR 9. On cable, the station is available on Comcast Xfinity channel 4 and in high definition on digital channel 435.
WTVX first began operations as a CBS affiliate on April 5, 1966. Airing an analog signal on UHF channel 34, it was the market's third television outlet to sign on after NBC affiliate WPTV (channel 5) and ABC affiliate WEAT-TV (channel 12, now WPEC). It was originally owned by Indian River Television and based in a small building along US 1 just south of the St. Lucie–Indian River county line. The building and ownership of Indian River served as links to the station that preceded it, WTVI, which operated as a CBS affiliate on channel 19 in two unsuccessful stints between 1960 and 1962. Indian River had acquired the studio, built for WTVI in 1960, from Gene Dyer for $50,000, and the principal of Indian River, Michael Beacom, had been a minority owner of WTVI. (WTVX was built on the same allocation; the original application specified channel 19, which was changed to 34 when the FCC overhauled UHF allotments nationwide in 1965.) Prior to signing on, Miami's WTVJ (then channel 4, now channel 6) was the market's default CBS affiliate. Even after WTVX launched, its comparatively weak signal (26 kW effective radiated power, boosted to 67 kW in 1974) was not nearly as powerful as WTVJ's VHF signal, and the latter continued to be recognized as the CBS affiliate for the Palm Beaches.
WTVX survived a license challenge in the late 1970s. In 1976, it was alleged that the station engaged in "clipping", in which it replaced commercials from some network programs with its own; the station ultimately had its license renewed and paid a $10,000 fine. That allowed the sale of WTVX to Frank Spain, owner of WTWV in Tupelo, Mississippi, to proceed. An investment of more than $5 million was put into WTVX, including newer and larger Fort Pierce studios on North 25th Street (SR 615) and the commissioning of a 1,549-foot (472 m) tower after some early county opposition. Broadcasting at 5 million watts, "Florida's most powerful television station" finally had a signal capable of reaching the Palm Beaches. In addition, the more powerful WTVX began appearing on Palm Beach County cable systems that had not previously carried it, further extending its reach.
WTVX's upgraded signal, however, came at a cost to the newly renamed "X-34". From 1972 to 1979, via special arrangement and with the approval of CBS and NBC, WTVX carried Miami Dolphins home games that would have to be blacked out by West Palm Beach stations because their signals reached into the 75-mile blackout radius around the Miami Orange Bowl; hotels on Singer Island invested in antenna systems to receive WTVX and attract patrons when Dolphins games were blacked out. After fighting the Dolphins and the league in court for two years at an estimated cost to Spain of $250,000, the station lost its fight against NFL blackout policies in appeals court in 1982 and opted not to continue.
Loss of affiliation
In 1987, NBC bought WTVJ (however, it would have to run the station as a CBS affiliate for another year as its affiliation contract was not up yet). CBS then bought former Fox affiliate WCIX (channel 6, now WFOR-TV on channel 4), which had a Grade B signal in Fort Lauderdale and Broward County. In hopes of improving its coverage in Broward County, CBS persuaded WPEC to switch its affiliation to CBS. WPEC has a fairly strong city-grade signal in Broward County. This set up a three-way fight for the ABC affiliation among WTVX, WFLX (channel 29), and a station that was not yet on the air, WPBF (channel 25). In October, ABC shocked observers when it selected WPBF to be its new affiliate, effective January 1, 1989. This left WTVX as an independent station; it bought a significant number of WPBF's classic sitcom and cartoon inventory, since WPBF no longer would have time to air it.
During the day, the station showed movies, drama shows, and talk shows. By the summer of 1989, more sitcoms and cartoons were added to the schedule. In 1991, WTVX was sold to Krypton Broadcasting. Krypton filed for bankruptcy in 1993 and the station was acquired by Whitehead Media at an auction in 1994. Whitehead Media then entered into a local marketing agreement (LMA) with Paxson Communications, then owner of WPBF.
As a UPN affiliate
On January 16, 1995, Paramount/Viacom joined with Chris Craft/United Television to form the United Paramount Network (UPN). WTVX immediately became an affiliate of this new network. When WPBF was sold to the Hearst Corporation in early 1997, Viacom's Paramount Stations Group acquired WTVX. However at that time, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) did not permit one entity to directly own two television stations in adjacent markets whose city-grade signals overlapped. Miami's WBFS-TV provided a city-grade signal to West Palm Beach (indeed, for years, WBFS identified as "Miami–Fort Lauderdale–West Palm Beach"), so Paramount could not retain both stations.
To solve the problem, Paramount sold the license and other FCC assets of WTVX to Straightline Communications, with WBFS taking over as WTVX's LMA partner. A similar arrangement existed in New England where Straightline Communications acquired the FCC assets of WLWC in New Bedford, Massachusetts with Viacom's Boston station WSBK-TV operating that station through a similar LMA.
