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WWSB, Channel 40 (Cable and Virtual channel 7), is the ABC affiliate for Sarasota, Florida.

WWSB is owned by Calkins Media, Inc., a Pennsylvania-based mass media company that owns several small newspapers in Pennsylvania and two other television stations: WTXL-TV in Tallahassee (which Calkins acquired in December 2005) and WAAY-TV in Huntsville, Alabama (acquired in February 2007).

WWSB's transmitter is located on a 248 m (814 ft) high tower in Parrish - a small community about 19 miles (30 km) north of the station's studios in downtown Sarasota. As a consequence to its location, its coverage area expands as far north as northern Hillsborough County and Lakeland, giving some aerial viewers a choice of two or three ABC affiliates, depending on location.

A slightly directional antenna broadcasts the station's UHF signal south toward the cities served by WWSB. The largest of those cities are Sarasota, Bradenton, Venice, and North Port. The station's news department focuses its coverage on five counties: Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte, Hardee, and DeSoto.

The station can not be viewed on satellite TV, which has been frustrating for many people in the Sarasota-Manatee area, and WWSB has been asking people with satellite systems to petition their providers to show WWSB. Recently, when Verizon started its FiOS cable lines in the area, WWSB was not originally included, but was added to channel 7 on the FiOS systems in late October 2006 which included Hillsborough and Pasco counties.


The station first went on the air as WXLT-TV (for W XL (40 in roman numerals) Television) in 1971, being the first television affiliate in the area based neither in Tampa nor St. Petersburg. WWSB signed on to provide ABC programming in an area insufficiently covered by WLCY-TV (now WTSP), when that station broadcasted at a lower power. The early days of the station'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. 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 that she filed was cut for a story on a shootout at an area restaurant.

In the 1970s, WXLT also cleared some CBS and NBC programming passed on by WTVT or WFLA, respectively. For example: in 1972, 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 was not carried south of the Sarasota area, while WWSB was not available on cable north of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge (until Verizon FiOS added WWSB to all of their Gulf Coast lineups) -- the latter was due to contractual conditions drawn up in the early-1990s by WTSP and, later, WFTS.

Until WTSP upgraded their facilities in the late-1970s, both WLCY/WTSP 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.

Today, WWSB still provides ABC programming to Manatee and Sarasota counties, even though they're in the shadow of WFTS, whose transmitter is only about 20 miles north of WWSB's. On cable, WWSB is the sole ABC affiliate on Comcast's southern Sarasota County systems, while it competes with Fort Myers' WZVN-TV in Desoto County and Port Charlotte, and Orlando's WFTV in Hardee County.


In 2001, the station changed studio locations to a new building in downtown Sarasota. In 2002, they changed logos, and Until March 2004, the station's news department operated under the brand "News 40", and the station as a whole branded as "Channel 40." The brand was changed to ABC 7, because most viewers watch the station on Brighthouse Networks or Comcast Cable and both providers carry WWSB on channel 7. The conversion to ABC 7 involved a redress of the station's news sets, a new logo (to a unique version of the well known Circle 7 logo) and color scheme, a new slogan ("Local news. Every day. Every newscast."), from its longtime slogan "ABC for the Suncoast", and a major local promotion and advertising campaign.

However, not all cable systems carry WWSB on cable 7 -- Comcast's Wauchula system carries WWSB on cable 2; also, its Port Charlotte system offers WWSB on cable 10, since its home-market station, WZVN-TV (which also brands as ABC 7 for the same reason), is seen on cable 7.

The station also uses channel 7 as its PSIP virtual channel on its digital signal; such use is contrary to FCC regulations, in which its analog channel number (in this case, 40) must be used for PSIP.

Black Almanac

Black Almanac is a locally-produced public affairs program that airs at 7:30 a.m. Sundays on WWSB. It is hosted by Ed James, a longtime anchor and personality of the station who has been with the station just after its sign on as WXLT, and 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.

Newscast Lineup


  • ABC 7 News at Sunrise: 6-7 AM

Anchors: Ken Jefferson, Michelle Rieg
Weather: John Scalzi

  • ABC 7 News at Noon: 12-1 PM

Anchor: Ken Jefferson
Weather: John Scalzi

  • ABC 7 News at 5:00: 5-6 PM

Anchor: Heidi Godman
Weather: Bob Harrigan
Sports: Don Brennan
Business: Richard Stern

  • ABC 7 News at 6:00: 6-6:30 PM

Anchors: Scott Dennis, Monica Yadav
Weather: Bob Harrigan
Sports: Don Brennan

  • ABC 7 News at 11:00: 11-11:35 PM

Anchors: Scott Dennis, Monica Yadav
Weather: Bob Harrigan
Sports: Don Brennan


  • ABC 7 Weekend Edition - 6:30-7 PM

Anchor: Linda Carson
Weather: Wendy Ross

  • ABC 7 Weekend Edition - 11-11:35 PM

Anchor: Linda Carson
Weather: Wendy Ross

Current personalities

  • 6:00, 11:00 News Anchor: Scott Dennis (1985-present)
  • 5:00, 5:30 News Anchor: Heidi Godman (1988-present)
  • 6:00, 11:00 News Anchor/Investigative Reporter: Monica Yadav (1999-present)
  • Chief Meteorologist: Bob Harrigan (1985-present)
  • Weekend PM Anchor: Linda Carson (1995-present) (widow of former NFL coach Bud Carson)
  • Weekend Forecaster: Wendy Ross (1976-1979, 1997-present)
  • Sunrise, Noon News Anchor: Ken Jefferson (2002-present)
  • Sunrise, Noon Meteorologist: John Scalzi (1995-present)
  • Photojournalist/Reporter/fill-in anchor: Josh Taylor (2002-present)
  • Photojournalist/Reporter/Sunrise Anchor: Michelle Rieg (2004-present)
  • Reporter: Shannon Cornwell (2008-present)
  • Weekday Sports Anchor: Don Brennan (2006-present)
  • Substitute Sports Anchor: Leah Secondo (2004-present)
  • Business Commentator: Richard Stern (1987-present)
  • Host of "Black Almanac": Dr. Ed James (1972-present)

Past personalities


External links

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