WZVN-TV is the ABC-affiliated television station for Southwest Florida licensed to Naples. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 41 from a transmitter in SoutheasternPunta Gorda along SR 31. The station can also be seen on Comcast channel 7 (hence the ABC 7 branding) and in high definition on digital channel 231. Owned by Montclaire Communications, WZVN is operated through a local marketing agreement (LMA) by the Waterman Broadcasting Corporation. This makes the station sister to NBC affiliate WBBH-TV and the two share studios on Central Avenue in Fort Myers. Syndicated programming on WZVN includes: Entertainment Tonight, Dr. Phil, The Doctors, and Family Feud. It is one of two Fort Myers-based stations licensed to Naples (the other is CW affiliate WXCW).
|Naples/Fort Myers, Florida|
|Branding||ABC 7 (general)
ABC 7 Gulfshore News
|Slogan||Get More. Know More.
Start Here.(general) The News That Works For You
|Channels||Digital: 41 (UHF)|
26.2 ABC SD
|Owner||Montclair Communications, Inc. (operated through LMA byWaterman Broadcasting Corporation)|
|First air date||August 21, 1974|
|Call letters' meaning||ZeVeN (sounds
|Sister station(s)||WBBH-TV, WVIR-TV|
|Former callsigns||WEVU (1974-1995)|
|Former channel number(s)||26 (UHF analog, 1974-2009)|
|Transmitter power||1,000 kW|
|Transmitter coordinates||26°49′31″N 81°45′54.3″W|
The station brands itself as ABC 7, referring to its cable slot on most area cable systems. However, its signal remaps to its old analog channel 26 via PSIP.
It began broadcasting on August 31, 1974 as WEVU (a phonetic translation of "we view"), the third television station in Fort Myers with the call letters. It immediately took over the ABC affiliation. Before channel 26's sign-on, ABC was relegated to off-hours clearances on WBBH and WINK-TV. It aired an analog signal on UHF channel 26 from a transmitter northeast of Bonita Springs near the Collier and Lee County line. This location put a stronger signal into Naples and Southern Collier County.
The station was owned by Gulfshore Television Corporation. Gulfshore Television sold the station to Caloosa Television, a subsidiary of The Home News Company in 1978. In 1987, the station moved its operations to a new building located on Bonita Bay Boulevard in Bonita Springs. In 1992, it was sold to FCVS Communications (then-owner of WKCH-TV, now WTNZ, in Knoxville, Tennessee and WACH in Columbia, South Carolina), which turned around and sold all three stations to Ellis Communications in 1993. In 1994, WEVU entered into a local marketing agreement with WBBH and moved into that station's facility on Central Avenue. At the time, both began identifying by the cable channel slots. It started using a variant of the common circle 7 logo. This station's version has the ABC logo attached to the bottom left corner boxed in by a black rectangle. Unlike the more common varieties, as used by WABC-TV in New York City, the "seven" numeral is curved differently. The station changed its call letters to the current WZVN-TV on October 16, 1995. the WEVU calls later resided on a now-defunct local Class A station.
Ellis Communications merged with Raycom Media in 1996 although due to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ownership limits in effect at the time that barred common ownership of two television stations in the same market, WZVN's license was spun off to Montclair Communications, which continued the LMA with WBBH. It should be noted that station's operator, Waterman Broadcasting, holds an investment interest in Montclair Communications even though the two companies file separate financial reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission. As of August 2009, its website is now completely operated by WBBH as a hybrid of that station's web address with a different color scheme.
In 1994, WZVN and WBBH began a partnership where news reporters would appear on both stations. Resources such as video footage and coverage was also shared. Each station maintained separate unique sets at the Central Avenue facilities and featured a distinct on-air style. There were primary personalities such as anchors that would only appear on one channel. The combined forces of the two stations was billed as the Eyewitness News Network. It should be known that if WZVN chose not become a junior partner in the local marketing agreement, the station would have been required to shut down its news department.
