WGN-TV

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This article is about the local Chicago television station. For the AM radio station, see WGN (AM). For the national feed of WGN-TV, see WGN America.
Not to be confused with its co-owned television station in Denver, Colorado, KWGN-TV; its co-owned television station in New Orleans, Louisiana, WGNO; or its co-managed television station in Norfolk, Virginia, WGNT.
WGN-TV
Wgncwlogo.SVG
Chicago, Illinois
United States
Branding WGN (general)
WGN News (newscasts; visually displayed as "WGN 9 News")
WGN Sports (sports telecasts)
Slogan Chicago's Very Own (station)
Very Chicago. (online)
Channels Digital: 19 (UHF)
Virtual: 9 (PSIP)
Subchannels (see article)
Affiliations The CW
Owner Tribune Broadcasting
(WGN Continental Broadcasting Company, LLC)
First air date April 5, 1948; 66 years ago (1948-04-05)
Call letters' meaning World's
Greatest
Newspaper
(referring to the Chicago Tribune)
Sister station(s) Chicago:
WGN (AM)
WGWG-LP
WGN America
CLTV
Surrounding markets:
WITI
WQAD
WXMI
WTTV/WXIN
Former channel number(s) Analog:
9 (VHF, 1948–2009)
Former affiliations CBS (1948–1953)
DuMont (1948–1956)
Independent (1956–1995)
The WB (1995–2006)
Transmitter power 645 kW
Height 454 m
Facility ID 72115
Transmitter coordinates 41°52′44″N 87°38′10.2″W / 41.87889°N 87.636167°W / 41.87889; -87.636167
Licensing authority FCC
Public license information: Profile
CDBS
Website wgntv.com

WGN-TV, virtual channel 9 (UHF digital channel 19), is a CW-affiliated television station located in Chicago, Illinois, United States. It is the flagship television property of the Tribune Company, and is operated through its Tribune Broadcasting subsidiary, which also owns radio station WGN (720 AM) and local cable news channel Chicagoland Television (CLTV); the parent company also owns the Chicago Tribune newspaper – whose slogan ("World's Greatest Newspaper") was the basis for the call letters used by the television and radio stations. WGN-TV maintains studio facilities and offices on West Bradley Place in Chicago's North Center neighborhood (as such, it is the only major commercial television station in Chicago whose studios are located outside of the downtown business district), and its transmitter is located atop the Willis Tower on South Wacker Drive in the Chicago Loop.

WGN-TV is also a pioneering superstation, and continues to program an alternate feed for cable and satellite subscribers throughout the United States and select areas of Canada called WGN America. The "superstation" feed (which began to be converted into a conventional basic cable network in 2014, and has since begun airing its own slate of original programs)[1][2] remains unavailable to pay television subscribers of Comcast, RCN, WOW! and AT&T U-verse in the Chicago area, despite vastly different programming offerings. However, WGN America is available in the market on the DirecTV and Dish Network satellite services.

WGN's longtime slogan, "Chicago's Very Own" (which has been used by the station since 1983), was the basis for a popular image campaign of the 1980s and 1990s, as performed by Chicago native Lou Rawls.

History[edit]

Early years[edit]

WGN Television began test broadcasts in February 1948 and began regular programming on April 5 with a two-hour special, "WGN-TV Salute to Chicago", at 7:45 p.m. Early on, WGN-TV was affiliated with CBS and the DuMont Television Network, sharing both with WBKB (channel 4). As a sidebar to the February 1953 merger of ABC and United Paramount Theatres, channel 9 lost its CBS affiliation. CBS had purchased the license to operate channel 4 in Chicago (now WBBM-TV, which later moved to channel 2, forcing Phonevision off the air). CBS moved all of its programming to channel 4, leaving channel 9 with DuMont. For its first 13 years on the air, WGN-TV had broadcast from the Tribune Tower at 435 North Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago.

WGN-TV soon became one of DuMont's strongest affiliates, as well as a major production center for that network. Several DuMont programs were produced from WGN-TV's facilities, including: The Al Morgan Show, Chicago Symphony, Chicagoland Mystery Players, Music From Chicago, The Music Show, They Stand Accused, This is Music, Windy City Jamboree and Down You Go. WGN-TV had also telecast performances of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, beginning in 1953, when Fritz Reiner was the orchestra's music director.

