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The History of WICD, Channel 15, Champaign IL

1967-2015

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A New TV Station Tries to Sign On

In 1966, construction began on a new television transmitter and tower facility, combining the transmitters of Channel 33 WCHU and Channel 24 WICD on channel 15.  The original allocation for channel 15 was moved from Bloomington, Illinois. WBLN went dark several years after its initial sign-on, eventually for the last time in 1958. (See the History of WBLN and in my book "Pictures on the Prairie" for more)  It would be another nine years before another station would be broadcasting on that frequency, but this time from Vermilion County, Illinois.

in January 1967, WICD-TV on channel 15 was to go on the air, but an ice storm toppled the new tower built to support the new antenna.  This was during the James T. Kelly management period.  After rebuilding the 1300-foot tower, re-building the transmitter building, and re-installing a transmitter, the station finally got on the air in July of 1967.  The studios remained in the Inman Hotel until 1978, when the studios were moved to the sight of a former S&H Green Stamp store and slot car track at the Country Fair Shopping Center on Champaign's west side.

New WICD Tower Fails During an Ice Storm

The pictures above show the initial tower from the fall and winter of 1966-67.  Pictures include:  A tower section is being hauled to the top of the tower. An engineer checks out a coaxial connection for the antenna. A view from inside the tower, all 1338 feet of it. The transmitter building with the tower from the site.  On January 26, 1967, the tower and antenna fell, damaging the transmitter building and contents along with at least one vehicle.
(pictures from WICD-TV)

On January 31, 1967, WICD, Channel 15, was to sign on the air from its new 1338-foot tower between Homer and Fithian, Illinois.  Unfortunately, an ice storm overloaded the tower with several feet of ice, adding tons to its overall weight.  It wasn't long before the extra weight snapped guy wires, causing the tower's lower levels to buckle and fall over the transmitter building and what was probably some poor engineer's vehicle parked under it.  It took over seven months to clean up the damage and replace the earlier tower with another one, along with more guy wire supports. The farmer who owns the adjacent land still occasionally turns up some hunk of metal from the tower, which fell almost 40 years ago!   The delay of the WICD, Channel 15 premiere necessitated the continuation of the use of the WCHU, Channel 33,  WICD, Channel 24, and Channel 75 transmitters.

The "Certificate of Toppled Towers" was a joke that read, "This certificate entitles you to be an exclusive member of the Toppled Tower Club.  This award is given only to those organizations which are unconditionally qualified."  James T. Kelly, WCHU Station Manager and charter Member, signed it.  Unfortunately, by 1978, WAND also qualified. 
(WICD)

Channel 15 Becomes a Reality

After the second of two broadcast towers was completed in July 1967, Channel 15 went on the air at nearly a million watts of power.  Finally, viewers in the Danville area were able to see NBC shows in color!  Also, viewers from Mattoon to Watseka, from Monticello to Crawfordsville were now able to see NBC programs in the clear.  The first goal of the future growth of WICD was complete.....but it would take about ten years before the next facility improvement would move WICD from downtown to Champaign's west side.   Finally, WICD was a full-fledged TV station!  

NBC Shows from 1967-1980
1966-1980

At long last, all of east central Illinois would be able to see NBC programming in color.

NBC Week from 1967 was a week-long event in September of 1967 in which all of the season's new shows would premiere. This was the first opportunity for many in east-central Illinois to see NBC programming on the new WICD, Channel 15.
(YouTube)

NBC daytime from 1967 as seen on WICD.
(YouTube)

Here is a montage of NBC promos from 1966 to 1968.

(YouTube)

This is from NBC Week 1968, which took place September 15-21, 1968, and was on WICD, Channel 15.
(YouTube)

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

Many might remember the "Acri Creature Feature," which ran late on Saturday nights. It was hosted by Chuck Acri, a businessman who also ran a home improvement company in the Quad Cities. This popular horror movie feature was produced at WQAD, Channel 8 in Moline, Illinois. It was syndicated to KCRG-TV(Cedar Rapids, Iowa), WEEK-TV(Peoria), and across central Illinois on WICS and WICD. 

