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WISH-TV logo.png
Indianapolis, Indiana
United States
Branding WISH-TV 8 (general)
24-Hour News 8 (newscasts)
Slogan Expect More (primary)
Indiana's Own (secondary)
Channels Digital: 9 (VHF)
Virtual: 8 (PSIP)
Subchannels 8.1 CBS
8.2 local weather
8.3 weather radar
Translators WIIH-CD 17 (UHF) Indianapolis
Affiliations CBS
(will become independent on January 1, 2015)
Owner LIN Media, LLC
(sale to Media General pending)
(Indiana Broadcasting, LLC)
First air date July 1, 1954; 60 years ago (1954-07-01)
Call letters' meaning Pronounced as wish
(as in making a wish)
Sister station(s) WNDY-TV
Former channel number(s) Analog:
8 (VHF, 1954–2009)
Former affiliations Primary:
ABC (1954–1956)
CBS (1956–2014)
DuMont (1954–1955)
NBC (1954–1956)
Transmitter power 22.8 kW (main signal)
15 kW (fill-in translator)
Height 284 m (main signal)
190.5 m (fill-in translator)
Facility ID 39269
Transmitter coordinates 39°53′25.0″N 86°12′20.0″W / 39.890278°N 86.205556°W / 39.890278; -86.205556
Licensing authority FCC
Public license information: Profile
Website www.wishtv.com

WISH-TV, virtual channel 8 (VHF digital channel 9), is a CBS-affiliated television station located in Indianapolis, Indiana, United States. The station is owned by LIN Media, as part of a duopoly with MyNetworkTV affiliate WNDY-TV (channel 23). The two stations share studio faclilties located on North Meridian Street (at the north end of the Television Row section) on the near north side of Indianapolis; WISH-TV maintains transmitter facilities located on Walnut Drive in the Augusta section of the city's northwest side (near Meridian Hills).

WISH will lose its CBS affiliation to Tribune Media-owned WTTV on January 1, 2015.

WISH-TV's studios also serve as a master control hub and house some internal operations for LIN Media's fifteen other owned and/or operated television stations in the Midwestern U.S. (WANE-TV/Fort Wayne, WLFI-TV/Lafayette, WTHI-TV/Terre Haute, WOOD-TV-WOTV-WXSP-CD/Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo, WDTN-WBDT/Dayton, WKBN-TV-WYTV-WYFX-LD/Youngstown and WLUK-TV-WCWF/Green Bay), in addition to handling traffic, accounting services and some programming responsibilities for all of LIN's stations.

On cable, WISH-TV is available on Bright House Networks channel 3, Comcast Xfinity channel 7 and AT&T U-verse channel 8 in standard definition and Xfinity digital channel 708, and Bright House Networks and AT&T U-verse channel 1008 in high definition.


The station first signed on the air at 6:00 p.m. on July 1, 1954. Founded by C. Bruce McConnell – owner of radio station WISH-AM (1310, now WTLC) – it was the third television station to sign on in the Indianapolis market, after WFBM-TV (channel 6, now WRTV), which signed on in May 1949 and Bloomington-licensed WTTV (channel 10, now on channel 4), which signed on six months later in November 1949. WISH-TV originally operated as a primary ABC affiliate with a secondary affiliation with the DuMont Television Network. The station also carried several CBS and NBC programs that WFBM-TV and WTTV respectively declined to carry. WISH-TV originally transmitted its signal from a tower it shared with WISH radio; the following year, the station constructed a 1,000 feet (300 m) transmitter tower, which allowed the station to improve its signal coverage in the market.

In 1956, McConnell sold the station to the Indiana Broadcasting Company, the broadcasting subsidiary of J.H. Whitney and Company and owners of WANE-TV in Fort Wayne. The new owners persuaded CBS to move its programming to channel 8, taking that affiliation from WFBM. Conversely that same year, WISH-TV lost the ABC affiliation to WTTV (this resulted in WLBC-TV (channel 49, allocation now occupied by PBS member station WIPB) in Muncie serving as the de facto ABC affiliate for the northern part of the market as WTTV's signal did not extend very far north outside of Indianapolis's northern suburbs as its transmitter was located farther south than the market's other stations). Also in 1956, WISH became one of the first television stations in the United States to install a videotape machine.

