WAND: Wikis


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Decatur/Springfield/Champaign/Urbana, Illinois
Branding WAND-TV 17 (general)
NewsCenter 17 / StormCenter 17 (news)
Slogan The Best News You'll Get Today
Channels Digital: 18 (UHF)
Translators W31BX Danville
Affiliations NBC (since 2005)
Owner Block Communications, Inc.
(WAND (TV) Partnership)
First air date August 16, 1953
Call letters’ meaning Area
News on
Former callsigns WTVP (1953-1966)
Former channel number(s) Analog:
17 (1953-2009)
Former affiliations Primary:
ABC (1953-2005)
DuMont (1953-1955)
CBS (1953-1959)[1]
Transmitter Power 350 kW
Height 375 m
Facility ID 70852
Transmitter Coordinates 39°57′8.6″N 88°49′56.5″W / 39.952389°N 88.832361°W / 39.952389; -88.832361
Website www.wandtv.com

WAND is an NBC affiliate serving the DecaturSpringfieldChampaign area. It is owned by Block Communications. It broadcasts on digital UHF channel 18 from a transmitter near Argenta, with a translator, W31BX, in Danville.



The 400.5 metres (1,314.0 ft) tall WAND tower (right tower) near Argenta, Illinois. Listing 1009651 in the FCC Antenna Structure Registration database.

WAND began on June 17, 1953 as WTVP, owned by Prairie Broadcasting Company of Decatur. It is the oldest station in central Illinois, and the state's second-oldest station on the UHF band. Initial hopes of carrying programs from all four networks of the time were dashed, and WTVP had to settle for a primary affiliation with ABC and a secondary affiliations with DuMont. It was one of ABC's first fourteen primary affiliates, and one of the few early ABC affiliates on the UHF band that survived the 1950s.

Like many stations in medium-sized markets, WTVP initially wasn't able to get a direct network feed. The station had to rely on kinescopes of ABC and DuMont programming from New York City, and the programs often aired two weeks after the live broadcast. By October, however, WTVP was able to get ABC programming live from a microwave link in Danville. At this time, it also took on a secondary CBS affiliation. During the late 1950s, the station was also briefly affiliated with the NTA Film Network.[1] Even after WCIA signed on from Champaign in November, WTVP continued to air some CBS programs until 1959.

WTVP was sold to a Chicago-based group in 1958, only to be sold two years later to Metromedia. In 1961, the station activated a translator on channel 70 in Champaign. At the time, channel 17 provided only a grade B ("rimshot") signal to the Champaign-Urbana side of the market, and much of the area couldn't see it at all. It was sold to LIN Broadcasting at the end of 1965--the very first station in the LIN chain. On February 15, 1966, the call letters changed to the present WAND.

On October 8, 1966, WAND activated a new 1,100-foot (340 m) tower in Argenta. It was an experimental RCA "Vee-Zee" antenna, and one of only two ever put into service. (The second antenna was used by WJJY-TV.) It was the first million-watt tower in the state, and added Champaign-Urbana to the station's city-grade coverage. As a result, WAND became the first station in the market to provide a city-grade signal to all four of the market's largest cities. At the same time, the channel 70 translator was moved to Danville, on channel 68.

On March 26, 1978, WAND's tower was brought down by a massive ice storm. The station was off the air for two weeks until it returned to the air from its original tower in southwest Decatur. The translator was moved back to Champaign, still on channel 68. This left Danville without over-the-air programming from ABC for several months.

In 1979, WAND activated its current 1,289-foot (393 m) tower, on the old site in Argenta. It is the tallest broadcasting tower in Illinois, and with 5 million watts it was the most powerful analog signal in the state. The station also moved the translator back to Danville, this time on channel 31.

LIN wholly owned the station until March 2000, when it sold 67 percent of the station to Block Communications in exchange for 100 percent of WLFI-TV in Lafayette, Indiana. LIN, who remained the station's minority owner at that point, continued to operate WAND for several years as part of the deal.

On September 5, 2005, WAND became an NBC affiliate as part of a larger nationwide deal.

LIN sold its 33 percent share of WAND to Block Communications on November 9, 2007.[2] As a result, LIN no longer operates the station; however, WAND's website remains in the format similar to those of most of the other LIN-owned stations.

Danville Digital Repeater

On February 17, 2009, the Danville repeater shut off its analog signal. Soon after, the repeater started broadcasting a digital signal on channels 31-1 and 31-2, but redirects TVs to channels 17-1 and 17-2.



The weather department of WAND-TV has come a long way since the station has been up and operating. In late 1993, a Live Doppler Radar was installed on top of the station. Then, in 2006 a new technology was introduced called "Live Doppler 4X". Live Doppler 4X consists of four real-time radars that run from various places from Iowa, Missouri, and Illinois. The Stormcenter 17 meteorologists can pinpoint storms locations from Iowa and Missouri and track them through all of Central Illinois. New Weather Technology WAND became one of the few stations to have 3-d Live Doppler using their previous Live Doppler 4X technology. The four radars still sweep, and now the Stormcenter 17 meteorologists can give a storm rating and show 3-dimensional thunderstorm views.

