WMOR-TV, virtual channel 32 (UHF digital channel 19), is an independent television station serving Tampa and St. Petersburg, Florida, United States that is licensed to Lakeland. The station is owned by the Hearst Television division of the Hearst Corporation. WMOR maintains studio facilities located on Hillsborough Avenue in east Tampa, with its transmitter located in Riverview. WMOR is the only television station owned by Hearst that is not affiliated with any major broadcast network, as well as the only Hearst station that does not maintain a news department.
On cable, WMOR is available on cable channel 12 on Bright House Networks, Verizon FiOS, and Comcast Venice, and on Comcast channel 4 in Sarasota. WMOR is also available locally on satellite provider DirecTV on channel 32 and 32-1 in standard and high definition, respectively. It also provided Grade B coverage to Orlando proper.
The station first signed on the air on April 24, 1986 as WTMV; branded as "V-32", it originally maintained an all-music video format. The station's owner and general manager was Dan Johnson, former mayor of St. Petersburg Beach. The station originally operated from studio facilities located on South Florida Avenue/SR 37 on the south side of Lakeland, with its transmitter near Mulberry in southwestern Polk County. Before the move to the WB, V-32 used to carry NBC programming as its local affiliate for Lakeland and Polk County, alongside WFLA-TV Channel 8 in Tampa and WESH Channel 2 in Orlando.
After a brief period of broadcasting from the transmitter in Mulberry, WTMV relocated its studio operations to its present-day studios in Tampa in 1988. The facility had been a former headend office for Group W Cable's Hillsborough County system. Around this time, it transitioned to a conventional general entertainment format, filling a void left by WFTS-TV's switch to Fox. It aired a schedule of off-network and syndicated sitcoms and dramas, game shows, movies and cartoons. It also picked up several network programs from ABC, NBC and CBS that Tampa Bay's Big Three affiliates (WTSP, channel 10, now with CBS; WFLA-TV channel 8; and WTVT channel 13, now with Fox) as well as those from Orlando (WFTV, channel 9; WESH, channel 2; WCPX, now WKMG-TV, channel 6) chose to preempt.
WTMV became Tampa Bay's WB affiliate when that network launched on January 11, 1995, branding itself as "WB 32". By that point, it ran cartoons (such as Scooby-Doo, Biker Mice from Mars, Captain Planet and the Planeteers, The Jetsons and The Flintstones), sitcoms (such as Doogie Howser, M.D., Blossom, The Wonder Years and Too Close for Comfort), talk shows (such as The Richard Bey Show), reality shows (such as Check It Out!) and movies. Johnson sold the station to Hearst Television in 1996, with the station's callsign being changed to WWWB-TV (in reference to its affiliation with The WB) following the finalization of the purchase.
In September 1999, WWWB lost its WB affiliation to WTTA (channel 38), as a result of a larger nationwide deal between The WB and the Sinclair Broadcast Group's UPN affiliates and independent stations (Kansas City sister station KCWB also lost its WB affiliation to a Sinclair station, KSMO-TV, now owned by the Meredith Corporation) one year earlier. WWWB changed its call letters to WMOR-TV that year and rebranded itself as "More TV 32" – a moniker also adopted by its Kansas City sister (now known as KCWE). In August 2008, the "More TV 32" branding was dropped for the simplified "TV 32". On April 4, 2011, the station's on-air brand was changed to "MOR". To distance itself from the earlier "More TV" branding, the station spells out "MOR", instead of saying it as a word; however, it's still inferred as "more", through its slogan, "Just Can't Get Enough".
On July 9, 2012, WMOR's parent company Hearst Television became involved in a dispute with Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, leading to WMOR being pulled from Bright House and temporarily replaced with HBO Family on the main WMOR channel and This TV, with InfoMás in Estrella TV's slot. The substitutions lasted until July 19, 2012, when a new carriage deal was reached between Hearst and Time Warner Cable.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|32.1||1080i||16:9||WMOR-TV||Main WMOR-TV programming|
|32.2||480i||4:3||This TV||This TV|
WMOR-TV shut down its Mulberry analog transmitter, over UHF channel 32, on June 12, 2009, as part of the federally mandated transition from analog to digital television. The station's digital signal, originating from the market's antenna farm in Riverview, remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 19, using PSIP to display WMOR-TV's virtual channel as 32 on digital television receivers.
WWWB/WMOR was the original television broadcaster of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays when it began Major League Baseball play in 1998. Before that, as WTMV, it showed occasional telecasts of Toronto Blue Jays games, including Nolan Ryan's seventh career no-hitter in 1991, to accommodate the Tampa Bay area's unique population of Canadian snowbirds in the days before MLB Extra Innings and MLB.tv came to prominence.
WMOR currently serves as the local over-the-air broadcaster of Monday Night Football games involving the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, airing simulcasts of ESPN-televised games (Hearst holds a 20% ownership stake in ESPN; the network's remaining ownership interest is held by The Walt Disney Company), and the company has right of first refusal for simulcasts of ESPN's NFL telecasts in a team's home market. WMOR, along with WFTS which airs the Buccaneers' preseason and Thursday Night Football games (the latter through the NFL Network), are the only Tampa Bay stations that air selected Buccaneers games without having weekly NFL coverage: the team's local preseason and NBC appearances air on WFLA-TV, their CBS appearances air on WTSP and their Fox appearances on WTVT.
Prior to the end of analog broadcasting for full-power stations in the United States, WMOR operated three repeaters in the Tampa Bay area. Its transmitter is located farther east than the other Tampa Bay stations because of Federal Communications Commission rules requiring a station to provide a city-grade signal to its city of license--in this case, Lakeland, which is 56 miles (90 km) east of St. Petersburg and 34 miles (55 km) east of Tampa. Hence, the repeaters were necessary to reach as much of the most-populated areas as possible. This was not as much of a problem for the station from the 1990s onward, as cable gained greater penetration in the area. The station's former translators were:
|City of license||Callsign||Channel|
The translators were shut down in June 2009, as WMOR's digital signal operates at a full million watts – equivalent to 5 million watts for an analog transmitter – and is more than sufficient to cover the entire market. WMOR's digital transmitter is also located at the market's antenna farm in Riverview, in central Hillsborough County, where all other full-powered television stations for the market (except WWSB, which serves Sarasota) broadcast, further making the repeaters redundant.