|City of license||Bloomington|
|Branding||Fox 43 (general)
Fox 43 News (newscasts)
|Channels||Digital: 28 (UHF)
Virtual: 43 (PSIP)
43.3 ZUUS Country
(operated through LMA by
Nexstar Broadcasting Group)
(Peoria (WYZZ-TV) Licensee, Inc.)
|First air date||October 18, 1982|
|Sister station(s)||WMBD-TV, WHOI, WICS/WICD, WRSP/WCCU, WBUI|
|Former callsigns||WBLN (1982-1985)|
|Former channel number(s)||43 (UHF analog, 1982-2009)|
|Former affiliations||Independent (1982-1986)|
|Transmitter power||1,000 kW|
WYZZ-TV is the Fox-affiliated television station for Central Illinois that is licensed to Bloomington. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 28 (or virtual channel 43.1 via PSIP) from a transmitter site co-located on a dairy farm, outside of Congerville, Illinois, in Montgomery Township. The station can also be seen on Comcast channel 6 with HD on digital channel 910. Owned by the Cunningham Broadcasting, WYZZ is operated through a local marketing agreement (LMA) by the Nexstar Broadcasting Group, owner of CBS affiliate WMBD-TV. It is a sister station to ABC/CW affiliate WHOI (owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group; separately operated by the Granite Broadcasting Corporation). WYZZ and WMBD share studios on North University Street in Peoria. Syndicated programming on this station includes The Big Bang Theory, Two and a Half Men, The Simpsons, and Judge Joe Brown among others.
|43.1||WYZZ-DT||720p||16:9||Main WYZZ-TV programming / Fox|
The station signed-on October 18, 1982 and aired an analog signal on UHF channel 43. It was founded as WBLN (standing for We BeLieve iN) by members of Peoria's Grace Presbyterian Church. But, really stood for Bloomington Normal. Except for the call sign, it was unrelated to the old WBLN that broadcast on UHF channel 15 in the 1950s. The station was a religious and general entertainment Independent and first new outlet to sign-on since future sister WMBD hit the airwaves 24 years earlier. The station initially signed on at 9 a.m. running religious shows till noon and low budget and barter shows from noon to midnight. This would be a mix of cartoons, public domain movies, some drama shows, westerns, CNN News, and exercise shows.
In 1984, the station began signing on at 7 a.m. and began running a block of cartoons from 7 to 9 a.m. weekdays. WBLN was sold to local businessman G J Robinson in 1985 which changed its calls to the current WYZZ-TV. The station slightly cut back the religious shows but also began running stronger programming such as more off network sitcoms both older and recent. On October 6, 1986, the station joined Fox as a charter affiliate. The station would eventually be sold to Sinclair in the mid 1990s.
In 2002, Sinclair and the Nexstar Broadcasting Group (owner of WMBD) entered into a local marketing agreement (LMA) in which WMBD would take over WYZZ's operations. As part of the deal, WYZZ moved from its studios on East Lincoln Street in Bloomington to WMBD's facilities in Peoria. In August 2005, a similar agreement would be established between Nexstar's WROC-TV and Sinclair's WUHF in Rochester, New York.
WYZZ broadcasts digitally on UHF channel 28 and (like most Sinclair-owned stations) has been digital-only since February 17, 2009. According to a post on The Peoria Chronicle website, WYZZ and WMBD were planning on terminating the local marketing agreement between the two effective April 1, 2010. Since the two station still operate together today, it appears this move was not followed through with. On May 15, 2012, Sinclair Broadcast Group and Fox agreed to a five-year extension to the network's affiliation agreement with Sinclair's 19 Fox stations, including WYZZ-TV, allowing them to continue carrying the network's programming until 2017.
Sinclair announced the acquisition of Barrington Broadcasting's stations, including ABC affiliate WHOI, on February 28, 2013. On that date, Sinclair announced that it would transfer the WYZZ license, along with that of sister station WSYT in Syracuse, New York, to Cunningham Broadcasting because the WHOI purchase would violate Federal Communications Commission regulations on duopoly ownership. However, nearly all of Cunningham Broadcasting's stock is controlled by trusts in the names of the principal owners of Sinclair, so in effect Sinclair will continue to own WYZZ. Even with the ownership change, WMBD will continue to operate WYZZ for the foreseeable future (the sale was finalized on November 22). It should also be noted that WEEK-TV's joint sales and shared services agreements with WHOI expires in March 2017. 
In April of 2002, a news share agreement was established resulting in WMBD launching a prime time newscast on WYZZ.  The weeknight-only broadcast (seen for a half-hour) is currently known as Fox 43 News First at 9. The show had no competition in the time slot until June 5, 2006 when NBC affiliate WEEK-TV added its own thirty minute newscast at 9 on MyNetworkTV affiliate WAOE (it is also seen solely on weeknights). WYZZ once aired a weekend edition of its local newscast but this was eventually dropped.
At some point in time after WEEK-TV and WHOI combined operations, those two outlets 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. It is unknown if the news seen on WAOE was included in the upgrade. All local news broadcasts currently seen on WYZZ and WMBD remain in pillarboxed 4:3 standard definition and it remains unclear if or when there would be a transition to enhanced definition widescreen or full HD level.
In addition to the main facility in Peoria, WYZZ and WMBD operate a Twin Cities Bureau on East Lincoln Street in Bloomington (that was WYZZ's original studios while operating as a separate entity). Therefore, this makes the two stations the only outlets in the market with a significant Bloomington/Normal operation. Along with other reporters, Fox 43 News First at 9 features news anchor Maria Chandler, Chief Meteorologist Marcus Bailey, and Sports Director Kurt Pegler.
- Jacob Long - Twin Cities Bureau Chief
- Thom Parker - Chief Photographer
- Michael Klos - sports
- Eugene Daniel
- Cody Murphy
- Kim Behrens
- Lisa Miller
- FCC list of full-service US TV stations, February 16, 2009
- Sinclair Reups With Fox, Gets WUTB Option, TVNewsCheck, May 15, 2012.
- Malone, Michael (February 28, 2013). "Sinclair's Chesapeake TV Acquires Barrington Stations". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved March 1, 2013.