The History of WDAN-TV, Channel 24, Danville, IL
1953 - 1960
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(WFBM images from Broadcasting-Telecasting)
Early TV in East Central Illinois and West Central Indiana
An ad placed by WFBM-TV in Indianapolis talked of the vast area served by Channel 6 and its influence on viewers throughout the region. Among those communities was Paris, Illinois. It was called “a WFBM-TV town.” Don Morris, who represented a local appliance dealer, testified that the people of Paris were “no different than those of Paris, France in one respect....they like good entertainment, too! And they get it on WFBM-TV!”
Channel 6 from Indianapolis was just one of several long-haul VHF stations that, if one struggled to receive in the Danville, Illinois area, one could watch on those early VHF-only television sets before 1953. Depending on the location of your home, it may have required a tall tower/mast on which a large antenna would be mounted at the top. A series of guy wires would have been necessary from the mast itself to stabilize the mast and antenna vertically against the elements of wind and bad weather. A two-story house would be a definite advantage as most of these masts and antennas were atop the tallest peak of the roof.
Other possible alternatives included a faint signal from Chicago, St. Louis, or even Louisville. The distances, weather conditions, and the situation of a viewer's antenna and television set would determine the odds of a watchable signal from those far distant signals. So, the prospect of local television stations was probably quite exciting for those potential viewers in east central Illinois and west central Indiana.
In March of 1952, the FCC released a list of possible channels assigned to local towns and cities across the United States. Those were called allocations, as those channels were assigned as possible frequencies for early broadcast pioneers and investors and represented hope for those early TV fans.
For those in east central Illinois, the allocations for Champaign-Urbana and Danville would be of great interest. Champaign-Urbana would be granted channels 3, 12, 21, 27, and 33. Danville would be assigned channel 24. Eventually, the Danville area would gain television service from WCIA, and occasionally, a viewer might see a few distant stations from those major cities. Those UHF channels in central Illinois would be unobtainable unless TV owners took extraordinary means to receive them. Danville was outside the normal viewing area for all the central Illinois UHF stations and even one in nearby Lafayette, Indiana. The VHF channels (2-13) were already included on the tuners of those early sets, but those UHF channels for 14-83 were not. That would be the primary challenge of WDAN-TV.
An Application for Local TV in Danville
Technically speaking, Lee Broadcasting Company filed the first application for a television station after the “Freeze” in May of 1952 for channel 10 to be located in Quincy, Illinois. The applicant was already a broadcaster, as it was interested in the ownership of Quincy's WTAD AM/FM.
Later in the same month, on the opposite side of the state in Danville, Illinois, Northwest Publishing applied for channel 24. The proposed television station would broadcast at a power of 19kw with an antenna 416 feet high. The construction cost was $215,000, with a first-year operating cost of $300,000, and was projected to produce revenue of $300,000 the first year. The transmitter and antenna were both listed as being manufactured by RCA. Northwest Publishing was owned by the Gannett Company, consisting of the principals of Frank E. Gannett at 33% ownership. The company already owned radio broadcast property, including Danville's WDAN, but also major market stations in Rochester, New York (WHEC); Hartford, Connecticut (WTHT); and Elmira, New York (WENY). This application for a television station would make it the second television application filed by Gannett. The first television application was filed for an Elmira, New York station.
The location of the Danville station was 1500 North Washington Street in Danville, the transmitter and studios of WDAN Radio. The address of Northwest Publishing was 19 West North Street in Danville, at the office of the Commercial News newspaper.
This filing by Northwest Publishing would make it mid-Illinois second application for a television station. Applications by those in Champaign-Urbana, Decatur, Bloomington, and Springfield would follow. Many would follow in the upcoming few months.
In December 1952, the FCC granted the permit for construction on the Danville television station to operate on channel 24. Unfortunately, it would be another year before the station would go on the air. This also means that even though it was the first to apply in the central and east central Illinois market, it would be the last to go on the air!
(WDAN-TV application announcement images from Broadcasting-Telecasting)
Rising 397 Feet in the air, the WDAN-TV Tower is under construction. The former WDAN Radio tower is in the background and will be razed when the new tower goes into service.
Installation of the copper coaxial transmission line at the bridge is being undertaken by John Kerkes of Westville, and John Grunden of Danville.
December 1953, Ad from the Danville Commercial News
Rising 397 Feet in the air, the WDAN-TV Tower is under construction. The former WDAN Radio tower is in the background and will be razed when the new tower goes into service.
Channel 24 becomes WDAN-TV and Work Begins
In February of 1953, the call letters of WDAN would be applied to the new Danville TV station. Channel 24 now had a name: WDAN-TV.
It took an extraordinary amount of time to bring the station to life, as many of the other central Illinois stations would be built from the ground up and be on the air within six months of granting the permit. With WDAN-TV, there were many issues to be settled. Not the least of which was the objections of neighborhood residents questioning the building of a new tower at the rear of the existing radio station. Many were concerned about “radiation” from the TV transmitter/antenna there. Their concerns were answered as efforts to build the TV station would continue.
The TV station would have to be located at the site of the radio station, but certainly, the radio station was not a facility set up for the required high ceilings of a TV studio. It would require constructing an addition to the radio studios containing rooms for a control room, film chain, film editing, and storage or even office and administrative offices.
Engineering studies also revealed that the existing self-supporting four-legged tower would not support the addition of a two-ton 50-60 foot high antenna mast on the vintage 1938 tower. A decision would be made to replace the tower, which also served as the AM radio antenna, with a single tower to support the television antenna. In contrast, a tower segment below a series of insulators would serve as the antenna for WDAN (AM) Radio broadcasting at 1490kc. Many years later, I would find documents at WDAN radio some years later, and it listed the tower cost at $20,000.
In addition to the WDAN Radio studio/transmitter site, the TV facility would add a control room, engineering space, one administration office, a film storage editing room, an announcer booth, a “drive-through” studio, and an adjacent prop storage room. It's assumed WDAN-TV would share much of its operation with WDAN radio, such as sales, administration, employee lounge, and restrooms.
The original transmitter building at the site was constructed in 1938 to house the transmitter of WDAN Radio (then operating on 1500kc). The brick structure was small but included the transmitter and a remote studio. In the late 1940s, when the operations of WDAN were moved from the magnificent facilities at the Wolford Hotel in downtown Danville, the station moved into equally magnificent studios at 1500 North Washington on Danville's near north side. Those newly constructed studios were built around that original brick structure, leaving the rear of the original structure as part of the rear exterior wall.
