- This page is about the existing television station in Cleveland, Ohio. For the previous occupant of channel 61 in Cleveland, see WKBF-TV.
|Channels||Digital: 34 (UHF)
Virtual: 61 (PSIP)
|Subchannels||61.1 Univision (1080i)|
(Univision Cleveland, LLC)
|First air date||January 13, 1981|
|Call letters' meaning||Q carried over from former WCLQ calls,
|Former callsigns||WCLQ-TV (1981–1986)
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
61 (UHF, 1981–2009)
|Former affiliations||Independent (1981–1986)
|Transmitter power||525 kW (digital)|
|Height||333.8 m (digital)|
WQHS-DT, virtual channel 61 (UHF digital channel 34), is a Univision owned-and-operated television station located in Cleveland, Ohio, United States. The station is owned by Univision Communications. The station's studios and offices are located in Parma, and its transmitter is located on the west side of Akron, just north of Rolling Acres Mall. WQHS is one of two Univision-owned or -affiliated stations, alongside KUNS-TV in Seattle, Washington, located in a media market that borders Canada, although neither are available on cable and satellite providers in that country.
A previous license owned by Kaiser Broadcasting occupied channel 61 as WKBF-TV from 1968 to 1975. It was the first actual independent station to sign on in Cleveland, and the first on the UHF dial. Despite some innovative local programming, and some popular off-network shows, WKBF struggled for the majority of its existence due to poor revenue growth. The station failed to achieve profitability while competing against rival station WUAB (channel 43), which signed on nine months after WKBF in 1968. By 1975, Kaiser Broadcasting and its then-partner Field Communications sold off WKBF's assets to WUAB's owner United Artists Broadcasting, and purchased a minority ownership in the station (which was relinquished when WUAB was sold to Gaylord Broadcasting and when Kaiser fully merged with Field; both of which occurred in 1977).
Kaiser then signed channel 61 off the air and returned the license to the Federal Communications Commission. WKBF was one of two stations in the Kaiser Broadcasting chain to cease operations permanently; the other was Philadelphia station WKBS in 1983.
The dark years (1975–1980)
Rumors abounded concerning potential companies that could file for the UHF channel 61 license in Cleveland, yet none came forward right away. After a few years, the FCC began to accept applications for channel 61 (as a distinctly separate license from WKBF), and Balaban Stations won the license in 1980.
New license, new owners (1980–present)
The current licensed station signed on that air as WCLQ on January 13, 1981. The channel 61 logo was similar to WKBF's design, but with a neon glow effect. This station also operated as an independent station. WCLQ carried a general entertainment programming format with a mix of classic cartoons, off-network dramas, westerns, sitcoms, and other syndicated programs. The station even revived a character from the old channel 61 (The Ghoul, portrayed by Ron Sweed, the host of a Friday night horror movie showcase) in 1982.
Not unlike similar flailing high-numbered UHF stations at the time, unlike its predecessor, the station was only able to gain profitability due to its partnership with Preview, an early over-the-air scrambled subscription television service similar to other regional over-the-air pay television services that aired movies and local sporting events in the evening and on weekends, such as SelecTV in Milwaukee and Philadelphia, or ONTV and Spectrum in Chicago. Preview was discontinued in 1983 and WCLQ was sold to Channel Communications the following year.
In 1985, WOIO (channel 19) and WBNX-TV (channel 55) both signed on with entertainment formats to create further competition, which took viewers away from WCLQ. WOIO surpassed the station in the ratings immediately and WBNX steadily grew in its own right as an independent by increasing its cable coverage as well as its over-the-air coverage. It became apparent that Cleveland was unable to support four independent stations at the same time and as a result, WCLQ began to experience profit losses.
As a result, Channel Communications decided to put WCLQ up for sale in May 1986. Earlier that year, the new owners began running Home Shopping Network programming from midnight to 6 a.m., later expanding that summer to include another block from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. In August, HSN's broadcasting arm Silver King Television bought the station outright, running HSN programming 18 hours a day, while entertainment programming continued to air from 4 to 10 p.m.
Once the sale was finalized in November 1986, the station's call letters were changed to WQHS (a "-TV" suffix was added to the calls in 1992), entertainment programming was completely dropped and WQHS began carrying HSN programs 24 hours a day for the better part of the next 15 years, during which time much of WCLQ's syndicated programming (including sitcoms and cartoons) was picked up by WBNX.
Plans emerged in the late 1990s to convert WQHS-TV back into a general entertainment independent station by 2002, mirroring the local programming-infused format that was already adopted by its stations in cities such as Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth and Miami; however, USA Broadcasting (owned by USA Networks) decided to sell its television stations in 2000. The Walt Disney Company made a bid to acquire the group, but was outbid by Spanish-language broadcaster Univision Communications. As a result, WQHS-TV joined Univision on January 14, 2002 (as one of the few USA Broadcasting stations that was acquired by Univision not to join its secondary network TeleFutura upon its launch). Today, with the absence of affiliates for the other major Spanish networks such as Telemundo, Azteca América, Estrella TV and MundoFox, WQHS continues to serve as the only Spanish-language affiliated station in northern Ohio.
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|61.1||1080i||16:9||WQHS-DT||Main WQHS programming / Univision|
On April 22, 2013, Univision Communications announced that it had signed an affiliation deal to carry getTV, a classic movie network owned by Sony Pictures Television, that will debut in the fall of 2013 on the digital subchannels of Univision's owned-and-operated stations. WQHS-DT will carry the network on a new second digital subchannel.
WQHS shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 61, on June 12, 2009, the official date in which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 34. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 61, which was among the high band UHF channels (52-69) that were removed from broadcasting use as a result of the transition.
- Univision website
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WQHS
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WQHS-DT