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WTSP is a CBS-affiliated television station in St. Petersburg, Florida (part of the Tampa/St. Petersburg television market). It broadcasts its digital signal on VHF channel 10.

Its transmitter is located in Holiday, Florida. The station is owned by the Gannett Company with studios in St. Petersburg (its city of license). WTSP is one of two full-powered stations with studios located in St. Petersburg, instead of Tampa, along with nearby WTOG. It is also one of three full-powered stations based in Pinellas County, counting WCLF.

WTSP
[1]
St. Petersburg / Tampa, Florida
Branding 10 News
Slogan Tampa Bay's News Leader
Channels Digital: 10 (VHF)

Virtual: 10 (PSIP)

Subchannels

10.1 CBS (since 1994) 10.2 10 Weather Now

Owner Gannett Company

(Pacific and Southern Company, Inc.)

Founded July 18, 1965[1]
Call letters' meaning Tampa/St. Petersburg
Former callsigns WLCY-TV (1965-1978)
Former channel number(s) Analog:

10 (1965-2009) Digital: 24

Former affiliations independent (1965)

ABC (1965-1994)

Transmitter power 78 kW
Height 457 m (digital)
Facility ID 11290
Transmitter coordinates 28°11′4″N 82°45′39″W / 28.18444°N 82.76083°W / 28.18444; -82.76083
Website www.wtsp.com

Because its transmitter location is farther north than the other major stations in the market (in order to protect Miami's WPLG), WTSP's signal cannot be seen well in Sarasota, Hardee and Highlands Counties, and viewers without cable must rely on WINK-TV in Fort Myers for CBS programming. In consequence, unlike the other Tampa network affiliates, WTSP's signal reaches as far north as Levy County and Marion County.

On February 6, 2010 Channel 10 doubled its broadcast power from 35 kW to 78 kW to help with reception issues that have plagued the station's VHF digital signal. However, since the station's transmitter tower location continues to be segregated farther north in Holiday due to the bygone analog spacing requirements, the reception problems persist for area viewers because most antennas in the Tampa market point to the majority of transmitters located 35 miles south in Riverview.


[edit] History

The station began broadcasting on July 18, 1965, as WLCY-TV after a lengthy court battle that lasted nearly ten years between five prospective owners seeking the license, including the St. Petersburg Times.[2] It was owned by Rahall Communications along with WLCY-AM (1380, now WWMI) and FM (94.9, now WWRM). Until 1981 it was licensed to Largo, north of St. Petersburg, but its studios have always been in St. Petersburg. The station's first studios were at 2426 Central Avenue. Its current studios, originally known as the "Rahall Color Communications Center," were dedicated on October 15, 1968. Studio broadcasts were fully in color by 1966 but field reports remained in black and white until 1972.

The station was affiliated with ABC, but spent the first month-and-a-half as an independent station, as previous ABC affiliate WSUN-TV (channel 38; the frequency is now occupied by WTTA) went to court to keep the affiliation. The city of St. Petersburg, owners of WSUN-TV, had been one of the applicants for the channel 10 license, having jumped in out of fear of losing its ABC affiliation. WLCY ultimately won, and formally switched to ABC in a special ceremony on September 1, 1965. As a condition for being placed on VHF channel 10 instead of a UHF placement, the station was required to produce 20 hours of public service programming a week by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The station did not have a noon or a weekend newscast until the early 1980s.

Early on-air staff included Dick Crippen, who originally presented weather and then sports; Marshall Cleaver, Al Stockmeyer, Art Johnson, who provided news; and Karol Kelly (weather). Cleaver was the original news anchor for much of the 1960s and early 1970s, when the program was called Newsnight. Crippen also hosted a children's show, Space Station 10.

The station aired other local children's programs as Submarine 10, Romper Room with June Hurley, 10 Ultimate and This Side Up, and local talk shows such as Russ Byrd's Morning Show, The John Eastman Show, The Liz Richards Show and Murphy in the Morning. From 1966-67, the station produced 10 á Go Go, a teenage dance show hosted by Roy Nilson, a disc jockey on WLCY-AM. Another early local program was a morning exercise show, The Fran Carlton Show. The most popular Channel 10 program in that era was the syndicated Lawrence Welk.