The same arrangement continues today except WZVN has fewer personalities that only appear on this station. Otherwise, all on-air personnel is shared. Traditionally, WBBH tends to cover more from Charlotte County while WZVN has a slight Collier County focus since it is licensed to Naples. Compared with WBBH, this station's newscasts air in a flashier fast-paced format with on-air promotions referring to more coverage in thirty minutes especially on weeknights.
On weekends, there are separate news and sports anchors but meteorologists are seen on both WZVN and WBBH. This is possible because the two still maintain separate sets and do not always air local news at the same time. Since it was the first station in Southwest Florida and the only outlet on VHF, WINK-TV has long been the most watched channel according to Neilson ratings. Between the two, WZVN and WBBH air twelve hours of news on weekdays and four and a half on weekends.
Its best known former personality is Harry Horn who was also a veteran of WBBH and WINK-TV. He lost his battle with ALS in August 2005. During major hurricanes, recently Charley and Wilma, the news team of WBBH and WZVN put on 24-hour continuous coverage. Commercial breaks are dropped for several hours preceding and following landfall. There is a simulcast on both stations and a common live video stream on both websites. During previous years, WBBH's news set was used along with both channel's weather sets. As of the 2007 season, WZVN's high definition news set will be used in the event of a hurricane as its centralized location at the facilities provides the best protection against damaging winds.
On August 14, 2006, the station re-branded its nightly newscasts as ABC 7 Gulfshore News. It also added a prime time show every night on cable-only MyNetworkTV affiliate "WNFM". Known as ABC 7 Gulfshore News at 10 on My TV 8, the broadcasts were a first attempt to take on Fox affiliate WFTX-TV in the ratings. However, this only ran for nine months as a result of Comcast's frequent technical difficulties (the cable company operates the station). This hindered the show's ratings, and as a result, WZVN canceled the production on May 25, 2007. The move was also in response to the popularity of WINK-TV's nightly prime time newscasts on WXCW. That production began March 26, 2007 and emerged as a strong second place in the time slot building on WINK-TV's longtime status as the most watched station.
On November 8, 2006, re-branding of WZVN's newscasts continued with Good Morning Southwest Florida becoming Good Morning Gulfshore. On April 9, 2007, it pulled the Gulfshore News label from its newscasts and simply referred to them as ABC 7 News. As of 2010, the daily morning show has reverted back to the previous title and became the overall title for this channel's news broadcasts. On July 12, 2007, WZVN began offering local news in 16x9 enhanced definition widescreen. Although not truly high definition, broadcasts matched the aspect ratio of HD television screens. On October 20, rival WINK-TV became the first station in Southwest Florida to broadcast news in full high definition. In early-February 2008 following the lead of WZVN, WBBH upgraded to 16:9 enhanced definition widescreen. On July 19, the two channels started airing newscasts in full high definition becoming the second and third stations respectively in Fort Myers to do so (WZVN upgraded five hours after WBBH).
On October 26, 2008, several changes occurred on WZVN and WBBH in order to better compete with dominant WINK-TV. WZVN dropped the first hour of its weekday morning show (this has since been restored) and mid-morning newscast at 10. WBBH debuted a new hour-long midday show at 11 while keeping its hour-long noon broadcast. Meanwhile, WZVN added an hour-long newscast weekday mornings at 9 to piggyback off Good Morning America. This is currently the only local newscast in the time slot. On September 8, 2009, WZVN starting broadcasting a prime time newscast on weeknights known as The 7 O'Clock News to go up against WINK-TV's show airing at the same time. In addition to the main studios, WZVN and WBBH operate a Collier County Bureau on Tamiami Trail North (US 41/SR 45) in Naples. The two stations operate a Baron weather radar at the main facilities that is known on WZVN as "ABC 7 Precision VIPIR". The radar has a range of 300 miles and can survey approaching storms in three dimensions.
