Station History

Updated: Aug. 13, 2018 at 4:07 PM EDT
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For nearly 50 years WWSB, ABC7 has been the local news leader for the Suncoast. It’s the only station with a team of extraordinarily experienced News and Weather Anchors who have covered the Suncoast’s local news, weather and sports for decades.

ABC7 first signed on the air on October 23, 1971 at its original studio on Lawton Drive in Sarasota under station founder Robert Nelson. At the time, the station call letters were WXLT (Channel 40). The station call letters were changed to WWSB on August 31, 1986 and that same year, Nelson sold ABC7 to Calkins Media.

Calkins Media owned ABC7 for more than three decades. In November 2001, ABC7 moved into its current digital state-of-the-art facility in the Rosemary District downtown Sarasota. With everything from robotic cameras to server-based video editing and playback, this 21,500-square foot building provides all the resources necessary to be the leader in local news coverage over the air and on the web.

With the changes in capabilities, ABC7 underwent a re-branding in March 2004. Though some still remember us as “Channel 40,” we’ve since gone by the ABC7 brand.

On April 30, 2017, Raycom Media purchased ABC7 from Calkins Media. Just over a year later, on June 25, 2018, Raycom Media announced it would be merging with Gray Television.

When the sale was completed on January 2, 2019, ABC7 became part of the Gray Television group.

Throughout all of the changes, one thing has remained the same: ABC7 has more experience covering local news and weather than any other channel on the Suncoast from Manatee to Sarasota and Charlotte Counties and over to DeSoto and Hardee Counties.

ABC7 reaches more than 400,000 households every day and is the most watched local TV station on the Suncoast. ABC7 is carried on Verizon, Comcast, Bright House, Dish Network, DirecTV and on Digital Antenna, so our coverage extends to the ENTIRE Suncoast.

From Palmetto to Port Charlotte, we cover it all. Whether it’s breaking news story, hurricane or severe weather coverage or a local high school sports victory, ABC7 and is YOUR source for Suncoast News. We live, work and play in the communities we serve. We’re Here for You!