Tampa/St. Petersburg, Florida
City of license Tampa, Florida
Branding ABC Action News
Slogan Taking Action For You
Channels Digital: 29 (UHF)

Virtual: 28 (PSIP)

Subchannels 28.1 ABC

28.2 Live Well Network

Affiliations ABC (since 1994)
Owner E. W. Scripps Company

(Scripps Media, Inc.)

First air date December 14, 1981
Call letters' meaning 'Family (or Florida)

Television Station
(referring to original owner, Family Group Broadcasting)

Former channel number(s) Analog:
28 (UHF, 1981–2009)
Former affiliations independent (1981–1988)

Fox (1988–1994)

Transmitter power 1000 kW
Height 468 m
Facility ID 64588
Transmitter coordinates 27°50′32″N 82°15′45″W / 27.84222°N 82.26250°W / 27.84222; -82.26250

WFTS-TV, virtual channel 28 (UHF digital channel 29), is an ABC-affiliated television station located in Tampa, Florida, United States and also serves the city of St. Petersburg. The station is owned by the E. W. Scripps Company. The station's studios are located on North Himes Avenue on the city's northwest side (across the street from Raymond James Stadium), and its transmitter is located in Riverview, Florida.


[hide] *1 History


The channel 28 allocation in Tampa Bay was to have been used by WTSS-TV, an affiliate of the DuMont Television Network in the 1950s.[1] It is very likely that that station never made it to air.

As an independent station[edit]Edit

WFTS first went on the air on December 14, 1981 as an independent station. As the flagship of the locally-based Family Group Broadcasting, the station programmed a family-oriented general entertainment format with cartoons, off-network dramas, old movies and religious programs. Its call letters originally stood for "Family Television Station". Family Group Broadcasting sold the station to Capital Cities Communications on April 22, 1984. It became Capital Cities' first station in Florida, the group's first – and only – independent station, and was also the last station acquired by the group prior to its merger with ABC. Under Capital Cities, the station added more off-network sitcoms and reduced the number of religious programs and drama series on its schedule.

In 1986, Capital Cities stunned the world with its purchase of ABC – the network was ten times bigger than Capital Cities was at the time. Capital Cities owned several ABC affiliates, and two CBS affiliates: KFSN-TV (channel 30) in Fresno and WTVD (channel 11) in Durham, North Carolina. The company's combined assets exceeded Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ownership limits of the time, so Capital Cities decided to keep its CBS affiliates and change their affiliations to ABC, along with longtime ABC affiliates WPVI-TV (channel 6) in Philadelphia and KTRK-TV (channel 13) in Houston, and sold WFTS and the ABC owned-and operated station in Detroit, WXYZ-TV (channel 7), to the E. W. Scripps Company, while selling several other stations to minority-owned firms.

Scripps continued the format on WFTS, running cartoons, sitcoms, movies and drama series. A 10 p.m. newscast was planned for the station, but ultimately did not come to fruition. WFTS picked up the Fox affiliation in 1988 after WTOG (channel 44) dropped it and the station began to identify on air as "Fox 28", and soon after briefly identified its call letters as standing for "Fox Television Station".

As an ABC affiliate[edit]Edit

On May 22, 1994, New World Communications signed an affiliation agreement with Fox, that resulted in most of New World's stations, including Tampa Bay's longtime CBS affiliate WTVT (channel 13), being tapped to switch to the network. Among the stations making the switch were longtime CBS affiliates WJBK (channel 2) in Detroit and WJW (channel 8) in Cleveland.[2] Not wanting to be relegated to the UHF band, CBS heavily wooed Detroit's longtime ABC affiliate, WXYZ, as well as Cleveland's longtime ABC affiliate, WEWS-TV (channel 5); both stations were owned by Scripps. With this as leverage, Scripps told ABC that it would have to affiliate with four of its stations: WFTS, KNXV-TV (channel 15) in Phoenix (which was also slated to lose its Fox affiliation to New World-owned CBS affiliate KSAZ-TV), WMAR-TV (channel 2) in Baltimore and WCPO-TV (channel 9) in Cincinnati – the latter had to wait for ABC's affiliation contract with WKRC-TV (channel 12) to expire in June 1996 in order to make the switch. Scripps insisted on including WFTS and KNXV in the deal even though neither station had a news department.