The radio studios included a huge showcase studio surrounded by a windowed hallway, a general manager's office, sales offices, administrative offices, restrooms, an engineering room, a newsroom, and studios visible from the main control room in the original transmitter room. Since the studios were located in a residential area, the facility was constructed to blend in with the area's look. It was, though, located along the sidewalk at the curb of Washington Street at the T intersection with Woodlawn Avenue.
With the granting of channel 24 to WDAN, it became necessary to add the television facility to the rear of the WDAN studios. Since the terrain was much lower at the rear of the building, the studio's high ceiling was achieved by constructing a ground-level studio floor, which put the elevation of the studio several feet below that of the main control room and the audio booth. That also allowed for two garage doors to be installed, allowing automobiles to be driven into the studios to produce live commercials. The roof line of the newly constructed rear of the building would match that of the existing front radio studios.
Despite what the additional structure included, the addition of the television facility was most obviously not built to the standards of the original 1948 construction of WDAN Radio. Walls were not plastered but instead covered with a fiberboard paneling above wood horizontal tongue and groove paneling rising about 3 to 4 feet above the floor.
The television control room included the transmitter and room for a rack panel of additional equipment. The film chain was in the center of the room, with the main control boards facing the window overlooking the studio at the rear of the building. The floor under the control room included a series of troughs in which cables could be channeled. The floors of the control room, film editing and storage, and administration were elevated over the floors of the original radio studios by 8-10 inches. A door with a step-up separated the master control of the radio station from the master control of WDAN-TV. The floors were covered in dark brown tile.
In June 1953, it seemed that the construction would not be completed to install the television equipment, so an extension for the applicable date was filed with the FCC. Northwestern applied for an extension date of February 10, 1954. Many stations were delaying construction at that time for various reasons, including equipment delays. Still, some held their construction permit to await the highest bidder. They would then sell their permit for a huge profit, but this was not the case with WDAN-TV.
The FCC was under a great deal of pressure from Congress, which was being made aware of such activity and was cracking down on grantees by limiting the amount of time requested by applicants. The FCC would cancel the grant if no activity were being made on the construction.
WDAN-TV wasn't making much progress as equipment wasn't being ordered in the manner that would be considered a realistic attempt to put a television station on the air. An appeal was made to the FCC, to which they agreed to an extension of the construction permit only from August 10 through December 10, 1953.
The Motivation Behind WDAN-TV
Northwest Publishing's decision to build and operate a television station was met with far less enthusiasm than at most other television stations. The company seemed to have applied for the Channel 24 construction permit only to keep other broadcast competition from obtaining it. At the time, the media monopoly of Northwest Publishing (the Commercial-News newspaper) and WDAN Radio was eroding with the addition of WITY Radio. The additional radio station, WITY, in Danville, was under construction in 1953 and would go on air on November 23, 1953, before the local television station and would eat into the Danville media monopoly held by Northwest Publishing. Having another media company move into Danville and build a television station to join in on the competition for local advertising dollars would certainly be unacceptable to Northwest.
Northwest would operate WDAN-TV merely as a “prime time” extension to its radio property, WDAN. There didn't seem to be planning to improve or expand its operation. The goal was apparently to do just enough to keep it on the air and perhaps to enhance the viability of WDAN Radio.
The operation would share a general manager and key personnel from administration, sales, programming, and engineering. The station would not try to compete with the daytime radio media and would only operate during the evening hours when the potential audience appeared to be the greatest. News, sports, and weather broadcasts would utilize the resources of the newspaper and radio station. Any other local programming would be hosted and produced by radio station talent and others from the sales department.
(from Danville Commercial News)
The goal was to keep construction costs low and then keep operating costs at a minimum. Such a directive would not benefit the new television station's future or the Danville area's viewers. While other stations during the first few years saw the benefits of increased power investments, improved facilities with newly developed equipment, and innovated local programming, WDAN-TV remained stagnant. For Danville residents, having a local television station should have been a source of pride for their community. Instead, it became a target for local ridicule.
As stated earlier, the FCC would extend the construction permit to December 10, 1953. It was not known if the FCC would extend it any longer. The target date of WDAN-TV was not known. Still, by mid-summer of 1953, progress was finally being made with ordering the necessary equipment to bring a television signal to viewers in the Danville area. Why did it take so long to order the much-in-demand equipment to put Channel 24 on the air before the sign-on date for WCIA? The next question was, would the station be on the air before the last date of their construction permit extension?
Robert J. Burow was designated as the station manager, a role he held as station manager of WDAN Radio. He came from the ranks of the Commercial News, where he was a sales manager. Robert J. Burow became an active broadcaster after being elected president of the Illinois Broadcasters Association in October 1953. At that time, others on the board of directors were other notable broadcasters, such as Harold L. Dewing of WCVS Radio. Mr. Burow was also one of the major speakers before the group alongside Merrill Lindsay of WSOY Radio and WCIA-TV, as well as Oliver Keller of WTAX Radio in Springfield and Sangamon Valley Television, an applicant for channel 2 in Springfield (see WICS, KTVI).
During my time at WDAN/WDNL Radio which is housed in the former WDAN Radio and Television station, staff members would occasionally come across a memento from those early television days. One such document contained an estimate of the operating costs of WDAN-TV. Items included the expense of 5 engineers at $85 a week, 1 traffic “girl” at $45 a week, a film “man” at $100 a week, and a production “man” at $125 a week. Other expenses included film costs at $3,000 a month. I assume that was for the purchase of film programming, TV series, filler travel films, documentaries, and such and for shipping the film to its next station once WDAN-TV aired the films. Sponsors would furnish much of the film programming listed in the latter group. The BMI/ASCAP charges would fall to around $1,000 a month, the A.T.& T. network line charges were $4,000 a month, and other network charges were listed at $1,000 a month. Sales costs (commissions to salespeople) were set at $2,000 a month, and insurance at $300 a month. Two of the most expensive constant line items were that of BMI/ASCAP (which, in my opinion, was akin to extortion) and the A.T.&T. charges. More on those later.
Ad rates were $150/hour, $90/per half-hour, and $50/for a 15-minute show. I assume these were full sponsorships of WDAN-TV programming, such as syndicated half-hours or movies. Spot rates were $25 for a commercial “spot” and $15 for a short announcement between shows.
