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HOI 19 ABC logo.png

The CW Peoria-Bloomington.png
Normal, Illinois
United States
Branding HOI 19 (general)
HOI 19 News (newscasts)
News 25 (weekend simulcasts with WEEK-TV)
CW 4 (DT2)
Slogan Accurate. Balanced. To the Point.
Your Home Team (weekend simulcasts with WEEK-TV)
TV Now (DT2)
Channels Digital: 19 (UHF)
Virtual: 19 (PSIP)
Subchannels 19.1 ABC
19.2 The CW
Affiliations ABC (secondary until 1957)
Owner Sinclair Broadcast Group
(WHOI Licensee, LLC)
Operator Quincy Newspapers
First air date October 20, 1953; 62 years ago (1953-10-20)
Call letters' meaning We're the Heart Of Illinois
Sister station(s) Peoria:
Hannibal, MO/Quincy, IL:
Champaign, IL:

Former callsigns WTVH (1953–1965)
WIRL-TV (1965–1971)
WRAU-TV (1971–1985)
Former channel number(s) 8 (VHF analog, 1953–1963)
19 (UHF analog, 1963–2009)
40 (UHF digital, 2003–2009)
Former affiliations CBS (1953–1957)
DuMont (secondary, 1953–1955)
UPN (secondary, 1995–1999)
Transmitter power 195 kW
Height 203.1 m
Class DT
Facility ID 6866
Transmitter coordinates 40°39′11.1″N 89°35′14.4″W / 40.653083°N 89.587333°W / 40.653083; -89.587333 (WHOI)
Licensing authority FCC
Public license information: Profile
Website www.cinewsnow.com

WHOI is the ABC-affiliated television station for North-Central Illinois that is licensed to Peoria. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 19 from a transmitter on North Stewart Street in Creve Coeur, a village of Groveland Township. Owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group, WHOI is operated through joint sales and shared services agreements by Quincy Newspapers (owner of NBC affiliate WEEK-TV).

The two outlets share studios together on Springfield Road, along I-474, in East Peoria. Although it is sister to Fox affiliate WYZZ-TV (owned by Sinclair's partner company, Cunningham Broadcasting), that outlet is operated separately by the Nexstar Broadcasting Group at the facility of CBS outlet WMBD-TV.

Digital channels[edit]

Channel Video Aspect PSIP short name Programming [1]
19.1 720p 16:9 WHOI-HD Main WHOI programming / ABC
19.2 WHOI-CW CW 4
19.3 480i 4:3 Comet TV Comet TV


WHOI was Peoria's second television station, signing-on as WTVH on October 20, 1953. The station was founded by Hugh Norman and Edward Schoede. Hilltop Broadcasting, which co-owned the Peoria Journal Star bought the station in 1954.[2] Its first studios were on Main Street in Peoria. Originally broadcasting an analog signal on VHF channel 8,[3] it was a primary CBS affiliate but also carried shows from ABC and DuMont. WTVH lost DuMont when the network ceased operations in 1955, and lost CBS when WMBD-TV began broadcasting.

The Metropolitan Broadcasting Corporation, later known as Metromedia, purchased the station in 1959. In 1963, WTVH was bumped down to UHF channel 19 so that a third commercial VHF station could sign-on in the Quad Cities using that channel (the new station, WQAD-TV, is also an ABC affiliate). In 1965, Metromedia sold the station to Mid-America Media, owners of WIRL radio (1290 AM) who, on September 12 of that year, changed the call sign to WIRL-TV. It became WRAU-TV in 1971 and adopted its present calls of WHOI in 1985. The WTVH call sign was picked up by a station in Syracuse, New York in 1976.

In 1987, WHOI came under the ownership of Adams Communications following a merger with its previous owner, Forward Communications. The station was sold to Brissette Broadcasting in 1991, then to Benedek Broadcasting in 1996. When Benedek merged with Gray Television in 2002 following a Chapter 11 bankruptcy, WHOI was spun-off to Chelsey Broadcasting. In April 2004, WHOI and KHQA-TV in the Hannibal, Missouri/Quincy, Illinois media market became two of the founding stations of Barrington Broadcasting.

