||This article needs additional citations for verification. (December 2012)|
|Branding||Fox 29 (general)
Fox 29 News (newscasts)
|Slogan||The Power to Lead
The Newscast You Deserve (secondary news)
So Fox 29 (general)
|Channels||Digital: 42 (VHF)
Virtual: 29 (PSIP)
|Owner||Fox Television Stations
(Fox Television Stations of Philadelphia, Inc.)
|First air date||May 16, 1965|
|Call letters' meaning||TVX and TaFt - former owners, partially through former callsign WTAF-TV|
|Former callsigns||WIBF-TV (1965–1969)
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
29 (VHF, 1965–2009)
|Former affiliations||Independent (1965–1986)|
|Transmitter power||1,000 kW|
|Public license information:||Profile
WTXF-TV, channel 29, is an owned-and-operated station of the News Corporation-owned Fox Broadcasting Company, based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. The station has its studios located in Center City, and its transmitter is located in the Roxborough section of the city. The station's signal covers the three-state Delaware Valley area (Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware).
The station signed on the air on May 16, 1965 as independent station WIBF-TV, owned by brothers William, Irwin, and Benjamin Fox. The Fox brothers had already been operating WIBF-FM (103.9 MHz., now WPPZ) for several years. Channel 29's original studio was located in the Fox family's Benson East apartment building on Old York Road in the suburb of Jenkintown, north of Philadelphia. WIBF-TV was the first commercial UHF station in Philadelphia, and the first of three UHF independents in the Philadelphia market to sign-on during 1965, with WPHL-TV (channel 17) and WKBS-TV (channel 48) both arriving in September.
WIBF-TV struggled at first, in part because it signed on only a year after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) required television manufacturers to include UHF tuning capability. In 1969, the Fox family sold the station to Cincinnati-based Taft Broadcasting. Taft already owned WNEP-TV (channel 16) in Scranton, whose signal overlapped with channel 29 in the Lehigh Valley north of Philadelphia. Taft sought a waiver to keep both stations, since the FCC at that time normally did not allow common ownership of two stations with overlapping coverage areas, even if they were in different markets. The FCC granted the waiver, but later tightened its adjacent-market ownership rules and forced Taft to sell WNEP in late 1973 as a condition of keeping channel 29.
Taft assumed control of channel 29 in mid-1969 and changed the calls to WTAF-TV (for TAFt). Under Taft's ownership, WTAF soon established itself as a local powerhouse. It ran programs from Taft's archive, such as Hanna-Barbera cartoons, which from 1979 onward were distributed by Worldvision Enterprises (which Taft had purchased), and later on the Quinn Martin library. By the start of the 1980s, WTAF had passed WKBS as Philadelphia's leading independent station. From the mid-1970s through the mid-1980s, it was also picked up on several cable systems on the New Jersey side of the New York City market, as far north as The Oranges.
When WKBS left the air in the late summer of 1983, the station placed advertisements in TV Guide and local papers reminding Philadelphia viewers that channel 29 was still around and that channel 48's former audience was welcome to sample channel 29. But interestingly, the station passed on picking up any of channel 48's shows, most of which went to WPHL-TV.
WTAF-TV also became a strong sports station. At various times, it owned the broadcast rights to Major League Baseball's Philadelphia Phillies (Taft also owned a small portion of the team for much of the 1980s), the NHL's Philadelphia Flyers, and the NBA's Philadelphia 76ers. In the 1980s, the station also aired network shows that NBC's then-affiliate KYW-TV (channel 3) and ABC station WPVI-TV (channel 6) preempted in favor of local programming. In the fall of 1986, WTAF-TV became a charter affiliate of the fledgling Fox network.
As part of a group deal Taft's independent and Fox-affiliated stations, including WTAF, were sold to the Norfolk, Virginia-based TVX Broadcast Group in February 1987. In 1988, the new owners changed the station's call letters to the current WTXF-TV (though the station continued to use the WTAF call letters on-air . The Taft purchase created a large debt load for TVX, and as a result the company sold a number of its smaller stations. Paramount Pictures purchased a majority stake in TVX in 1989. A year later, after calling itself TV-29 for many years, the station changed its on-air branding to Fox 29. In 1991, Paramount acquired the remainder of TVX which it did not own, and the company's name was changed to Paramount Stations Group, with WTXF as its largest-market station.
