WMAQ-TV

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WMAQ-TV
WMAQ Logo 2012.png
Chicago, Illinois
BrandingNBC 5 Chicago (general)
NBC 5 News (newscasts)
SloganWe Are Chicago
ChannelsDigital: 29 (UHF)
Virtual: 5 (PSIP)
Subchannels(see article)
AffiliationsNBC
OwnerNBCUniversal
(NBC Telemundo License, LLC)
First air dateOctober 8, 1948 (1948-10-08)
Call letters' meaningWilliaM A. Quinn – publisher of Chicago Daily News or We Must Ask Questions
(derived from former sister station WMAQ radio)
Sister station(s)WSNS-TV,
Comcast SportsNet Chicago
Former callsignsWNBQ (1948–1964)
Former channel number(s)Analog:
5 (VHF, 1948–2009)
Transmitter power350 kW
Height508 m
Facility ID47905
Transmitter coordinates41°52′44″N 87°38′10″W / 41.87889°N 87.63611°W / 41.87889; -87.63611
Websitewww.nbcchicago.com
 
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WMAQ-TV
WMAQ Logo 2012.png
Chicago, Illinois
BrandingNBC 5 Chicago (general)
NBC 5 News (newscasts)
SloganWe Are Chicago
ChannelsDigital: 29 (UHF)
Virtual: 5 (PSIP)
Subchannels(see article)
AffiliationsNBC
OwnerNBCUniversal
(NBC Telemundo License, LLC)
First air dateOctober 8, 1948 (1948-10-08)
Call letters' meaningWilliaM A. Quinn – publisher of Chicago Daily News or We Must Ask Questions
(derived from former sister station WMAQ radio)
Sister station(s)WSNS-TV,
Comcast SportsNet Chicago
Former callsignsWNBQ (1948–1964)
Former channel number(s)Analog:
5 (VHF, 1948–2009)
Transmitter power350 kW
Height508 m
Facility ID47905
Transmitter coordinates41°52′44″N 87°38′10″W / 41.87889°N 87.63611°W / 41.87889; -87.63611
Websitewww.nbcchicago.com

WMAQ-TV is the NBC owned-and-operated television station in Chicago, Illinois. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 29 (virtual channel 5.1 via PSIP) from a transmitter atop the Willis Tower. Owned by the NBC Owned Television Stations subsidiary of NBCUniversal, WMAQ-TV is sister to Telemundo outlet WSNS-TV and regional sports network Comcast SportsNet Chicago. It maintains primary studios and business offices at the NBC Tower in the Streeterville neighborhood. Syndicated programming on WMAQ-TV includes Access Hollywood, Ellen, and Extra, among others.

Contents

History

See also WMAQ (AM) for pre-1948 history of the station.
Station camera in 1951. Singer-actress Connie Russell from Garroway at Large and her daughter are pictured.

The station signed on October 8, 1948, as WNBQ, the last of Chicago's four commercial VHF stations to launch. WNBQ is also the third of the five original NBC owned-and-operated stations to begin operations, after New York City and Washington and before Cleveland and Los Angeles. Eight years later, it became the first station in the world to broadcast all of its programs in color. Though NBC had long owned WMAQ radio (670 AM, frequency now occupied by WSCR), it did not change the TV station's call letters to WMAQ-TV until August 31, 1964.[1][2] The calls of its sister radio station were initially assigned by the government, but went on to form the phrase "We Must Ask Questions," which the radio station took on as its motto in the 1920s.

WMAQ-TV originated several programs for the NBC television network from its studios in the Merchandise Mart during the 1950s, including Kukla, Fran, and Ollie, featuring Burr Tillstrom and Fran Allison; Garroway at Large, starring Dave Garroway; and "Studs' Place," hosted by Studs Terkel. Television critics referred to the broadcasts – often low-budget with few celebrity guests but a good deal of inventiveness – as examples of the "Chicago School of Television."[3][4]