By the late-1990s, like other stations affiliated with the smaller networks, WTVX started to move away from cartoons and sitcoms by adding more talk-reality and court shows. In the early-2000s, WTVX started to carry The WB on a secondary basis. Programming from that network, such as 7th Heaven, aired after UPN prime time.  However, the full WB schedule could be seen via Miami's WBZL-TV. WTVX soon re-branded from "UPN 34" to "TVX 34," which was based on its call letters.
Viacom would later buy WTVX and WLWC outright in 2001. After Viacom merged with the previous CBS Corporation, master control and some other internal operations of WTVX were integrated into WBFS and WFOR's studios on Northwest 18th Terrace in Doral. WFOR served as the flagship of the network-owned cluster, dubbed the "CBS South Florida Television Station Group". Throughout CBS ownership of WTVX and WTCN (as well as WWHB), the stations maintained local offices in West Palm Beach at Beacon Circle.
As a CW affiliate
In the fall of 2000, WTCN-CA (then a little-known community access channel) became the area's new WB affiliate after Viacom's acquisition of that station. As a result, WTVX reverted to solely being a UPN station and returned to the "UPN 34" branding. On January 24, 2006, Time Warner and CBS announced the WB and UPN networks would merge to form The CW, effective in September 2006. On February 22, News Corporation announced it would start up another new network called MyNetworkTV. This new service, which would be a sister network to Fox, would be operated by Fox Television Stations and its then-syndication division Twentieth Television. MyNetworkTV was created in order to give UPN and WB stations, not mentioned as becoming CW affiliates, another option besides becoming independent.
On the same day The CW's formation was announced, it signed a ten-year affiliation agreement with eleven CBS-owned UPN stations, including WTVX. Even without the affiliation deal, its full-powered status made it the obvious choice as the new network's affiliate for the Gold and Treasure Coasts. This left WTCN to either revert to an Independent station or join MyNetworkTV. It chose the latter option and became part of the other new programming service on September 5 while WTVX officially launched The CW on September 18.
On February 7, 2007, CBS agreed to sell seven of its smaller-market stations to Cerberus Capital Management (including WTVX, WTCN, WWHB, and WLWC) for $185 million. Cerberus formed a new holding company for the stations, Four Points Media Group, which took over the operation of the stations through local marketing agreements in late-June 2007 until the group deal closed on January 10, 2008. At this point in time, local operations of WTVX, WTCN, and WWHB moved to offices on Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard. However, master control was eventually moved to Four Points' hub facility at KUTV in Salt Lake City, Utah on February 25, 2008. On March 20, 2009, Nexstar Broadcasting Group took over the management of Four Points under a three-year outsourcing agreement. Until the sale to Four Points, WTVX was one of three former CBS affiliates that later became CW stations that were owned by CBS. The other two are KSTW in Seattle and WPCW in Pittsburgh both of which are still owned by the network.
Sale to Sinclair Broadcast Group
On September 8, 2011, the Sinclair Broadcast Group announced its intent to purchase Four Points from Cerberus Capital Management for $200 million. The former company then began managing the stations (including WTVX, WTCN, WWHB, and WLWC) under local marketing agreements following antitrust approval by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Sinclair subsequently announced the acquisition of the television station division of Freedom Communications (owner of WPEC) which resulted in WTVX becoming a sister station to the CBS affiliate. The deal with Sinclair acquiring Four Points was completed on January 3, 2012. Although WTVX, WTCN, and WWHB initially retained separate operations from WPEC, they would eventually be merged into WPEC's studios.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|34.1||1080i||16:9||CW||Main WTVX programming / The CW|
|34.2||480i||Azteca||Simulcast of WWHB-CD / Azteca América|
|34.3||MyTV||Simulcast of WTCN-CD / MyNetworkTV|
Due to their Class A status, WWHB and WTCN's signals only reach the immediate areas surrounding their transmitters. In order to expand their broadcasting radius, both stations are simulcast in standard definition on digital subchannels of WTVX. At one point in time, WTVX-DT4 carried the Retro Television Network (RTV) on its fourth digital subchannel and Comcast digital channel 225. This would subsequently be dropped in favor of LATV on June 29, 2010. WHDT became the area's RTV affiliate several months later, although this affiliation was short-lived.
WTVX discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over UHF channel 34, before the June 12 cut-off date. The station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 50 to channel 34.
As a CBS affiliate, WTVX operated a local news department from its main studios in Fort Pierce, and after 1980, newsrooms in Stuart and West Palm Beach. However, it never made much headway in the ratings. Not only did it have to contend with local rivals WPTV and WPEC, but it also had to reckon with the Miami stations.
When WTVX went independent, it initially maintained its newscasts, launching the first 10 p.m. newscast in the West Palm Beach market. However, station management found the newscasts to bring a different audience to the rest of WTVX's programming. The weekend newscast was axed in June 1989, and the station then proceeded to wind up its news department on August 4. After this point, would rarely simulcast newscasts during its co-ownership with WFOR, usually only in longform hurricane coverage situations.
