WFOR-TV

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WFOR-TV
WFOR.jpg
MiamiFort Lauderdale, Florida
United States
City of licenseMiami, Florida
BrandingCBS 4 (general)
South Florida's CBS 4 News (newscasts)
SloganSouth Florida's smart choice
ChannelsDigital: 22 (UHF)
Virtual: 4 (PSIP)
Subchannels4.1 CBS
AffiliationsCBS (O&O)
OwnerCBS Corporation
(CBS Television Stations, Inc.)
First air dateSeptember 20, 1967; 46 years ago (1967-09-20)
Call letters' meaningFOuR
Sister station(s)WBFS-TV
Former callsignsWCIX (1967–1995)
Former channel number(s)Analog:
6 (VHF, 1967-1995)
4 (VHF, 1995-2009)
Former affiliationsIndependent (1967–1986)
Fox (1986–1988)
Transmitter power1000 kW
Height298 m (978 ft)
Facility ID47902
Transmitter coordinates25°58′8.3″N 80°13′19.2″W / 25.968972°N 80.222000°W / 25.968972; -80.222000
Licensing authorityFCC
Public license information:Profile
CDBS
Websitemiami.cbslocal.com
 
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WFOR-TV
WFOR.jpg
MiamiFort Lauderdale, Florida
United States
City of licenseMiami, Florida
BrandingCBS 4 (general)
South Florida's CBS 4 News (newscasts)
SloganSouth Florida's smart choice
ChannelsDigital: 22 (UHF)
Virtual: 4 (PSIP)
Subchannels4.1 CBS
AffiliationsCBS (O&O)
OwnerCBS Corporation
(CBS Television Stations, Inc.)
First air dateSeptember 20, 1967; 46 years ago (1967-09-20)
Call letters' meaningFOuR
Sister station(s)WBFS-TV
Former callsignsWCIX (1967–1995)
Former channel number(s)Analog:
6 (VHF, 1967-1995)
4 (VHF, 1995-2009)
Former affiliationsIndependent (1967–1986)
Fox (1986–1988)
Transmitter power1000 kW
Height298 m (978 ft)
Facility ID47902
Transmitter coordinates25°58′8.3″N 80°13′19.2″W / 25.968972°N 80.222000°W / 25.968972; -80.222000
Licensing authorityFCC
Public license information:Profile
CDBS
Websitemiami.cbslocal.com

WFOR-TV, channel 4, is a CBS owned-and-operated television station located in Miami, Florida, USA. WFOR-TV is one-half of a duopoly with MyNetworkTV affiliate WBFS-TV (channel 33), and both stations share studio facilities in Doral, near Miami International Airport. WFOR's transmitter is located in Miramar.

History[edit]

WCIX, channel 6[edit]

The station signed on the air on September 20, 1967 as WCIX on VHF channel 6. It was originally owned by Coral Television, a subsidiary of General Cinema Corporation. The channel 6 allocation was originally licensed to Islamorada in the Florida Keys, but the local owners successfully convinced the Federal Communications Commission to move the license to Miami on the mainland where it could serve more viewers. It built a transmitter tower in Homestead, which was 40 miles (60 km) southwest of Miami, farther south than the other Miami television stations. This arrangement was necessary to protect WPTV (on adjacent channel 5) in West Palm Beach and WDBO-TV (now WKMG-TV, and also on channel 6) in Orlando. As a result, WCIX only provided a "Grade B" signal to Fort Lauderdale, and was virtually unviewable in the northern portion of Broward County. The station made up for this shortfall in its coverage area by opening translator stations throughout Broward County and in Boca Raton (part of the West Palm Beach market), identifying channels 33, 61, and 69 in its station IDs as late as the mid-1980s. The channel 33 translator shut down in 1984 to allow future sister station WBFS-TV to sign on, and was then moved to channel 27 where it operated until the mid-1990s; channel 69 became WYHS-TV in 1988. Translators on channels 21 (in Pompano Beach) and 58 (in central Broward County) were also used in later years.

