Sarasota-Bradenton-Venice-North Port, Florida
City of license Sarasota
Branding ABC 7 (general)

ABC 7 News (newscasts)

Slogan Your Suncoast News, We're Here For You
Channels Digital: 24 (UHF)

Virtual: 40 (PSIP)

Subchannels 40.1 ABC
Owner Calkins Media

(WWSB License, LLC)

First air date October 23, 1971
Call letters' meaning 'S'arasota & Bradenton
Former callsigns WXLT-TV (1971-1986)
Former channel number(s) Analog:
40 (UHF, 1971-2009)
Digital: 52 (UHF)
Former affiliations CBS and NBC (secondary throughout the 1970s)
Transmitter power 90 kW
Height 234 m
Facility ID 61251
Transmitter coordinates 27°33′21″N 82°21′48″W / 27.55583°N 82.36333°W / 27.55583; -82.36333

WWSB, channel 40 is the ABC-affiliated television station for the Florida Suncoast that is licensed to Sarasota. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 24 from a transmitter on Rutland Road (County Road 675) in the unincorporated Manatee County community of Rye, about 5 miles ESE of Parrish. Owned by Calkins Media, the station has studios on 10th Street in the Rosemary District of Sarasota and a news bureau in Venice, FL. Its primary target area is Manatee and Sarasota Counties though they also cover to a lesser extent Charlotte, DeSoto and Hardee counties. Due to this station's transmitter location and the changeover from analog to digital transmission, its coverage area expands as far north as Northern Hillsborough and Polk Counties, south to Punta Gorda, and east to Avon Park and Sebring giving some aerial viewers a choice of two or three ABC affiliates depending on location.

As a result, this station is technically a secondary ABC affiliate particularly for the eastern side of Tampa Bay. The city of Tampa itself is on the rim of WWSB's indoor DTV signal. On cable, the station is the sole ABC affiliate on Comcast's Southern Sarasota County systems and it competes with Fort Myers-based WZVN-TV (also known on-air as "ABC 7") in Desoto and Charlotte Counties and Orlando's WFTV in Hardee County. They have faced an uphill battle gaining carriage on cable and satellite television providers in some cases. While DirecTV started carrying WWSB in 2009, Dish Network did not carry the station until March 2012 but only in SD. It will not be available in HD on Dish until the end of 2012. Verizon FiOS added the channel to its Hillsborough and Pasco County systems in October 2006, greatly increasing WWSB's coverage area and its overlap with WFTS.[1]

Syndicated programming on WWSB includes Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, seen during the 7 pm hour. On weekdays, WWSB runs miscellaneous courtroom shows and Better, a syndicated lifestyle television program based on Better Homes and Gardens magazine. In previous years, WWSB carried generally the same syndicated programs as the other Tampa Bay stations, despite the overlap in signals, such as The Rosie O'Donnell Show (which was also held by WTVT during its entire run), Extra (also seen on WFLA-TV) and M*A*S*H (seen over the years on many stations, most recently WTVT). Until Fall 2012, WWSB carried Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy evenings, simultaneously with WFTS; on September 17, 2012 WTSP retained marketwide broadcast rights to Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!, forcing the syndicator to remove the shows from WWSB, leading to WWSB replacing the shows with Who Wants to be a Millionaire at 7 and 7:30pm.


[hide] *1 Digital television

Digital television[edit]Edit

The station discontinued its analog signal on February 1, 2009 about two weeks before the original national deadline of February 17.[2] [3] Even though the national turn-off date was changed to June 12, WWSB announced that its analog signal would not be reactivated.[4] The station broadcasts its digital signal on channel 24.


[2][3]Final channel 40 logo used from 2001 to 2004.The station first went on-the-air as WXLT-TV (XL Television with "XL" representing 40, its former analog channel, in Roman numerals) on October 23, 1971 as the first television affiliate in the area based neither in Tampa nor St. Petersburg. It signed-on to provide ABC programming in an area insufficiently covered by WLCY-TV (now WTSP) because of that station's lower-powered transmitter location well north of the area's other televisions stations at the time. Until WLCY upgraded its facilities in the late 1970s, both that station and WXLT competed for viewers in Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties. It was not uncommon to see WXLT's billboards in Tampa, St. Petersburg, or Largo. In the 1970s, WXLT also cleared some CBS and NBC programming passed on by WTVT and WFLA; in 1972, for example, when The Joker's Wild debuted on CBS, it was pre-empted on WTVT but picked up by WXLT.

The call letters became WWSB in 1986. On cable, WFTS (now the area's primary ABC affiliate after a market realignment triggered by the Fox Network's purchase of WTVT) was not carried south of the Sarasota area while WWSB was not largely available on cable north of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge until Verizon FiOS added WWSB to all of its area lineups. The latter was due to contractual conditions drawn up in the early 1990s by WTSP and later WFTS.

On September 27, 1994, WWSB received an affiliation termination notice from the ABC network, likely related to ABC's forced change to WFTS - had the station not petitioned the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) (and won, which it did) to keep its affiliation, the then-23-year-long ABC affiliation would have come to a close on 2 April 1995.[5]

On November 5, 2001, the station changed its studio location to a new building in downtown Sarasota and switched logos in 2002. Until March 2004, the station's news department operated under the News 40 branding and the station as a whole branded as "Channel 40". This was changed to "ABC 7" because most viewers watch the station on Bright House Networks or Comcast channel 7. However, not all cable systems carry WWSB on that channel. Comcast's Wauchula system carries it on channel 2 and its Port Charlotte system offers WWSB on channel 10 since its home-market station WZVN is seen on channel 7.

