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WGBO-DT
WGBO Logo.png
Joliet/Chicago, Illinois
Branding Univision Chicago
Channels Digital: 38 (UHF)
Subchannels 66.1 Univisión
Owner Univision Communications, Inc.
(WGBO License Partnership, GP)
First air date September 1981[1]
Call letters’ meaning Grant BrOadcasting
(former owner)
Sister station(s) WOJO, WPPN, WXFT-DT
Former callsigns WFBN (1981–1986)
WGBO-TV (1986–2009)
Former channel number(s) Analog:
66 (1981–2009)
Digital:
53 (until 2009)
Former affiliations Independent (1981-1995)
Transmitter Power 600 kW
Height 401.4 m
Facility ID 12498
Transmitter Coordinates 41°53′55.7″N 87°37′23.9″W / 41.898806°N 87.623306°W / 41.898806; -87.623306
Website Univision Chicago

WGBO-DT, channel 66, is the Univision owned and operated station licensed to Joliet, Illinois, United States. Its studios are in Chicago. WGBO offers a Spanish programming format featuring news, talk shows, dramas, movies, and other Spanish-language programming.

Contents

History

Channel 66 signed on in 1981 as WFBN, owned by Focus Broadcasting. Initially it ran local access shows during the day and Spectrum Subscription TV by night. By 1982, the station ran Subscription TV almost 24/7, but by Fall 1983 Spectrum shared the same schedule with Chicago subscription rival ON-TV.

WFBN continued this format until early 1984, when it dropped Spectrum in favor of music videos 24/7. By the fall of 1984, WFBN dropped the music videos and refilled the schedule with off-network classic sitcoms, dramas, movies, and religious shows. Grant Broadcasting bought WFBN in fall 1985 and changed its call letters to WGBO-TV in January 1986, adopting the moniker of "Super 66."

In January 1986, WGBO added a few more off-network sitcoms and a couple of kids shows. It also added a lot of westerns. The station also adopted a very slick on-air look, using CGI graphics of near-network quality. Sister stations WGBS-TV in Philadelphia and WBFS-TV in Miami adopted a similar look, even though it was run somewhat more cheaply than its two sisters. Grant had ambitions of turning his three stations into regional superstations.

Unfortunately, when WGBO tried to get more barter programming, it found the shelves were picked clean by WGN-TV, WFLD and WPWR-TV. The bargain product was picked clean by WPWR. Ratings were always very low on this station and did not go up under Grant's ownership. Grant also could not compete against the two established independent stations and was not even able to compete against WPWR (even with all the low budget shows WPWR had along with lots of barter shows). There simply wasn't enough programming to go around, even in a market as large as Chicago.

By the end of 1986, Grant was so badly overextended that it filed Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. While the other two stations kept similar formats with fewer shows, WGBO added a lot of infomercials, religion, and other paid programs. WGBO did hold on to some entertainment shows. Ratings did not deteriorate, but they were very low to begin with.

In 1989, WGBO (along with its sister stations) went into receivership. A group of creditors called Combined Broadcasting took over the stations. In the early 1990s, WGBO added some barter cartoons and sitcoms that other stations passed on or dropped previously. Finally, in 1994, in a group deal Combined Broadcasting sold WGBS (now WPSG) and WBFS to the Paramount Stations Group (who sold its original Philadelphia station, WTXF-TV, to News Corporation), and WGBO to Univision. WCIU-TV had been affiliated with Univision for many years, but still aired some English-language programming. When Univision asked it to drop those shows, WCIU refused, hence Univision's purchase of WGBO and WCIU's switch to general-market programming for the first time in its history.

Univision took ownership of Channel 66 in January 1995. The station retained the WGBO call letters, but immediately switched to Spanish programming. The station launched a newscast anchored by Elio Montenegro (formerly of CLTV News) and Edna Schmidt at 5 pm and Jorge Barbosa joining in at 10 pm. WCIU picked up most of WGBO's general entertainment shows, but reruns of Beverly Hills 90210 continued to run, in English, on Sunday nights for a few months after the Univision buyout.

Digital television

At some point after 10:30 PM on June 12, 2009, WGBO shut down its analog signal on channel 66. Its digital signal on its pre-transition channel 53 continued to air until just before midnight, when it was moved to channel 38, a frequency formerly used by the analog signal of Ion Television affiliate WCPX-TV. WGBO continues to be displayed on digital television receivers as virtual channel 66.1 through the use of PSIP. On June 23, Univision replaced the -TV suffix with the -DT suffix in its legal call sign to conform to the company's practice (the legal call signs of all Univision-owned full-service television stations now end in -DT).

WGBO-DT is one of only two Chicago market full-power television stations (the other being WYCC) which broadcast from the top of the John Hancock Center. All of the other area stations broadcast from the top of the Willis Tower.

In December 2009, WGBO and sister station WXFT, along with most other Univision-owned stations, upgraded their main channels to transmit in 16:9 1080i high definition in preparation for the arrival of HD programming from Univision and TeleFutura, which occurred in 2010.

Newscasts

  • Noticias Univision Chicago Primera Edicion (Mondays thru Fridays)
  • Noticias Univision Chicago a las 5 PM (Mondays thru Fridays 5:00 PM-5:30 PM)
  • Noticias Univision Chicago a las 10 PM (Mondays thru Fridays 10:00 PM-10:30 PM)

News Team

Anchors

  • Brenda Carmona
  • Jorge Barbosa
  • Paula Gomez
  • Enrique Rodriguez

Weather

  • Ligia Granados
  • Maricela Vazquez (also Reporter)

Sports

  • Hector Lozano
  • Mariano Gielis (also Reporter)

Reporters

  • Aureliano Salgado
  • Maria de Lourdes Garcia
  • Maricela Vasquez (also Weatheranchor)
  • Ericka Maldonado
  • Mariano Gielis (also Sportsanchor)

Trivia

  • In 1995 Oshkosh, Wisconsin radio station WVBO asked WGBO for permission to use the call letters WGBO-FM for its planned Green Bay simulcast (to stand for Green Bay Oldies). WGBO refused, and the Green Bay station went on the air as WOGB instead.
  • WFBN-LP is currently the call for a low power station in Rockford owned by Weigel Broadcasting, owner of WCIU. The station previously aired WebFN, the successor to Stock Market Observer. This is especially ironic since WCIU and WGBO essentially traded programming in 1995 because WCIU refused to drop Stock Market Observer.

External links

References

  1. ^ The Broadcasting and Cable Yearbook says September 17, while the Television and Cable Factbook says September 18.
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