The broadcast day was planned to run from 6 pm to 10 pm, with an increase from 3 pm to midnight later. The income goal was $11,200 a month. If there was any special programming from ABC, it was assumed the station would air it beyond its normal hours of operation. One example was the Army-McCarthy Hearings occurring from April to June of 1954. It's not known if WDAN-TV broadcasts those hearings as no staff members I talked to had any recollection of the broadcast of the hearings. It's also not known if WDAN-TV broadcast the “Don McNeill's Breakfast Show,” which aired from 8 to 9 am from February 22, 1954, to February 25, 1955. It was found, though, that the transmitter for WDAN-TV would go on around 9 am, and the station would broadcast a test pattern and 100-cycle tone until programming began during the late afternoon.
Before the actual sign-on, in September of 1953, WDAN-TV purchased equipment from the Dage TV Equipment Company for nearly $12,000. The package would include “lightweight gear” for about a third of the cost of competitive equipment from other major manufacturers such as RCA and General Electric. The package included two cameras, two camera controls, a switcher, and a sync generator. The cameras used vidicon tubes from RC A and cost about $345 each compared to image orthicon tubes costing $1250. The cameras offered a resolution of 400-500 lines compared to the 600-line resolution of the others. Dage was also located close by in Beech Grove, Indiana.
RCA shipped the RCA 1k transmitter to WDAN-TV in mid-September 1953. There were other construction details to be worked out, including getting FCC permission to relocate the tower/antenna of WDAN a few feet and to mount the TV antenna atop the WDAN Radio tower. The FCC didn't grant that permission in late September of 1953. This could have been another factor in the late sign-on of the station.
In November 1953, it was announced that WDAN-TV would become ABC affiliate number 169. That would at least bring competitive programming to viewers. Affiliating with NBC or CBS would have brought the station a much stronger programming schedule, but both networks were already under contract with the local VHF station, WCIA. NBC would choose to be a “part-time” secondary affiliate of a VHF station rather than a full-time affiliate with UHF Channel 24. It's possible that if WDAN-TV could have made an earlier effort to court NBC before it was snatched up at the last minute by WCIA. Channel 24 may have become affiliated with NBC. Affiliation with NBC would have ensured a much greater chance of success for the Danville television station, plus it would give them a full schedule of programs from 7 in the morning to midnight each day.
WDAN-TV would settle for ABC and join other central Illinois stations with part and full-time affiliation agreements. Other ABC affiliates in mid-Illinois included WTVP, Channel 17, Decatur; WBLN, Channel 15, Bloomington; WICS, Channel 20, Springfield(secondary affiliation); and WTVH, Channel 19, Peoria.
The availability of receiving network signals from New York by central Illinois television stations was a major concern of stations in mid-Illinois. For WDAN-TV, it was easy! A main A.T.& T. trunk coax ran just a few blocks away under North Vermilion Street to a terminal in Danville from Chicago. It seems simple, but it was a little more complex than that. The network coax would be tapped into the local phone company building located downtown in the unit block of Walnut Street. From there, it would have to be relayed via coax to the WDAN studios less than 2 miles away. The addition of WDAN-TV to A.T.& T. television cable facilities made it the 239th station across the country and Danville the 147th city to receive live network programming.
By late November, it seemed obvious that the December 10, 1953, sign-on deadline would be impossible to meet. Northwestern applied for another extension to the construction permit past the already granted extension of December 10, 1953. On this appeal for another extension, Northwestern cited the progress being made in constructing the television station and asked for more time to put WDAN-TV on the air. This time, the FCC would only grant an extension through December 28, 1953. That meant that WDAN-TV must be operational by that date, or Northwestern would lose the permit and all of the money invested in the station to that point!
On December 19, 1953, WDAN-TV would sign on the air.
The sign-on was nearly perfect, except when the station broadcasted a test pattern. When the test pattern was shown between network programs and during station break, the video would “roll” or lose synchronization. It is possible that either the test pattern was generated by focusing a camera on a printed test pattern mounted on a “TV board” or the camera was “hot-wired” into a “patch panel.” It's also possible it was a slide projected into the station's film chain, which was “hot-wired” into the “patch panel.” Either way, the main switcher in the control room was either inoperable or not installed yet.
The rush to get the station on the air was to sacrifice the traditional sign-on pomp and circumstance that many stations would stage to call attention to their new local television station. WDAN-TV failed to broadcast a respectable first presentation show, even to the few Danville area viewers there were.
For the initial sign-on, WDAN-TV could only broadcast the ABC signal. The delay of Northwest Publishing in construction during early 1953 would come back to bite them in December of 1953. The station signed on when it wasn't fully operational because of the added pressure from a looming deadline imposed by the FCC for completing the station.
When WDAN-TV signed on December 19, 1953, the first ABC show featured was "Super Circus." Even though this was not the first actual installment shown, it looked a lot like this episode from 1954.
Sign-On Day: The Newspaper Account
The Commercial News would report about the first day of programming by saying, “Television made its first locally-flashed appearance Sunday afternoon as Danville and area viewers flicked their dials to Channel 24 at 4 pm for the initial network show to be telecast on WDAN-TV.”
The story would include accounts of favorable reports from Danville and even telegrams from viewers reporting reception in Paris and Champaign. The story also admitted that modifications and adjustments “are continuously made.”
Orville Neely, one of the WDAN-TV staff engineers, explained that all of the equipment is new, and whenever that is the case, “bugs” show up. He also admitted that some equipment hasn't arrived at the station yet and that construction is continuing. According to the engineer, vacuum tube failures occur in about 10 percent of the tubes during the first 90 days. It was considered a period of equipment “break-in,” and most of the problems would disappear afterward.
The story explained that despite the good reports from area viewers, the trouble with the local test pattern “is still plaguing the engineers.” The sync generator was the cause of the problem, as it was unstable, causing the picture to roll whenever the test pattern was broadcast. Mr. Neely also added that electrical problems with line voltage variation within the building were probably also creating a problem with a “picture....jump” during the broadcast of the test pattern.
Several days before the “rolling” video problem with the test pattern would be corrected. If there were any local skeptics about the future of local television broadcasting in Danville (and I assume there were plenty), they were certainly enjoying this flub. The Commercial News would report within a couple of weeks that the equipment had arrived, allowing for local origination.