WISH-TV's studio facility on Meridian Street.

Indiana Broadcasting became the Corinthian Broadcasting Corporation in 1957, with WISH-TV serving as the company's flagship station. Corinthian merged with Dun & Bradstreet in 1971. Dun & Bradstreet sold its entire broadcasting unit to the Belo Corporation in February 1984. However, the merger put Belo two stations over the television ownership limits that the Federal Communications Commission had in effect at the time. As a result, the company sold WISH-TV and WANE to LIN Broadcasting (the predecessor of LIN Media) the following month in March 1984. LIN was headquartered in Indianapolis for many years, with WISH-TV serving as that company's flagship television property; the company eventually moved its headquarters to Providence, Rhode Island in the late 1990s, resulting in WPRI-TV replacing WISH as LIN's flagship station. In 1995, the station relocated its transmitter to a new tower built in the Augusta section of Indianapolis.

In 2002, WISH-TV began handling the master control operations of WANE-TV and fellow sister station WLFI in Lafayette. The hub expanded to include the Buffalo duopoly of WIVB-TV and WNLO in October, with other LIN-owned stations gradually being added to the WISH hub by the summer of 2003.[1]

LIN later acquired low-power Univision affiliate WIIH-CA (channel 17, now a fill-in translator for WISH-TV) in 2004. On February 10, 2005, the Paramount Stations Group subsidiary of Viacom sold UPN affiliate WNDY-TV (channel 23, now a MyNetworkTV affiliate) as well as its Columbus sister station WWHO to LIN TV for $85 million, creating a duopoly with WISH-TV when the sale was finalized that spring.[2] On May 18, 2007, the LIN TV Corporation announced that it was exploring strategic alternatives that could have resulted in the sale of the company.[3]

On September 15, 2008, LIN and Time Warner Cable entered into an impasse during negotiations to renew retransmission consent deals for some of the group's television stations. Bright House Networks, one of two major cable providers serving Indianapolis, negotiates retransmission consent contracts through Time Warner Cable. LIN TV requested compensation for carriage of its stations in a manner similar to the deals that cable networks have with pay television providers, as other broadcast station owners began to seek compensation from cable and satellite providers for their programming. The carriage agreement with Bright House expired on October 2.[4] By 12:35 a.m. on October 3, LIN's television stations were replaced on Time Warner Cable systems in markets where the group owns stations and where either provider operates systems with programming from other cable channels. LIN's stations (with the exception of WIIH-CA) were restored 23 days later on October 26 through a new carriage agreement reached between Time Warner Cable and LIN TV.

On March 21, 2014, Media General announced that it would buy LIN Media in a $1.6 billion deal, described as a "merger."[5][6]

On Monday, August 11, 2014, it was announced that WISH would be losing its CBS affiliation of 58 years to Tribune Media's CW-affiliated WTTV, after Tribune and CBS made a new affiliation agreement that would begin on January 1, 2015.[7] This deal is reportedly a result of WISH balking at CBS' demands for reverse retransmission consent compensation from their affiliates.[8] This is the second time in Indianapolis television history that WTTV took an affiliation from WISH, the first being ABC in 1956. Barring any further affiliation switches or a move of the MyNetworkTV schedule from WNDY, WISH is likely to be an independent station beginning January 1, 2015. The loss of WISH's CBS affiliation also affected the Media General-LIN merger, with the purchase price being lowered by $110 million in stock, though no other factors were affected.[9]

Digital television[edit]

Digital channels[edit]

The station's digital channel is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[10]
8.1 1080i 16:9 WISH-HD Main WISH-TV programming / CBS
8.2 480i 4:3 LWS Local Weather Station (LWS)
8.3 Radar Forecast 8 VIPIR HD

WISH-TV operates a 24-hour local weather service on its second digital subchannel, branded as LWS (or "Local Weather Station"); similar to the now-defunct SkyTrak Weather Network service previously operated by WTHR (channel 13) and its sister station WALV-CD (channel 46), the service also began to be simulcast on low-power sister station WIIH-CA on January 1, 2009, after that station lost its Univision affiliation; WIIH-CA dropped the service when it was converted into a fill-in translator of WISH-TV in January 2011. Channel 8 carries a half-hour simulcast of the LWS service on its primary channel on Friday nights/early Saturday mornings. The station also carries a 24-hour feed of its Doppler radar system, "Forecast 8 VIPIR HD," on its third digital subchannel.

