WEEK-TV, Channel 43, Peoria, IL
1953-Present

Channel 43 Applications

 

Trans-American Television Group

 

By mid-June, an application was received at the FCC by Trans-American Television Corporation for one of Peoria's UHF channels, channel 43. The proposed channel would operate with a power of 22.9kw from a 500-foot antenna/tower. The cost of the operation was listed at $188,811 with operating costs at $120,000 and with expected revenue of $140,000. The company's mailing address was listed as 1420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia 2, Pennsylvania. The studio location was not listed but the transmitter location was given as a location 3.5 miles south of Peoria and would include both an RCA transmitter and antenna. The principal owner having 100% of the shares was James L. Rubenstone. He was associated with WFIL-AM-TV in Philadelphia with no other broadcast ownership listed. Mr. Rubenstone's company had also applied for television station ownership in Evansville, Indiana, and Flint, Michigan.

 

WEEK Group


Another local operator of an AM Radio facility would jump at television station ownership. This time for channel 43 by West Central Broadcasting Company, already in operation as WEEK Radio. That group filed in early July of 1952. That company would propose a station operating at 170kw from an antenna 546 feet with a total construction cost of $518,587 a first-year operating cost of $365,000 and an expected first-year revenue to be at $390,000. The address for the company was listed as 306 N. Robinson, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The studio/transmitter location was proposed at Springfield Hill Road (2907 Springfield Road) in Groveland Township, Tazewell County. Both the transmitter and antenna were listed as being General Electric models.

 

 

The principals were listed as U. S. Sen. Robert S. Kerr, 50.611% (U.S. Senator-Democrat-Oklahoma, owner of KRMG and in oil and gas business-Kerr-McGee Oil); T.M. Kerr, 11.141% (owner of KRMG and in oil and gas business-Kerr-McGee); Geraldine H. Kerr, 3.235%, Fred Mueller 5% (WEEK Radio general manager); C.B. Akers, 3% (5% owner of KGLC, Miami Oklahoma and theater owner). If you've ever seen the movie “Silkwood” you might recognize a couple of the names listed above, but that's another subject.

 

One side note to this application is the fact that West Central Broadcasting was the second Peoria broadcast entity to hold a television permit in 1948. It was for a television station on channel 12 in Peoria, just like the owners of WMBD. West Central was one of eighteen broadcast owners who either surrendered their permits or were deleted by the FCC.

 

In defense of West Central Broadcasting and WMBD, to keep a television station on the air in that era would have been an expensive venture to a very minute audience. Plus, programming would have been sparse as well. As stated with the WMBD permit for WMBT, channel 6, most local radio stations, even in a market the size of Peoria would not have the resources to invest in a venture which promised very little return at that time.

FCC Grants Construction Permits

 

The first group to be granted a license was West Central Broadcasting, the owners/operators of WEEK Radio in Peoria. The studio location was updated to be at 2907 Springfield Road in Groveland Township. The grant was issued in late August of 1952.

 

It would take the FCC a few more months to issue the next Peoria television station construction permit, but by December of 1952, Hilltop Broadcasting, operators of WWXL Radio was granted a permit to proceed with construction. Hilltop Broadcasting chose the call letter of WTVH-TV for its proposed television station. The call letters were approved by the FCC in mid-February 1953.

 

WEEK Construction Begins

 

In January of 1953, it was reported in Broadcasting-Telecasting that WEEK was shipped another General Electric Transmitter which included a “special” GE antenna. The 100w output of the original transmitter was going to be boosted to a 2kw unit with the addition of the second transmitter. Adding the gain of the antenna would have given WEEK a much greater power output than originally planned. C.B. Akers, one of the minority owners stated that the station's transmitter building was ready for installation of the transmitter and related electronics. Meanwhile, the studio evidently was completed or near complete while closed circuit training was occurring for station personnel. It was also released WEEK-TV would be a primary NBC affiliate but would offer at least some ABC and DuMont programs. Later in the month, its affiliation with DuMont was announced by that network.

