WHOI (TV)

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WHOI
HOI 19 ABC logo.png

The CW Peoria-Bloomington.png
Peoria/Bloomington/Normal, Illinois
City of license Peoria
Branding HOI 19 (general)
HOI 19 News (newscasts)
News 25 (WEEK-TV simulcast)
CW 4 (on DT2)
Slogan Accurate. Balanced. To the Point.
Your Home Team
(WEEK-TV simulcast)
TV Now (on DT2)
Channels Digital: 19 (UHF)
Virtual: 19 (PSIP)
Subchannels 19.1 ABC
19.2 The CW
Affiliations ABC (secondary until 1957)
Owner Sinclair Broadcast Group
(operated through JSA/SSA by Granite Broadcasting Corporation, to be operated by Quincy Newspapers)
(WHOI Licensee, LLC)
First air date October 20, 1953; 60 years ago (1953-10-20)
Call letters' meaning We're the Heart Of Illinois
Sister station(s) WEEK-TV, WAOE, WYZZ-TV, WICS / WICD, WRSP / WCCU, WBUI
Former callsigns WTVH (1953–1965)
WIRL-TV (1965–1973)
WRAU-TV (1973–1985)
Former channel number(s) 8 (VHF analog, 1953–1963)
19 (UHF analog, 1963–2009)
40 (UHF digital, 2003–2009)
Former affiliations DuMont (secondary, 1953–1955)
CBS (1953–1957)
Transmitter power 195 kW
Height 203.1 m
Class DT
Facility ID 6866
Transmitter coordinates 40°39′11.1″N 89°35′14.4″W / 40.653083°N 89.587333°W / 40.653083; -89.587333 (WHOI)
Website cinewsnow.com

WHOI is the ABC-affiliated television station in Peoria, Illinois. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 19 from a transmitter on North Stewart Street in Creve Coeur (a village of Groveland Township). Owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group, WHOI is operated through joint sales and shared services agreements by the Granite Broadcasting Corporation (owner of NBC affiliate WEEK-TV).

It is a sister station to Fox affiliate WYZZ-TV (owned by Cunningham Broadcasting; separately operated by the Nexstar Broadcasting Group) and MyNetworkTV affiliate WAOE (owned by Four Seasons Broadcasting; operated by Granite through another joint sales arrangement). WHOI, WEEK-TV, and WAOE share studios on Springfield Road in East Peoria along I-474. Syndicated programming on this station includes Entertainment Tonight, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Ricki Lake Show, and Millionaire among others.

Digital channels[edit]

Channel PSIP short name Video Aspect Programming
19.1 WHOI-HD 720p 16:9 Main WHOI programming / ABC
19.2 WHOI-CW 480i CW 4

History[edit]

WHOI was Peoria's second television station, signing on as WTVH on October 20, 1953. The station was owned-and-operated by Hilltop Broadcasting, which was co-owned by the Peoria Journal Star.[1] Its first studios were on North Madison Street in Downtown Peoria. Originally broadcasting an analog signal on VHF channel 8,[2] it was a primary CBS affiliate but also carried shows from ABC and DuMont. WTVH lost DuMont when the network ceased operations in 1955, and lost CBS when WMBD-TV began broadcasting.

The Metropolitan Broadcasting Corporation, later known as Metromedia, purchased the station in 1959. Four years later, WTVH was bumped down to UHF channel 19 so that a third commercial VHF station could sign-on in the Quad Cities using that channel (the new station, WQAD-TV, is also an ABC affiliate). In 1965, it was sold to the owners of WIRL radio (1290 AM), who changed the call sign to WIRL-TV. It became WRAU-TV in 1973 and adopted its present calls of WHOI in 1985. The call sign WTVH was picked up by a station in Syracuse, New York in 1976.

In 1987, WHOI came under the ownership of Adams Communications following a merger with its previous owner, Forward Communications. The station was sold to Brissette Broadcasting in 1991, then to Benedek Broadcasting in 1996. When Benedek merged with Gray Television in 2002 following a Chapter 11 bankruptcy, WHOI was spun off to Chelsey Broadcasting. In April 2004, WHOI and KHQA-TV in the Hannibal, Missouri/Quincy, Illinois media market became two of the founding stations of Barrington Broadcasting.

