WFTV, virtual channel 9, is the ABC-affiliated television station for Central Florida that is licensed to Orlando. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 39 from a transmitter between Bithlo and Christmas. The station can also be seen on Bright House Networks channel 7 and HD channel 1090, and Comcast channel 10. Owned by Cox Enterprises, WFTV is sister to Independent WRDQ. The two share studios on East South Street (SR 15) in downtown Orlando.
|Branding||Channel 9 (general)
Channel 9 Eyewitness News (newscasts)
Can Count On
|Channels||Digital: 39 (UHF)Virtual: 9 (PSIP)|
|Affiliations||9.1 ABC9.2 Severe Weather Center 9 Now|
|First air date||February 1, 1958|
|Call letters' meaning||Florida TeleVision|
|Former callsigns||WLOF-TV (1958-1963)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
9 (VHF, 1958-2009)
|Transmitter power||1,000 kW|
|Transmitter coordinates||28°34′7″N 81°3′13″W|
The station signed on-the-air on February 1, 1958 as WLOF-TV (for We Love Orlando, Florida). It has been an ABC affiliate since its launch. For years, the station was owned by a consortium of local investors. It changed its call letters to the current WFTV in 1963. The SFN Companies purchased the station in 1984. SFN in turn sold the station to Cox Communications in 1985. As of July 2006, WFTV is now seen on the co-owned Cox cable system in Ocala (basic on channel 9 and high definition on digital channel 729) in addition to Gainesville's WCJB-TV. Ocala andMarion County are both part of the Orlando market. Prior to this, the Cox system in Ocala only offered WCJB due to contractual obligations even though that city is not in the same television market as Gainesville. To further complicate matters for viewers in the area of Northwest Marion county, WNBW-DT an NBC affiliate located in Gainesville, Florida and in operation since 2008 also identifies itself as channel 9.
As part of the analog television shutdown and digital conversion, WFTV shut down its analog transmitter on June 12, 2009 , and continued to broadcast on its pre-transition digital channel 39.  However, through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display WFTV's virtual channel as 9. Since February 25, 2009, it has had an application filed with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to air a digital auxiliary facility from a transmitter in northeastern Osceola County.
The station's signal is multiplexed. The second digital subchannel is a 24-hour local weather and traffic channel which is carried by Comcast on channel 209 and on Bright House Networks on channel 469. In early 2010 WFTV Traffic and Weather toghether was rebranded in to Severe Weather Center 9 NOW a twenty four hower weather channel prduced by WFTV.
|9.1||main WFTV programming / ABC HD|
|9.2||Severe Weather Center 9 Now|
In April 2010, WFTV announced plans to add a simulcast of GenTV affiliate WAWA-LD on a third digital subchannel. However, before the subchannel could launch, WAWA's chief investor pulled out, effectively closing that station and dissolving the partnership with WFTV.
Pre-emptions over the years and today
In the 1970s, WFTV preempted the ABC Sunday morning cartoon rerun lineup, which many affiliates also did not run. Until the $20,000 Pyramid moved to the noon slot, WFTV chose to not run whatever show ABC had on at Noon on weekdays in order to run a local newscast. In May 1975, the station controversially preempted the Emmy Award-winning TV movie A Moon for the Misbegotten starring Jason Robardsand Colleen Dewhurst, due to the film's adult language. In 1978, Mork & Mindy was rescheduled by the station to air on Sunday afternoons, but was cleared to air in primetime after a few weeks. After Pyramid was moved to that slot, WFTV ran it earlier in the morning and a day behind. From the mid 1970s through the early-1980s, WFTV preempted the soap opera The Edge of Night which was preempted by many other ABC affiliates as well. From 1985 to the early 1990s, WFTV ran only half of the shows ABC put in in the 11 AM to Noon slot. From 1994 through 1996, the station did not air ABC's weekday morning programs at 11 (The Home Show and Mike and Maty). The station began to carry such programming overnights starting in 1996 not starting to air it in its proper timeslot until The View debuted in 1997. WFTV ran the entire Saturday morning cartoon lineup from ABC until 1990, when it began preempting two hours of it in favor of a two hour local newscast. In 1993, WFTV expanded the newscast to three hours and dropped the entire Saturday morning ABC cartoon lineup, adding a few educational children's shows and other syndicated programming. In 1996 an hour of ABC cartoons was restored on Sunday mornings and another hour was restored to Saturday mornings early in 1997. In the fall of 1997, WFTV began to carry two hours of the lineup that were under the One Saturday Morning banner. In 1999, the station increased the amount of Saturday morning cartoons from ABC to three hours and increased it to four hours in 2002.