After establishing a second news operation in the summer of 2008 (after nearly twenty years), the outlet began airing a nightly newscast in prime time. Known as CW West Palm News at 10, this production was seen for 35 minutes and was eventually upgraded to high definition level on September 15. The program was produced from a secondary set at KUTV's studios and featured that station's anchor personnel for news and weather. However, there were two locally based reporters in West Palm Beach who would contribute content to the show. WTVX's 10 o'clock show competed with the well-established nightly prime time newscast on Fox affiliate WFLX (originally produced by WPEC; WPTV would take over production in 2011).
On March 2, 2009, WTVX shifted the newscast to air weeknights at 6:30 in order to offer a local alternative to the national news programs that are seen on the market's big three stations. On June 8, 2009, it discontinued the local news effort altogether due to low ratings and inconsistent viewership. It would not be until March 3, 2014 when another prime time newscast would air on WTVX. The show, this time produced by WPEC, is known as CBS 12 News at 10 on CW 34 and can only be seen weeknights for a half-hour. This is WTVX's third showing of local news of any kind since its incarnation.
Since March of 2015, WTVX airs a simulcast version of WPEC's CBS12 News at Noon. WTVX airs the second half-hour of Face the Nation (the first half-hour airs on WPEC) as well as Full Measure with Sharyl Atkisson.
- Miller, Mark K. (August 23, 2019). "Sinclair Closes $10.6B Disney RSN Purchase". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheckMedia. Retrieved August 23, 2019.
- "TV Station To Operate In Month". Miami Herald. January 4, 1966. p. 1D. Retrieved January 20, 2020.
- Wilder, Anne (May 2, 1965). "Plans Afoot to Reactivate TV Channel 19". Miami Herald. p. 1C. Retrieved January 20, 2020.
- FCC History Cards for WTVX
- Tierney, Mary Jo (June 21, 1978). "Co-Owner of WTVX Admits Clipping". Palm Beach Post. p. B2. Retrieved January 21, 2020.
- Meyer, Karen (September 1, 1978). "FCC Recommends Fine For 'Clipping' Incidents". Florida Today. p. 1B. Retrieved January 21, 2020.
- Meyer, Karen (January 17, 1979). "WTVX Sale Approved By FCC". Florida Today. p. 1B. Retrieved January 21, 2020.
- "Channel 34 Has Eye on PB County". Palm Beach Post. March 18, 1980. p. B2. Retrieved January 20, 2020.
- "FP Station Can Build TV Tower". Palm Beach Post. April 11, 1979. p. C3. Retrieved January 21, 2020.
- Michals, Bob (June 2, 1980). "Powerful 34: The New Kid On the Dial". Palm Beach Post. pp. A13, A16, A17. Retrieved January 21, 2020.
- "Cable Drops Sports Programming". Palm Beach Post. June 1, 1980. p. B2. Retrieved January 21, 2020.
- "WTVX Will Televise Dolphin Games". Fort Pierce News-Tribune. October 6, 1972. p. 9. Retrieved January 21, 2020.
- O'Meilia, Tim (October 15, 1976). "Sunny Sundays Perfect for TV, Especially in a Motel When Dolphins Are Playing". Palm Beach Post. p. B12. Retrieved January 21, 2020.
- Doyle, Flick (June 23, 1982). "WTVX Surrenders to Miami, NFL". Palm Beach Post. p. B9. Retrieved January 21, 2020.
- Kelley, Bill (October 19, 1988). "ABC picks Palm affiliate that is not yet on the air". Sun-Sentinel. pp. 8B.
- Sinclair Buys Four Points Media For $200M, TVNewsCheck, September 8, 2011.
- Colman, Price (November 2, 2011). "Sinclair Buying Freedom For $385 Million". TVNewsCheck. Retrieved November 2, 2011.
- "Sinclair Closes Four Points Media Acquisition". TVNewsCheck. January 3, 2012. Retrieved January 3, 2012.
- RabbitEars TV Query for WTVX
- "Nexstar/Four Points fired to add 4th network in West Palm". Television Business Report. June 24, 2010. Retrieved June 25, 2010.
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-08-29. Retrieved 2012-03-24.
- O'Connor, Brian J. (July 18, 1989). "Channel 34 drops news, goes all-entertainment". Palm Beach Post. p. 2B.
- Lomartire, Paul (June 24, 1989). "WTVX discontinuing its weekend newscasts". Palm Beach Post. p. 8D. Retrieved January 21, 2020.
- Eyman, Scott (August 5, 1989). "Channel 34 pulls plugs on news broadcasts". p. B1. Retrieved January 21, 2020.
- WPEC To Move 7:00 p.m. Newscast, Replace It with 'Entertainment Tonight' TVSpy, August 13, 2013.