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This page is about the existing television station in Cleveland, Ohio. For the previous occupant of channel 61 in Cleveland, see WKBF-TV.
WQHS-DT
WQHS Univision 61 Logo
Cleveland, Ohio
Branding Univision 61
Channels Digital: 34 (UHF)
Affiliations Univision
Owner Univision Communications, Inc.
(Univision Cleveland, LLC)
First air date January 13, 1981
Call letters’ meaning HS =
Home
Shopping
Network
Former callsigns WCLQ-TV (1981-1986)
WQHS (1986-1992)
WQHS-TV (1992-2009)
Former channel number(s) Analog:
61 (1981-2009)
Former affiliations independent (1981-1986)
HSN (1986-2002)
Transmitter Power 525 kW (digital)
Height 333.8 m (digital)
Facility ID 60556
Transmitter Coordinates 41°22′58″N 81°42′7″W / 41.38278°N 81.70194°W / 41.38278; -81.70194

WQHS-DT is a Spanish-language television station owned and operated by Univision. It is licensed to serve the Cleveland, Ohio television market, and broadcasts on UHF channel 61 with studios and offices in Parma. It is also one of two stations with the Univision affiliation, alongside KUNS-TV in Seattle, Washington in markets bordering Canada.

Contents

History

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WKBF

A previous license owned by Kaiser Broadcasting occupied Channel 61 as WKBF from 1968 to 1975. It was the first actual independent station to sign on in Cleveland, and the first on the UHF dial. Despite some innovative local programming, and some popular off-network shows, WKBF struggled for the majority of its existence due to poor revenue growth. It failed to achieve profitability while competing against rival station WUAB-TV, which signed on at the same time as WKBF. By 1975, Kaiser Broadcasting sold off WKBF's assets to WUAB's owner United Artists Broadcasting, and purchased a minority ownership in the station (which was relinqished when WUAB was sold to Gaylord Broadcasting and when Kaiser merged with Field Communications; both of which occurred in 1977).

Kaiser then signed Channel 61 off the air and returned the license to the Federal Communications Commission. WKBF was one of three stations in the Kaiser Broadcasting chain to cease operations permanently; the others were Los Angeles station KBSC-TV (now KVEA-TV) in 1976 and Philadelphia station WKBS in 1983.

1975 to 1980: The dark years

Rumors abounded concerning potential companies that could file for the Channel 61 license in Cleveland, yet none came forward right away. After a few years, the FCC began to accept applications for channel 61 (as a distinctly separate license from WKBF), and Balaban Stations won the license in 1980.

1980 to Present: New license, new owners

The current licensed station signed on in March 1981. The call letters assigned to the new licensee was WCLQ. The Channel 61 logo was similar to WKBF's design, but with a neon glow effect. This station too was classified as "independent" as it did not carry a national network. The air time was filled with general entertainment programming and ran a mix of classic cartoons, hour long off network dramas, westerns, sitcoms, and other syndicated programs.

Not unlike similar flailing high-numbered UHF stations at the time, the station did gain profitability however, unlike its predecessor due to its' partnership with Preview an over-the-air scrambled subscription television service similar to other regional over-the-air pay-TV services such as SelecTV, OnTV, or Spectrum, which aired movies and local sporting events in the evening and on weekends. Preview was discontinued in 1983 and WCLQ was sold to Channel Communications in 1984.

In 1985, WOIO and WBNX-TV both signed on with entertainment formats to create further competition, which took viewers away from WCLQ. WOIO surpassed WCLQ in the ratings immediately. WBNX struggled and ran a lot of paid programming. But it became apparent that Cleveland was unable to support four independent stations. As a result, WCLQ began to lose money, and Channel Communications decided to put WCLQ up for sale in May 1986. The station began running Home Shopping Network programming from midnight to 6 a.m. earlier that year, and in the summer it also began to air from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. In August, HSN's broadcasting arm (Silver King Television) bought WCLQ. In September, WCLQ began to run HSN programming 18 hours a day, while the independent format continued to air from 4 to 10 p.m.

Once the sale was finalized in November 1986, WCLQ changed its call letters to WQHS-TV. The independent format was completely dropped, with HSN programs being shown 24/7 from February 1987 to January 2002. WBNX picked up much of WCLQ's syndicated programming including cartoons.

Plans emerged in the late 1990s to return WQHS-TV to the independent format by 2002. However, USA Broadcasting decided that it would be better to sell and almost sold WQHS to ABC/Disney in 2000, but ended up being outbid by Univision. As a result, WQHS-TV adopted the Univision Network programming on January 14, 2002. The station continues to serve Northern Ohio as its only Spanish language station.

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