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WCIX Logo.png

WCIA Logo.png
Springfield/Decatur/Champaign/Urbana, Illinois
United States
Branding X 49 (general)
WCIA 3 News
WCIA 3 (on DT2)
Slogan Your Local News Leader
Channels Digital: 13 (VHF)
Virtual: 49 (PSIP)
Subchannels 49.1 MyNetworkTV
49.2 CBS
49.3 Escape
49.4 Laff
Affiliations MyNetworkTV (since 2006)
Owner Nexstar Media Group
(Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc.)
First air date 1967; 50 years ago (1967)
Call letters' meaning disambiguation from WCIA
Former callsigns W49AA (1967–1985)
WCFN (1985–2011)
Former channel number(s) Analog:
49 (UHF, 1967–2009)
53 (UHF, 2002–2009)
Former affiliations CBS (1967–2002,
as satellite of WCIA)
UPN (2002–2006)
Transmitter power 5 kW
Height 175.5 m (576 ft)
Class DT
Facility ID 42116
Transmitter coordinates 39°47′27″N 89°30′53″W / 39.79083°N 89.51472°W / 39.79083; -89.51472
Licensing authority FCC
Public license information: Profile
Website http://www.illinoishomepage.net/

WCIX is the MyNetworkTV-affiliated television station for the Central Illinois region of the United States that is licensed to Springfield. It broadcasts a high-definition digital signal on VHF channel 13 (or virtual channel 49.1 via PSIP) from a transmitter on Etherton Lane in Clear Lake Township. WCIX is owned by the Nexstar Media Group as part of a duopoly with CBS affiliate WCIA, and operates out of WCIA's facility on South Neil Street/U.S. 45 in Downtown Champaign. The two stations operate a sales office and news bureau on East Edwards Street near the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield.

Since its over-the-air signal cannot be seen in eastern parts of the market (including Champaign, Urbana, and Danville), WCIX is simulcast in high definition on WCIA's second digital subchannel (UHF channel 48.2 or virtual channel 3.2 via PSIP) from a transmitter in Seymour along the Champaign and Piatt County line.


Before WCIA signed-on in 1953, it originally wanted to build its transmitter tower in White Heath near Decatur. The tower would have been placed on some of the highest ground in Central Illinois. However, after construction began, then-ABC affiliate WTVP (channel 17, now WAND) filed an objection. Even though it was obvious that Champaign/Urbana and Springfield/Decatur would be considered a single market, WTVP owner Prairie Television claimed WCIA was trying to encroach on its territory. To avoid delays, that station moved its transmitter to its current location in Seymour. While the signal from the Seymour tower covered Decatur very well, it was barely viewable in Springfield.

WCIA quickly established itself as the dominant station in the region despite its signal issues in the western half of the market. Eventually, then-owner Midwest Television decided to open a low-powered relay of WCIA on UHF channel 49 to get better coverage in Springfield and the surrounding area. This relay launched in 1967 under the callsign W49AA. In 1985, it was upgraded to a full-power satellite of WCIA and adopted WCFN as its call letters. In both cases, the station was a straight simulcast of WCIA, even airing its commercials. WCFN's existence was only acknowledged in WCIA's legal station identifications.

In 2002, WCFN broke off from the simulcast to be the market's first full-time UPN affiliate. That network had previously been seen in off-hours on Pax outlet WPXU (channel 23, now WBUI) in Decatur. However, few viewers actually lost access to WCIA, given the high penetration of cable and satellite in central Illinois.

The digital age meant that WCFN and WCIA could now simulcast each other's programming over their digital subchannels. Accordingly, the main channel 49 schedule was added to WCIA-DT2 with channel 3's schedule airing on WCFN-DT2. WCIA's signal aired in full 1080i high definition, with the main WCFN schedule only seen in a reduced 480i standard definition over-the-air on both channels 49 and 3. In September 2006, with ACME Communications's WBUI (owned by a former WB network executive) taking The CW affiliation by default, WCFN joined MyNetworkTV instead in the wake of the WB/UPN merger.

