|Branding||WYCC PBS Chicago|
|Slogan||Be more Chicago|
|Channels||Digital: 21 (UHF)
Virtual: 20 (PSIP)
20.3 MHz WorldView
|Owner||City Colleges of Chicago
(College District #508, County of Cook)
|First air date||September 1965 (original incarnation)
February 2, 1983 (current incarnation)
|Call letters' meaning||We're
|Former callsigns||WXXW (1965–1974)
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
20 (UHF, 1983–2009)
|Former affiliations||ITV (1965-1974)
|Transmitter power||98.9 kW|
WYCC, virtual channel 20 (UHF digital channel 21), is the secondary PBS member station serving Chicago, Illinois, United States. The station is owned by the City Colleges of Chicago. WYCC maintains studios located at Kennedy–King College on South Union Avenue and Halsted Parkway in the Englewood neighborhood, and its transmitter is located atop the John Hancock Center in the Streeterville neighborhood. The station can also be seen on Comcast Xfinity, RCN, WOW! and AT&T U-verse channel 239. There is a high definition feed offered on Comcast Xfinity digital channel 240.
- 1 Overview
- 2 History
- 3 Digital television
- 4 Programming
- 5 References
- 6 External links
WYCC serves as one of three PBS member stations serving the Chicago metropolitan area, alongside WTTW (channel 11) and Gary, Indiana-licensed WYIN (channel 56). Because the Chicago market is well-served by PBS's national programming from those two stations, WYCC's programming focuses more on adult educational and other instructional programming, along with other programming obtained by producers outside of PBS, which provides only 13% of WYCC's weekly schedule. It offers a wide variety of English language international news programs on its second digital subchannel.
Funding for the station is provided by the usual mix of member donations, pledge drives and funding by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, as well as funding allocated by the Illinois State Legislature and the city of Chicago through the City Colleges division. WYCC makes the claim of being the largest public television station run by a minority operation, and reaches the 3.5 million households in the Chicago area, along with six million households across Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan.
Hot on the heels of the Federal Communications Commission's recent lifting of its ban on new television station applications (the FCC Sixth Report & Order of 1952) along with the opening of additional channels in the ultra high frequency range, a joint venture called WIND Inc. between the Chicago Daily News and The Ralph J. Atlass family (one-time owners of the WBBM and WIND-AM radio stations) petitioned the FCC for a construction permit to build a Chicago television station on UHF channel 20. It also applied for, and received the call letters WIND-TV, but nothing ever came of it. On November 8, 1956, Westinghouse Electric purchased the construction permit for $5.3 million.
UHF stations of the 1950s came and went due partly to the fact that manufacturers did not include UHF tuners in television sets (an issue that was remedied when the FCC made these tuners a requirement for sets made from 1964 onward), and by the end of the decade Group W had soured on the idea of launching a Chicago station. In late 1962, Group W offered the construction permit (as the legend goes – for $1 although some reports list the selling price as $65,000) to Edward L. Ryerson of the Chicago Educational Television Association (now present-day Window to the World Communications and licensee of WTTW, channel 11).
First conceived in 1953 and debuting in September 1955 as Chicago’s first non-commercial educational station, WTTW by the early 1960s was beginning to have growing pains. Gradually moving away from their original mission of providing classroom instructional courses as more and more of its broadcast day was filled first with programming from NET and later PBS and other member stations, the idea of a second station must have seemed the perfect answer.
According to the quarterly WTTW Channel 11 News program guide of Winter 1963, hopes were high for the new station. Intending to devote the entire station's schedule to instructional programming including the already established College of the Air tele-courses, possibilities for WXXW included special police training programs, police bulletins (including lineups), public health instruction in pre-natal and post-natal care, instructional programs for election judges, training for Army, Navy and Air Force reserve units, civil defense disaster training, programs for unskilled workers, professional information services for physicians and dentists, and seminar programs for various other professional groups.
In September 1965, the former construction permit for WIND-TV officially became Chicago’s second UHF station and second non-commercial outlet as WXXW on channel 20. But WXXW, known as "the Classroom of the Air", was essentially a failure. Plagued by a weak signal and a schedule filled with what one-time WTTW station manager Edward Morris called "talking heads and a blackboard," WXXW limped along until quietly going dark in 1974. Throughout its entire existence, WXXW was only able to transmit in black-and-white, making it and WCIU (channel 26) the only television stations in Chicago that had not transitioned to color broadcasts in the early 1970s. The monochrome transmissions were just another nail in the station’s coffin.
In 1977, a consortium known as the Chicago Metropolitan Educational Council acquired the long-dark WXXW license from WTTW general manager Bill McCarter (again, legend states that it was purchased for $1, making it the cheapest television license ever in the Chicago area) and applied to change its call letters to WCME, however that station was never built. In 1982, Oscar Shabat, founding Chancellor of the City Colleges of Chicago, asked the consortium to release the dormant license; on February 17, 1983, channel 20 was reborn as WYCC (standing for "We are Your City Colleges"). After its long beginning, it is now a station with a variety of programming on three distinct channels (20.1, 20.2, 20.3), including PBS, locally generated content, international news, education, and most recently, First Nations Experience.