Most of the early days of WDAN would include a sign-on at 6:15 pm for ABC News with anchor John Daly. One exception would be the weekend college basketball broadcast on Saturday afternoons at 1:30.
A Selection of ABC
Shows from 1953-60
"Recently, I discovered an episode of a television show called "You Asked for It" on YouTube. The show was originally broadcast on DuMont from 1950 to 1951 and later moved to ABC in 1951 with Art Baker as the host until 1958. Additionally, I found an installment from 1953."
Here's an episode of "The Walter Winchell Show" from 1953. You might recognize his voice as ABC's "Untouchables" narrator in 1959.
"Cheyenne" was one of the rotating "Warner Brothers Presents" series and starred Clint Walker in 1955-1963, although it was only seen through early 1960 on WDAN-TV. This video is an edited-down version of the pilot show from 1955.
New Year's Day, 1954
WDAN-TV general manager Robert Burow announced at sign-on that Channel 24 would broadcast the Sugar Bowl football game with Georgia Tech and West Virginia beginning at 12:45 pm on New Year's Day. He also explained that no local programs would be broadcast until after the first of the year since work on the studio and some other offices were not yet completed. Mr. Burow described the facility as having four rooms: a studio, a control room, a film room, and an office. I guess he forgot about the announcer's booth.
The ABC Television Network logo from 1953 and certainly seen on WDAN-TV during its early days.
Here is an original "Disneyland" episode from the mid-1950s with sponsor billboards. Walt Disney hosted this popular ABC series himself.
From 1957 to 1959, also from Walt Disney Studios, "Zorro." This action-adventure series was a massive hit for Disney and ABC and starred "Guy Williams." Many episodes were filmed in color but never seen until much later on "The Disney Channel" in the 1980s.
WDAN-TV, Channel 24, Danville, Illinois
Northwestern Publishing Company
1500 N. Washington
Facilities: Channel 24, Authorized Effective Radiated Power, Visual 19.1 kW, Aural 9.55 kW
Transmitter: RCA MOdel TTU-1-B; Antenna RCA Model Type TFU-24BL
Operation: Began December 20,
Height above average terrain, 410 ft, Above ground 445 ft.1953 Hours of operation 5:00 pm to 11 pm (correction date is December 19, 1953)
Affiliations: Network ABC, Station WDAN
Representatives: Sales, Everett-McKinney Inc. Washington Attorney: Dow, Lohnesand Albertson
Services: One RCA and two Dage Cameras, Two Homes projectors, one 2x2 slide projectors, News Service, AP Library, Thesaurus
Executives: Robert J. Burow, general manager Honore Ronan, program director
John Eckert, commercial manager Orville Neely, chief engineer
Max Shaffer, station manager Bill Dorn, production manager
Market Information: Total information(including fringe area) 300,000 , families 87,4000, number of sets 45,000
(from Television Yearbook, 1954-55)
Employees of WDAN and WDAN-TV
The three men in charge of the operation of WDAN-TV were Robert Burow as general manager, Max Shafer as WDAN-TV station manager, and John Eckert as WDAN-TV sales manager. Interestingly, Max Shafer would remain with WDAN Radio as station general manager to retire upon its sale to Sangamon Broadcasting in 1977. John Eckert would remain with WDAN Radio into the early 1980s as general sales manager of WDAN/WDNL Radio. Mr. Eckert and my experiences at the Danville radio stations would overlap from 1977 until his retirement in the early 1980s.
Others at WDAN-TV included Ted Magin as the chief engineer. At the same time, John Vance, Bill Hunt, Elwood Begley, William Shoup, Norlyn Dossey, and Orville Neely were staff engineers, and Al Stelk was a projectionist. Honore Ronan was the traffic director, Mildred Engel was the continuity writer Kay Shake was the film editor, Mary Kay Dean was the receptionist, Mary Sumila was the office manager, and Bob Erickson and Gene Robinson were on the radio and television announcing staff.
One of the more notable employees of the staff of WDAN-TV would come later. Gene Hackman, the Academy Award-winning actor and writer, was a staff member during the late 1950s as an artist and studio technician. The legend is that he was told to stay with the WDAN and WDAN-TV because he was beginning a great career with the stations. Instead, he moved on to begin a real show business career. I think we all can agree that he made the correct decision.
Another notable former WDAN-TV employee was Wayne Cody. Even though he was a native of New Jersey, his travels brought him to Danville, Illinois, where he worked at WDAN and WDAN-TV. It's assumed his interest would be in sports, but remembrances about him include his role as a weathercaster. One story has him delivering a weathercast while having his hair cut simultaneously. He was also known for his broadcast stunts and for having a great broadcast voice. During his tenure at WDAN, he met his future wife, Judy Carter. They were married in 1963, and within a couple of years, he pursued a career in Hollywood. He would become a play-by-play broadcaster, a sportscaster, an actor, and a restaurant owner/investor.
A.T.& T. Costs and WDAN-TV Finances
In November of 1954, many local TV stations across the country realized that the charges they paid for their A.T.& T. network feeds were extraordinary. Broadcasting-Telecasting magazine included a story with testimony from several television stations across the county. Among those were WDAN-TV. The Danville station admitted charges of $4,018.75 a month to connect to the Chicago to Terre Haute trunk line. WDAN-TV also admitted losing anywhere from $6,000 to $10,000 a month since it began to operate in December of 1953. To date, during its first year, it has lost $70,000.
Danville's Local TV News
One year and one month after the initial sign-on of WDAN-TV, Channel 24 would finally broadcast a local newscast. It was described in the Danville Commercial-News pages as a “triple threat” of local news, sports, and weather and would air from 5:30 to 6 pm beginning on Monday, January 17, 1955.
The local news would precede ABC's “Kukla, Fran and Ollie Show” at 6 pm and The ABC News with John Daley at 6:15 pm. Each local newscast would include sports headlines and stories with Max Shaffer, followed by local news anchored by Bill Houpt or Frank M. Williams of the Commerical News staff of reporters at 5:40 pm. The weather chores would be taken up by what the newspaper would describe as “veteran weather forecaster” Ralph Webber at 5:50 pm.
Before the local news broadcast, WDAN-TV would originate “Almanac,” hosted by Mr. Shaffer and Honore Ronan at 5:15 pm. Max Shaffer would briefly report top world news, and Ms. Ronan would have the “latest word from the women's world plus interviews with local people.”
