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|Branding||WMBD 31 (general)
WMBD 31 News (newscasts)
Bounce Central Illinois
|Slogan||Taking Action For You|
|Channels||Digital: 30 (UHF)
Virtual: 31 (PSIP)
31.2 Bounce TV
|Owner||Nexstar Broadcasting Group
(Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc.)
|First air date||January 1, 1958|
|Call letters' meaning||World's Most Beautiful Drive|
|Sister station(s)||WYZZ-TV, WCIA, WCIX, WHBF-TV, KLJB, KGCW, WTVO, WQRF-TV|
|Former channel number(s)||31 (UHF analog, 1958–2009)|
|Transmitter power||800 kW|
|Height||193 meters (633 ft)|
|Transmitter coordinates||Coordinates: (NAD83)|
WMBD-TV is the CBS-affiliated television station for Central Illinois licensed to Peoria. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 30 (or virtual channel 31.1 via PSIP) from a transmitter on Pinecrest Drive in Groveland Township's East Peoria section. The station can also be seen on Comcast channel 7 and in high definition on digital channel 912. Owned by the Nexstar Broadcasting Group, WMBD operates Fox affiliate WYZZ-TV (owned by the Cunningham Broadcasting) through a local marketing agreement (LMA) and the two outlets share studios on North University Street in Peoria.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|31.1||1080i||16:9||WMBD-DT||Main WMBD-TV programming / CBS|
The station signed on January 1, 1958 as the third television outlet in the Peoria market, after WEEK-TV (channel 25) and WTVH (channel 19, now WHOI). Airing an analog signal on UHF channel 31, it was originally owned by John Fetzer along with WMBD radio (AM 1470 and FM 93.3, now WPBG). All three stations took their calls from a local legend that President Theodore Roosevelt once described Grandview Drive (original home of WMBD radio) as "the World's Most Beautiful Drive."  WMBD radio had long been a CBS affiliate, so naturally channel 31 took over the CBS affiliation from WTVH.
WMBD-TV had studios along with its radio sisters on the second level of what was then the Majestic Theatre. Fetzer had previously won a construction permit for VHF channel 6 as early as 1949, but those plans were shelved when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) made Peoria/Bloomington an all-UHF market.
The WMBD stations were sold to Midwest Television Incorporated of Champaign, owner of fellow CBS affiliate WCIA) in 1960 for $1.85 million. In addition to sharing resources with WCIA, WMBD has also carried some original programming from the former. In the early-1960s, WMBD was the first Peoria station to broadcast color television. Along with WEEK-TV, it maintained a repeater, W71AE channel 71, in LaSalle in the 1960s and 1970s in order to expand its signal reach. The transponder license for this low-powered outlet was granted on 15 November 1962. A picture of W71AE 485-foot (148 m) Rohn tower and its sixteen bay antenna is shown in a Rohn advertisement in the 1 July 1963 issue of Broadcasting.
WMBD moved to its current location on North University Street in June 1977 and still remains Peoria's only commercial television station with studios in the city itself. It became the area's first outlet to broadcast in stereo in September 1988. In 1999, Midwest Television sold controlling interest in its Illinois television stations to Nexstar. In 2001, Midwest sold its remaining interest in WMBD, WCIA and WCFN to Nexstar while the WMBD radio stations were sold to Triad Broadcasting. In 2002, Nexstar and the Sinclair Broadcast Group entered into a local marketing agreement (LMA) in which WMBD took over WYZZ's operations. As part of the deal, WYZZ moved into WMBD's studios in Peoria. In August 2005, a similar agreement would be established between Nexstar's WROC-TV and Sinclair's WUHF in Rochester, New York. WMBD was the last station in the market to sign-on a digital signal and has been broadcasting digital-only since February 17, 2009.
Through a news share agreement, WMBD produces a nightly prime time newscast on sister station WYZZ. Known on-air as Fox 43 News at 9, this sixty minute broadcast competes with a weeknight-only show seen on MyNetworkTV affiliate WAOE for a half-hour (that is produced by NBC affiliate WEEK-TV). On March 2, 2009, there was a noticeable increase in viewership on WMBD after WHOI merged its news department with WEEK-TV. As a result, this station is now the only other local source of newscasts in Peoria and Bloomington. At the time of consolidation, WHOI let go most of its separate production and newscast personnel but added four personalities to WEEK-TV's news team who can still be seen on-air today. It dropped weeknight shows at 5 and 6 while adding a new broadcast at 5:30.
