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This article is about the television station. For the chess competition, see World Youth Chess Championship.
WYCC Logo.png
Chicago, Illinois
United States
Branding WYCC PBS Chicago
Slogan Be More Chicago
Channels Digital: 21 (UHF)
Virtual: 20 (PSIP)
Owner City Colleges of Chicago
(College District #508, County of Cook)
First air date September 1965 (1965-09) (original incarnation)
February 2, 1983; 34 years ago (1983-02-02) (current incarnation)
Call letters' meaning We're
Former callsigns WXXW (1965–1974)
WYCC-DT (2000–2009)
Former channel number(s)
  • Analog:
  • 20 (UHF, 1983–2009)
Former affiliations ITV (1965–1974)
Dark (1974–1983)
Transmitter power 98.9 kW
Height 378 m
Facility ID 12279
Transmitter coordinates 41°53′55.7″N 87°37′22.5″W / 41.898806°N 87.622917°W / 41.898806; -87.622917Coordinates: 41°53′55.7″N 87°37′22.5″W / 41.898806°N 87.622917°W / 41.898806; -87.622917
Licensing authority FCC
Public license information: Profile
Website www.wycc.org

WYCC, virtual channel 20 (UHF digital channel 21), is a PBS member television station located in Chicago, Illinois, United States. The station is owned by the City Colleges of Chicago. WYCC maintains studio facilities located at Kennedy–King College on South Union Avenue and Halsted Parkway in the Englewood neighborhood, and its transmitter is located atop the John Hancock Center on North Michigan Avenue in the Streeterville neighborhood. On cable, the station is available on Comcast Xfinity, RCN, WOW! and AT&T U-verse channel 20. There is a high definition feed offered on Comcast Xfinity digital channel 240.


Acting as the market's secondary outlet for the educational programming service, WYCC serves as one of three PBS member stations serving the Chicago metropolitan area, alongside WTTW (channel 11) and Gary, Indiana-licensed WYIN (channel 56). Because the Chicago market is well-served by PBS' national programming from those two stations, WYCC's programming focuses more on adult educational and other instructional programming, along with other programming obtained by producers outside of those associated with PBS, which account for only 13% of the programs provided as part of WYCC's weekly schedule.

Funding for the station is provided by the usual mix of member donations, pledge drives and funding by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, as well as funding allocated by the Illinois General Assembly and the city of Chicago through the City Colleges division. WYCC makes the claim of being the largest public television station that is run by a minority operation, and reaches the 3.5 million households in the Chicago area, along with six million households across Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan.


On the heels of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)'s recent lifting of its moratorium on new television station applications (the result of the agency's passage of the Sixth Report & Order of 1952) as well as the opening of additional channels on the UHF band, WIND Inc., a joint venture between the Chicago Daily News and the family of Ralph J. Atlass – one-time owners of radio stations WBBM (780 AM) and WIND (560 AM) petitioned the FCC for a construction permit to build a television station on UHF channel 20, which would be licensed to nearby Gary, Indiana. The group also applied for, and received the call letters WIND-TV for their new station, which was never signed on under their purview. On November 8, 1956, the Westinghouse Electric Corporation purchased the construction permit for $5.3 million.

UHF stations struggled mightily during the 1950s, with many shutting down outright, due partly to the fact that manufacturers did not include UHF tuners in television sets (an issue that was remedied when the FCC made these tuners a requirement for sets made from 1964 onward through its passage of the All-Channel Receiver Act). By the end of the decade, Group W had soured on the idea of launching a station in the Chicago market; in late 1962, Group W offered the construction permit (allegedly sold for $1, although some reports list the selling price as $65,000) to Edward L. Ryerson, member of the board of the Chicago Educational Television Association (now Window to the World Communications and licensee of WTTW, channel 11).

First conceived in 1953 and debuting in September 1955 as Chicago's first non-commercial educational television station, WTTW began to experience growing pains by the early 1960s. Gradually moving away from its original mission of providing classroom instructional courses as more and more of its broadcast day was filled first with programming from NET and later PBS and those distributed by other member stations, the idea of a second station seemed like the perfect answer to provide additional sources for the displaced educational programming.

According to the quarterly WTTW Channel 11 News program guide from Winter 1963, hopes were high for the new station. Intending to devote its entire schedule to instructional programming (including the already established College of the Air telecourses), possibilities for the station – to be given the call letters WXXW – included special police training programs; police bulletins (including lineups); public health instruction in pre-natal and post-natal care; instructional programs for election judges; training for Army, Navy and Air Force reserve units; civil defense disaster training; programs for unskilled workers; professional information services for physicians and dentists; and seminar programs for various other professional groups.

