|Slogan||Memorable Entertainment Television|
|Channels||Digital: 39 (UHF)
WCIU 26.3 (27.3) (UHF)
(Channel 23 Limited Partnership)
|Founded||October 28, 1987|
|Call letters' meaning||W W Memorable Entertainment Television (Me-TV)|
|Sister station(s)||WCIU-TV, WMEU-CD, WRME-LP|
|Former callsigns||W23AT (1989–2001)
|Former channel number(s)||23 (analog, 1989-2015)|
|Transmitter power||51 kW (analog)
15 kW (digital)
WWME-CD is a Class A television station serving Chicago, Illinois, United States as the flagship station of the Me-TV television network. It broadcasts standard definition digital signal on UHF channel 39 (virtual channel 23.1 via PSIP) from a transmitter atop the Willis Tower. Even though WWME has a digital signal of its own, the low-powered broadcasting radius does not reach certain portions of Chicago proper or the outer suburbs. Therefore, the station can also be seen through a simulcast on WCIU-TV's third digital subchannel in order to reach the entire market. This signal can be seen on UHF channel 27.3 (or virtual channel 26.3 via PSIP) broadcasting from the Willis Tower transmitter.
Owned by locally-based Weigel Broadcasting, WWME-CD is sister to fellow Weigel flagship properties, independent station WCIU-TV (channel 26) and The U Too outlet WMEU-CD (channel 48) with WCIU-DT4 being an extension of this station's classic television programming format. All three stations share studios located on Halsted Street (between Washington Boulevard and Madison Street) in the Greektown neighborhood. The station can also be seen on RCN channel 14, WOW! digital channel 17, AT&T U-verse channel 23 and Comcast Xfinity digital channel 357.
The station launched on October 28, 1987 as W23AT, a translator of WFBT. In 2001, the station changed its callsign to WFBT-CA and switched to a brokered-time ethnic programming format (coincidentally, this was the original programming format of sister station WCIU from 1964 until December 31, 1994). On January 6, 2003, WFBT debuted a programming block called "Me-TV", which featured classic television series (such as The Jack Benny Program, Sergeant Bilko, The Carol Burnett Show, Maude and One Day at a Time) each day from 12-3 p.m. The "Me-TV" block underwent several changes to its lineup, adding and removing shows and expanding time periods (eventually being broadcast from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. by 2004).
On January 1, 2005, Weigel rechristened channel 23 as WWME-CA, with Me-TV becoming the station's full-time programming format and on-air brand. The station's former ethnic programming and WFBT call letters moved to W48DD (channel 48). On August 4, 2007, WWME introduced a weekend-only block called "Sí! Me-TV" (the first two parts of the moniker were based on the phrase "see me", although "Sí" is the Spanish word for "yes"), which featured Spanish-dubbed versions of American shows from the Universal library (such as Hercules, Xena, Miami Vice, Quantum Leap and The Incredible Hulk). Some programs seen during the block were available to the station only in Spanish, due to restrictions imposed on the original English-language versions; "Sí! Me-TV" also offered a public affairs program targeted at Chicago's Latino and Hispanic population, which began at a later date. The block was discontinued on January 25, 2009.
On March 1, 2008, channel 48 became WMEU-CA and switch to an extension of WWME's Me-TV format as MeToo. Initially, the two stations ran similar schedules, but by 2008, one would air sitcoms while the other aired dramas, and vice versa. WWME also broadcasts Chicago Public Schools Public League events. On March 11, 2008, WWME signed on its digital signal on UHF channel 39, becoming the first low-power digital station in the Chicago market. From early 2009 to December 2010, the station's simulcast channel on the WCIU-DT signal also appeared as virtual channel 23.1, while WWME-CA was mapped to virtual channel 23.2. On September 14, 2009, WWME's Me-TV schedule switched its programming to a sitcom-intensive format (running such shows as The Bernie Mac Show, All in the Family, The Three Stooges and Frasier), while the MeToo schedule on WMEU-CA was adjusted to feature off-network only dramatic programs (such as Perry Mason, Star Trek, Star Trek: The Next Generation and The Twilight Zone) and films to streamline the schedules of both Me-TV stations.
