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Naples / Fort Myers /

Port Charlotte, Florida

City of license Naples
Branding ABC 7 (general)

ABC 7 News (newscasts)

Slogan Start Here (general)

The News That Works for You (news)

Channels Digital: 41 (UHF)
Subchannels 26.1 ABC HD

26.2 ABC SD

Owner Montclair Communications, Inc.

(operated through LMA by Waterman Broadcasting Corporation)

First air date August 21, 1974
Call letters' meaning ZeVeN = "seven"

(the "Z" sounds like "S")

Sister station(s) WBBH-TV
Former callsigns WEVU (1974-1995)
Former channel number(s) 26 (UHF analog, 1974-2009)
Transmitter power 1,000 kW
Height 453.9 m
Facility ID 19183
Transmitter coordinates 26°49′31″N 81°45′54.3″W / 26.82528°N 81.765083°W / 26.82528; -81.765083


[hide]*1 History

  • 2 News operation
    • 2.1 Newscast titles
    • 2.2 Station slogans
  • 3 News team
  • 4 Former staff
  • 5 External links


WEVU logo in 1991.The station first signed on the air on August 21, 1974 as WEVU (a phonetic translation of "WE VieU[W]"); it was the third television station to sign-on in Fort Myers. The station was owned by Gulfshore Television Corporation, it immediately took over the ABC affiliation which beforehand was relegated to off-hour secondary clearances through WBBH-TV (channel 20) and CBS affiliate WINK-TV (channel 11). However, viewers with a good antenna could also watch the full ABC schedule from Miami's WPLG, West Palm Beach's WPEC, or WLCY-TV (now CBS affiliate WTSP) in St. Petersburg. The station's original studios were located off of US 41 in Bonita Springs, its original transmitter facilities were located southeast of Bonita Springs, near the Collier and Lee County line. This location allowed the station to provide a stronger signal into Naples and Southern Collier County as compared with the market's other broadcast outlets.

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 andWACH 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 its operations into that station's facility on Central Avenue. At the time, both stations began identifying by their cable channel slots, with channel 26 starting to use a variant of the circle 7 logo. WZVN's version has the ABC logo attached to the bottom left corner boxed in by a black rectangle. Unlike the more common varieties, such as that used by network flagship WABC-TV in New York City, the "seven" numeral is curved differently. The station changed its call letters to the current WZVN-TV (a phonetic translation of "Z[S]eVeN") 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.

News operation

Its morning news open.In 1994 when WZVN and WBBH begin their partnership, reporters would appear on either station. The combined forces of the two were billed as the Eyewitness News Network. However, each station used its own primary personalities, news set, and on-air style. Today this continues with Darrel Adams as current News Director for both stations. Although the two have separate on-air identities, it common for news personnel to share video because WZVN has a smaller news department than WBBH. With its city of license being Naples and its previous analog transmitter location farther south than other stations, WZVN has a slight focus on Collier County. WBBH tends to cover more news from Charlotte County. That station is the primary competitor with CBS affiliate WINK-TV which has been and continues to be the market leader.

Compared with WBBH, this station's newscasts tend to air in a fast-paced format with on-air promotions referring to the airing of more news in thirty minutes. There are also fewer live shots out in the field. WZVN's best known former personality is Harry Horn who was also a veteran of WBBH and WINK-TV. He anchored weeknights on this station for fifteen years until his retirement in 2004. Horn lost his battle with ALS in August 2005.

On August 14, 2006, WZVN re-branded its evening newscasts as Gulfshore News and added a nightly 10 o'clock show on cable-only "WNFM" (that had just joined MyNetworkTV) known as ABC 7 Gulfshore News at 10 on My TV 8. However, it only ran for nine months as a result of Comcast's frequent technical difficulties (the cable company operates that station). This hindered the show's ratings, and as a result, WZVN canceled the production on May 25, 2007. This move was also in response to the popularity of WINK-TV's nightly prime time news on WXCW. Back on November 8, 2006, re-branding of WZVN's newscasts continued with Good Morning Southwest Florida becoming Good Morning Gulfshore. On April 9, 2007, WZVN pulled the Gulfshore News label from its newscasts and now refers to them as ABC 7 News. The morning news reverted back to the previous title.