That resulted in ABC World News Tonight being moved to a tape-delay broadcast at 6. WHOI still airs a separate weekday morning program (from 5 until 7) and a weeknight newscast at 10. On weekends, WEEK-TV and WHOI simulcast broadcasts at 6 and 10 (on Saturdays) as well as Sundays at 10. Although WEEK-TV does not offer early evening local news on Sunday, WHOI does at 5:30. With the simulcasts, however, there can be delays or pre-emptions on one outlet due to network obligations. At some point in time after WEEK-TV and WHOI combined operations, the two stations became Peoria's first news department to upgrade local news to 16:9 enhanced definition widescreen. Although not truly high definition, the shows match the aspect ratio of HD television screens.
All broadcasts seen on WMBD and WYZZ currently remain in pillarboxed 4:3 standard definition and it is unclear if and/or when Nexstar plans on upgrading these two station to enhanced definition or even full HD level (WMBD's Champaign sister WCIA made the upgrade to full HD on October 25, 2012). In September 2011, WMBD added a weekday lifestyle and entertainment show at 4 known as Living Well. Seen as competition to a similar program on WHOI called Good Company (which launched back on September 13, 2010), Living Well airs for thirty minutes in a magazine-type format. In addition to the main facility in Peoria, WMBD and WYZZ operate a Twin Cities Bureau on East Lincoln Street in Bloomington that were the latter's original studios while functioning as a separate entity. Therefore, this makes the two stations the only outlet in the area with a significant Bloomington-based news and advertising sales operation.
Notable former personnel
- Cheryl Burton (1990) — later co-anchor on WLS-TV 7 Chicago
- Colleen Callahan — agribusiness reporter (1974-1997)
- John Coleman — weather anchor, later founded The Weather Channel, now at KUSI in San Diego
- Bob Jamieson — from Peoria; later at ABC News; Jamieson School in Peoria is named for his father
- Jim Jensen — later at WBZ (AM)/FM/TV Boston then main anchor at WCBS-TV 2 New York City
- Paul Moyer — later anchor at KNBC-TV 4 Los Angeles
- Faith Daniels — later news anchor for CBS Morning News and Today Show
- Randy Salerno — also worked at WHOI 19 Peoria; later at WGN-TV 9 then WBBM-TV 2 Chicago
- Martin Savidge — anchor; now at CNN 
- Dave Snell — from Pekin; still on WMBD (AM) as Bradley Braves men's basketball announcer
- Bob Starr (1960s) — later a sports announcer in Boston, St. Louis, and Los Angeles
- Lisa Sylvester — later ABC News and CNN correspondent
- Anne Marie Tiernon — reporter (1989-1991; now at WTHR in Indianapolis)
- Szoke, Anita. A Great View on Grandview Drive. Peoria Journal-Star, 2008-06-05.
- List of U.S. television stations in 1949
- "For the Record". Broadcasting. 1962-11-26. pp. 88–89. Retrieved 2011-01-10.
- "For towers of all kinds call Rohn", Broadcasting, 1963-07-01: 65, retrieved 2011-01-10
- Quick, Doug (2010-09-18). "Other Television History". Retrieved 2011-01-10.
- "For the Record". Broadcasting. 1971-08-16. pp. 40–42. Retrieved 2011-01-10.
Broadcast Bureau granted renewal of licenses for the following UHF sand VHF translators ... W49AA Springfield and W71AE LaSalle, both Illinois
- FCC list of full-service US TV stations, February 16, 2009
- "Colleen Callahan resume". Retrieved 10 March 2013.
- "John Coleman bio". KUSI-TV. Retrieved 10 March 2013.
- 92 SR 489, 92nd Illinois General Assembly, 21 November 2002. Retrieved 2011-04-19.
- "Martin Savidge bio". CNN. Retrieved 10 March 2013.
- "Anne Marie Tiernon bio". WTHR. Retrieved 12 March 2013.