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Weigel Broadcasting

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Title: Weigel Broadcasting  
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Weigel Broadcasting

Weigel Broadcasting Co.
Type Private
Industry Media
Founded 1964
Headquarters Chicago, Illinois, USA
Key people Neal Sabin
(Vice Chairman)
Products Television, Broadcasting

Weigel Broadcasting is an American television broadcasting company. The company is based in Chicago, Illinois, alongside its flagship station WCIU-TV (Channel 26), at 26 North Halsted Street in the Greektown neighborhood.


The company was founded by Chicago broadcasting veteran John Weigel, whose career dated back to the 1930s. With $1,000 of his own money, and another $1,000 from his attorney, Daniel J. McCarthy, Weigel bought the broadcasting license for what became the first UHF television station in the Chicago area. WCIU signed on the air on February 6, 1964. One year later, in 1965, Weigel Broadcasting was the subject of a successful hostile takeover at the hands of the Shapiro family.[1]

Over the years, the company began to acquire and also launch new stations in the adjacent markets of Milwaukee and South Bend, Indiana, at first by placing WCIU translators in those markets to gain a foothold in each market, before programming the stations independently. Weigel would end up an unexpected beneficiary of the television industry realignment of 1994, as their full-power independent station WDJT-TV in Milwaukee ended up with the CBS affiliation late that year, while WBND-LP became the home of ABC programming in South Bend the next year when the original stations of the networks in each market switched to Fox.

Also in that same year, WCIU dropped the Spanish-language Univision network and became Chicago's only true full-power independent station when WGN-TV and WPWR-TV joined the WB and UPN networks respectively, while WGBO-TV became a Univision-owned station. These changes allowed WCIU to pursue sports rights and syndicated programming not previously available, ultimately giving WCIU some strength in the market.

In April 2008, Weigel completed the purchase of WJJA-TV in Racine, Wisconsin, which gave the company its second full-power station in the Milwaukee market. The station carried a local version of Me-TV for four years before it and the independent format of low-power WMLW-CA were switched around in August 2012, becoming WMLW-TV.

In July 2008, Weigel announced the creation of This TV, a national subchannel network, operated as a joint venture of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Weigel.[2]

In early August 2008, Weigel Broadcasting agreed to sell all three of its South Bend stations, WBND-LP, WCWW-LP and WMYS-LP, to Schurz Communications, the longtime owner of the local CBS affiliate WSBT-TV, for undisclosed terms.[3] However, in the absence of action by the Federal Communications Commission, the deal was called off in August 2009.[4]

Weigel Broadcasting is launching You and Me This Morning, a program that features entertainment news.[5][6]

At the end of 2009, Broadcasting & Cable gave Weigel Broadcasting its first annual Multi-Platform Broadcaster of the Year award. The company makes efficient use of digital TV's multicast capabilities, with one main channel and four subchannels for WCIU in Chicago, and Me-TV and This TV on subchannels nationwide.[7]

On November 22, 2010, Weigel announced that they would take the Me-TV concept national and compete fully with RTV and Antenna TV, while complementing its successful sister network This TV.[8][9]

On December 1, 2010, WCIU dropped their FBT foreign broadcasting digital subchannel (with some of that programming eventually to be moved to Polnet Communications' WPVN-CA) and is currently airing a simulcast of WCIU-TV on WCIU digital subchannel 26.2. The new digital subchannel, The U Too, was officially launched on January 5, 2011. The new digital network will be airing on WCIU digital subchannel 26.2, replacing Me-TV, which moved to WCIU digital subchannel 26.3 on December 15, 2010, and mainly consists of other purchased programming without room on the main WCIU schedule, second runs of WCIU programming or programming burned off due to low ratings.[10][11]

On January 4, 2011, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Weigel Broadcasting announced plans to distribute Me-TV nationwide.[12][13]

On January 28, 2013, Weigel entered into a partnership with Fox Television Stations to create a new digital subchannel network called Movies!, which is expected to debut on all of Fox's owned-and-operated stations in the spring of 2013.[14] On May 13, 2013, Weigel announced that Tribune Broadcasting would take over operations of This TV on November 1, and that the channel would move to a WGN-TV subchannel following the changes.[15][16]