- WEVU Newswatch (early 1980s–1987)
- WEVU NewsCenter (1987–1995)
- ABC 7 News (1995–2006 & 2007–present)
- ABC 7 Gulfshore News (2006–2007)
- "Hello WEVU" (1987–1989)
- "If It's 26/Cable 7, It Must Be ABC" (1992-1993, localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- "7 On Your Side" (1994–1996)
- "News For Your Life" (1997–1998)
- "ABC 7 Works For You" (2004–2006)
- "The News Team That Works For You" (2006–2007)
- "The News That Works For You" (2007–present, news)
- "Start Here" (2007–2010, general)
- "Get More. Know More. Start Here." (2010–2012, general)
- "ABC 7 Here" (2013–present, general slogan)
Current on-air staff
+ denotes personnel seen exclusively on WZVN
- +Jeff Butera - weeknights at 5:00, 5:30, 6:00, 7:00 and 11:00 p.m.
- +Courtney Robinson - weeknights at 5:00, 5:30, 6:00, 7:00 and 11:00 p.m.
- Joe Roetz - weekends at 6:30 and 11:00 p.m.; also reporter
- +Chance Seales - weekday mornings (5:00-7:00 and 9:00-10:00 a.m.)
- +Amy Sedlacek - weekday mornings (5:00-7:00 and 9:00-10:00 a.m.)
- +John Patrick (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist and NWA Seal of Approval) - chief meteorologist; weeknights at 5:00, 5:30, 6:00, 7:00 and 11:00 p.m.
- +Allyson Rae - (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval) - meteorologist; weekday mornings (5:00-7:00 and 9:00-10:00 a.m.)
- Kira Minor - weekend mornings (6:00-8:00 a.m.)
- David Heckard (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval) - meteorologist; weekends at 6:30 and 11:00 p.m.
- Cody Murphy (AMS Seal of Approval) - Waterman Broadcasting Corporation Director of Meteorology and hurricane expert; fill-in meteorologist
- +Brad Shellgren - sports director; weeknights at 6:00, 7:00 and 11:00 p.m.
- Rishi Barran - sports reporter
- Nancy Alvarez - weekday morning and 10 a.m. (now at WFTV Orlando)
- Wayne Farris - seen for a few months after leaving WCKT in 1984
- Sharon Gregory - weeknights (now at sister station WVIR-TV)
- Bay Scroggins - now at KSTP-TV
- Heather Turco - now at WBBH
- Patrick Taney - weekday mornings (now at WKBW-TV)
- Catherine Bergerson - weekends and reporter
- Harry Horn (deceased)
- Emily Norman
- Meredith Putney
- Jim Reif (deceased)
- Gordon Barnes - Chief seen weeknights
- Erik Salna - Chief seen weeknights
- Jim Clarke - weekends and fill-in
- Tim Drawbridge - weekends (2002-2003)
- now at WNYT
- Meghan Danahey - weekends (now at WFAA-TV)
- Skip Waters - now at WCTI-TV
- Paul Conrad
- Michelle Cunningham
- Ibby Carothers
- Kent Overmeyer - Director seen weeknights
- Shelby Goldman
- Julian Gonzalez
- Phil Jean
- David Carro - producer
- Max Turnier - now reporter at WINK-TV
- Scott Dobroski - weekday mornings
- Susie Hassan - now at WBBH-TV
- Noah Pransky - now at WTSP
- Kevin Ozebeck - now at WSVN
- Adam Freeman - Collier County Bureau
- now at WTSP
- Kristen Nastasia
- Gary Widom
- Mike Baldyga
- Curtis Jay - now morning and midday anchor at KSHB-TV in Kanasas City
- Bonny Kinney - was with WPTY-TV
- Scott Madaus - now with WHBQ-TV in Memphis
- Joshua Landon
- Heather Sullivan - now morning anchor at WWBT-TV in Richmond, VA
- Stephanie Tsoflias
- Eric Weisfeld