Independence[edit]

When DuMont ceased operations in 1956, WGN-TV became an independent station. WGN-TV then spent much of the next two decades as the top-rated independent in Chicago, offering a variety of general entertainment programs including movies, sports, off-network reruns and children's shows. For much of its existence, channel 9 produced a large amount of its own programs at its studios. An historic moment in Chicago television occurred when Sheldon Cooper launched a musical variety show for 13 weeks called The All-Time Hits featuring The Buckinghams in color. During the late 1950s, the station was briefly affiliated with the NTA Film Network.[3] In 1957, WGN-TV became one of the first Chicago area stations to broadcast live programming in color.

Notable WGN-TV productions included several incarnations of the immensely popular Bozo's Circus, Ray Rayner and His Friends, Garfield Goose and Friends (which was hosted by Frazier Thomas) and The Mulqueens.[4] A popular children's educational series at the time was The Space Explorers. WGN-TV served as Chicago's affiliate of the United Network for its one month of existence in 1967, airing The Las Vegas Show. From 1974 to 1982, Phil Donahue's syndicated talk program originated from WGN-TV. In 1975, the nationally syndicated agriculture program U.S. Farm Report debuted, originating from WGN-TV's studios.

In 1961, the WGN stations moved to the television station's present studio facilities on West Bradley Place in the North Center neighborhood, a move undertaken for civil defense concerns in order to provide the station a safe location to broadcast in case of a hostile attack targeting downtown Chicago.[5] WGN Radio eventually moved back to North Michigan Avenue in the Pioneer Court extension in 1986,[6] then back into Tribune Tower in October 2012.[7] In 1968, the Federal Communications Commission barred companies from owning newspapers and broadcast outlets in the same market; the FCC granted the Tribune Company permission to grandfather its combination of the Chicago Tribune, WGN-TV and WGN radio through a crossownership waiver. In 2014, Tribune entered into a local marketing agreement with Venture Technologies Group, owners of WKQX-LP, a low-power analog television station on VHF channel 6 which uses a quirk in the FM bandplan to broadcast an audio format on the radio over 87.7 FM. This became a sports talk station that operates as a sister station to WGN radio; the station, which changed its calls to WGWG-LP, is not covered under the FCC restrictions.

Becoming a national superstation[edit]

WGN-TV began to be distributed across the United States through cable television in October 1978, after Tulsa, Oklahoma-based United Video Satellite Group uplinked the station's signal via satellite.[8] This signal was picked up by many fledgling cable television providers, as well as directly to satellite dish owners, turning WGN-TV into one of the first superstations, alongside New York City's WOR-TV (now WWOR-TV) and Atlanta's WTBS (now WPCH-TV). As WGN-TV gained national exposure, the station became vulnerable in the Chicago area and underestimated the ability of UHF competitor WFLD (channel 32) to acquire top-rated syndicated programs (such as M*A*S*H, Happy Days and All in the Family). As a result, WFLD edged ahead of WGN-TV in the ratings by the end of 1979. WGN-TV continued with its programming format, competing with WFLD and another UHF independent station, WSNS-TV (channel 44). WSNS would leave the competition in 1980 during night hours when they affiliated with Subscription TV service ONTV. That station took ONTV programming 24/7 in 1982.

In 1989, the FCC passed the Syndication Exclusivity Rights rule (or "SyndEx"), which require cable providers to black out syndicated programs shown on any out-of-market stations, if a television station obtains the exclusive local rights to air that program. When the law went into effect on January 1, 1990, WGN-TV launched a separate national feed supplied with alternate programming that no stations claimed exclusive rights to in any market (along with sporting events, newscasts and several shows airing on WGN-TV that were also not subject to exclusivity claims). In September 1994, the station moved The Bozo Show from its longtime weekday morning slot to Sunday mornings, where it remained and was eventually reformatted to fit the FCC's E/I programming guidelines until the program was controversially discontinued by station management in 2001.

