WYCC, virtual channel 20 (UHF digital channel 21), is an MHz Worldview-affiliated television station licensed to Chicago, Illinois, United States. Owned by not-for-profit broadcasting entity Window to the World Communications, Inc., it is a sister station to PBS member WTTW (channel 11) and commercial classical music radio station WFMT (98.7 FM). The three stations share studios in the Renée Crown Public Media Center, located at 5400 North Saint Louis Avenue (adjacent to the main campus of Northeastern Illinois University) in the city's North Park neighborhood; WYCC and WTTW share transmitter facilities atop the Willis Tower on South Wacker Drive in the Chicago Loop. WYCC previously maintained studios at Kennedy–King College on South Union Avenue and Halsted Parkway in the Englewood neighborhood.
|Channels||Digital: 47 (UHF)|
(shared with WTTW; to move to 25 (UHF))
Virtual: 20 (PSIP)
|Owner||Window to the World Communications, Inc.|
|First air date|
|Call letters' meaning|
|Sister station(s)||WTTW, WFMT|
|Former channel number(s)|
|Transmitter power||300 kW|
250 kW (CP)
|Height||465 m (1,526 ft)|
496 m (1,627 ft) (CP)
|Public license information||Profile|
On October 25, 2017, WYCC, then owned by the City Colleges of Chicago, announced that it would terminate its affiliation with PBS, broadcasting MHz Worldview instead on subchannel 20.1 in the interim. The station ceased broadcast operations on November 27, 2017, but returned to the air on WTTW's spectrum on April 23, 2018.
Acting as the market's secondary outlet for the educational programming service, WYCC served as one of three PBS member stations serving the Chicago metropolitan area, alongside WTTW and Gary, Indiana-licensed WYIN (channel 56). Because the Chicago market is well-served by PBS' national programming from those two stations, WYCC's programming focused more on adult educational and other instructional programming, along with other programming obtained by producers outside of those associated with PBS, which account for only 13% of the programs provided as part of WYCC's weekly schedule.
Funding for the station was provided by the usual mix of member donations, pledge drives and grants from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, as well as funds allocated by the Illinois General Assembly and the city of Chicago through the City Colleges division. WYCC made the claim of being the largest public television station that is run by a minority operation, and reaches the 3.5 million households in the Chicago area, along with six million households across Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan.
On the heels of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)'s recent lifting of its moratorium on new television station applications (the result of the agency's passage of the Sixth Report & Order of 1952) as well as the opening of additional channels on the UHF band, WIND Inc., a joint venture between the Chicago Daily News and the family of Ralph J. Atlass – one-time owners of radio stations WBBM (780 AM) and WIND (560 AM) petitioned the FCC for a construction permit to build a television station on UHF channel 20, which would be licensed to nearby Gary, Indiana. The group also applied for, and received the call letters WIND-TV for their new station, which was never signed on under their purview. On November 8, 1956, the Westinghouse Electric Corporation purchased the construction permit and WIND radio for $5.3 million.
UHF stations struggled mightily during the 1950s, with many shutting down outright, due partly to the fact that manufacturers did not include UHF tuners in television sets (an issue that was remedied when the FCC made these tuners a requirement for sets made from 1964 onward through its passage of the All-Channel Receiver Act). By the end of the decade, Group W had soured on the idea of launching a station in the Chicago market; in late 1962, Group W offered the construction permit (allegedly sold for $1, although some reports list the selling price as $65,000) to Edward L. Ryerson, member of the board of the Chicago Educational Television Association (now Window to the World Communications and licensee of WTTW, channel 11).
First conceived in 1953 and debuting in September 1955 as Chicago's first non-commercial educational television station, WTTW began to experience growing pains by the early 1960s. Gradually moving away from its original mission of providing classroom instructional courses as more and more of its broadcast day was filled first with programming from NET and later PBS and those distributed by other member stations, the idea of a second station seemed like the perfect answer to provide additional sources for the displaced educational programming.
