CityPeoria, Illinois
First air date
October 20, 1953 (70 years ago) (1953-10-20)
Former call signs
  • WTVH-TV (1953–1955)[1]
  • WTVH (1955–1965)
  • WIRL-TV (1965–1971)
  • WRAU-TV (1971–1985)
Former channel number(s)
  • Analog: 8 (VHF, 1953–1963), 19 (UHF, 1963–2009)
  • Digital: 40 (UHF, 2003–2009), 19 (UHF, 2009–2020)
  • CBS (1953–1957)
  • ABC (1953–2016; secondary until 1957)
  • DuMont (secondary, 1953–1955)
  • UPN (secondary, 1995–1999)
  • Comet (2016–2020)
Call sign meaning
The Heart of Illinois
Technical information[2]
Licensing authority
Facility ID6866
ERP402 kW
HAAT211.6 m (694 ft)
Transmitter coordinates40°37′46″N 89°32′53″W / 40.62944°N 89.54806°W / 40.62944; -89.54806 (WHOI)
Public license information

WHOI (channel 19) is a television station in Peoria, Illinois, United States, broadcasting the digital multicast network TBD. Owned and operated by Sinclair Broadcast Group, the station maintains a transmitter on Springfield Road (along I-474) in East Peoria, a section of Groveland Township, Tazewell County. WHOI was the ABC affiliate for the market until 2016.


WHOI was Peoria's second television station, signing-on as WTVH-TV on October 20, 1953. The station was founded by Hugh Norman and Edward Schoede. Hilltop Broadcasting, which co-owned the Peoria Journal Star bought the station in 1954.[3] Its first studios were on Main Street in Peoria. Originally broadcasting an analog signal on VHF channel 8,[4] it was a primary CBS affiliate but also carried shows from ABC and DuMont. WTVH lost DuMont when the network ceased operations in 1955, and lost CBS when WMBD-TV (channel 31) began broadcasting. WTVH dropped the "-TV" suffix in its callsign on August 3, 1955.

The Metropolitan Broadcasting Corporation, later known as Metromedia, purchased the station in 1959. In 1963, WTVH was bumped down to UHF channel 19 so that a third commercial VHF station could sign-on in the Quad Cities using that channel (the new station, WQAD-TV, is also an ABC affiliate). In 1965, Metromedia sold the station to Mid-America Media, owners of WIRL radio (1290 AM) who, on September 13 of that year, changed the call sign to WIRL-TV. It became WRAU-TV in 1971 and adopted its present calls of WHOI on March 17, 1985. The WTVH call sign was picked up by a station in Syracuse, New York, in 1976.

In 1987, WHOI came under the ownership of Adams Communications following a merger with its previous owner, Forward Communications. The station was sold to Brissette Broadcasting in 1991, then to Benedek Broadcasting in 1996. When Benedek declared Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2002, WHOI was sold to Chelsey Broadcasting instead of Gray Television (which is coincidentally the current owner of WEEK-TV after acquiring Quincy Media in 2021). In April 2004, WHOI, KHQA-TV in the Hannibal, MissouriQuincy, Illinois media market, and WEYI-TV in Saginaw, Michigan, became three of the founding stations of Barrington Broadcasting.

WHOI-DT2's only logo as an affiliate of The CW Plus, used from 2006 to 2016.

WHOI carried some programming from UPN, including Star Trek: Voyager, from the network's launch in January 1995[5] until WAOE (channel 59) went on the air in 1999. Starting in 1998, WHOI began to run a cable-only WB affiliate. Known by the fictional call sign "WBPE", it was on channel 4 on most cable systems in the area. On September 18, 2006, when The WB and UPN merged to create The CW, "WBPE" became part of The CW Plus which is a similar operation to The WB 100+. WHOI added a new second digital subchannel to simulcast this programming to offer non-cable subscribers access to The CW. The channel then began to use WHOI-DT2 as its official calls.[6]

WHOI has been digital-only since February 17, 2009[7] with the "WHOI" calls being transferred from the now-defunct analog channel 19 to the new digital channel 19 and the "WHOI-DT" call sign from the pre-transition digital channel 40 being permanently discontinued. However, the short name still identifies the station's main channel on 19.1 as "WHOI-DT".

