WRSP-TV

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WRSP-TV/WCCU
WRSP-WCCU Fox 55-27 Illinois Logo.png

Wrsp wccu dt2.png
WRSP: Springfield/Decatur, Illinois
WCCU: Urbana/Champaign, Illinois
United States
Branding Fox 55/27 Illinois
(both; general)
Fox News at Nine
(WRSP news)
Fox Champaign News
at Nine (WCCU news)
Me-TV Illinois (both; DT2)
Channels Digital:
WRSP: 44 (UHF)
WCCU: 26 (UHF)
Virtual:
WRSP: 55 (PSIP)
WCCU: 27 (PSIP)
Subchannels xx.1 Fox
xx.2 Me-TV
Affiliations Fox (since 1986)
Owner GOCOM Media, LLC
(operated through JSA/SSA by Sinclair Broadcast Group)
(GOCOM Media of
Illinois, LLC)
First air date WRSP: June 1, 1979 (1979-06-01)
WCCU: February 19, 1986 (1986-02-19)
Call letters' meaning WRSP: We ARe SPringfield
WCCU: We're Central Illinois/Champaign/Urbana
Sister station(s) WBUI, WICS/WICD,
WYZZ-TV, WHOI
Former callsigns WRSP: WBHW (1979-1982)
Former channel number(s) Analog:
WRSP:
55 (UHF, 1979-2009)
WCCU:
27 (UHF, 1986-2009)
Former affiliations WRSP: Independent (1979-1986)
Transmitter power WRSP: 750 kW
WCCU: 1,000 kW
Height WRSP: 415 m
WCCU: 114 m
Class DT
Facility ID WRSP: 62009
WCCU: 69544
Transmitter coordinates WRSP: 39°47′57″N 89°26′46″W / 39.79917°N 89.44611°W / 39.79917; -89.44611
WCCU: 40°18′46″N 87°55′0″W / 40.31278°N 87.91667°W / 40.31278; -87.91667 (WCCU)
Licensing authority FCC
Public license information: Profile
CDBS
Website www.foxillinois.com

WRSP-TV is the Fox-affiliated television station for Springfield/Decatur, Illinois. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 44 (or virtual channel 55.1 via PSIP) from a transmitter, west of Mechanicsburg, in unincorporated Sangamon County. Owned by GOCOM Media, the station is sister to CW affiliate WBUI and both outlets are operated through joint sales and shared services agreements by the Sinclair Broadcast Group.

This makes the two outlets sister stations to ABC affiliate WICS (and its full-time satellite, WICD). All of the stations share studios together on East Cook Street in Springfield's Eastside. However, WBUI also operates an advertising sales office on South Main Street/U.S. 51 in Downtown Decatur.

WCCU in Urbana/Champaign operates as a semi-satellite of WRSP for the eastern portion of the market. As such, it clears all network and syndicated programming from its parent but airs separate commercial inserts, legal identifications, and a weeknight prime time newscast (see below). This station broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 26 (or virtual channel 27.1 via PSIP) from a transmitter, along U.S. 136, in Vermilion County between Penfield and Armstrong. Its shares studios with WICD on South Country Fair Drive in Downtown Champaign.

History[edit]

What is now WRSP signed-on June 1, 1979 as an religious Independent. It aired an analog signal on UHF channel 55 and used the call sign WBHW (standing for We Believe His Word). It was the first new commercial station in the market (not counting satellite stations) since WCIA launched back in 1953. On November 24, 1982, it changed call letters to WRSP-TV and became the area's first general entertainment Independent.

On February 19, 1986, full-time satellite WCCU in Urbana was added with an analog signal on UHF channel 27. Both stations began transmitting digital signals in mid-2000 with programming from Fox in high definition. It eventually introduced a new website based on the "My Fox" owned-and-operated station platform licensed from News Corporation Interactive.

On June 20, 2007, GOCOM Media announced its intent to purchase WBUI from ACME Communications. The sale was approved on September 14 by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which allowed GOCOM to buy WBUI under a "failed station" waiver to its duopoly rules. The Central Illinois market already had one duopoly, Nexstar Broadcasting Group's WCIA and WCFN, and under normal conditions there wouldn't have been enough unique station owners to allow a second duopoly.

