WTVT, is a Fox owned-and-operated television station located in Tampa, Florida and also serving the nearby city of St. Petersburg. If you see a radarimage, the channel probably is in commercials. If it says -stream unavailable,- there is probably no newscast.
WTVT, virtual channel 13 (VHF digital channel 12), is a Fox owned-and-operated television station licensed to Tampa, Florida, United States and also serving the nearby city of St. Petersburg. The station is owned by the Fox Television Stations subsidiary of Fox Corporation. WTVT’s studios are located on West Kennedy Boulevard in Tampa, and its transmitter is located in Riverview.
WTVT presently broadcasts 72½ hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 12 hours each weekday, 6½ hours on Saturdays and six hours on Sundays).
Under Gaylord Broadcasting ownership, the company poured significant resources into channel 13’s news operation. In 1958, WTVT became the second station in the country to introduce daily editorials, and was also the first station in the country to run an hour-long news block, consisting of 45 minutes of local news (under the title Pulse) combined with the then-15-minute network newscast. By 1962, WTVT had overtaken WFLA-TV as the highest-rated station in the Tampa Bay market, retaining that position for over 25 years. This was largely because of the longevity of many of the station’s personalities. For instance, Roy Leep was the station’s weatherman from 1957 until his retirement in 1997, and Hugh Smith was the station’s main anchor from 1963 to 1991, spending most of that time doubling as its news director.
Channel 13 dropped the Pulse moniker from its newscasts in 1989 in favor of Eyewitness News. The Eyewitness News moniker was retained during the early years of the Fox era in 1996, before being dropped in 1997.
After WTVT became a Fox affiliate in December 1994, the station adopted a news-intensive schedule, increasing its news programming output from about 25 hours a week to nearly 45 hours. Like most former Big Three affiliates that joined Fox during the 1990s, it maintained a news schedule similar to the one it had as a CBS affiliate. The station retained all of its existing newscasts. However, it expanded its weekday morning newscast from one to 3½ hours (with two hours added from 7 to 9 a.m. to make up for the loss of CBS This Morning), bridged the weeknight 5 and 6 p.m. newscasts into a two-hour early evening news block (by expanding its half-hour 6 p.m. newscast to one hour) and added an hour-long primetime newscast at 10 p.m. in addition to its late news at 11 p.m. At one point, WTVT had the largest local newscast output of any television station in the country.
In April 2009, Fox entered into a Local News Service agreement with the E. W. Scripps Company in which Fox’s owned-and-operated stations in Tampa, Detroit and Phoenix would share news video and helicopter footage with Scripps-owned stations in those markets for use in their own reports. Locally, WTVT began pooling video with WFTS as part of the agreement; however the stations otherwise maintain separate news departments. Gannett-owned WTSP was added to the LNS agreement that June. Prior to the agreement, WTVT had been the only station in the Tampa market to use two news helicopters: a Bell 206 called “SkyFox” and a Robinson R44 called “SkyFox 2”, which was used whenever “SkyFox” was grounded due to mechanical reasons. When warranted, both helicopters were used to cover significant news stories. WTVT, WFTS and WTSP now utilize only one helicopter (WFTS’ “Action Air One”) to cover news events (rival station WFLA covers news events by utilizing its own helicopter, “Eagle 8”).
In the summer of 2009, Fox Television Stations opened a graphics hub at the WTVT studios to distribute graphics for Fox’s owned-and-operated stations.
Starting with the 5:00 p.m. newscast on June 30, 2009, WTVT became the fourth and final station in the Tampa Bay market to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition.