|Branding||WISH-TV 8 (general)
24 Hour News 8 (newscasts)
|Slogan||We're Indiana's Own (general)
Your 24 Hour News Source (newscasts)
|Channels||Digital: 9 (VHF)
Virtual: 8 (PSIP)
8.2 local weather
8.3 weather radar
|Translators||17 (UHF) Indianapolis|
|Owner||LIN Media, LLC
(Indiana Broadcasting, LLC)
|First air date||July 1, 1954|
|Call letters' meaning||pronounced as wish
(as in making a wish)
|Sister station(s)||WNDY-TV, WANE-TV, WLFI-TV, WTHI-TV|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
8 (VHF, 1954–2009)
|Former affiliations||ABC (primary, 1954–1956)
DuMont (secondary, 1954–1955)
NBC (secondary, 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)
WISH-TV, virtual channel 8, is the CBS-affiliated television station for Central Indiana licensed to Indianapolis. Owned by LIN Media, WISH-TV is part of a duopoly with MyNetworkTV affiliate WNDY-TV (channel 23) and the two share studios on North Meridian Street at the north end of Indianapolis' Television Row. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on VHF channel 9 from a transmitter in the city's Augusta section.
WISH-TV can be considered the flagship of LIN Media's Midwestern operations as it houses hub facilities containing master control and some internal operations for WISH, locally-based sister stations WNDY-TV and WIIH-CD, and thirteen other LIN-owned or -operated stations in the region (WANE-TV, WLFI-TV, WTHI-TV, WOOD-TV, WOTV, WXSP-CD, WDTN, WBDT, WKBN-TV, WYTV, WYFX-LD, WLUK-TV and WCWF), in addition to traffic, accounting services, and some programming for stations in all LIN Media markets.
On cable, the station is carried on Bright House Networks channel 3 in standard definition and digital channel 708 in high definition, and Xfinity channel 7 in standard definition and digital channel 1008 in high definition.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|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|
The station first signed on the air at 6 p.m. on July 1, 1954 as the third television station in Indianapolis. WISH-TV was originally owned by C. Bruce McConnell, along with WISH-AM 1310 (now WTLC). It was a primary ABC affiliate and a secondary affiliate of the DuMont Television Network. The station also carried several CBS and NBC shows turned down by WFBM-TV (now WRTV) and WTTV respectively. In 1956, McConnell sold the station to the Indiana Broadcasting Company, which also owned WANE-TV in Fort Wayne. The new owners persuaded CBS to move its affiliation to channel 8 from WFBM. That same year, WISH-TV lost its ABC affiliation, leaving the network without an Indianapolis area affiliate until WLWI (channel 13, now WTHR) signed on the following year.
Indiana Broadcasting became the Corinthian Broadcasting Corporation in 1957 with WISH-TV as the company's flagship station. Corinthian merged with Dun & Bradstreet in 1971. Dun sold its entire broadcasting unit to the Belo Corporation in February 1984. However, the merger left Belo two stations over the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)'s ownership limits of the time. As a result, the company sold WISH-TV and WANE to LIN Broadcasting (the predecessor of LIN Media) one month later. LIN was headquartered in Indianapolis for many years, making WISH-TV the company's flagship television property, until the company eventually moved its headquarters to Providence, Rhode Island with WPRI-TV becoming the company's flagship station. In 2005, then-UPN affiliate WNDY was acquired by LIN TV from CBS/Viacom, creating a duopoly with WISH. On May 18, 2007, the company announced that it was exploring strategic alternatives that could have resulted in its sale.
On September 15, 2008, LIN and Time Warner Cable entered into an impasse during negotiations for new retransmission consent deals for some of the group's television stations. Bright House Networks, a major cable provider for Indianapolis, negotiates retransmission consent contracts through Time Warner Cable. LIN TV was requesting compensation for carriage in a manner similar to cable networks, as other broadcast station owners began to seek compensation from pay television providers for their programming. The deal with Bright House expired on October 2. By 12:35 a.m. on October 3, LIN's television stations were replaced on Time Warner systems in markets where the group owns stations with substitute programs from other cable channels. LIN's stations were restored 26 days later through a new carriage agreement reached between Time Warner Cable and LIN TV.