His characters were Vincent Hedges(a vampire), Emmit(the hunchback), Beauregard(the caveman), and Bertie and Bernie(the skull). The dog was Fang, the Wonderdog. A website has all the details about the "Acri Creature Feature."

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

NBC's anchor team from 1956 to 1970. Here is one of their last installments. A black and white videotape of the news from November 18, 1968 seen in color on WICD, Channel 15.
(YouTube)

NBC News Watergate Reports as seen on NBC

News in 1974
(YouTube)

From January 3, 1973, an NBC promo for Adam-12, "Madigan" and "Search.".
(YouTube)

The 1975-76 NBC Fall Season Premiere.
(YouTube)

The 1978 Fall Season Premiere Special from NBC.
(YouTube)

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

WICD from the 1970s-80s

During the '70s and '80s, WICD-TV developed a local news presence with personalities including Ron Davis, Bruce Jakubowski, Geni Roark, Art Barron, Rich Porter, Demetria Kaye, and Susan Rieke, Sandra Chapman, Mark Schanowski, and weathercaster Keith Page among many others. 

 

Even though most of the programming was received from WICS-TV, WICD was, for a good part of the time, from the 80s into the early 90s, owned separately from WICS.  Besides local news, WICD would often break from WICS to air its own programming, sometimes public affairs programs, but oftentimes, it would be syndicated programming from the library of then-current shows that were in-house at the time.  

 

For a while in the 1980s, when WICS would air a local newscast at Noon, WICD would air the INN News, a syndicated national news program for independent stations.

Also, in 1986, WICD would lead the market to broadcast programming in 2-channel discrete stereo.  A network satellite dish improved the airing of local NBC programs (as opposed to receiving them via the intercity microwave path from WICS).  An upgrade in the audio chain would make it possible to broadcast NBC shows in stereo and synthesize stereo for mono programs.  

From around 1990 to 1998, WICS was owned by Guy Gannett Publications, while WICD was still owned by Plains Television Partnership through 1994. The stations operated as a "regional" network to simulcast most of the locally originated syndicated programming, but each station aired local news and local commercials separately.  

WICD would receive the WICS video channel and  "insert" its local programming over the WICS elements.  Of course, this led to missed cues, commercials cut to air another commercial, and station IDs for WICS slipping through on WICD.  Of course, viewers of WICS saw no issues..

 

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


NBC Shows from 1981-2005

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

This aircheck of WICD is from 1983 and features a weekend presentation of "The Adventures of Superman." 
(YouTube)

Art Barron utilized his 8mm movie camera to record some behind-the-scenes shooting to be used for a promo series. It features Art Barron Kathleen Quinn with brief appearances by Kieth Page, Beth Morgan, and Rich Porter—courtesy of Art Barron.
(YouTube)

This 1983 promo shows the Production room at WICD as background on a promo for Gallery hosted by Geni Roark.
(YouTube)

From July 5, 1992, this is a complete newscast from WICD.
(YouTube)

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

Memories of Central Illinois Broadcasting-
by Roger Francisco

(Mentioning "Pictures on the Prairie" by Doug Quick)  What an encyclopedic tome of the early television days! Don’t know how you did it.

It sure brought back memories for me dating back to WTAX in Springfield. Didn’t realize you spent some time there.

I had a paper route around 1952, and two people on my route were John Begue and Shelby Harbison (sportscaster at the station). At that time, I was looking to be a radio disc jockey, and in talking with them, they invited me to visit the station, which I did. I started going there after school – by bus to Bergen Park, walking across the golf course, over the railroad trestle, and across the highway to the station. Shelby gave me a ride home after his sportscast around 6. I was interested in all the promo records that arrived (78 rpm shellacs), and after a while, they hired me part-time to type the 3x5 index cards for each one (one for the artist, one for the title). I needed and got a special employment permit from the State of Illinois when I was under 16.