However, ACME claimed it was losing money on WBUI and could not find a buyer that did not require a duopoly waiver. The sale to GOCOM Media officially closed on October 25, 2007. At that point, WBUI consolidated its operations from its original studios at North Parkway Court in Decatur into WRSP's facilities in Springfield. In mid-2010, WRSP's web site was taken over by Broadcast Interactive Media.

On December 31, 2012, Sinclair closed on the purchase of the non-license assets of GOCOM's three television stations, WRSP/WCCU and sister station WBUI for approximately $25.6 million. Sinclair is providing sales and other non-programming services to the stations pursuant to shared services and joint sales agreements. Both WRSP/WCCU and WBUI were initially operated from separate facilities from WICS/WICD.

However, WCCU quickly moved its advertising sales operation from its location on South Neil Street/U.S. 45 in Champaign into WICD's studios. Eventually, WRSP and WBUI also moved from their offices on Old Rochester Road in Springfield and were consolidated into WICS' facility.

Digital television[edit]

Digital channels[edit]

The station's digital channel is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[1][2]
xx.1 720p 16:9 WRSP-HD
WCCU-HD
Main programming / Fox
xx.2 480i 4:3 ME-TV Me-TV

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

WRSP-TV & WCCU shut down their analog signals, respectively on February 17, 2009, the original target 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 channel allocations post-transition are as follows:[3]

  • WRSP-TV shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 55; the station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 44. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 55, which was among the high band UHF channels (52-69) that were removed from broadcasting use as a result of the transition.
  • WCCU shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 27; the station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 26. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 27.

News operation[edit]

WRSP/WCCU Good Day Illinois weekday morning open.
WCCU Fox Champaign News at Nine weeknight open.

On September 11, 2006, WRSP/WCCU (then separately controlled) established a news share agreement with WICS/WICD. As a result, a nightly prime time newscast began airing on the Fox affiliates that was jointly produced by the two ABC outlets. Known as NewsChannel at 9 on Fox Illinois, it aired from a modified set at WICS's Springfield studios featuring unique duratrans indicating the Fox-branded show. From the start, NewsChannel at 9 competed with a newscast already established in the time slot on then-UPN affiliate WCFN (produced by WCIA).

Unlike the WRSP/WCCU show, WCFN's broadcast originated from WCIA's Champaign facilities but was targeted specifically at a Springfield audience. The WRSP/WCCU newscast featured market wide coverage, including contributions from WICD reporters, but there was a separate weeknight weather segment for WRSP and WCCU. [4] WCFN's prime time broadcast would be eventually canceled by WCIA on September 28, 2009. On October 7, 2013, the weekday edition NewsChannel at 9 was expanded to an hour.

The effort on WRSP/WCCU was further expanded on January 20, 2014 when WICS began producing a two-hour weekday morning show for the Fox affiliates. Known as Good Day Illinois, the program can be seen from 7 until 9 and offers a local alternative to the national morning programs seen on the big three networks. It also competes with another two-hour local newscast seen at same time on MyNetworkTV affiliate WCIX (produced by WCIA).

On March 13, 2015, Sinclair announced that WICD would stop offering separate newscasts on weekdays that focus on the eastern areas of the market (Champaign/Urbana/Danville). This change took effect after the final WICD-produced newscast aired on April 3. In its place are newscasts simulcasted from WICS (in all time slots) which provide market-wide coverage including content from the eastern areas through a downsized bureau at WICD's studios. On April 7, 2015 despite this significant reduction, WICD began airing a full sixty minute Champaign-based prime time newscast (weeknights at 9) on WCCU entitled Fox Champaign News at Nine.

The existing hour-long WICS-produced newscast on WRSP, which had been simulcast on WCCU, was refocused to Springfield and became known as Fox News at Nine. The weekend edition of the prime time news will continue to be a market-wide product simulcasted on WRSP and WCCU. With the exception of the WCCU newscast, WICD no longer produces Champaign-specific local news. [5] [6]

References[edit]

External links[edit]