WHOI carried some programming from UPN, including Star Trek: Voyager, from the network's launch in January 1995[4] until WAOE (channel 59) went on the air in 1999. Starting in 1998, WHOI began to run a cable-only WB affiliate. Known by the fictional call sign "WBPE", it was on channel 4 on most cable systems in the area. On September 18, 2006, when The WB and UPN merged to create The CW, "WBPE" became part of The CW Plus which is a similar operation to The WB 100+. WHOI added a new second digital subchannel to simulcast this programming to offer non-cable subscribers access to The CW. The channel then began to use WHOI-DT2 as its official calls.[5]

On March 2, 2009, it was made public that rival WEEK-TV (channel 25) would take over the operations of WHOI through joint sales and shared services agreements. It resulted in this station closing its longtime studios near its transmitter in Creve Coeur and moving into WEEK-TV's East Peoria facility. Sixteen employees were transferred to WEEK-TV but as many as thirty were laid-off immediately.[2] This left the five full-power commercial stations in the market operated by two entities; WEEK-TV already controlled the market's MyNetworkTV outlet, WAOE (owned by Four Seasons Broadcasting), under a separate joint sales agreement (JSA). The WHOI and CW subchannel websites were immediately changed to redirects to WEEK-TV's web address. As part of the agreement, Granite-owned CBS affiliate WTVH merged its operations with Barrington's NBC affiliate WSTM-TV and low-powered CW affiliate WSTQ-LP in a similar arrangement on the same day.[6]

In 2009, WHOI remained on channel 19 when the analog to digital conversion was completed [7] with the "WHOI" calls being transferred from the now-defunct analog channel 19 to the new digital channel 19 and the "WHOI-DT" call sign from the pre-transition digital channel 40 being permanently discontinued. However, the PSIP identifier still identifies the station's main channel on 19.1 as "WHOI-DT".

On February 28, 2013, Barrington Broadcasting announced the sale of its entire group, including WHOI, to the Sinclair Broadcast Group.[8] Sinclair already owned the license of WYZZ-TV (channel 43), which was sold to Cunningham Broadcasting to satisfy Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations on duopoly ownership. The sale was completed on November 25.[9] On February 11, 2014, it was announced that Quincy-based Quincy Newspapers would acquire WEEK-TV from Granite Broadcasting. Originally, Quincy intended to continue providing services to WHOI but Sinclair gave notice that the JSA/SSA between WHOI and WEEK-TV (which was originally set to expire in March 2017) will be terminated within nine months of Quincy closing on its purchase of WEEK-TV.[10] The Quincy/Granite sale was completed on November 2, 2015.[11]

News operation[edit]

HOI 19 News weekday morning and weeknight open.

Throughout the 1980s and early-1990s, WHOI aired a nightly newscast at 5:30. This resulted in a delay of ABC World News Tonight until 6 on weeknights unlike other ABC affiliates in the Central Time Zone. On weekends, the network broadcast would be seen it its normal time slot at 5 followed by WHOI's newscast. This unique practice offered viewers with local news seven nights a week at a consistent time while other stations aired national news or other programming.

In 1996, WHOI added a midday show that was seen during the week at 11:30 a.m., a half-hour 5 o'clock weeknight show targeting female demographics (eventually changed to a traditional newscast), and expanded the weekday morning news to run for a full two hours (from 5 until 7 a.m.). WHOI management would cancel the midday show in 1997 citing low ratings and lack of advertising sales for the time slot. At its height while operating a separate news department, WHOI offered local news that was seen weekday mornings for two hours, weeknights (at 5, 6, and 10), as well as weekends (Saturdays at 6, Sundays at 5:30, and both nights at 10). Throughout this period, the station traditionally remained in third place for local viewership ratings during important sweeps periods.

In March 2009 after becoming operated by WEEK-TV, WHOI shut down its separate news department and merged it with the NBC outlet. This station let go most of its production and newscast personnel but added four on-air personalities to WEEK-TV's news team (three of them are still employed by WEEK-TV today). A new secondary set was built at the Springfield Road studios for use by WHOI in order to produce separate newscasts in a new, modified schedule. More specifically, WHOI dropped its own weeknight newscasts at 5 and 6 for a new show seen at 5:30 so it would not directly compete with WEEK-TV's own programs in those time slots.

WHOI continues to produce a separate weekday morning show from 5 until 7 (the two anchors for that program do not appear on WEEK-TV) and weeknight newscast at 10. On weekends, WHOI and WEEK-TV simulcast local news but there can be a delay or pre-emption on one station because of network obligations (most notably sports programming). At some point in time after combining operations, the two outlets became the first news department in the market to upgrade local newscast production to 16:9 enhanced definition widescreen. Although not truly high definition, the shows match the aspect ratio of HD television screens.

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