[edit] The 1970s

In 1971, WXLT (now WWSB) signed on from Sarasota to provide ABC-TV programming since WLCY's signal could not come in well in most of Sarasota County. WLCY's transmitter was (and still is) in Holiday, Florida. Tampa Bay residents had to have a special VHF antenna that faced away from Riverview in order to view WLCY. This setup was called the "Tampa Bay Special".

In 1975, former WFLA-TV anchor Arch Deal became the news director and co-anchor with Marshall Cleaver for Eyewitness News. Cleaver was removed in 1977, and Deal continued to anchor until Action NewsCenter, a format similar to WTHR's newscasts at the time, debuted with former WTVT anchors Rod Challenger and Gary Rebstock along with Rick Moore. WLCY broadcast the first 5:30 newscast in the Bay Area during the late 1970s up until September 15, 1980, when the newscast was moved to 6pm.

Ratings for the station during the early to mid 1970s were dismal, however, compared to longtime Bay Area stations WTVT and WFLA-TV and, as a result, the station nearly lost its ABC affiliation. Part of the problem was its transmitter location in the southwestern corner of Pasco County (all other stations broadcasted from Riverview, in Hillsborough County). It also operated at a lower power than the Tampa stations.

On September 12, 1978, WLCY-TV was purchased by Gulf United Broadcasting of Dallas, Texas. New owner Alan Henry (of WINS New York fame), General Manager Larry Clamage, and news director George "Bud" Faulder began to turn the station around, changing the call letters to WTSP-TV that year and hiring several new on-air staff who changed the face of the station.

Beginning in 1979, Don Harrison (previously from KMSP-TV in Minneapolis – Saint Paul), Wally Kinnan and Dick Crippen were the new anchors of the Channel 10 evening newscasts. Ratings surged, making the Tampa Bay market more competitive. In 1979, Channel 10 acquired the original sunset logo (which was later duplicated by its sister station KTSP in Phoenix, Arizona) along with the "Action News" format. In April 1979, the station built a taller transmission tower, improving the station's broadcasting capabilities.

WTSP is also a station of firsts. In October 1979, the station acquired "Sky 10," Tampa Bay's first television news helicopter. This stunned the local news community and showed that Channel 10 was serious about local news coverage. It was the only local news helicopter to broadcast the infamous Skyway Bridge disaster on live television in May 1980. Another technological advance was Tampa Bay's first satellite news truck (1984) called "Star 10" that beamed signals from far away locations to WTSP's Gandy Blvd. studios. WTSP also acquired Tampa Bay's first Doppler weather radar called "StormSeeker" in 1980 and was one of the first television stations in the country to use a computer in weather forecasting called "WeatherEye" (1979) and was the first station in the market with a 7-day forecast (1992). It was also one of the first in the country to begin using Betamax videotape instead of film in 1977.

[edit] The 1980s

In 1979, the station launched an aggressive marketing campaign. By 1982, WTSP had passed WFLA in the evening news ratings and did so until the later part of the decade. WTSP has won many prestigious awards, including the George Foster Peabody award in 1983.

In late 1982, news anchor Don Harrison left WTSP to become an anchor at upstart cable channel CNN2, now HLN. John Wilson and Liz Ayers replaced Harrison as anchor. On January 9, 1983, Sheryl Browne, from WKYC-TV in Cleveland, Ohio joined Wilson at the anchor desk on "Action News," rounding out the station's main anchor team. Longtime WTSP chief meteorologist Dick Fletcher joined the station in March 1980 and became famous for his forecasting during Hurricane Elena in 1985. Award-winning reporter Mike Deeson, legendary sports anchor Ken Broo and feature reporter Bill Campbell, famous for his "Campbell's Corner" spots, bolstered the station in the 1980s.