Return to network affiliation[edit]

Affiliation with The WB[edit]

On November 2, 1993, the Warner Bros. Television division of Time Warner and Tribune Company announced the formation of The WB, with the majority of Tribune's independent stations being tapped to serve as the network's charter affiliates.[9][10] Even though its parent company would be a partner in The WB, WGN-TV was initially going to remain an independent station due to concerns by station management with balancing a network affiliation and fulfilling the station's sports broadcast commitments.[11][12] However, The WB signed an affiliation agreement with WGN-TV one month later on December 3, 1993; prior to the signing of the agreement, The WB had planned to affiliate with competing independent WGBO-TV (channel 66), which instead joined Univision around the time of the former network's launch.[13][14] As part of the agreement, WGN would carry The WB's primetime schedule (and upon its September 1995 debut, Kids' WB children's programming) on its national superstation feed, with the purpose of making the network available to areas of the United States where The WB did not have an affiliate early on.[15]

The WB launched on January 11, 1995, with WGN-TV airing only its primetime programming until 2004 (Kids' WB programming aired locally on former Univision affiliate WCIU-TV (channel 26), which had become an English-language independent station in January 1995). The WB expanded its over-the-air affiliate coverage over time, and launched a cable-only affiliate group for areas where it could not align with an over-the-air station; using the superstation feed as a default affiliate was no longer necessary as a result, leading to the network's October 1999 request that WGN stop carrying The WB's programming outside of the Chicago market.[16][17] In 2000, WGN-TV constructed a new newsroom on the eastern portion of its studios, increasing the building's space to 29,000 square feet (the original newsroom was converted into the station's weather center).[5] In 2004, WGN-TV began broadcasting Chicago Cubs, White Sox and Bulls home games in high definition.

CW affiliation[edit]

On January 24, 2006, Time Warner's Warner Bros. unit and CBS Corporation announced that the two companies would shut down The WB and UPN and combine the networks' respective programming to create a new "fifth" network called The CW.[18][19] On that same date, The CW signed WGN-TV as the network's Chicago affiliate as part of a ten-year agreement that saw 16 of Tribune Broadcasting's 18 other WB-affiliated stations at the time also join the network.[19] The CW launched on September 18, 2006 (WGN America does not carry The CW's programming as it has sufficient broadcast coverage through over-the-air stations, digital multicast channels and cable-only affiliates negating the need for WGN America to provide additional nationwide coverage of the network).

On April 2, 2007, Chicago investor Sam Zell announced plans to purchase the Tribune Company, with intentions to take the publicly traded firm private;[20] the deal was completed on December 20, 2007. Prior to the close of the sale, WGN-TV was one of two commercial television stations in Chicago (not counting network-owned stations) to have never been involved in an ownership transaction (WCIU is the other, having been owned by Weigel Broadcasting since its sign-on in February 1964). Tribune subsequently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2008, due to debt accrued from Zell's leveraged buyout and costs from the privatization of the company; Tribune emerged from bankruptcy in December 2012 under the control of its senior debt holders Oaktree Capital Management, Angelo, Gordon & Co. and JPMorgan Chase.[21][22]

On October 13, 2008, WGN-TV began a partnership with WGN radio to provide weather forecasts for the station,[23] it replaced The Weather Channel which ended its ten-year forecast partnership with WGN radio on that date. On February 4, 2009, Tribune Broadcasting announced it would merge CLTV's operations with channel 9's news department[24] (in addition to sharing resources with WGN-TV, CLTV also shares newsgathering resources with the Chicago Tribune). In 2009, WGN-TV began streaming its weekday midday and 5 p.m. newscasts live on its website. On February 22, 2010, WGN-TV became the first television station in the Chicago market to allow iPhone users to watch live streams of its newscasts; the 6-9 a.m. block of the WGN Morning News, the midday and 5 p.m. newscasts were initially available for streaming to iPhone users; at present, all newscasts are streamed through the station's website and on Apple devices, though sports segments are blacked out or audio-only due to league rights restrictions.[25]

On July 10, 2013, Tribune announced plans to spin off its publishing division into a separate company. Once the split is finalized in 2014, WGN-TV and WGN radio will remain with the Tribune Company (which will retain all non-publishing assets, including the broadcasting, digital media and Media Services units), while its newspapers (including the Chicago Tribune) will become part of the similarly named Tribune Publishing Company.[26] Additionally in December 2013, the station gained new sister stations in other nearby markets as part of Tribune's purchase of the Local TV station group:[27] ABC affiliate WQAD in Davenport, Iowa and Fox affiliate WITI in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Both stations already shared news stories from their markets with WGN-TV as part of an existing content and broadcast management agreement between Local TV and Tribune.