According to the quarterly WTTW Channel 11 News program guide from Winter 1963, hopes were high for the new station. Intending to devote its entire schedule to instructional programming (including the already established College of the Air telecourses), possibilities for the station—to be given the call letters WXXW—included special police training programs; police bulletins (including lineups); public health instruction in pre-natal and post-natal care; instructional programs for election judges; training for Army, Navy and Air Force reserve units; civil defense disaster training; programs for unskilled workers; professional information services for physicians and dentists; and seminar programs for various other professional groups.
In September 1965, the former construction permit for WIND-TV officially became Chicago's second UHF television station and second non-commercial outlet as WXXW on channel 20. However the station, known as "the Classroom of the Air", was essentially a failure. Plagued by a weak signal and a schedule filled with what former WTTW station manager Edward Morris called "talking heads and a blackboard," WXXW limped along until it quietly went dark in 1974. Throughout its entire existence, WXXW was only able to transmit in black-and-white, making it and commercial independent station WCIU-TV (channel 26) the only television stations in the Chicago market that had not transitioned to color broadcasts in the early 1970s. The monochrome transmissions were just another nail in the station's coffin.
In 1977, a consortium known as the Chicago Metropolitan Educational Council acquired the long-dark WXXW license from WTTW general manager Bill McCarter (again, the license was allegedly purchased for $1, making it the cheapest television license ever in the Chicago area) and applied to change its call letters to WCME, however that station was never built. In 1982, Oscar Shabat, founding Chancellor of the City Colleges of Chicago, asked the consortium to release the dormant license; on February 2, 1983, channel 20 was reborn as WYCC (standing for "We are Your City Colleges"). After its long beginning, the station now features a variety of programming on three digital subchannels, including those provided by PBS, those produced locally, and international news and educational programs.
On October 25, 2017, a notice was posted on the station's website saying that subchannel 20.1 will broadcast MHz WorldView. The station is no longer affiliated with PBS. WTTW, the main PBS station in the Chicago area, will accept WYCC members. "The content on 20.2 and 20.3 will not change during this period." The period of time was not defined precisely.
On December 7, 2017, Window to the World Communications, owner of WTTW, announced that it was seeking to purchase WYCC from the City Colleges of Chicago, in a move that would put the two stations under the same corporate umbrella. However, the license assignment application was not submitted to the FCC until late January 2018, which disclosed that Window to the World Communications would acquire the WYCC license for $100,000. As part of the purchase, WYCC will enter into a channel sharing agreement with WTTW. The sale was approved by the FCC on March 13, 2018, and was completed on April 20.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|20.1||480i||16:9||MHz||Main WYCC programming / MHz Worldview|
The station began offering international programming from MHz Networks-owned MHz WorldView in 2010, over digital subchannel 20.2; the network moved to a newly created subchannel on digital channel 20.3 as a result of the addition of FNX on its second subchannel. The subchannel offers a wider variety of English language international news programs, expanding the number of news programs available to viewers who rely on "over the air" broadcasting instead of cable or satellite. Some of the programs aired on the subchannel are presented in English, while others are broadcast in their native foreign languages and accompanied by English subtitles, and in Spanish without subtitles. Programs include news programs from Asia, South America and the Middle East (such as Al Jazeera English, Bolivian News, Arab Net News and South Asia News).
WYCC shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 20, at 6 a.m. on April 16, 2009. The station's digital signal continued to broadcasts on its pre-transition UHF channel 21. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 20. At the same time, the "WYCC" callsign was legally transferred from the now-defunct analog signal to digital channel 21, with the digital signal's pre-transition callsign "WYCC-DT" officially being discontinued.