Firsts in Central Illinois

High-Definition Programming

WAND was the first to bring high definition programming to central Illinois. Regular video can be seen at the regular 4:3 aspect ratio. NBC HDTV is currently at 16:9 aspect. WAND is also the first station in Central Illinois to show 3-d Live Doppler technology. It uses previous Live Doppler 4X technology that can be shown in a 3-dimensional view

24-Hour Doppler Radar Channel

WAND also broadcasts a second channel with live 24-hour Doppler Radar and the audio overlay of WX channel WXJ75 based in Springfield.

Online Weather and Newscasts

WAND broadcasts on-demand weather, as well as portions of its newscasts, on its website, making it the first in the area to do so.


The upper portion of the WAND-TV antenna tower near Argenta, Illinois.

Current On-Air Talent

(as of June 27, 2009)
Current Anchors

  • Tara Barrett - weekday mornings "StormCenter 17 Today" and noon
  • Scot England - weekday mornings "StormCenter 17 Today"
  • Elizabeth Moors - weekends at 5 and 10PM
  • Dawn Sterling - weeknights at 5, 6 and 10PM
  • Sean Streaty - weeknights at 5, 6 and 10PM


  • Gordon Graham - Capitol reporter
  • Liz Adeola - general assignment reporter
  • Brian Canaday - Springfield reporter
  • Peter Gray - Springfield reporter
  • Vanessa Murphy - general assignment reporter
  • Ashley Sears - Champaign reporter
  • Lisa Sparrow - Champaign reporter

StormCenter 17 Weather Team

  • Lee Davis (AMS/NWA Seals of Approval) - Chief Meteorologist; weekdays at noon and 5 PM
  • J.C. Fultz (NWA Seal of Approval) - Meteorologist; weeknights at 6 and 10PM
  • Jeff Quick - Weather Anchor; weekend mornings (also fill-in meteorologist)
  • Laine Sylvester - Weather Anchor; weekends at 5 and 10PM
  • Greg Trumbold - Meteorologist; weekday mornings "StormCenter 17 Today" and noon

Sports Team

  • Brian Jodice - Sports Anchor; weeknights at 6 and 10PM
  • Jon Nilles - Sports Anchor; weekends at 5 and 10PM

Former On-Air Talent

  • Abbie Alford
  • Rick Barrett
  • Joe Bauer
  • Lisa Benson
  • Bob Billman
  • Brandon Blocker
  • Gabrielle Biondo
  • Loren Boatman
  • Warren Brinegar
  • Mike Browning
  • Ross Cavitt[3]
  • Bob Cashen
  • Ken Charles
  • Mike Cheever
  • Jim Clayton
  • Mike Cleff
  • Don Coleman
  • John Davey
  • Bob Dolan
  • Travell Eiland
  • Tom Green
  • Maria Gum
  • Cindy Gutteridge
  • Mikaela Hunt
  • Christina Jue
  • Patricia Kakridas
  • Karen Konyar
  • Chris Madarasz
  • Mike Mazzocco
  • Dan Medina
  • Jill Monier
  • Julie Moore
  • George Moyer
  • Bob Murray
  • Grant Napear
  • Reed O'Brien
  • Eun Hee Pai
  • Al Pigg
  • Ron Rector
  • Robert Reese
  • Leandra Reilly
  • Jeff Ruffner
  • Devin Scillian
  • Kim Sherwood
  • Gayle Simpson
  • Jerry Slabe
  • Cathy Styles
  • Lon Tay
  • Marcus Thorpe
  • Dawn Torchia
  • Mindy Mintz
  • Mike Vaughan
  • Frank Vascellaro
  • Dana Wadell
  • Dick Westbrook
  • Kim Wilson
  • Bob Wright
  • Rick Zurak
  • Steve Butera

News/Station presentation

Newscast titles

  • WAND News (1980s-2005)
  • NewsCenter 17 (2005-present)
  • StormCenter 17 (2008-present; also used as weather branding)

Station slogans

  • We're Still the One, on WAND-TV (1977-1980; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • You and Me and WAND-TV (1980-1981; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • Now Is The Time, WAND-TV is the Place (1981-1982; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • Come Along With WAND-TV (1982-1984; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • We're With You, on WAND-TV (1984-1985; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • You'll Love It on WAND-TV (1985-1986; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • Together on WAND-TV (1986-1987; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • TV is Good, on WAND-TV" (1997-1998;localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • Central Illinois' News Station (1992-1998 and 2002-2007)
  • Live. Local. Latebreaking. (1998-2002)
  • The Best News You'll Get Today (2007-present)

News Music Packages

  • Stravinsky (1998-2005)
  • Metropolis (2005-2007)
  • The Rock (2007-present)
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External links

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