 

WEEK-TV was granted special temporary authorization to operate commercially at 100 watts of power from January 27 to July 27, 1953. Fred C. Mueller, general manager of WEEK-TV went on the air with commercial programming on February 1, 1953, just hours after receiving its special authorization to operate. Mr. Mueller stated, “In the first place nothing at WEEK-TV is makeshift or temporary. We have everything—studios, transmitter, tower---permanently and correctly installed.” At the time WEEK-TV was the first and only Peoria station on the air.

 

By mid-February 1953, WEEK-TV would receive the shipment of the second General Electric transmitter which would boost the power output of the transmitter from 100watts to 2kw giving the station a more powerful signal at 175,000 watts and a signal which radiates at 40 miles or more. Live network service was not available yet, and according to C. B. Akers, all programming broadcast on WEEK-TV was either from film or live programming from the WEEK-TV studio. The station expected live network service by May 1, 1953.

Officials of WEEK and WEEK-TV broke ground for the construction of a new radio/TV building at 2907 Springfield Road on Monday, September 15, 1952. Pictured are Ed Verkler (architect); William Flynn (station commercial manager); C.B. Akers (WEEK executive); Robert Fransen (TV Program Director); Major Joseph O. Malone (with the shovel); Ken Mills (general contractor); John O. Burch (Executive V-P of the Peoria Association of Commerce); Fred Mueller (WEEK General Manager) and Wanye F. Lovely (WEEK Chief Engineer).

WEEK Moves to Increase Power

 

General Electric made an announcement in late June of 1953 it was shipping a new 12kw UHF transmitter to WEEK. This would allow the station in increase power even further than the 175,000 watts it currently is licensed for. This would boost power to around 225,000 watts.

 

WEEK-TV Featured in Ad for General Electric

 

In a June 1953 addition of Broadcasting-Telecasting magazine, WEEK-TV was featured with several stories about its successes. Reception reports were coming into the station by the hundreds with reports of being seen up to 50 miles from the transmitter. This with only a 100-watt transmitter and a reception radius of around 12-miles.

 

The ad includes a statement by Fred C. Mueller, general manager stating that in less than three months “practically all program time on the station has been sold.” He was looking forward to being hooked up to the NBC television network live service on August 1, 1953. The ad also includes the story of local television dealers who have been swamped by viewers for requests to do UHF conversions on VHF only television sets. One local dealer reported 2,400 converter sales from January 9 through February 28.

WEEK-TV, Ch 43, Peoria
WEEK-TV, Ch 43, Peoria

1953 Studio Shot, from WEEK from WEEKTV/HOI-ABC, Peoria

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WEEK-TV, Ch 43, Peoria
WEEK-TV, Ch 43, Peoria

1953 The proposed WEEK-TV studios as it was expected to look at the end of 1954. From WEEK-TV.

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WEEK-TV, Ch 43, Peoria
WEEK-TV, Ch 43, Peoria

Long time WEEK weathercaster Bill Houlihan from 1953 from WEEKTV/HOI-ABC, Peoria

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WEEK-TV, Ch 43, Peoria
WEEK-TV, Ch 43, Peoria

1953 Studio Shot, from WEEK from WEEKTV/HOI-ABC, Peoria

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WEEK-TV on the Cutting Edge with 3-D Television?

 

Wayne Lovely, WEEK-TV chief engineer described a 3-D process that could only be used for live programs. That's why WEEK would sign a contract with Bloomington, Illinois-based Geneoscope Company which would allow WEEK-TV to broadcast 3-D video using no special station equipment but would involve the use of props and camera angles.

 

This would, however, involve the marketing of viewing glasses for the public. These “glasses” would be necessary for the viewing of a 3-D picture and would be sold for around $1.50 each. No other information was found on how the 3-D process was utilized, or if was successful. One would assume that it was a bust.

WEEK-TV Modifies its Construction Permit

 

Just after the new year 1954, WEEK-TV requested and was granted an extension for modifying its construction permit to allow for the power increase and the installation of a new transmitter. The completion date was extended to June 24, 1954.