In the FCC's incentive auction to make more spectrum available for wireless broadband, WYCC sold its spectrum for $15,959,957; at the time, the station indicated that it would enter into a post-auction channel sharing agreement. On September 13, 2017, WYCC announced in a letter to contributors that it would shut down October 25, 2017; most of the station's staff had been laid off following the conclusion of the auction in April. However, prior to September 22, 2017, WTTW approached WYCC with a channel sharing agreement to stay on the air. WYCC then announced in a letter to employees that it would remain on the air through November 24; if a channel sharing agreement is reached, operation of WYCC's channels will be handled by WTTW, with a tentative plan to use "a combination of WYCC and WTTW brands and programming". The deadline to file a plan with the FCC was November 24, 2017. In 2016, WYCC had an annual budget of $8.2 million, of which Chicago City Colleges provided $5.7 million. The station lost $732,000 in 2016 in its non-operating budget, despite funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the state of Illinois and private donors.
Through its ownership by the City Colleges of Chicago, WYCC provided distance learning courses as part of its late night schedule, which could be credited towards an associate degree—when viewed—at any of the City Colleges campuses. The colleges also used WYCC to air informational programs for neighborhood outreach and community service purposes.
As a PBS member station, WYCC also provided a relatively limited schedule of children's programming provided by the service as well as through independent distributors such as American Public Television, mainly airing on weekday mornings.
Locally produced programmingEdit
The station produced several locally based programs including the political talk show Beyond the Beltway, which also airs nationally on radio. In 2013, WYCC debuted In the Loop, a half-hour weekly public affairs show on Thursday evenings, hosted by Barbara Pinto and Chris Bury (both of whom formerly served as correspondents for ABC News); Robin Robinson and Lauren Cohn (both former anchors at Fox owned-and-operated station WFLD, channel 32) joined the program as rotating co-hosts starting in September 2015.
The station formerly produced the public affairs and editorial program Off 63rd with Garrard McClendon. Airing on Thursday evenings, and funded by the McCormick Foundation and the Field Foundation, the show was hosted by professor and author Dr. Garrard McClendon. It also produced The Professors, a half-hour weekly program on Sunday mornings featuring a panel of professors from the City Colleges of Chicago campuses discussing education-related issues.
In 2010, the station began incorporating many "how to" shows on its weekday afternoon and Saturday midday schedules, featuring a mix of sewing, quilting, cooking, art/painting, gardening and home improvement programs from American Public Television and other distributors.
WYCC broadcast numerous international programs.
WYCC carried mystery programs from PBS' anthology series Masterpiece, as well as twice weekly airing of those produced by BBC Worldwide Americas (such as DCI Banks) in prime time on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Several British series have aired on the station, including The Café and Lead Balloon.
In 2010, the station began carrying reruns of Canadian sitcom The Red Green Show. WYCC also served as the Chicago-area broadcaster of Out of Ireland. The station formerly carried other British and Irish imports including Tartan TV (which focuses on Scotland), Monarch of the Glen, Last of the Summer Wine, Are You Being Served?, Monty Python's Flying Circus, the Irish comedic soap opera Ballykissangel, and (in 2010), the British serial drama Touching Evil.
WYCC and WTTW show a similar number of scripted British programmes, with both airing Antiques Roadshow and Masterpiece, though at different air dates. WYCC has aired the BBC One programme Lark Rise to Candleford (which began in the UK in 2008) since 2009; and Midsomer Murders (which first aired in the UK in 1997) in November 2010. Mystery series presented on the station expanded in 2013 and 2014 to include Vera, DCI Banks, and the Australian series Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries. With its large variety of mystery programs, WYCC runs two-day mystery marathons on some holidays, tied with fundraising.
WYCC carried local news programs produced by undergraduate and graduate students from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, with students from the City Colleges of Chicago contributing in the production of these shows. WYCC also produced programs for the Illinois gubernatorial and Assembly elections during the 2010 and 2012 fall election seasons.
In the early 2010s, WYCC altered its program lineup, acquiring new program offerings from the BBC and using the English language international news shows available to offer news and opinions not provided elsewhere, particularly for viewers who watch broadcast television over-the-air in the Chicago area market. The station offered comprehensive international news coverage and national news discussion programs from DW TV's Journal, France 24, NHK Newsline, RT News and Euronews. The station also broadcasts news/talk shows programs distributed for public television syndication such as those hosted by Charlie Rose and Tavis Smiley.
