Channel 8 Tampa is the NBC affiliate for the Tampa and St. Petersburg Florida metropolitan area. The area serves over 4 million residents in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater on the western coast of Florida. The narrow majority of the residents fall into the 35 to 54 age range for the greater Tampa area.
Channel 8 news first signed on as WFLA tv in 1955 with live coverage of the Gasparilla Pirate Festival. The annual celebration looks at the legend of the mythical pirate Jose Gaspar that supposedly lived and looted in the southern Florida region. While news channel 8 picked it up first in 1955, the festival has been an annual celebration since 1904.
Historically channel 8 news Tampa has always been an NBC local news channel. It seems compared to other stations around the country it has become rare for them to not have an affiliation switch at some point in their history.
One of channel 8 news local programs, called Daytime, was investigated for their “pay to play” status by the New York Times newspaper. It was discovered that the local lifestyle program was requiring local businesses to pay thousands of dollars for inclusion in their various television segments. This practice of charging money for coverage, without disclosing it, was considered payola on the part of channel 8 news. In settling the investigation, channel 8 news agreed to specifically label the segments that were indeed paid placements.
Not including the lifestyle program, Daytime, on channel 8 news, there are just over 33 hours of news broadcasts on channel 8 each week. They have 5 and a half hours of news programming for the weekday newscasts and another 3 hours on the weekends.
Among many memorable news casters and on air personalities, Tampa channel 8 news employeed Rich Fields, a previous The Price is Right announcer, as part of the meteorology crew from 2000 to 2002.