|Slogan||Your Clear Choice for News|
|Channels|| 3 (VHF) analog,|
17 (UHF) digital
|Affiliations||ABC (secondary until 1955)|
|Owner||Sinclair Broadcast Group|
|Founded||January 13, 1954|
|Call letters meaning||The word EAR|
|Transmitter Power|| 100 kW (analog) |
8.3 kW (digital)
WEAR is the ABC affiliate for the Pensacola, Mobile, and Fort Walton Beach viewing area. It is the only major affiliate in that market to be broadcast from Pensacola as opposed to Mobile. Its transmitter is located near Robertsdale, Alabama, and its studios are located on Mobile Highway in southwest Pensacola.
As a Pensacola-based station, their newscasts tend to focus on coverage of the Northwestern Florida, area as opposed to WKRG and WPMI, which predominately feature news concerning the southern Alabama area. WEAR is owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group, which prohibited a Nightline broadcast in 2004 because the company felt it was near anti-war rhetoric. Prior to July 19, 2005 Sinclair prohibited WEAR from broadcasting Jimmy Kimmel Live in the late night time slot.
WEAR also operates WFGX, a MyNetworkTV affiliate station broadcasting on channel 35.
The WEAR news desk is headed by Bob Solarski, who has been anchor since March 1994 and was the host and producer of Channel 3 News This Week with Bob Solarski. "This Week with Bob Solarski" had about a 12 year run before changing to "In Focus", now hosted by reporters Dan Thomas and Greg Neumann. Mollye Barrows now co-anchors the 10pm news with Solarski, in addition to anchoring "First at Four", the area's only local news program at 4 p.m. Allen Strum is the chief meteorologist and Dan Shugart is sports director and anchor.
Another key news anchor is Sue Straughn, who is one of the few black female news anchors in the area. She started at the station in 1973 as a clerk typist and now helms the five o'clock and six o'clock newscasts.
WEAR began operation on January 13, 1954 which was almost a year after WALA 10 began. The station was founded by Charles Smith and Mel Wheeler. Initially the station ran shows from both CBS and ABC but in 1955 when WKRG signed on Channel 3 became strictly an ABC affiliate.
In 1959 WEAR was sold to Rollins' Telecasting. The station continued as an ABC affiliate for many years. In 1987 Rollins Telecasting would merge with Heritage Broadcasting forming Heritage Media. In October of 1997 WEAR 3 was sold to Sinclair Broadcasting.
Mediacom's contract to rebroadcast WEAR expired on 1 December 2006. Mediacom and Sinclair Broadcast Group have been unable to reconcile a new contract, as Sinclair is demanding a per-subscriber fee from Mediacom which the latter is unwilling to pay. Cable companies have not historically paid these fees to local broadcast stations, because, of course, the programming is broadcast free over-the-air. This has resulted in the possibility that Mediacom may be forced to drop WEAR from its cable lineup, causing an uproar amongst its customers. Many of Mediacom's customers have either purchased antennas to receive WEAR over-the-air if necessary, or have switched to other providers such as DirecTV and Dish Network. In recent weeks, Mediacom has begun to distribute antennas free of charge at its area offices.
On 1 December, the two companies agreed that Mediacom would continue to carry WEAR until at least 5 January while the parties continue negotiations.
As of February 2007, the two companies came to an agreement, the terms of which were not disclosed, to reinstate carriage of WEAR on Mediacom's cable system.
The companies went through a similar dispute in late 2009/early 2010, but it was resolved without WEAR's signal leaving Mediacom.
For several years, Cox Communications did not carry WEAR's high-definition feed; this was due to a dispute between Sinclair Broadcast Group and cable companies concerning fees paid in exchange for the rights to rebroadcast the high definition feeds of Sinclair stations. Cable companies have not historically paid these fees to local broadcast stations, because, of course, the programming is broadcast free over-the-air.
In 2007, the companies came to an agreement, and Cox Communications commenced broadcast of WEAR-HD.
- First News - 5 AM-5:30 AM weekdays
- Three in the Morning - 5:30 AM-7 AM weekdays
- Dayside - 11 AM-11:30 AM weekdays
- Channel 3 News at 5 - 5 PM-5:30 PM weekdays and Sundays
- Channel 3 News at 6 - 6 PM-6:30 PM weekdays, 6 PM-7 PM Saturdays
- Channel 3 News Late - 10 PM-10:35 PM every night
- Channel 3 News Extra - 10:35 PM-11:05 PM weeknights
News programming at WEAR includes several recurring features, among these Angels in Our Midst, Eyesores, and Pay It Forward.
Angels in our Midst portrays the work of people in the Pensacola community whose kindness, compassion and work help make the city a better place.
Eyesores investigates deteriorating, neglected and abandoned properties, especially in residential neighborhoods. The investigative team tries to determine the owners and often confronts them about the hazards they create in the community.
Pay It Forward highlights the work of local charities, describing their work, interviewing key volunteers and staff and presenting the charity with a check from the sponsor of the program. The station solicits nominations of worthy local charities and community service organizations that might be good subjects for the program.