As a result on December 12, 1994, WFTS assumed the market's ABC affiliation from longtime affiliate WTSP (channel 10), which took over the CBS affiliation from WTVT. Most of WFTS's syndicated programs were then acquired by WTTA (channel 38), WTOG and/or WTMV (channel 32, now WMOR-TV), which would also air Fox Kids. A decade later, WFTS became one of three Florida television stations, and one of the many Scripps-owned ABC affiliates that preempted Saving Private Ryan.[3]

Tampa-St. Petersburg-Sarasota is the fourth largest market with a major network appearing in the UHF channel range (14-51); although most digital television stations broadcast on a UHF frequency, most also identify through the use of a PSIP virtual channel as being on the VHF band, corresponding with the stations' former analog channel numbers. Because WFTS was formerly on UHF analog channel 28, it continues to identify as channel 28 through the use of PSIP. The larger markets with a major network in the UHF channel range are Phoenix (KNXV-TV, virtual channel 15), Atlanta (WGCL-TV, virtual channel 46) and Detroit (WWJ-TV, virtual channel 62); KNXV is an ABC affiliate while WGCL is an CBS affiliate and WWJ is a CBS owned-and-operated station.

Digital television[edit]Edit

Digital channels[edit]Edit

Channel Video Aspect PSIP short name Programming[4]
28.1 720p 16:9 WFTS-HD Main WFTS-TV programming / ABC
28.2 480i WFTS-SD Live Well Network/Action News Now (during weather and news emergencies)

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]Edit

WFTS-TV shut down its analog signal on June 12, 2009,[5] as part of the transition from analog to digital television. The station remained on its pre-transition channel 29[6] using PSIP to display WFTS-TV's virtual channel as 28.

News operation[edit]Edit

[2][3]Former WFTS newscast title card.[4][5]Screencap of "StormWatch in High Definition".WFTS-TV presently broadcasts 32 hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with four hours on weekdays, four hours on Saturdays and three hours on Sundays). WFTS currently uses WSI's Titan HD weather system for its forecasts. WFTS is one of ten television stations that airs consumer reports from John Matarese of ABC-affiliated sister station WCPO in Cincinnati.

During its days as an independent station and then as a Fox affiliate, WFTS presented hourly news and weather updates, featuring a person reading the day's headlines or the current forecast. During the station's first few months on the air, the newsbreaks were provided by WNSI-AM (1380 kHz., now WWMI) in an audio-only format, over a News Check slide. Later on, news updates began to feature on-camera newsreaders at WFTS's studios. By the late 1980s, the news and weather updates were titled 28 Newsbreak or 28 Weatherbreak. These news updates were discontinued in December 1994 as the station became an ABC affiliate and launched a full-scale news department.

WFTS began airing regular long-form newscasts on December 12, 1994, under the 28 Tampa Bay News brand. The newscasts initially originated from Telemation studios in Clearwater, since WFTS's studios on Tampa's east side (at the corner of I-4 and Columbus Drive) were not large enough to house a full-sized newsroom or a news set. The station's news department then moved to its new studios on Himes Avenue, across from Raymond James Stadium, in 1996. The station gradually added a two-hour morning newscast from 5-7 a.m., a half-hour noon newscast, a 90-minute block of news from 5-6:30 p.m., and a nightly 11 p.m. newscast. Given the fact that many former Fox stations had switched to ABC, NBC or CBS at the time, WFTS did not falter even as many stations in such a situation that launched newscasts had no success at competing with long-standing (mostly VHF) news stations (some stations shuttered their news departments as a result), WFTS manages to compete with rival stations in the Tampa market. Four members of WFTS's current on-air news staff have been with the station since the 1994 launch of its news department: anchors Brendan McLaughlin and Linda Hurtado, meteorologists Denis Phillips and Wayne Shattuck.

