WRSP-TV
WRSP-WCCU Fox 55-27 Illinois Logo.png

Wrsp wccu dt2.png
CitySpringfield, Illinois
Channels
BrandingFox Illinois (general)
Fox Illinois News at Nine (newscasts)
MeTV Illinois (on DT2)
Programming
Affiliations55.1: Fox
55.2: MeTV
55.3: Antenna TV
Ownership
Owner
  • GOCOM Media, LLC
  • (GOCOM Media of Illinois, LLC)
OperatorSinclair Broadcast Group
(via JSA/SSA)
Broadcast: WBUI, WICS/WICD
Cable: Bally Sports Midwest,[1] Marquee Sports Network
History
First air date
June 1, 1979 (43 years ago) (1979-06-01)
Former call signs
WBHW (1979–1982)
Former channel number(s)
Analog:
55 (UHF, 1979–2009)
Digital:
44 (UHF, until 2020)
Independent (1979–1986)
Call sign meaning
For "Springfield"
Technical information
Licensing authority
FCC
Facility ID62009
ClassDT
ERP360 kW
HAAT436 m (1,430 ft)
Transmitter coordinates39°48′15″N 89°27′40″W / 39.80417°N 89.46111°W / 39.80417; -89.46111
Links
Public license information
Websitefoxillinois.com
Semi-satellite
WCCU
CityUrbana, Illinois
Channels
Programming
Affiliations27.1: Fox
27.2: MeTV
27.3: Antenna TV
Ownership
Owner
  • GOCOM Media, LLC
  • (GOCOM Media of Illinois, LLC)
OperatorSinclair Broadcast Group
(via JSA/SSA)
see WRSP-TV infobox
History
First air date
February 19, 1986 (36 years ago) (1986-02-19)
Former channel number(s)
Analog:
27 (UHF, 1986–2009)
Digital:
26 (UHF, 2009–2020)
Call sign meaning
Central Illinois Champaign–Urbana
Technical information
Facility ID69544
ClassDT
ERP125 kW
HAAT381 m (1,250 ft)
Transmitter coordinates40°4′10″N 87°54′46″W / 40.06944°N 87.91278°W / 40.06944; -87.91278 (WCCU)
Links
Public license information

WRSP-TV (channel 55) is a television station licensed to Springfield, Illinois, United States, affiliated with the Fox network. It is owned by GOCOM Media, LLC, alongside Decatur-licensed CW affiliate WBUI (channel 23). GOCOM maintains joint sales and shared services agreements (JSA/SSA) with the Sinclair Broadcast Group, owner of Springfield-licensed ABC affiliate WICS, channel 20 (and its semi-satellite, Champaign-licensed WICD, channel 15), for the provision of certain services. WRSP's transmitter is located west of Mechanicsburg, in unincorporated Sangamon County; the station shares studios with WBUI and WICS on East Cook Street in Springfield's Eastside. However, WBUI also operates an advertising sales office on South Main Street/US 51 in downtown Decatur.

WCCU (channel 27) in Urbana–Champaign operates as a semi-satellite of WRSP for the eastern portion of the Central Illinois market, including Danville. As such, it clears all network and syndicated programming from its parent but airs separate local commercial inserts and legal identifications. WCCU's transmitter is located northeast of Homer, along the VermilionChampaign county line; it shares studios with WICD on South Country Fair Drive in downtown Champaign.

History

What is now WRSP signed on June 1, 1979, as WBHW, a religious independent (the call letters stood for "We Believe His Word"). It aired an analog signal on UHF channel 55 and was built by the Windmill Broadcasting Company, which had received the construction permit in September 1978.[2] It was the first new commercial station in the market (not counting satellite stations) since WCIA launched back in 1953. On November 24, 1982, it was sold to new owners who changed the call letters to WRSP-TV and turned it into the area's first general entertainment independent.

In the winter of 1985, WRSP announced it would join the upstart Fox network the following year. As part of the agreement, on February 19, 1986, it added full-time satellite WCCU in Urbana, with an analog signal on UHF channel 27. Both stations began transmitting digital signals in mid-2000 with programming from Fox in high definition. It eventually introduced a new website based on the "My Fox" owned-and-operated station platform licensed from News Corporation Interactive.

On June 20, 2007, GOCOM Media announced its intent to purchase WBUI from ACME Communications. The sale was approved on September 14 by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which allowed GOCOM to buy WBUI under a "failed station" waiver to its duopoly rules. The Central Illinois market already had one duopoly, Nexstar Broadcasting Group's WCIA and WCFN, and under normal conditions there wouldn't have been enough unique station owners to allow a second duopoly.

