The FCC granted a final license to station WLCY-TV on July 7, 1965. The license was granted after one of the longest and most bitter legal fights for a channel in Florida history. Three principal companies were seeking to own the license -- Florida Gulfcoast Broadcasters, Inc. (headed by St. Petersburg Times editor and president Nelson Poynter); Sunshine Cities Broadcasting Corporation (successful radio station owners in Florida and New York); and Tampa Telecasters, Inc. The City of St. Petersburg was also one of the original applicants for the license.
WLCY went on the air as an ABC affiliate. Gulf Broadcasting purchased the facility and license from the Rahalls in 1978 and changed the call letters to WTSP. In August 1985, Taft Broadcasting purchased the station from Gulf Broadcasting. Taft later became Great American Broadcasting and then Citicasters. Citicasters sold to Jacor Broadcasting in September. Gannett purchased the station from Jacor on Dec. 9, 1996.
In November 1980, the first Tampa Bay television investigative unit went on air. And, in 1982, a consumer helpline known as Action Line went on the air. This service, staffed by volunteers, helped viewers cut through red tape to solve consumer problems.
In December 1994, the Tampa Bay market went through a major network affiliation switch. Three stations simultaneously changed networks, causing much viewer confusion.
Now the switch is over and WTSP is one of the best-performing CBS affiliates in the country.