The newscast title was changed to 28 News briefly in 2002, before being changed again to ABC Action News later that year due to viewer confusion with the "ABC28" branding. The Action News all-day branding is also shared with NBC-affiliated sister station KSHB-TV (channel 41) in Kansas City, Missouri. In the fall of 2005, the station extended its weekday noon newscast to one hour, following the cancellation of the ABC soap opera Port Charles.

On July 28, 2007 beginning with the 6 p.m. newscast, WFTS-TV became the first television station in the Tampa Bay market to begin producing and broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition;[7] WFTS surprisingly beat out rivals WTVT (channel 13) and WTSP who were both rumored to be competing to launch the first high definition newscast in Tampa Bay. WFTS was the first to broadcast a true high definition weathercast in the Tampa Bay area in October 2007, rival WFLA soon followed.

Until December 2009, WFTS was one of two stations in the market to have two women regularly anchor an evening newscast. Wendy Ryan and Linda Hurtado anchored the 5 p.m. newscast. Denise White and Kathy Fountain anchored the 5 p.m. newscast on WTVT. Kathy Fountain retired on December 30, 2009, leaving Ryan and Hurtado as the only all-female anchor team in Tampa Bay; this changed again in the summer of 2010 when Jamison Uhler joined WFTS from WCAU-TV in Philadelphia as 5 p.m. and 11 p.m. co-anchor.

On April 25, 2012, WFTS launched ABC Action News Now, an exclusive newscast and weather station available mainly to smartphone and tablet users and designed with a program schedule designed with those devices in mind, rather than a traditional "news wheel" schedule seen on most news/weather-only subchannels. During severe weather and breaking news events, the channel is also carried on-air over 28.2 and local cable television providers in lieu of Live Well Network.

In November 2012, WFTS overtook all other local stations in all evening and late news ratings in the demographic of Adults 25-54.[8] This marked the first time ever WFTS won at 5:00, 5;30, 6:00 and 11:00 p.m. in the key demographic during one ratings period.

News/station presentationEdit

Newscast schedule


  • ABC Action News This Morning (5:00-7:00 a.m.)
  • ABC Action News at Noon (12:00-1:00 p.m.)
  • ABC Action News at 5:00 (5:00-5:30 p.m.)
  • ABC Action News at 5:30 (5:30-6:00 p.m.)
  • ABC Action News at 6:00 (6:00-6:30 p.m.)
  • ABC Action News at 11:00 (11:00-11:35 p.m.)


  • ABC Action News This Morning (6:00-8:00 a.m.)
  • ABC Action News This Morning (9:00-10:00 a.m.)
  • ABC Action News at 6:00 (6:00-6:30 p.m.)
  • ABC Action News at 11:00 (11:00-11:30 p.m.)


  • ABC Action News This Morning (6:00-7:00 a.m.)
  • ABC Action News This Morning (8:00-9:00 a.m.)
  • ABC Action News at 6:00 (6:00-6:30 p.m.)
  • ABC Action News at 11:00 (11:00-11:30 p.m.)

Newscast titlesEdit

  • News Check (1980s)
  • 28 Newsbreak / 28 Weatherbreak (1988–1994)
  • 28 Tampa Bay News (1994–2002)
  • 28 News (2002)
  • ABC Action News (2002–present)

Station slogansEdit

  • "Catch Familyvision on Channel 28" (1981–1984)
  • "Tampa Bay's Independent" (ca. 1986–1988)
  • "Your Fox Television Station/Tampa Bay's Fox Television Station"[9] (1988–1994; coincidentally, this term was trademarked by Fox Television Stations, which currently owns WTVT)
  • "Working Hard To Be Your Favorite" (1994–1995)
  • "Real People, Real News" (1996–1999)
  • "You Need to Know" (2002)
  • "Taking Action for You" (2002–present)