Soon, I became more interested in the other side of the glass and got to know the engineers – cutting lacquers for commercials, mixing audio to feed the transmitter at the site, and learning the new Magnecord tape recorder just installed.

High school eventually curtailed my visits there, and then off to C-U for college in 1956, where I got hired through Ted Phillips, one of the WTAX engineers who had relocated to C-U to work with the TV station that had just come on the air – WILL-TV. I ran audio for the on-air schedule, which ran from 6 to 9 (or 10) P.M. Some live programming, but mostly feeds from NET (National Education Television). The main studio was located inside Gate 24 at Memorial Stadium, and on football game day, we had to monitor the studio as fans entered the stadium. The transmitter was also there, with the antenna mounted on the stadium's southwest corner.

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Roger Francisco is at the anchor desk of WICD during the 1970s and 80s. He is at the far right in both photos. 

(Photos from Doug Quick Collection-WICD)

Then, during basketball season, WILL-TV provided the remote feed for Channel 3 from Huff Hall, where the games were played at that time. We brought over three cameras and two of those big lav mikes of the day. I was stationed in a step van just outside the southeast corner of Huff. Of course, basketball is in the winter, so it was fortunate that we had all tube equipment in the van to help keep me and the video tech somewhat warm. Tom Schoendienst did the play-by-play and live commercials for Chesty Potato Chips, displaying bags of chips which the production crew took to Katsinas after the game to enjoy with beer. (I looked older for my age.)

An interesting side note is that this was the groundbreaking year when black players were allowed to play university sports, with Govoner Vaughn and Mannie Jackson on the team. (Coincidentally, both Govoner and Mannie, along with football great Ernie McMillan, roomed together across the hall from me and my two roommates in a men’s residence hall near Huff.)

Music took over my life, and I was in a number of groups over the next 20 years, from big bands to roadhouse rock groups, as well as putting together a small recording studio in 1965, which grew over the years to become my main occupation. In the early 70s, I did early recordings for area music groups, including REO Speedwagon, Dan Fogelberg, Head East, Starcastle, and so many others.

This eventually matriculated into commercial and corporate video production, voice and on-camera talent in Chicago and Indianapolis, and a number of years with WICD-TV, ultimately doing weekend weather anchor duties. In 1989, Doug Fink, a video producer I worked with, and me joined together to found The Prairie Production Group, a partnership with the News-Gazette to produce commercials and industrial videos. Our number one client was Human Kinetics, who ultimately hired us away, where I spent 20 years as an audio services manager at Human Kinetics before retiring in 2016 at age 78.

More than you probably wanted to know, Doug, but an interesting look back for me.

Back to PICTURES ON THE PRAIRIE, so many names from the past that I’ve interacted with – Ed Mason, Paul Davis, Bill Helms, Tom Jones, John Paul…and Larry Waters, who I’m still in close contact with today. One of the bands I had appeared on The Hop with Ed Mason, and our guitar player had just released a 45 rpm record (that I recorded, of course) I introduced him as, “and now Al Ierardi will play his latest record” at which point he sat down on the stage, placed the record on a portable record player and played the record while we all watched.

An interesting past for me, and it’s been a blessing to be a part of media growth in central Illinois.

Roger Francisco

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This is from a newspaper ad placed around 1986, based on the theme "Newswatch 15" and the logo. It pictures Keith Page, Kim Khazei, Art Barron, and Mark Schanowski.
(Courtesy of Art Barron Collection)

The 1990 WICD Christmas Disaster
News-Gazette from Sunday, January 7, 1990
Early Januay 1990, Champaign News-Gazette

Thanks to Art Barron who shared these items from his collection.

wicd_1992_anchorlineup.jpg

The picture at left is from the first page of a direct mail piece which included station promotional information and coupons/ads from local, in this case, Danville, Illinois area advertisers. This is one of several produced by the station during the era.