WFTV was one of the few ABC affiliates that pre-empted Jimmy Kimmel Live. Its sister stations in Atlanta (WSB-TV) and Charlotte (WSOC-TV) as well as Allbritton Communications station KTUL in Tulsa and Sinclair Broadcast Group station WEAR-TV in Pensacola also initially did not air the program. However on November 21, 2005, the station did start airing the late night talk show and now airs almost the entire ABC schedule with little preemption. These pre-emptions are currently limited to some of ABC's weekend morning programming. Four out of five hours of the ABC Saturday morning lineup were now ran. This included three out of four hours of the ABC Kids lineup. The station began carrying the Saturday edition of Good Morning America (It still does not run the Sunday version) in the beginning of July 2007 along with its sister stations in Atlanta and Charlotte. The three hours of the ABC Kids' lineup ran on WFTV complies with federal E/I regulations while the one hour it did not run with shows such as the Power Rangers series which did not comply with E/I standards. ABC dropped Power Rangers on August 28, 2010. In 2004, all Cox-owned ABC affiliates preempted the movie Saving Private Ryan due to the graphic violence and profanity in the film after the FCC stepped up its vigilance following the Janet Jackson / Justin Timberlake Super Bowl incident that year. The FCC declared the film as not indecent after the fact.
In March 2010, WFTV stopped using its station ID bug after commercial break returns during Good Morning America and elected to show its own time and temperature graphic, instead of the standardized version that the program uses. This move is similar to CBS affiliate WKMG(channel 6, owned by Post-Newsweek Stations), which also shows its own time and temperature graphic, instead of using the standardized format that CBS uses for The Early Show. On March 20, 2010 WFTV reinstated the station ID bug during Good Morning America. WFTV dose not air the ABC day time news brief in between One Life To Live and General Hospital in favor of local advertisement (it aired them until the mid-late 90's).
WFTV presently broadcasts 42 hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with six hours each seven days a week); in addition, the station produces a half-hour sports highlight program called Sports Night on 9, that airs on Sunday evenings after the 11 p.m. newscast. In regards to the number of hours devoted to news programming, it is the highest local newscast output of any television station in the Orlando market. The station operates a Baron Services weather radar called "Early Warning Doppler 9 HD" at its old analog transmitter site north of Bithlo along the Orange and Seminole County line. WFTV plans to upgrade the radar's power to one million watts, that would make it the second most powerful radar in central Florida (WOFL's also operating at one million watts).
For most of the time since the 1980s, WFTV has been the dominant news station in Central Florida. Although NBC affiliate WESH made some temporary advances in the 1990s, WFTV often enjoys ratings higher than the combined rating of the other network affiliates in the Central Florida market. In some airings, it has been the highest rated ABC station in the Southeastern United States. In the May 2009 sweeps period, only WESH's weekday morning news programs even came close to tying WFTV in the ratings race while the prime time programs on CBS affiliate WKMG-TV led overall. In fact, during much of the first half of 2009, WFTV's dominance was not as absolute as it had been in the past decade or so even though it continues to lead in most timeslots. However, in the November 2009 sweeps period, WFTV regained its dominance over the other stations in the market. It has been one of ABC's strongest affiliates over the years.
For the February 2012 sweeps period, WFTV continued to win morning, noon and evening time slots. However, WFTV finished in third place in the 25-to-54 demographic at 11 p.m. despite the return of Bob Opsahl to the anchor desk for the month. WKMG beat WFTV by 5,700 viewers while second-place WESH beat WFTV by 700 viewers.