Digital television[edit]

Digital channels[edit]

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[28]
9.1 1080i 16:9 WGN-DT Main WGN-TV programming / The CW
9.2 480i 4:3 Antenna Antenna TV[29]
9.3 THIS This TV[30]

The station's 9.2 digital subchannel originally carried The Tube Music Network from 2006 until it shut down in October 2007, when the subchannel switched to a simulcast of WGN-TV's main channel. In June 2008, the subchannel became an affiliate of LATV.[31] The LATV affiliation moved to a subchannel of low-power station WOCK-CD (channel 13) in July 2010. The subchannel became a charter affiliate of Tribune-owned Antenna TV on January 1, 2011.

On May 13, 2013, Tribune Broadcasting announced that it would replace Weigel Broadcasting (which like Tribune, is headquartered in Chicago and decided to leave the joint venture with MGM to concentrate on a similarly formatted movie channel called Movies! and its existing classic television network Me-TV) as a partner in This TV on November 1 of that year. As a result, the network's Chicago affiliation moved to WGN-TV on that date on a new 9.3 digital subchannel.[30][32][33][34]

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

WGN-TV shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 9, 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 remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 19.[35][36] Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analog channel 9. Though not a participant in the SAFER Act, WWME-CA (channel 23) simulcast WGN-TV's 9 p.m. newscasts (except in the event of sports delays) and WMAQ-TV (channel 5)'s morning and early evening newscasts until July 12 to provide an analog "lifeline" for viewers that were unprepared for or who had reception issues following the digital transition.[37][38]

In Chicago's far northern suburbs and rural areas to the north and west, the signal of Madison, Wisconsin's WMTV (which also transmits on digital channel 19) interferes with reception of WGN-TV, particularly in Kane, Lake, Boone and McHenry counties. WGN-TV also interferes with the signal of Grand Rapids sister station WXMI, requiring the latter outlet to maintain a digital translator station on channel 17 from Muskegon to address this interference. WOTV in Battle Creek, Michigan transmits next to WXMI on channel 20, resulting in additional multi-channel interference.

Programming[edit]

WGN-TV has aired The CW Daytime block one hour earlier (at 2:00 p.m.) than the network's other Central Time Zone affiliates, aligning with its airtime in the Eastern Time Zone. Due to the station's sports broadcast commitments, The CW's weekday daytime and primetime programs are subject to preemption if a sports telecast is scheduled during network programming hours; preempted programs are tape delayed to air later that week with primetime shows usually rescheduled on Saturday and/or Sunday evenings as The CW does not offer any primetime programming on weekends. Syndicated programs broadcast by WGN-TV include Rachael Ray, The Arsenio Hall Show (which is co-produced by Tribune Broadcasting), Family Guy, Two and a Half Men, Everybody Loves Raymond, The Andy Griffith Show, The Middle, 30 Rock, Friends and Maury. WGN-TV has been one of The CW's higher-rated affiliates in terms of viewership, often drawing more viewers than Fox-owned WFLD, even in primetime despite the latter's Fox programming.

Due to syndication exclusivity rules, WGN-TV and its superstation feed WGN America have vastly different program offerings; although the local and national feeds initially shared a significant amount of common programming after the SyndEx law was implemented, WGN-TV and WGN America's schedules have become increasingly disparate in recent years. as of October 2013, the only programs airing on WGN-TV (other than local newscasts and sports programming) that have been given full-signal national broadcast rights on WGN America are public affairs programs People to People and Adelante, Chicago, syndicated reruns of 30 Rock; religious programs Singsation!, Discover the Truth and Tomorrow's World; and select feature films (which are aired in different timeslots than they air on WGN-TV/Chicago). Likewise, WGN-TV does not carry WGN America's original drama series Salem (as a result, WGN America's original programming is only viewable in the Chicago market by subscribers of DirecTV and Dish Network).

Local programming[edit]

News operation[edit]

WGN-TV's current 9 p.m. news open.