On November 22, 2010, Weigel announced that the company would turn the Me-TV concept into a national network that would compete alongside similar classic television multicast networks such as the Retro Television Network and (the then yet-launched) Antenna TV, while complimenting its successful sister network This TV. The Me-TV network debuted on December 15, 2010, with WWME as Me-TV's flagship station; channel 23 also effectively became an owned-and-operated station of the network. WMEU brought comedy series to its schedule concurrently, resulting in both stations once again maintaining identical formats, albeit with different programming as the national Me-TV network seen on WWME focuses on series from the 1950s to the 1970s while WMEU's MeToo format continues to offer series from the 1980s to the 2000s on its schedule, in addition to older programs.
On December 15, 2010, WCIU moved its simulcast of WWME to digital subchannel 26.3 in preparation for the January 1 launch of "The U Too", a service that carries general entertainment programming, which replaced the WWME simulcast on digital channel 26.2. In concurrence with the launch of The U Too, PSIP channel 48.1 was discontinued (to be later used by the digital signal of WMEU-CA), while 23.1 reverted to being the virtual channel number for WWME-CA (23.2 was also discontinued, but WWME restored that subchannel with the addition of Bounce TV upon the network's September 2011 launch as part of affiliation agreement with Weigel Broadcasting).
On January 7, 2015, WWME-CA shutoff its analog signal. There was no consumer education campaign airing on the analog station for this shutdown compared to the extensive consumer education campaign airing in 2009 to educate consumers on the analog-to-digital TV transition.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|23.2||16:9||Heroes & Icons||Heroes & Icons|
Analog nightlight programming
To provide a full-schedule analog nightlight signal for the Chicago area, WWME's analog signal was converted on June 12, 2009 to carry a simulcast of Weigel's flagship full-power station WCIU-TV. From June 13 to July 12, 2009, WWME also carried simulcasts of morning and early evening newscasts from WMAQ-TV (channel 5), along with the 9 p.m. newscast from WCIU's sports broadcast partner WGN-TV (channel 9), except on nights when WGN aired sports telecasts. Me-TV continues to air its regular schedule on WCIU-TV digital channel 26.3 and WWME-LD 23.1 (digital channel 39). On January 10, 2011, WWME-CA's analog signal replaced its simulcast of WCIU's main channel in favor of simulcasting WCIU's The U Too subchannel (regularly carried on digital channel 26.2). In September 2013, with the upgrade of The U Too's programming to high definition (as shown on WMEU-CD channel 48.1), the WWME analog signal was switched to a simulcast of WCIU's MeToo digital channel 26.4. The analog simulcast of MeToo ended on January 7, 2015. The UHF channel 23 is now vacant. The future of UHF CH 23 is uncertain. A second spectrum incentive auction is currently scheduled for mid 2016. WWME-CA would have been required to shutoff its analog transmitter on September 1, 2015 anyway. Note: 23 analog is back on the air with H&I programming.
- Feder, Robert (January 3, 2003). "'ME-TV' joins 'The U' on Weigel's local menu". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved August 31, 2012. (preview of subscription content)
- Rosenthal, Phil (November 22, 2010). "Weigel Broadcasting taking Me-TV national". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved October 3, 2014.
- Rosenthal, Phil (October 5, 2010). "WCIU Parent Weigel to Drop Foreign Subchannel, Launch The U Too". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved October 3, 2014.
- Malone, Michael (October 5, 2010). "WCUU Launches The U Too Subchannel". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved October 3, 2014.
- "Bounce TV Adds Chicago, Milwaukee". TV News Check. August 8, 2011. Retrieved October 3, 2014.
- FCC call sign history for WWME-CA
- Channick, Robert (September 29, 2014). "Weigel Broadcasting launches cop show digital TV network". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved September 30, 2014.
- Rosenthal, Phil (June 11, 2009). "WMAQ-TV, WGN-TV partner with Weigel Broadcasting for analog 'lifeline'". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved October 3, 2014.
- FCC delays start of 600 MHz incentive auction to early 2016
- Analog LPTV: The End is . . . September 1, 2015