On March 2, 2009, it was made public that rival WEEK-TV (channel 25) would take over the operations of WHOI through joint sales and shared services agreements. It resulted in WHOI closing its longtime studios near its transmitter in Creve Coeur and moving into WEEK-TV's facility on Springfield Road, along I-474, in East Peoria. Sixteen employees were transferred to WEEK-TV but as many as thirty were laid off immediately.[3] This left the five full-power commercial stations in the market operated by two entities; WEEK-TV already controlled the market's MyNetworkTV outlet, WAOE (owned by Four Seasons Broadcasting), under a separate joint sales agreement (JSA). WHOI's website was immediately changed to a redirect to WEEK-TV's web address. As part of the agreement, Granite-owned CBS affiliate WTVH merged its operations with Barrington's NBC affiliate WSTM-TV and low-power CW affiliate WSTQ-LP in a similar arrangement on the same day.[8]

On February 28, 2013, Barrington Broadcasting announced the sale of its entire group, including WHOI, to the Sinclair Broadcast Group.[9] Sinclair already owned the license of WYZZ-TV (channel 43), which was sold to Cunningham Broadcasting to satisfy Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations on duopoly ownership. While most of Cunningham's stations are operated by Sinclair though local marketing agreements, WYZZ is operated separately by the Nexstar Media Group at the facility of CBS outlet WMBD-TV. The sale was completed on November 25.[10] On February 11, 2014, it was announced that Quincy, Illinois–based Quincy Newspapers would acquire WEEK-TV from Granite Broadcasting. Originally, Quincy intended to continue providing services to WHOI but Sinclair gave notice that the JSA/SSA between WHOI and WEEK-TV (which was originally set to expire in March 2017) would be terminated within nine months of Quincy closing on its purchase of WEEK-TV.[11] The Quincy/Granite sale was completed on November 2, 2015.[12]

WHOI's last logo as an ABC affiliate, used from 2009 to 2016. This logo was also used from 2004 to 2009, but featured the blue ABC logo before the network introduced a new logo in 2007.

On July 26, 2016, Quincy Media announced that it had acquired WHOI's ABC and CW affiliations, and would consolidate them onto subchannels of WEEK beginning August 1, 2016.[13] As an aspect of this deal, Quincy-owned WSJV in South Bend similarly relinquished its Fox affiliation to Sinclair-owned WSBT-TV.[14] The ABC and CW subchannels were simulcast on WHOI for 60 days following the consolidation.[15] After the end of the transition period, the Comet TV affiliation moved to WHOI's main 19.1 channel, making WHOI an owned-and-operated station of Comet.[16]

On July 1, 2020, Sinclair shifted TBD to WHOI's primary channel, with Comet moving to WHOI-DT2.[17]


The station's signal is multiplexed:

Subchannels of WHOI[18]
Channel Res. Aspect Short name Programming
19.1 720p 16:9 WHOITBD TBD
19.2 480i CHARGE Charge!
19.3 COMET Comet

See also


  1. ^ "FCC History Cards for WHOI".
  2. ^ "Facility Technical Data for WHOI". Licensing and Management System. Federal Communications Commission.
  3. ^ a b Tarter, Steve (March 2, 2009). "Owners of WEEK taking over WHOI operations". Peoria Journal Star. Retrieved March 2, 2009.
  4. ^ Ingram, Clarke. "DuMont Historical Website".
  5. ^ "'Voyager' transported to WHOI". Peoria Journal Star. January 22, 1995. Retrieved January 3, 2016. (preview of subscription content)
  6. ^ "Peoria's WB4 joins with UPN to become Peoria's CW!". hoinews.com. Archived from the original on September 28, 2007.
  7. ^ "DA-06-1082A2" (PDF). hraunfoss.fcc.gov.
  8. ^ "Syracuse's Channel 5 shuts down its newsroom". March 3, 2009.
  9. ^ Malone, Michael (February 28, 2013). "Sinclair's Chesapeake TV Acquires Barrington Stations". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved March 1, 2013.
  10. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on December 3, 2013. Retrieved November 25, 2013.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ "Quincy Buying Stations From Granite, Malara". TVNewsCheck. February 11, 2014. Retrieved February 11, 2014.
  12. ^ Quincy Newspapers Inc. acquires four TV stations Archived November 7, 2015, at the Wayback Machine Quincy Herald-Whig, Retrieved November 2, 2015
  13. ^ "Quincy Media purchases ABC, CW affiliations from Sinclair Broadcast Group". CINewsNow.com. Quincy Media. Archived from the original on July 27, 2016. Retrieved July 26, 2016.
  14. ^ Eck, Kevin (July 26, 2016). "Sinclair and Quincy Make Affiliation Deal, WSJV Employees Wonder What's Next". TVSpy. Adweek Blog Network. Retrieved August 1, 2016.
  15. ^ Tarter, Steve (July 26, 2016). "WEEK-TV to broadcast ABC and CW signals". Peoria Journal Star. Retrieved July 27, 2016.
  16. ^ Tarter, Steve (August 2, 2016). "Along with new look at WEEK-TV, Quincy Media moving ABC, CW to Channel 25". Peoria Journal Star. Retrieved September 24, 2016.
  17. ^ "Sinclair - WHOI Channel Change" (Press release). National Cable Television Cooperative. Retrieved June 15, 2020.
  18. ^ "RabbitEars TV Query for WHOI". rabbitears.info.
Preceded byNone ABC affiliate for the Peoria Television Market 1953–2016 Succeeded byWEEK-DT2