Starting in 1998, WHOI began to run a cable-only WB affiliate. Known by the fictional call sign "WBPE", it was on channel 4 on most cable systems in the area. On September 18, 2006, when The WB and UPN merged to create The CW, "WBPE" became part of The CW Plus which is a similar operation to The WB 100+. WHOI's digital signal added a new second digital subchannel to simulcast this programming to offer non-cable subscribers access to The CW. The channel then began to use WHOI-DT2 as its official calls.[3]

On March 2, 2009, it was announced that the operations of WHOI and its CW subchannel would be taken over by WEEK-TV through joint sales and shared services agreements. Sixteen employees were transferred to WEEK-TV but as many as thirty were laid-off immediately while WHOI moved to that channel's studios.[1] This left the five full-power commercial stations in the market operated by two entities. The WHOI and CW subchannel websites were immediately changed to redirects to WEEK-TV's web address. As part of the agreement, Granite-owned CBS affiliate WTVH (which is the oldest television station in Syracuse) was folded into Barrington's NBC affiliate WSTM-TV and low-powered CW affiliate WSTQ-LP in a similar arrangement on the same day. [4]

On June 12, WHOI remained on channel 19 when the analog to digital conversion was completed [5] with the "WHOI" calls being transferred from the now-defunct analog channel 19 to the new digital channel 19 and the "WHOI-DT" call sign from the pre-transition digital channel 40 being permanently discontinued. However, the PSIP identifier still identifies the station's main channel on 19.1 as "WHOI-DT".

On February 28, 2013, Barrington Broadcasting announced the sale of its entire group, including WHOI, to Sinclair Broadcast Group.[6] Sinclair already owned the license of local Fox affiliate WYZZ-TV, which was sold to Cunningham Broadcasting to satisfy Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations on duopoly ownership. The sale was completed on November 25.[7] Quincy Newspapers announced on February 11, 2014 that it would acquire WEEK-TV from Granite Broadcasting.[8] The JSA/SSA was originally scheduled to expire in March 2017; however, Sinclair announced that it would terminate the JSA/SSA with WEEK-TV within nine months of the consummation of Quincy's purchase of WEEK-TV.

News operation[edit]

Weekday morning and weeknight news open.

Throughout the 1980s and early-1990s, WHOI aired a nightly newscast at 5:30. This resulted in a delay of ABC World News Tonight until 6 on weeknights unlike other ABC affiliates in the Central Time Zone. On weekends, the network broadcast would be seen it its normal time slot at 5 followed by WHOI's newscast. This unique practice offered viewers with local news seven nights a week at a consistent time while other stations aired national news or other programming.

At its height while operating a separate news department, WHOI offered traditional newscasts on weekday mornings for two hours (5-7 a.m.), weeknights (at 5, 6, and 10) as well as weekends (Saturdays at 6, Sundays at 5:30, and both nights at 10). However, it did not air a midday broadcast during the week unlike most ABC affiliates. Throughout this period, the station traditionally remained in third-place for local viewership ratings during important sweeps periods.

As a result of the joint operational agreement being established, WHOI consolidated its news operation with WEEK-TV. A new secondary set was built at the NBC outlet's facilities for use by this station. In addition, WHOI let go most of its production and newscast personnel but added four on-air personalities to WEEK-TV's news team (three of them are still employed by WEEK-TV today).

WHOI then dropped its own weeknight newscasts at 5 and 6 for a new show seen at 5:30 so it would not directly compete with WEEK-TV in those time slots. ABC World News Tonight reverted to a tape-delayed airing at 6 for a second time in the station's history. WHOI retained its own weekday morning show, HOI 19 News Daybreak, as well as a separate local news broadcast weeknights at 10. On weekends, WHOI and WEEK-TV simulcast local newscasts but there can be a delay or pre-emption on one station because of network obligations.

On September 13, 2010, WHOI added a lifestyle and entertainment program known as Good Company that airs in a magazine-type format from another new exclusive set. In September 2011, WMBD added its own similarly-formatted weekday magazine show at 4 in an effort to provide competition to WHOI's show but in an earlier time slot. At some point in time after WEEK-TV and WHOI combined operations, the two stations became the first news department in the market to upgrade local newscasts to 16:9 enhanced definition widescreen. Although not truly high definition, the shows match the aspect ratio of HD television screens.

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