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WICD (semi-satellite of WICS Springfield / Decatur, Illinois)
Champaign / Urbana /

Danville, Illinois

City of license Champaign
Branding ABC 15 (general)

ABC NewsChannel 15

Slogan Coverage You

Can Count On

Channels Digital: 41 (UHF)

Virtual: 15 (PSIP)

Subchannels 15.1 ABC
Owner Sinclair Broadcast Group

(WICD Licensee, LLC)

Founded April 23, 1959
Call letters' meaning WICS Champaign / Danville or We're in Illinois Champaign / Danville
Sister station(s) WICS
Former callsigns WCHU-TV (1959–1967)
Former channel number(s) Analog:

33 (1959–1967) 15 (1967–2009)

Former affiliations NBC (1959-2005)
Transmitter power 950 kW
Height 375 m
Facility ID 25684
Transmitter coordinates 40°4′11″N 87°54′45″W / 40.06972°N 87.9125°W / 40.06972; -87.9125 (WICD)
Website wicd15.com

Although it identifies as a station in its own right, it is considered a semi-satellite of sister station WICS in Springfield/Decatur. This station simulcasts WICS except during local newscasts, commercials, and station identifications. Master control and some internal operations of WICD are based at WICS' facilities on East Cook Street in Springfield. Outside newscasts, commercials on WICD are controlled at the Springfield studios. WICS serves the western portion of the market (Springfield and Decatur) while WICD serves the eastern portion (Champaign/Urbana/Danville).

Contents

[hide]*1 History

  • 2 News operation
    • 2.1 Newscast titles
    • 2.2 Station slogans
  • 3 News team
  • 4 Former personnel
  • 5 External links

History

WICD went on-the-air for the first time on April 23, 1959 as WCHU-TV an NBC affiliate on UHF channel 33. It was owned by Plains Television Partners and was a low-powered satellite of Springfield's WICS. The WCHU signal traveled about fifteen miles from a transmitter at its studios atop the Inman Hotel in Downtown Champaign. However, getting a decent signal from Springfield (85 miles west of Champaign) was usually hit-or-miss. Plains Television had to build a microwave tower in Northwestern Champaign to send the WICS signal to the WCHU studios. With a more reliable signal, the station began a more routine schedule on September 14. It began broadcasting in color the next year.

In July 1960, Plains Television Partners bought WDAN-TV in Danville. That station had debuted on December 19, 1953. Originally, it was a low-powered ABC affiliate broadcasting on channel 24 with a signal which radiated about 25 miles from its transmitter. WDAN was owned by Northwest Publishing, owner and publisher of the Danville Commercial-News newspaper. The company changed WDAN's call letters to WICD and made it a full repeater of WCHU. From 1960 to 1967, both WCHU and WICD aired some locally originated programs from the WCHU studios in Champaign. However, WICD's transmitter was not capable of broadcasting local programming in color.

In June 1966, Plains Television announced that WCHU and WICD would merge into a single full-power station broadcasting on channel 15. It would operate under the WICD call letters but would use WCHU's license and studios at the Inman Hotel in Champaign. The new station would broadcast at a million watts from the tallest tower in Illinois at 1,385 feet. The new station was to have gone on-the-air in January 1967 but an ice storm toppled the tower. It was rebuilt and the new WICD went on-air in July. However, there are unconfirmed reports of a delay in the final paperwork for the new station and it may have originally gone on the air as WCHU.

The station moved from the Inman Hotel to its current studios facility on Country Fair Drive in 1978. In 1986, WICS was purchased by Guy Gannett Broadcasting (no relation to the much larger Gannett Company) but WICD remained under the ownership of Plains Television. The two stations operated as a "regional network" simulcasting most network and syndicated programming. This arrangement nearly brought down WICD. Guy Gannett finally bought WICD in 1994 and pumped significant resources into that station particularly its news department. Gannett then sold most of its television properties, including WICD and WICS, to the Sinclair Broadcast Group in 1999. Almost immediately after the acquisition by Sinclair was finalized, Sinclair announced the sale of the two plus KGAN in Cedar Rapids, Iowa to Sunrise Television. However, the FCC did not allow Sunrise to buy WICS/WICD due to Sunrise's ownership structure. Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst (HMTF), an investment firm controlled by Texas Rangers and Dallas Stars owner Tom Hicks, owned a large block of Sunrise stock. HMTF is majority stockholder of the LIN TV Corporation then-owner of WAND in Decatur.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ruled that HMTF held enough stock in Sunrise that an acquisition of WICS/WICD would have resulted in a duopoly between two of the four highest-rated stations in the market something which is forbidden by FCC rules. Sinclair subsequently withdrew the offer to sell the three stations in 2000. On September 5, 2005 as part of a larger national deal, WICD and WICS swapped affiliations with WAND and became ABC affiliates. Because of contracts with satellite providers, WICS is the only station in the market uplinked. That means people living in Champaign with satellite dishes cannot see WICD. Even though they live near that station, their local ABC affiliate is in Springfield on the other side of the state. Nielsen Media Research counts WICS and WICD as one station and identifies WICD as "WICS+" in its ratings books.

