|Quad Cities, Illinois–Iowa
WQAD News 8 (newscasts)
My TV 8-3 (on DT3)
|Slogan||Hard Work, Determination (That's What We Stand For at WQAD News 8). (primary; visually displayed as Hard Work and Determination.)|
|Channels||Digital: 38 (UHF)
(to move to 31 (UHF))
Virtual: 8 (PSIP)
(sale to Sinclair Broadcast Group pending)
(WQAD License, LLC)
|First air date||August 1, 1963|
|Call letters' meaning||Quad Cities|
|Sister station(s)||Chicago: WGN-TV
Des Moines: WHO-DT
|Former channel number(s)||
|Transmitter power||1,000 kW
868 kW (CP)
|Height||334 m (1,096 ft)
329 m (1,079 ft) (CP)
|Public license information:||Profile
WQAD-TV is an ABC-affiliated television station licensed to Moline, Illinois, United States, serving the Quad Cities area of northwestern Illinois and southeastern Iowa. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 38 (or virtual channel 8 via PSIP) from a transmitter in Orion, Illinois. Owned by the Tribune Broadcasting subsidiary of the Tribune Media Company, WQAD maintains studio facilities on Park 16th Street in Moline. On cable, the station is available on Mediacom channel 8 in standard definition and on digital channel 708 in high definition.
WQAD-TV signed-on for the first time on August 1, 1963. It was owned by the Moline Television Corporation, a group of 24 local investors. They had actually won the license in 1961; however, concerns about interference with WIRL-TV in Peoria (now Comet TV owned-and-operated station WHOI on channel 19) delayed sign-on for two years. Before WQAD signed-on, ABC programming had been split between NBC affiliate WOC-TV (now KWQC-TV) and CBS affiliate WHBF-TV. Viewers with a good antenna could watch the full ABC schedule on KCRG-TV in Cedar Rapids.
From day one, WQAD aired ABC programming in color. Cowles Communications of Des Moines, Iowa purchased WQAD in 1978. In 1985, the Cowles family sold off their various media interests, with WQAD going to The New York Times Company. WQAD was branded in the early-1980s as "Active 8, Your 24 hour News Source" or "The Best News Around" and did hourly news cut-ins even during the overnight hours. WQAD started the "Active 8" branding in 1978 and used this branding until the early 1990s. WQAD was the first television station in the Quad Cities to be on the air 24 hours a day in the late-1980s until 1991.
On January 4, 2007, The New York Times Company sold its WQAD and its eight sister television stations to Local TV, a holding company operated by private equity group Oak Hill Capital Partners, for $350 million; the sale was finalized on May 7. On July 1, 2013, the Tribune Company (which formed a management company that operated both its own television stations and those owned by Local TV in 2008) acquired the Local TV stations for $2.75 billion; when the transaction was completed on December 27, it resulted in WQAD becoming a sister station to the company's television flagship, WGN-TV in Chicago.
On May 8, 2017, Sinclair Broadcast Group announced that it would acquire Tribune Media for $3.9 billion, plus the assumption of $2.7 billion in debt held by Tribune. If the deal receives regulatory approval by the FCC and the U.S. Department of Justice's Antitrust Division, the transaction would bring WQAD under common ownership with several stations owned and/or operated by Sinclair in adjacent markets, including KGAN/KFXA-TV in Cedar Rapids, KHQA-TV in Quincy, WMSN-TV in Madison, WUCW in Minneapolis–St. Paul, WVTV/WCGV-TV in Milwaukee (which would become co-owned with Fox affiliate WITI through the deal as well), and fellow ABC affiliates KTVO in Kirksville–Ottumwa, KDNL-TV in St. Louis (barring a sale to alleviate conflicts with Tribune-owned Fox affiliate KTVI and CW affiliate KPLR-TV), WICS in Springfield (as well as its satellite station WICD in Champaign), as well as former fellow ABC affiliate WHOI in Peoria (now a Comet TV O&O).