By September of 1955, the half-hour format would be reduced to 15 minutes and moved from 5:30 pm to 6 pm ahead of the ABC News with John Daley. It was also when the “Almanac” was dropped in favor of the “Birthday Parade.” Honore Ronan hosted the announcements of viewers' birthdays and featured other local general interest stories and interviews at 5 pm. “Western Theater” would follow from 5:10 to 6 pm.
WDAN-TV Reduces Power
In very late 1955, it appears that an effort to save money would bring Northwest Publishing to file for a reduction in power for WDAN-TV. The former 19kw power output during the station's first year would be reduced to 13.26kw. This reduction in output wattage would save several thousand dollars a year in operating costs without significantly reducing the signal in Danville.
Meanwhile, several local UHF TV stations were seeking power increases and beginning to consider tower upgrades as well as equipment to broadcast their respective networks in color. As a full-time ABC affiliate, there was no immediate need for WDAN-TV to consider an upgrade to broadcast color. That would require the installation of a new transmitter and exciter.
By March of 1955, WDAN-TV would apply for the license to replace the construction permit it was operating on since sign-on. It would be granted a few months later.
The tough financial plight of WDAN-TV was not unique. By May of 1955, Broadcasting-Telecasting ran an article that stated that 80% of all UHF stations would face bankruptcy....” unless they find a financial angel or develop a cohesive, cooperative means to instill life into the total UHF picture.” Overall, not more than 12 or 15 UHF stations were profitably profitable in markets without immediate VHF competition. WDAN-TV had a VHF competition from WCIA in Champaign, WTHI in Terre Haute, and WFBM in Indianapolis. Other UHF stations were out of reach as their signals didn't extend to the Danville market then. This made WDAN-TV the ONLY UHF station in the area, putting it at an incredible disadvantage.
1958 Financial Statement
WDAN-TV had to disclose its financial situation publically for its license renewal filing. It appeared in the October 27, 1958 edition of Broadcasting-Telecasting. It showed an earned surplus for the Northwestern Publishing Company as being $933,930. That included not only WDAN-TV but also WDAN Radio and the Commercial-News newspaper.
Assets were listed as $431,673, fixed assets of $475,052, intangible assets of $360,581, and total assets of $1,274,277. Liabilities were listed as being $251,347. Even though the TV station was losing money, the other Northwestern properties were doing quite well.
On the Farm
with the Vermilion
County Farm Bureau
The pictures include several unidentified people. If you know the names of anyone pictured here please comment from my e-mail form on the Home page.
Run cursor over picture for details, or click on each photo for larger view
(courtesy of Kerry Wienke, Tom Fricke, and the Vermilion County Farm Bureau)
Either 1955-1956, WDAN-TV salutes 4-H Winners, Courtesy Vermilion County Farm Bureau
Either 1955-1956, WDAN-TV salutes 4-H Winners, Courtesy Vermilion County Farm Bureau
Either 1955-1956, WDAN-TV salutes 4-H Winners, Courtesy Vermilion County Farm Bureau
ABC Grows up
As you'll read within the other histories of the mid-Illinois TV stations, the networks in those early days sold time on their schedules to advertising agencies. Those advertising agencies either produced their programming or contracted out to other producers to develop those programs on which they placed their client's commercials. It was more of an infomercial arrangement and much different than today.
ABC had many affiliates, but most were second or third-rate television stations. Most of which were UHF stations, even in many major markets. In central Illinois, ABC would end up being associated with all UHF channels.
Even though most stations would not air ABC programming or any other network when a purchase agreement was not made for the station to receive network compensation, WDAN-TV appeared to be different. Most other stations would replace those network shows with sponsored syndicated programs or, in some cases, other secondary network programs. WDAN-TV appeared to air the network programming anyway, probably because of the inability to purchase many syndicated shows to replace those network shows. It appeared that WDAN-TV was on a special contract with ABC in which they would receive programming at a total “barter” arrangement, receiving no network compensation.
As ABC expanded its schedule, WDAN-TV expanded its broadcast day by airing “American Bandstand” and “Whom Do You Trust?” In fact, by the late 1950s, WDAN-TV would host its version of “American Bandstand” called “Danville Bandstand” hosted by WDAN announcer Jack Singleton. It is of “Danville Bandstand” that the only known “recording” of an actual program produced by WDAN exists. It is a snapshot of the television screen showing Jack Singleton and a young Danville teen who sang on the “Danville Bandstand” program. It is included on this website.
WDAN-TV also began to air several of the more popular ABC shows of the era and certainly would benefit from their airing. “Disneyland,” “The Danny Thomas Show(aka “Make Room for Daddy'),” “Twenty Questions,” “Warner Brothers Presents,” “Wyatt Erp,” “Cheyenne,” “Maverick,” “Lawman,” “The Rifleman,” “The Donna Reed Show,” “Leave it to Beaver,” “The Real McCoys,” “The Rebel,” “Bourbon Street Beat,” “Adventures in Paradise,” “Hawaiian Eye,” “The Untouchables,” “77 Sunset Strip” and “The Detectives.”
By 1959, the daytime schedule of ABC would expand into the early afternoon, and the broadcast day of WDAN-TV expanded with it, at least by 1960. The schedule would include “Love That Bob” at 1:30 pm to be followed by “Day in Court,” “The Gale Storm Show” and “Beat the Clock” at 3 pm.
WDAN Locally Produced Programming
One of the first non-news/sports-oriented programs produced by WDAN-TV was BANKO. William-Stanley Productions of Rockford, Illinois, developed it. It had already been successful for six stations in six markets and had prospects for 20 more stations. The show would include a local sponsor distributing BANKO cards to customers or people who went to the business and requested one, as no purchase was required. Like Bingo, it involved a studio audience and viewers at home. The first ten people at home and a studio contestant would receive prizes from the participating sponsor. There's more about BANKO in the History of WICS.
"WDAN-TV sales manager and WDAN radio personality John Eckert hosted Banko" on WDAN-TV. Mr. Eckert described the show as operating similar to "Bingo" in that a board of rows of numbers under the heading of each letter in B-A-N-K-O. Numbers were drawn and posted on the board while a studio audience played along. When an audience member filled out his/her card, they would shout "BANKO" to win prizes from local sponsors. People at home would play along with cards obtained by the local sponsor. Darcy Frank was hosting the show along with John, the daughter of a local businessman, Ed Frank. Mr. Eckert remembered the show's sponsor as Ed Fonner's Dry Cleaners.
