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Peoria Television History
Note: What follows are excerpts from a much larger body of work that I hope to have published in book form soon.  Many events of the history of Peoria Television has been omitted from this very abbreviated history of Peoria television.  This site concentrates on the first 10 years of Mid Illinois Television, but I do include a very brief overview of the years from 1964 to the present.

The Peoria Story

In early April of 1952 it was announced that the FCC would begin processing TV applications after a 45-month freeze, on July 1, 1952. It was determined that applicants would be granted an allocated channel for a community when there was no competing applications for the same channel. I twas determined that UHF stations would be given priority.

For Peoria, the allocation table listed channels available on VHF channel 8 as well as UHF channels 19 and 43, with channel 37 begin available for educational television use.

Channel 8 Applicants

WMBD Group

In June of 1952, Peoria Broadcasting Company would apply for Peoria's channel 8. The proposed station would have a power of 316-kw and would broadcast from a tower of 995-feet. The construction cost was given at $550,474 with a first year operating cost of $320,000 and expecting the first year revenue to be around $400,000. The Peoria Broadcasting Company studios were listed as being at 212 South Jefferson with transmitter one mile south of Groveland, Illinois. The transmitter was going to be a DuMont model with a General Electric antenna. The applicant is licensee of WMBD AM/FM with principals being Charles C. Caley, 25% (general manger of WMBD AM/FM and 25% owner of WDZ Radio, Decatur, Illinois); Carl P. Slane, 12.6% (president of the Peoria Journal Transcript and Morning Star newspapers); Elizabeth P. Talbott, 31.2% (director for the Peoria newspapers listed).

In January of 1953, a new application for channel 8 was filed by a newly formed WMBD, Incorporated. The group underwent a change in ownership during the last months of 1952 but the desire of a television property would continue. The major changes to the initial application included the tower height now listed as 543-feet, instead of 995-feet. The construction cost was now listed as $538,369 with operating cost at $428,819 with proposed revenue at $512,662. The principals were now listed as Charles Caley, 66.67% (owner of WMBD AM/FM, 25% owner of WDZ Radio, Decatur, Illinois); John Fetzer, 33.33% (52% owner of WKZO AM/TV, Kalamazoo, Michigan and WJEF AM/FM Grand Rapids, Michigan). The application sought FCC approval of the assignment of the license of WMBD Peoria from the previous ownership, Peoria Broadcasting Company.

WMBD amended its application in May of 1953 to increase the tower height to 996-feet and would also change the tower/transmitter site to 3.3 miles south of Groveland, Illinois.

WIRL Group

The following month, WIRL Television Company would apply for channel 8. Its proposal would include a station broadcasting with 92.4kw with an antenna/tower at 500-feet about 4.5 miles south of Peoria on Cole Hollow Road. Both the antenna and transmitter would be manufactured by RCA. The station would cost $305,000 to build, and would cost $305,000 for the first years operation. The revenue was expected to be around $346,320. This channel 8 would operate from studios located at 115 N. Jefferson in Peoria. The principals of WIRL included: Timothy W.l Swain, 22% (president and 15% owner of Illinois Broadcasting Company, licensee of WIRL Radio); Katherine A. Swain 22% (secretary and 15% owner of WIRL Radio); Edward J. Altorfer, 22% (treasurer and director owning 15% of WIRL Radio); Paul C. Brines, 4% (director of TV-program director of WIRL Radio, assistant general manager of WIRL Radio; Rudolph Luukinen, 4% (chief engineer of WIRL Radio) and Thomas Gavin, 4% (general manager of WIRL Radio).

In June of 1953, the application for channel 8 by WIRL would include some changes. Among those was the tower height was changed to 992-feet and the studio site was listed as 200 W. McClure Avenue in Peoria.

WEEK-TV was first to sign-on in Peoria and to claim NBC as it's primary network.

WTVH-TV took on CBS-TV as a secondary affiliate during the first year of broadcasting.  CBS was holding out on for a primary partnership with VHF-Channel 8.  After not seeing any progress with channel 8, it signed with WTVH-TV as a primary affiliate through 1957.

WTVH-TV would become an exclusive ABC affiliate on January 1, 1958 when CBS would move to the new WMBD-TV, Channel 31 on that date.

Central Illinois Coveage Areas in 1953

(Left) is a drawing published in the Bloomington Daily Pantagraph in 1953 showing the differences in the coverage areas of the central Illinois TV stations.

Note, the large area by central Illinois' only VHF commercial station WCIA which actually touches the Peoria market.  Also the relatively small areas covered by the UHF stations, especially that of WICS in Springfield which didn't even reach half way to Decatur!  Likewise, WTVP didn't reach Springfield and just barely reached Clinton and Taylorville!

WBLN shared coverage with WCIA and WEEK for Bloomington.  Also, the differences between WTVH and WEEK's coverage areas were apparent and helped to establish the dominance of WEEK in Peoria for decades.

The coverage area for WDAN-TV was not shown as it played little to no significance to most of central Illinois.

(left): WEEK-TV general manager, Fred Mueller
(right): longtime WEEK chief engineer, Wayne Lovely
(pictures from Broadcasting-Telecasting)

WEEK delivers a good signal into Bloomington as reported by the Bloomington Pantagraph.  It also references the fact that if channel 8 was granted, it would pose a strong threat to the success of WEEK-TV and other UHF stations in Peoria.

All channel TV sets with both VHF and UHF tuners were required to receive all of the potential TV signals across mid Illinois.
(ad from the Bloomington Pantagraph)

WEEK-TV studios pictured in an ad for General Electric from Broadcasting-Telecasting magazine

Channel 43 Applicant

WEEK Group

Channel 43 would be sought by yet another potential owner. West Central Broadcasting Company, already in operation as WEEK Radio, filed for channel 43 in early July. That company would propose a station operating at 170kw from an antenna 546-feet with a total construction cost of $518,587 with first year operating cost of $365,000 and expected first year revenue to be at $390,000. The address for the company was listed as being306 N. Robinson, Okahoma City, Oklahoma. The studio/transmitter location was proposed at Springfield Hill Road (2907 Springfield Road) in Groveland Township, Tazewell County. Both the transmitter and antenna were listed as being General Electric models. The principals were listed as U. S. Sen. Robert S. Kerr, 50.611% (U.S. Senator-Democrat-Oklahoma, owner of KRMG and in oil and gas business-Kerr-McGee Oil); T.M. Kerr, 11.141% (owner of KRMG and in oil and gas business-Kerr-McGee); Geraldine H. Kerr, 3.235%, Fred Mueller 5% (WEEK Radio general manager); C.B. Akers, 3% (5% owner of KGLC, Miami Oklahoma and theater owner).

Channel 19 Applicant

WWXL Group

In mid July, Hilltop Broadcasting applied for Channel 19. Hilltop was current licensee for WWXL Radio already in operation in Peoria. The details of the application listed the power output of the station at 90.8kw with an relatively short tower/antenna height at 275-feet. The construction cost was established at $155,000 with an operating cost of $155,000 and revenue during its first year of operation was listed as $255,000. The studio and transmitter was listed at 235 S. Jefferson (Jefferson and Liberty Avenue) in downtown Peoria. The pricipals of Hilltop were listed as President Jugh R. Norman (president and majority stockholder of KSTT in Davenport, Iowa) and Walter F. Kean (consulting radio engineer in Riverside, Illinois).

FCC Grants Construction Permits

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

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

WEEK Construction Begins

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

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

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

WTVH-TV Modifies the Application

With the construction of WTVH-TV well underway, Hilltop made an attempt to move the site of the transmitter/tower to a site in Creve Coeur, Illinois. In early May the application was refused by the FCC sighting the move would violate minimum channel separations.

The reason was the possible short distance and channel separation between channel 26 in Springfield and its location at channel 19. No mention was made of the stations proximity to WICS at channel 20. Later in June of 1953, the FCC did grant a special temporary permit to locate the transmitter and studio at Creve Coeur, the site of the current radio station WTVH-AM.

There was also a granting of a request to eliminate channel 26 from the Springfield allocation table and move it to channel 66. The channel was designated for educational purposes, but was never applied for or granted. So viewers north of Springfield and south of Peoria would be dealing with co-channel tuning issues between the two stations for years once the power increases of both UHF stations would reach maximum outputs years later.

In August of 1953, WTVH filed a request to extend its completion date to February 17, 1954 as many stations would do. Equipment rushes and delays forced many stations to delay completion dates past their original projections. The FCC would only issue so many extensions to prevent the possible profiteering which was reported to take place in some markets as groups not intending to put a station on the air would sell their permits to the highest bidder.

WEEK Moves to Increase Power

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

WEEK-TV Featured in Ad for General Electric

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

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

WTVH Goes on the Air

It was reported that WTVH-TV was beginning to broadcast a test pattern on August 20, 1953 with plans to proceed with commercial broadcasting on Thursday, September 1. The announcement was made by Hugh R. Norman, WTVH president. Unfortunately, no details about the sign-on were found, until later, when a newspaper account in the Bloomington Pantagraph included the story. The article also included more information about the owner of WTVH-AM/TV, Hugh Norman. Mr. Norman was the son of Mrs G. H. Brinegar of 303 W. Willow Street in Normal. His mother was married to the late Mr. Norman senior until his death in 1933. He was a former teacher at Illinois State Normal College for many years.