WMAQ-TV gained fame for its newscasts during the 1960s, anchored by Floyd Kalber, John Palmer, Jim Ruddle, and Jorie Lueloff, with weatherman Harry Volkman (later of WBBM-TV, WGN-TV and WFLD), sports reporter Johnny Morris, and commentator Len O'Connor. Though its role as a program provider to NBC diminished in the 1960s, WMAQ-TV gathered and distributed more than 200 feeds per month of news footage from overseas and the central United States to NBC News.[5]

In 1975, Jane Pauley, later of NBC's Today Show, briefly co-anchored WMAQ-TV's 10 pm news with Kalber. Carol Marin joined WMAQ-TV in 1978. Ron Magers followed in 1981. Magers and Deborah Norville (later host of Inside Edition) co-anchored the station's hour-long 4:30 pm newscast during the 1980s, and Magers and Marin co-anchored WMAQ-TV's 10 pm newscast. On October 1, 1989, the station began broadcasting from the NBC Tower after 40 years at the Merchandise Mart. WMAQ-TV's newscast ratings overtook those of WBBM-TV in the 1980s, but the station could not dethrone ratings leader WLS-TV during the period.

WMAQ logo, 1992–1995

On February 26, 2004, WMAQ-TV garnered national attention when Katie Couric, Al Roker, and Lester Holt hosted the Today Show on Cityfront Plaza to debut the station's streetside studio at 401 N. Michigan Ave. Named "Studio 5", it was the first of its kind in Chicago. The morning and noon newscasts were broadcast there until late 2012 when the space was put up for sale.

On January 14, 2008, WMAQ-TV became the second television station in Chicago after WLS to broadcast news in high definition, although most remote field footage remains in 16:9 widescreen standard definition.

On February 28, 2012, WMAQ-TV unveiled a new studio in the tower along with new music, and a graphics package similar to that of other NBC-owned stations. Aside from that, it also updated its logo by placing the new 3D glass effect version of the peacock logo on the left side portion of the number 5 logo (although the new version of the logo was launched by the network in May 2011), becoming the first NBC O&O to add the new version of the peacock to their logo. Months later, in the tower, a wide view overlooking North Michigan Avenue and the Chicago River was installed behind the anchor desk looking through what appears to be floor-to-ceiling windows. But those "windows" are actually five, adjacent 21-foot-wide Panasonic plasma displays set on end and fed by a camera mounted on the building which formerly housed the streetside studio.

Digital television

ChannelVideoAspectPSIP Short nameProgramming
5.11080i16:9NBC5Main WMAQ-TV programming / NBC
5.2480iCOZI-TVCozi TV

WMAQ-TV also has a Mobile DTV feed of subchannel 5.2, labelled "NBCMobile", broadcasting at 1.83 Mbit/s.[6][7]

As part of the analog television shutdown and digital conversion, WMAQ-TV shut down its analog transmitter on June 12, 2009, and continued to broadcast its pre-transition digital channel 29. Digital television receivers display WMAQ-TV's virtual channel as 5 through the use of PSIP.

Logo for NBC Chicago Nonstop

NBC Weather Plus ceased being broadcast nationally on December 1, 2008, but weather maps and traffic reports continued broadcasts as NBC Plus on channel 5.2. "Raw" coverage of various live events, including Barack Obama's victory rally in Grant Park[8] and Governor Rod Blagojevich's impeachment trial has also been carried on channel 5.2[9] On November 1, 2010, WMAQ started airing NBC Chicago Nonstop Channel, replacing NBC Plus.[10]

From June 13 to July 12, 2009, WMAQ-TV simulcasted many of its newscasts as a contributor to WWME-CA's analog lifeline service for the Chicago area, an "unprecedented" four-station partnership. The "lifeline" programming on analog Channel 23 included WMAQ's weekday morning news from 4:30 am to 7 am and weeknights at 6 pm, Saturdays at 6 am, 9 a.m. and weekend nights at 5 p.m along with WGN-TV (Channel 9)'s 9 pm newscasts. The lifeline continued only as a simulcast of entertainment programming from WWME's sister station WCIU-TV until January 2011, when it was switched to a simulcast of WCIU's The U Too subchannel.[11][12]

News operation

WMAQ's helicopter – Sky5

Currently, WMAQ broadcasts a total of 26 hours of local news per week (with 4½ hours on weekdays and three hours each on Saturdays and Sundays). Unlike most NBC stations in the Central Time Zone, WMAQ did not carry a newscast in the weekday midday time period until September 12, 2011, when it returned to the midday news business with a half-hour newscast called "NBC 5 News at Noon". The station has launched national careers for Pauley, Norville, CBS sportscaster Greg Gumbel, CNN Headline News morning anchor Robin Meade, Maury Povich, PBS reporter Ray Suarez, and The Insider host Pat O'Brien.

