WFTV: Wikis


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For the defunct television station in Duluth, Minnesota, see WFTV (Duluth).
Orlando, Florida
Branding Channel 9 (general)
Channel 9 Eyewitness News (newscasts)
Slogan Coverage You
Can Count On
Channel Digital: 39 (UHF)
Virtual: 9 (PSIP)
Subchannels 9.1- ABC
9.2- Local Weather
and Traffic
Affiliations ABC
Owner Cox Enterprises
(WFTV, Inc.)
First air date February 1, 1958
Callsign meaning Florida TeleVision
Sister station(s) WRDQ
Former callsigns WLOF-TV (1958-1963)
Former channels Analog:
9 (VHF, 1958-2009)
Effective power 1,000 kW
Height 492 m
Facility ID 72076
Antenna coordinates 28°34′7″N 81°3′13″W / 28.56861°N 81.05361°W / 28.56861; -81.05361

WFTV 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 (a.k.a. FL 15) in downtown Orlando. Syndicated programming on WFTV includes: Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, Family Feud, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Wheel of Fortune, and Jeopardy!.



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 and Marion 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. After the analog television shutdown and digital conversion on June 12, 2009, [1] [2] WFTV continued digital broadcasts on its current pre-transition channel number 39. [3] However, through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display WFTV's virtual channel as 9. Since February 25, 2009, they have had an application filed with the FCC to air a digital auxiliary facility from a transmitter in northeastern Osceola County.


Digital programming

The station's signal is multiplexed. On their second digital subchannel and Bright House Networks digital channel 1091 is a 24-hour local weather and traffic channel. This is currently not offered on Comcast.

Channel Programming
39.1 WFTV-DT
39.2 Local Weather and Traffic

Pre-emptions over the years and today

In the 1970's, WFTV preempted the ABC Sunday morning cartoon rerun lineup, which many affiliates also did not run. Until the 20,000 Dollar 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. 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 did run the entire Saturday morning cartoon lineup from ABC until 1990, when they 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 now run. This includes 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 run on WFTV complies with federal E/I regulations while the one hour they do not run with shows such as the Power Rangers series which do not comply with E/I standards. 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 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 o'clock news (Eyewitness News at 10 formerly known as Action News at 10) for sister station WRDQ since 2000. They added a two-hour long weekday morning newscast (Eyewitness News This Morning) at 7 on WRDQ in 2007.

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 time slots. However, in the November 2009 sweeps period, WFTV regained its dominance over the other stations in the market.

Their prime anchor duo on Eyewitness News, Bob Opsahl and Martie Salt, has been together on-air for over 15 years, from 1984-1994 and 2003-present. Opsahl has been the primary anchor at WFTV since 1984. Salt was originally an anchor from 1982-1994, and returned in 2003.

On June 29, 2006, this station became the first Florida station to offer newscasts in 720p high definition. It was also the first Cox owned-and-operated station and the 10th in the country. With the switch to HD came a new set from FX Group and graphics from Giant Octopus. The station operates a Baron Services weather radar called "Early Warning Doppler 9 HD" at their old analog transmitter site north of Bithlo along the Orange and Seminole County line. WFTV released a commercial saying they will be upgrading the Radar to one million watts, that would make it the second most powerful radar in central Florida, WOFL also having one million watts.

News team


  • Bob Opsahl - weeknights at 5, 5:30, 6, and 11
  • Martie Salt - weeknights at 5, 6, and 11
  • Barbara West - weekdays at Noon and 5:30
    • health reporter
  • Vanessa Echols - weekdays 5am-7am, 7am-9am (WRDQ), and Noon
  • Greg Warmoth - weekdays 5am-7am and 7am-9am (WRDQ)
    • Friday reporter
  • Vanessa Welch - weeknights at 10 (WRDQ)
    • Tuesday and Thursday reporter
  • Darrell Greene - Monday-Wednesday nights at 10 (WRDQ) and weekends 6pm, 10pm (WRDQ) and 11pm
    • Monday and Wednesday reporter
  • Liz Artz - weekends 5am-9am and Noon
    • Monday-Wednesday reporter

Severe Weather Center 9 Meteorologists

  • Tom Terry (AMS Seal of Approval) - Chief seen weeknights at 5, 5:30, 6, 10 (WRDQ), and 11
  • Brian Shields (Certified Broadcast Meteorologist and NWA Seal of Approval) - weekdays 5am-7am, 7am-9am (WRDQ) and Noon
  • Matt Makens (Certified Broadcast Meteorologist and NWA Seal of Approval) - weekends 6pm, 10pm (WRDQ), and 11pm
  • Ben Smith (Certified Broadcast Meteorologist and NWA Seal of Approval) - weekends 5am-9am and Noon

Sports (both are seen on Sports Night on 9 Sundays at 11:30pm)

  • Phil Burton - Monday-Thursday at 6pm and 11pm
  • Joe Kepner - Friday and Saturday at 6pm and 11pm
    • Sports reporter 2 days a week


  • Jason Allen - Volusia and Flagler Counties weekdays at 5pm, 5:30pm, and 6pm
  • Steve Barrett - weekdays at 10pm (WRDQ) and 11pm
  • Bob Baxa - weekday morning traffic
  • Gregg Beck - Skywitness 9 pilot/reporter
  • Kathi Belich - weekdays at 5pm, 5:30pm and 6pm
  • Mark Boyle - weekdays at 10pm (WRDQ) and 11pm
  • Jeff Deal - weekdays at 10pm (WRDQ) and 11pm
  • Ryan Hughes - weekday mornings and noon
  • Daralene Jones - weekday mornings and noon
  • Q. McCray - Monday, Tuesday, and Friday at 5pm, 5:30pm and 6pm and weekends at 6pm, 10pm (WRDQ), and 11pm
  • Kenneth Moton - Wednesday-Sunday 10pm (WRDQ) and 11pm
  • Mary Nguyen - weekdays at 5pm, 5:30pm and 6pm
  • Kevin Oliver - Brevard County weekdays at 5pm, 5:30pm and 6pm
  • Berndt Petersen - weekdays at 5pm, 5:30pm and 6pm
  • Eric Rasmussen - weekdays at 5pm, 5:30pm, and 6pm
  • George Spencer - Seminole County weekdays at 5pm, 5:30pm and 6pm
  • Blaine Tolison - Monday-Tuesday at 10pm (WRDQ) and 11pm, Friday at 5pm, 5:30pm, and 6pm and weekends at noon and 6pm
  • Emily Turner - weekday mornings and noon
  • Todd Ulrich - consumer and investigative reporter

News/Station Presentation

Newscast Titles

  • Mid Florida News (1950s-1960s)
  • Newsline 9 (1970s-1976)
  • (Channel 9) Eyewitness News (1976-present)

Station Slogans

  • Channel 9 is Still the One! (1977?-1980?; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • Central Florida's Leading News Station (1982-1987)
  • People You Can Count On (1987-1991; general slogan)
  • Together on Channel 9 (1986-1987; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • Central Florida's News Leader (1988-1999; news slogan)
  • Coverage You Can Count On (1999-present)
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