In September 1965, the former construction permit for WIND-TV officially became Chicago's second UHF television station and second non-commercial outlet as WXXW on channel 20. However the station, known as "the Classroom of the Air", was essentially a failure. Plagued by a weak signal and a schedule filled with what former WTTW station manager Edward Morris called "talking heads and a blackboard," WXXW limped along until it quietly went dark in 1974. Throughout its entire existence, WXXW was only able to transmit in black-and-white, making it and commercial independent station WCIU-TV (channel 26) the only television stations in the Chicago market that had not transitioned to color broadcasts in the early 1970s. The monochrome transmissions were just another nail in the station's coffin.

In 1977, a consortium known as the Chicago Metropolitan Educational Council acquired the long-dark WXXW license from WTTW general manager Bill McCarter (again, the license was allegedly purchased for $1, making it the cheapest television license ever in the Chicago area) and applied to change its call letters to WCME, however that station was never built. In 1982, Oscar Shabat, founding Chancellor of the City Colleges of Chicago, asked the consortium to release the dormant license; on February 17, 1983, channel 20 was reborn as WYCC (standing for "We are Your City Colleges"). After its long beginning, the station now features a variety of programming on three digital subchannels, including those provided by PBS, those produced locally, and international news and educational programs.

Digital television[edit]

Digital channels[edit]

The station's digital channel is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[1]
20.1 1080i 16:9 WYCC-HD Main WYCC programming / PBS
20.2 480i 4:3 WYCC-SD First Nations Experience
20.3 MHZ MHz WorldView

Subchannel history[edit]

WYCC began carrying First Nations Experience (FNX), featuring programming focusing on Native American culture, on November 1, 2013 over digital subchannel 20.2.[2][3][4]

The station began offering international programming from MHz Networks-owned MHz WorldView in 2010, over digital subchannel 20.2; the network moved to a newly created subchannel on digital channel 20.3 as a result of the addition of FNX on its second subchannel. The subchannel offers a wider variety of English language international news programs, expanding the number of news programs available to viewers who rely on "over the air" broadcasting instead of cable or satellite. Some of the programs aired on the subchannel are presented in English, while others are broadcast in their native foreign languages and accompanied by English subtitles, and in Spanish without subtitles. Programs include news programs from Asia, South America and the Middle East (such as Al Jazeera English, Bolivian News, Arab Net News and South Asia News).[5][6]

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

WYCC shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 20, at 6 a.m. on April 16, 2009.[7] The station's digital signal continued to broadcasts on its pre-transition UHF channel 21.[8] Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 20. At the same time, the "WYCC" callsign was legally transferred from the now-defunct analog signal to digital channel 21, with the digital signal's pre-transition callsign "WYCC-DT" officially being discontinued.


WYCC carries programming distributed by PBS, American Public Television, and independent producers.

Educational programming[edit]

Through its ownership by the City Colleges of Chicago, WYCC provides distance learning courses as part of its late night schedule, which may be credited towards an associate degree – when viewed – at any of the City Colleges campuses. The colleges also use WYCC to air informational programs for neighborhood outreach and community service purposes.

As a PBS member station, WYCC also provides a relatively limited schedule of children's programming provided by the service as well as through independent distributors such as American Public Television, mainly airing on weekday mornings.

Locally produced programming[edit]

The station produces several locally based programs including the political talk show Beyond the Beltway, which also airs nationally on radio. In 2013, WYCC debuted In the Loop, a half-hour weekly public affairs show on Thursday evenings, hosted by Barbara Pinto and Chris Bury (both of whom formerly served as correspondents for ABC News);[9][10] Robin Robinson and Lauren Cohn (both former anchors at Fox owned-and-operated station WFLD, channel 32) joined the program as rotating co-hosts starting in September 2015.[11]

The station formerly produced the public affairs and editorial program Off 63rd with Garrard McClendon. Airing on Thursday evenings, and funded by the McCormick Foundation and the Field Foundation, the show was hosted by professor and author Dr. Garrard McClendon. It also produced The Professors, a half-hour weekly program on Sunday mornings featuring a panel of professors from the City Colleges of Chicago campuses discussing education-related issues.[12]

The station has aired Pritzker Military Presents since 2006.[13]

How-to programming[edit]

In 2010, the station began incorporating many "how to" shows on its weekday afternoon and Saturday midday schedules, featuring a mix of sewing, quilting, cooking, art/painting, gardening and home improvement programs from American Public Television and other distributors.

International programming[edit]

WYCC broadcasts numerous international programs. WYCC carries mystery programs from PBS' anthology series Masterpiece,[14] as well as twice weekly airing of those produced by BBC Worldwide Americas (such as DCI Banks) in prime time on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Several British series have aired on the station, including The Café and Lead Balloon.

