WLTV-DT, virtual and UHF digital channel 23, is a Univision owned-and-operated television station licensed to Miami, Florida, United States and also serving Fort Lauderdale. It is one of two East Coast flagship stations of the Spanish-language network (alongside WXTV-DT in the New York City market). WLTV-DT is owned by the Univision Local Media subsidiary of Univision Communications, as part of a duopoly with Hollywood, Florida-licensed UniMás co-flagship WAMI-DT (channel 69). The two stations share studios known as "NewsPort" (a converted studio facility that also houses Noticias Univision and English-language cable channel Fusion) on Northwest 30th Terrace in Doral; WLTV-DT's transmitter is located in Miami Gardens. The station also serves as the de facto Univision outlet for the West Palm Beach market.
On cable, WLTV-DT is available on Comcast Xfinity channel 9 in standard definition and channel 442 in high definition, and on Atlantic Broadband channels 23 (SD) and 823 (HD).
Prior history of UHF channel 23 in Miami
The analog UHF channel 23 allotment in the Miami–Fort Lauderdale market was first occupied by Fort Lauderdale-based WFTL-TV, which signed on the air on May 5, 1953 and was affiliated with NBC and later had a secondary affiliation with the DuMont Network. It was originally owned by Tri-County Broadcasting Company, the owner of WFTL-AM, but later sold to Storer Broadcasting, which bought the WFTL studio and transmitter facilities and the construction permit for WMIE-TV, on channel 27, in Miami (which never signed on under that call sign) in December 1954. Concurrent with WFTL's purchase, Storer changed the call letters to WGBS-TV (which stood for the initials of company founder and president George B. Storer). However, the station never thrived. For one thing, television set manufacturers were not required to include UHF tuning capability at the time (UHF tuning capability was not made mandatory for TV sets until 1964). Most viewers needed to buy an expensive UHF converter to watch WGBS, and even then the picture quality was marginal at best. It didn't help matters that much of the area—particularly Fort Lauderdale—got a strong signal from WJNO-TV (channel 5, now WPTV) in West Palm Beach.
The original channel 23's death knell sounded in 1956. In rapid succession, DuMont ceased operations, and NBC took its affiliation to the newly launched WCKT-TV (channel 7, now WSVN). This left WGBS as an independent, with a brief affiliation with the NTA Film Network from 1956. However, the burden of finding an additional 16 hours per day of programming was too much even for Storer's resources, and the station shut down on April 13, 1957 (the WGBS-TV calls were later used on an independent station broadcasting on UHF channel 57 in Philadelphia; that station is now owned by CBS Television Stations and operates as The CW's East Coast flagship WPSG; the call letters currently reside at a low-powered station in Hampton, Virginia; the three stations are unrelated).
WLTV station history
The channel 23 license remained active for many years after the station originally known as WFTL-TV ceased operations, largely because the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was reluctant at the time to delete the licenses of silent stations. During this period, the channel 23 frequency was used intermittently for FCC-sponsored tests.
The current incarnation of channel 23 first signed on the air on November 14, 1967 as WAJA, operating as an independent station. By that time, Storer sold the station to Al Lapin, Jr., who made the first great contribution to Latin-American television in Miami. Under Lapin, programs produced by the station included Bozo the Clown, an afternoon show that was broadcast live in English on weekdays and pre-recorded in Spanish on Saturday mornings, featuring Bozo, and his Latin helper "Petunia" (played by Ileana Garcia). It also included very popular Spanish language programs during this time, such as Solo Para Bailadores, a Spanish equivalent to Soul Train that featured live performances by local bands and was hosted by Omar Marchant; many local residents came to the show to dance and appear on television. WAJA originally operated from studio facilities located on Northwest 2nd Avenue (US 441) and 199th Street in Miami Gardens.
In January 1971, Lapin sold the station to Spanish International Communications Corporation (forerunner of today's Univision Communications) for KMEX-DT. The station's call letters were subsequently changed to WLTV as the station concentrated more on Spanish-language programming, particularly those sourced from the Spanish International Network (SIN, later to be renamed Univision in 1987). By the mid-1970s, the station had phased out its remaining English-language programming. The WLTV call letters were previously used by WXIA-TV in Atlanta from 1951 to 1953, then by WBKO-TV in Bowling Green, Kentucky from 1962 to 1971.
In December 2009, WLTV, along with most other Univision-owned stations, upgraded their digital signals to 1080i high definition, in preparation for Univision and sister network TeleFutura's planned launch of HD programming in January 2010.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|23.1||1080i||16:9||WLTV-DT||Main WLTV-DT programming / Univision|
|23.2||480i||CRIME||True Crime Network|
|23.3||MYSTERY||Court TV Mystery|
WLTV ended programming on its analog signal, on UHF channel 23, on June 12, 2009, the official date in which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 24 to channel 23 for post-transition operations. All Univision-owned full-power television stations, including WLTV, officially added the "-DT" suffix to their call signs on June 23, 2009, eleven days after the completion of digital television transition.
WLTV presently broadcasts 14½ hours of locally produced newscasts each week. In addition, the station produces a 15-minute sports highlight program called Acción Deportiva Extra, that airs on Sundays at 11:15 p.m.; and a public affairs program called Ahora en Nuestra Comunidad, which airs Saturday mornings on WLTV (at 11 a.m.) and Sunday mornings on sister station WAMI-DT (at 6 a.m.). The station also produces an hour-long newsmagazine show with anchor Ambrosio Hernandez that airs on Sundays at 11 a.m.
During the news department's early history, the station's late evening newscast was broadcast at 10:00 p.m., but was later moved to 11:00 p.m. after Univision began to carry programming at that hour. WLTV debuted weekday morning newscasts in 2001. On October 22, 2010, beginning with the 6:00 p.m. newscast, WLTV began broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition.
Notable former on-air staff
- Barbara Bermudo (now anchor for Univision's Primer Impacto)
- Myrka Dellanos – anchor/reporter
- Maggie Rodriguez – reporter (later co-host of The Early Show on CBS; now with WFLA-TV in Tampa)
- Pamela Silva Conde (now anchor for Univision's Primer Impacto)