WCIX was the first general entertainment independent station in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale market, and the second in Florida, after WSUN-TV (now WTTA) in St. Petersburg converted to an independent in 1965. Channel 6 ran the typical independent format of children's shows, sitcoms, movies, and other local and syndicated programs. WCIX was also one of very few stations not owned by Kaiser Broadcasting to carry The Lou Gordon Program from WKBD-TV in Detroit in the 1970s. It was also one of the first stations in the area to offer programming in both English and Spanish to serve South Florida's growing Hispanic population. From the 1970s to the early 1980s, WCIX had widespread cable penetration throughout Florida and was seen on cable systems as far north as Tampa Bay and Orlando. Outside the Miami market, WCIX shared its cable space with another Miami station, WKID-TV (channel 51, now WSCV), which presented old movies and sitcoms after WCIX left the air.

A WCIX logo from 1984, which also features the corporate tag for then-owner Taft Broadcasting. The numeric "6" was used from the station's sign-on in 1967 and survived until summer 1989 when it was replaced with a new logo to coincide with the CBS affiliation.

The station was the only general entertainment independent in the market until 1976, when WHFT-TV (channel 45) was purchased by LeSEA Broadcasting and switched a hybrid schedule of general entertainment and religious programs. In 1980, WHFT was sold to the Trinity Broadcasting Network and switched to religious programming full-time, leaving WCIX as the market's lone independent once again. However, it would receive competition once again in 1982 when WDZL (channel 39, now WSFL-TV) signed on.

General Cinema traded WCIX to Cincinnati-based Taft Broadcasting in early 1983 in exchange for WGR-TV (now WGRZ) in Buffalo, New York.[1][2] Under Taft, WCIX continued to be the leading independent station in South Florida, and moved from its original studios on Brickell Avenue in downtown Miami to its current facility in Doral (then unincorporated, now a separate city) in 1985. On October 9, 1986, WCIX became one of the charter affiliates of the newly launched Fox Broadcasting Company, and was one of a handful of VHF stations to affiliate with Fox, though the station was essentially still independent since the network offered only a couple of nights of programming each week at the time.

Acquired by CBS[edit]

After losing a bid to purchase then-CBS affiliate WTVJ (then on channel 4) from then-owner Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., CBS made a half-hearted offer to buy WCIX from Taft in January 1987. Taft declined, but a month later opted to sell all their independent stations and Fox affiliates, including WCIX, to the TVX Broadcast Group. However, TVX became mired in debt as a result of the purchase, and began to sell off many of its medium- and small-market stations. Although TVX originally planned to keep WCIX, the company eventually decided that the station would have to be divested. One of the primary factors in the decision to sell was that WCIX was TVX's only VHF station, whereas its sisters were all on UHF. KKR sold WTVJ to NBC in September 1987. However, CBS' affiliation contract with WTVJ expired in December 1988, as did NBC's contract with WSVN (channel 7), its Miami affiliate since 1956. WSVN's owner, Sunbeam Television, was not willing to end channel 7's affiliation with NBC one year early. NBC was thus forced to run WTVJ as a CBS affiliate for over a year – a situation that did not sit well with either NBC or CBS.

WCIX's first CBS-era logo, introduced in summer 1989.

With the defection of WTVJ looming, CBS made another offer to TVX for WCIX in the spring of 1988. The two sides agreed to a final deal in August.[3] In the interim, channel 6 agreed to air CBS programs preempted by WTVJ. Meanwhile, WSVN fought to retain its relationship with NBC, but later relented and approached CBS for an affiliation deal. CBS turned it down and went forward with its plans for WCIX despite its weak signal in Broward County.

