WEAR-TV, virtual channel 3 (UHF digital channel 17), is an ABC-affiliated television station licensed to Pensacola, Florida, United States and also serving Mobile, Alabama. The station is owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group, as part of a duopoly with Fort Walton Beach-licensed MyNetworkTV affiliate WFGX (channel 35); Sinclair also operates Mobile-licensed NBC affiliate WPMI-TV (channel 15) and Pensacola-licensed independent station WJTC (channel 44) under a local marketing agreement with owner Deerfield Media.
WEAR and WFGX share studios (which also house master control and some internal operations for WPMI and WJTC) on Mobile Highway (U.S. 90) in unincorporated Escambia County, Florida (with a Pensacola mailing address); WEAR and WFGX also share transmitter facilities in unincorporated Baldwin County, Alabama east of Rosinton. On cable, WEAR is available on Comcast Xfinity, Mediacom and Cox channel 3.
The station first signed on the air on January 13, 1954. Broadcasting on VHF channel 3, it was founded by Charles Smith and Mel Wheeler, who also owned WEAR radio (1230 AM, now WDWR). Initially, the station was a primary CBS affiliate with a secondary ABC affiliation. Shortly after WEAR signed on, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) collapsed Mobile and Pensacola into a single market. In early 1955, channel 3 activated a new tower in Baldwin County. Shortly afterward, WKRG-TV (channel 5) signed on as the CBS affiliate for the enlarged market, and WEAR became an exclusive ABC affiliate. In 1959, it was sold to Rollins Telecasting, which in turn merged with Heritage Broadcasting to form Heritage Media in 1987.
In October 1997, WEAR and the other Heritage stations were sold to the Sinclair Broadcast Group just as the remainder of Heritage Media was merging with News Corporation (the then-parent company of Fox). This sale also protected former longtime NBC affiliate WALA-TV (channel 10) as the market's Fox outlet; otherwise WEAR would have been forced to switch its network affiliation to Fox. Sinclair prohibited its ABC affiliates, including WEAR, from airing a Nightline broadcast in 2004 that featured a segment displaying the names of those who died in the war in Iraq, because the company felt it was anti-war rhetoric against the invasion.
In late 2006, Sinclair entered into negotiations with Mediacom, the main cable provider for parts of the Florida side of the market (including Santa Rosa County and Pensacola Beach). The two companies could not reach an agreement over retransmission fees. As a result, Mediacom pulled all of Sinclair's stations (including WEAR) from its systems on January 6, 2007. The dispute ended on February 2, when the two sides reached an agreement that restored WEAR to Mediacom systems. Upon the expiration of the 2007 agreement on January 1, 2010, Mediacom was prepared to drop the station once again from its systems. Sinclair agreed to a temporary extension until January 8 in order to allow the Bowl Championship Series college football games to be viewed on Sinclair's ABC and Fox affiliates over Mediacom. Eventually, a one-year agreement was reached which would keep Sinclair stations on the cable television provider until 2011.
In 2012, Newport Television sold five of its stations, including WPMI and WJTC, to Sinclair. However, since Sinclair already owns WEAR and WFGX, WPMI and WJTC were sold to Deerfield Media, while Sinclair operates the two stations under local marketing agreements. The sale created one of the few instances where two "Big Three" stations are operated by the same company. However, the two duopolies maintain separate operations.
WEAR-TV presently broadcasts 36½ hours of local newscasts each week (with 6½ hours each weekday, and two hours each on Saturdays and Sundays). In addition, the station produces an additional 2½ hours of newscasts weekly for WFGX (with a half-hour each weekday). This totals 38 hours of newscasts on a weekly basis between the two stations; in regards to the number of hours devoted to news programming, it is the highest local newscast output among all broadcast television stations in the Mobile–Pensacola market (in contrast, WPMI produces 27 hours and WKRG produces 22 hours of newscasts each week).
Since WEAR is the only major-network station licensed on the Florida side of the market, the station's newscasts tend to focus more on Pensacola. It does, however, operate a bureau on Dauphin Street in downtown Mobile. WEAR is one of several ABC stations across the country that carries an hour-long 10:00 p.m. newscast. Because of this, ABC's late night programming (including Nightline and presently Jimmy Kimmel Live! since the two shows switched timeslots nationally in January 2013) have always been broadcast on a half-hour tape delay and start at 11:00 p.m. The additional half-hour of the 10:00 p.m. broadcast began as Channel 3 News Extra, but has since evolved into an extension of the 10:00 p.m. newscast.