To see the brochure in its entirity click on the button above to a link to the mail-out from the Spring of 1992.

The WICD, Channel 15 Anchors: desk L to R: Keith Page(weather), Kathleen Quinn, Jeff Friend, and Dan Swaney(sports). Standing L to R: Sandra Chapman, Beth Morgan(weather), Scott Andresen(sports), Deborah Linz.

(from WICD)

About the videos.... from these videos, you'd think I was the only one working at WICD. Nothing could be further from the truth! These videos were saved by me on VHS tape long before there was a YouTube for my collection. Unfortunately, that's all I have. Had I known there would be something like YouTube and my website, I would have saved a better cross-section of material featuring all of the professional broadcasters of WICD at the time.  So, with no disrespect intended to all of my fellow workmates at WICD, here is a sampling of what was going on at WICD at the time. If any of my former workmates would like to include some of their material, I would GLADLY add it to this collection!

The Guy Gannett Era 1994-1999​

Plains Television sold WICD to Guy Gannett Group in 1994, where a rebuilding process would begin after several years of neglect.  During this time, the number of employees increased under Station Manager Les Van, the news department gained many updates, and the number of newscasts increased over time.

In February of 1995, WICD adopted the "NewsChannel 15" logo and introduced the slightly modified news set.  The desk was replaced with a much smaller oval-shaped unit, which matched WICS's.  The walls were repainted a rather neutral light green.  

 

It wasn't until 1998 that the news set was repainted and remodeled into a bright blue background and "marble" looking columns. 

 

The main anchors were Paul Donohue, Gwen Ellis(later Stacy Case), Scott Musgrave-sports, and Keith Page(later Jerome Ritchey).  The morning news anchor was Ann Kirby, later Jennifer Mitchell. 

 

When a Noon newscast was added, it was anchored by News Director Grant Uitti, and Angela Bettis was the weathercaster.  After Angela left, she was replaced by Doug Quick. 

 

Later, the WICS/WICD simulcast was eliminated for the morning news, and Tamera Gibbs(later Jennifer Broeker) and Doug Quick anchored. 

 

The main anchors also changed to Eric Renderle and Tiffani Sargent.  Other anchors and/or reporters include Stephanie Abrams, Angela Bettis, Beth Brotherton, Melissa Blasius, Rob Elgas, Dave Ferguson, Tiffani Helberg,  Summer Jackson, Maureen Kocot, Demany Lewis, Dave Malkoff, Jennifer Mitchell, Karen Moe, Jack Penning, and Julie Sisk. 

The station also benefited from the addition of two remote studio-equipped vehicles, which allowed the station to broadcast live from remote locations.  The news department also went through a complete remodeling during that time, with the addition of a computerized newsroom and the conversion of tape formats from MII to Beta.

It was also under the ownership of Guy Gannett that "Seinfeld," "Home Improvement," "Montel," and "Judge Judy" were added.   NBC was flying high with big audience numbers, and NewsChannel 15 benefitted greatly.  During the early years, WICD shared newscasts with WICS during the early morning news broadcasts.  Jennifer Mitchell did local news on WKIO(FM), the cut-ins during the newscast, and the local "Today" show inserts.  Later, after "Home Improvement" was moved to 4:30 PM, the stations began a 5 PM newscast shared with WICS.  Jerome Ritchey did the weather from WICD, while anchor Elizabeth Wooley was the anchor at WICS.  The show was broadcast on both WICS and WICD.  It wasn't until the early 2000s that WICD began producing its 5 PM newscasts. 