The main anchor duo on Eyewitness News, Bob Opsahl and Martie Salt, have been together on-air for over 15 years, from 1984 to 1994 and again since 2003. Opsahl has been the primary anchor at WFTV since 1984. Salt was originally an anchor from 1982 to 1994, departing for Tampa, Florida ABC affiliate WFTS-TV from when that station's news department began in 1994 until 2003 (where she anchored the news under her married name, Martie Tucker); she returned to WFTV in 2003. In 1992, WFTV dropped two of the five hours of ABC's Saturday morning cartoons in order to add a local newscast; the station ceased airing the block completely in 1993, when the broadcast expanded to three hours. Alongside its own Eyewitness News shows, WFTV has also been producing a nightly 10 p.m. newscast since the 1990s, WFTV first produced a 10 p.m. newscast for WRBW-TV under a news share agreement with that station, prior to moving the 10 p.m. newscast to sister station WRDQ since 2000. It added a two-hour-long weekday morning newscast at 7 a.m. on WRDQ in 2007, and a half-hour 6:30 p.m. newscast on that station in 2010.
On June 29, 2006, channel 9 became the first Florida station, the first station owned by Cox Enterprises and the tenth in the country to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition. With the switch to HD, came a new set from FX Group and graphics from Giant Octopus (the station has used graphics from other sources in the past, including a late 1990's package based off Dayton, OH sister station WHIO-TV). On June 10, 2013, WFTV launched a new half-hour 4 p.m. newscast to compete against WESH's longer established and hour-long news program, which had been the only newscast at 4 p.m. since WKMG dropped its own 4 p.m. news in May 2009. Around on the same day or afterwards, WFTV dropped the 6:30 p.m. news for WRDQ. After just one month on-air, WFTV extended the 4 p.m. newscast to one hour, starting July 22, 2013. On September 15th, 2014, WFTV expanded the weeknight 10:00 p.m. news on WRDQ to an hour, citing the ratings success of the broadcast in which has now able to tightly compete against long-time leader WOFL.
- Mid Florida News (1958–1960s)
- Newsline 9 (1960s)
- Channel 9 News (1960s-1970s)
- Eyewitness (1970s-1975)
- (Channel 9) Eyewitness News (1975–present)
- Powerful 9 (1960s)
- Hello Central Florida, Hello TV-9 (1974-1975; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- Eyewitness News is Everywhere! (1977–1980)
- Channel 9 is Still the One! (1977?-1980?; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- Channel 9's The One You Can Turn To (1978-1979; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- You and Me and Channel 9 (1980-1981; based on ABC image campaign)
- Now is the Time, Channel 9 is The Place (1981–1982; based on ABC image campaign)
- Central Florida's Leading News Station (1982–1987)
- Come On Along with Channel 9 (1982-1983; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- That Special Feeling on Channel 9 (1983-1984; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- We're With You on Channel 9 (1984-1985; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- Together on Channel 9 (1986–1987; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- Something's Happening on Channel 9 (1987-1990; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- People You Can Count On (1987–1991; general slogan)
- Central Florida's News Leader (1988–1999; news slogan)
- Central Florida's Watching WFTV (1990-1992; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- If It's Central Florida, It Must Be Channel 9 (1992-1993; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- TV is Good, on Channel 9 (1997-1998; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- We Love TV, on Channel 9 (1998-1999; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- Coverage You Can Count On (1999–present).
Current on-air staff
- Nancy Alvarez - weekday mornings (5:00-7:00 on WFTV and 7:00-9:00 a.m. on WRDQ)
- Vanessa Echols - weekdays at noon and 4 p.m.
- Jorge Estevez - weeknights at 6:30 and 10 p.m. (on WRDQ)
- Jamie Holmes - weekday mornings (5:00-7:00 on WFTV and 7:00-9:00 a.m. on WRDQ) and weekdays at noon
- Daralene Jones - weekend mornings (5:00-9:00 on WFTV and 9:00-10:00 a.m. on WRDQ) and weekends at noon
- Bob Opsahl - weekdays at 4:00 and weeknights at 6:00 p.m.
- Martie Salt - weekdays at 4:00 and weeknights at 6:00, and 11:00 p.m. and Fridays at 10:00 (WRDQ)
- Ken Tyndall - Saturdays at 6:00, 10:00 (WRDQ) and 11:00 p.m.
- Greg Warmoth - weekdays at 4:00 and weeknights at 11:00 p.m.
