|Freeport / Rockford, Illinois|
|Branding||23 WIFR (general)
23 News (newscasts)
|Slogan||The Next Generation of News|
|Channels||Digital: 41 (UHF)
Virtual: 23 (PSIP)
23.2 Antenna TV
(Gray Television Licensee, LLC)
|First air date||September 12, 1965|
|Call letters' meaning||Wisconsin/Illinois
|Former callsigns||WCEE-TV (1965-1977)
|Former channel number(s)||Analog: 23 (1965-2009)|
|Transmitter power||170 kW|
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, 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."
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.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|23.1||1080i||16:9||WIFR-HD||Main WIFR-TV programming / CBS HD|
|23.2||480i||4:3||Ant TV||23.2 Antenna TV|
WIFR began to broadcast only digitally at noon on February 17, 2009.
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). 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.
- Action News (1970s-1991)
- 23 News (1999–present)
- Where News Comes First (1980s-1991)
- People You Can Count On (2003–2008)
- Right Now (2008-2009)
- Rockfords Number One News Source (2010-2011)
- The Next Generation of News (2012–present)
Current on-air staff
- Andy Gannon – weekday mornings "23 News This Morning" and noon
- Mike Garrigan – weeknights at 5, 6 and 10 p.m.
- Whitney Martin – weeknights at 5, 6 and 10 p.m.
23 Storm Team
- Mark Henderson (AMS Seal of Approval) – Chief Meteorologist; weeknights at 5, 6 and 10 p.m.
- Brad Miller - Weekend Weather
- Aaron Wilson – Weather Anchor; weekday mornings "23 News This Morning" and noon
23 Sports Ticket
- Scott Grodsky – Sports Director; weeknights at 5, 6 and 10 p.m.
- Zach James – Sports Anchor; weekends at 6 and 10 p.m.
- Lauren Kravets – education reporter; also producer
- Marissa Sherer - crime and legal reporter
- Jorge Rodas - general assignment reporter
- Shannon Smith - general assignment reporter
- Jessica Geraci - general assignment reporter
- Raquel Moore - general assignment reporter
- WIFR Website
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WIFR
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WIFR-TV