However, ACME claimed it was losing money on WBUI and could not find a buyer that did not require a duopoly waiver. The sale to GOCOM Media officially closed on October 25, 2007. At that point, WBUI consolidated its operations from its original studios at North Parkway Court in Decatur into WRSP's facilities in Springfield. In mid-2010, WRSP's web site was taken over by Broadcast Interactive Media.

On December 31, 2012, Sinclair closed on the purchase of the non-license assets of GOCOM's three television stations, WRSP/WCCU and sister station WBUI for approximately $25.6 million. Sinclair is providing sales and other non-programming services to the stations pursuant to shared services and joint sales agreements. Both WRSP/WCCU and WBUI were initially operated from separate facilities from WICS/WICD.

However, WCCU quickly moved its advertising sales operation from its location on South Neil Street/U.S. 45 in Champaign into WICD's studios. Eventually, WRSP and WBUI also moved from their offices on Old Rochester Road in Springfield and were consolidated into WICS' facility.

On July 28, 2021, the FCC issued a Forfeiture Order stemming from a lawsuit against WRSP/WCCU/WBUI owner GOCOM Media. The lawsuit, filed by AT&T, alleged that GOCOM failed to negotiate for retransmission consent in good faith for the stations. Owners of other Sinclair-managed stations, such as Deerfield Media, were also named in the lawsuit. GOCOM was ordered to pay a fine of $1,536,684.[3]

News operation

On September 11, 2006, WRSP/WCCU (then separately controlled) established a news share agreement with WICS/WICD. As a result, a nightly prime time newscast began airing on the Fox affiliates that was jointly produced by the two ABC outlets. Known as NewsChannel at 9 on Fox Illinois, it aired from a modified set at WICS's Springfield studios featuring unique duratrans indicating the Fox-branded show. From the start, NewsChannel at 9 competed with a newscast already established in the time slot on then-UPN affiliate WCFN (produced by WCIA).

Unlike the WRSP/WCCU show, WCFN's broadcast originated from WCIA's Champaign facilities but was targeted specifically at a Springfield audience. The WRSP/WCCU newscast featured market wide coverage, including contributions from WICD reporters, but there was a separate weeknight weather segment for WRSP and WCCU.[4] WCFN's prime time broadcast would be eventually canceled by WCIA on September 28, 2009. On October 7, 2013, the weekday edition NewsChannel at 9 was expanded to an hour.

The effort on WRSP/WCCU was further expanded on January 20, 2014, when WICS began producing a two-hour weekday morning show for the Fox affiliates. Known as Good Day Illinois, the program can be seen from 7 until 9 and offers a local alternative to the national morning programs seen on the big three networks. It also competes with another two-hour local newscast seen at same time on MyNetworkTV affiliate WCIX (produced by WCIA).

On March 13, 2015, Sinclair announced that WICD would stop offering separate newscasts on weekdays that focus on the eastern areas of the market (Champaign/Urbana/Danville). This change took effect after the final WICD-produced newscast aired on April 3. In its place are newscasts simulcast from WICS (in all time slots) which provide market-wide coverage including content from the eastern areas through a downsized bureau at WICD's studios. On April 7, 2015, despite this significant reduction, WICD began airing a full sixty-minute Champaign-based prime time newscast (weeknights at 9) on WCCU entitled Fox Champaign News at Nine.

The existing hour-long WICS-produced newscast on WRSP, which had been simulcast on WCCU, was refocused to Springfield and became known as Fox News at Nine. As such, WICD no longer produces Champaign-specific local news.[5][6]

Technical information

Subchannels

The stations' digital signals are multiplexed:

WRSP Channel WCCU Channel Video Aspect Short name Programming[7][8]
55.1 27.1 720p 16:9 FOX Main programming / Fox
55.2 27.2 480i MeTV MeTV
55.3 27.3 4:3 Antenna Antenna TV

Analog-to-digital conversion

Both stations shut down their analog signals, respectively on February 17, 2009, the original target date in which full-power television stations in the United States were to transition from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate (which was later pushed back to June 12, 2009). The station's digital channel allocations post-transition are as follows:[9]

References

  1. ^ Miller, Mark K. (August 23, 2019). "Sinclair Closes $10.6B Disney RSN Purchase". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheckMedia. Retrieved August 23, 2019.
  2. ^ FCC History Cards for WRSP-TV
  3. ^ "Forfeiture Order" (PDF). Federal Communications Commission. July 28, 2021. Retrieved October 4, 2021.
  4. ^ per WICD anchor Doug Quick's website
  5. ^ Dodson, Don (March 13, 2015). "Changes coming to local TV scene". The News-Gazette. Retrieved March 25, 2015.
  6. ^ Malone, Michael (March 24, 2015). "WICS Springfield (Ill.) to Produce WICD News". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved March 25, 2015.
  7. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WRSP
  8. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WCCU
  9. ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on August 29, 2013. Retrieved March 24, 2012.