Color Comes to WEEK-TV

 

CBS-TV affiliates in 81 markets in the country were announced to being ready to be “color ready” by January 1, 1955. Among those either primary or secondary affiliates included WEEK-TV. WEEK-TV was a primary affiliate of NBC and was listed as a secondary affiliate of CBS along with WTVH-TV. This color conversion would only include color broadcasts from the network. Live local origination or films were not able to be broadcast in color without further conversion of studio equipment. Full-color capabilities would not occur for most stations until 10-15 years later!

FCC Denies an Attempt by WEEK-TV and WTVH-TV to Delay Hearings on Channel 8

 

In May of 1955, it was announced that a petition was filed by the parent companies of WEEK-TV and WTVH-TV asking the FCC to postpone oral arguments on the applications of WMBD Inc. and WIRL Television Company. The hearings were scheduled for May 2, 1955.

WEEK-TV Signs With NATS

 

WEEK-TV was among a group of 19 stations creating “National Affiliated Television Stations, Inc.” This new organization offered a number of services to its members. More information on how this organization came to be and where its heading is included in the WTVI(KTVI) chapter. WTVI was one of the founding member stations.

WEEK-TV Picks Up a Regional Country Music Show

 

“Leo and His Pioneers” sponsored by the Mississippi Valley Grain and Feed Company was signing stations throughout the upper Plains and Midwest including WEEK-TV. The country music show was also seen on stations WMT-TV, Cedar Rapids, Iowa; WHO-TV, Des Moines, Iowa; WGLO-TV, Mason City Iowa and WOC-TV, Davenport, Iowa. The program would be syndicated to local stations on kinescope/film.

 

WEEK-TV Subscribes to News Service

 

In mid-October 1955, WEEK-TV would subscribe to Telenews, a news film service. The newsreel produced for television was produced by Hearst Metrotone News, Incorporated, which covers national and international news events.

 

These news services were available to local stations on a day when network news organizations were just in their forming stages. Only CBS and NBC had developed television news organizations from their existing radio news networks, and video images were difficult to come by, as the film was the only record of events. There was a reliance on movie theater newsreel companies for footage as they marketed their products to local television stations.

 

FCC Denies Deintermixture Petitions

 

The FCC in early November of 1955 was reported to be ready to deny petitions from several cities to make those cities all UHF markets. Among those were petitions from WEEK-TV and WTVH-TV in Peoria.

 

The next week, the FCC wiped the entire deintermixture slate clean and began to set the stage for what could be a complete overhaul of the TV allocation table for stations across the country. Later in the month, both WEEK-TV and WTVH-TV would refile against the issuance of channel 8 in Peoria.

 

By February of 1956, the FCC would deny petitions from the Peoria UHF stations saying their appeal to intervene in the hearing was too late. It was also repeated that WIRL was the winner of the initial decision for channel 8, over WMBD.

 

The ever-wavering FCC later came up with a similar solution that WEEK and WTVH proposed based on months of hearings. In June of 1956, the Commission said that a case-by-case consideration of deintermixture petitions would take place. The FCC commissioners were ready to reconsider the move of the VHF allocations from Peoria and Springfield, Illinois after months of not considering the move.

 

It didn't take long for the FCC to waiver once again. In July the FCC issued three final television decisions granting “favored” status to WMAY-TV channel 2 in Springfield and WIRL to channel 8 in Peoria. The catch, both grants would deny those winners actual construction permits which meant that the Commission forbade any construction on either “favored” owner on their granted VHF station.

WEEK-TV Applies for a Satellite Station

 

The limitations of UHF broadcasting stations were obvious as the range of coverage was extremely limited and the development of high-powered UHF transmitters was still a few years away. If a station wanted to bring a city-grade signal to a fringe market to add households of coverage, the use of a satellite station or translator would be necessary. The satellite station or translator would receive an off-air signal from its originating station on an antenna high on the translator tower, then rebroadcast the signal on a different local channel.

 

WEEK-TV wanted to improve its signal over LaSalle, Illinois to the north near the Illinois River, 50 miles northeast of Peoria. The satellite would be a full-powered satellite operating at 18.8kw from a tower 431 feet above average terrain. The cost of construction was listed as $73,750.

The above page from Peoriana TV Guide as well other images on this page from the Peoria Journal-Star Newspaper was submitted by WEEK-TV and Steve Shaw unless otherwise stated. 

