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CityPeoria, Illinois
First air date
January 1, 1958 (66 years ago) (1958-01-01)
Former channel number(s)
  • Analog: 31 (UHF, 1958–2009)
  • Digital: 30 (UHF, 2000–2020)
Call sign meaning
"World's Most Beautiful Drive"
Technical information[1]
Licensing authority
Facility ID42121
ERP822 kW
HAAT192.4 m (631 ft)
Transmitter coordinates40°38′6″N 89°32′19″W / 40.63500°N 89.53861°W / 40.63500; -89.53861
Public license information

WMBD-TV (channel 31) is a television station in Peoria, Illinois, United States, affiliated with CBS. It is owned by Nexstar Media Group, which provides certain services to Bloomington-licensed Fox affiliate WYZZ-TV (channel 43) under a local marketing agreement (LMA) with Cunningham Broadcasting. The two stations share studios on North University Street in Peoria, with a secondary studio and news bureau on East Lincoln Street in Bloomington. WMBD-TV's transmitter is located on Pinecrest Drive in East Peoria, a section of Groveland Township, Tazewell County.


The station signed on January 1, 1958, as the third television outlet in the Peoria market after WEEK-TV (channel 25) and WTVH (channel 19, now WHOI). Airing an analog signal on UHF channel 31, it was originally owned by John Fetzer along with WMBD radio (1470 AM and 93.3 FM, now WPBG). All three stations took their calls from a local legend that President Theodore Roosevelt once described Grandview Drive (original home of WMBD radio) as the "World's Most Beautiful Drive".[2] WMBD radio had long been a CBS Radio Network affiliate, so naturally channel 31 took over the CBS television affiliation from WTVH.

WMBD-TV shared it studios along with its radio sisters on the second level of what was then the Majestic Theatre. Fetzer had previously won a construction permit for VHF channel 6 as early as 1949, but those plans were shelved when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) made Peoria–Bloomington an all-UHF market.[3]

The WMBD stations were sold to Midwest Television Incorporated of Champaign (owner of fellow CBS affiliate WCIA) in 1960 for $1.85 million. In addition to sharing resources with WCIA, WMBD has also carried some original programming from the former. In the early-1960s, WMBD was the first Peoria station to broadcast color television. Along with WEEK-TV, it maintained a repeater, W71AE (channel 71), in LaSalle in the 1960s and 1970s in order to expand its signal reach. The broadcast license for this low-power outlet was granted on November 15, 1962.[4] A picture of W71AE's 485-foot (148 m) Rohn tower and its sixteen bay antenna is shown in a Rohn advertisement in the July 1, 1963, issue of Broadcasting.[5][6][7]

WMBD moved to its current location on North University Street in June 1977 and still remains Peoria's only commercial television station with studios in the city itself. It became the area's first outlet to broadcast in stereo in September 1988. In 1999, Midwest Television sold controlling interest in its Illinois television stations to Nexstar. In 2001, Midwest sold its remaining interest in WMBD, WCIA and WCFN to Nexstar while the WMBD radio stations were sold to Triad Broadcasting.

On December 1 of that year, Nexstar and the Sinclair Broadcast Group entered into a local marketing agreement (LMA) in which WMBD took over WYZZ's operations. As part of the deal, WYZZ moved into WMBD's studios in Peoria. In August 2005, a similar agreement would be established between Nexstar's WROC-TV and Sinclair's WUHF in Rochester, New York. WMBD was the last station in the market to sign-on a digital signal and has been broadcasting digital-only since February 17, 2009.[8]

On June 15, 2016, Nexstar announced that it has entered into an affiliation agreement with Katz Broadcasting for the Escape (now Ion Mystery), Laff, Grit, and Bounce TV networks (the last one of which is owned by Bounce Media LLC, whose COO Jonathan Katz is president/CEO of Katz Broadcasting), bringing one or more of the four networks to 81 stations owned and/or operated by Nexstar, including WMBD-TV.[9]

On December 3, 2018, Nexstar announced it would acquire the assets of Chicago-based Tribune Media for $6.4 billion in cash and debt. The deal—which would make Nexstar the largest television station operator by total number of stations upon its expected closure late in the third quarter of 2019—would result in the WMBD/WYZZ virtual duopoly gaining additional sister stations in nearby markets including Chicago (independent station WGN-TV) and St. Louis (Fox affiliate KTVI and CW affiliate KPLR-TV). (Ownership conflicts exist in two existing Nexstar markets involving Nexstar's duopoly of CW affiliate WISH-TV and MyNetworkTV affiliate WNDY-TV and Tribune's duopoly of Fox affiliate WXIN and CBS affiliate WTTV/WTTK in Indianapolis and Nexstar's virtual triopoly of CBS affiliate WHBF-TV, CW affiliate KGCW and Fox-affiliated SSA partner KLJB and Tribune-owned ABC affiliate WQAD-TV in the Quad Cities.)[10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19]


WMBD presently broadcasts 43 hours of news each week (with 8 hours each weekday and an hour and a half each on Saturdays and Sundays). The station does not produce morning newscasts on weekends.

In April 2002, WMBD established a news share agreement with WYZZ. The arrangement resulted in the launch of a half-hour, prime time newscast on that station that was jointly produced by WMBD. Known as Fox 43 News at 9, the broadcast is seen every night. The show did not have any direct competition in the time slot until June 5, 2006, when WEEK-TV launched its own weeknight-only prime time newscast on then-UPN affiliate WAOE.