Meanwhile, a legal challenge was made against the BANKO concept in Wisconsin. The Wisconsin attorney general believed the William-Stanley product of BANKO violated the state's lottery laws. That opinion was based on how WKBT in LaCrosse conducted the show. That same opinion was also shared with the Sangamon County state's attorney in Springfield. This brought about the dropping of BANKO from WICS there. Although it's not known if WDAN-TV dropped BANKO, notes in Broadcasting-Telecasting a couple of weeks later stated that WDAN-TV had picked up “Shadow Stumpers” from Brent Gunts Productions. The silhouette guessing game may have replaced BANKO.
Tots and Teen Time
Hosted by Catherine Cromwell, “Tots and Teen Time,” also called “Teen Time,” featured the talents of local teenagers in the Danville area. It was seen on alternate Thursdays at 9 pm. The show also included record pantomiming by the local group “Teen Tuners” and a dance production by the Cromwellettes.
Local Sports Coverage
The name of Max Shaffer for years in the Danville area was connected to local sports coverage. He spearheaded local coverage of high school football and basketball for years on WDAN Radio. During the days of WDAN-TV, he would also be the face of local high school sports on local television. He would anchor the weekly weekday sportscasts and do radio play-by-play for WDAN Radio. He would also host the post-game sports scores on WDAN Radio and WDAN-TV on late-night Fridays and Tuesdays after high school basketball.
What's in the Box?
Game shows were all over the TV schedules during the 1950s and early 1960s. “What's in the Box?” was locally produced and was a local advertising vehicle for Fonners Dry Cleaners in Danville after the BANKO controversy and its cancellation. According to my findings, the show was hosted by the owner of the business, Ed Fonner, although more than a few people recollect John Eckert as the host of the local game show.
“What's in the Box” would challenge residents to bring in something from home to go into the box and would be unknown by a panel of station employees. They would ask questions, and after a negative response, the contestant would rack up a few dollars in cash or some merchandise. The concept was similar to “Twenty Questions” with a local twist
In 1959, WDAN-TV would enter the world of rock and roll with the broadcast of “Danville Bandstand.” Like many other local television stations around the country, and like other local stations, WICS, WTVP, and WCIA, WDAN-TV would begin to broadcast its local dance program, based on ABC's “American Bandstand.” “Danville Bandstand” would be hosted by WDAN Radio announcer Jack Singleton. Invitations would go to local high school organizations and other groups. The broadcasts would include representatives from the Danville Youth Center, Oakwood High School, Schlarman High School, and the Teen Center at the Elks Lodge Number 147.
The local TV dance program was sponsored each week by the local 7-Up Bottling Company and Thomas Music Shop, a local music store. “Danville Bandstand” aired on Thursdays, 5-5:30 pm, and would follow the broadcast of ABC's “American Bandstand” on Channel 24.
The pictures to the right are of a local young man preparing to sing as he was on "Danville Bandstand." His name is Olav Christensen. It was taken in 1960, before WDAN-TV was sold to Plains Television. The host of Danville Bandstand, Jack Singleton, is pictured with Olav. As far as I can determine, these are the only two pictures of any locally produced TV show on WDAN-TV.
(Picture provided by Olav Christensen)
Gene Hackman was a former employee of WDAN-TV. He reportedly began his career as a camera operator and artist at Channel 24. Legend has it he was told that he should stay with WDAN and not "move on" because he could really work his way up the television ladder.
According to longtime WDAN sales manager John Eckert, Mr. Hackman was a studio crew member who would set up and arrange chairs, sets, and other studio gear for local programming and commercials. His exact tenure at WDAN-TV is unknown, but it is generally agreed it was some time from 1957 to 1958.
(picture from the Danville High School Wall of Fame)
Hope for a Change from UHF Channel 24 to VHF Channel 10
The changing allocation situation was sending shock waves throughout the region. The possibility of adding channel 2 to Terre Haute, Indiana, and a possible reassignment of channel 10 brought about a flurry of applications for the allocation for areas cities like Lafayette, Indiana, by WFAM-TV.
WDAN-TV applied for the channel to be shifted to Danville, Illinois, with an application filed in late March of 1958. I'm not sure of the reasons for the denial of the allocation move of channel 10 to Danville, but the move to Danville made at least some sense. The location of Danville allowed for no reception of any UHF stations other than WDAN-TV. The move of the Danville station to VHF would have certainly placed the station on equal par with WCIA, at least as far as accessibility for the region's viewers. Unfortunately, the FCC shot down the WDAN-TV, Danville application and the request by Lafayette's WFAM-TV in early 1959.
WFAM-TV was in a similar situation as WDAN-TV. It also was the only UHF station receivable in the Lafayette, Indiana market located on the fringe of the Indianapolis market, home to VHF television stations.
Livesay Broadcasting Company of Mattoon would also apply for channel 10 in June 1958. The FCC rejection of all of the petitions from Danville, Lafayette, and Mattoon allowed the channel 10 allocations to remain in Terre Haute. In contrast, the application for the move of WTHI-TV to channel 2 was rejected by the FCC. The allocation for channel 2 was left open for other applicants after the allocation of another channel 2 was assigned to St. Louis. Channel 2 would eventually be the home of WTWO, the NBC affiliate in Terre Haute.
ABC's "77 Sunset Strip" boasted a cast of youthful and attractive actors, many of whom were previously unknown and cost-effective. Produced by Warner Brothers, the detective show was a smashing hit, ranking in the top 20 during its inaugural year. Those interested in catching a glimpse of the show's stars can watch a video on YouTube.
"The Rifleman" was one of many westerns seen on ABC with quite a few on the networks as well. This particular episode aired on September 30, 1958, on WDAN-TV.
I found this compilation video of "Sugarfoot" scenes rather interesting as they explained the character of "Sugarfoot" as played by Will Hutchins. The musical background was current on the day of the production of the first episodes. Enjoy...
"The Donna Reed Show" worked its way into the top 30 the first year it premiered on ABC. It continued well into the 1960s, and aired in syndication, although WDAN-TV aired very few syndicated shows because it didn't have the budget to purchase shows.
The original series aired for the first time on ABC and WDAN-TV on October 3, 1957. If you tuned into WDAN-TV on that night, this is what you would have seen.
This is the opening credits of the pilot show for "Lawman." It was another product of Warner Brothers and first aired on October 8, 1958.