The stations production director, Don Roper said the station was equipped with a 1-kilowatt RCA transmitter and antenna giving the station an effective radiated power of 24,000 watts. It was reported that reception of WTVH-TV in Bloomington-Normal was poor. The program schedule of Channel 19 would begin at 5:30pm to around midnight on weekdays and Saturdays. The Sunday schedule began at 12:45pm to around midnight. The newspaper article also included the fact that WTVH-TV was of a much lower power than the other Peoria station, WEEK-TV.

The First Hearings for Peoria's Channel 8 Scheduled

The first of what would be a string of hearings on the channel 8 applications would begin on October 12, 1953. Before it was to be held, WIRL had requested an indefinite continuance for the hearing, but that petition was denied by the FCC.

WTVH Becomes ABC Primary Affiliate Number 175

WTVH was already broadcasting programming via kinescope from CBS, ABC and DuMont but in November of 1953, became a primary affiliate of the American Broadcasting Company. This would put WTVH-TV in line for first choice of programming from ABC, but also placing its affiliation with CBS and DuMont into a secondary position.

It appears that CBS was holding out in its primary affiliation contract for the issuance of a permit for VHF channel 8. Over the next few years, CBS would float in and out of the programming schedule of WTVH-TV until such time it would latch onto another UHF station later in the decade. Politics were probably the reason for the fact that CBS didn't immediately seek affiliation with WTVH-TV. One of the applicants was WMBD Radio, by that time a heritage CBS radio affiliate. That allowed WMBD some leverage for the network if it was to receive the grant for channel 8, or even some future allocation on the UHF band. The ABC primary affiliation was only temporary as CBS would soon become the primary network for a few years.

WTVH-TV Grants

Channel 19, WTVH-TV was finally granted a modified construction permit to change the power output of the station to an effective radiated power of 97.7kw from a tower at 280-feet. The location of the studio,transmitter and tower were now approved to be at a permanent location at the corner of Stewart and Leonard Streets, Creve Coeur, Illinois. This would make WTVH-TV very limited compared with its direct competition, WEEK-TV with a power output more than twice that of Channel 19 from a tower twice as tall.

Hilltop Broadcasting Sells

By April of 1954, it became evident that WTVH-TV was number two, in a two station race for Peoria area viewers and advertisers. Hilltop appeared to be faltering, with both the radio and television properties loosing ground to WEEK and WEEK-TV.

It was just a short time earlier that the two Peoria newspapers were merging. The Morning Star and the afternoon Journal would merge under one roof plus purchase a majority share in Hilltop Broadcasting. Hilltop was owned by Hugh R. Norman and L.W. Hicks who held 55% interest with the Peoria Journal holding 36% interest with the rest of the shares being held by a few minority stockholders.

In May of 1954 the FCC would approve the transaction. The newly formed Peoria Journal-Star would purchase 55% of the shares from Mr. Norman and Mr. Hicks. Both former stockholders would receive $55,000 each and the newspaper would assume liabilities of $155,000. This would give the Peoria Journal-Star 91% of the stock of the radio and television properties. WTVH Radio (1590 kc) was an affiliate of the Mutual Broadcasting System, while WTVH-TV was listed as being an affiliate of ABC, CBS and DuMont. After the sale, the company name of Hilltop Broadcasting would continue.


The Bloomington Pantagraph reported WTVH had gone on the air with a low powered signal.

Dage equipment was a low cost, lower quality video product which fit the budgets of many first time broadcasters.  They were used by WTVH and at WDAN-TV. 

(ad from Broadcasting-Telecasting)

Don McNeill's Breakfast Club aired on ABC weekday mornings from 8 to 9am live from Chicago.  Many stations aired the program, then signed off until later in the afternoon.  WTVH-TV was one of those along with orhers in Mid-Illinois including WTVP, WBLN and possibly WDAN-TV.

"Portia Faces Life" originated on radio in 1941, as many of the first daytime serials did.  It was one of the many daytime serials which were broadcast on CBS thorughout the years.  In Peoria it was seen on WTVH-TV.

Richard Boone starred in one of the first medical anthology dramas.  It aired on NBC and was seen in Peoria on WEEK-TV. 

John Cameron Swayze was the anchor of the NBC News Caravan sponsored by Plymouth (Chrysler Corporation).
It was a combination of movie news reel production and a studio newscast.  The News Caravan was seen on WEEK-TV.

The Dinah Shore Chevy Show was broadcast on NBC and WEEK-TV.  It was one of the few variety shows hosted by a female.

The "Tennessee Ernie Ford Show" was part of the daytime schedule of NBC and WEEK-TV.   It was a variety show which included comedy skits and a variety of music.

"Climax" was an hour long live dramatic anthology series which aired on CBS from 1954-1958.  Initially it was broadcast on WTVH-TV while it was a primary CBS affiliate.

"The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriot" was the longest running live action sit com having been on television from 1952 to 1966.  Even though it was distributed on ABC to affiliates, many ABC affiliated stations were overlooked  as the advertising company who represented its main sponsors Coca-Cola and Kodak would sometimes purchase time on competing higher rated stations.  That was the case in Decatur with WTVP, but in Peoria, the long running show was seen on WTVH-TV.

Arthur Godfrey was a fixture at CBS from the 1930s into the early 1960s.  At one time he was a part of three prime time shows a week!  Here is a sample of "The Arthur Godfrey Show" as seen on CBS and WTVH-TV while it was still a primary CBS affiliate before January 1, 1958.

(all videos are from You Tube and may be withdrawn at any time)

Peoria TV Listings from Monday, September 13, 1954  as listed in TV Guide
WEEK-TV, Channel 43, Peoria (NBC, ABC)

7:00  a
The Morning Show-CBS, News/Talk/Variety

9:00 a
Ding Dong School-NBC, Children
9:30 a
11:45 a
Garry Moore Show-CBS, Variety
12:00 p
Portia Faces Life-CBS, Serial
12:15 p
Seeking Hart-CBS, Serial
12:30 p
Welcome Travelers-CBS, Travelogue
1:00 p
Love of Life-CBS, Serial
1:15 p
Search for Tomorrow-CBS, Serial
no listing
1:55 p
Cooking is Fun with Ruth Ewan-local, cooking
2:00 p
The Big Payoff-NBC, Game
2:30 p
One Man's Family-NBC, Serial
2:45 p
Your Senator Speaks-Syn, hosted by Illinois Senators Dirkson(Rep) and Douglas(Dem)
3:00 p
Brighter Day-NBC, Serial
3:15 p
Secret Storm-CBS, Serial
4:00 p
Murray Go Round-Local
4:30 p
Howdy Doody-NBC, children
5:00 p
Six Gun Theater-syndicated, western serials

6:00 p
Newsreel with Bob Arthur-local, newscast
6:15 p
Mr. Weather with Bob Houlihan-local, weathercast
6:30 p
Tony Martin Show-CBS, musical variety
6:45 p
NBC News Caravan with John Cameron Swayze-NBC, newcast
7:00 p
NBC News Special- NBC, news documentary "Three, Two, One, Zero"

8:00 p
The Medic-NBC, medical drama
8:30 p
Robert Montgomery Presents-NBC, drama anthology
"Ten Minute Alibi"

9:30 p
Film Program-syn, unknown
10:00 p
News View with Bob Arthur-local, newscast

10:15 p
Weather with Bill Houlihan-local, weathercast
10:20 p
Chick Hearn Show-local, sportscast
10:30 p
TV Close-Ups-local, unknown
10:35 p
Night Owl Theater-syndicated, movie

WTVH-TV, Channel 19, Peoria (CBS, ABC, DuMont)

8:00  a

Don McNeill's Breakfast Club-ABC, Variety/TAlk
9:00 a

2:00 p
Paul Dixon Show-DuMont


3:00 p
Bits of Interest-Local, unknown
3:30 p
Movie Quick Quiz-local, game/quiz
4:00 p
Woman's Journal-local
4:30 p
Western Trails-syndicated, western serials

5:30 p
Kartoon Korner-local/syn, childrens panel/syn cartoons
6:00 p
Captain Video-DuMont, childrens sci-fi
6:15 p
Peoria Area News-local, newscast
6:30 p
CBS News with Douglas Edwards-CBS, newscast
6:45 p
Perry Como-CBS, musical variety
7:00 p
Burns and Allen-CBS, sitcom

7:30 p
The Lone Wolf-syndicated, crime drama
8:00 p
Public Defender-CBS, legal drama
8:30 p
Masquerade Party-CBS, game

9:00 p
Studio One Summer Theater-CBS, drama anthology

10:00 p
News Roundup with Jerry Dunphy-local, newscast
10:10 p
Weather with Jack Dace-local, weathercast

10:20 p
Sports wtih Tony Parker-local, sportscast
10:30 p
Main Event Wrestling-syn, sportscast

11:35 p
News Headlines-local, newscast

The signing of the contract for advertising on the WTVH newscasts by Standard Oil. 

(from Broadcasting-Telecasting)

Jerry Dunphy would anchor the Standard Oil "News Roundup" on WTVH-TV on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 10pm.
(from TV Guide, the Doug Quick Collection)

DuMont programming was sparse and brief but what few programs were offered ended up on both WEEK-TV and WTVH-TV.
(Doug Quick Collection)

WTVH-TV and News

The Standard Oil Company's Standard News Roundup was a syndicated newsreel service carried on many local TV stations in the eastern half of the country. In July of 1954, WTVH-TV signed on to broadcast the newsreel sponsored by the Standard Oil Company. It would air three times a week. The signing would take place before a camera which captured the event. It would be attended by John Leslie, WTVH sales manager, C. H. Coughlin, Standard Oil Peoria field manager, John Smith, local Standard advertising rep and Jerry Dunphy, WTVH-TV news-special events director.