On-air staff Anchors

  • Sarina Fazan (weekends at 6:00 and 11:00 p.m.; also weekday reporter)
  • Ashley Glass (weekend mornings; also weekday reporter)
  • Linda Hurtado (weeknights at 5:00 and 5:30 p.m.; also health reporter)
  • Andrew Luria (weekends at 6:00 and 11:00 p.m.; also sports anchor)
  • Brendan McLaughlin (weeknights at 5:30 and 6:00 p.m.)
  • Deiah Riley (weekday mornings on ABC Action News This Morning from 5:00-7:00 a.m. and weekdays at noon)
  • Wendy Ryan (weeknights at 6:00 and 11:00 p.m.)
  • Dan Shaffer (weekday mornings on ABC Action News This Morning from 5:00-7:00 a.m. and weekdays at noon)
  • John Thomas (weekend mornings; also weekday reporter)
  • Jameson Uhler (weeknights at 5:00 and 11:00 p.m.)

ABC Action Weather

  • Denis Phillips (AMS Seal of Approval) - chief meteorologist; weeknights at 5:00, 5:30, 6:00 and 11:00 p.m.
  • Shay Ryan (AMS Seal of Approval) - meteorologist; weekday mornings on ABC Action News This Morning (5:00-7:00 a.m.) and weekdays at noon
  • Bill Logan - weather anchor; weekend mornings on ABC Action News This Morning (Saturdays from 6:00-8:00 and 9:00-10:00 a.m. and Sundays from 6:00-7:00 and 8:00-9:00 a.m.)
  • Wayne Shattuck (AMS Seal of Approval) - meteorologist; weekends at 6:00 and 11:00 p.m.


  • Tom Korun - sports director; weeknights at 6:00 and 11:00 p.m.
  • Andrew Luria - sports anchor; weekends at 6:00 and 11:00 p.m.


  • Jackie Callaway (consumer advocate for the Taking Action For You feature segments)
  • Lissette Campos ("Community Calendar" and "Positively Tampa Bay" feature reporter; also director of community affairs; previously weekday morning anchor from 2001 to 2005)
  • Meredyth Censullo (weekday morning traffic anchor)
  • Carson Chambers (general assignment reporter)
  • Michael George (investigative reporter)
  • Jacqueline Ingles (general assignment reporter)
  • John Matarese (consumer reporter; based out of WCPO in Cincinnati)
  • Alison Morrow (general assignment reporter)
  • Alan "Captain Al" Taylor (Action Air One pilot and traffic reporter).

Notable former on-air staffEdit

Broadcast, cable and satellite carriage[edit]Edit

WFTS can be seen mainly in Hernando, Pasco, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee, Hardee, and Polk Counties. WFTS can also be viewed in portions of Citrus, Sumter, Sarasota, De Soto, Highlands, Orange, Osceola and Lake Counties.

The station is not available on Comcast's Venice Venice cable system (in southern Sarasota County) due to the presence of WWSB (channel 40), an ABC station formed after Tampa-St. Petersburg's previous ABC affiliate WTSP's coverage of the Sarasota area was insufficient during its affiliation with the network. This means WFTS is not available to over 91,000 cable subscribers. [2]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Fox Gains 12 Stations in New World Deal". Chicago Sun-Times. May 23, 1994. Retrieved June 1, 2013.
  3. ^ Tampa, Fla., ABC affiliate among those pre-empting violent war movie broadcast, Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News, November 12, 2004. Retrieved June 8, 2013 from HighBeam Research.
  4. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WFTS
  5. ^ List of Digital Full-Power Stations
  6. ^ CDBS Print
  7. ^ "WFTS-TV First in Tampa to broadcast news in High Definition".
  8. ^ Deggans, Eric (28 November 2012). "ABC Action News comes out on top in evening and late night November sweeps ratings". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 2013-03-17.
  9. ^ [1]
  10. ^ a b c d WFTS Staff Bios,, Accessed October 18, 2010
  11. ^ "Elaine Quijano Bio". CBS News. 2 February 2012. Retrieved 10 March 2013.
  12. ^ "Alex Sanz bio". 1 December 2012. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
  13. ^ "Steele Sage bio". ESPN. Retrieved 12 March 2013.

External links[edit]Edit

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