NBC 2 - Florida

Description

NBC 2- WBBH-TV, virtual channel 20 (UHF digital channel 15), is an NBC-affiliated television station licensed to Fort Myers, Florida, United States and also serving Naples and Cape Coral. It is the flagship television property of Fort Myers-based Waterman Broadcasting, which also operates Naples-licensed ABC affiliate WZVN-TV (channel 26) under a local marketing agreement (LMA) with owner Montclair Communications. The two stations share studios on Central Avenue in Fort Myers and transmitter facilities along SR 31 in unincorporated southeastern Charlotte County.

Known on-air as NBC 2, the branding is derived from WBBH's primary cable position in the market on Comcast XfinityCenturyLink, and most other cable providers in the area. (There is also a high definition feed provided on Xfinity digital channel 432 and CenturyLink digital channel 1002.) This practice stems in part from the area's exceptionally high cable penetration rate, which is one of the highest in the United States.


News operation 

WBBH-TV presently broadcasts 49½ hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 8½ hours on weekdays, 3 hours on Saturdays and 4 hours on Sundays). It is one of the few Big Three stations in the United States whose weekly news programming total exceeds more than 40 hours (which is more common with news-producing affiliates of the post-1986 broadcast networks, even surpassing the amount produced locally by one such station, Fox affiliate WFTX). Between the two, WZVN and WBBH air more than 80 combined hours of local news every week. In addition to the main studios, WBBH and WZVN operate a Collier County Bureau on Tamiami Trail North (US 41/SR 45) in Naples. The two stations operate a Baron Doppler weather radar at the main facilities that is known on WBBH as "NBC 2 First Alert Power Doppler HD". The radar has a range of 300 miles (483 km) and can survey approaching storms in three dimensions.

In 1994, WBBH and WZVN merged their news departments, and began having news reporters appear on both stations. Resources such as video footage and stories also began to be shared between the stations. During this period, each station maintained separate unique sets at the Central Avenue facilities and featured a distinct on-air style. There were primary personalities (such as news anchors) that would only appear on one station. The joint operation was billed as the Eyewitness News Network. It should be known that if WZVN chose not to become a junior partner in the LMA with WBBH, the station would have been required to shut down its news department. Traditionally in the past, WBBH tended to cover more stories from Charlotte County, while WZVN had a slight Collier County focus since it is licensed to Naples and had its former analog transmitter located further south than the area's other television outlets.

Today, WBBH and WZVN continue the practice of maintaining their own primary on-air teams on weekdays that only appear on each respective station. Otherwise, all other personnel—including most reporters—are shared between the two stations. WBBH's newscasts are broadcast from a separate set at the Central Avenue facility, allowing it to have a different on-air identity and graphics scheme from WZVN. Compared with that station, channel 26's newscasts usually tend to air in a more flashier fast-paced format with promotions referring to the station providing more news coverage in 30 minutes than the market's other stations. WBBH traditionally covers more investigative and consumer stories through its "NBC 2 Investigators" unit. On weekends, there are separate news and sports anchors, but the same meteorologists are seen on both WZVN and WBBH. This is possible because the two stations maintain individual sets and do not always air local newscasts at the same timeslots.

Since it was the first station to sign on in Southwest Florida and was the only one located on the VHF dial, WINK-TV has long been the most watched television station according to Nielsen.

One of the best known former personalities and a veteran of Southwestern Florida broadcasting is Harry Horn. He lost his battle with ALS in August 2005.

During major hurricanes, most recently Charley and Wilma, WZVN and WBBH combined their news resources to provide 24-hour continuous coverage. Commercial breaks are dropped for several hours preceding and following landfall. Coverage is simulcast on both stations and a common live video stream is featured on both stations' websites. During previous years, WBBH's news set was used during hurricane coverage along with both WBBH and WZVN's weather sets. As of 2007, WZVN's high definition news set is now used in the event of a hurricane as its internal location at the Central Avenue facility provides the best protection against damaging winds.

In early February 2008, following the lead of WZVN, WBBH became the second television station in the market to upgrade its newscasts to 16:9 enhanced definition widescreen. Rival WINK-TV became the first station in Southwestern Florida to begin broadcasting its news programming in high definition on October 20, 2007. WBBH would itself upgrade its newscasts to HD on July 19, 2008. On October 26 of that year, several changes occurred to WZVN and WBBH's news programming in order to better compete with WINK-TV. WZVN dropped the first hour of its weekday morning newscast (as of 2012, that hour has since been restored) and a mid-morning newscast at 10 a.m. WBBH debuted a new hour-long midday broadcast at 11 a.m. while keeping its hour-long noon newscast. Meanwhile, WZVN added an hour-long weekday morning newscast at 9 a.m. On September 8, 2009, the station began producing a half-hour 7 p.m. newscast on weeknights to compete against WINK-TV's newscast airing in the same timeslot. On January 16, 2012, WZVN debuted an hour-long newscast at 5 p.m. weeknights, which incidentally directly competes with WBBH's own 5 p.m. newscast.

In October 2014, WBBH moved into a brand new newsroom and studio facility, located behind the old facility. The NBC 2 newsroom backs up to the studio and a wall can be opened to show the working newsroom. This was done to give NBC 2 more room, because it produces more newscasts.

As of May 2017, WBBH News has been led by Vice President News Darrel Lieze-Adams for 20 years, making him one of the longest serving news directors at a single station.

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