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|20.1||1080i||16:9||WYCC-HD||Main WYCC programming / PBS HD|
|20.2||480i||4:3||WYCC-SD||First Nations Experience FNX|
WYCC shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 20, at 6 a.m. on April 16, 2009, becoming the first television station in the Chicago market to cease broadcasts of their analog signal. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 21. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 20. At the same time, the "WYCC" callsign was legally transferred from the now-defunct analog signal to digital channel 21 and the digital signal's pre-transition callsign "WYCC-DT" was officially discontinued.
As part of the City Colleges of Chicago, WYCC provides distance learning courses as part of its late night schedule. These courses, when viewed, may be credited towards an associate degree at any of the city colleges. The city colleges also use WYCC to air informational programs for neighborhood outreach and community service.
Locally produced programming
Also, locally produced, is the political talk show Beyond the Beltway, which also airs nationally on radio. The eighth season of The Professors began airing at the end of 2013, shown on Sunday mornings. WYCC recently launched In the Loop, a new half-hour weekly public affairs show hosted by Barbara Pinto and Chris Bury, airing Thursdays at 7 p.m.
Local news programming produced by undergraduate and graduate students at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism airs on WYCC; production of these shows are also contributed by students from the City Colleges of Chicago. WYCC produced programs for the Illinois elections in fall 2010 and fall 2012.
The public affairs and editorial program Off 63rd with Garrard McClendon aired on WYCC on Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. The show was funded by the McCormick Foundation and the Field Foundation. Professor and author, Dr. Garrard McClendon, hosted the show.
In 2010, weekday afternoons and Saturday midday began to include many "how to" shows, on sewing, quilting, cooking, art/painting, gardening and home improvement programs.
British and Irish programming
WYCC carries mystery programs from the Masterpiece series of PBS and from BBC Worldwide America (e.g., DCI Banks), now showing in prime time two nights a week (Tuesday and Saturday). Several British series have aired, including The Café and Lead Balloon.
In 2010, it began carrying reruns of the Canadian program The Red Green Show. It was the Chicago-area carrier for Out of Ireland. It formerly carried Tartan TV, which focuses on Scotland. In addition, it carried Monarch of the Glen, Last of the Summer Wine, Are You Being Served? and Monty Python's Flying Circus. It has also carried Ballykissangel, an Irish comedy soap opera.
WYCC and WTTW show a similar number of scripted British programmes. Both broadcast Antiques Roadshow and Masterpiece, though on different air dates. In 2010, it showed Touching Evil. WYCC has aired the BBC One programme Lark Rise to Candleford (which began in the UK in 2008) since 2009; and Midsomer Murders (which first aired in the UK in 1997) in November 2010. The mystery shows have expanded in 2013-14 to include Vera, DCI Banks, and the Australian series Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries.
With its large variety of mystery programs, WYCC runs two-day Mystery marathons on some holidays, tied with fundraising.
As a PBS member station, WYCC provides children's programming, mainly on weekday mornings.
In the early 2010s, WYCC altered its program lineup, acquiring new program offerings from the BBC and making use of the English language international news shows to offer news and opinions not available elsewhere, particularly for viewers who watch broadcast television over-the-air in the Chicago area market.
WYCC offers comprehensive international news coverage and national news discussion. It offers Germany's DW TV Journal, France 24, NHK Newsline, RT News, and Euronews; the station also broadcasts news/talk shows such as those hosted by Charlie Rose and Tavis Smiley.
In 2013, WYCC began airing a newer PBS program called Just Seen It, where various people in the entertainment industry review movies and television programs, with a quick format reflecting the original Siskel/Ebert movie review program At the Movies, recommending viewers to see it, skip it, or stream it for later.
A larger variety of international news programs airs on its MHz Worldview subchannel on digital channel 20.3, which expands the news broadcasts available to viewers without cable or satellite, who rely on "over the air" broadcasting in the viewing area. Some programs aired on that subchannel are presented in English, while others are broadcast in foreign languages with subtitles, and in Spanish without subtitles. Programs include news from Asia, South America and the Middle East (such as Al Jazeera English, Bolivian News, Arab Net News and South Asia News).
- RabbitEars TV Query for WYCC "WYCC programs". Retrieved 28 November 2013.
- "First Nations Experience". Retrieved November 28, 2013.
- "Video: First Nations Experience". WYCC.org. Retrieved November 28, 2013.
- "Announcing First Nations Experience". WYCC Blog. Retrieved November 28, 2013.
- "WYCC schedule for 20.3". Retrieved 2013-06-08.
- Louis Lazare. "WYCC goes all digital early". Chicago Sun Times.
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24.
- "The Professors". Retrieved 2014-01-02.
- "In the Loop". WYCC. Retrieved November 30, 2013.
- "Mystery!". PBS.org. Retrieved November 30, 2013.
- "Red Green.com".
- "Red Green". PBS.
- "Out of Ireland TV".
- "Antiques Roadshow".
- "Masterpiece". PBS WGBH.
- Touching Evil at the Internet Movie Database
- Lark Rise to Candleford at the Internet Movie Database
- "Lark Rise to Candleford". BBC programmes. Retrieved 2013-06-08.
- Midsomer Murders at the Internet Movie Database
- "Midsomer Murders".
- "France 24".
- "RT News".
- "Just Seen It". Retrieved 2014-01-02.
- Zorianna Kit (June 1, 2013). "PBS back in the movie review business with "Just Seen It"". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2014-01-02.
- "HD Antenna".
- "WYCC.org". Retrieved 2013-06-08.
- Official website
- Public Broadcasting Service
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WYCC
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WYCC-TV