On December 19, 2012 it was 50 years since Ed Ansin and his father Sydney Ansin acquired WSVN, then known as WCKT, from Cox/Knight. Broadcasting and Cable did a story on Ansin’s foray into the television business recently and what would become one of the most successful and copied TV stations in the country.
WCKT went on the air July 29, 1956 but in 1962 lost its broadcasting license after owners Cox and Knight publishing were caught influencing then FCC commissioner Richard Mack. The station’s owners were forced to sell and Ansin and his father would buy it for $3.4 million and form Sunbeam Television Corporation. They assumed ownership of WCKT on December 19, 1962. Ansin would later rename it to WSVN in 1983 since the CKT call letters stood for Cox Knight Television.
One of the more interesting points in the article is how far ahead of its competitors WSVN still is in terms of revenue. B&C quotes research firm BIA/Kelsey which estimates WSVN had revenues of $95.6 million in 2011 while WPLG was second with $70.8 million. A $25.8 million difference that is probably the size of what WBFS or WSFL each bring in a year.
A lot of people usually have a (very) strong opinion about what WSVN does and how they do it – from the loud graphics, to news content, to what anchors wear on the air – take your pick. But the station obviously is doing something right or it wouldn’t have the success and for so long. People are watching. In fact WSVN does so well some advertising execs and competitors sometimes refer to it as ‘the Gorilla’ or ‘the Monster’ because of its broad influence and ability to capture and hold on to the desirable 25-54 viewers and with it close to a third of the TV advertising dollars in the market.