In early-2007, Nexstar and the Illinois High School Association came to an agreement to carry coverage of IHSA tournaments in the market on channel 49. Central Illinois had previously been without an over-the-air flagship station for these kind of events. Also, beginning with the 2010-11 NBA season, the station has carried BullsNet, CubsNet, and SoxNet games which air in Chicago on WCIU and are produced by WGN-TV's sports department. The station carried Indianapolis Colts preseason football games beginning with the 2011 season. Before 2011, WCFN featured Labor Day coverage of the US Open from CBS because of WCIA's commitment to air the MDA Telethon. In 2011, the tennis coverage shifted fully to WCIA since the telethon was limited to the night before Labor Day.

On August 29, 2011, the station's call sign was changed to WCIX — a call sign used on WFOR-TV in Miami, Florida from 1967 to 1995 when that station changed from channel 6 to channel 4 and swapped with NBC's WTVJ. At that point, the station's logo was changed to resemble that of sister station KARZ-TV in Little Rock, Arkansas; which is also a MyNetworkTV affiliate associated with a big three network-affiliated station (in that case, NBC outlet KARK-TV). Syndicated programming on WCIX includes The Insider, Extra, Roseanne, and That '70s Show among others.

In June 2015, WCIX upgraded to a full 1080i 16:9 high definition signal (the same as WCIA).

Digital television[edit]

Digital channels[edit]

The station's digital channel is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[1]
49.1 1080i 16:9 WCIX-HD Main WCIX programming / MyNetworkTV
49.2 WCIA-HD Simulcast of WCIA
49.3 480i 4:3 Escape
49.4 Laff

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

WCIX (as WCFN) shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 49, 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 relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 53, which was among the high band UHF channels (52-69) that were removed from broadcasting use as a result of the transition, to VHF channel 13.[2] Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 49.

News operation[edit]

On April 7, 2005, WCIA began airing the market's first prime time newscast on WCFN. Known on-air as Primetime News at 9, the broadcast originated from the main studios in Champaign but was targeted specifically at a Springfield-based audience. The name was altered to myCFN News at 9 in September 2006 to reflect WCFN's affiliation change to MyNetworkTV.

There would not be any competition in the time slot until September 11, 2006 when rival ABC affiliates WICS/WICD began co-producing a nightly prime time newscast at 9 on Fox affiliates WRSP/WCCU. That program was based out of WICS' Springfield studios but, unlike WCFN's show, featured market-wide coverage (including contributions from WICD reporters based in Champaign). However, there was a separate weeknight weather forecast segment seen on WRSP and WCCU that was specifically geared towards the Springfield and Champaign areas, respectively.

Also in 2006, WCIA began airing an hour-long extension of its weekday morning newscast at 7 a.m. on WCFN. This originally included a simulcast of the 6 o'clock hour of The Morning Show from WCIA. At the end of the first hour, viewers were always reminded to flip the channel to WCFN which offers a local alternative to the national morning programs seen on the big three networks. In 2007, another hour was added to the show which can now be seen from 7 until 9.

In 2009, WCIA announced it would cancel myCFN News at 9 and launch a new sixty-minute newscast weeknights at 7 on WCFN beginning September 28. As a result, MyNetworkTV programming now airs out-of-pattern, via an hour tape delay, from 8 to 10 p.m. The broadcast would eventually be reduced to thirty minutes in length. On October 24, 2012, WCIA upgraded local news production to high definition level. However, WCIX's newscasts were initially seen over-the-air in a letterboxed format because its main channel only transmitted in 4:3 standard definition until it was upgraded to full HD in 2015. WRSP/WCCU added competition to the weekday morning news race on January 20, 2014 after WICS began producing a two-hour extension of its morning show on the Fox affiliates. In addition to WCIA's main facilities, it operates bureaus in Springfield (on East Edwards Street near the Illinois State Capitol) and Decatur (on North Water Street).


External links[edit]