This video contains the various opening themes of "Sugarfoot." The series premiered September 17, 1957, and aired through June 3, 1961, ending its run after WDAN-TV changed to an NBC affiliate
Yet another western, one that went into the top 30 ratings when it premiered on September 24, 1958.
ABC Makes a Leap Toward Better Programming
ABC seemed to have reached another major step in respectable programming by 1958, thanks to the addition of the Warner Brothers program catalog of westerns and contemporary detective shows that placed characters in Los Angeles, Honolulu, Miami, and New Orleans. Sitcoms were added to the schedule that looking back, became classics. What is shown above is just a sampling.
The daytime schedule of ABC began to expand earlier, from 1959 into the early 1960s. This is something that probably worried WDAN-TV management because of the added cost of broadcasting a longer schedule and having the transmitter power consumption increase as well.
Meanwhile in Champaign-Urbana
It was inevitable that Plains Television would have to expand its footprint in central Illinois. The Springfield signal expansion would involve a new tower/transmitter in 1958. That wasn't enough, as a huge area of east central Illinois became the new battlefield. It wasn't enough that WCIA infringed on the Springfield market even with grade B coverage, but WICS didn't even touch Champaign-Urbana. It hardly touched Decatur. Plains Television and WICS would need to add the households of Champaign-Urbana, Mattoon, Charleston, and Danville into its fold. That would require a second TV station, a fully powered station located in the backyard of WCIA.
As stated on the WICS History, on September 25, 1956, Plains Television applied for a fully powered TV station to operate at channel 21, with 200kw power output from a tower/antenna of 650 feet. It would be located near White Heath, Illinois. This proposed station would have enough signal to blanket both Decatur and Champaign with a city-grade and grade B signals for Danville, Mattoon, Charleston, and perhaps even Bloomington-Normal.
This proposed station would never be. It was never acted on for unknown reasons, but it did begin an idea that would later become Champaign-Urbana's first UHF station. Having a television station on channel 21 would have been a problem for Channel 20 as it increased power and improved its signal in future years. Plus, the FCC allocation table did not offer a channel 21 at any location in central Illinois, obviously an embarrassing oversight on Plain's part. Most stations in the same market were six channels apart. Later, the application would be revised to apply for channel 33.
As described in more detail in the History of WICS, channel 33 would not become a fully powered TV station. Plains Television, along with the Balaban brothers, was busy purchasing other broadcast properties at the same time. (see WIL Radio-St. Louis under RADIO HISTORY and Legendary Midwest Radio Stations) The “downgrading” of the proposed channel 33 may have been to save cash. For whatever reason, building a television station to serve Champaign-Urbana with “lesser facilities” would finally take place in 1958-1959. More on the WCHU story is under the History of WCHU.
The Move to Add More Territory to the Footprint of WICS
Nearby, Danville had another UHF television station. From a competitive standpoint, it appeared that Northwest Publishing (Gannett) could not make money from Channel 24. Costs were already reduced by a power decrease when other stations sought power increases. Despite that, an attempt was made to maintain the station's status quo into the late 1950s and the very early 1960s. Local programming was still being produced, and the daytime schedule was expanding along with the daytime schedule of ABC. Syndicated programming choices were few as purchasing that alternative program source added expense to the operation.
It's unknown why Northwestern Publishing (Gannett) didn't just turn it off and let it go dark. Instead, a buyer was found for WDAN-TV by Plains Television. The station would be sold to Plains for a minimum price. Then a lease arrangement would allow Channel 24 to stay at the original location.
The ownership of yet another television station in the market was a logical goal to expand the reach of WICS. This would allow WICS to meet or exceed the coverage area of competitor WCIA in obtaining the ad dollars of regional and national advertisers. With the change in the license holder name for WCHU, it would allow all three stations to operate under the Plains Television name. Remember now that Champaign's WCHU was a WICS translator and an NBC affiliate. WDAN-TV was operating as an ABC affiliate in Danville.
Late in 1960, the exact date is unclear. Still, Gannett Publishing, owner of WDAN-TV, sold the station to Plains Television Partners, which proposed to rename the station WICD-TV to become a satellite station of WCHU which was, in turn, already a satellite of WICS in Springfield.
WDAN-TV was sold by Gannett to Plains Television for a mere $75,000, and the facility was leased from Northwest Publishing(Gannett Publishing) for $1,500 a month.
On July 28, 1960, the FCC approved the transfer of the license of Channel 24 from Gannett to Plains Television. Along with the transfer, the call letters of WDAN-TV were changed to WICD(TV). In late August of 1960, John Begue, who had previously held various positions in programming and sales at WICS in Springfield, was appointed WICD(TV) station manager. The national representative of Young Television Corporation was chosen to represent WICD to regional and national advertisers.
The idea of owning more than one station, with separate network affiliations in the same market, was unheard of at the time and illegal. Remember, though, the central Illinois television market was not regarded as one market at that time. At least until the mid-1960s, the central Illinois markets included Springfield, Decatur, Champaign, and Danville as four separate markets. That would allow Plains Television to own three stations in central Illinois. Plains Television would own two stations in the Champaign-Danville market because the signals did not overlap officially, and WCHU was not regarded as a “full-powered” television station.
An early Plains Television press release even included a statement saying the company would operate two individual stations separately. The release stated that Plains owning the two stations, WCHU and WDAN, "would not affect the operation of the TV stations in Champaign or Danville." That statement was untrue and was released with the company knowing it was untrue. It should have been obvious that both stations would be used as translators for WICS.
During the first few months after the sale, it appeared that WDAN-TV, now WICD, would continue with ABC programming. The Commercial-News schedules of the period listed ABC programming and the same local programming from before the sale. I can only assume that some network contract talks between Plains Television with both ABC and NBC were taking place to allow for the cancellation of the ABC contract and the addition of WICD to the current NBC contract of WCHU.
Trying to explain the rather unusual central Illinois television market, even to those who deal with the legal aspects of network affiliation agreements, is difficult. Having held the position of promotions director at WICD in the 1990s and dealing with NBC (it was an NBC affiliate until Labor Day, 2005) in coop advertising, it was sometimes very confusing to the network advertising agency to understand why they had two separate full-service affiliates in the same market!