WGN-TV presently broadcasts 54 hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with ten hours on weekdays and two hours each on Saturdays and Sundays); in regards to the number of hours devoted to locally produced news programming, it is the highest newscast output of any station in Chicago and the state of Illinois in general. In addition, the station produces Instant Replay, a 20-minute sports highlight program that airs on Sunday evenings during the final 20 minutes of the 9:00 p.m. newscast and is hosted by longtime sports director Dan Roan. WGN-TV's news department is notable for the longevity of its on-air news staff, with many of its news anchors having worked for channel 9 for at least ten years.[citation needed] WGN-TV is also the largest television station by market size that is a broadcast partner in the WeatherBug real-time automated weather observation network.[39]

WGN America presently simulcasts the 4:00 a.m. hour of the WGN Morning News and the 12:00 p.m. hour of the midday newscast (from 1980 until January 30, 2014, the channel had also simulcast the nightly 9:00 p.m. newscast, except during instances in which preemptions of that program outside of Chicago occurred if rights issues prevent a sports telecast that is scheduled to start at or run past 9:00 p.m. Central Time from being cleared for national broadcast on the superstation feed[40]). For unknown reasons, the superstation feed does not air the midday newscast's 11:00 a.m. hour, the weeknight 5:00 p.m. or weekend morning newscasts; syndication exclusivity rules on paid segments featured on the WGN Morning News reportedly caused that newscast's removal from WGN America in 1996 (the only known incidence in which SyndEx rules resulted in a news program's preemption on cable providers outside of its primary broadcast area). Since 2008, WGN anchors reference the WGN America telecast at the start of the simulcasted newscasts on weekdays (except in instances when a newscast is preempted by the superstation feed).

News has played an important role on WGN-TV since the station's beginnings, due in part to its link to the Chicago Tribune. From the station's sign-on, WGN produced a nightly late evening newscast as well as Nightbeat, a 15-minute overnight newscast (by the time the program was canceled in 1983, Nightbeat usually served as the lead-out of the station's late evening movie presentations). In 1965, WGN-TV introduced the first news anchor team, Gary Park and Jim Ruddle. In 1980, WGN-TV debuted the first hour-long primetime newscast in the Midwest, when it moved its half-hour 10:00 p.m. newscast to 9:00 p.m. and expanded it to one hour. In 1984, WGN debuted its weekday midday newscast as an hour-long program at noon, originally known as Newscope. The station made its first foray into weekend morning news with the debut of hour-long 8:00 a.m. newscasts on Saturdays and Sundays in 1992 (an unusual situation considering that the weekday morning newscast would not debut for another two years); the Sunday edition was cancelled in September 1994 – concurrent with the move of The Bozo Show to Sunday mornings due to the launch of the weekday WGN Morning News, eventually followed by the Saturday edition in 1998.[41]

The station dropped its weekday morning children's programs on September 6, 1994, replacing them with the then one hour-long WGN Morning News; that newscast gradually expanded over time: first to two hours in January 1996, then to three hours from 6:00 to 9:00 a.m. eight months later, with half-hour expansions in January 2001 (to 5:30 a.m.), January 2004 (to 5:00 a.m.), August 6, 2010 (to 4:30 a.m.)[42] and July 11, 2011 (to 4:00 a.m.).[43] In July 1996, WGN-TV began using an Eurocopter AS350 B2 helicopter for newsgathering, "Skycam 9," which is used for certain breaking news events and traffic reporting.[44]

On November 1, 2007, WGN debuted a new custom news music package Chicago's Very Own by 615 Music (which shares its name with a John Hegner-composed news theme that the station used from 1993 to 1997). On July 19, 2008, WGN-TV became the third Chicago station to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition (as of July 2010, WGN-TV is the first station in the market to broadcast all locally originated portions of its newscasts, including live field reports, in HD; in contrast to the other major English-language news stations in Chicago who all broadcast in-studio segments in HD and some or all of their live field footage in 16:9 widescreen standard definition). WGN did not have an early evening newscast until September 2008, when it debuted a half-hour program at 5:30 p.m.; the midday newscast also expanded to 90 minutes with a half-hour added at 11:30 a.m. On October 5, 2009, the 5:30 p.m. newscast expanded into an hour-long program at 5:00 p.m. and the midday newscast expanded to two hours, with the addition of a half-hour to the broadcast at 11:00 a.m.