WTSP was the second television station in the Bay Area to launch an hour long 6 PM newscast in 1986. Rival WTVT had been the first to do so many years earlier and WTSP attempted it in an effort to pass WTVT to the top of the local news ratings. The effort only lasted until 1987, however.

Taft Broadcasting purchased the station along with four other Gulf properties in 1985. Then, in 1988, Taft sold its independent stations and Fox affiliates to TVX, and sold most of its network affiliates, including WTSP, to Great American Broadcasting (which became known as Citicasters by 1995).

In March 1989, one of the first computer espionage scandals in the nation broke, when news director Terry Cole hired Michael Shapiro away from WTVT where he was a news manager and computer security officer. Shapiro repeatedly broke into the newsroom computer system of his former employer using a modem at his home - apparently with Cole's knowledge. Both were fired and were sentenced by Florida court to probation for the incident.

On June 4, 1989, "Action News" became "NewsCenter 10" and a 5 p.m. newscast was launched.

[edit] The 1990s

In 1994, Scripps Howard arranged for several of its stations (including WFTS-TV, which was about to lose its Fox affiliation to WTVT due to the corporate deal between New World Communications, WTVT's owner at the time, and Fox) to affiliate with ABC. As a result, WTSP lost its ABC affiliation, and gained the CBS affiliation. CBS's programming moved to WTSP on December 12, 1994, in a three-way affiliation switch that caused much viewer confusion.

The change to CBS occurred on December 12, 1994, and resulted in the station moving from third to second place in the local news ratings although a later resurgent WTVT and competition from newly started WFTS would make second place a toss-up for the rest of the 1990s. WFLA was the market leader, until dipping to second after the premiere of the 10pm Jay Leno Show.

Citicasters (which held on to WTSP and WKRC-TV in Cincinnati, Ohio after it sold its other television stations to New World and Fox Television Stations) merged with Jacor in September 1996. Three months later, in December 1996, Gannett acquired WTSP in a swap deal, selling six of its radio stations — WDAE and WUSA-FM (now WMTX) in Tampa, KIIS AM (now KTLK) and KIIS-FM in Los Angeles, and KSDO AM and KSDO-FM (now KLQV) in San Diego — to Jacor in return.

In January 1998, Reginald Roundtree replaced Pat Minarcin as the lead male anchor of "10 News". Minarcin later sued the station for age discrimination.

In the spring of 1999, WTSP debuted "Double Doppler" and it remains the only station in Florida to own two radar sites.

[edit] The 2000s

On October 14, 2002, the station launched a new news format and image. A new, state-of-the-art digital newsroom was also constructed for WTSP's news staff.


[2][3]"10" logo used from October 2002-October 2008 and again from July 2010-presentIn 2005, the station debuted "Vortex", a powerful new forecasting tool.

On January 14, 2008, WTSP was the third station in Tampa Bay to launch high definition newscast, behind rivals WFTS-TV and WFLA-TV. Along with the new HD format came a brand-new news set, graphics, and music package. The new HD set was designed by broadcast powerhouse Jack Morton Design/PDG and fabricated by HD specialists blackwalnut, llc. The set was lit by Mick Smith of Ferri Lighting Design Associates.

In September 2008, Chris Suchan replaced morning meteorologist Anna Allen, who had been at the station since 2004. Soon after, Tammie Souza was named chief meteorologist, taking long-time chief meteorologist Dick Fletcher's place after he died from a stroke in February.


[4][5]Logo as "10 Connects", used from October 9, 2008 to July 26, 2010.On October 9, 2008, WTSP rebranded itself yet again, from Tampa Bay's 10 to 10 Connects, with 10 Connects Network used alternatively. Along with the new name came a new music and graphics package, which is also used by other Gannett stations. The station's "10 Connects" logo was similar to the previous one minus the wave, along with a small notch in the oval portion of the logo for the "Connects" text. This logo was nicknamed "Pacman" for its resemblance to the video game character. [3] On July 26, 2010, the station reverted their branding back to 10 News; their previous logo was also resurrected. The about-face was due to the fact that WTSP was reverting to a more-traditional news formula, and the fact that the "10 Connects" moniker was not understood by many viewers.[4]

WTSP made big gains at 11pm in the May 2009 sweeps, edging out WFLA for first place.