WISH-TV shut down its analog signal on June 12, 2009, the station continued to broadcast its digital signal on its pre-transition VHF channel 9. Most receivers display WISH-TV's virtual channel as 8 through the use of PSIP.
On January 29, 2010, it filed an application to the FCC for a digital fill-in translator on UHF channel 17, which was granted a construction permit on June 16. The translator, sharing the same transmitter facility as WISH's main signal, will serve parts of Indianapolis that lost signal coverage due to the 2009 digital conversion. The channel 17 allotment was previously occupied by an analog signal of Class A sister station WIIH-CA. On January 13, 2011, WISH-TV's fill-in translator began operations on channel 17. As of February 2011, WISH-TV is operating both channels 9 and 17 from their transmitting facilities at in the Augusta section of Indianapolis. Through the use of PSIP, both operating frequencies are re-mapped and displayed as virtual channel 8, which would cause some digital tuners to have two versions of virtual channels 8.1, 8.2 and 8.3, while tuning sequentially.
Syndicated programming on the station includes Entertainment Tonight, Inside Edition, Anderson Live and Rachael Ray. WISH-TV clears most of the CBS network schedule, with exception of the Saturday edition of CBS This Morning and weekend editions of the CBS Evening News, which instead air on WNDY. WNDY may also take on the responsibility of airing other CBS programs in the event that WISH-TV runs extended breaking news or severe weather coverage, or airs special programs that may result in CBS shows being unable to air on channel 8; it has happened on two occasions when WNDY aired the 2009 and 2010 US Open and again in 2011, while WISH-TV opted to air regularly scheduled programs. For many years, WISH-TV had carried Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune from 1984 and 1989, respectively, until both shows moved to WTHR in 2002.
Since 1998, WISH-TV has aired most Indianapolis Colts games through the NFL on CBS, as the Colts are part of the American Football Conference. The move of Colts games to WISH-TV coincided with the debut of rookie quarterback Peyton Manning, who spearheaded the Colts offense through 2010 (he now plays for the Denver Broncos). When the Colts beat the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XLI, it was aired on WISH-TV as CBS had the rights to that Super Bowl. WISH-TV also aired the Colts' loss to the New Orleans Saints in Super Bowl XLIV.
WISH-TV presently broadcasts 31½ hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 4½ hours seven days a week); in addition, the station produces a half-hour sports highlight program on Sunday evenings after the 11 p.m. newscast called The Sports Locker, along with three Indianapolis Colts-related programs that air during the NFL season: Countdown to Kickoff, the coaches program The Bill Polian Show and Huddle Up Indy.
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 (longer than anyone in Indianapolis television history). He joined the station as a reporter in 1967 and became WISH-TV top anchorman in 1974. Ahern retired from the anchor chair on December 1, 2004. His longtime co-anchor, Debby Knox, joined him in 1980 and worked for the station until her retirement on November 26, 2013. Stan Wood served as the station's main weatherman for much of the 1960s until 1991, while Patty Spitler was an afternoon news anchor and entertainment reporter from 1982 to 2004. News director Lee Giles, who left the station in 2004, was one of the longest-tenured in local broadcasting.
In 1990, the station began utilizing the 24 Hour News Source format, with news updates airing each hour outside of the station's regularly scheduled local newscasts. This format has continued in use by WISH-TV to this day (and is referenced in the station's longtime news branding used since that same time, 24-Hour News 8), even as other stations stopped using the hourly news update format by the beginning of the 2000s, and it has the distinction of being one of the last remaining television stations in the United States still utilizing the 24 Hour News Source format. As of February 2010, the only other stations still using the format are Grand Rapids, Michigan sister station WOOD-TV, ABC affiliate KCRG-TV in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and NBC affiliate KFDX-TV in Wichita Falls, Texas.