WICD also had radio simulcast agreements with a few local radio stations for its newscast at 6 PM.  Radio stations included WDAN(AM)-Danville, WHPO(FM)-Hoopeston, and WBCP(AM) in Champaign.  After having no promotions department for several years under Plains TV, the station began full-scale promotions of new products, special reports, and topical promos for its syndicated shows. It also scheduled NBC promos during non-network times as mandated by NBC.  The station also prioritized appearances at local events, including being at area county fairs, festivals, and parades and sponsoring its annual benefit for the Make a Wish Foundation, "Beat the Pro."  WICD also increased its role in the community by producing "Community Calendar" announcements and "Spotlight 15."

On a personal note, this covers the first years of my employment at WICD. I joined in December 1994 as promotions director and eventually became a weathercaster and news anchor/weather anchor.

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

The pre-NewsChannel 15 era was when the Plains TV WICD logos were still being used. I had to re-voice the station ID to remove former WICD station manager Joe Norris's voice from all material.
(YouTube)

The daytime schedule was changing on WICD in early 1995. So, as a promotions director, what can I do to tell the story and alert viewers of the changes?  This is it.
(YouTube)

This was produced after I started with the new anchor lineup after the NewsChannel 15 signature was adopted in February of 1995. I hired the same station voice I hired when I was with WDNL(D-102) radio.
(YouTube)

1995 The WICD Sign-On from 1995
(YouTube)

WICD Aircheck with a Saturday night from mid-December 1996 and includes the final block of the newscast to SNL.
(YouTube)

Thanksgiving Holiday weekend and Turkey Day are getting the comedy treatment from NBC. 
(YouTube)

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

Here is a news sponsor billboard announcement from a newscast in 1995.
(YouTube)

The Grand Opening of the Champaign Meijer Store included an entire day of live broadcasting from the new store. Doug Quick broadcast from every department in the store during the event.
(YouTube)

A half hour of Sunrise Today with Tamera Gibbs and Doug Quick from August 27, 1998.
(YouTube)

This was produced and edited by an unknown member of the news department, featuring clips from "Sunrise Today" with Tamara Gibbs,  Jennifer Broeker, and Doug Quick with anchor sub Dave Ferguson. They come from the years 1998-2002.
(YouTube)

This is a Noon Newscast from November 29, 2000, anchored by me and longtime weathercaster Keith Page. Watch for the NBC promos that aired during the newscast and for other WICD news personalities at the time. 
(YouTube)

The Sinclair Era 1999-2005

In September 1998, Guy Gannett family stockholders decided to sell off the company, consisting of various newspapers and television properties.  The stations in the group were sold off to Sinclair Broadcast Group, which sold off a couple of the seven Ganette properties to other companies.  The WICS/WICD pair was in transition and sold to Sunrise Broadcasting, which was partially owned by a holding group that also owned LIN Broadcasting, owner of market competitor WAND.  The FTC didn't allow the sale due to duopoly rules (shareholders of LIN also were part of Sunrise), so Sinclair held onto the stations along with sister station KGAN in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  Sinclair ownership continued with the NBC affiliation until September 2005.  The years of Guy Gannett ownership began this era, and the sale of WICD (and WICS) to Sinclair in 1998.  This page also includes the "limbo" era in which Sinclair held the properties before deciding to hold on to a long-time Illinois duopoly.  This page also covers the final years of affiliation to NBC before September 5, 2005.
 

The Noon News at WICD from September 18, 2000, with anchor Doug Quick and Keith Page. Note that Gus Gordon (WICS) doing a commercial for Stahl's Furniture. Also, Doug Quick is hosting a Spotlight 15 segment.
(YouTube)

It was the day after 9/11 in 2001. Doug Quick anchors the Noon Newscast on WICD.
(YouTube)

9/11, a date we'll remember for forever. Here was our Noon newscast as broadcast on that eventful day, showing how the Champaign-Urbana was prepared for the unexpected. Doug Quick was the anchor and introduced WICD anchors/reporters at various critical locations throughout the area.
(YouTube)

This is a unique "behind the scenes" look at the studio during a segment of "Sunrise Today." It was created to be part of classroom demonstration presentations done by Doug Quick.
(YouTube)

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

WICD Network Switch to ABC

During the Summer of 2004, WAND was announced to become the market NBC station.  This left WICS and WICD without a major network affiliation.  Later in the year, Sinclair signed the stations with ABC.  The switch was to take place on Labor Day of 2005.