John Begue was named WICD station manager. His term appeared to be short as his replacement was announced
(from Urbana Courier)
WDAN-TV and ABC to WICD(TV) and NBC
Channel 24 was slightly less than a full-power TV station but had nearly three times the power output of WCHU. It also included an antenna atop a tower nearly 400 feet, compared to the 50-foot mast on a six-story hotel. The signal of the new WICD would put at least a watchable signal of NBC programming into nearby communities of Hoopeston, Paris, Georgetown, Catlin, Covington, and Veedersburg.
WICD would continue to originate at least some local programming, including local news and local commercials. The big difference was the rebroadcast of WCHU regarding some locally produced programming and syndicated programming from WICS. All in all, it was a logistical nightmare and would be even with today's technology. For example, During the broadcast of St. Louis Cardinal Baseball from the Cardinal network, viewers often saw station IDs run back to back because of the slowness of local control room operators. Since the baseball game was originated by KSD-TV in St. Louis and picked up off the air at WICS in Springfield, the station IDs would air as, “You're watching KSD-TV, St. Louis...WICS, Channel 20 Springfield...WCHU, Channel 33 Champaign...WICD, Channel 24 Danville.” Plus, after the many re-broadcasts of each signal from each station, you can only imagine the poor quality of the video at the end of the chain observed by viewers of Channel 24.
The Plains Television Merger
Going back to the WCHU story, construction on WCHU began in November of 1958, and the station originally went on the air in September of 1959 as a low-power UHF station and a translator of WICS. The original coverage area of WCHU was estimated to be no more than 15 miles from the transmitter site at the Inman Hotel in downtown Champaign. The power output on the new WCHU was 5.5 kilowatts visual and 2.96 kilowatts aural from a short antenna mounted on top of the Inman Hotel in downtown Champaign, the corner of Neil and University. WCHU was to receive an off-air signal of WICS for rebroadcasting from a receiver also located on the roof of the Inman Hotel. It didn't take long to see that the assumption of getting an airable signal from WICS all of the time was a mistake. Weather conditions, the time of day, and other bouts of interference from the downtown area contributed to a less-than-reliable signal from WICS.
WICS, beginning in 1958, was on its 900-foot tower at Mechanicsburg, broadcasting at 500 kilowatts. To expect a good broadcast quality signal all of the time from 90 miles was a stretch, even in the best of circumstances. The receiving antenna on top of the Inman Hotel was a large parabolic-style antenna with signal amplifiers, but it didn't work. Later in the year, an application was filed, and the FCC granted permission to construct a receiver on the northwest side of Champaign along U.S. 150. This receiving antenna would be on a 150-foot tower, which would receive WICS and then microwave the signal to the studios at the Inman Hotel.
On September 13th, 1959, WCHU was ready to expand its broadcast day with the construction completed on the microwave link from its new receiving antenna northwest of Champaign.
It was reported that the station began broadcasting "in earnest." A special insert in the Champaign-Urbana Courier the following month featured the programming and details on the station's plans to include local origination with a newly constructed studio on the second floor of the Inman Hotel.
The original staff at WCHU included Vice President Milton Friedland, who had been with WICS since 1953 and would oversee the operation at WCHU. Jerry Merrit was the Chief Engineer, and Jack Hoskins was the Program Director. All of the personnel would be located at WICS. At WCHU, the staff consisted of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Eskew. Mr. Eskew was from technical services at WICS and would oversee the new station in Champaign. His wife was a former Traffic Manager and would serve as Office Manager at the station. Meanwhile, Jerry Dodds served as Account Executive, and Bob Daniels served as Announcer. Other Engineers on staff included Roger Thorp and Glen Horton.
By August of 1960, it was announced that WCHU should be able to broadcast in color, perhaps by the time of the telecast of the 1960 World Series. Milton D. Friedland stated that "color is here to stay...RCA and NBC have invested tremendously in developing color TV and will transmit every color show they have." The investment in color casting at WCHU was in the $15-20,000 range. Friedland announced some of the shows that would be broadcast in color by WCHU, including "Jack Paar, Perry Como, Dinah Shore will all be in color." By then, though, WICS had been broadcasting in color for three years. Unfortunately, WICD, the Danville sister station, would not broadcast in color. It's apparent that the vintage 1953 transmitter of WICD could not be retrofitted to accommodate the addition of the equipment needed to color cast. I would assume that the investment in color casting for the Danville station was simply not financially practical as a completely new transmitter would have been required. WICD would not broadcast an NBC signal in color until 1967.
At right is a photo of the WDAN Radio and Television Studios, probably taken sometime in 1953-54. The address is 1501 North Washington in Danville. It was built to fit into the residential neighborhood, sprouting all around the original transmitter site of WDAN Radio, built in 1938.
(Photo courtesy of Neuhoff Broadcasting, where it hangs in the lobby area)
Here is the original home of WDAN-TV as it looked in 2007. It's now the home of WDAN(AM), WDNL(FM), and WRHK(FM). For a time, WICD (TV) used it as a news bureau located in the original TV station business office. In 2007, I was on the first live television broadcast from that facility since the early 1960s.
(photo by Doug Quick)
See more on the history of this facility in the history of WDAN and WDNL on this website.
This is the first of a series of anniversary segments for the 50th anniversary of the first UHF station in Champaign, Illinois. WICD was originally WCHU, channel 33 in Champaign. WCHU purchased WDAN-TV in 1960 and changed its call letters to WICD. WDAN-TV went on the air in late December of 1953. So how old is WICD? Is it 50 or 55? Check out this report as broadcast on WICD, on April 24, 2009. Of course, both lower-powered stations on channels 33 and 24 were combined in 1967 into a full-powered station on channel 15.
Part 3 of a series of segments celebrating the history of WICD, Champaign, IL. This time Doug Quick talks with Bill Burow, the son of the first General Manager of WDAN-TV in Danville.
Visit Part 2 of this series at The History of WCHU/WICD 1959-1967
"Pictures on the Prairie: The First Ten Years of Mid-Illinois Television" by Doug Quick
The Urbana Courier
The Champaign News-Gazette
TV Guide© (1954-1959) from the Doug Quick Collection
Danville Public Library
Urbana Free Library
Various Contributors to YouTube
"The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network Shows" by Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh
"Total Television" by Alex McNeil
Bob Lee (Screen Grabs)
WICS, Channel 20, Springfield
Cindy Larson and others at WICS
J.R. Evans and his TV Guide© Collection
Kerry Wienke, Tom Fricke and the Vermilion County Farm Bureau
To continue to the WCHU-WICD Page
click on the image at left.