Management Changes at WTVH-TV

In early August of 1954, a number of new appointments were made to management positions at WTVH-TV. Edward G. Smith was named general manager, Robert L. Jawer was appointed assistant general manager. The appointments were announced by Henry P. Slane president of Hilltop Broadcasting Company. John Leslie, acting general manager was named local sales manager, succeeding Donald G. Roper who was promoted to program manager.

Color Comes to WEEK-TV

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

WTVH-TV Increases Power and Becomes a CBS Affiliate

WTVH-TV would apply for and would receive a permit to increase power in August of 1954 to 214kw which would bring a stronger signal within its coverage area, but it would continue to broadcast from a relatively short tower/antenna at only 290-feet.

The following month, on the heals of WEEK-TV announcing its capability to broadcast CBS network color programs locally in color, WTVH-TV would pull the rug out from under Channel 43. In mid September of 1954, WTVH-TV signed on with the CBS Television Network as a primary interconnected affiliate effective immediately. This change in primary affiliation would place programming from ABC in a secondary level of prominence when it came to the schedules. This move would more than likely increase network compensation to the station while locking in the leading television network for the station, and reducing its syndicated programming costs. CBS offered a full slate of programs from morning to night, whereas ABC had only a limited, mostly late afternoon to prime time schedule.

WEEK Ownership Changes its Name

In late September of 1954, the ownership of WEEK AM/TV would change its corporate name. From West Central Broadcasting Company, to All Oklahoma Broadcasting Company, an Oklahoma corporation. There were no changes in ownership involved in the company name change.

WTVH Increases Power with a Celebration

With the installation of a new RCA 12.5kw transmitter, WTVH-TV would go from 24kw to 214kw of effective radiated power. The increase of power took place on November 6, 1954 with the throwing of the switch by Henry P. Slane, president of Hilltop Broadcasting. At the same time, WTVH-TV was celebrating its first year of broadcasting and added CBS as the primary television network. Mr. Slane also announced the plans of an ultra modern studio and the renovating of its present facility to include the installation of a Vidicon film chain and color TV equipment. The station was also adding AP Photofax and CBS Newsfilm to its ability to broadcast news programming.

Peoria's Got Network Color

A poll of Illinois television stations listed both WEEK-TV and WTVH-TV as having the capabilities to pass network color programming in color. As stated above it would be many years before the stations would have the equipment necessary to broadcast color video from their studios either live programming or via film. Video tape was still 5 years away for most stations, and color video tape even further in the future.

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

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

WTVH-TV Gets New Tower with a Power Increase

In August of 1955, WTVH-TV makes another major investment in its future with the purchase of a 1000 foot tower to which a new antenna would be mounted. According to Hilltop Broadcasting’s Edward G. Smith, general manager the tower and antenna would be “the highest man-made structure above ground in Illinois.” The tower would be constructed in sections by Dresser-Ideco Company fo Columbus, Ohio and would be located at the site of the current 240-foot tower at Creve Coeur, Illinois.

The station will also install a new RCA transmitter which will increase the effective radiated power to 500kw. This improvement of facilities, as well as being the primary CBS affiliate in the market, would certainly help make the station a major player in central Illinois broadcasting.

The following month WTVH-TV was seeking modification of its construction permit to change the effective radiated power to 171kw from a new 1055-foot tower. The installation of its transmitter to allow it to to a half-million watts was still pending.

In October, there seemed to be a change in the expansion of the WTVH-TV in regards to its new 1000-foot tower and its power output. With no explanation WTVH-TV amended its application to change the effective radiated power to an an antenna height at 608-feet. The October 24, 1955 edition of Broadcasting-Telecasting reported that the FCC granted the last request for the latest application.

WIRL-TV Specs and Grant

In early July, WIRL would be granted channel 8 for Peoria. At the time of the grant, the proposed channel 8 would operate at 316kw and broadcast from an antenna/tower at 991 feet above average terrain. The transmitter, antenna combo would be manufactured by RCA. Once again, though, the FCC forbids the construction of the facility, pending new rule making which could eliminate channel 8. The Commission held the option of substituting a UHF channel in its place if channel 8 was eliminated from the allocation table for Peoria. The call letters of WIRL-TV were granted to channel 8 later in July of 1956.

Later in July, WIRL would petition the FCC to keep Peoria VHF channel. WIRL-TV asked the FCC to reconsider the rule making proposal to move the allocation to the Quad Cities (Rock Island, Illinois). The ownership of WIRL-TV stated that Peoria needs VHF service whereas Rock Island is already served by two VHF stations, WHBF-TV, Channel 4 and WOC-TV, Channel 6. A request to reconsider the prohibition against construction was also included in the petition.

WTVH-TV Makes Another Upgrade

Following the construction of a new tower the previous year, once again WTVH-TV was filing for a new construction permit to allow for another power increase to 186kw and to make changes to antenna and other equipment changes. With the approval, WTVH-TV ordered a new high gain UHF antenna from RCA.

By August WTVH made another announcement of its intent to boost its power from 214kw to 500kw during the Fall of '56 after the installation of its new high gain antenna.

The "Movie Quick Quiz" from 1954
(TV Guide from the Doug Quick Collection)

The syndicated medical drama "Ella Raines" was also called "Janet Dean" in some areas. 
(TV Guide from the Doug Quick Collection)

ABC aired the Miss America pageant in 1954 and was broadcast on mid Illinois ABC affiliates including WTVH, Channel 19.
(TV Guide from the Doug Quick Collection)

"New York Confidential" was a syndicated crime drama and aired on WTVH-TV during the mid to late 1950s.

(TV Guide Ad from the Doug Quick Collection)

"Your Are There" was a production of CBS and was aired on WEEK-TV in 1954.  It was hosted by Walter Cronkite. 
(TV Guide Ad from the Doug Quick Collection)

Numerous syndicated TV shows were available through the  NTA, an unwired network of independent productions which were available for subscribing television stations.  "Captain Grief" was one of those TV shows and aired on WTVH-TV.
(TV Guide Ad from the Doug Quick Collection)

"Four Star Playhouse" was broadcast on CBS, but was shown on WEEK-TV in 1954. 

(TV Guide Ad from the Doug Quick Collection)

"Maverick" aired on WTVH after it became a primary ABC affiliate in January 1958. 
(TV Guide Ad from the Doug Quick Collection)

WEEK-TV logo 1958
(TV Guide Ad from the Doug Quick Collection)

The Price is Right was seen in primetime on NBC and WEEK-TV as well as all of the other Mid-Illinois TV stations.
(TV Guide Ad from Doug Quick Collection)

WEEK-TV Applies for a Satellite Station

The limitations of UHF broadcasting stations were obvious as the range of coverage was extremely limited and the development of high powered UHF transmitters was still a few years away. If a station wanted to bring a city grade signal to a fringe market to add households of coverage, the use of a satellite station would be necessary.

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

In February of 1957, WEEK-TV received an FCC grant to own and operate a UHF satellite station which would operate on channel 35. It was granted to have an effective radiated power of 14.3kw and an antenna/tower height of 437-feet. It would have the call letters WEEQ(TV).

The new 1957, WEEK-TV broadcast tower, next to its former tower.
(Bloomington Pantagraph)

Picture coming soon

Chick Hearn former WEEK-TV sportscaster
(from TV Guide and the Doug Quick Collection)

A Prominent Sportscaster Leaves WEEK-TV

One of the more prominent personalities from WEEK-TV, Chick Hearn, would leave that station and move to a new position in Los Angeles at KNX. His role of sports director in Peoria would take him to do play by play for all of the University of Southern California football games during the 1956 season.

Chick Hearn would be replaced by WEEK-TV sportscaster Hank Fisher.

"The Secret Storm" began its run in 1954 on CBS and was shown on WTVH-TV as its second year of operation through late 1957 was spent as a CBS primary station.

Clint Estwood starred with Eric Fleming as regulars on this mostly western anthology series which ran on CBS from 1959 to 1966.  It aired on WMBD-TV.

Bill Cullen was the game show master of ceremonies for "The Price is Right" when it originally aired on NBC daytime and in prime time.  The announcer was Don Pardo who also announced Saturday Night Live well inot his 90s.  This particular episode was shown on WEEK-TV in 1959.


"The Kraft Music Hall" was more than just was about comedy and cheese recipes.  This particular one was hosted by MIlton Berle and is a kinescope of an originally live color broadcast.

Warner Brothers produced a number of series for ABC including "77 Sunset Strip."  The WB shows were all "hip" with young attractive stars who attracted a young audience helping ABC become the "young people's network."  WTVH-TV benefited greatly with the renaissance of ABC programming of the late 1950s and ealry 1960s.

"Tic Tac Dough" was an NBC daytime and prime time
game show.  This particular one is from a prime time 1958 installment.  It aired on WEEK-TV

(all videos are from You Tube and may be withdrawn at any time)

Dick Vance, WEEK-TV personality hosted Channel 43's "Rock n Roll Party" every Saturday afternoon. This is from June of 1957.

WTVH-TV weathercaster     Hoyle from a TV Guide edition from June 1958.

Dick and Bev Vance hosted the daytime local production of "Coffee Time" on WEEK-TV.
This TV Guide is from June of 1957.

