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|Branding||X 49 (general)
WCIA 3 News
WCIA 3 (on DT2)
|Slogan||Your News Leader|
|Channels||Digital: 13 (VHF)
Virtual: 49 (PSIP)
|Affiliations||MyNetworkTV (since 2006)|
|Owner||Nexstar Broadcasting Group
(Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc.)
|First air date||1967|
|Call letters' meaning||disambiguation from WCIA|
|Sister station(s)||WCIA, WHBF-TV, KLJB, KGCW, WMBD-TV, WTVO, WQRF-TV|
|Former callsigns||W49AA (1967-1985)
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
49 (UHF, 1967-2009)
53 (UHF, 2002-2009)
|Former affiliations||CBS (1967-2002,
as satellite of WCIA)
|Transmitter power||5 kW|
|Public license information:||Profile
WCIX is the MyNetworkTV-affiliated television station for Central Illinois that is licensed to Springfield. It broadcasts a high-definition HD digital signal on VHF channel 13 (or virtual channel 49.1 via PSIP) from a transmitter on Etherton Lane in Clear Lake Township. Owned by the Nexstar Broadcasting Group, the station is sister to 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 simulcasted 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, just 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 callsign originally used on WFOR-TV in Miami, Florida for many years until 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.
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|49.1||1080i||16:9||WCIX-DT||Main WCIX programming / MyNetworkTV|
|49.2||1080i||WCIA-DT||Simulcast of WCIA / CBS|
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. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 49.
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 its main studios in Champaign but was targeted specifically at a Springfield 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 is based out of WICS' Springfield studios but, unlike WCFN's show, features market-wide coverage (including contributions from WICD reporters based in Champaign). However, there is a separate weeknight weather forecast segment seen on WRSP and WCCU that is 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 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 are seen over-the-air in a letterboxed format because its main channel only transmits in 4:3 standard definition. 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).
- RabbitEars TV Query for WCIX
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24.