A Prominent Sportscaster Leaves WEEK-TV

 

In the late Summer of 1956 one of the more prominent personalities from WEEK-TV, Chick Hearn, would leave that station and moved to a new position in Los Angeles at KNX. His role as sports director in Peoria would take him to do play-by-play for all of the University of Southern California football games during the 1956 season. Chick Hearn would be replaced by WEEK-TV sportscaster Hank Fisher.

Meanwhile, as a well-known popular sportscaster in Los Angeles, it brought him unique opportunities that he wouldn't have gotten elsewhere. He had appearances on many TV shows from "My Three Sons," to "Gilligan's Island," and "The Fugitive" just to name a few.

For a more complete bio of Chick Hearn visit the MeTV profile of Chick by clicking here!

Click on the button to see the program schedule from the dates indicated above.

Click on the button to see the program schedule from the dates indicated above.

Click on the picture to click through the gallery. Information about each is shown

Click on the picture to click through the gallery. Information about each is shown

WEEK-TV Ch 43 Peoria
WEEK-TV Ch 43 Peoria

The George Burns Show from TV Guide® October 18, 1958 edition, The Doug Quick Collection

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WEEK-TV Ch 43 Peoria
WEEK-TV Ch 43 Peoria

with Walter Cronkite. TV Guide® June 11, 1954 The Doug Quick Collection

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WEEK-TV Ch 43 Peoria
WEEK-TV Ch 43 Peoria

US Marshall, from TV Guide® May 2, 1959 edition The Doug Quick Collection

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WEEK-TV Ch 43 Peoria
WEEK-TV Ch 43 Peoria

The George Burns Show from TV Guide® October 18, 1958 edition, The Doug Quick Collection

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The Captain Jinks Show
The Captain Jinks Show

Publicity Photo of Captain Jinks and Salty Sam

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The Captain Jinks Show
The Captain Jinks Show

Publicity Photo of Captain Jinks and Salty Sam, sponsored by Sealtest Ice Cream

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The Captain Jinks Show
The Captain Jinks Show

Publicity Photo of Captain Jinks and Salty Sam

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The Captain Jinks Show
The Captain Jinks Show

Publicity Photo of Captain Jinks and Salty Sam

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For more information about "The Captain Jinks Show" visit the Facebook Captain Jinks Show

and this alternate Facebook Captain Jinks and Salty Sam site.

from a 1962 edition of TV Guide® and the J.R.Evans Collection

 

 

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A Selection of NBC
Shows from 1953-65

The Jimmy Durante Show ran from 1954-57 on NBC sponsored by Old Gold cigarettes and seen on WEEK-TV.

(YouTube)

This is a kinescope of the 7 am hour from November 20, 1957, which was broadcast live on the NBC network and on WEEK-TV.

(YouTube)

From 1957, a prime-time lineup commercial broadcast during daytime programming.

(YouTube)

Here are two of the recorded peacock color intros used to designate color programming broadcast on NBC and your local station. It was done to create a sense of "missing out" by those watching in black and white.  After all, NBC was in the business of selling RCA color TVs. The announcer is Mel Brandt. The peacock was designed by John J. Grahm and the music was by Jack Easton. Even though WEEK could pass NBC color programming to those few viewers who were able to watch, it would be nearly another 10 years before local color would be a reality for the Peoria area.

(left: from nickelodeon Deutschland, right: from terrence mcclinton and YouTube)

In my book "Pictures on the Prairie: The First Ten Years of Mid-Illinois Television" there is an explanation to the series of events that made it possible for WEEK-TV, Channel 43 to make a move to channel 25. It took a number of years but by September of 1963, the FCC would agree for it to occur.

 

With the change in broadcast frequency, the station could lower its power from 371 kW to 186 kW to achieve the same coverage area. The tower height was 712-feet. It was later decided to keep the power output to increase the coverage area and signal penetration within its current coverage area.

