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WIFR Logo.png
Freeport / Rockford, Illinois
United States
Branding 23 WIFR (general)
23 News (newscasts)
Slogan The Next Generation of News
Channels Digital: 41 (UHF)
Virtual: 23 (PSIP)
Subchannels 23.1 CBS
23.2 Antenna TV
Affiliations CBS
Owner Gray Television
(Gray Television Licensee, LLC)
First air date September 12, 1965 (1965-09-12)
Call letters' meaning Wisconsin/Illinois
Sister station(s) WMTV, WNDU, WEAU
Former callsigns WCEE-TV (1965-1977)
WIFR-TV (1977-1991)
Former channel number(s) Analog:
23 (UHF, 1965-2009)
Transmitter power 170 kW
Height 219.7 m
Facility ID 4689
Transmitter coordinates 42°17′48″N 89°10′15″W / 42.29667°N 89.17083°W / 42.29667; -89.17083
Licensing authority FCC
Public license information: Profile
Website www.wifr.com

WIFR, virtual channel 23, is the CBS television affiliate based in Rockford, Illinois and licensed to nearby Freeport. It broadcasts its digital signal on UHF channel 41 from a transmitter at its studios on North Meridian Road in Rockford. though it formerly broadcast its analog signal on channel 23, which it continues to use as its virtual digital channel via PSIP. It is currently owned by Gray Television. WIFR is the only television station in the Rockford market to retain the same network affiliation since it first signed-on.


The station went on the air as WCEE-TV on September 12, 1965. The area's previous CBS affiliate, WREX-TV, switched to ABC full-time, sending CBS to WCEE. It has been with CBS ever since, and is the only station in the market to have never switched affiliations. The call letters were changed to the present WIFR in 1977 and stand for "Wisconsin-Illinois-Freeport-Rockford." WIFR was sold along with WHSV-TV in Harrisonburg, Virginia and WBNB-TV in Charlotte Amalie, U.S. Virgin Islands to Benedek Broadcasting in 1986. When Benedek went bankrupt in 2002, WIFR was acquired by current owner Gray Television.

On the morning of July 5, 2003, a severe wind storm swept through Rockford. WIFR's transmitter tower, located behind the studio and office building at 2523 North Meridian Road in Rockford, collapsed. Pieces of the tower fell onto a field behind the station's headquarters. No one was injured or killed. Nearly four months later, a new tower was erected and WIFR's signal was back to full power once again.

Digital television[edit]

Digital channels[edit]

The station's digital signal is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[1]
23.1 1080i 16:9 WIFR-HD Main WIFR programming / CBS
23.2 480i 4:3 Ant TV Antenna TV

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

WIFR shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 23, at noon on February 17, 2009, the original date in which full-power television stations in the United States were to transition from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate (which was later pushed back to June 12, 2009). The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 41.[2][3] Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 23.

WIFR announced on November 16, 2012 that the station will add Tribune Broadcasting's Antenna TV network to its digital subchannel lineup effective December 17, replacing the AccuWeather Channel on channel 23.2 (branded locally as 23 WeatherNow).[4] Channel 23.2 also currently airs live sports programming, in addition, featuring the Rockford IceHogs hockey team (a minor league affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks), plus selected Chicago Bulls, Cubs, and White Sox telecasts (via WGN Sports on U). The station stated that these telecasts will continue on with its new Antenna TV affiliation, which will pre-empt selected shows.


External links[edit]