In August 2010, veteran former WFLA-TV anchor Bill Ratliff joined the station as a political analyst.

[edit] Controversy

On April 1, 2009, WTSP fired longtime anchor Marty Matthews due to budget cuts at Gannett. Matthews' termination was controversial because the station informed Matthews of her termination by leaving a manila envelope on her doorstep.[5] The termination of Matthews' employment came after the controversial 2008 terminations of weekend anchor Jennifer Howe, weekend meteorologist Randy Rauch, and morning meteorologist Anna Allen.[5]

Matthews was the anchor of WTSP's 4 p.m. newscasts and hosted the station's "Wednesday's Child" child adoption segment. The 4 p.m. newscast was later canceled, and Matthews' former co-anchor Dave Wirth will become the station's lead sports anchor.[6] Wirth had been a sports anchor for the station for 20 years, until moving to the news desk in 2004.[6]

[edit] WTVT, WTSP, and WFTS (Scripps/Fox/Gannett) News Service

In June 2009, WTSP joined in on a news service, a joint venture between Fox, Gannett, and E.W. Scripps broadcasting companies. This will allow stations from all three entities to combine news-gathering resources at general media events then distribute the video to participating stations within the market to use in their own reports. This means that some news-gathering resources of WTSP, WTVT (Fox 13), and WFTS (ABC Action News) will be combined. All other news operations at the three stations will remain unchanged. [1][2] As part of this new arrangement, WTSP officially grounded Sky 10 on August 1, 2009 [3]. This will require WTVT, WFTS, and WTSP to utilize only one helicopter (Action Air One) to cover news events. [4].

[edit] Digital television

Bright House Networks is the main sponsor of WTSP's digital programming.

WTSP broadcasts on digital channel 10.

Digital channel


Channel Name Programming
10.1 WTSP-DT main WTSP-TV/CBS programming
10.2 WTSP-DT2 10 Weather Now

[edit] Analog-to-digital conversion

WTSP shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 10, on June 12, 2009 [7], as part of the DTV transition in the United States. The station had been broadcasting its pre-transition digital signal over UHF channel 24, but returned to channel 10 for its post-transition operations. Its previous digital frequency, channel 24, is now occupied by WWSB.[8]

[edit] On-air staff

[edit] Current on-air staff

Anchors

  • Tammie Fields, Weekend 6PM and 11PM anchor/weekday reporter/fill-in anchor (since 2007)
  • Ginger Gadsden, Weekday morning and noon anchor (since 2006)
  • Keith Jones, Weekday morning and noon anchor (since April 15, 2009)
  • Janie Porter, Saturday morning anchor/weekday morning reporter (since 2007)
  • Reginald Roundtree, Weekday 5PM, 6PM and 11PM anchor (since 1989)
  • Heather Van Nest, Weekday 5PM, 6PM and 11PM anchor (since 2002)

Meteorologists

  • Bobby Deskins, (AMS Certified) Weekday morning/noon meteorologist (since 2009)
  • Sherry Ray Hughes, (AMS Seal of Approval) Weekend evening/weekday fill-in meteorologist
  • Chris Suchan, (AMS Certified) Saturday morning/weekday fill-in meteorologist (since 2008)
  • Tammie Souza, (AMS Certified and NWA Seal of Approval) Chief meteorologist [9] (since 2008)

Sports

  • Travis Bell, Sports reporter/fill-in anchor (since 2006)
  • Angela Jacobs, Sports anchor/reporter (since 2003)
  • Dave Wirth, Weekday sports anchor/fill-in news anchor (sports anchor from 1984–2004, 2009–present; news anchor from 2004–2009)

Traffic

  • Danielle Saar, Morning and 5PM traffic anchor (since 2009)