The switch ended up being one of the most confusing things to happen to local TV since the advent of cable TV.  While the network programming would shift from one set of stations to another, the syndicated shows would remain on the original stations, with some shifting time slots.  

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

Behind the Scenes 2014
In mid-2014, work replaced the standard-def production control and video output chain with a digital high-definition system. First, a temporary on-air studio had to be set up to replace the former studio as it was to be torn down, and the existing room was prepared to install a new studio. Meanwhile, the technical aspects of the operation had to be moved while newscasts were produced from the temporary air studio. From my standpoint, the weather computers had to be moved to another location, almost to the other end of the building near the sales offices, but not close to the air studio. The temporary studio was really small and hot as the equipment heated the room, including a wall with incoming sunlight contributing to the high room temperatures. 

These pictures include the set up of the temporary studios, which would be used for two months, the teardown of the old set and the building of the new set, and technical equipment installation. 

Enjoy a unique look at some major behind-the-scenes activities of WICD during August-September of 2014. 

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

ABC Shows 2005-present

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

A.J. Bayatpour and Mike Lederer with "Fast Break 15" Friday night high school basketball feature. This is from February 3, 2012
(YouTube)

A behind-the-scenes view of Jenese Harris interviewing a guest about an upcoming event was during the 11 am Midday Show around October 31, 2013.
(YouTube)

From the July 5th, 2013, 10 pm NewsChannel 15 News, this features Jed DeMuesy, sports director.
(YouTube)

Katy Kramer with a wintry forecast during midday Show in December 2014.
(YouTube)

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

The Demise of WICD, NewsChannel 15

No matter how hard you try to gain success, outside influences can sometimes determine your fate. In this case, many hurdles were placed on the path of WICD even before it went on the air, which would determine its eventual outcome. The WICD staff members from its history through its last days were all hard-working professionals, those in front of the camera and those behind. In 2015, ownership decided to pull the plug on the operation of WICD as a "full-service television station,"  making it a satellite repeater for WICS. WICS and WICD stations are now identified as "NewsChannel 20" on their branding and promotional content. However, WICD is still recognized as "15" (its virtual channel number) for those receiving it off-the-air or on satellite TV. A most confusing situation.

The east-central Illinois community relied on WICD as an "alternative" television news source. The reach of WICD had just increased with the addition of DISH® coverage throughout the market, allowing more rural viewers to watch the station (DirectTV® viewers never saw WICD). But, now, the dominant central Illinois heritage TV station WCIA would no longer have head-to-head competition with WICD, turning those former WICD viewers potentially into WCIA viewers during the typical TV news times for mornings and at 5, 6, and 10 each evening. For those in east-central Illinois who didn't like WCIA, the only alternative would be WAND, which benefited from NewsChannel 15's demise.

The culture established at WICS by Milton Friedland set the tone of what diminished the value of the full-powered East Central Illinois major network affiliate for years to come. It started in the early days of introducing the Champaign TV station (then WCHU) as a low-powered station. WCHU could only be viewed by those within a 15-mile radius, establishing how viewers perceived the station. It gave everyone associated with WCHU a "Cinderella" complex and would continue for years throughout its years with the call letters of WICD as well. Rebroadcasting the less-than-dependable off-air signal of WICS during the 1960s and 70s also brought substandard technical standards to WCHU's viewers.