WTVH-TV advertising the fact that even though it was a UHF station, it wasn't competing with any VHF stations in the market....and that Peoria was out of range of other VHF markets like Chicago, Rock Island, St. Louis and Quincy.
(from Broadcasting-Telecasting)

NBC broadcasts of the World Series of Baseball was broadcast on WEEK-TV along with other MId-Illinois NBC stations, WOC-TV, Quad Cities and WICS, Springfield.

(all TV Guide Ads are from the Doug Quick Collection)

The advertising agency which controlled the placing of "Zorro" allowed ABC to distribute the Disney adventure series on KTVI, Channel 2, St. Louis and in Peoria on WTVH-TV.  WTVP-TV in Decatur was omitted from the buy, instead placing the series on WICS which broadcast a film of the network feed at a later time. (see WICS)

Peoria TV Listings from Friday, November 22, 1957  as listed in TV Guide
WEEK-TV, Channel 43, Peoria (NBC, ABC)

7:00 a
Today Show-NBC, news/variety

9:00 a
Arlene Francis-NBC, mareity
9:30 a
Treasure Hunt-NBC, game
10:00 a
Price is Right-NBC, game
10:30 a
Truth or Consequences-NBC, game/stunts
11:00 a
Tic Tac Dough-NBC, game
11:30 a
It Could Be You-NBC, game
12:00 p
News-local, newscast
12:10 p
Weather-local, weathercast
12:20 p
Slim 'n Trim-local, exercise
12:30 p
Lunchtime Theater-unknown
1:00 p
Coffee Time with Dick and Bev Vance-local, variety/talk
1:30 p
Bride and Groom-NBC, reality show of real weddings
2:00 p
Matinee Theater -"There Won't Be Any Trouble"-NBC, movie

3:00 p
Queen for a Day-NBC, quiz
3:45 p
Modern Romances-NBC, serial
4:00 p
Comedy Time "Blondie"-NBC, sitcoms (mix of off network series)
4:30 p
Boston Blackie-syn, crime drama
5:00 p
Comic Carnival-Syn, children/cartoons

6:00 p
6:30 p
Robin Hood-CBS, adventure
7:00 p
Court of Last Resort-NBC, legal drama
7:30 p
Martin Kane-syndicated, crime drama
8:00 p
M-Squad-NBC, crime drama
8:30 p
Thin Man-NBC, crime drama
9:00 p
Boxing-NBC, sports, boxing

10:00 p
News/Weather/Sports-local, newscast
10:30 p
Boston Blackie-syndicated, crime drama
11:00 p
Tonight Show with Jack Paar-NBC, Variety/Talk

WTVH-TV, Channel 19, Peoria (CBS, ABC, DuMont)

7:55 a
News-local, newscast
8:00 a
Captain Kangaroo-CBS, children
8:45 a
CBS News-CBS, newscast
9:00 a
Garry Moore-CBS, variety

10:30 a
Showcase-syn, movie

12:00 p
Edge of Night-CBS, Serial (may have been a CBS kinescope)

12:30 p
Marquee Movie, syndicated, movie

2:00 p
Big Payoff-CBS, game
2:30 p
Verdict is Yours-CBS, legal reinactments
3:00 p

4:00 p
American Bandstand with Dick Clark-ABC, dance, music vareity

5:00 p
The Buccaneers-ABC, adventure
5:30 p
Mickey Mouse Club-ABC, children
6:00 p
6:30 p
Rin Tin Tin-ABC, adventrure
7:00 p
Jim Bowie-ABC, adventure
7:30 p
Patrice Munsell-ABC, Variety, Music
8:00 p
Frank Sinatra Show-ABC, musical variety
8:30 p
Date With the Angels-ABC, sit com
9:00 p
Colt .45-ABC, western
9:30 p
Peoples Choice-Syn, sit com
10:00 p
News/Weather/Sports-local, newscast
10:30 p
Lamplighter Playhouse-movie "Congo Maisie"-syn, movie

The FCC Makes a Decision on Channel 8

On Feburary 28, 1957, the FCC would decide that the allocation of channel 8 would be moved to the Quad Cities (Rock Island, Illinois). The move was made on a 4 to 3 vote of FCC commissioners. Along with the decision to move channel 8, a move to assign another UHF allocation to the Peoria allocation table was approved. Channel 25 would added to the available channels. It was assumed that WIRL-TV would apply for channel 25 and it would be immediately granted and approved to begin construction. The other addition to the Peoria allocation table was for channel 31 as well.

WTVH-TV Announces Upgrade in Light of Channel 8 Decision

Following the de-intermixture decision by the FCC for Peoria, the ownership of WTVH-TV announced plans for a significant upgrade to the station. A $100,000 investment was being planned to include the installation of a new high gain UHF antenna at the present tower height at 660-feet which would give Channel 19 an effective radiated power of 1-million watts (1000kw). The antenna would come from RCA.

WIRL-TV Receives Grant for Channel 25

As part of the move of channel 8 from Peoria, WIRL-TV was granted permission to build a television station as projected, with a change of channel. The VHF station applied for and granted with a prohibition of construction was now changed by the FCC to a UHF station at channel 25 and allowed for the building to begin.

With the granting for channel 25, the FCC also expected there would be appeals and the probability of court fights from those left out of the FCC decision. The commissioners were right, as attorneys for WIRL-TV were said to be working on an appeal.

By late March, 1957, the first owner group whose channel was decided on by the FCC to be relocated went to court asking that the FCC decision be reversed. The WIRL-TV appeal also included a demand that the court order an immediate stay against the FCC's implementation of is de-intermixture actions.

WIRL-TV claimed it had been granted channel 8 after four years and accruing costs of $50,000. The Appeal was filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington on the February 28, 1957 action by the FCC.

By May, 17, 1957, WIRL-TV would lose another round in its appeal of the FCC decision from February. The court denied the WIRL-TV claim on channel 8 and agreed with the FCC that the “instant grant” of channel 25 was an appropriate action to replace the original grant for channel 8.

Back when TV Guide was relevant to local  television  broadcasters and viewers, it would publish news about the local television stations, personalities and programs.  At right is an example of such local news from the TV Guide edition December 21, 1957.

It includes news about the new WMBD-TV going on the air January 1, 1958 and the result in the cut backs at WTVH-TV and the elimination of local newscasts to be replaced by short local cut-ins of just a couple of minutes.

(from TV Guide and the Doug Quick Collection)

WMBD-TV Plans Broadcasting on Channel 31

After the announcement of the final FCC decision on the channel 8 move and the establishing of channel 31 as an added channel to the Peoria allocation table, WMBD, Incorporated would apply again for a television station. This time for the new channel 31 position. The proposed television station would end up broadcasting with an initial power of 288 kw from an antenna/tower 620-feet above average terrain. This was far short of the initial publicized specs of the station.

The studio would be with the current radio stations at the site of the former Majestic Theatre built in 1906. The theater was closed in 1946, then put into use as a broadcast studio for the radio stations.

In July, it was announced that the new Channel 31 would go on the air as an interconnected primary affiliate of CBS. The news came from Edward P. Shurick, CBS-TV network vice-president and director of station relations.

In September of 1957, WMBD AM/FM/TV, Robert O. Runnerstrom, vice-president and station manager, would sign a contract with E.C. Tracy, RCA broadcast equipment manager for a 25kw tranmitter along with a high gain antenna which would give Channel 31 a one-million watt (1000kw) effective radiated power. The contract also included a studio equipment package worth a $500,000.

Staffing the new Peoria station was underway with the November announcement of the hiring of Gordon F. Max as the stations new production manager. He previously had the same title at WREX-TV in Memphis, Tennessee. Charles Harrision was added as news director having been hired from WCKT(TV), Miami, Florida. Also in late 1957, W.P. “Win” Baker was appointed program director at WMBD-TV.

The former promotion director at WNDU-TV, South Bend, Indiana, Joseph Franzgrote was hired as promotions director at Channel 31. James J. Johston, the continuity director at KTVH(TV), Hutchison, Kansas was appointed operations manager. Jack Sawyer, producer-director at WLWA(TV), Atlanta, Georgia and Brian Scruby a producer-director WTOP-TV, Washington, D.C. was hired as producer-directors.

This was the first listing for WMBD-TV, Channel 31 as it signed on officially at 6pm on New Years Day, 1958, at 6pm with a "Dedication Program" followed by "I Love Luch" at 7pm.
(TV Guide listing from the Doug Quick Collection)

WMBD-TV Goes On the Air

An ad published in Broadcasting-Telecasting stated that WMBD-TV was currently on the air with a test pattern getting ready for its initial commercial broadcast set for January 12, 1958.

At sign-on the management team included: Charles C. Caley; president, Robert O. Runnerstrom; vice-president, Robert M. Riley, Jr. sales manager; Samuel F. Jackson, national sales manager; Winthrop P. Baker, Jr., program director and film buyer; Charles F. Harrison, Jr., news-director and George A. Pyle as chief engineer.

On January 1, 1958, WMBD-TV, would go on the air at 6pm broadcasting a half hour dedicatory program with Charles Caley and Robert Runnerstrm along with introductions of the talent lineup of the station, as well as a short sample of news, sports and weather before proceeding with the CBS prime time schedule. At 6:30pm, there was a ceremony with George Pyle, the chief engineer flipping the switch to bring CBS to air. The first CBS show that aired on Channel 31 was “I Love Lucy.”

