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WFLA-TV, virtual channel 8, is the NBC-affiliated television station in Tampa/St. Petersburg, Florida. The station is the flagship station of its owner and operator, Media General. Its transmitter is located in Riverview, Hillsborough County, Florida. WFLA is the only station in the market to be affiliated with the same network (NBC) since signing on. The station shares the "News Center" building in Tampa with co-owned The Tampa Tribune and TBO.com.

WFLA-TV
200px-Wfla2007
160px-MeTV WFLA
Tampa/St. Petersburg, Florida
Branding NewsChannel 8

Prime 8(DT2)

Slogan On Your Side
Channels Digital: 7 (VHF)Virtual: 8 (PSIP)
Subchannels 8.1 NBC8.2 RTV
Affiliations National Broadcasting Company
Owner Media General, Inc.

(Media General Communications Holdings, LLC)

First air date February 14, 1955
Call letters' meaning Taken from former sister radio station WFLA
Former callsigns WXFL (1983-1988)
Former channel number(s) Analog:

8 (1955-2009)

Transmitter power 19 kW (digital)
Height 465 m (digital)
Facility ID 64592
Transmitter coordinates 27°50′32″N 82°15′45″W

Coordinates: 27°50′32″N 82°15′45″W

Website www.wfla.com

HistoryEdit

WFLA-TV signed on Valentine's Day 1955 with a live broadcast of the Gasparilla Pirate Festival. The station was owned by the Tribune along with WFLA radio (AM 970 and FM 93.3, nowWFLZ). Largely because of its newspaper background, it was the early ratings leader in Tampa until WTVT passed it in 1962.

Arch Deal and Bill Henry were the prominent faces of WFLA's newscasts in the 1960s. Arch Deal's tenure was abruptly cut short in 1975, when he suffered injuries during a parachute accident. Bob Koop served as the evening anchor from 1977–1979. Longtime anchorman Bob Hite came to the anchor desk in 1979.

In 1966, Richmond Newspapers, publishers of the Richmond Times-Dispatch and part-owner of the Tribune, acquired full control of the paper and WFLA-AM-FM-TV. Three years later, Richmond Newspapers renamed itself Media General, and WFLA-TV, the first television station owned and operated by Media General, has been its flagship television station since then. Reporters from the Tribune often appear on WFLA.

The station was renamed WXFL on January 19, 1983 after the WFLA radio stations were sold but regained its original call letters on January 1, 1989. (Both radio stations are currently owned by Clear Channel Communications.) That same year, it surged to first place in the Tampa Bay ratings and has stayed there for most of that time, led by one of the most popular anchor teams in the country. "Eagle 8" made its debut in October 1985.

In the midst of a market shake-up in 1994 which saw many of the Tampa area stations swapping network affiliations, WFLA was one of the few major stations in the market that did not change networks. As a result it became number 1 in the market, a position formerly held byWTVT, which saw its ratings drop after switching from CBS to Fox. However, since NBC's ill-fated experiment with The Jay Leno Show in primetime in late 2009 and early 2010, WTVT regained its number 1 status. In the November 2010 sweeps period, WFLA failed to win a single time slot outright, and even fell to third or fourth place in some time slots.

Digital televisionEdit

WFLA-TV broadcasts on digital channel 7. The station's digital channel is multiplexed:

Digital channels

Channel Name Programming
8.1 WFLA-TV main WFLA-TV/NBC programming
8.2 WFLA-DT2 RTV

(as "8 Prime")

Analog-to-digital conversionEdit

WFLA-TV shut down its analog signal on June 12, 2009,[1] as part of the DTV transition in the United States. The station remained on its pre-transition channel 7 [2] using PSIP to display the station's virtual channel as 8.

Local programmingEdit

The station is the home of Tampa Bay Buccaneers preseason games. Their current broadcast team for the games is Chris Myers and John Lynch, the former Buccaneer All Pro Safety, with Sports Anchor Dan Lucas on the sidelines. In recent years Myers has also teamed withRon Jaworski, Merrill Hoge, Doug Graber and Charles Davis.

News operationEdit

WFLA has been broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition since early 2007. Following Bob Hite's November 2007 retirement after 30 years, Keith Cate assumed anchor duties of the 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts along with veteran anchor Gayle Sierens.