Since 1991, all of WISH-TV's news themes have used components of the song Back Home Again in Indiana. The first theme to do so was specially composed for the station by Stephen Arnold Music. The theme that replaced it by the early 2000s was a version of 615 Music's "In-Sink" music package. On September 5, 2012, a new custom theme by 615 Music was introduced. On February 28, 2005 – following WNDY's purchase by LIN TV – WISH-TV began producing the nightly primetime newscast at 10 p.m. seen on WNDY, assuming production responsibilities from WTHR, which had produced the program since it debuted on March 16, 1996 when channel 23 was a WB affiliate.
On September 8, 2008, WISH-TV became the second television station in Indiana and the Indianapolis market to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition, with the WNDY newscasts being included in the upgrade. On January 5, 2009, WISH-TV began producing an hour-long extension of its weekday morning newscast on WNDY, airing Monday through Friday at 7 a.m. As of May 2013, WISH is currently the last remaining Big Four network affiliate in the Indianapolis market that still airs its weekday morning newscast at 5 a.m. (WTHR and WXIN moved the start time of their morning newscasts to 4:30 a.m. in 2005 and 2009, respectively, with WRTV also doing so the sometime in 2010). On September 9, 2013, WISH's 24-Hour News 8 Daybreak began airing from 4:30-7:00 a.m., making all big four stations on air at 4:30 with morning news. Only WXIN 59 airs a 4:00 a.m. newscast.
According to the Nielsen ratings, WISH-TV was the highest rated station in Indianapolis from the mid-1980s until NBC affiliate WTHR took over the position in 2002. This was largely due to the longevity of most of its news staff, some of whom have been at the station for over 20 years. At one time, WISH-TV boasted 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 newscasts and in promos. Currently, it is a distant runner-up behind WTHR in most timeslots except during the early evening newscasts on weeknights, when it runs neck and neck with WTHR. However, due to the recent strength of CBS' prime time lineup (and being the lead-in for Indianapolis native David Letterman), WISH has recently regained the lead at 11 p.m.
- Your Esso Reporter (1954–1960)
- The Big News (1960–1972)
- Channel 8 News (1972–1980)
- News 8 (1976–1980 and 1984–1990)
- 8 On the Scene News (1980–1984)
- 24-Hour News 8 (1990–present, sometimes News 8)
- "Indiana's Own" (1984–present; general slogan)
- "We Are the Team" (1984–1994; used in image campaign by Michael Randall, paired with the "Indiana's Own" campaign)
- "Indiana's Only 24-Hour Television News Service" (1990)
- "Indiana's Only 24-Hour News Service" (1990–1991)
- "Central Indiana's Only 24-Hour News Service" (1991–1997)
- "News 8 Gets You Closer" (1997–1999)
- "Your 24-Hour News Station" (1997–2006)
- "Your 24-Hour News Source" (2006–present)
Current on-air staff
WISH-TV's primary news anchors are Walter Allen (weekend mornings from 6-9 a.m.); David Barras (weekdays at noon and weeknights at 5:30 p.m.; also reporter); Eric Halvorson (weeknights at 5, 6 and 11 p.m.); Karen Hensel (weeknights at 10 p.m. on WNDY; also investigative reporter); Lauren Lowrey (weekday mornings from 4:30-7 on WISH and 7-8 a.m. on WNDY and weekdays at noon); Daniel Miller (weekends at 6, 10 (WNDY) and 11 p.m.); Brooke Martin (weeknights at 5:30 on WISH and 10 p.m. on WNDY); Scott Sander (weekday mornings from 4:30-7 on WISH and 7-8 a.m. on WNDY); and Lori Wilson (weeknights at 5, 6 and 11 p.m.; also reporter).
The Forecast 8 StormTrackers team includes chief meteorologist Steve Bray (weeknights at 5:30 p.m.; also science and technology reporter and news director); and meteorologists Robb Ellis (weeknights at 5, 6, 10 (WNDY) and 11 p.m.), Randy Ollis (weekday mornings from 4:30-7 on WISH and 7-8 a.m. on WNDY and weekdays at noon), Ken Brewer (weekend mornings from 6-9 a.m.) and Pamela Gardner (weekends at 6, 10 (WNDY) and 11 p.m.). All meteorologists have the AMS Seal of Approval.