Reporters

  • Melvin Beal, General assignment reporter (since 2009)
  • Brittany Benner, Tallahassee reporter (since 2006)
  • Kathryn Bursch, General assignment reporter (since 1999)
  • Mike Deeson, Senior Reporter, General Assignment (since 1982) (fill in anchor)
  • Adam Freeman, General assignment reporter (since 2010)
  • Eric Glasser, General assignment reporter (since 2010) (fill in anchor)
  • Laura Kadechka, General assignment reporter (since 2009)
  • Grayson Kamm, Morning reporter (since 2008)
  • Isabel Mascareñas, Education reporter (since 1995)
  • Erica Pitzi, General assignment reporter (since 2008)
  • Noah Pransky, General assignment reporter (since 2009)
  • Preston Rudie, General assignment reporter (since 2002)
  • Beau Zimmer, General assignment reporter (since 2005)

Contributors

  • Scott Farrell, commentary (since 2009)
  • Bill Ratliff, political contributor (since 2010)

[edit] Notable past on-air staff

News/station presentation

Newscast titles

  • WLCY-TV News (1965–1968)
  • NewsNight (1968–1974)File:WLCY-TV Newsnight logo.JPGWLCY-TV's Newsnight slide, circa 1968
  • Eyewitness News (1974–1977)
  • Action NewsCenter (1977–1978)
  • Action 10 News (1978–1979)
  • Action News (1979–1989)
  • NewsCenter 10 (1989–1992)
  • 10 News (1992-2002, 2010-present)
  • Tampa Bay's 10 News (2002–2008)
  • 10 Connects News (2008-2010)

Station slogans

  • WLCY-TV: Where the Action Is! (1965)
  • Eyewitness News: All the News There Is (1975–1977)
  • They used to laugh at us. They aren't laughing anymore. (1977)
  • Turn to 10 (1978; as WTSP)
  • Take a Look (at Channel 10) (1979–1981)
  • We Have the Skies All to Ourselves (promoting Sky 10, 1980)
  • Stay in Touch with 10 (1983–1989)
  • Follow the New Leader (1984)
  • NewsCenter 10: In the Center of It All (1989–1992)
  • If It's Channel 10, It Must Be ABC (1992–1993; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • 10 News: News You Can Use (1992–1994)
  • The News Team that Stands for Tampa Bay (news intros) (1992–1994)
  • Where News Comes First (1994–1995)
  • The Next Generation of News (1994–1996)
  • Keep Your Eye on Tampa Bay's 10 (1994–1996; used to promote CBS's move to WTSP)
  • We've Got You Covered (1996–1998)
  • People You Can Count On (1998–2001)
  • Covering Tampa Bay (2001–2002)
  • Enjoy It. We Do. (2002–2008)
  • You'll Be Seeing Red (2002; promo for the revamped Channel 10)
  • News. Views. Conversations. (2008–2010)
  • Tampa Bay's Information Center (2008–present; used on newscast introductions)
  • Tampa Bay's News Leader (2010-present)

Notes and references

  1. ^ The Broadcasting and Cable Yearbook says July 17, while the Television and Cable Factbook says July 18.
  2. ^ Station history page
  3. ^ Florida News Center "Goodbye PacMan"
  4. ^ St. Petersburg Times: "Citing viewer confusion, local CBS affiliate changes name from 10 Connects to 10 News", July 29, 2010.
  5. ^ a b "Anchor Marty Matthews out at WTSP-Ch. 10". Tampabay.com. http://blogs.tampabay.com/media/2009/04/marty-matthews-out-as-4-pm-anchor-at-wtspch-10.html. Retrieved 2009-04-01.
  6. ^ a b WTSP-Ch. 10 confirms Dave Wirth will take over as station's lead sports anchor
  7. ^ FCC document: "APPENDIX B: ALL FULL-POWER TELEVISION STATIONS BY DMA, INDICATING THOSE TERMINATING ANALOG SERVICE BEFORE ON OR FEBRUARY 17, 2009."
  8. ^ CDBS Print
  9. ^ http://www.tampabays10.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=89439&catid=8

External links

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