Bill Ratliff, who was brought in to anchor the evening newscasts in 1982 and had been morning and noon anchor since 1985, retired from WFLA on June 25, 2009.[3] Ratliff is now at rival WTSP as a political contributor.

News/station presentationEdit

Newscast titlesEdit

  • Channel 8 News (1955–1960s)
  • The Big News/TV-8 News (1960s)
  • Channel 8 Reports (1960s–1970s)
  • Newswatch 8 (1970s–1993)
  • NewsChannel 8 (1993–present)

Station slogansEdit

  • 8 Country (1970s)
  • Part Of Your Life (1975–1979)
  • TV-8, Proud As A Peacock! (1979-1981; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • TV-8, Our Pride Is Showing (1981-1982; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • The Look. Alive. (1981–1982)
  • We`re Channel 8, Just Watch Us Now (1982-1983; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • The Spirit of Tampa Bay (general slogan)/Newswatching Out for You (1982–1985)
  • Channel 8 There, Be There (1983-1984; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • Channel 8, Let's All Be There! (1984–1986; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • Helping You Win! (1985–1989)
  • Come Home to Channel 8 (1986–1987; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • Come on Home to Channel 8 (1987–1988; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • Tampa Bay's Fastest Growing News (1987–1992)
  • Come Home To The Best, Only on Channel 8 (1988–1990; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • In Touch with Tampa Bay (1989–1992)
  • Channel 8, is The Place To Be! (1990-1992; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • It's A Whole New Channel 8 (1992-1993; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • On Your Side (1992–present)
  • The Stars Are Back on Channel 8 (1993-1994; localized version of NBC ad campaign)

News music packagesEdit

  • Home Country (early 1970s)
  • Part of Your Life (1975–1981)
  • WFLA 1981 News Theme (1981–1982)
  • Spirit of Tampa Bay (1982–1985)
  • Power News (1985–1992)
  • On Your Side (1992–1995)
  • Bold Horizons (1995–2000)
  • Metropolis (2000–2006)
  • The Ticket (2003–present)
  • Media General Station Group Package (2006–present)

[2] This film, television or video-related list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it with reliably sourced additions.====Voiceover artists====

  • Russ Offenbacher
  • Don Harrison
  • Ed O'Brien
  • Al Vanik
  • Bill Ratner

On-air staffEdit

Current on-air staff[4][5]Edit

Current anchors


  • Rod Carter – weekday mornings "News Channel 8 Today"; and weekdays at 11am also fill-in anchor (reporter 2000-2007, anchor since 2010)
  • Keith Cate – weeknights at 5, 5:30, 6 and 11 p.m.; also investigative reporter (since 2000)
  • Yolanda Fernandez – weekend mornings "News Channel 8 Today" and weekends at noon (since 1989)
  • Gayle Guyardo - weekday mornings "News Channel 8 Today" and weekdays at 11am (from 1993-2/2010 and since 11/2010)
  • Jennifer Leigh – weekends at 6 and 11 p.m. (since 2006)
  • Stacie Schaible – weeknights at 5:30 p.m.; also investigative reporter (since 2000)
  • Gayle Sierens – weeknights at 5, 6 and 11 p.m. (since 1985, sports anchor from 1977–1985)
  • Josh Thomas – weekends at 6 and 11 p.m. (since 2003)


Storm Team 8


  • Steve Jerve (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval) – chief meteorologist; weeknights at 5, 6 and 11 p.m. (since 1999)
  • Megan Hatton – meteorologist; weekend mornings "News Channel 8 Today" and noon (since 2008)
  • Brooks Garner (AMS and NWA Seals of Approval) – meteorologist; weekends at 6 and 11 p.m. (since 2010)
  • Leigh Spann (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist and NWA Seals of Approval) – meteorologist; weekday mornings "News Channel 8 Today" and weekdays at 11am (since 2007)


Sports team


  • Dan Lucas – sports anchor; weeknights at 6 and 11 p.m. (since ?)
  • Joline Roberts – sports producer (since ?)


