|Channels||Digital: 45 (UHF)
Virtual: 44 (PSIP)
|Subchannels||44.1 Telemundo HD
44.2 Éxitos[disambiguation needed] SD
44.3 SOI[disambiguation needed] SD
(NBC Telemundo License, LLC)
|First air date||April 5, 1970|
|Call letters' meaning||Essaness (former owner)|
Comcast SportsNet Chicago
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
44 (UHF, 1970 –2009 )
|Former affiliations||Independent (1970 –1985 )
SIN/Univision (1985 –1989 )
|Transmitter power||665 kW|
WSNS-TV, channel 44, is an owned-and-operated station of the Spanish-language Telemundo network, located in Chicago, Illinois, USA. This station is owned by NBCUniversal, which is also the parent company of Telemundo. WSNS-TV shares its studio facilities with sister station WMAQ-TV (channel 5) within the NBC Tower, and its transmitter is based on the Willis Tower.
Digital television 
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|44.1||1080i||16:9||Main WSNS-TV programming / Telemundo|
|44.2||480i||4:3||Exitos[disambiguation needed] TV
As part of the analog television shutdown and digital conversion, WSNS-TV shut down its analog transmitter on June 12, 2009, and continued to broadcast on its pre-transition digital channel 45. However, through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display its virtual channel as 44. WSNS-TV's main transmitter was also transferred from the John Hancock Center to the Willis Tower.
As an independent station 
WSNS-TV, Chicago's fourth-oldest commercial UHF station, began broadcasting on April 5, 1970. It was initially owned by a consortium of investors including Harriscope (which owned 50 percent) and the Essaness Television Corporation, from which the station's call letters arose. The transmitter and small studio were located on the 97th floor of the John Hancock Center.
The station programmed an all-news format in its early days. During the day, the station aired an alphanumeric feed of news reports supplied from wire services. The lower third of the screen displayed a commercial banner for Continental Bank, Jewel Foods, and other clients, while elevator music played continuously. Every seven minutes a four-sided board would turn in front of a camera to show headlines, traffic reports, sports scores and birthdays.
The first program added to the format was the 10-minute long Underground News. It began on July 1, at 11:50 p.m. when the AP wire feed changed to local news, produced and directed by Howie Samuelsohn, and written by Linda Freedman. At that time, the banner ad changed to "Head Imports" and the music changed to progressive rock artists, such as The Grateful Dead. Most of the news concerned the Anti-War Movement. On November 16, 1970, the station moved to newly constructed studios on Grant Place in Chicago's Lincoln Park (they have since been demolished). With a staff consisting of local talent and a team of recent graduates from Southern Illinois University, the station went "live." One of the first live-on-tape programs was a revamped version of "Underground News", which was hosted, reported and co-produced by Chuck Collins. Collins was a 21-year-old recent graduate in political science. Eventually, the show was bought by Collins and Samuelsohn and became syndicated in more than a dozen cities. Later, Collins went on to capture seven Emmy Awards for NBC News, two Peabody Awards, a Dupont Award and the American Bar Association's Silver Gavel Award. He died in July 2010 from a nerve disease.
To secure a mattress store advertiser, the station ran a news show titled Heart of the News, which featured anchorwoman Linda Fuoco reading the news in a provocative manner on a heart-shaped bed. . That program was short-lived, but the second anchorwoman, Judith Wright, anticipated such current-day fare as Jon Stewart's The Daily Show, as she would make funny and ironic commentaries on news stories picked off the AP wire during the day. Wright later went on to become a Ph.D. geochemist, an ironic twist for a young starlet, and invented a method of using fish bones to clean up heavy metal contamination in water and soil.
During these early years, the Emergency Broadcast System required many stations to shut down in the event of a national emergency. When a false alarm took place on February 20, 1971, WSNS was the only station to respond correctly and shut down.
The news format was not particularly successful, and by 1972, WSNS began running a low-budget general entertainment schedule. Basically, WSNS was the "also ran" station in the market, running some Japanese animated and adventure shows like Ultra Man, Marine Boy and Space Giants, along with low-budget cartoons, older off-network shows, old movies, and religious programming.