The affiliation changeover officially occurred on January 1, 1989: CBS' full schedule moved to WCIX, while NBC's full schedule of programs moved to WTVJ. Fox moved its programming over to WSVN, while most of WCIX's syndicated programs (a notable exception being Star Trek: The Next Generation, the rights to which are now owned by CBS) went to WDZL. CBS formally closed on its purchase of WCIX the next day. In the case of Miami-Fort Lauderdale, it is one of the two television markets where Fox switched affiliates both on the VHF dial (the other being Honolulu, Hawaii if non-satellite stations are counted, when Fox affiliate KHNL and NBC affiliate KHON-TV swapped affiliations on January 1, 1996) – and the only known instance of a longtime "Big Three" affiliate switching to Fox prior to the 1994 United States broadcast TV realignment.

Despite a significant technical overhaul and upgraded programming, WCIX struggled as a CBS station due to its weak signal in Fort Lauderdale. Despite operating a translator in the area on channel 27, CBS persuaded West Palm Beach's longtime ABC affiliate WPEC (channel 12), to switch to CBS (replacing UHF station WTVX) in order to give the network a stronger signal in northern Broward County.[4]

WCIX's transmission tower was brought down by Hurricane Andrew on August 24, 1992, forcing channel 6 off the air. Within hours, the station resumed broadcasts via its low power translator in Fort Lauderdale. WDZL began carrying WCIX's newscasts the next day, with the entire CBS schedule following a few days later. Within a week, WCIX was back on the air using an emergency transmitter on a borrowed tower. In the wake of the devastation, WCIX's staff helped create Neighbors Helping Neighbors, a grass roots charitable organization which aimed to help people rebuild. The organization lives on as Neighbors 4 Neighbors, which is still supported by the station.

Move to channel 4[edit]

Main article: 1994 United States broadcast TV realignment
WCIX moved to channel 4 on September 10, 1995, becoming WFOR-TV. This logo was used from September 1995 to April 1999.
CBS 4 logo, from April 1999 to January 23, 2010.
Former CBS 4 logo from January 23 to August 9, 2010.

In 1994, CBS and Westinghouse (Group W) Broadcasting signed a long-term affiliation deal, part of which resulted in three Westinghouse-owned stations becoming CBS affiliates. As a sidebar, a subsequent deal between NBC and a new Group W/CBS joint venture was made in 1995, with CBS selling the channel 6 facility to NBC as compensation for the loss of two Westinghouse-owned NBC affiliates, KYW-TV in Philadelphia and WBZ-TV in Boston.[5] In return, Group W/CBS received the stronger channel 4 facility and cash as compensation for the loss of Philadelphia's WCAU-TV, which was being acquired by NBC. NBC also included stations in Denver and Salt Lake City in the tradeoff to Group W/CBS.

At 1:00 a.m. on September 10, 1995, WCIX and WTVJ swapped dial positions. The entire WCIX intellectual unit (studios, CBS affiliation, programming and staff) moved from channel 6 to channel 4, effectively returning CBS programming to channel 4 after a six-year hiatus. WTVJ had been Miami's CBS affiliate from its sign-on in 1949 until the 1989 switch to NBC. Along with the frequency change came a new set of call letters, WFOR-TV. Due to the way the asset exchange deal was structured, the two stations were required to swap licenses in addition to the transmitting facilities.[6][7] As a result, the FCC considers WFOR-TV to be legally the same station as the original WTVJ; however, the studios of both WFOR-TV and WTVJ remained the same.

Under the terms of the deal, CBS sold controlling interest (55%) in WFOR-TV to Westinghouse, while retaining a minority interest (45%). WFOR became fully owned by CBS once again when the Westinghouse Electric Corporation merged with CBS at the end of 1995. In 2000, Viacom bought CBS, making WFOR a sister station to UPN affiliate WBFS-TV, who subsequently moved into WFOR's studios (Viacom was also by this time the owner of some of WFOR's sister stations under TVX). The station also handled some support operations for WTVX in West Palm Beach until it was sold to Cerberus Capital Management in 2007. When Viacom spun off CBS Corporation in 2005, WFOR-TV and WBFS-TV became part of the new company.