On August 7, 2009, WISH-TV began operating a Mobile DTV feed of subchannel 8.1, available as an app for BlackBerry devices.[11]

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

WISH-TV signed on its digital signal on VHF channel 9 on December 17, 1998; two days later on December 19, the station broadcast its first program in high definition when it broadcast an NFL game telecast in the format. The station shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 8, on June 12, 2009, the official date in which full-power television in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition VHF channel 9.[12][13] Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analog channel 8.

On January 29, 2010, LIN TV filed an application to the FCC to operate a digital fill-in translator on UHF channel 17,[14] an allotment that was previously occupied by the analog signal of Class A sister station WIIH-CA; the FCC granted a construction permit to build the translator's transmitter facilities on June 16.[15] The translator, which shares the same transmitter facility as WISH's main signal in the Augusta section of Indianapolis and began operating on January 13, 2011, serves parts of Indianapolis that lost signal coverage after the 2009 digital transition. The translator is mapped as virtual channel 8, which results in PSIP channel duplication while tuning sequentially on digital tuners in areas that are able to receive both signals, as the translator simulcasts WISH-TV's main channel and its two digital subchannels.


Syndicated programs broadcast by WISH-TV include Entertainment Tonight, Inside Edition, Jack Hanna's Animal Adventures, Steve Harvey and Rachael Ray. The station also produces the hour-long talk and lifestyle program Indy Style, which airs weekday mornings at 9:00 a.m. For many years, WISH-TV had carried Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune, acquiring the local rights to the programs from NBC affiliate WTHR in Fall 1988; both game shows moved back to WTHR in 2002.

WISH-TV clears the majority of the CBS network schedule, with exception of the Saturday edition of CBS This Morning, the weekend editions of the CBS Evening News and the second half-hour of Face the Nation, which instead air on WNDY. As time permits, WNDY may also take on the responsibility of airing other CBS programs that channel 8 is unable to air due to extended breaking news or severe weather coverage, or special programming; such an example has occurred from 2009 to 2011, when WNDY aired the US Open while WISH-TV opted to carry its regular programming schedule.

Sports programming[edit]

WISH-TV airs most Indianapolis Colts regular season games as well as any playoff games involving the team through CBS, via the network's broadcast rights to the NFL's American Football Conference. The move of Colts games to WISH-TV when CBS acquired the rights to the AFC in 1998 coincided with the debut of rookie quarterback Peyton Manning, who spearheaded the Colts offense through 2010, when he signed with the Denver Broncos (because of Manning's popularity in the area, WISH-TV has generally aired Broncos games if there is no Colts game on CBS). WISH-TV has also carried two Super Bowl games featuring the Colts that were televised by CBS: 2007's Super Bowl XLI (in which the Colts beat the Chicago Bears) and 2010's Super Bowl XLIV (in which the team lost to the New Orleans Saints). In addition, the station airs four Colts-related programs during the NFL season: Countdown to Kickoff, Colts UpClose, the coaches program The Bill Polian Show and Huddle Up Indy.

WISH is also the home of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament, to which CBS picked up the exclusive rights in 1981-82. Due to Indiana's status as a college basketball hotbed and local teams such as Indiana and Purdue being longtime fixtures in the tournament, NCAA Tournament games on WISH have long been among the highest-rated programs in the market during tournament season.

As a result of WISH losing its CBS affiliation in January 2015, the station's status as the unofficial "home" station of the Colts will end after the 2014 NFL regular season. If the Colts make the playoffs, any playoff games would be carried on new affiliate WTTV, since the playoffs start in January.

News operation[edit]

Former news open.
Station ID for WISH-DT2, the Local Weather Station.