On July 1, 2013, Weigel premiered the new subchannel service TouchVision, which provides a rolling news and information service designed for television, mobile and tablet platforms starting on WDJT-DT4, after Milwaukee real estate agency Shorewest Realtors ended their time-lease on the channel space to concentrate on an Internet on-demand channel instead. TouchVision is based out of Weigel's Chicago facilities under the LLC "Think Televisual", and is run by former radio and Tribune executive Lee Abrams and Brandon Davis.[17]

On September 29, 2014, Weigel launched Heroes & Icons a new digital subchannel which specializes in reruns of classic television series and films. Heroes & Icons, abbreviated H&I, aims to attract a generally male audience with shows from the genres of action, police, detective, western, science fiction, superhero, and war and military.

On October 21, 2014, Weigel and CBS announced the launch of a new digital subchannel service called Decades, scheduled to launch on all CBS O&O stations in 2015. The channel will be co-owned by Weigel and CBS, with Weigel being responsible for distribution to stations outside CBS Television Stations. It will air programs from the extensive library of CBS Television Distribution, including archival footage from CBS News.[18]

Major assets

Television stations

Most of the stations are categorized into separate limited partnerships for licensing purposes.

Television networks


1 Carried on a digital subchannel of WCIU
2 WMEU-CD's signal is HD, and carried on a digital subchannel of WCIU in standard definition widescreen
3 WWME's low-power analog channel 23 simulcasts WCIU's MeToo programming while its digital signal carries Me-TV
4 Carried on a digital subchannel of WDJT
5 WMLW-TV is licensed to Racine and based out of Milwaukee with WDJT
6 WYTU-LD's signal is HD, and carried on a digital subchannel of WMLW in standard definition


  1. ^ John Weigel - Man of UHF, The Video Veteran/Chicago Television
  2. ^ MGM Launches This TV Network, MGM Mediaroom, July 28, 2008
  3. ^ WSBT Purchases Three Low-Power Stations, Broadcasting & Cable, August 4, 2008
  4. ^ Malone, Michael; John Eggerton (August 24, 2009). "WSBT South Bend Deal Fizzles Absent FCC Action".  
  5. ^ Weigel Launching Morning Content Mix, Broadcasting & Cable, July 7, 2009
  6. ^ Weigel's WCIU Getting Into A.M. News Fray -- In A Small, Unconventional Way, Chicago Tribune, July 6, 2009
  7. ^ Dickson, Glen (2009-12-21). "Weigel Maximizes DTV Pipe".  
  8. ^ Weigel Broadcasting Taking Me-TV National, Chicago Tribune, November 22, 2010
  9. ^ Weigel Broadcasting's Me-TV Goes National, Broadcasting & Cable, November 23, 2010
  10. ^ a b WCIU Parent Weigel to Drop Foreign Subchannel, Launch The U Too, Chicago Tribune, October 5, 2010
  11. ^ a b WCUU Launches The U Too Subchannel, Broadcasting & Cable, October 5, 2010
  12. ^ MGM, Weigel Taking Me-TV Nationwide, Broadcasting & Cable, January 4, 2011
  13. ^ MGM Launches Classic TV Service to Roar Like the Fonz, Los Angeles Times, January 4, 2011
  14. ^ "Fox O&Os, Weigel Launch Movies! Digi-Net". Broadcasting & Cable. January 28, 2013. Retrieved May 17, 2013. 
  15. ^ Malone, Michael (May 14, 2013). "Tribune Replaces Weigel As Partner on This TV". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved May 17, 2013. 
  16. ^ Good Times for Digi-Nets...But We've Seen This Movie Before, B&C, 5 August 2013, Retrieved August 6, 2013
  17. ^ Theilman, Sam (July 8, 2013). "Abrams, Saslow Prepare to Launch News Network This Month".  
  18. ^ Malone, Michael (October 21, 2014). "CBS Stations, Weigel Partner on Oldies Digi-Net Decades". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved October 23, 2014. 
  19. ^ a b c d e

External links

  • WCIU official page , contains corporate information
  • The U Too website
  • Me TV Network website
  • Bounce TV website
  • John Weigel - Man of UHF
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