Since January 12, 2009, WMAQ and Fox affiliate WFLD have shared a news chopper and the footage taken from it; this agreement has reportedly paved the way for a larger pooling effort between the two stations.[13]

After years in second place behind WBBM-TV and, later, WLS-TV in the 10 pm news race, at the conclusion of the November 2009 Nielsen Ratings sweeps period, WBBM-TV's 10 pm newscast overtook WMAQ-TV for second place for the first time in many years, largely due to the low ratings of the latter station's lead-in The Jay Leno Show. WLS-TV continues to dominate the local newscast ratings in the Chicago media market.[14] It has since regained second place at 10 pm although closer to third-place WBBM-TV than to WLS-TV. However in the November 2010 sweeps period, WMAQ's 10 pm newscast slipped back to third behind WBBM-TV in that time slot (and fourth among Chicago's late night newscasts) although WMAQ continues to run second in other time slots.

On December 6, 2011, WMAQ-TV announced a partnership with The Chicago Reporter as part of a larger effort by NBCUniversal to partner with nonprofit news organizations following its acquisition by Comcast.[15]

Controversies

Jerry Springer

WMAQ achieved notoriety in 1997 when the station, in an effort to boost its newscast ratings, hired Jerry Springer as a commentator.[16] At the same time, the station adopted a more tabloid news format by bringing in Joel Cheatwood. Previously, Cheatwood was known for establishing fast-paced tabloid newscasts at WSVN in Miami and WHDH-TV in Boston.

Though Springer was once a two-term mayor of Cincinnati before becoming a news anchor for that city's NBC affiliate WLWT, his association with his infamous talk show (which, until 2009, was broadcast from WMAQ's NBC Tower studios, and is now distributed by NBC Universal) led to the belief that the newscast was being dumbed down. There were a handful of Springer supporters; nevertheless, the incident triggered a lot of negative publicity, both locally and nationally. The station's longtime anchor team, Carol Marin and Ron Magers, resigned in protest. News broadcasts at that time originated from a studio that opened onto the station's newsroom. As Marin signed off her last newscast, station personnel stood en masse in the newsroom behind her in a symbolic show of support for her decision to resign. The station saw a drop in its ratings. Springer only made two commentaries before he resigned, feeling unhappy with the criticism he received.[17][18]

Magers wound up at rival WLS-TV, where he still is today. Marin joined rival WBBM-TV while contributing reports at CBS before returning to WMAQ in 2004 as a special correspondent.

Amy Jacobson

On July 10, 2007, Amy Jacobson negotiated her exit with WMAQ-TV, after being videotaped in a bikini with her two sons at the home of Craig Stebic; the video was obtained by rival station WBBM-TV. Craig's wife Lisa was missing and had not been found as of that date. The incident raised the issue whether Jacobson crossed a journalistic ethical line in being friendly with a subject of the story. Jacobson reported at WMAQ-TV for the previous 10 years.[19] The video of her at Craig Stebic's home was either taken by or given to WBBM-TV, which has the entire six minute video on its website.

Ratings

In the February 2011 Nielsen local news ratings, WMAQ ranked in third place overall in late news with a 5.5 rating share, dropping substantially from the 6.8 share it scored in February 2010 that was propelled by a lead-in from the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. WMAQ had the second-lowest lead-in number among all news stations in the market with a 4.7 lead-in share (WGN-TV's primetime lead-in for its late newscast was the lowest, scoring a 2.2 rating lead-in, though its 9 pm newscast remained strong).[20]

News/station presentation

Newscast titles

WMAQ newscast title card; seen nightly at 10

Station slogans

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News team

Current on-air staff[26]