The transition from WTVH-TV to WMBD-TV for CBS was interesting. The sign-on for WMBD-TV wasn't until 6pm, and as you might know, New Years Day is full of parades and football. And New Years Day 1958 on CBS was no exception. The daytime schedule of WTVH-TV included those CBS programs including a New Years Day Parade and football game the rest of the afternoon. When WMBD-TV signed on, the rest of the CBS schedule for that day would transfer to Channel 31. There were exceptions, as several CBS shows would still continue for several weeks on WTVH-TV, not appearing on WMBD-TV until later.

A full page TV Guide Ad for the announcement at WMBD-TV was in busines for the Peoria area and would broadcast CBS programs.
(from TV Guide and the Doug Quick Collection)

When WMBD-TV went on the air on Janurary 1, 1958, the station when on with a major amount of promotion including many TV Guide ads during the early months of 1958.  Here are a few of those with the personalities of Channel 31's first generation.

(TV Guide Ads from the Doug Quick Collection)

Martin Milner and George Maharis stared in "Route 66" on CBS and WMBD-TV from 1960 to 1964.

"Bachelor Father" was one of the unique shows of the modern era as it was seen on all three networks during its run from 1957 to 1962.  John Forsythe and Noreen Corcoran along wtih Sammee Tong starred. This particular edition was seen on ABC and WTVH-TV.

Gene Barry starred as "Bat Masternson" on NBC and WEEK-TV from 1958 to 1961. 


"Laramie" aired on NBC and WEEK-TV from 1959 to 1963 and starred John Smith, Robert Fuller and other regulars which changed during the run of the series.  It was an hour long series and was noted as the NBC show which introduced the "modern" NBC peacock which would introduce all NBC color programs through the early 1970s.  The peacock version was called the "Laramie peacock."

Perry Mason had its start as a series of books by Erle Stanley Gardner, it was also a movie series, radio drama and in 1957 it became a TV series on CBS where it would continue through 1966, only to reappear during the late 1980s.  During its 1957 run it was seen on WTVH-TV, then would shift with CBS to WMBD-TV in January of 1958.

This was another Warner Brothers production, "The Roaring 20s" aired on ABC and WTVH-TV from 1960 to 1962.  It starred Dorothy Provine, Donald May, Rex Reason, John Dehner, Gary Vinson and Mike Road (the voice of Race Bannon on "Jonny Quest").  This is one series I'd love to see return somewhere!!

The NBC Peacock as seen in 1957 on WEEK-TV.
A rotation of syndicated sit coms being VJ'd by John Fisher on WMBD-TV

Tom Connor anchored news on WEEK-TV morning to night.
"Bat Masterson" aired on NBC and WEEK-TV
WTVH weather caster

In 1962 TV-43 and TV-35(WEEQ-TV) were broadcasting some of the Hanna Barbara's most popular animated series at 5pm "right after Captain Jinx."

The Sunday night news at 9:30 pm-10pm with Tom Connor, Bill Houlihan and Hank Fisher.  This is from 1958.

Syndicated programs on WEEK-TV included "Mackenzie's Raiders" starrting Richard Carlson, Sunday nights at 10:30.

(all TV Guide Ads from the Doug Quick Collection)

After CBS moved to WMBD-TV, WTVH incorporated the ABC "large A" logo into its station branding.

(TV Guide AD from February of 1958
and the Doug Quick Collection)

WTVH-TV aired syndicated movies after its shortened local newscast at 10pm.  Formerly the movie started at 10:30pm, then was moved to 10:15pm.

(TV Guide Ad from Februrary 1958
and the Doug Quick Collection)

After loosing CBS, WTVH used syndicated movies to fill some of the daytime hours vacated by CBS daytime programming.  ABC didn't fill out its daytime schedule until the period from 1959 to 1961.

(TV Guide Ad from November of 1958 and the Doug Quick Collection)

The WTVH-TV logo and channel number font style which was adopted after the sale to Metropolitan.

(from TV Guide Ad and the Doug Quick Collection)

WTVH-TV Adjusts Operation After Losing CBS

Based on TV Guide programming and local news items from 1957 to 1958, WTVH-TV appeared to go through a trying time financially. Many local newscasts were eliminated with the probable lay-offs of many members of the staff. The downturn likely had a lot ot do with the loss of network compensation from CBS broadcasts. With assuming primary network affiliation with ABC would not have the same revenue stream that that of CBS compensation.

The broadcast day was reduced considerably. Formerly WTVH-TV would sign on at 7am with the former CBS Morning Show, then later sign-on was moved back to 8am with Captain Kangaroo. Just a few weeks after the sign-on of WMBD-TV and the loss of CBS daytime programming, WTVH-TV would delay its weekday sign-on to 3:55pm with the broadcast of a short local newscast. Programming would begin with ABC's American Bandstand. Interesting, though, is that the TV Guide listings had WTVH-TV inserting two short local newscasts during American Bandstand at 4:30pm and again at 4:55pm. The stations 10pm newscast was also reduced to 15-minutes. This reduction in the broadcast day would continue until ABC began to expand its daytime schedule. In May of 1959, listings showed WTVH-TV sign-on was listed as Noon with the ABC variety show “George Hamilton IV,” “Play Your Hunch,” “Music Bingo,” “Day in Court,” “The Gale Storm Show” and “Beat the Clock.” Also, in May of 1959, there were no listings for local newscasts from WTVH-TV. The late movie “Lamplighter Playhouse” began at 10pm.  This elimination of local news from this Peoria television station would set the stage for local news rating struggles for years.

Even with the ownership of the Peoria Journal-Star, WTVH-TV found the the going difficult. It was prime for sale. It appeared that Hilltop and its owner the Peoria Journal-Star would try to reduce the expenses enough to make it look favorable for a future sale.

WTVH-TV Sold to Metropolitan Broadcasting Company

In late October of 1959, the sale of WTVH-TV by the Peoria-Journal Star to Metropolitan Broadcasting was announced. The sale price was listed as $600,000. This would be the third television property for Metropolitan which also owned radio properties. To put the price of WTVH-TV in perspective, the company also purchased WIP AM/FM in Philadelphia for $4.5-million!

Metropolitan was headed by John W. Kluge as president and principal stockholder. Bennett H. Korn was vice-president in charge of TV operations. Kluge and his associates took over ownership of Metropolitan early in January of 1959 by purchasing the shares of Paramount Pictures 21.75% interest for $4-million.

To see more about the workings and future of Metropolitan, see the chapter of the history of WTVP(TV), Channel 17 in Decatur. Metropolitan would purchase the Decatur station by early 1960, tying the operations of both stations together.

The sale of WTVH-TV from Hilltop Broadcasting and its primary ownership of the Peoria-Journal Star to Metropolitan would be approved by November of 1959.

In February of 1960, WTVH-TV would be appointing a new general manager. Donn Colee who was general manager of WLOF-TV, Orlando, Florida. He came with a sales manager as well. Mr. Colee wife, Lee was named as director of sales also from WLOF-TV where she had the same position there.

Channel 8 Controversy Still Alive

Even with the sale of WEEK Radio, the WEEK-TV Incorporated group appeared to be still alive as the the Peoria case was remanded back to the FCC by the US Appeals Court in Washington, D.C.. This occurred just four days after the same action took place for the channel 2 situation in Springfield.

The shift of channel 8 to Moline (Rock Island, Illinois) at the time had 5 groups all applying for the allocation for the VHF station. That shift was appealed to the Supreme Court, but sent back to the US Court of Appeals. The courts then returned it to the FCC but retained jurisdiction in the case. The argument made by WIRL-TV was that the owner of WEEK-TV, Senator Robert S. Kerr (D-Oklahoma) had pressured the FCC to move the allocation. The judges presiding over the case included: E. Barrett Prettyman, chief judge along with Charles Fahy and Warren E. Burger.

WMBD-AM/FM/TV Sold to Midwest Television

In March of 1960 the announcement came for the sale of the WMBD radio and television properties from WMBD, Incorporated to Midwest Television, Incorporated. The sale price for the AM/FM/TV combo was $1,850,000 for all assets. Midwest would also pay $229,000 to Charles C. Caley for an agreement not to compete and to serve as a consultant.

By now, or at least after reviewing the story of WCIA, you're familier with the principals of Midwest Television. They include: August C. Meyer and wife, 51%; Helen M. Stevick, 10%; Marajean Stevick Chinigo, 10%; Illinois Broadcasting Company 20% and six other stockholders, none with more than 5%. Those principals of Illinois Broadcasting Company include those stockholders with WSOY AM/FM, Decatur, Illinois; the Decatur Herald-Review newspaper. Other holdings of stockholders from Midwest Television include principals of the Champaign News-Gazette newspaper and WDWS AM/FM.

WMBD-TV were associated with the radio properties, WMBD AM, 1470kc at 5kw and WMBD-FM, 92.5 at 2.5kw. All stations were affiliates of CBS Radio and Television.

The former Majestic Theater, later becoming the home of WMBD-AM/FM/TV on Southwest Jefferson in downtown Peoria. The photo was taken for the 20th Anniversary of WMBD Radio in 1957, right before the sign-on of WMBD-TV on New Years Day 1958.

(Photo from the Ron Moses Collection)

The WIRL-TV Story Continues

In April of 1961, the fight for channel 8 in Peoria was still underway, at least with the remnants of WIRL-TV, Incorporated. A request was filed with the FCC to ignore the request of an immediate oral argument deadlines filed by all of the applicants for channel 8 to operate in the Quad Cities (Moline, Illinois).

