DMA 13

WWSB Tampa To Launch 7 P.M. Newscast

On Monday, Sept. 14, Calkins Media-owned ABC affiliate WWSB Tampa, Fla. (DMA 13), is will debut a news newscast. ABC 7 News at 7:00 will have an investigative point of view, featuring a long-form report on a topic of the day as well as a live, roundtable discussion with community leaders and newsmakers. The program will also include a quick recap of the day’s top stories and weather.

ABC 7 News at 7:00 will be anchored by Alan Cohn, an award-winning journalist and former candidate for the United States Congress. Prior to joining WWSB, Cohn was an investigative reporter at WFTS Tampa; WTNH New Haven, Conn.; WAMI Miami; and New England Cable News in Boston.

He was recognized in 2007 with the George Foster Peabody award, one of journalism’s highest honors, for his investigation that uncovered that defective parts were being installed on Black Hawk helicopters built by Stratford-based Sikorsky Aircraft.  Cohn has also won numerous other awards for investigative reporting, including several Emmys and a Florida Associated Press award.  

In making the announcement, Jeff Benninghoff, WWSB general manager and VP of broadcast at Calkins Media, said: “We, as a company, believe strongly in localism and have expanded our commitment to providing quality news and local programming.  We believe that this 7 p.m. newscast will provide the perfect forum for more in-depth reporting — and debate — on important issues and stories in the Suncoast community.”

Steve Sabato, director of news and digital content, added, “We are very excited to provide more local news for the Suncoast audience. ABC 7 News at 7:00 will give us the ideal platform to better serve working professionals, and others, who may not be available for our early evening newscasts.”

Comments (4)

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Keith ONeal says:

August 27, 2015 at 11:41 pm

There are 2 ABC Affiliate stations in the Tampa/St. Petersburg market. (1) WFTS/28 licensed to Tampa, and (2) WWSB/40 licensed to Sarasota.

Korena Keys says:

August 28, 2015 at 8:59 am

A very gutsy move. They are to be congratulated for attempting it and for supporting it. This station, serving Sarasota and surrounding areas, only a portion of the Tampa market, has made several moves the past year or so reestablish and reinforce the loyalism affiliate television was all about. May their efforts pay off.

Dale Godfrey says:

August 28, 2015 at 10:26 am

The late Bob Nelson, personal friend and colleague, founder and longtime owner of WWSB (Then WXLT) obtained an ABC affiliation when the southern portion of the DMA was virtually without over-the-air ABC service. At the time Channel 10 (then WLCY) operated from a 500′ tower near Tarpon Springs. The Channel was a drop-in and had to maintain separation from Channel 10 Miami. IIRC the separation required was 220 miles. Plus, there was no primary ABC affiliate serving Fort Myers, so obtaining ABC was a slam dunk. Fast forward to Scripps’ acquisition of WFTS, Channel 28 in Tampa. Apparently there was an agreement between Scripps and ABC to have ABC not renew the Sarasota station’s affiliation. That caused its owner to file suit against ABC/Scripps for collusion, and ABC backed down, continuing the affiliation with WWSB. I am relating this from memory, as I was a GM of several ABC affiliates at the time, and I am by no means a lawyer, hence any legal terms used here is NOT in any official sense. Bottom line is that I’m happy to see WWSB maintain its ABC ties, and hope with a renewed news effort they will gain more local ad $$ and survive into the future!

    Wagner Pereira says:

    August 29, 2015 at 5:09 am

    Incorrect. WWSB was an ABC affiliate because Tampa WTSP (then the ABC Affiliate in Tampa) tower site was far North of the Metro and did not put a signal into Sarasota at the South End. That all changed when Fox picked up NFL Football in the early 90s. WTVT dropped CBS for Fox, Scripps did a group deal for ABC (they were an Independent at the time in Tampa) which left WTSP as the logical CBS Affiliate. WFTS has no issue putting a signal in Sarasota with a 2k ft stick 20 or so miles from Sarasota-Bradenton. The only reason they are doing this, imo, is because all the WWSB ABC and Syndicated Programming is blacked out in the Tampa Market except for Sarasota-Bradenton, as other Tampa Stations with full reach have those wrapped up. Doing a 7PM News allows them to not be Blacked out in the Tampa Market at that time – and even though many may not watch a 7PM Newscast from Sarasota in the Population Centers, it will certainly pull in more of an audience than a blank screen with local News Times on the MVPD systems.

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