In late summer of 1993, Fox shockingly announced its intention to purchase rival independent WGBS-TV (channel 57, now WPSG) and move its programming there. As staffers at WTXF-TV continued to reel in the aftermath of that announcement, its corporate parent was undergoing a transition of its own. Only one month later, in September, the original Viacom agreed in principle to merge with Paramount. Not long after that, home-shopping giant QVC mounted a competing bid and the two firms entered an intense bidding war, in which Viacom ultimately prevailed in February 1994. Meanwhile, in late October 1993, Paramount announced plans to create a new network, the United Paramount Network, which it would co-own with Chris-Craft Industries. The initial affiliation plans called for WTXF, which was set to lose Fox to WGBS, becoming the Philadelphia outlet for the new network, which was targeted to launch in January 1995. During the spring, WTXF gradually de-emphasized its Fox affiliation, changing its branding to simply "29."
Several months later, the shoe dropped on the biggest affiliation shuffle in Philadelphia television history. In the summer of 1994, Westinghouse Broadcasting, owners of KYW-TV, entered into a longterm affiliation agreement with CBS. This resulted in KYW-TV dropping NBC in favor of CBS, which would then sell its longtime owned-and-operated station, WCAU-TV (channel 10). Several months earlier, Fox entered into a multi-station, multi-year partnership with New World Communications. New World and NBC emerged as the leading bidders for WCAU, with New World intending to switch WCAU to Fox if it emerged victorious. Fox later canceled its preliminary deal to purchase WGBS and joined the bidding for WCAU in case New World's bid failed. However, Viacom/Paramount changed its Philadelphia plans and decided to sell WTXF to Fox. Almost simultaneously, Viacom bought WGBS and made it the market's UPN station. Both transactions involving Viacom and Fox closed on the same day—August 25, 1995. Soon after Fox restored branding the station with the network under the name Fox Philadelphia (similar to how WFLD in Chicago was branded as Fox Chicago) with the channel number used sparingly.
As a Fox owned-and-operated station, WTXF immediately added more first run talk and reality shows to the schedule. Throughout the mid-to-late 1990s, WTXF was available nationally on satellite as the east coast Fox feed, most notably on PrimeStar.
In 2003 WTXF rebranded back to Fox 29 for the first time since 1994 to avert confusion with Fox News Channel and create a consistent branding of Fox (channel number) across all Fox-owned stations. WTXF also underwent a major overhaul of its building and studios in Old City Philadelphia, with a "Window on the World" type studio making its debut on June 6, 2005. The "Window of the World" studio was originally intended for Good Day Philadelphia. On October 1, 2006 the station became the second station in Philadelphia to broadcast its local news programs in high definition.
Digital television 
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|29.1||1080i||16:9||WTXFDT||Main WTXF-TV programming / Fox|
Analog-to-digital conversion 
As part of the analog television shutdown and digital conversion, WTXF-TV shut down its analog transmitter on June 12, 2009, and continued to broadcast on its pre-transition digital channel 42. However, through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display WTXF-TV's virtual channel as 29.
News operation 
WTXF broadcasts a total of 42½ hours of local news a week (8½ hours on weekdays, and two hours each on Saturdays and Sundays), currently the most news of any major network affiliate in the Philadelphia market.
Throughout the early 1980s, WTAF-TV aired the syndicated Independent Network News, produced by WPIX in New York City. This lasted until channel 29 began its own in-house news department. In the spring of 1986, Taft Broadcasting opened WTAF-TV's news department with a nightly 10:00 p.m. newscast. It was the second attempt at a primetime newscast in the market, after WKBS-TV ran a short-lived program in the late 1970s. Channel 29's effort has been longest-running, and the most successful. On April 1, 1996, shortly after channel 29 became a Fox-owned station, morning children's programming was dropped in favor of a weekday morning newscast, Good Day Philadelphia.
In areas of central New Jersey where the Philadelphia and New York City markets overlap, WTXF shares resources with New York sister stations WNYW and WWOR-TV. The stations share reporters for stories occurring in New Jersey.
On January 22, 2007, WTXF-TV overhauled its on-air look, adopting a logo, graphics & music similar to that of the Fox News Channel. Many other Fox-owned stations have made similar imaging changes. Channel 29 also expanded its facilities to include a new studio for its newscasts, and started to broadcast its local newscast in High-definition. With the new imaging, WTXF-TV has also expanded its news coverage.