WIRL-TV was waiting for the final outcome of the FCCs move of channel 2 from Springfield to St. Louis. The Peoria group described itself as a “veteran of one of the most bitter and longest hearings in the history of the Commission.” It went on to tell of its grant for VHF channel 8 that the company deserved because of its fight to earn it the “hard and American way.”

The channel 8 applicants were hoping to finalize the grant before the Peoria deintermixture ruling was decided, thus eliminating the chance for WIRL-TV to receive the allocation for Peoria.

Channel 8 Favored Grantee Overturned

In early June of 1961, the FCC heard oral arguments in the channel 8 case which would be located in the Quad Cities (Moline, Illinois). The results were announced a few weeks later that reversed the examiner's decision favoring Community Telecasting Corporation for channel 8 in the Quad Cities. The FCC reversed the decision by Charles J. Frederick, the FCC examiner, and indicated a preference for Moline Television Corporation.

The principals of Moline Telecasting includes: Francis J. Coyle (12.5%); Victor B. Day (10%); David Parson (10%); Frank P. Schreiver (10%); Charles C. Agnew (5%); L.S. Helfrich (5%); and Samuel M. Gilman (5%), with the remaining interests divided with 15 others.

The other three applicants under consideration were: Illiway Television Incorporated, Midland Broadcasting Company and Tele-View News, Incorporated. The oral argumnets took place on June 2, 1961.

At this decision the four other losing candidates filed a joint petition for another hearing to take place offering the groups to make another presentation on their behalf, but also point out the alleged flaws in the presentation of Moline Television. By late September of 1961, the FCC denied the request for a re-argument in the channel 8 case. The other applicants described the action of the FCC as “wholly incredible” because they felt that Moline Television did not survey local programming needs as part of its application.

The FCC said the joint petition was entitled to “no meritorious consideration” since the release which prompted the petition was just a preliminary decision and not the final FCC decision. This action by the FCC was also attacked in Congress by Representative Robert Michael (Rep-Illinois) calling it a “political decision.”

ABC News Special "American Newstand"
broadcast on November 29, 1961.

"Stagecoach West" was broadcast on ABC and WTVH-TV.

WEEK-TV and NBC broadcast "Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color."

An installment of "The Red Skelton Show" from 1960 aired on CBS and WMBD-TV.

One of the strangest concepts for a TV series was "Sing A Long With Mitch" starring Mitch Miller on NBC and WEEK-TV. 

Before he hosted his night time talk show on ABC, he was on NBC in a sit com.  Here is an example of the series from NBC and broadcast on WEEK-TV.

WTVH-TV Expands Its Reach

Like fellow Peoria station WEEK-TV, WTVH-TV would try to reach the extreme northern edge of its viewing area with the addition of a translator station in the LaSalle, Peru, Ottawa and Streater, Illinois cities. The translator would broadcast on channel 78 and would be known as W-78-AC. It differs from the WEEQ-TV translator, in that is considered to be a lower powered station giving it the special designated call letters.

Channel 8 Arguments Continue

The long involved stormy history of the channel 8 controversy continued into 1962, when Community Telecasting Corporation, one of the five applicants for the allocation of the Quad Cities channel asked the FCC to reopen the record and hold new arguments on who should be granted the channel. The FCC seemingly ignored the request and demanded an end to the controversy with the order of a document which would finalize the grant of channel 8 to the Moline Television Corporation.

Channel 8 Finalized

In mid-May of 1962, the FCC awarded the allocation for channel 8 assigned to Moline, Illinois to Moline Television Corporation. The award was said to be assigned to Moline TV based on the experience of Frank P. Schreiber, who was listed as the president and 10% owner of the company. Mr. Schreiber was a former director of the Mutual Broadcasting Company, the radio network. He had also spent 15 years with WGN and was a former director of WPIX in New York. The FCC would contradict the original selection made by Charles Frederick, hearing examiner. Mr. Frederick favored the Community Telecasting Corporation for the valuable VHF construction permit.

The new VHF television station was approved for an effective radiated power of 316kw with an antenna at 1,000-feet. The cost of construction was listed at $772,363 with first year operating cost at 625,000. Its first year revenue was set at $765,000. The new Channel 8 would broadcast from its location near Orion, Illinois with an RCA TT-25BH transmitter and an RCA TW-18A8 antenna system.

The principals of the company include: Francis J. Covie (12.5%); Frank P. Schreiber (10%); Victor B. Day (10%); David Parson (10%); Richard Stengel (9%); Charles G. Agnew, L.S. Helfrich MD, Harry McLaughlin, Thomas M. Thomas, Paul M. Versiuis, Richard Waxenburg, Samuel M. Gilman (each 5%), George Young (4%) and a group of local investors had the remaining shares.

With the final assignment of channel 8, the hopes of WIRL-TV to hold on to its original grant were finished. The call letters of WIRL-TV would appear once again, though, when the group would purchase an existing UHF television a few years later.

Captain Jinks and Salty Sam    on WEEK-TV

Join in and become a friend of "The Captain Jinks" Facebook Page! for a DVD with their half hour special "The Captain Jinks Show" with clips, interviews, out-takes from the crew of the S.S. Albatross.  There's also bonus cartoons and a complete show which hasn't aired in over 30 years.

See more about "The Captain Jinks Show" at

Local Blog "Meanwhile Back in Peoria" has more about "The Captain Jinks Show"

WMBD-TV Granted a Translator

Along with the original assignment of a full powered television station which would act as a translator for WEEK-TV, WEEQ-TV would attract the other Peoria television stations with their own repeaters. W-78-AC, a lower powered satellite television station was already assigned to WTVH-TV to re-broadcast the signal for those viewers in the LaSalle-Peru, Illinois area. Now WMBD-TV would file for a low powered repeater as well in June of 1962.

This filing by WMBD-TV, caused quite the stir with Plains Television Partners, the owner of WICS, Channel 20 in Springfield, Illinois. The Springfield NBC affiliate, would file to protest a possible monopoly would be achieved by Midwest Television owners of WMBD-TV and WCIA(TV) in Champaign, Illinois.

The FCC would deny that protest from Plains stating that the translator would not compete with WICS or share any of Channel 20s coverage area, nor would it increase the dominant position of WCIA(TV) from Champaign. The FCC ruling would come down in early July of 1962.

WEEK-TV Plans Frequency Shift

Evidently, faces with the reality that Peoria could not support four television stations, WIRL-TV after the final assignment of channel 8 in the Quad Cities, gave up on the idea of utilizing channel 25 to which it was granted after the frequency was moved. It certainly would have been an uphill battle. Without having a television network available, as the other stations had them locked up, it would have nearly impossible to exist without network compensation and having to purchase programming to fill the schedule. There simply wasn't the advertising support within the Peoria business base to purchase enough advertising to make it feasible.

So, with having the allocation for channel 25 available in 1962, WEEK-TV, Channel 43 would once again ask for a construction permit to change frequency to channel 25. The new WEEK-TV would operate with an effective radiated power of 186kw to achieve a similar coverage area. That would bring about a reduction in power from its existing 371kw. The new channel 25 antenna would be a General Electric model TY-25-C.

The move from channel 43 to channel 25 was granted by the FCC in September of 1963. There were some changes to the initial filing for the grant. WEEK-TV would now operate with an effective radiated power of 375kw from its tower listed at 712-feet.

Peoria TV Listings from Tuesday, November 14, 1961  as listed in the Bloomington Pantagraph
WEEK-TV, Channel 43, Peoria (NBC)

6:00 a
Continental Classroom-Syn, educational
6:30 a
Continental Classroom-NBC, educational

7:00 a

9:00 a
Say When-NBC, game
9:30 a
Play Your Hunch-NBC, game
10:00 a
Price is Right-NBC, game, COLOR
10:30 a
Concentration-NBC, game
11:00 a
Truth or Consequences-NBC, game/stunts
11:30 a
It Could Be You-NBC, game, COLOR

12:00 p
News at Noon
12:20 p
Captain Sailorbird-Local, children

12:45 p
Barb Barry-local, home-maker
1:00 p
Jan Murray Show-NBC, game, COLOR
1:30 p
Loretta Young Theater-NBC, drama anthology (off network)
2:00 p
Young Doctor Malone-NBC, serial

2:30 p
From These Roots-NBC, serial
3:00 p
Make Room for Daddy-NBC, sit com (off network)
3:30 p
Here's Hollywood-NBC, entertainment news
4:00 p
Kukla and Ollie-NBC, children
4:30 p
Captain Jinks-Local, children

5:30 p
Quick Draw McGraw-Syn, children
6:00 p
News, Weather-Local, newscast
6:15 p
Huntley-Brinkley Report-NBC, newscast

6:30 p
Laramie-NBC, western

7:30 p
Alfred Hitchcock-NBC drama anthology
8:00 p
Dick Powell Theater-NBC, drama anthology

9:00 p
Chet Huntley-NBC, news documentary

10:00 p
News, Weather, Sports-Local, newscast
10:30 p
Jack Paar (Tonight)-NBC, variety/talk
12:00 a
Evening Meditation-Local, religion

(off network) former prime time series re purposed by the network
WTVH-TV, Channel 19, Peoria (ABC)

8:40 a
Devotions-local, educational
8:45 a
Deputy Dog-Syn, Children
9:00 a
Romper Room-Syn/Local, Children
9:30 a
Movie-syn, unknown