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Click on the picture to click through the gallery. Information about each is shown

WEEK Channel 25 Peoria
WEEK Channel 25 Peoria

From TV Guide® from September 1965

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WEEK Channel 25 Peoria
WEEK Channel 25 Peoria

TV Guide® from September of 1965

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WEEK-TV TV Guide® Ads
WEEK-TV TV Guide® Ads

From TV Guide® from September 1982

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WEEK Channel 25 Peoria
WEEK Channel 25 Peoria

From TV Guide® from September 1965

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WEEK-TV Ch 25 Peoria
WEEK-TV Ch 25 Peoria

September 21, 1967 Bloomington Pantagraph

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WEEK-TV Ch 25 Peoria
WEEK-TV Ch 25 Peoria

September 17, 1967 Bloomington Pantagraph

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WEEK-TV Ch 25 Peoria
WEEK-TV Ch 25 Peoria

September 16, 1967 Bloomington Pantagraph

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WEEK-TV Ch 25 Peoria
WEEK-TV Ch 25 Peoria

September 21, 1967 Bloomington Pantagraph

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NBC Shows from 1965-1980
WEEK-TV Ch 25 Peoria
WEEK-TV Ch 25 Peoria

September 1969- SUN TV Guide® Doug Quick Collection

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WEEK-TV Ch 25 Peoria
WEEK-TV Ch 25 Peoria

September 1969- MON TV Guide® Doug Quick Collection

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WEEK-TV Ch 25 Peoria
WEEK-TV Ch 25 Peoria

September 1969- FRI TV Guide® Doug Quick Collection

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WEEK-TV Ch 25 Peoria
WEEK-TV Ch 25 Peoria

September 1969- SUN TV Guide® Doug Quick Collection

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A series of promos from 1979 with WEEK-TV "Now More Than Ever" image promotional announcements. 

(YouTube)

1986 Clips from WEEK-TV

(YouTube)

WEEK-TV News promo from 1986 featuring their AP award winning staff/news

(YouTube)

The WEEK-TV Sign-off from 1989

(YouTube)

Here's a rare look at the sales efforts of WEEK-TV from 1990.  This was produced with the NBC new TV season and included the local efforts of WEEK-TV.

(YouTube)

A WEEK-TV complete newscast from May 3, 1993

(YouTube)

A segment of a newscast from 1995 as broadcast on WEEK-TV

(YouTube)

A complete newscast from August 1, 2013, as broadcast on WEEK-TV

(YouTube)

week_1965_channel25.jpg
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From 1983, "Hello Illinois" WEEK-TV

(YouTube)

The WEEK-TV image promos from 1986 along with local commercials.

(YouTube)

Bill Houlihan on WEEK-TV, from September 1989. Here he gives a report on Hurricane Hugo on Sept. 22, 1989 before the local forecast.  

(YouTube)

WEEK-TV News Digest, a short news promo drop during prime time. From Memorial Day Weekend, 1989.

(YouTube)

WEEK-TV and NBC News in Peoria from 1992.

(YouTube)

A series of promos for WEEK-TV from 1993

(YouTube)

A complete newscast from August 5, 2008, as broadcast on WEEK-TV

(YouTube)

WEEK-TV, Ch 25, Peoria
WEEK-TV, Ch 25, Peoria

WEEK News Anchor Team, from TV Guide, August 1965, Doug Quick Collection

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WEEK-TV, Ch 25, Peoria
WEEK-TV, Ch 25, Peoria

WEEK Syndicated movie ad from TV Guide, March of 1966. Doug Quick Collection

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WEEK-TV, Ch 25, Peoria
WEEK-TV, Ch 25, Peoria

Daytime syndicated shows from TV Guide September 1981. Doug Quick Collection

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WEEK-TV, Ch 25, Peoria
WEEK-TV, Ch 25, Peoria

WEEK News Anchor Team, from TV Guide, August 1965, Doug Quick Collection

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week_newsset1979.jpg
week_tommcintyre_anchor1992.jpg

Tom McIntyre was WEEK-TVs main anchor from 1973 to 2015 when he retired after 42 years

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week_billhoulihan_1992.jpg

Bill Houlihan was the weatherman when WEEK-TV signed on the air in 1953.  He continued through the mid-1960s when he left the station, only to return in 1977.  He was still delivering the local weather story until he died in 1994.

week_billhoulihan_1979.jpg

Tom McIntyre was WEEK-TVs main anchor from 1973 to 2015 when he retired after 42 years.