On October 9, 2006, WTXF added a half-hour newscast at 11:00 a.m. On January 22, 2007, a new hour-long program at 5:00 p.m. debuted, enabling channel 29 to go head-to-head with two of the three other network-owned stations. On October 6, 2007, WTXF launched hour-long 6 p.m. newscasts on Saturday and Sunday evenings. From September 1, 2008 and running through November 3, 2008, WTXF aired a 2008 election-themed 11 p.m. newscast, called The Last Word, anchored by 5 p.m. anchor Kerri-Lee Halkett. On September 7, 2009, WTXF added a weekday half-hour 6 p.m. newscast. It is co-anchored by Kerri-Lee Halkett and Thomas Drayton, with John Bolaris forecasting the weather.
On November 13, 2008, Fox Television Stations and NBC Local Media reached news deal in Philadelphia to test a system that will allow Fox-owned stations and NBC-owned stations to pool their news resources ranging from shared video to any aerial video from a helicopter. WTXF and WCAU were the first affiliates in the nation to undertake the plan as an effective way to deal with the difficulties in costs in news operations. Good Day Philadelphia expanded to five hours on September 7, 2009. The station also announced that former Good Day Philadelphia co-anchor (and former co-host of The Morning Show with Mike & Juliet) Mike Jerrick would return to the show to anchor from 7 to 10 a.m. starting July 27, 2009. On March 29, 2010, WTXF expanded Good Day to start at 4:30 a.m. That brings the station's weekdaily news production to 8½ hours a day.
Beginning on September 8, 2010, Anchor Kerri-Lee Halkett went on a personal leave. A WTXF representative said that Halkett would once again return to her job in mid-October. However, on September 23, 2010, it was announced that Halkett had decided to leave the station to move to Connecticut where her husband was living allowing Halkett to accept a job as an anchor for NBC affiliate WVIT (channel 30) in Hartford, Connecticut. WTXF replaced Halkett with Lauren Cohn who took over Halkett's co-anchoring jobs with Thomas Drayton at 5, 6 and 10 p.m. on weeknights. Cohn was replaced one year later by freelance reporter Kerry Barrett.
In 2011, WTXF switched its newscasts from the 4:3 picture format to the 16:9 letterbox format (similar to what has been done recently by Fox News Channel, HLN and CNN); as a result, both the standard definition and high definition feed feature the newscasts in the 16:9 format. The standard definition channel now has black bars on the top and bottom of the screen while the high definition channel is full-screen.
On-air staff 
- Kerry Barrett - weeknights at 5:00, 6:00 and 10:00 p.m.
- Thomas Drayton - weeknights at 6:00 and 10:00 p.m.
- Iain Page - weeknights at 5:00 p.m.
- Joyce Evans - weekends at 6:00 and 10:00 p.m.; also weeknight reporter
- Karen Hepp - weekday mornings Good Day Philadelphia (4:30–7:00 a.m.)
- Mike Jerrick - weekday mornings Good Day Philadelphia (7:00–10:00 a.m.)
- Sheinelle Jones - weekday mornings Good Day Philadelphia (7:00–10:00 a.m.)
FOX 29 Weather Authority
- Scott Williams (member, AMS; member, NWA) - chief meteorologist; weeknights at 5:00, 6:00 and 10:00 p.m.
- Sue Serio - weather anchor; weekday mornings Good Day Philadelphia (4:30–10:00 a.m.)
- Caitlin Roth - meteorologist; weekends at 6:00 and 10:00 p.m.
- Howard Eskin - sports director; weeknights at 5:00, 6:00 and 10:00 p.m.
- Tom Sredenschek - sports executive producer, sports anchor and sports reporter
- Dr. Mike Cirigliano - medical contributor
- Lauren Cohn - general assignment reporter
- Jeff Cole - investigative reporter
- Stephanie Espositio - general assignment reporter
- Omari Fleming - general assignment reporter
- Jennaphr Frederick - weekday morning features reporter (4:30-10:00 a.m.)
- Claudia Gomez - general assignment reporter
- Bruce Gordon - general assignment reporter
- Steve Keeley - weekday morning reporter (4:30-10:00 a.m.)
- Dave Kinchen - general assignment reporter
- Sarah Madonna - general assignment reporter
- Chris O'Connell - general assignment reporter
- Stephanie Salvatore - general assignment reporter
- Dave Schratwieser - general assignment reporter
- Sean Tobin - general assignment reporter
- Shawnette Wilson - general assignment reporter
Notable former on-air staff 
- John Bolaris - chief meteorologist (2008–2012)
- Clayton Morris (now co-host of Fox & Friends Weekend on Fox News Channel)
- Dawn Stensland - 6 and 10 p.m. anchor (2001–2009)
Cable and satellite carriage 
Out-of-market coverage 
WTXF is carried in central New Jersey in parts of Hunterdon, Middlesex, Monmouth, Somerset and Warren, and Morris counties. It is available to all customers in Ocean County with Comcast or Cablevision.