The station and its sports director, Don Brennan, have been featured on a "webisode", along with an actual episode, of the ABC show Cougar Town, which is set in a fictional community in Sarasota County.[6]


Syndicated programming featured on WWSB includes: Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, Better, We the People With Gloria Allred, America's Court with Judge Ross and

Black Almanac[edit]Edit

Black Almanac is a locally-produced public affairs program that airs on Sunday mornings at 7:30 a.m. It is hosted by Ed James, who is a longtime anchor and personality of the station since just after their sign-on as WXLT. The show focuses on the issues that African Americans face in the community. The program has aired since 1972, making it the longest running locally-produced public affairs program in the Southeastern United States.[7]

News operation[edit]Edit

The early days of WXLT's news coverage focused on local news and events, but to improve ratings, later expanded to "blood and guts" journalism focusing mainly on crime stories.[8] The station became notorious in 1974 when news anchor and talk-show host Christine Chubbuck committed suicide by shooting herself in the head on-the-air making reference to the station's "blood and guts" policies in her final monologue. Her suicide occurred the day after a story she filed was cut for a story on a shootout at an area restaurant.[9] The suicide would later provide part of the inspiration for the 1976 film, Network.[10]

A second mobile newsroom was added in 1996 giving the station the ability to cover live news from multiple locations during newscasts.

In October 2002, it expanded its weekday morning news to an hour starting at 6. WWSB's conversion to "ABC 7" involved a redress of the station's news set, a new logo to a unique version and color scheme of the well-known circle 7 logo, a new slogan, and a major local promotion and advertising campaign.

The station's news department focuses its coverage Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte, DeSoto, and Hardee Counties. In addition to its main studios, WWSB operates a South Bureau (covering Southern Sarasota and Charlotte Counties) and Manatee Bureau (for Manatee County). Unlike most ABC affiliates in the Eastern Time Zone, this station does not air local news on weekday mornings in the 5 o'clock hour.

News/station presentationEdit

Newscast schedule


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


  • ABC 7 News at 6:30 (6:30-7:00 p.m.)
  • ABC 7 News at 11:00 (11:00-11:35 p.m.)

Newscast titles

  • TV-40 NewsWatch (1971-1970s)
  • NewsCenter 40 (1970s-1986)
  • WWSB News 40 (1986-1994)
  • News 40 (1994–2004)[11]
  • ABC 7 News (2004–present)[12]

Station slogansEdit

  • "40 Is Yours" (1982–1986)
  • "The Home Team" (1986-1994)
  • "ABC for the Suncoast" (1994–2004)
  • "Local News. Everyday. Every Newscast." (2004–2007)
  • "Your Suncoast News" (2007–present)


  • Don Brennan - weekday mornings on Good Morning Suncoast (5:00-7:00 a.m.)
  • Scott Dennis - weekdays at noon and weeknights at 5:00, 5:30 and 6:00 p.m.; also "Living Green" segment producer
  • Lauren Dorsett - weeknights at 5:00, 5:30, 6:00 and 11:00 p.m.
  • John McQuiston - weekends at 6:30 and 11:00 p.m.; also weeknight reporter
  • Hayley Wielgus - weekday mornings on Good Morning Suncoast (5:00-7:00 a.m.) and weekdays at noon; also "Suncoast Scene" Reporter

ABC 7 Suncoast Weather Team

  • Bob Harrigan (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval) - chief meteorologist; weeknights at 5:00, 5:30, 6:00 and 11:00 p.m., also "Fishin' with Bob and Captain Jonnie" segment producer
  • John Scalzi (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval) - meteorologist; weekday mornings on Good Morning Suncoast (5:00-7:00 a.m.) and weekdays at noon
  • Wendy Ross - weather anchor; weekends at 6:30 and 11:00 p.m.
  • Stephanie Roberts - fill-in meteorologist and fill-in news anchor

Sports team

  • Don Brennan - sports director; weeknights at 5:00, 5:30, 6:00 and 11:00 p.m.
  • Bill Wagy - sports anchor; fill-in


  • Linda Carson - general assignment reporter; also fill-in anchor
  • Ray Collins - general assignment reporter
  • Fallon Silcox - general assignment reporter
  • Josh Taylor - "7 South Newsroom" bureau reporter
  • Max Winitz - general assignment reporter
  • Bobeth Yates - general assignment reporter


  • Dr. Ed James - producer and host of Black Almanac
  • Richard Stern - business commentator; seen weeknights at 5:30 p.m. and Mondays at noon
  • Chef Judi Gallagher - culinary director; seen weekdays at noon
  • Captain Johnny Walker - seen on "Fishin' with Bob and Captain Jonnie"
  • Frank Alcock - political commentator
  • Anne L. Weintraub - law consultant; seen Fridays at noon and 5:30 p.m.

Former on-air staffEdit


  1. ^
  3. ^ WWSB: "ABC 7 engineers explain this weekend's Analog/Digital TV switch", 1/30/2009.
  4. ^ WWSB: "Switch to Digital TV delayed until June", 2/5/2009.
  5. ^ "Station cut from ABC roster" - Adweek Western Edition, 17 October 1994
  6. ^ Don Brennan on Cougar Town
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ Quinn, Sally (4 August 1974). "Christine Chubbuck: 29, Good-Looking, Educated. A Television Personality. Dead. Live and in Color (PDF)" (PDF). Washington Post.
  10. ^ Empire: "Television will eat itself in Sidney Lumet's searing satire", October 1, 2008; via Source mistakenly mentioned Chubbock as an anchor for a Cleveland television station.
  11. ^ 1997 WWSB 11pm Tease/ID/Open
  12. ^ WWSB ABC 7 News 5PM Open (6/27/11)
  13. ^ ABC 7 Team

External linksEdit

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