News operation

Its news open with the ABC logo.WICD and WICS have been very competitive in the news race lately after years of being a distant second behind long-dominant WCIA. In fact, since the November and December 2006 Nielsen ratings, the two stations have led the Central Illinois news ratings. This is as a result of combining the two stations' ratings. On September 11, 2006, a news share agreement was established with the area's Fox affiliates, WRSP-TV/WCCU. As a result, a nightly prime time broadcast at 9 began to air on those stations co-produced by WICS and WICD. Known as NewsChannel at 9 on Fox Illinois, it airs from the studios of WICS but focuses on area-wide local news using the resources of WICD and WICS. There is also a separate weather forecast using both station's meteorologists.

Newscast titles

  • The Dunkel / Eaton Report (1960s-1967)
  • Channel 15 News (1967-1970s)
  • TV-15 News (1970s-1979)
  • Channel 15 News (1979-1993)
  • News 15 (1993-1994)
  • NewsChannel 15 (1994-1997 and 2003-2005)
  • NBC NewsChannel 15 (1997-2003)
  • ABC NewsChannel 15 (2005-present)

Station slogans

  • "The Tower of Power" (1967, used when the tallest in Midwest went on-the-air)
  • "Channel 15 There, Be There" (1983-1984, local version of NBC ad campaign)
  • "Where Local News Comes First" (1993-1994)
  • "The News Source for Champaign and Vermillion Counties" (1994-2004)
  • "Coverage You Can Count On" (2007-present)

News team

Anchors

  • Bridget Shanahan - weekday mornings and 11 a.m.
    • reporter
  • Rick Schutt - weeknights at 5, 6, and 10
  • Erin Murphy - weeknights at 5, 6, and 10
  • Marianne Manko - weeknights at 9 (based at WICS)
  • Ben Handelman - weekends at 6 and 10
  • Sara Vincent - weekends at 9 (based at WICS)

Storm Team 15

  • Doug Quick - Chief seen weeknights and Public Service Director
  • Matt Brickman - weekday mornings and 11 a.m.
  • Brittney Sager - weekends and news reporter

Sports

  • Steve Breitweiser - Director seen weeknights at 6 and 10
  • Zach Kerker - nightly at 9 (based at WICS)
  • Aaron Matas - weekends at 5 and 10
    • sports reporter

Reporters

  • A.J. Bayatpour - Vermilion County Bureau Chief
  • Bret Buganski - photographer
  • Kate Springer - photographer
  • Ryann Monahan

Former personnel

  • Maira Ansari
  • Scott Andresen
  • Ryan Baker
  • Art Barron
  • Angela Bettis
  • Raphaline Brightbill (deceased)
  • Natalie Bomke
  • Jennifer Broecker
  • Keisha Brown
  • Emily Carlson
  • Stacy Case
  • Julie Chang
  • Sandra Chapman
  • Susan Chapman
  • Kelli Cheatham
  • Mike Cleff
  • Jennifer Copeland
  • Chris Curtis
  • Ron Davis
  • Paul Donohue
  • Elroy Edwards
  • Gwen Ellis
  • Rob Elgas
  • Carol Fisher
  • Jeff Friend
  • Dave Furgeson
  • Karyn Greer - formerly of WGNX (now WGCL-TV) now with WXIA-TV in Atlanta
  • Tamara Gibbs
  • Tiffini Helberg
  • Bruce Jakubowski
  • Nick Janes - Now at KOVR/KMAX-TV in Sacramento
  • Demetria Kaye
  • Kim Khazei
  • Jack Keefe - Former News Director
  • Maureen Kocot
  • Dave Malkoff - Now with KCBS-TV and KCAL-TV in Los Angeles
  • Josh Rubenstein - Now with KCBS-TV and KCAL-TV in Los Angeles
  • Stephanie Abrams - Now freelance with KCBS-TV and KCAL-TV in Los Angeles
  • Aubrey Mika
  • Tom Milbourn
  • Andrew Miller
  • Bob Miller
  • Jennifer Mitchell
  • Karen Moe
  • Kathy Morris
  • Scott Musgrave
  • Jim Niedelman - Now with WNCT-TV in Greenville, NC
  • Kent Ninomiya
  • Carlene Orig
  • Keith Page (deceased)
  • Lauren Petty
  • Rich Porter
  • Susan Rieke
  • Erik Rinderle
  • Jerome Ritchey
  • Geni Roark
  • Tiffani Sargent
  • Mark Schanowski - Now with Comcast SportsNet
  • Sally Schulze
  • Jay Searles
  • Larry Smith
  • Amanda Stanzilis
  • Niki Surles
  • Dan Swaney
  • Loren Tate
  • Grant Uitti - Former News Director
  • Nathalie Voirin
  • Mark Welp
  • Elizabeth Wooley
  • Brian Zents

External links

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