11:00 a
The Texan-ABC, western (off network)
11:30 a
Love That Bob-ABC, sitcom (off network)

12:00 p
Camouflage-ABC, game

12:30 p
Make a Face-ABC, game

1:00 p
Appointment 19-Local, vareity
1:30 p
Community Highlights-Local, public affairs

2:00 p
Number Please-ABC, game

2:30 p
Seven Keys-ABC, game
3:00 p
Queen for a Day-ABC, game

3:30 p
Who Do You Trust?-ABC, game/quiz
4:00 p
American Bandstand-ABC, dance, music

5:00 p
Navy Log-Syn, military drama
5:30 p
Sea Hunt-Syn, adventure
6:00 p
News, Weather, Sports-Local, newscast

6:30 p
Bugs Bunny-ABC, children
7:00 p
Bachelor Father-ABC, sit com
7:30 p
New Breed-ABC, drama

8:30 p
Yours for  Song-ABC, game
9:00 p
Reynolds Aluminum Presents-ABC, drama anthology
9:30 p
Close-Up-ABC, news
10:00 p
Crime and Punishment-Syn, crime drama
10:30 p
Movie 19-"Flame and the Arrow"-syn

12:15 p
News, Weather-Local, newscast

WMBD-TV, Channel 31, Peoria (CBS)

Our Daily Bread-local, religion
7:00 a
College of the Air-CBS, educational

9:00 a
Calendar-CBS, current events
9:30 a
I Love Lucy-CBS, sitcom (off network)
10:00 a
Video Village-CBS, game
10:30 a
Surprise Package-CBS, game
11:00 a
Love of Life-CBS, serial
11:30 a
Search for Tomorrow-CBS, serial
11:45 a
Guiding Light-CBS, serial
12:00 p
News at Noon
12:20 p
Farm and News Features-local, farm news
(may have originated at WCIA)
12:30 p
As the World Turns-CBS, serial

1:00 p
Password-CBS, game
1:30 p
House Party-CBS, variety, game, interview

2:00 p
Millionaire-CBS, drama anthology (off network)
2:30 p
Verdict is Yours-CBS, courtroom drama
3:00 p
Brighter Day-CBS, serial

3:30 p
Edge of Night-CBS, serial
4:00 p
Bold Journey-Syndicated, adventure
4:30 p
Early Show-Movie "Lisbon", syn

6:00 p
News, Weather-Local, newscast
6:15 p
CBS News with Douglas Edwards-CBS, newscast
6:30 p
Marshall Dillion-CBS, western
7:00 p
Dick Van Dyke Show-CBS, sit com
7:30 p
Dobie Gillis-CBS, sit com
8:00 p
Red Skelton-CBS, variety/comedy

9:00 p
Garry Moore-CBS, variety

10.00 p
News, Weather, Sports-Local, newscast
10:30 p
Nightwatch-"The Quiet Gun"-syn

12:15 p
At Days End-Local, religion

This could be your ad.....e-mail for more information!

WEEK-TV, 1964 to Present

The news from the "men who know." This series of ads from TV Guide in 1965 after the stations move from Channel 43 to 25.

A great arial shot of Peoria for this TV Guide from 1969 for its broadcast of news at Noon, 6 and 10.

A Brief History

In 1964 WEEK-TV would be granted the move to channel 25. Until the change, WEEK-TV was broadcasting on Channel 43 at a power of 371kw from an antenna 710-feet. In 1964, the station as able to broadcast only NBC programming in color. By 1966, WEEK-TV would finally be on channel 25, and would be able to broadcast NBC, film, slides and video tape in color. The power of the station on channel 25 was listed as 562kw from its antenna at 680-feet. The ownership of the station was still listed as West Central when in 1966, the station as sold to Kansas City Southern Industries operating it as Mid-America TV Company.

In 1969 its power was listed as 562kw from an antenna at 680-feet. The station also had capabilities to broadcast full color including network, film, tape and live studio. Mid-America would operate WEEK-TV until 1985, when it was purchased by Price Communications. Three years later it was handed off to Granite Communications as one of its two first stations. As of 2015, Granite continues to operate WEEK-TV along with WHOI(TV), ABC-Channel 19 which is owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group. WEEK-TV also operates WA8E, the My NetworkTV station owned by Four Seasons Broadcasting.

WEEK-TV continued to broadcast on analog channel 25 until February 17, 2009, when it began to broadcast a digital signal on UHF channel 57. After the June 12, 2009 shutdown of the analog signal on channel 25, WEEK-TV received permission from the FCC to move its digital signal back to its original channel 25.

From 1976 a TV Guide for Channel 25's Sunday night weather and sportscasts.

In 1982 WEEK was claiming to be number one for local news in Peoria.

John Wingate anchored the 5pm news in 1984.

(all TV Guide Ads from the Doug Quick Collection)

(top-above): Uncle Johnny Barton continued to host country music shows during the 1960s with "Cornbelt Country Style" also syndicated to other local Midwest television stations.

(above-lower): "The Mike Douglas Show" was a late afternoon talk/entertainment fest on WEEK-TV in 1968.

By 1981, WEEK-TV was airing off network syndicated "Laverne and Shirley" weekdays at 5pm and "Entertainment Tonight" for the first time in 1981 at 6:30 pm.

A series of WEEK-TV news promos from 1979.

The WEEK-TV sign-off from 1989.

Here's a WEEK-TV News Update from 1993.

WTVH-TV, 1964 to Present

A Brief History

Under Metromedia Channel 19 was able to broadcast both network programming from ABC and video tape in color. WTVH-TV continued under Metromedia until 1965, when it was sold to WIRL Radio and its owner Mid-America Media Incorporated which would change the call letters to WIRL-TV. It would be teamed with WIRL-AM, the popular top 40 station in north central Illinois. In 1969 the stations power was listed as 186kw from an antenna at 660-feet. The station also claimed to have full color broadcasting capabilities including network, film, tape and live studio. In 1967 WIRL-TV was able to broadcast ABC, film and video tape in color. The station would add live studio color in 1970.

WIRL would sell its TV property to Forward Communications in 1971. The call letters would changed by Forward by May of 1971 this time to WRAU-TV. The power of WRAU-TV would be increased to 2,090kw from the same tower at 660-feet. In 1985, WRAU would change to WHOI(TV) also themed “The Heart of Illinois.” Soon after the call letter change, Forward Communications would merge with Adams Communications and continue to operate Channel 19 through 1996. In 1996, WHOI(TV) would be sold to Benedek Broadcasting which merged with Grey Television in 2002 following the bankruptcy of Benedek. At that point it was spun off to Chelsey Broadcasting, then in 2004 sold to Barrington Broadcasting along with KHQA-TV in Hannibal, Missouri.

On March 2, 2009 WHOI would be operated by WEEK-TV which continues to operate the station separately within the facility of WEEK-TV. The Sinclair Broadcast Group purchased WHOI(TV) on Feburary 28, 2013, while the Sinclair station licensed to Bloomington, Illinois within the Peoria market was spun off to Cunningham Broadcasting which would satisfy the FCC duopoly rules against co-ownership of multiple stations within the same market. Sinclair skirts the legal aspects of the duopoly rules, since Cunningham Broadcasting has family ties to the controllers of the Sinclair Broadcast Group.

1998 WHOI began a cable telecast as a WB affiliate known as WBPE, Channel 4 (as it appeared on most cable systems by design at channel 4). Later with digital broadcasting, WHOI would add the CW service as 19.2 on its digital lower tier. WHOI(TV) does not broadcast in true high definition, instead broadcasts its local programming using an enhanced standard definition with a 16:9 wide-screen format.

ABC network logo used 1958-1962

WIRL Radio after years of trying to obtain VHF channel 8, finally obtained a TV station.  Mid-America Media Incorporated changed the call letters to match those of their AM radio station at 1290 kc.. 

Metromedia made it possible to broadcast network in color.  It was during the ownership of Mid America Media Channel 19 would obtain the ability to broadcast color film and slides. 

Forward Communications would purchase Channel 19 in 1971 and change the call letters again.  This time to WRAU.   Under WRAU, Channel 19 would undergo a power increase to over 2,090 kilowatts.

The ABC Color Logo which preceded each color program broadcast on ABC from 1964-1968.

A WHOI promo from 1987.

A series of WHOI promos from 1988.

The WHOI sign-off from 1989.

(You Tube Videos may be withdrawn at any time)

WMBD-TV, 1964 to Present

WMBD-TV News Ad from TV Guide in 1964.
(from the Doug Quick Collection)

"We Do it Better" was the slogan used by WMBD-TV from 1965.
(TV Guide Ad from the Doug Quick Collection)

The Election of 1968, one of most important elections of the century, and WMBD-TV was offering local election reports from Jerry Bidle at Channel 31.
(TV Guide Ad from the Doug Quick Collection)

The relationship of WMBD Radio with CBS, plus some possible "connections" with future WMBD-TV owner Midwest Television could have had some influence in the affiliate switch from WTVH-TV to WMBD-TV.  CBS ad also had given up hope for ever having the VHF channel 8 as an affiliate and settled for Channel 31.

A Brief History

The ownership history of WMBD-TV is much shorter than its older television cousins. The WMBD-TV story begins much later as it would go on the air January 1, 1958. Its original owner was John Fetzer along with WMBD Radio. The group would be sold to Midwest Television in 1960 for $1.85-million and would become a “sister” station to WCIA in Champaign, Illinois. In November of 1952 the full time satellite translator W71AE would be added to the group to rebroadcast the programming of Channel 31 in LaSalle, Illinois.