On July 8, 2010, starting with a WGN-TV Major League Baseball game telecast between the Chicago Cubs and the Los Angeles Dodgers, the station began airing live half-hour editions of the 9:00 p.m. newscast on CLTV on nights when WGN-TV telecasts a sports event being held on the West Coast that is scheduled to air at 9:00 p.m. – in order to attract non-sports viewers that normally watch the primetime newscast on channel 9 (an additional half-hour live newscast then airs following the game on WGN-TV, which until it was pulled from the superstation feed, was simulcast on WGN America, depending on the game's national clearance).[45] On October 2, 2010, the station debuted hour-long newscasts at 6:00 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday mornings (though chronologically the first due its previous weekend morning newscasts, it became the second Tribune station to offer newscasts on weekend mornings after Indianapolis sister station WXIN, which debuted their own in August 2010).[41]

On September 3, 2013, the WGN Morning News expanded to six hours from 4:00 to 10:00 a.m.; the added 9:00 a.m. hour of the newscast replaced Live! with Kelly and Michael, which moved to ABC O&O WLS-TV after a ten-year run on WGN on September 2 (WLS did not previously air Live! – distributed by ABC corporate cousin, Disney-ABC Domestic Television – in its various syndicated iterations due to its live airing of Oprah at 9:00 a.m. from 1986 to 2011 – a practice that dated back to that program's two-year pre-syndication existence as local morning show AM Chicago – and then the local talk show Windy City Live which was moved to 11:00 a.m. in order to accommodate Live).[46][47][48] On July 12, 2014, WGN-TV will expand its 5:00 p.m. newscast to weekend evenings, using a similar format and the staff as the weekend 9:00 p.m. newscasts.[49] In September 2014, WGN-TV will debut an hour-long weekday afternoon newscast at 4:00 p.m.[50]

Ratings[edit]

The station's 9:00 p.m. newscast usually receives significantly higher viewership than WFLD's competing newscast in that slot, despite the latter's Fox programming lead-in, and generally has a larger audience than the 10:00 p.m. newscast on CBS-owned WBBM-TV. Its morning newscast also draws in a sizeable number of viewers in the Chicago market, often coming in first place overall.[citation needed]

In the November 2010 local Nielsen ratings, WGN's newscasts placed third overall among Chicago's television stations. WGN-TV's primetime programming also received a 3.3 lead-in rating to the 9:00 p.m. newscast for the period.[51] During the February 2011 ratings period, the 9:00 p.m. newscast placed fourth among the market's late evening newscasts, ahead of last-place finisher WFLD between the two stations' primetime newscasts. However, WGN had the lowest primetime lead-in rating of all the area's news stations with only a 2.2 rating share.[52]

News team[edit]

Current on-air staff[53][edit]

Anchors
Weather team

In addition to providing weather forecasts for WGN-TV, the WGN Weathercenter Team also provides forecasts for the Chicago Tribune, WGN (720 kHz.) and CLTV.

  • Tom Skilling (AMS Seal of Approval) - chief meteorologist; weekday middays (11 a.m.–1 p.m.), and weeknights at 5 and 9 p.m.
Sports team
  • Rich King - sports anchor; Fridays and Saturdays at 9 p.m., also Sunday-Thursday sports reporter
Reporters

Former on-air staff[edit]

† - deceased

Sports programming[edit]

Main article: WGN Sports

Throughout its history, WGN-TV has had a long association with Chicago sports. Perhaps with the exception of the NFL's Chicago Bears (other than games nationally televised on ESPN and NFL Network that air on WGN-TV due to NFL rules requiring games shown on cable to be simulcast on a local broadcast station in a team's home market), each of the city's major professional sports franchises, along with several area collegiate teams, have had its games regularly televised over channel 9. As of 2013, WGN-TV maintains broadcast rights to Chicago Bulls, Cubs, White Sox and Blackhawks games (with some local television rights shared with Comcast SportsNet Chicago); due to WGN's network affiliation contracts that limit the number of programming preemptions annually, some games produced by the station may instead air locally on WCIU-TV. WGN-TV also distributes its telecasts of Cubs, White Sox and Bulls games to television stations in Illinois, Indiana and Iowa that are within each team's designated market area (including sister stations WHO-DT in Des Moines and WQAD in Davenport, Iowa, which both carry games on digital subchannels).[91]

Other locally produced programming[edit]

In addition to its newscasts, WGN-TV also produces local public affairs and lifestyle-oriented programs; these include two bi-weekly Saturday morning public affairs programs that are simulcast nationally on WGN America: People to People (which covers community events and the past week's major local and national news stories, and is hosted by weeknight 5:00 and 9:00 p.m. co-anchor Micah Materre) and Adelante, Chicago (focusing on Chicago's Hispanic community featuring topical discussions and feature segments, and is hosted by weeknight 5:00 p.m. co-anchor/reporter Lourdes Duarte); along with the weekly Chicago's Best (focusing on Chicago's cuisine, attractions and events and is hosted by Brittney Payton, daughter of late Chicago Bears running back Walter Payton, and Elliott Bambrough).[92] In addition, the station broadcasts several local events including the Bud Billiken Parade, the McDonald's Thanksgiving Parade and the New Year's Day Mummers Parade.