During major hurricanes, recently Charley and Wilma, the news teams of WZVN and WBBH-TV join together to put on 24-hour coverage. There is a simulcast on both stations and a common live video stream on their websites. During previous years, WBBH's anchor desk was used along with both station's weather centers. As of the 2007 season, WZVN's high definition set will be used in the event of a hurricane as it provides the best protection against damaging winds. Commercial breaks are dropped for several hours preceding and following landfall.

On July 12, 2007, WZVN began broadcasting its news in wide-screen 16x9 standard definition. It branded it as "enhanced digital definition" which was not the same as full high definition. On October 20, competitor WINK-TV became the first Southwest Florida station to broadcast local news in full high definition. In early-February 2008 following the lead of WZVN, WBBH upgraded to enhanced digital definition. On July 19, the two started broadcasting their local newscasts in full high definition becoming the second and third stations respectively in Fort Myers to do so (WZVN upgraded five hours after WBBH).

There are no regular sports segments seen on WZVN's weekend evening shows. Unlike most ABC affiliates, this station does not air news at Noon or at 5 P.M. during the week. However, it aired a 10 o'clock edition of it morning news until October 26, 2008. On that date, several changes occurred at both stations. WZVN dropped the first hour of its weekday morning news as well as the 10 A.M. broadcast. WBBH also debuted a new 11 a.m. newscast while keeping its Noon broadcast. On September 8, 2009, this station began airing a weeknight broadcast at 7:00 p.m. known as The 7 O'Clock News which competes with WINK-TV's prime time show. The news staff of WZVN and WBBH have since merged together. Reporters appear on both stations. WZVN and WBBH own and share a Baron weather radar. It is located at their studios and is known on WZVN as "ABC 7 Precision VIPIR".

Newscast titles

  • WEVU Newswatch (1980s-1990s)
  • WEVU News Center (1987-1995)
  • ABC 7 News (1998-present)
  • ABC 7 Gulf Shore News (2010-present; used on the morning newscast and in on-air tags)

Station slogans

  • "If It's 26 / Cable 7, It Must Be ABC" (1992-1993, localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • "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 slogan)
  • "Start Here" (2007-present, localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • "Get More-Know More-Start Here" (2010-present, secondary slogan)

News team


  • Chad Oliver - weekday mornings
  • Len Jennings - weeknights
  • Jamie Yuccas - weeknights at 7
  • Stacey Deffenbaugh - weekend mornings and reporter
  • Kelly Imrick - weekend evenings and reporter

ABC 7 Precision Weather Team

  • Jim Reif (AMS Seal of Approval) - Chief seen weeknights at 6 and 11
    • Waterman Broadcasting Director of Meteorology
  • Robert Van Winkle (NWA Seal of Approval)- weeknights at 7
  • John Patrick (Certified Broadcast Meteorologist and NWA Seal of Approval) - weekday mornings
  • Jeremy Eisenzopf (Certified Broadcast Meteorologist) - weekends


  • Brian Colleran - Director seen weeknights
  • TBD - weekend evenings


  • Marisa Brahney
  • Kelly Creswell
  • Stacey Deffenbaugh
  • Derek Dellinger
  • Travell Eiland - investigative
  • Paul Gessler
  • Lindsey Kruger - Collier County Bureau
  • Katie LaGrone - consumer
  • Paul LaGrone - investigative
  • Sarah Hollenbeck
  • Jennifer Mobilia - Charlotte County Bureau
  • Christina Mora
  • Todd Ofenbeck - Chief Photographer
  • Jason Pawloski - weekday morning traffic
  • Andy Pierrotti - investigative
  • Danielle Rotolo
  • Meaghan Smith - Lee County crime

Former staff


  • 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


  • 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

External links

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