Reporters


  • Steve Andrews – investigative reporter; also fill-in anchor (since 1985)
  • Jackie Barron – Sarasota/Manatee counties reporter; also fill-in anchor
  • Peter Bernard – general assignment reporter (since 2002)
  • Judd ChapinEagle 8 pilot/reporter (since 1985)
  • Mark Douglas – investigative reporter
  • Krista Klaus – general assignment reporter; also fill-in anchor (since 2007)
  • Leslee Lacey - weekday morning traffic reporter (since 2010)
  • Jennifer Leigh – Polk County reporter
  • Chip Osowski – general assignment reporter (since 1999)
  • Jeff Patterson – general assignment reporter (since 1988)
  • Natalie Shepherd – general assignment reporter; also fill-in anchor (since 2007)
  • Samara Sodos – general assignment reporter; also fill-in anchor (since 2000)


Daytime


  • Cyndi Edwards – co-host
  • Dave Nemeth – co-host
  • Lindsay MacDonald – co-host

Former WFLA on-air staffEdit

Controversy and criticismEdit

DaytimeEdit

In 2003, WFLA and its morning show Daytime caused a controversy after The New York Times reported of its "pay for play" practices. The article revealed that businesses were charged several thousand dollars to appear on the show, effectively making their segments "paid segments". Many people saw this as "payola", a practice that is illegal under a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ruling.[4][5] After much dispute, WFLA agreed to ID each paid segment as such to avoid an intervention from Congress.[6]

Host Debra Schrills and original host Brian Fasulo left the show after 2005.[7]

The current hosts are Cyndi Edwards and former Extra host Dave Nemeth. It has been added to the Retro Television Network (a.k.a. RTV) schedule and now broadcasts nationally.

Silencing ChristiansEdit

For more details on this topic, see Speechless: Silencing the Christians.

On June 27, 2009, WFLA aired a one-hour documentary, Silencing Christians, which dealt with the Christian position of condemninghomosexuality as a sin, and claims of the gay community's drive to make all criticism of homosexuality as hate speech, in the name ofpolitical correctness.[8] The documentary, presented as a paid program from the American Family Association, was televised at 7PM, on the same day St. Petersburg held their pride parade, St. Pete Pride, on the weekend of the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. Prior to the telecast, the station was swamped with numerous phone calls and e-mails against the station showing the program;[9] however, the station decided to present the documentary anyway. After the program ended, the station logged hundreds of phone calls and over 1000 e-mails, all in protest against the show. General Manager Mike Pumo refused to elaborate on the decision, other than the show's content did not "raise the red flag" during pre-screening. Stratton Pollitzer, deputy director of Equality Florida, considered the show as hate speech, saying, "I think this program is a piece of homophobic propaganda and it has no place on a major network like NBC."[10]

On Wednesday, July 15, 2009, 70 to 100 protesters gathered outside of WFLA's studios to protest against the special and the station's attitude towards the community -- the station, however, remained firm on its decision to show the program.[11][12]

LogosEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ http://www2.tbo.com/content/2009/apr/17/anchor-bill-ratliff-leave-wfla-channel-8-june/
  2. ^ http://www2.tbo.com/content/2009/feb/09/wfla-will-wait-until-june-shut-down-analog-tv-sign/
  3. ^ CDBS Print
  4. ^ http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1529647 TV's Version of Payola Draws FCC Interest
  5. ^ http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117895168?categoryid=1236&cs=1 McCain, FCC seek input on payola
  6. ^ http://www.broadcastingcable.com/index.asplayout=story_stocks&promocode=SUPP&articleid=CA334642 WFLA will ID Paid Segments.
  7. ^ Hosts leaving WFLA'S 'Daytime'
  8. ^ About "Speechless: Silencing the Christians" (the weekly serial version), fron their official website.
  9. ^ Tampa Tribune: "'Silencing Christians' paid program draws protest calls, e-mails", 6/27/2009.
  10. ^ Tampa Tribune: "'Silencing Christians' paid program draws protest calls, e-mails", 6/27/2009.
  11. ^ St. Petersburg Times: "Demonstrators protest anti-gay-rights program aired by WFLA-Ch. 8", 7/16/2009.
  12. ^ Tampa Tribune: "Gay-/rights groups protest outside News Channel 8", 7/16/2009.

External linksEdit

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