Following an effort by the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) to promote alternative programing efforts by the UHF broadcasting spectrum, such as subscription TV, WSNS filed for and received one of the many subscription TV licenses awarded in the US. The subscription service was known as ONTV. Most major cities had one or two licensed subscription TV operators. To obtain a subscription TV license the station had to provide the FCC with the proposed programing in detail (usually first run movies, morning children's shows and late night adult entertainment, much like HBO or Showtime offers). The station was required to install an unscrambling device in each home that would unscramble the TV signal that was broadcast by the station. In the summer of 1980, WSNS began offering ON-TV after 7 p.m. weeknights and after 5 p.m. on weekends. Early in 1981, ON-TV times expanded to begin at 6 p.m. weeknights and noon on weekends. In the Fall of 1982, ON-TV was full-time on Channel 44 except for a couple hours in the mornings. Early in 1983, WSNS would run ON-TV 24 hours a day and would be scrambled the entire time. During one of the license renewal periods a group filed a motion with the FCC to contest the license for WSNS using the argument that the FCC did not have the right to allow a station the use of public airwaves for a subscription fee. This case was ultimately settled and WSNS later decided that the subscription TV model was not viable commercially.
In July 1985, WSNS dropped ON-TV to became a full-time affiliate of the Spanish International Network (which became Univision a few years later) with a three year deal. WCIU was the original SIN affiliate, running programming after 5 p.m. and business news during the day. WCIU then switched to NetSpan (which would become Telemundo in 1987).
As a Telemundo station 
WSNS swapped affiliations with WCIU in 1989 and joined Telemundo. Essaness sold a 74.5 percent controlling interest to Telemundo in 1996, retaining a 25.5 percent stake. This provided Telemundo with its first major-market O&O and allowed Telemundo to establish itself as a viable Spanish outlet against Univision. In 1990, the station began to broadcast local Spanish-language newscasts at 5 and 10 p.m. weeknights. These were anchored by Luisa Martinez and Augusto Torrez and featured Elio Montenegro as lead reporter and fill-in anchor.
When NBC purchased Telemundo in 2002, WSNS became part of the newly enlarged conglomerate, creating Chicago's first commercial duopoly between two full-power television stations. At that time, WSNS moved its operations to the NBC Tower, the home of WMAQ-TV. One year later, NBC became the sole owner of WSNS when it bought out Essaness' stake in the partnership.
Sports programming 
WSNS obtained the broadcast rights to the Chicago White Sox baseball team in 1973 from WFLD and aired their games until 1980. The White Sox games at the time were announced by legendary play-by-play man Harry Caray and beginning in 1977 Caray was joined by former Boston Red Sox outfielder, Jim Piersall; WGN-TV actually produced the games for WSNS via contract (Caray appeared on WGN's newscasts in the 1970s and was thus an employee of that station). Later, the games returned to WFLD and WGN proper (twice).
In 1972, WSNS aired (via satellite) hockey's 1972 Summit Series that featured Team Canada vs. the Soviet Union. WSNS also aired Chicago Bulls basketball games from 1973–76, as well as Chicago Cougars WHA hockey from 1972-75. From 1976 until 1980, WSNS aired the NHL Game of the Week on Mondays, and started airing Chicago Blackhawks road games from 1978–1980 (those games were also simulcasted with WCFL-AM, which was the Blackhawks' radio outlet at the time). That marked the last free TV outlet for the Blackhawks until 2008, when WGN-TV resumed airing their games. Through the 1970s, WSNS aired college basketball featuring the Purdue Boilermakers, the Indiana Hoosiers, and in the late 1970s, the DePaul Blue Demons.
- "Chicago Television Spotlite--Ed Morris".
"Bob Luce: 1928 - 2007 A promoter extraordinaire Staging pro wrestling shows was a labor of love for Bob Luce". Chicago Tribune. February 13, 2007.
- Official website
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WSNS-TV
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WSNS-TV