The Legend of

WAMI Building

Once upon a time, but not too long ago, there was a station that strived to grow.  It was a CityVision concept that started with joy, but no one knew if it was real or a toy.  Barry Diller took over Silver King Broadcasting's girth, that aired Home Shopping programming for all it was worth.  The eighth-largest broadcast group was at his control, and with WAMI-TV the ball began to roll.

Picture of Barry Diller

Barry Diller


Former CEO and Chairman of

USA Networks, Inc.


(now known as InterActiveCorp)


It is his "CityVision" that got this ball rolling.


We shall never forget.


Thanks, Barry!



What's a wami? Postcard


miami Bubble Sonogram

miami Bubble Birth

In Miami Beach, 1998, on June 8th at 6, it launched with the birth of the "bubble" that sticked.  It shown on a sonogram for over a day, that alone pulled a 3 share... hip-hip-hooray!!!  People watched in amazement I guess, wondering what would show on Home Shopping next.  Our call sign changed from WYHS, WAMI-TV would come up next.  The calls poured in from condo commandos all day, asking why we took HSN away.  That's probably why our ratings at first were quite high...  those old timers, sleeping with their TVs on, keeled over to die.


miami Logo

We started our flagship as "miami", a marketing ploy, but for advertisers in Fort Lauderdale it wasn't a joy.  The "Voice of Miami" was the bubble's meaning, but our DMA showed that our favor was leaning.  Alienation began to settle in, with the Miami/Fort Lauderdale market being split off at one end.  Name is everything, and soon we learned, that WAMI the callsign was now WAMI relearned.  So after two weeks, the bubble had changed, only the name WAMI had remained.


WAMI Promotions Team turned USAB Group Promotions Team

WAMI Promotions Team turned USAB Group Promotions Team

Our promotions department was one of the best, continually outshining all of the rest.   7-in-7 was our coup d'état, 7 Emmys in our first 7 weeks caused the dropping of jaws.  We continued to impress both at home and abroad, with PROMAX also giving us 10 extra nods.  As things went on, we doubled down, earning the same number of awards from then until we shut down.  The creative force, led by VP Chris Sloan, left us in a class of our own.

Suncoast Regional Emmy Award, courtesy: Suncoast Chapter of NATASPROMAX Gold Muse Award, courtesy: PROMAX/BDAPROMAX Silver Muse Award, courtesy: PROMAX/BDA

Suncoast Regional Emmy Award Winner: 1998, 1999, 2000

PROMAX Muse Winner: 1999, 2000, 2001



WAMI Technical Difficulties Gator

We had plenty of severe growing pains, most of which caused more losses than gains.  Within our first week we went off the air... over four hours with a fiber repair.  When asked what caused it, the answer was simple... don't string your fiber between two buildings because it's much too brittle.  An 18-wheeler just ran it down and we weren't the only ones without fiber service in town.  Backups were not in, the station went dead, and all of the papers mocked us without regret.  The acts came together, and good thing they did, or else our license would be gone just that quick.


Picture of Lincoln Road Studio - Courtesy: CNN/Entertainment WEEKLY

Our studio was unfinished, right from the start... we had many items that just fell apart.  At times we didn't know what was worse, the damned fire alarms going off every second or how sloppy things were rehearsed.  Quite often we had no A/C, both conditioning and current, and the construction schedule was a major deterrent.  There was dust on the floor, and tile cutters galore, for a marble staircase that would be used no more; as Miami Beach Code Enforcement shut it down, forcing a gate at the top as we frowned.  Many a day went by in the beginning, with all of the crew working through extra innings.  We worked, some of us, from noon until night, with a goal of success put in our sights.  One night the job brought us to our knees, mopping and dusting to which we'd just sneeze.  With drywall and tile dust all over the place, it made our studio's floor look like a disgrace.  After that was done, another crew came in, to paint sidewalk patterns outside onto the floor within.  Six days a week, we lived in that shell, a culmination of things sent straight from hell.  A fishbowl it was, with glass on two sides, as we looked out people looked inside.  High profile we were, right from day one, with CNN's Entertainment WEEKLY logging how we begun.

MIAMI WAMI - Courtesy: CNN/Entertainment WEEKLY


Within our first months, we were tested again, with a hurricane poised to bring us to an end.  The Miami Beach location shut down and an emergency was declared.  Our engineering staff had to get prepared as Hurricane Georges bared.  In just over a day we moved back to Miramar, to the old WYHS studios by car.  A Master Control room was built from scratch, with various gear shoved into old racks.  Carrying the Weather Channel for those without cable, we inserted NOAA Weather Radio to cover up their out-of-town angles.  We used an ENG truck to microwave our signal to the tower, its generator was useful, but we never lost power.  Three days in all were spent in that place, with many more spent before the storm's embrace.  After it ended we went back to the beach, which luckily was out of the hurricane's reach.

Hurricane Georges Interactive Videowall

Our 605 Lincoln Road studios boarded up to prevent water damage to the studio and the equipment inside (which was placed on the mezzanine.)  The construction of the boards is courtesy of Michael Von Doran.

Sandbags were placed against the doors to prevent water from seeping through the bottom.

Office furniture was placed on the marble staircase (mentioned in the text) to prevent it from floating should we flood out.

We watched on the TV in our lobby as Hurricane Georges beared down on the Florida Coast... heading towards us and the Florida Keys.

GOES 8 satellite picture of the path of Hurricane Georges and its trail of destruction - Courtesy: NOAA

Our 2nd floor offices were boarded up in the event the tidal surge went above the 1st floor and the mezzanine levels of the building.

A wide view of our Emergency Master Control facility in the old WYHS Studios in Miramar, FL.  The equipment is shown close-up and desrcibed to the right of this picture.

Close-up view of the Emergency Master Control.  Equipment included an audio mixer, 2 DVCPRO decks, a Pictaurus DVE, a Grass Valley 100 switcher, multiple broadcast monitors and cables, general broadcast gear, a DSS dish to receive a feed from The Weather Channel, and a NOAA Weather radio.

These 2 transmitter trucks (Production 1 on the Left and News 1 on the right) provided emergency power and transmission capabilities.  They were used to relay a signal from our Emergency Master Control site to the transmitter site for broadcast.  The mast on Production 1 is up sending the signal in this picture.

Makeshift Hurricane Master Control Schematic


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The "CityVision" Hostesses

Picture of Veronica Puleo

Picture of Stephanie Lydecker

Veronica Puleo

Stephanie Lydecker