Anchors

NBC 5 Weather

Sports team

Note: Sports anchors employed by WMAQ-TV cycle. There is not a set sports "anchoring" schedule

Reporters

Mike Lorber- Sky 5 NBC 5 Helicopter Reporter

Former on-air staff

References

  1. ^ "Media reports..." Broadcasting, August 24, 1964, pg. 79. [1]
  2. ^ "WNBQ to Become WMAQ-TV Today." Chicago Tribune, August 31, 1964.
  3. ^ "Early Chicago Originations to the NBC Network from WNBQ (later WMAQ-TV)". http://www.richsamuels.com/nbcmm/1968/fadeup2.html. Retrieved June 2, 2010.
  4. ^ Railton, Arthur (October 1951). They Fool You Every Night. Popular Mechanics. http://books.google.com/books?id=3dgDAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA144&dq=garroway&hl=en&ei=VSMyTI3DMoSinQfG9MG1Aw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CDQQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=garroway&f=false. Retrieved July 5, 2010.
  5. ^ "News at WMAQ-TV in 1968". http://www.richsamuels.com/nbcmm/1968/cuenews.html. Retrieved June 2, 2010.
  6. ^ http://www.rabbitears.info/market.php?request=atscmph
  7. ^ http://www.mdtvsignalmap.com/
  8. ^ "We're Your On-air, On-line Election Headquarters". NBCChicago.com. November 6, 2008. http://www.nbcchicago.com/station/nbc_5/NBC5_Your_Online_On-Air_Election_Headquarters.html.
  9. ^ "Watch Blago Impeachment Trial Online and on NBC Chicago's Digital Channel". NBCChicago.com. January 23, 2009. http://www.nbcchicago.com/about_us/pr/Watch-Blago-Impeachment-Trial-Online-and-on-NBC-Chicagos-Digital-Channel.html.
  10. ^ WMAQ-TV to Launch Local 24-Hour Diginet, Television Broadcast, July 26, 2010
  11. ^ "WMAQ-TV, WGN-TV partner with Weigel Broadcasting for analog 'lifeline'". Chicago Tribune. June 11, 2009. http://newsblogs.chicagotribune.com/towerticker/2009/06/wmaqtv-wgntv-partner-with-weigel-broadcasting-for-analog-lifeline.html.
  12. ^ http://www.wciu.com/about.php?section=press&releaseID=14
  13. ^ "Fox, NBC Share Chicago Chopper". http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/162072-Fox_NBC_Share_Chicago_Chopper.php. Retrieved January 12, 2009.
  14. ^ . http://www.suntimes.com/business/lazare/1912877,CST-FIN-lew01.article.[dead link]
  15. ^ Channick, Robert (December 6, 2011). "Ch. 5 teams up with Chicago Reporter to boost local news". Chicago Tribune. http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-12-06/business/chi-ch-5-teams-up-with-chicago-reporter-to-boost-local-coverage-20111206_1_chicago-reporter-nbc-universal-station-manager-and-vice. Retrieved December 10, 2011.
  16. ^ Johnson, Steve (July/August 1997). How Low Can TV News Go?. Columbia Journalism Review.
  17. ^ The New York Times: Springer Quits News Show, Citing Attacks, Friday, May 9, 1997. Retrieved on May 25, 2009.
  18. ^ E! Online: Jerry Springer Quits News Job. Retrieved on May 25, 2009.
  19. ^ Rosenthal, Phil (July 10, 2007). "Jacobson out at WMAQ". Chicago Tribune. http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/chi-070709jacobsonjul09,1,6178857.story?coll=chi-news-hed&ctrack=1&cset=true. Retrieved July 10, 2007.
  20. ^ Johnson-Sullivan anchor duo paying off for WBBM-Channel 2, Chicago Sun-Times, March 4, 2011.
  21. ^ WMAQ News open 1967
  22. ^ WMAQ NEWS OPEN – CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – 1986
  23. ^ WMAQ 1997 Open
  24. ^ WMAQ NBC 5 6PM Open
  25. ^ 1991 WMAQ 24 Hour News Source Update
  26. ^ [2], NBCChicago.com. Retrieved December 9, 2011.

External links