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WRSP-TV, virtual channel 55 (UHF digital channel 44), is a Fox-affiliated television station licensed to Springfield, Illinois, United States and also serving Decatur. The station is owned by GOCOM Media, LLC, as part of a duopoly with Decatur-licensed CW affiliate WBUI (channel 23). Both outlets are operated through joint sales and shared services agreements by the Sinclair Broadcast Group, making them sister stations to Springfield-licensed ABC affiliate WICS, channel 20 (and its full-time satellite, Champaign-licensed WICD, channel 15). WRSP, WBUI and WICS share studios on East Cook Street in Springfield's Eastside; WRSP's transmitter is located west of Mechanicsburg, in unincorporated Sangamon County. However, WBUI also operates an advertising sales office on South Main Street/US 51 in Downtown Decatur.

WRSP-WCCU Fox 55-27 Illinois Logo.png

Wrsp wccu dt2.png
Springfield/Decatur, Illinois
United States
CitySpringfield, Illinois
BrandingFox 55/27 Illinois (general)
Fox Springfield News at Nine (news)
MeTV Illinois (DT2)
ChannelsDigital: 44 (UHF)
(to move to 16 (UHF))
Virtual: 55 (PSIP)
Affiliations55.1: Fox (since 1986)
55.2: MeTV
55.3: Antenna TV
OwnerGOCOM Media, LLC
(GOCOM Media of Illinois, LLC)
OperatorSinclair Broadcast Group
(via JSA/SSA)
First air dateJune 1, 1979 (40 years ago) (1979-06-01)
Call letters' meaningWe ARe SPringfield
Sister station(s)WBUI, WICS/WICD,
Former callsignsWBHW (1979–1982)
Former channel number(s)Analog: 55 (UHF, 1979–2009)
Former affiliationsIndependent (1979–1986)
Transmitter power335 kW
185 kW (CP)
Height415 m (1,362 ft)
Facility ID62009
Transmitter coordinates39°47′57″N 89°26′46″W / 39.79917°N 89.44611°W / 39.79917; -89.44611
Licensing authorityFCC
Public license informationProfile
(semi-satellite of WRSP-TV)
Urbana/Champaign, Illinois
United States
CityUrbana, Illinois
BrandingFox 55/27 Illinois (general)
Fox Champaign News at Nine (news)
MeTV Illinois (DT2)
ChannelsDigital: 26 (UHF)
(to move to 36 (UHF))
Virtual: 27 (PSIP)
Affiliations27.1: Fox (since 1986)
27.2: MeTV
27.3: Antenna TV
OwnerGOCOM Media, LLC
(GOCOM Media of Illinois, LLC)
OperatorSinclair Broadcast Group
(via JSA/SSA)
First air dateFebruary 19, 1986 (33 years ago) (1986-02-19)
Call letters' meaningWe're
Central Illinois
Sister station(s)see WRSP-TV infobox
Former channel number(s)Analog: 27 (UHF, 1986–2009)
Transmitter power507 kW
624 kW (CP)
Height114 m (374 ft)
Facility ID69544
Transmitter coordinates40°18′46″N 87°55′0″W / 40.31278°N 87.91667°W / 40.31278; -87.91667 (WCCU)
Licensing authorityFCC
Public license information
semi-satellite of WRSP-TV) Profile

semi-satellite of WRSP-TV) CDBS

WCCU (virtual channel 27, UHF digital channel 26) in Urbana–Champaign operates as a semi-satellite of WRSP for the eastern portion of the market, including Danville. As such, it clears all network and syndicated programming from its parent but airs separate commercial inserts, legal identifications, and a weeknight prime time newscast (see below). WCCU's transmitter is located along US 136 in Vermilion County between Penfield and Armstrong; the station shares studios with WICD on South Country Fair Drive in downtown Champaign.



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. 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.

Digital televisionEdit

Digital channelsEdit

The stations' digital signals are multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[1][2]
720p 16:9 WRSP-HD
Main programming / Fox
480i 4:3 ME-TV MeTV
Ant TV Antenna TV

Analog-to-digital conversionEdit

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:[3]

  • WRSP-TV shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 55; the station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 44. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 55, which was among the high band UHF channels (52-69) that were removed from broadcasting use as a result of the transition.
  • WCCU shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 27; the station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 26. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 27.

News operationEdit

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 simulcasted 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. The weekend edition of the prime time news will continue to be a market-wide product simulcasted on WRSP and WCCU. With the exception of the WCCU newscast, WICD no longer produces Champaign-specific local news. [5] [6]


  1. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WRSP
  2. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WCCU
  3. ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-08-29. Retrieved 2012-03-24.
  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.

External linksEdit