Information and history about WFTV-Channel 9, Orlando’s ABC affiliate
Owner: Cox Media Group
Slogan: “Coverage you can count on”
News: Eyewitness News
Previous News: Central Florida News, Mid-Florida News, Ray Ruester Report, Newsline 9, Eyewitness
Etc.: Became the dominant TV news operation in Central Florida after knocking off Channels 2 and 6, claiming the top-rated newscast in 1978. … Has had the No. 1 early evening newscast ever since — an impressive streak of more than 30 years. … Ratings for its early-evening news are often higher than those of its competitors combined. … First local color TV newscast … Years later, in early 1980s, started the second 5:30 news in the market. … Also started the first 5 p.m. news in market, “Live at 5.” … Added the second station-owned Doppler radar in market, originaly called the “Live Early Warning Doppler 9000 Radar Network” (say that three times fast). … Airs 3-1/2 hours of local news on Saturday mornings and 2-1/2 hours on Sunday mornings. … Former anchors/reporters include Natalie Allen (CNN), Deborah Roberts (wife of Today weatherman Al Roker and formerly of 20/20), Wyatt Andrews (CBS), John Tesh (Entertainment Tonight). … Produces morning 7-9 a.m. and 10-11 p.m. newscasts for sister station WRDQ-Channel 27.
Station History: Went on the air in February 1958 as WLOF-TV — the third station in Central Florida behind WDBO-Channel 6 and WESH-Channel 2 … Started regularly-scheduled newscasts, Central Florida News, in September 1959 with Jonathan Dunn-Rankin – who would film and edit the news report. … Call letters WLOF (We Love Orlando Florida) were shared with a popular radio station in town. Call letter were changed in 1963 to WFTV (Wonderful Florida Television.) … WFTV was the first station with a mobile unit and also the first to broadcast local shows in color … Long an also-ran among the Central Florida TV stations, WFTV’s fortunes turned in the late 1970s thanks in part to ABC’s strong ratings as well as a new transmission tower that boosted the station’s signal … Bob Jordan, who came to WFTV as news director/anchor in the late 1970s, led Eyewitness News’ march to No. 1. Among his innovations was hiring the first female anchor in the market, Carole Nelson, to anchor the noon and co-anchor 6 p.m. news. Also oversaw the move to electronic news gathering equipment from film. … Jordan would leave WFTV, return again as anchor and news director in the 1980s, leave again and then return in the late 1990s to boost the station’s sagging news ratings back to their high levels. … Formed Orlando’s second duopoly when Cox acquired WRDQ-Channel 27. … On June 29, 2006, became the first station in Florida and the 10th in the nation to start broadcasting its local news in high definition.