In 2010, the station began carrying reruns of Canadian sitcom The Red Green Show.[15][16] WYCC also served as the Chicago-area broadcaster of Out of Ireland.[17] The station formerly carried other U.K. and Irish imports including Tartan TV (which focuses on Scotland), Monarch of the Glen, Last of the Summer Wine, Are You Being Served?, Monty Python's Flying Circus, the Irish comedic soap opera Ballykissangel, and (in 2010), the British serial drama Touching Evil.[18]

WYCC and WTTW show a similar number of scripted British programmes, with both airing Antiques Roadshow[19] and Masterpiece,[20] though at different air dates. WYCC has aired the BBC One programme Lark Rise to Candleford (which began in the UK in 2008) since 2009;[21][22] and Midsomer Murders (which first aired in the UK in 1997) in November 2010.[23][24] Mystery series presented on the station expanded in 2013 and 2014 to include Vera, DCI Banks, and the Australian series Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries. With its large variety of mystery programs, WYCC runs two-day Mystery marathons on some holidays, tied with fundraising.

News programming[edit]

WYCC carries local news programs produced by undergraduate and graduate students from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, with students from the City Colleges of Chicago contributing in the production of these shows. WYCC also produced programs for the Illinois gubernatorial and Assembly elections during the 2010 and 2012 fall election seasons.

In the early 2010s, WYCC altered its program lineup, acquiring new program offerings from the BBC and using the English language international news shows available to offer news and opinions not provided elsewhere, particularly for viewers who watch broadcast television over-the-air in the Chicago area market. The station offers comprehensive international news coverage and national news discussion programs from DW TV's Journal, France 24,[25] NHK Newsline, RT News[26] and Euronews. The station also broadcasts news/talk shows programs distributed for public television syndication such as those hosted by Charlie Rose and Tavis Smiley.

In 2013, WYCC began airing the PBS series Just Seen It, featuring various entertainment industry people providing reviews of movies and television programs, with a quick format reflecting the original Siskel/Ebert movie review program At the Movies, recommending viewers to see, skip or stream the reviewed media.[27][28]

WYCC is one of the very few PBS Stations not to air PBS Newshour, as WTTW airs these newscasts.


  1. ^ "RabbitEars TV Query for WYCC". RabbitEars. Retrieved November 28, 2013. 
  2. ^ "First Nations Experience: About Us". First Nations Experience. Retrieved November 28, 2013. 
  3. ^ Robert Feder (October 31, 2013). "Native American channel joins WYCC". Chicago Tribune. Tribune Publishing. 
  4. ^ "Announcing First Nations Experience". WYCC. City Colleges of Chicago. Retrieved November 28, 2013. 
  5. ^ "HD Antenna". 
  6. ^ "WYCC schedule for 20.3". WYCC. City Colleges of Chicago. Retrieved June 8, 2013. 
  7. ^ Lewis Lazare (March 26, 2009). "WYCC goes all digital early". Chicago Sun-Times. Sun-Times Media Group. 
  8. ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). U.S. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved March 24, 2012. 
  9. ^ "In the Loop". WYCC. City Colleges of Chicago. Retrieved November 30, 2013. 
  10. ^ Lewis Lazare (February 20, 2013). "WYCC-Channel 20 launches public affairs show to attract new audiences and new funding". Chicago Business Journal. American City Business Journals. Retrieved September 9, 2015. 
  11. ^ Robert Feder (September 7, 2015). "Robin Robinson, Lauren Cohn join WYCC's 'In The Loop'". Chicago Tribune. Tribune Publishing. Retrieved September 9, 2015. 
  12. ^ "The Professors". WYCC. City Colleges of Chicago. Retrieved January 2, 2014. 
  13. ^ "Pritzker Military Presents". Chicago: Pritzker Military Museum & Library. 2016. Retrieved January 5, 2016. 
  14. ^ "Mystery!". PBS.org. Retrieved November 30, 2013. 
  15. ^ "Red Green.com". 
  16. ^ "Red Green". PBS. 
  17. ^ "Out of Ireland TV". 
  18. ^ Touching Evil at the Internet Movie Database
  19. ^ "Antiques Roadshow". 
  20. ^ "Masterpiece". PBS WGBH. 
  21. ^ Lark Rise to Candleford at the Internet Movie Database
  22. ^ "Lark Rise to Candleford". BBC programmes. Retrieved June 8, 2013. 
  23. ^ Midsomer Murders at the Internet Movie Database
  24. ^ "Midsomer Murders". 
  25. ^ "France 24". 
  26. ^ "RT News". 
  27. ^ "Just Seen It". Just Seen It. Retrieved January 2, 2014. 
  28. ^ Zorianna Kit (June 1, 2013). "PBS back in the movie review business with "Just Seen It"". The Huffington Post. AOL. Retrieved January 2, 2014. 

External links[edit]