WISH-TV presently broadcasts 34 hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with five hours on weekdays and 4½ hours on Saturdays and Sundays); in addition, the station produces the 40-minute sports highlight program The Sports Locker, which airs Sundays at 11:20 p.m. and airs the magazine program Indiana Week in Review (which is produced in conjunction with PBS member station WFYI (channel 20)), on Saturday mornings at 2:35 a.m.

In 1963, WISH-TV became the first television station in the market to provide extensive live coverage of a major local news event, when it covered the deadly explosion at the Fairgrounds Coliseum. WISH-TV's newscasts were the highest-rated in the Indianapolis market from the mid-1980s until WTHR overtook it for the #1 position in 2002. The station's ratings success was largely attributed to the longevity of most of its news staff, some of whom have been at the station for over 20 years. Mike Ahern was the station's main weeknight news anchor as well as the de facto face of its newsroom for more than 30 years (the longest tenure of anyone in Indianapolis television history); he joined channel 8 as a reporter in 1967 and was promoted to lead anchor in 1974, where he remained until his retirement from the anchor chair on December 1, 2004 (Ahern later hosted sister station WNDY's now-cancelled interview program One on One). Debby Knox joined Ahern as co-anchor on the weeknight newscasts in 1980 and remained with the station until she retired on November 26, 2013. Stan Wood served as the station's main weather forecaster from the 1960s until 1991, while Patty Spitler served as anchor of the noon newscast and entertainment reporter from 1982 to 2004. Lee Giles, who left the station in 2004, was one of the longest-tenured news directors in local broadcasting.

For a time during the 1990s, WISH-TV advertised that "more people in Central Indiana get their local news from 24-Hour News 8 than from any other source" at the close of many of its newscasts and in promos for its newscasts. The station's local newscasts are currently at a distant second place behind WTHR in most timeslots, except during the 5:00 to 6:30 p.m. period on weeknights, when both stations maintain a much tighter viewership margin. However, due to the recent strength of CBS' primetime lineup (as well as the fact its late news serves the lead-in for Indianapolis native David Letterman's late night talk show on the network, the Late Show), WISH has recently regained the lead in the 11:00 p.m. slot. The station's "I-Team 8" investigative reports have earned the station numerous journalism awards, including Regional Emmy, Peabody[16] and Edward R. Murrow Awards (the station was awarded the latter in 1998 and 2006). In 2008, the Indiana Associated Press Broadcast Association honored WISH-TV with the "Outstanding News Operation" and "Outstanding Weather Operation" designations.

In 1990, WISH-TV implemented the "24-Hour News Source" concept that was originally developed that year by WEWS-TV in Cleveland; the format, which began spreading to other television stations nationwide around that timeframe, involves the production of 30-second news updates that air at or near the top of every hour during local commercial break inserts – even during primetime network and overnight programming – in addition to the station's long-form newscasts in regularly scheduled timeslots. The station continues to utilize the format to this day (which is reinforced in the branding that the station has used for its news programming off-and-on since 1990, 24-Hour News 8, and all but one of the varying news slogans it had used from 1990 to 2014), even as stations elsewhere had discontinued the hourly update format by the early 2000s. As of June 2014, WISH-TV, Grand Rapids, Michigan sister station WOOD-TV (which also brands its newscasts as 24-Hour News 8) and KCRG-TV in Cedar Rapids, Iowa are the only remaining U.S. television stations that still utilize the "24-Hour News Source" concept in some form.

For many years, the news themes that WISH-TV had commissioned have incorporated components (including the eight-note musical signature) from the song Back Home Again in Indiana; these include two custom packages by Stephen Arnold Music – "Newsleader" (used from 1991 to 1997) and the "WISH-TV News Music Package," a customized version of Arnold's "Counterpoint" package (used from 1997 to 2004) – and an alteration of the V.3 package from 615 Music's "In-Sink" (used from 2004 to 2012).[17] The 615-composed custom package "A New Wish," introduced on September 5, 2012, was the first theme used by the station in 21 years to omit compositional ties to "Back Home Again in Indiana". On February 28, 2005, shortly after LIN TV announced its purchase of channel 23, WISH-TV took over production of WNDY's 10:00 p.m. newscast from WTHR, which had produced the program from its inception on March 16, 1996; this partnership expanded to include an hour-long extension of WISH's weekday morning newscast at 7:00 a.m., which debuted on January 5, 2009.