Digital television[edit]

Digital channels[edit]

ChannelVideoAspectPSIP Short NameProgramming
4.11080i16:9WFOR-TVMain WFOR-TV programming / CBS HD

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

WFOR began its digital television service on May 1, 2001. WFOR-TV terminated its analog signal, on VHF channel 4, on June 12, 2009, as part of the federally mandated transition from analog to digital television. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 22.[8] Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analog channel 4.

News operation[edit]

WFOR newscast open seen nightly at 11, used from August 9, 2010 to September 22, 2013.

WFOR-TV presently broadcasts 26½ hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 4½ hours on weekdays and two hours each on Saturdays and Sundays). A few years after its launch, the station (while on channel 6) began operating its news department, with the launch of The 10 O'Clock News, the first primetime newscast in South Florida. After it affiliated with CBS on January 1, 1989, WCIX began a half-hour newscast at 6:00 p.m. and moved their 10:00 newscast to 11:00, it continued to increase its local news output during the early 1990s.

With the hiring of a new news director, Shannon High-Bassalik, in 1999, major changes came to WFOR's news department. New anchors, a younger and hipper look, and flashy news coverage were all similar to the style seen at WSVN, where she was assistant news director. She also changed the newscasts' branding from News 4 South Florida to CBS 4 News. Until June 2007, Maggie Rodriguez and Elliot Rodriguez co-anchored the 5 and 11 p.m. newscasts; Maggie left the station to co-anchor the Saturday Early Show. Shannon Hori, formerly of Fort Worth, Texas sister station KTVT, was named main anchor in June 2007. That same month, news director High-Bassalik was forced to resign, and was replaced by Adrienne Roark. Roark left WFOR/WBFS in March 2010 to join CBS' Dallas-Fort Worth duopoly of KTVT/KTXA. Cesar Aldama became the news director until he moved to Baltimore, Maryland and was replaced by Liz Roldan.

On January 11, 2010, WFOR-TV began broadcasting local newscasts from a temporary set in preparation for an upgrade to HD news broadcasts. On January 24, 2010, after about two weeks of preparation, WFOR-TV became the last major English-language station in the Miami television market and the last CBS-owned station that has a full-time news operation to make the upgrade to high definition newscasts (Detroit sister station WWJ-TV was technically the last CBS-owned station with an in-house news operation that continued to broadcast in standard definition, but it upgraded its news production to high definition on February 2, 2012; however, it does not produce or air regular evening or late-night newscasts nor does it have a full-scale news department). The newscasts on sister station WBFS-TV were also included in the upgrade at that time (that station no longer airs any newscasts). The upgrade included a major retooling of the news set, new studio equipment, master control changes, and new graphics. Along with the revamp, a new logo was introduced, which would further emphasize a "South Florida feel"[9]

On August 9, 2010, WFOR began using a new graphics package that was standardized among the rest of the news-producing CBS O&O stations, which prominently features a glass CBS eye. A new logo was also introduced based on the logo used by KCNC-TV, while keeping the wave featured in the prior logo below it. The station's news theme, "Moving Forward", was retained in its original format but was eventually switched to Gari Media Group's "The Enforcer", which uses the basic music signature of "I Love Chicago, Chicago, My Home" has been used on many of CBS's O&O stations since the mid-1970s, when it was introduced by Chicago's WBBM-TV.

News/station presentation[edit]

Newscast titles[edit]

Station slogans[edit]

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News team[edit]

Current on-air staff[15][edit]

Anchors
CBS 4 Storm Specialists
Sports team
Reporters

Notable former on-air staff[edit]

Translators[edit]

WFOR-TV also previously had two translator stations in the Florida Keys: W38AA (channel 38) in Marathon and W39AC (channel 39) in Key West. Mapale LLC, which has owned them since at least 1979, now has them assigned to Key West's WSBS-TV, making their entire service area redundant. Their "digital companion channels" are licensed separately from the analogs, and have Mapale's own WGEN-TV (also from Key West) listed as their primary station.

References[edit]

External links[edit]