The Champaign-Urbana, Danville area, and its strong agriculture, industrial, and manufacturing base, as well as a growing medical center, community colleges, and, of course, the state's namesake, the University of Illinois, was not enough to warrant a major investment in an NBC affiliated television property.   Plains TV didn't put its best product forward to compete with WCIA. Its very existence as a low-powered facility denied many East Central Illinois viewers NBC color programming from 1960 to 1967, which created a public relations nightmare for the Champaign station during that era.

As WICD/NewsChannel 15 falls into history, I transferred the attention to its "offspring," WCCU, as a FOX TV Network affiliate, and the transfer of resources from Channel 15 to Channel 27. Local news continues, but certainly at a reduced level from WICD's. WCCU first went on the air with a locally produced weeknight newscast at 9 PM, then soon after a 5:30 PM newscast. The morning news/variety/information programming from 7 to 9 AM is simulcast from WRSP (originating at WICS in Springfield). WICS also produces the weekend 30-minute newscasts on Saturday and Sunday at 9 PM.  By 2022, the local newscasts from Champaign on WCCU were once again trans
ferred to Springfield and the WICS studio facility., thus reducing the importance of news gathering from the east side of the market. 

 

Meanwhile, the broadcast facility of the former WICD and WCCU is being used for newscast production for KHQA-TV, a Sinclair station, CBS affiliate in Quincy, Illinois.

The future pages of WICD's history will be replaced by WCCU from 2015 to my retirement in 2021.

WICD Repacking

(Photos from the Doug Quick Collection)

WICD, Channel 15 Repacking

The repacking schedule for WICD was moved earlier than most of the other stations in the market. The FCC auction,  which sold off the upper UHF frequencies to cell phone providers/networks, has made it necessary for stations located above UHF channel 40 and many in the lower UHF channels to be moved to a new allocation arrangement, freeing up those unused frequencies for auction.

The actual channel used by WICD since the original reassignment of the digital TV broadcast channel was channel 41, while the "virtual channel" continued to be called "channel 15."  The date of "repacking" was to be early 2019, but by special arrangement, T-Mobile, which purchased the frequency space at channel 41, will acquire that frequency space on September 1, 2018. That requires that WICD be moved to its new broadcast home on channel 32 earlier than the other local stations.

WICD would need a new transmitter and antenna to achieve the necessary frequency move. Since the digital transition, WICD has been operating on a "temporary" antenna located on the side of the tower structure, leaving the old analog antenna mast "dead" on top of the tower. Now, a permanent replacement mast antenna would replace the older analog antenna, which will increase the coverage area of WICD due to its increase in height at the tower, plus eliminate the "null" in the coverage area caused by the tower blocking the signal emanating from the "temporary" antenna. 

WICD will broadcast with a new, improved, state-of-the-art transmitter, with a new transmission line between the transmitter and the new mast-mounted antenna. WICD will broadcast with an effective radiated power of 1 million watts from a location on the tower at least 60 feet higher. This will improve the station's broadcast signal and video/audio quality to exceed the quality and range of all of the other broadcast stations in the central Illinois market.  The improvement will increase the signal of WICD to include over 150-thousand more viewers!

 

The pictures on the left show some of the improvements as they were being made during the last week of August 2018. 

 

Sources:

Broadcasting-Telecasting Magazine

TV Guide®
WICD-TV

Danville Public Library

Urbana Courier

Urbana Free Library

Bloomington Pantagraph

YouTube

"Total Television" by Alex McNeil

The Doug Quick collection of photos/videos and memories

 

Contributors:

Bob Lee (Screen Grabs)

WICD-TV, Channel 15
TV Guide®
Larry Waters
Ruthie Harper
Dave Boyer
Jim Wnek
Rick Hurd
Lawrence Kohen

Keith Page
Ted Sondergren

Dave Boyer

J.R. Evans and his TV Guide© Collection

 

 

Copy of fox-illinois_logo.png

Click the image to the left to follow the continuation of the Champaign TV news department which previously were with WICD and are now with WCCU. 

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