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|8.1||720p||16:9||WQAD-HD||Main WQAD-TV programming / ABC|
|8.3||720p||16:9||WQADMY||WQAD-DT3 / MyNetworkTV|
The "Quad Cities Weather Channel" was a 24-hour weather service provided by WQAD and had been available to television viewers on digital channel 8.2 and on Mediacom channel 14. This was created in 2001 and featured its "Exclusive Live Triple Doppler" and weather updates every fifteen minutes. On March 5, 2011, WQAD discontinued the "Quad Cities Weather Channel" and digital channel 8.2 became affiliated with Antenna TV.
WQAD-TV shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 8, at 3:59 a.m. 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 38. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analog channel 8. Also at the same time, the "WQAD-TV" call sign was transferred from now-defunct analog channel 8 to digital channel 38 and the "WQAD-DT" calls were discontinued.
WQAD's early years are closely linked to the station's prominent anchor/reporter, Jim King. He began as the station's original sports anchor. By 1964, he became the station's main anchorman, a post he would hold until 1998, doubling as news director for most of that time. His sign-off at the end of his newscasts was always "Thank you for inviting us into your home." King took cameras and gear to Vietnam for two tours of reporting on local troops. He was long the staple on the anchor desk and was known for his "On the Road" series of reports and for his longtime role as the emcee of the station's annual Muscular Dystrophy Association telethons from 1971 to 1998. He died of a heart attack while shoveling his sidewalk on January 2, 1999.
WQAD was one of the organizations which founded the Quad City Open Golf Tournament in 1971. The PGA Tour event is now called the John Deere Classic and has been the topic of special broadcasts on the television station for more than 35 years. Quad Cities baby boomers fondly remember WQAD's weekly midnight Chuck Acri Creature Feature showing early Creature Features films including science fiction and monster movies. WQAD's early days are also remembered for being the local outlet for Romper Room and its host Miss Peggy. For much of the time since 1988, this station has carried the syndicated program Live with Kelly and Ryan weekday mornings at 9 which is produced by WABC-TV in New York City and distributed nationally by that station's corporate sibling Disney-ABC Domestic Television (formerly known as Buena Vista Television). Other syndicated programming on this station includes Dr. Phil and The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
The station began news operations from the first day it signed on-the-air in 1963. At times, it shares news stories with sister station WHO-TV in Des Moines, and since the merger of Local TV and Tribune in December 2013, can also utilize the resources of Chicago sister station WGN-TV to the east. WQAD also uses WHO's chopper usually during severe weather or flooding. WQAD is also affiliated with CNN. On September 4, 2007, its weeknight 6 o'clock newscast started re-airing on WBQD at 9. Its hour-long midday newscast, News 8 at 11, debuted on September 22, 2008 and anchored by the weekday morning team. The station had dropped its midday newscast called Newsday in 1996.
On August 6, 2010, it was announced that the station would enter into a news share agreement with Fox affiliate KLJB. This resulted in a nightly prime time broadcast at 9 for a half-hour on that station on September 6. Previously, KLJB had its prime time broadcasts produced by the Independent News Network which is based in Davenport. This agreement ended on December 31, 2012 when KLJB entered a news share agreement with competitor KWQC-TV which then began producing the 9 p.m. newscasts for KLJB. On December 30, 2015, the agreement between KWQC and KLJB ended and on December 31, 2015, WHBF-TV began producing a one-hour 9 pm newscast for KLJB.
On January 4, 2016, WQAD began producing a new live half-hour 9 p.m. newscast for its digital subchannel station, MyNetworkTV affiliate WQAD-DT3. The new 9 p.m. broadcast competes directly against the 9 p.m. newscast on Marshall Broadcasting-owned Fox affiliate KLJB which has its newscasts produced by current SSA partner and Nexstar sister station WHBF-TV.
On September 12, 2011, WQAD's news operation upgraded its newscasts to high definition becoming the last in the market to do so.
News anchor Matt Hammill left the station in January 2013 after 32 years.
- Channel Lineup: Bettendorf, Davenport, Durant, Eldridge, LeClaire, Long Grove, Mount Joy, Panorama Park, Park View, Pleasant Valley, Princeton, Riverdale & Scott County, IA
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- [dead link]
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