Comcast added WTXF HD to its lineups in Ocean and Southern Middlesex counties as well as the borough of Roosevelt in Monmouth County and Comcast's Lambertville area system in Hunterdon County on August 22, 2012 as Channel 905.
In Southern Delaware, WTXF (along with WTTG) is available to Mediacom customers in the Millsboro area, and to Comcast customers in much of the rest of Sussex County. Although WBOC serves the market with a FOX affiliate, the NFL has designated the Salisbury/Rehoboth TV market as a Redskins and Ravens territory. By carrying WTXF, fans in Southern Delaware can be assured that they'll be able to see their Eagles.
It is also carried in Cecil County, Maryland as well. There is no satellite coverage outside of the Philadelphia market.
2010 Cablevision carriage dispute 
On October 16, 2010, WTXF was among the Fox-owned broadcast stations and cable channels that were taken off of Cablevision's Hamilton and Jersey Shore cable systems of as the result of a retransmission dispute between Cablevision and Fox's parent company, News Corporation (who also pulled the signal of sister stations WNYW (channel 5) and MyNetworkTV affiliate WWOR-TV (channel 9) on Cablevision's metropolitan New York system). In addition News Corporation had pulled Fox Business Network, Fox Deportes and National Geographic Wild from Cablevision systems in both the Philadelphia and New York markets. The shutdown came the morning the Phillies were set to begin play in the 2010 National League Championship Series, and also affects Fox's regional coverage of Philadelphia Eagles football games.
The removal of WTXF and the three Fox-owned cable channels was due to an impasse between Fox and Cablevision on a retransmission agreement renewal in which Cablevision claims that News Corporation demanded $150 million a year for access to 12 Fox channels, including those that News Corporation had removed in the dispute. On October 14, 2010 Cablevision said that it was willing to submit to binding arbitration and called on Fox not to pull the plug on the channels, though News Corporation chose to reject Cablevision's call for arbitration, stating that it would "reward Cablevision for refusing to negotiate fairly". On October 30, 2010, News Corporation and Cablevision reached a deal, ending the dispute and restoring WTXF, WNYW, WWOR, and the three News Corp-owned cable channels to Cablevision's lineup.
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- "FCC approves group purchases." Broadcasting, May 26, 1969, pp. 46-48. 
- "Fox network begins to take shape." Broadcasting, August 4, 1986, pg. 44. 
- "Taft's TV's go to TVX for $240 million." Broadcasting, November 24, 1986, pg. 41. 
- "McDonald paints a bright picture for TVX." Broadcasting, May 11, 1987, pg. 37. 
- "Paramount takes step toward buy of TVX stations." Broadcasting, January 23, 1989, pp. 70-71. 
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- Foisie, Geoffrey (August 23, 1993). "Fox pulls switch in Philly, ABRY sells TV.". Broadcasting and Cable. Retrieved February 13, 2013.
- Foisie, Geoffrey, and Christopher Stern. "Viacom, Paramount say 'I do.'" Broadcasting and Cable, September 20, 1993, pp. 14-16. Accessed February 13, 2013. 
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- Foisie, Geoffrey. "At long last: Viacom Paramount." Broadcasting and Cable, February 21, 1994, pp. 7, 11, 14. Accessed February 13, 2013. 
- Flint, Joe. "Paramount and Warner off and running for the fifth network." Broadcasting and Cable, November 1, 1993, pp. 1, 6-7. Accessed February 13, 2013. 
- Zier, Julie A. (July 18, 1994). "CBS, Group W form historic alliance.". Broadcasting and Cable. Retrieved February 13, 2013.
- Foisie, Geoffrey. "Fox and the New World order." Broadcasting and Cable, May 30, 1994, pp. 6, 8. Accessed February 13, 2013. 
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- CDBS Print
- Fox Goes Dark on Cablevision Systems - Unable To Reach Deal By Deadline Multichannel News October 16, 2010
- Fox Pulls Channels From Cablevision, TVNewsCheck.com, October 16, 2010. Accessed October 17, 2010.
- MyFoxPhilly.com – Official Website
- Photos of WTXF's studio
- report of WTXF's studio
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WTXF-TV
- Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia