|Headquarters||Chicago, Illinois, United States|
(Vice Chairman & President of Content & Networks)
(Vice President of Technology)
Weigel Broadcasting Company (a.k.a. Weigel Broadcasting) is an American television broadcasting company based in Chicago, Illinois, alongside its flagship station WCIU-TV (Channel 26), at 26 North Halsted Street in the Greektown neighborhood.
The company was founded by Chicago broadcasting veteran John Weigel, whose career dated back to the 1930s. With $1,000 of his own money, and another $1,000 from his attorney, Daniel J. McCarthy, Weigel bought the broadcasting license for what became the first UHF television station in the Chicago area. WCIU signed on the air on February 6, 1964. One year later, in 1965, Weigel Broadcasting was the subject of a successful hostile takeover at the hands of the Shapiro family.
Over the years, the company began to acquire and also launch new stations in the adjacent markets of Milwaukee and South Bend, at first by placing WCIU translators in those markets to gain a foothold in each market, before programming the stations independently. Weigel would end up an unexpected beneficiary of the television industry realignment of 1994-95. Full-power independent station WDJT-TV in Milwaukee, which had only signed on five years earlier, ended up with the CBS affiliation in late 1994. WBND-LP became the home of ABC programming in South Bend the next year. In both cases, the longtime affiliates of the networks in those markets--WITI in Milwaukee and WSJV in South Bend--switched to Fox, and the Weigel-owned stations secured 11th-hour affiliation deals after no other viable replacement affiliates surfaced.
Also in that same year, WCIU dropped the Spanish-language Univision network and became Chicago's only true full-power independent station when WGN-TV and WPWR-TV joined The WB and UPN networks respectively, while WGBO-TV became a Univision-owned station. These changes allowed WCIU to pursue sports rights and syndicated programming not previously available, ultimately giving WCIU some strength in the market.
Weigel's MeTV format originated as a programming block that debuted on January 6, 2003 on television station WFBT-CA (channel 23) in Chicago, Illinois, an independent station that otherwise featured an ethnic programming format.
In April 2008, Weigel completed the purchase of WJJA-TV in Racine, Wisconsin, which gave the company its second full-power station in the Milwaukee market. The station carried a local version of MeTV for four years before it and the independent format of low-power WMLW-CA were switched around in August 2012, becoming WMLW-TV.
In early August 2008, Weigel Broadcasting agreed to sell all three of its South Bend stations, WBND-LP, WCWW-LP and WMYS-LP, to Schurz Communications, the longtime owner of the local CBS affiliate WSBT-TV, for undisclosed terms. However, in the absence of action by the Federal Communications Commission, the deal was called off in August 2009.
At the end of 2009, Broadcasting & Cable gave Weigel Broadcasting its first annual Multi-Platform Broadcaster of the Year award. The company makes efficient use of digital TV's multicast capabilities, with one main channel and four subchannels for WCIU in Chicago, and MeTV and This TV on subchannels nationwide.
On December 1, 2010, WCIU dropped their FBT foreign broadcasting digital subchannel (with some of that programming eventually to be moved to Polnet Communications' WPVN-CA) and is currently airing a simulcast of WCIU-TV on WCIU digital subchannel 26.2. The new digital subchannel, The U Too, was officially launched on January 5, 2011. The new digital network will be airing on WCIU digital subchannel 26.2, replacing MeTV, which moved to WCIU digital subchannel 26.3 on December 15, 2010, and mainly consists of other purchased programming without room on the main WCIU schedule, second runs of WCIU programming or programming burned off due to low ratings.
On January 28, 2013, Weigel entered into a partnership with Fox Television Stations to create a new digital subchannel network called Movies!, which is expected to debut on all of Fox's owned-and-operated stations in the spring of 2013. On May 13, 2013, Weigel announced that Tribune Broadcasting would take over operations of This TV on November 1, and that the channel would move to a WGN-TV subchannel following the changes.
On July 1, 2013, Weigel premiered the new subchannel service TouchVision, which provides a rolling news and information service designed for television, mobile and tablet platforms starting on WDJT-DT4, after Milwaukee real estate agency Shorewest Realtors ended their time-lease on the channel space to concentrate on an Internet on-demand channel instead. TouchVision was based out of Weigel's Chicago facilities under the LLC "Think Televisual", and was run by former radio and Tribune executive Lee Abrams and Brandon Davis. TouchVision ceased operations on January 14, 2016.
On September 29, 2014, Weigel launched Heroes & Icons a new digital subchannel which specializes in reruns of classic television series and films. Heroes & Icons, abbreviated H&I, aims to attract a generally male audience with shows from the genres of action, police, detective, western, science fiction, superhero, and war and military.
On October 21, 2014, Weigel and CBS announced the launch of a new digital subchannel service called Decades, scheduled to launch on all CBS O&O stations in 2015. The channel will be co-owned by Weigel and CBS, with Weigel being responsible for distribution to stations outside CBS Television Stations. It will air programs from the extensive library of CBS Television Distribution, including archival footage from CBS News.
Most of the stations are categorized into separate limited partnerships for licensing purposes.
|City of license / Market||Station||Channel
|Owned Since||Network Affiliation||Official Licensee|
|Chicago, Illinois||WWME-CD||23 (39)||1992||Channel 23 Limited Partnership|
|WCIU-TV||26 (27)||1964||WCIU-TV Limited Partnership|
|WMEU-CD||48 (32)||2004||Independent/The U Too||Weigel Broadcasting Company|
|Rockford, Illinois||WFBN-LD||35 (35)||1989||Weigel Broadcasting Company|
|Milwaukee, Wisconsin||WBME-CD||41 (24)||1983||MeTV||Channel 41/63 Limited Partnership|
|WMLW-TV||49 (48)||2008||TV-49, Inc.|
|WDJT-TV||58 (46)||1988||"WDJT-TV Limited Partnership"|
|WYTU-LD||63 (17)||1989||Telemundo||Channel 41/63 Limited Partnership|
|South Bend, Indiana||WCWW-LD||25 (25)||2002||
||WCWW-TV Limited Partnership|
|WBND-LD||57 (34)||1990||WBND-TV Limited Partnership|
|WMYS-LD||69 (39)||1987||Weigel Broadcasting Company|
- Decades (joint venture with CBS Broadcasting, Inc.) (launched May 25, 2015)
- Heroes & Icons (launched September 29, 2014)
- MeTV (Memorable Entertainment Television)
- Movies! (joint venture with Fox Television Stations)
- WRME 87.7FM - branded as "MeTV FM" (Chicago, Illinois; local marketing agreement with Venture Technologies Group) (also broadcasts TV signal on analog TV channel 6)
- John Weigel - Man of UHF, The Video Veteran/Chicago Television
- Robert Feder (January 3, 2003). "'ME-TV' joins 'The U' on Weigel's local menu". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved August 31, 2012. (preview of subscription content)
- "MGM, Weigel Launching This TV Diginet". TVNewsCheck. July 28, 2008. Retrieved April 6, 2016.
- WSBT Purchases Three Low-Power Stations, Broadcasting & Cable, August 4, 2008
- Malone, Michael; John Eggerton (August 24, 2009). "WSBT South Bend Deal Fizzles Absent FCC Action". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved August 25, 2009.
- "Weigel Launching Morning Content Mix". Broadcasting & Cable. NewBay Media, LLC. July 7, 2009. Retrieved April 6, 2016.
- Rosenthal, Phil (July 6, 2009). "Weigel's WCIU Getting Into A.M. News Fray -- In A Small, Unconventional Way". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved April 6, 2016.
- Dickson, Glen (2009-12-21). "Weigel Maximizes DTV Pipe". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved 2010-01-13.
- Weigel Broadcasting Taking Me-TV National, Chicago Tribune, November 22, 2010
- Weigel Broadcasting's Me-TV Goes National, Broadcasting & Cable, November 23, 2010
- Rosenthal, Phil (October 5, 2010). "WCIU Parent Weigel to Drop Foreign Subchannel, Launch The U Too". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved January 29, 2017.
- WCUU Launches The U Too Subchannel, Broadcasting & Cable, October 5, 2010
- MGM, Weigel Taking Me-TV Nationwide, Broadcasting & Cable, January 4, 2011
- MGM Launches Classic TV Service to Roar Like the Fonz, Los Angeles Times, January 4, 2011
- "Fox O&Os, Weigel Launch Movies! Digi-Net". Broadcasting & Cable. January 28, 2013. Retrieved May 17, 2013.
- Malone, Michael (May 14, 2013). "Tribune Replaces Weigel As Partner on This TV". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved May 17, 2013.
- Good Times for Digi-Nets...But We've Seen This Movie Before, B&C, 5 August 2013, Retrieved August 6, 2013
- Theilman, Sam (July 8, 2013). "Abrams, Saslow Prepare to Launch News Network This Month". AdWeek. Retrieved July 9, 2013.
- Marek, Lynne (January 14, 2016). "Weigel-backed TV outlet TouchVision shutters". Crain's Chicago Business. Retrieved January 17, 2016. (subscription required (. ))
- Feder, Robert (January 15, 2016). "TouchVision ends as a noble failure". RobertFeder.com. Retrieved January 17, 2016. (subscription required (. ))
- Malone, Michael (October 21, 2014). "CBS Stations, Weigel Partner on Oldies Digi-Net Decades". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved October 23, 2014.
- Feder, Robert (February 9, 2015). "Weigel Broadcasting to Launch Oldies on '87.7 MeTV FM'". Robert Feder. Retrieved February 10, 2015.