- Vanessa Welch - weeknights at 5:00 and 5:30 p.m.; also reporter
Severe Weather Center 9 Team
- Tom Terry (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval Seal of Approval) - chief meteorologist; weekdays at 4:00 and weeknights at 5:00, 5:30, 6:00, 10:00 (WRDQ) and 11:00 p.m.
- Marina Jurica (AMS Seal of Approval) - meteorologist; weekend mornings (5:00-9:00 on WFTV and 9:00-10:00 a.m. on WRDQ) and weekends at noon
- Brian Shields (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist and NWA Seals of Approval) - meteorologist; weekday mornings (5:00-7:00 a.m. on WFTV) and weekdays at noon
- George Waldenberger (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval) - meteorologist; weekends at 6:00, 10:00 (WRDQ) and 11:00 p.m.
- Rusty McCranie (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval) - meteorologist; weekday mornings (7:00-9:00 a.m. on WRDQ)
Sports team (both are seen on Sports Night on 9 Sundays at 11:30 p.m.)
- Joe Kepner - sports director; Mondays-Thursdays at 6:00, 10:00 (WRDQ) and 11:00 p.m.
- Christian Bruey - sports anchor; Fridays-Sundays at 6:00, 10:00 (WRDQ) and 11:00 p.m., also sports reporter
- Jason Allen - Volusia and Flagler Counties reporter; weeknights at 5, 5:30 and 6 p.m.
- Steve Barrett - 10 and 11 p.m. reporter
- Bob Baxa - weekday morning traffic reporter
- Kathi Belich - 5, 5:30 and 6 p.m. reporter
- Mark Boyle - 10 and 11 p.m. reporter
- Jeff Deal - 10 and 11 p.m. reporter
- Ryan Hughes - weekday morning and noon reporter
- Daralene Jones - weekday morning and noon reporter
- Q. McCray - Monday, Tuesday, and Friday 5, 5:30 and 6 p.m., and weekend evening reporter
- Kenneth Moton - Wednesday-Sunday 10 and 11 p.m. reporter
- Mary Nguyen - 5, 5:30 and 6 p.m. reporter
- Kevin Oliver - Brevard County reporter; weeknights at 5, 5:30 and 6 p.m.
- Berndt Petersen - 5, 5:30 and 6 p.m. reporter
- Eric Rasmussen - 5, 5:30 and 6 p.m. reporter
- Blaine Tolison - Monday-Tuesday 10 and 11 p.m., Friday 5, 5:30 and 6, and weekend noon and 6 p.m. reporter
- Todd Ulrich - consumer and investigative reporter
Former on-air staff
- Danny Treanor - meteorologist (now weekend meteorologist at Central Florida News 13)
- Natalie Allen (previously with CNN)
- Wyatt Andrews - reporter (now at CBS News)
- Darrell Greene - anchor/reporter (now evening news anchor at WHBQ-TV in Memphis)
- Glenn Richards - meteorologist (now chief meteorologist at WOFL)
- Deborah Roberts - NASA/Brevard County Bureau chief reporter/weekend anchor (now at ABC News)
- Josh Einiger - Reporter (now at WABC-TV in New York)
- Raelin Storey - reporter (now spokeswoman for the City of Hollywood, Florida)
- Windsor, Walter - editorials, auctions, and movie reviews -- VP & General Manager from 1970-1984)
- John Tesh - News Anchor 1977
- Jay Rich- Weatherman 1976-77
- Barbara West
Mike Storms- Sports reporter 1975-78 Lee Watson- Sports anchor 1975-77 Joe Casella- News Anchor 1975-76 Warren Croke- Noon anchor- News Director 1975-78
- ^ http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-07-138A2.pdf
- ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ByIKBl_FwTU
- ^ CDBS Print
- ^ http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/entertainment_tv_tvblog/2010/04/wftv-to-make-room-for-spanish-language-wawa-on-digital-subchannel.html
- ^ http://www.fcc.gov/fcc-bin/tvq?facid=67101
- ^ http://www.corporationwiki.com/North-Carolina/Tryon/del-caribe-orlando-llc/28462127.aspx
- ^ Boedeker, Hal (September 30, 2010). "Investor pulls out of Spanish station, surprises WFTV". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved October 3, 2010.