The station's sports team includes sports director Anthony Calhoun (weeknights at 6, 10 (WNDY) and 11 p.m., also host of Sports Locker, Countdown to Kickoff, The Bill Polian Show and Huddle Up Indy), sports anchor Chris Widlic (weekends at 6, 10 (WNDY) and 11 p.m.), weekend sports reporter Amanda Maynard and car racing expert Derek Daly.
The station's reporting staff includes Drew Blair (general assignment reporter); Adrienne Broaddus (general assignment reporter); Kylie Conway (general assignment reporter); Jessica Hayes (general assignment reporter; also fill-in anchor); Julian Grace (multi-platform journalist); Emmy nominee (at WSBT-TV South Bend) Dustin Grove; Danielle Mitchell ("Face of My INDY TV"); Jay Hermacinski (general assignment reporter); Troy Kehoe (weekday morning reporter from 4:30-7 on WISH and 7-8 a.m. on WNDY); Keith McCutchen ("Chopper 8" pilot reporter); Julie Patterson (weekday morning traffic reporter from 4:30-7 on WISH and 7-8 a.m. on WNDY); Teresa Mackin (multiplatform journalist); Jim Shella (political reporter and Indiana Week in Review host); Dick Wolfsie (weekend morning reporter; heard on WFYI-FM 90.1 and WNDY-FM 91.3).
Hosts for the local talk and lifestyle program Indy Style are Tracy Forner and Andi Hauser weekdays from 9-10 a.m.
Notable former on-air staff
- Mike Ahern - anchor/reporter (1967-2004; now at sister station WNDY-TV)
- Angela Buchman - primary meteorologist (now with at WTHR)
- Chet Coppock - sportscaster (1970s; now at WMVP-AM in Chicago)
- Ed Harding - sports director (1981-1988; now at WCVB-TV in Boston)
- Debby Knox - anchor (1980-2013; retired November 26, 2013) 
- Nicole Manske - sports reporter (2004-2006; now at ESPN)
- Mark Patrick - sports director (1990-1999)
- Jane Pauley - weekend anchor (1972-1975)
- Joe Pickett - Host of the "Channel 8 Money Movie" (died 4-20-13)
- Rolland Smith - anchor (1967-1969)
- Sage Steele - sports reporter (1997-1998; now at ESPN)
- John Stehr - anchor (now at WTHR in Indianapolis)
- Scott Swan - anchor (now at WTHR)
- Anne Marie Tiernon - anchor/reporter (1991-2000; now at WTHR in Indianapolis)
- Vince Welch - sports anchor (1990-1995; now at ESPN
- Chris Wright - meteorologist (later at WTHR)
- Eggerton, John (2009-08-07). "LIN TV Develops Blackberry App For Mobile TV Service". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved 2009-08-11.
- CDBS Print
- WISH-TV News Open November 1986
- WISH-TV News 8 at 6PM Open (1999)
- WISH-TV Indiana's Own Campaign
- WISHTV-Six O'Clock News Open
- WISH-TV Your 24 Hour News Source
- "About Mike Ahern". 16 May 2011. Retrieved 12 March 2013.
- "About Chet Coppock". Retrieved 12 March 2013.
- "Ed Harding bio". WCVB-TV. Retrieved 12 March 2013.
- Debby Knox announces retirement
- "Nicole Briscoe bip". ESPN. Retrieved 12 March 2013.
- "Mark Patrick Joins Hammer & Nigel". Retrieved 12 March 2013.
- "Jane Pauley Biography". Retrieved 12 March 2013.
- "About Rolland G. Smith". Retrieved 12 March 2013.
- "Steele Sage bio". ESPN. Retrieved 12 March 2013.
- "John Stehr bio". Retrieved 12 March 2013.
- "Anne Marie Tiernon bio". WTHR. Retrieved 12 March 2013.
- "Vince Welch bio". ESPN. Retrieved 12 March 2013.