Bill Houlihan was the weatherman when WEEK-TV signed on the air in 1953.  He continued through the mid-1960s when he left the station, only to return in 1977.  He was still delivering the local weather story until he died in 1994.

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NBC Shows from 1980-2005

WEEK-TV Notes from 1964-Present

In 1964 WEEK-TV would be granted the frequency shift from channel 43 to channel 25. Until the change, WEEK-TV was broadcasting on channel 43 at a power of 371 kW from an antenna 710-feet at their studio location. Also in 1964, WEEK-TV was only able to broadcast programming in color from NBC.

WEEK-TV would make the move to channel 25 in 1966 and added the ability to broadcast film, slides, and videotape in color. The power of channel 25 would be 562 kW from 680 feet. The reduction of the tower height was probably due to the difference in the size of the antenna height from channels 43 and 25. The ownership of WEEK-TV was still listed as West Central when in 1966 the station was sold to Kansas City Southern Industries operating as Mid-America TV Company.

 

In 1969 the power of WEEK-TV continued to be listed as 562 kW from an antenna at 680-feet as there appeared to be no changes in transmitter power or ERP during the period. Mid-America would operate Channel 25 until 1985 when it was purchased by Price Communications. In 1988 it was handed off to Granite Communications as WEEK-TV would have been Granite's second station in the growing chain of television and radio stations. In fact, in the late 1990s, WEEK-TV purchased the FM allocation for nearby Eureka, Illinois giving it the call letters of WEEK-FM, and operated the station as "Oldies 98.5." A year later, though, WEEK-TV sold the radio property which is now WPIA. 

Ten years after selling the Eureka radio station, WEEK-TV, in 2009, would take over the operations of Barrington Broadcastings WHOI, Channel 19(the history of Channel 19 is included on this website). It operated its ABC competitor under a joint sales and services agreement. Another shift in ownership would turn the stations upside down once again with the sale of WEEK-TV to Quincy Newspapers, operated out of Quincy, Illinois.

 

WEEK-TV also had joint sales agreements with the MyNetwork TV affiliate, WAOE, owned by Four Seasons Broadcasting. Meanwhile, Sinclair was to terminate the joint sales and shared services agreement with WEEK-TV within a year after the Quincy Newspapers ownership switch. In 2016 Quincy Media (as it's now called), would purchase the intellectual property of WHOI and its "Heart of Illinois" brand and the network affiliations, that being of ABC and CW, but not the actual physical TV station of Channel 19. The result is a confusing situation in that there is still a signal on Channel 19, the Sinclair Broadcasting Group's co-owned "Comet" signal, but Channel 19 still maintains the WHOI call letters.

 

Now WEEK-TV operates its multi-channel digital tier of stations with 25.1 being WEEK-TV (NBC), 25.2 is "HOI ABC", and WEEK-CW on 25.3.  See Television Today-Peoria for details.

 

 

If you have any pictures of WEEK-TV-related activities from the era of 1965-present and would like to share those digital items along with any personal stories of working there or even just being a viewer I would love to include them here on this page. Send JPG pictures only (no physical artifacts please) or your narrative of your experiences with WEEK-TV to my e-mail: dougquick at dougquick-dot-com.

 
Coming Soon:  WMBD-WEEK Memories

Peoria TV sources:

WEEK-TV, HOI-ABC

Broadcasting-Telecasting
Wikipedia

TV Guide® from the Doug Quick Collection
YouTube

Bob Lee's Screengrabs
WEEK's CINewsNow.com
Meanwhile Back in Peoria-blog
houseofjitters.com
Bloomington Daily Pantagraph(through the Abraham Lincoln Library and the Danville Public           Library as well as newspapers.com
Larry King for his narrative on working at WMBD AM/FM/TV
Ron Moses for his narrative on working at WMBD-TV and WCIA and his picture from the                  WMBD studios from 1957

 

 

Click on the image for WTVH at the left to go to the next page in the Peoria TV station history set of pages.