On March 2, 2009, WHOI consolidated its operations with WEEK-TV. As a result, there was a noticeable increase in viewership on WMBD since this left the market with only two unique news departments that cover the area.

On May 7, 2015, beginning with the weekday noon newscast, the station became the first broadcast television station in the market to produce local news in full high definition. On the same day, WYZZ's weeknight 9 p.m. newscast was included in the upgrade and the station also began producing a two-hour weekday morning show for the Fox affiliate. Known as Good Day Central Illinois, the program can be seen from 7 to 9 a.m. and offers a local alternative to the big three networks' morning programs. In addition to its primary studios, it operates a Twin Cities bureau on East Lincoln Street in Bloomington (that were WYZZ's studios prior to entering into a LMA with WMBD).

On January 6, 2019, WMBD received a new graphics package and adopted the "Aerial" theme.[20]

Notable former personnel


The station's signal is multiplexed:

Subchannels of WMBD-TV[26]
Channel Res. Aspect Short name Programming
31.1 1080i 16:9 WMBD-DT Main WMBD-TV programming / CBS
31.2 480i Bounce Bounce TV
31.3 Laff Laff
31.4 Mystery Ion Mystery


  1. ^ "Facility Technical Data for WMBD-TV". Licensing and Management System. Federal Communications Commission.
  2. ^ Szoke, Anita. A Great View on Grandview Drive. Peoria Journal-Star, June 5, 2008.
  3. ^ List of U.S. television stations in 1949
  4. ^ "Actions of Nov. 15" (PDF). For the Record. Broadcasting. November 26, 1962. pp. 88–89. Retrieved January 10, 2011.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ "For towers of all kinds call Rohn" (PDF). Broadcasting. July 1, 1963. p. 65. Retrieved January 10, 2011.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ Quick, Doug (September 18, 2010). "Other Television History". Archived from the original on December 16, 2010. Retrieved January 10, 2011.
  7. ^ "Renewal of licenses, all stations" (PDF). For the Record. Broadcasting. August 16, 1971. p. 42. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 8, 2021. Retrieved April 2, 2023. Broadcast Bureau granted renewal of licenses for the following UHF and VHF translators ... W49AA Springfield and W71AE LaSalle, both Illinois.
  8. ^ FCC list of full-service US TV stations, February 16, 2009
  9. ^ "Bounce TV, Grit, Escape, Laff Multicast Deal Covers 81 Stations, 54 Markets". Broadcasting & Cable. June 15, 2016. Retrieved June 21, 2016.
  10. ^ "Acquisition of Tribune Media Company" (PDF). Nexstar Media Group. December 3, 2018.
  11. ^ Miller, Mark K. (December 3, 2018). "Nexstar Buying Tribune Media For $6.4 Billion". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheck Media.
  12. ^ White, Peter; Hayes, Dade (December 3, 2018). "Nexstar Confirms $4.1B Tribune Media Acquisition To Become Leading Local TV Station Owner". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Media Corporation.
  13. ^ Smith, Gerry; Ahmed, Nabila; Newcomer, Eric (December 3, 2018). "Nexstar to buy WGN owner Tribune Media for $4.1 billion". Chicago Tribune. Tribune Publishing. Bloomberg News.
  14. ^ Panchadar, Arjun; Rai, Sonam (December 3, 2018). "Nexstar to buy Tribune Media for $4.1 billion". Reuters.
  15. ^ Lafayette, Jon (December 3, 2018). "Nexstar Announces Deal to Buy Tribune for $6.4B". Broadcasting & Cable. NewBay Media.
  16. ^ Jacobson, Adam (December 3, 2018). "It's Official: Nexstar Takes Tribune In Billion-Dollar Stock Deal". Radio-Television Business Report. Streamline-RBR, Inc.
  17. ^ Jessell, Harry A.; Miller, Mark K. (December 3, 2018). "Nexstar To Spin Off $1B In Stations". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheck Media.
  18. ^ "Nexstar Media Group Enters into Definitive Agreement to Acquire Tribune Media Company for $6.4 Billion in Accretive Transaction Creating the Nation's Largest Local Television Broadcaster and Local Media Company". Nexstar Media Group. December 3, 2018. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
  19. ^ "Nexstar Media Group Enters Into Definitive Agreement To Acquire Tribune Media Company". Tribune Media. December 3, 2018. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
  20. ^ WMBD News (January 6, 2019), new graphics, archived from the original on December 21, 2021, retrieved May 16, 2019
  21. ^ "Colleen Callahan resume" (PDF). Retrieved March 10, 2013.
  22. ^ "John Coleman bio". KUSI-TV. Archived from the original on April 4, 2014. Retrieved March 10, 2013.
  23. ^ 92 SR 489, 92nd Illinois General Assembly, November 21, 2002. Retrieved April 19, 2011.
  24. ^ "Martin Savidge bio". CNN. Retrieved March 10, 2013.
  25. ^ "Anne Marie Tiernon bio". WTHR. Archived from the original on May 20, 2013. Retrieved March 12, 2013.
  26. ^ "RabbitEars TV Query for WMBD".