Professional Experience

Emmy award winner Chris Cifatte anchors WINK News at 5 and 6 p.m weeknights with Lois Thome, and WINK News at 11 with Amanda Hall.

Chris has spent most of his career in Southwest Florida - joining WINK-TV in 2002.

Here, he has covered and uncovered many big stories ranging from hurricanes Charley, Wilma (anchoring for 24 hours straight) and Irma, to a year-long investigation into FEMA underpaying victims of Hurricane Charley for their flood damage. Several families were paid-in-full after those stories aired. That series was also used at a White House briefing as part of testimony on behalf of the victims.

Chris was one of the first reporters on the air when a tornado tore through a Cape Coral residential neighborhood in 2016 and anchored coverage from the neighborhood for two days as the damage assessment and clean-up began. He followed up with families having trouble with insurance payments and contractors not living up to their promises.

Chris has also brought big national and worldwide events home to Southwest Florida viewers. He was the first Southwest Florida TV reporter or anchor to broadcast live from Cuba. Chris was there in January 2015 as negotiations were being completed to open up access to the island to Americans. He went back later that year to cover Pope Francis’ visit and the changing relations between the two nations. Chris has also covered five different Presidents and candidates on local visits or campaign stops.

Chris, along with Lois Thome, has anchored every election night since 2004. He has moderated gubernatorial, House candidate, and city/county candidate debates. Chris anchored WINK’s hurricane preparedness coverage in the years after Charley and Wilma - live from the National Hurricane Conference in New Orleans. He has brought important national issues back home reporting from Washington DC.

Prior to joining WINK-TV, Chris was an anchor and investigative reporter for WYFF-TV in Greenville, South Carolina. While there, he spent 24 hours at the State Emergency Operations Center immediately after the 9/11 attacks, covering the state’s plans in case of local attacks or uprisings. Before that, he was an anchor, reporter, and News Director at WMDT-TV in Salisbury, Maryland. Chris also worked as a management and financial consultant in Los Angeles prior to working in television news.

Mentoring up-and-coming journalists is very important to Chris. He is an adjunct faculty member at FGCU and works individually with many of the reporters and producers at WINK. Currently, three WINK reporters were his former students.

Awards & Recognition

Chris has won several awards for his reporting including an Emmy in 2002 for coverage of Dale Earnhardt’s death. Chris was part of a team effort covering the NASCAR legend’s death from the anchor desk when it happened on Sunday night, then leaving with a crew at 11:30 for Charlotte, NC to lead the station's live coverage Monday morning starting at 5 a.m.

As part of the WINK News team, Chris has been nominated for – and won – several awards for news coverage of hurricanes, tornadoes, and investigative stories that have helped viewers. The one he is most proud of was helping the family of a teenager after a life-threatening accident. Chris helped resolve an insurance dispute that was keeping the boy from getting the specialized care he needed. He made a full recovery.

Chris was also named Lee County’s Big Brother of the Year in 2006.


Masters in business administration from Pepperdine University, bachelors in economics and broadcast journalism from American University.

Likes best about Southwest Florida

The people. Our viewers are the most kind, generous people around. Every year, they help us raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to feed families through the “WINK Feeds Families Hunger Walk” and countless other events in the area. But, most importantly, they help each other when there is a need. I’m proud to be part of helping highlight those needs and being part of our amazing community coming together to solve problems.


Norwalk, Conn.

For sale sign in front of a Cape Coral home. (Credit: WINK News)

Cape Coral rental prices and the SWFL housing crisis

A new study released on Tuesday said Cape Coral has the most overpriced rent in the country. WINK News could have Liseth Ceja telling our audience about this report, but she isn’t in Southwest Florida yet. WINK News hired her in 2022, but she hasn’t been able to start working because of housing complications brought […]

5 black skimmers, endangered state birds, intentionally run over on Marco Island

Five black skimmers, an endangered species, were intentionally run over and killed by a Marriot employee in a golf cart. Responding to the report, Marco Island police went to the beach area in front of 400 South Collier Boulevard on Monday. Florida Fish and Wildlife will handle the investigation with the assistance, if needed, of […]

The factors that may be increasing insurance rates for Florida condo associations

It is a period of insurance insanity. Beyond all the people trying to collect money for Hurricane Ian’s damage, some people are getting next year’s bill. One Southwest Florida condo complex saw a nearly 400% rate increase. “We were told by our homeowner’s association that our rates would go up. Looks like about 400%. That […]

North Collier Regional Park hosts Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk

Southwest Florida is quickly approaching one of the biggest fundraisers in the fight against breast cancer. Most people think of breast cancer as a woman’s disease., but men are affected too. It’s motivated men all over our area to join the Real Men Wear Pink movement. P.E Coach Aaron Waldoat at Tortuga Preserve Elementary wears […]

Travel reporter experiences the hidden gems of Southwest Florida

There’s a new effort to get people to check out other attractions besides the beach in Southwest Florida. The effort may help you and others discover what one popular travel reporter calls Lee County’s “hidden gems.” The Lee County Visitor and Convention Bureau invited CBS News’ Peter Greenberg down for a week to do his […]

Travel outlook at Southwest Florida International Airport

Traveling the last couple of years has been up and down. As in, let’s see if my plane goes up and if these prices ever come down. Along the way, something unusual happened. For two months in a row, air travel at Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) was off by a lot, about 20% year […]

Teacher panic buttons offer added layer of security, assistance in any emergency

Many teachers have access to a “panic button”. That may sound like it’s related to a threat, but in reality, it could involve any emergency. Teachers encounter all kinds of issues, including medical problems, fights, and occasionally, the more serious threat. In some schools they wear panic buttons at all times. It’s a tool to […]

death row

Florida’s death row inmates received thousands of dollars from stimulus checks

Stimulus checks from the federal government that were meant to help struggling people ended up in the hands of prisoners. WINK News found out a few inmates got their payday as well. A couple of them are responsible for some of Southwest Florida’s most notorious crimes. While people work to make ends meet due to […]