Midwest Television would continue to operate the station from the old Majestic Theater location in downtown Peoria until 1978. I visited the station in the mid 1970s and found it to be a less than desirable facility. It was converted from a theater and still had many of the theater artifacts including slanted floors in the former auditorium which included the WMBD AM/FM radio stations. The AM studio was extremely dirty and cluttered, while the FM automation was placed on boxes to level the rack panels holding the array of reel to reel decks (of which several were non functioning). The floors had peeling and broken tiles, dirt was caked in the corners where the floor wet the walls, the hall ways were populated with desks from where employees were expected to work. Even though I didn't get to see the TV studio, I had no reason to believe it was any better.

In exploring the improvements of WMBD-TV during up to the late 1970s I have found very little activity. Other than the installation of a microwave link which would allow for audio/video transfers to take place between Springfield and WMBD-TV and between WCIA(TV) and WMBD-TV there appeared to be very little investments in the technology of the day. WMBD-TV would be able to pass CBS Network color programming in color in the early 1960s but CBS didn't have much of a color programming schedule until the late 1960s.

WCIA and WMBD-TV would share resources and programming during much of the 1960s and even into the 1970s. Mid day newscasts would include a simulcast of farm markets and news, weekends might include a shared weathercast done live from the sidewalk in front of the WMBD studios on South-West Jefferson in downtown Peoria. News gathering would also include shared stories occasionally.

The largest improvement to the facility took place in 1977 when the studios of the radio-television group would move to 3131 University Drive in Peoria. The street address would match the channel of WMBD-TV, twice, channel 31. One notable technological advancement would come in 1988 when it was the first Peoria television station to broadcast in stereo.

Nextar would purchase controlling interest in WMBD-TV in 1999. Two years later Midwest would sell the radio properties to Triad Broadcasting. Triad was a company of managers of the radio group. Also in 2001, Nexstar would purchase the remaining shares of WMBD-TV held by Midwest Television after the sale of the radio stations. The call letters of WMBD-AM would continue, although the call letters for WMBD-TV would fall under different owners.

Also in 2002 Nexstar would come to an agreement with competitor Sinclair Broadcast Group to operate its WYZZ(TV), Channel 43 in Bloomington, Illinois. Later after Sinclair's purchase of WHOI(TV), Channel 19, Peoria, Illinois, it would spin off WYZZ under its co-owned Cunningham Broadcasting to avoid FCC duopoly challenges.

Under Nexstar, WMBD-TV would still be the odd sibling of its central Illinois core group of stations. As of 2015, WMBD-TV was still broadcasting in 4:3 standard definition.

Supplemental Information:  Larry King was a former member of the studio crew at WMBD-TV and eventually a director.  He also spent time at the other Peoria stations during his tenure in Peoria.  He contacted me with his recollections of the original studio at the former Majestic Theatre:

"Let me I remember the radio set up at the time I was there.  I you walked up the grand staircase from the front hall and you turned to your right there would ahve been the fledging FM automation in the first room.  Going a little further you would walk into the main AM control room.  On the left side was a larger room that was a studio for extra guests.  In the mornings Milton Bud and Bob Carlton were in there.  Bob ran the board and Milton was in the studio.  Behind the control room was another little studio that was also the record library.  John Lyon would practice his guitar in there during Cubs or Cardinal baseball games."

"If you turned to your left coming up the stairs was the door to the production control room.  And outside of the production control room was a very old wire service that ran sports scores.  We would come out of the TV studio during the 10pm news and check the wire to keep the sports guys up to date.  That (was) long before we had video from every sports game."

"When I first started as a floor director about January 1965, they were doing the TV version of street scene at Noon and later they would do the 6pm weather from on the street under that great marquee.  Charlie Tate was the camera man on the Noon block and a variety of the other engineers(Neil Burke who would later become the Chief, Yogi and Dale Bargeman) would dot he weather."

"My job was to get the weather board out on the street and have it cleaned off.  The weather board consisted of two Plexiglas maps that slid in and out.  The weather man stood behind the board and had to write backwards for the camera.  The guys that did the weather also were the afternoon talent on WMBD radio.  They would get off the radio and then do the weather.  A couple of the names I worked with were John Lyons, Bob Gregory.  Who could forget John Day reporter and weatherman?"

"Besides having to get the weather board on the street, another job of the floor director at that time, the weather had a live read for a beer company and a floor director had to do a live pour of beer to end the commercial.  Well, pouring beer wasn't my greatest job, but at least we got to drink the leftovers."

"I got to the station a little late because I missed working with Jim Jenson who went to Boston and New York.  I did a little time with Bob Jamison who ended up at ABC and it was great enjoying a sportscast (from) the late Bob Starr.  Don Heim took his place and then I think he went to Indy."

"Great real NEWS reporting was done from the WMBD News Room (along with) Joe Rex and Farmer Bill.  One weekend I was trying to break into the news business, so I was hanging around the news room when there was supposed to be a protest in one of the project areas.  This was in the 60's.  So I begged John Day if I could ride along in one of the great white station wagons with big letters creaming "WMBD NEWS."  (After arriving at the scene) nothing happened.  I think I am glad.  I think I really decided at the time that studio production was more in my line than sitting in a well marked car and waiting."

Larry King is now with Zmax Media Productions.  For details visit:

WMBD-TV made the transition to local color broadcasting in 1967.  Here is a TV Guide ad from 1967.
(TV Guide from the Doug Quick Collection)

"The Flintstones" in Color, weekday afternoons at 5pm during 1968 on Channel 31.

"The Late Show" from 1965.  Obviously, WMBD-TV was equipped with a color camera in its film chain with the broadcast of movies in color.

WMBD-TV brought Peoria area viewers Cubs baseball in those pre cable WGN years including 1969 when this ad was published in TV Guide.

WMBD-TV's late Saturday night movie "The Horse Soldiers" presented in color from 1966.

Bruce and Sally, anchor team from 1976.

Supplemental Information:  Ron Moses was a director at WMBD-TV from 1965 to 1970, before moving east to direct at WPRI-TV in Providence, Rhode Island.   After finding this website, he related to me that "those five years were my happiest and most rewarding of my entire career and life."

He stated that the pictures and stories on this site "have brought back some wonderful memories...."  "I remember directing "The Hop," and loved seeing the original ABC net logo as being the "American Eagle."  He went on to say, "Bob Jamieson was my 6pm anchor until leaving for St. Louis, then to NBC.  In his later years, he was with ABC and I ran into him once when he was at our station covering the Rhode Island banking crisis in the early nineties....we were an ABC affiliate but returned to CBS when the network bought us at some point after that.  My station was bought and sold nine times during my 35 years there and I probably managed to survive as I never moved up into management."

"I did not know that Win Baker apparently started in Illinois TV production and programming(see above-Win Baker was the stations first Program Director).  "I know of him upon moving back east when he was a top executive at the Westinghouse owned WBZ-TV in Boston."

"You may be familiar with the name Barbara Novak who performed weather on WCIA-TV and then moved to Peoria where I actually taped a daily weather with her feed to WCIA on our reversible microwave.  By the time I got to Providence, Rhode Island she was Barbara Novak Marshall doing weather and/or news on WLVI-TV, Channel 56 in Boston...."

"Roger O'Neil was a news anchor and reporter at WMBD during my time there.  For many years he was with NBC as a correspondent...."   "He was also a producer at WMBD-TV for a time following the Jerry Bidle days when Dave Nicols was hired to be the 10pm news anchor.  I never crossed with Jim Jenson but ran into him in the early 70's when visiting WCBS-TV in New York...."  "I also ran into Paul Moyer who was anchoring weekend news at WCBS-TV before going to KNBC-TV in Los Angeles.  Paul was an anchor at WMBD-TV for part of the time I was there and I recall him anchoring "Weekend World" sponsored entirely by Caterpillar."

"You may recall Don Hein who did sports at WMBD and Bob Gregory who did weather on WMBD-TV and a lot of radio on that station....both wound up at WLWI(now WTHR), Channel 13 in Indianapolis..."

Ron retired in 2005 and I wish him the best and thank him for his contribution to this web site....and thank him for his contribution of the WMBD studio picture from 1957!

(above): A TV Guide Ad for NewsCenter 31 from 1985.


"Perry Mason" in off network syndication was shown on WMBD-TV weekday afternoons.

The "Late Movie" lineup from February 1971 as presented on Channel 31.
(all TV Guide Ads from the Doug Quick Collection)

The WMBD-TV "Action News" at 5 and 6pm. 

A WMBD-TV newscast segment from 1999.

In 2008 WMBD was commemorating its 50th Anniversary with a short segment of its past.

"This Morning" opens for morning show on WMBD-TV.

TV Guide(the Doug Quick collection)
You Tube
Bob Lee's screengrabs
Meanwhile Back in Peoria-blog
Bloomington Daily Pantagraph(through the Abraham Lincoln Library and the Danville Public Library)
Larry King for his contribution on details of working at WMBD-AM/FM-TV
Ron Moses for his memories of WMBD-TV and WCIA and his picture of the WMBD studios from 1957.

This could be your ad.....e-mail for more information!

updated 2/13/2016
web master:  Doug Quick
copyright 2001-2016  Doug Quick