The station launched a 4:00 p.m. newscast in December 2007. On September 7, 2008, WEAR-TV was the first station in the Mobile/Pensacola market to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition; field video remained pillarboxed for almost three years, until widescreen and eventually high definition video began supplementing the newscasts in 2011. On July 15, 2013, the weekday edition of WEAR's morning newscast, 3 in the Morning expanded by a half-hour, moving its start time to 4:30 a.m., putting them in competition with WALA's already existing 4:30 a.m. newscast.
On August 12, 2013, WEAR launched a new half-hour, weeknight-only newscast at 9:00 p.m. on sister station WFGX. The newscast airs in direct competition with WALA's long-established, dominant, and hour-long 9:00 p.m. newscast. This marked the first time that newscasts have aired on WFGX since it shut down its in-house news department in 1998 after two years (the 6:30 and 9:00 p.m. newscasts WFGX produced specifically focused on Okaloosa County, Florida).
- TV-3 News (19??–1970s)
- Eyewitness News (1970s–1981)
- Gulf Coast News 3 (1981–1980s)
- Channel 3 News (1980s–present)
- We're Still the One, on Channel 3 (1977–1978 and 1979–1980; local version of ABC ad campaign)
- We're the One You Can Turn To, Channel 3 (1978–1979; local version of ABC ad campaign)
- Clearly Yours (1979–early 1980s)
- You and Me and Channel 3 (1980–1981; local version of ABC ad campaign)
- Now is the Time, Channel 3 is the Place (1981–1982; local version of ABC ad campaign)
- Come on Along With Channel 3 (1982–1983; local version of ABC ad campaign)
- That Special Feeling on Channel 3 (1983-1984; local version of ABC ad campaign)
- We're With You on Channel 3 (1984–1985; local version of ABC ad campaign)
- You'll Love It On Channel 3 (1985–1986; local version of ABC ad campaign)
- Together on Channel 3 (1986–1987; local version of ABC ad campaign)
- Something's Happening on Channel 3 (1987–1990; local version of ABC ad campaign)
- Gulf Coast's Watching Channel 3 (1990–1992; local version of ABC ad campaign)
- If It's WEAR-3, It Must Be ABC (1992–1993, local version of ABC ad campaign)
- The Gulf Coast's News Leader (1994–1998)
- TV is Good, on WEAR-3 (1997–1998; local version of ABC ad campaign)
- We Love TV, on WEAR-3 (1998–1999; local version of ABC ad campaign)
- Your Clear Choice for News (1998–2006)
- First. Live. Local. (2006–?)
- Northwest Florida's News Station (?-present)
- Tanner Stewart -
- Carolyn Cerda - weekends
- Bob Solarski -
- Sue Straughn - weekdays at 11:00 a.m. and weeknights at 5:00 & 6:00 p.m.
- Jared Willets - weekday mornings
- April Baker - weekdays at 4 and weeknights at 9:00 (on WFGX) and 10:00 p.m.
First Warning Weather teamEdit
- Allen Strum (AMS and NWA Seals of Approval) - chief meteorologist; weekdays at 4 and weeknights 5:00, 6:00, 9:00 (on WFGX) and 10:00 p.m.
- Joseph Neubauer - meteorologist;
- Kathryn Daniel - meteorologist; also general assignment reporter
- Dan Shugart - sports director;
- Steve Nissim - sports anchor; weekends
- Chorus Nylander
- Rebekah Castor
- Renee Beninate
Notable former on-air staffEdit
- Steve Berthiaume – sports anchor (last with ESPN's SportsCenter, now play-by-play announcer with the Arizona Diamondbacks)
- Mark Curtis – anchor/reporter (now at WOWK-TV in Charleston, West Virginia)
- Liz Swaine – (began career at WEAR-TV; voted "Best Journalist in the Nation" while at KTBS-TV in Shreveport, Louisiana; candidate for mayor of Shreveport, 2006)
|TV stations in Florida|
| WPLG, Miami|
|TV Stations in Lower Alabama and the Western Florida Panhandle, including Mobile and Pensacola|
|Greater Mobile||Greater Pensacola||Fort Walton Beach|
|WKRG 5 (CBS)||WEAR 3 (ABC)||WFGX 35 (MNTV/This)|
|WALA 10 (Fox)||WRBD-LP 8 (Ind.)||WGOX-LD 43 (Rel.)|
|WMOE-LD 12 (Rel.)||WBQP 12 (Youtoo)||WFBD 48 (Ind.)|
|WPMI 15 (NBC)||W19CO-D 19 (HSN)||WAWD 58 (Beach TV)|
|WDPM 18 (Daystar)||WSRE 23 (PBS)|
|WMPV 21 (TBN)||WHBR 33 (CTN)|
|WEIQ 42 (PBS)||WJTC 44 (Ind.)|
|WFNA 55 (CW)||WCTU 46 (GCN/IBN)|
|W30BX 30 (HSN)|