WGN-TV is the originating station for the Illinois Lottery, whose twice daily drawings are held at the station's Bradley Place studios, and air during the noon and 9:00 p.m. newscasts. WGN America simulcasts the midday drawings, making Illinois the only state-run lottery in the U.S. whose drawings are broadcast nationwide (until January 30, 2014, it also aired the evening drawings as well as the Mega Millions and Powerball drawings; during instances in which sports events that were not cleared to air outside of Chicago resulted in a newscast preemption on the superstation feed, the lottery results were shown around 9:30 p.m. Central Time on WGN America).[93] WGN-TV lost the rights to the Illinois Lottery drawings to Fox-owned WFLD in 1987, and then reacquired the rights from CBS-owned WBBM-TV in 1994.[94]

WGN-TV in Canada[edit]

Although WGN America continues to be distributed in certain parts of Canada, the Chicago area feed of WGN-TV is carried by most cable television providers in that country and on satellite providers Bell TV and Shaw Direct, typically as part of a la carte superstation packages. Bell TV has always carried the Chicago area feed; however, Shaw Direct and many cable providers in that country replaced WGN America with WGN-TV/Chicago on January 17, 2007, due to Shaw Broadcast Services (the primary supplier of the WGN superstation feed in Canada) switching the WGN feed distributed in that country from the superstation feed to the Chicago area signal. As a result of its carriage by Canadian cable and satellite providers, WGN-TV provides CW network programs to most areas of Canada that are located farther away from the U.S. border and therefore may be out of reach from the over-the-air signals of other CW affiliates from American cities located near the Canadian border.

However, CW programs carried by WGN-TV may be subject to simultaneous substitution rules on pay television providers that carry the local Chicago feed. Some sports events that are broadcast on the station may also be subject to blackouts on certain providers. The carriage of the Chicago area feed has created some controversy since Shaw's switch from the superstation feed, after WGN-TV gained rights to carry Chicago Blackhawks games. Those games remain available in Canada, meaning that Blackhawks Saturday primetime games airing on WGN now directly compete against CBC Television's Hockey Night in Canada, whose telecasts are supposed to receive national exclusivity on that night during the NHL season. Blackhawks games aired on WGN-TV are also periodically broadcast in Canada on some providers through the NHL Centre Ice sports package.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ WGN America may be channel of change for Tribune Co., Chicago Tribune, December 9, 2012.
  2. ^ Tribune CEO Says He’s “Not Pleased” With CW’s Performance, Deadline.com, May 15, 2014.
  3. ^ "Require Prime Evening Time for NTA Films". Boxoffice: 13. November 10, 1956. [dead link]
  4. ^ Berger, Daniel; Jajkowski, Steve. "Chicago Television", (p. 51) Arcadia Publishing, January 1, 2010. Accessed June 15, 2014
  5. ^ a b Chicago Architecture Info: WGN Television
  6. ^ Ibata, David (6 March 1985). "WGN Radio To Move Into Tribune Tower". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 29 November 2012. 
  7. ^ McLane, Paul (8 February 2012). "Radio 720 WGN Moves Upstairs". Radio World. Retrieved 29 November 2012. 
  8. ^ Birth of a Nation's Superstation: WGN executives were aghast when the channel was first put up on satellite, but the 'curse' turned into quite the blessing, Multichannel News (via HighBeam Research), April 5, 2004.
  9. ^ Warner Bros., Tribune Broadcasting & Jamie Kellner to Launch WB Network in 1994, TheFreeLibrary.com. Retrieved 12-10-2010.
  10. ^ Tribune Broadcasting Joins with Warner Bros. to Launch Fifth Television Network, TheFreeLibrary.com. Retrieved 12-10-2010.
  11. ^ Tribune's Network Tie Could Bench Its Sports, Chicago Sun-Times, November 3, 1993. Retrieved July 20, 2013 from HighBeam Research.
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External links[edit]