WCIU, WMAQ, WGN Form Chicago ‘Lifeline’

Weigel Broadcasting will simulcast the programming of its WCIU Chicago on its low-power WWME as well as news from WMAQ and WGN so people who haven't made the digtital conversion will have access to programming and news as well as info on how to make the switch.

Weigel Broadcasting Co.’s independent WCIU Chicago will still be available to over-the-air analog TV viewers after the June 12 digital transition cut off. Utilizing its low-power WWME-CA, Weigel will provide “lifeline” television service to those Chicago area viewers who remain unready for the digital switch.

Weigel is partnering with NBC’s WMAQ and Tribune’s CW affiliate WGN to enhance the lifeline service with the addition of local newscasts for those Chicago area viewers who remain unready for the digital switch.

WWME-CA broadcasts with more than 350,000 watts from the Sears Tower in Chicago.

“Thank you to Larry Wert of NBC 5 and Marty Wilke of WGN for working in the spirit of cooperation to bring this service to the households that are not ready for the transition.   We view this as a creative and community-oriented way to use our analog ch. 23 which will remain on-air for the foreseeable future simulcasting WCIU-DT programming. Low-power stations are not subject to the shut-down of all full-power analog stations,” said Neal Sabin, Weigel executive vice president. “By adding NBC 5 News and WGN news product to WCIU’s programming schedule, we bring a quality lifeline service to those viewers who are not ready for the digital transition.”

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“Having NBC5’s morning and 6 p.m. newscast simulcast on [WWME] is a great vehicle for us to communicate to viewers that have not converted after tomorrow’s deadline, said Larry Wert, president, central and western region, NBC Local Media. “We thank Weigel Broadcasting Co. for providing this unique service to the community and we are proud to work with them to make this happen.”

“We are pleased to provide WGN News at Nine on a nightly basis to Chicago area viewers, who have not yet transitioned from analog to digital service,” said Marty Wilke, WGN VP-general manager. “WGN is happy to participate in this unique collaboration of three Chicago television stations. We understand how important it is for local viewers to continue to get their local news without interruption.”


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WCIU’s regular programming schedule will be simulcast on WWME-CA except during these local newscast time periods:

NBC 5 News — Weekdays, 4:30-7 a.m.

NBC 5 News — Weeknights, 6 p.m.

NBC 5 News — Saturday, 6-7 a.m. and 9-10 a.m.

NBC 5 News — Saturdays and Sundays, 5 p.m.

WGN News Monday — Sunday, 9 p.m. (will be pre-empted when WGN or WCIU carry Major League Baseball broadcasts)

Custom educational messages about the digital transition will continue airing on WWME-CA during NBC 5 News, WGN News at 9 and in WCIU programming with the goal of encouraging those viewers who are watching the lifeline service to make the digital conversion.

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