On September 8, 2008, WISH-TV became the second television station in Indiana to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition; the WNDY newscasts were included in the upgrade. On September 9, 2013, WISH-TV added a half-hour to its weekday morning newscast at 4:30 a.m., becoming the last English language news-producing station in the market to expand its morning newscast to a pre-5:00 a.m. timeslot (WTHR had an eight-year head start, expanding its morning newscast into the 4:30 slot in 2005; that station was later joined by WXIN in 2009 and WRTV in 2010).

When the station becomes Independent starting January 1, 2015, WISH-TV 8 will expand its news operation by 20 hours a week, starting by moving the 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. newscasts over from WNDY to WISH-TV. The morning newscast, 24-Hour News 8's Daybreak would expand another hour to 8:00 a.m. while the noon newscast will expand to an hour. The 5:00, 5:30 and 6:00 p.m. newscasts will be joined by a new 6:30 p.m. newscast and the 10:00 p.m. newscast would move and remain an hour long, while keeping the half-hour 11:00 p.m. newscast in place. No expansions for weekends have been announced so far.[18][19]

Notable current on-air staff[edit]

Notable former on-air staff[edit]


  1. ^ Local hub will serve up to 16 LIN stations, Indianapolis Business Journal, September 9, 2002. Retrieved June 26, 2014 from HighBeam Research.
  2. ^ LIN buys UPN pair, The Hollywood Reporter, February 10, 2005. Retrieved June 26, 2014 from HighBeam Research.
  3. ^ http://www.lintv.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=298&Itemid=114
  4. ^ http://www.wishtv.com/Global/story.asp?S=8908738
  5. ^ "Media General to buy WISH-TV parent in deal worth $1.6B". Indianapolis Business Journal. Associated Press. March 21, 2014. Retrieved March 22, 2014. 
  6. ^ Sruthi Ramakrishnan (21 March 2014). "Media General to buy LIN Media for $1.6 billion". Reuters. Retrieved 21 March 2014. 
  7. ^ http://www.tvnewscheck.com/article/78359/cbs-moving-indianapolis-affiliation-to-wttv#comments
  8. ^ http://variety.com/2014/tv/news/cbs-switches-indianapolis-affiliation-in-tribune-pact-bumping-cw-to-digital-channel-1201279881/
  9. ^ Palazzo, Anthony (20 August 2014). "Media General Cuts Lin TV Price After CBS Drops Affiliate". Bloomberg News. Retrieved 26 August 2014. 
  10. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WISH
  11. ^ Eggerton, John (2009-08-07). "LIN TV Develops Blackberry App For Mobile TV Service". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved 2009-08-11. 
  12. ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24. 
  13. ^ CDBS Print
  14. ^ http://licensing.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/ws.exe/prod/cdbs/forms/prod/prefill_and_display.pl?Application_id=1354342&Service=LD&Form_id=346&Facility_id=39269
  15. ^ http://licensing.fcc.gov/prod/cdbs/pubacc/Auth_Files/1364690.pdf
  16. ^ 66th Annual Peabody Awards, May 2007.
  17. ^ http://www.615music.com/core/news_music_demos.cfm
  18. ^ WISH-TV announces local news expansion WISHTV.com, October 1st, 2014.
  19. ^ A BIG newscast expansion coming to WISH-TV, starting January 1st. The Changing Newscasts Blog, October 1st, 2014.
  20. ^ "About Mike Ahern". 16 May 2011. Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  21. ^ "About Chet Coppock". Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  22. ^ "Ed Harding bio". WCVB-TV. Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  23. ^ Debby Knox announces retirement
  24. ^ "Nicole Briscoe bio". ESPN. Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  25. ^ "Mark Patrick Joins Hammer & Nigel". Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  26. ^ "Jane Pauley Biography". Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  27. ^ "About Rolland G. Smith". Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  28. ^ "Steele Sage bio". ESPN. Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  29. ^ "John Stehr bio". Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  30. ^ "Anne Marie Tiernon bio". WTHR. Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  31. ^ "Vince Welch bio". ESPN. Retrieved 12 March 2013. 

External links[edit]