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WBUI Logo.png

Wbui dt2 2010.png
Champaign/Urbana, Illinois
City of license Decatur
Branding CW 23
This TV Illinois (on DT2)
Slogan TV Now
Channels Digital: 22 (UHF)
Virtual: 23 (PSIP)
Subchannels 23.1 The CW
23.2 This TV
Affiliations The CW
Owner GOCOM Media, LLC
(operated through JSA/SSA by Sinclair Broadcast Group)
(GOCOM Media of Illinois, LLC)
First air date May 1984; 29 years ago (1984-05)[1]
Call letters' meaning The WB (former affiliation) and University of Illinois (allusion of service to Champaign/Urbana)
Sister station(s) WRSP-TV / WCCU, WHOI
Former callsigns WFHL (1984–1998)
WPXU (1998–1999)
Former channel number(s) Analog:
23 (UHF, 1984–2009)
Former affiliations Religious Independent (1984–1998)
Pax (1998–1999)
UPN (secondary, 1998–2002)
The WB (1999–2006)
Transmitter power 325 kW
Height 401 m
Class DT
Facility ID 16363
Transmitter coordinates 39°56′56.2″N 88°50′13″W / 39.948944°N 88.83694°W / 39.948944; -88.83694
Licensing authority FCC
Public license information: Profile
Website cw23tv.com

WBUI is the CW-affiliated television station for Central Illinois that is licensed to Decatur. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 22 (or virtual channel 23.1 via PSIP) from a transmitter between Oreana and I-72. Owned by GOCOM Media, WBUI is sister to Fox affiliate WRSP-TV (and its full-time satellite, WCCU). Both stations are operated through joint sales and shared services agreements by the Sinclair Broadcast Group making them sisters to ABC affiliate WICS (and its semi-satellite, WICD).

WBUI and WRSP share studios on Old Rochester Road in Springfield while WBUI also operates an advertising sales office on South Main Street/U.S. 51 in downtown Decatur. Syndicated programming on this outlet includes Family Guy, Seinfeld, The Office, and American Dad among others. Through an arrangement with WICS, the ABC outlet's weekday morning meteorologist provides WBUI with weather forecasts seen on-air (during its airing of The Daily Buzz) and online that are taped in advance. The segments are appropriately titled "C-More Weather" (owing to its CW affiliation).

Digital television[edit]

Digital channels[edit]

The station's digital channel is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[2]
23.1 1080i 16:9 WBUI-DT Main WBUI programming / CW
23.2 480i 4:3 THIS TV This TV

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

WBUI shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 23, on February 17, 2009, the original date in which full-power television stations in the United States were to transition from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 22.[3] Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 23.


The station signed on in May 1984 as WFHL, owned and operated by the local Foursquare Church. The station was about half Christian programming with shows such as 700 Club and local Christian programs. The other half of the schedule consisted of recent barter cartoons, some older cartoons, family type off-network drama shows, a couple classic sitcoms, westerns, and old movies. Late in 1997, the station was sold to Paxson Communications, who re-called the station as WPXU.

The station replaced most hours of programming with infomercials until it joined the company's Pax network at its launch on August 31, 1998. At that point, the syndicated shows aired by previous ownership were dropped totally. In addition, on October 5, WPXU, along with several other Paxson stations, added a secondary affiliation with UPN.[4]

ACME Communications acquired the station from Paxson in 1999 and changed it to WB affiliate WBUI. (Paxson, now Ion Media Networks, promptly moved the WPXU-TV call letters to its station in Jacksonville, North Carolina.) At this point, some of the syndicated shows previously airing on the station returned along with mix of classic sitcoms and cartoons. Even after the sale, the station retained its secondary UPN affiliation with ACME expanding the arrangement to KPLR-TV in St. Louis and WBXX-TV in Knoxville by 2000.[5]

When WCFN (now WCIX) joined UPN in 2002, WBUI became solely a WB affiliate. Gradually from about 2000 to 2005, the station phased out most cartoons and classic sitcoms for more recent sitcoms, talk shows, and court shows. It remained affiliated with The WB until September 18, 2006, when the station joined the new CW Network, an amalgamation of The WB and UPN.

On June 20, 2007, GOCOM Media announced its intent to purchase this station from ACME Communications.[6] The sale was approved on September 14 by the Federal Communications Commission, which waived its duopoly rules for the sale; the Central Illinois TV market did not have enough station owners at the time to legally permit another duopoly under normal conditions (there was already an existing duopoly in the market, Nexstar Broadcasting's WCIA and WCFN), but ACME claimed it was losing money on WBUI and could not find a buyer that did not require a duopoly waiver. The sale to GOCOM Media officially closed on October 25, 2007.[7]

On December 31, 2012, Sinclair Broadcast Group closed on the purchase of the non-license assets of GOCOM's three television stations, WRSP/WCCU and sister station WBUI for approximately $25.6 million. Sinclair is providing sales and other non-programming services to the stations pursuant to shared services and joint sales agreements.[8]


  1. ^ The Broadcasting and Cable Yearbook says May 14, while the Television and Cable Factbook says May 13.
  2. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WBUI
  3. ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24. 
  4. ^ Burke, David (September 18, 1998). "`Air exchange' puts UPN on WPXU". Herald & Review. Retrieved April 23, 2012. 
  5. ^ Schneider, Michael (February 22, 2000). "Sharing the wealth". Variety. Retrieved April 22, 2012. 
  6. ^ http://www.acmecommunications.com/pages/news_releases.html?d=121667
  7. ^ http://www.acmecommunications.com/pages/news_releases.html?d=129751
  8. ^ http://www.sbgi.net/site_mgr/temp/FINAL%20Q4%2012%20%20Press%20Release_sjybnjj2.shtml

External links[edit]