In 2013, WYCC began airing the PBS series Just Seen It, featuring various entertainment industry people providing reviews of movies and television programs, with a quick format reflecting the original Siskel/Ebert movie review program At the Movies, recommending viewers to see, skip or stream the reviewed media.
WYCC was one of the very few PBS stations not to air PBS Newshour, as WTTW airs these newscasts.
- "FAQS for viewers after switchover to WorldView MHz". WYCC Home. Retrieved October 26, 2017.
- "Thank you for allowing us to bring our programs into your home for more than 30 years. Over and out with much love and gratitude". Facebook. November 27, 2017. Retrieved November 27, 2017.
- Channick, Robert (December 7, 2017). "WTTW plans to buy rival public TV station WYCC's broadcast license". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved December 8, 2017.
- Feder, Robert (December 8, 2017). "Robservations: WGN presents 'Family Classics'; Suppelsa farewell tonight". RobertFeder.com. Retrieved December 8, 2017.
- "Station Trading Roundup: 1 Deal, $100,000". TVNewsCheck. January 30, 2018. Retrieved January 31, 2018.
- "Application Search Details". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. March 16, 2018. Retrieved April 21, 2018.
- "Consummation Notice". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. April 20, 2018. Retrieved April 29, 2018.
- "RabbitEars TV Query for WYCC". RabbitEars. Retrieved April 21, 2018.
- "First Nations Experience: About Us". First Nations Experience. Retrieved November 28, 2013.
- Feder, Robert (October 31, 2013). "Native American channel joins WYCC". RobertFeder.com. Retrieved October 31, 2013.
- "Announcing First Nations Experience". WYCC. Retrieved November 28, 2013.
- "HD Antenna". About.com. Retrieved December 22, 2017.
- "WYCC schedule for 20.3". WYCC. Retrieved June 8, 2013.
- Lazare, Lewis (March 26, 2009). "WYCC goes all digital early". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on May 24, 2011. Retrieved March 26, 2009.
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved March 24, 2012.
- "FCC Broadcast Television Spectrum Incentive Auction Auction 1001 Winning Bids" (PDF). Federal Communications Commission. April 4, 2017. Retrieved September 19, 2017.
- Feder, Robert (September 19, 2017). "Robservations: WYCC signing off the air October 25". RobertFeder.com. Retrieved September 19, 2017.
- Channick, Robert (September 22, 2017). "Chicago PBS station WYCC hoping to stay on the air through deal with WTTW". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved September 23, 2017.
- Feder, Robert (September 25, 2017). "Robservations: WYCC gets reprieve to November 24". RobertFeder.com. Retrieved September 25, 2017.
- Channick, Robert (November 2, 2017). "WYCC drops PBS, weighs channel-sharing deal with WTTW". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 3, 2017.
- "In the Loop". WYCC. City Colleges of Chicago. Retrieved November 30, 2013.
- Lazare, Lewis (February 20, 2013). "WYCC-Channel 20 launches public affairs show to attract new audiences and new funding". Chicago Business Journal. American City Business Journals. Retrieved September 9, 2015.
- Feder, Robert (September 7, 2015). "Robin Robinson, Lauren Cohn join WYCC's 'In The Loop'". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved September 9, 2015.
- "The Professors". WYCC. City Colleges of Chicago. Retrieved January 2, 2014.
- "Pritzker Military Presents". Chicago: Pritzker Military Museum & Library. 2016. Retrieved January 5, 2016.
- "Mystery!". PBS.org. Retrieved November 30, 2013.
- "Red Green.com".
- "Red Green". PBS.
- "Out of Ireland TV".
- Touching Evil on IMDb
- "Antiques Roadshow".
- "Masterpiece". PBS WGBH.
- Lark Rise to Candleford on IMDb
- "Lark Rise to Candleford". BBC programmes. Retrieved June 8, 2013.
- Midsomer Murders on IMDb
- "Midsomer Murders".
- "Just Seen It". Just Seen It. Retrieved January 2, 2014.
- Zorianna Kit (June 1, 2013). "PBS back in the movie review business with "Just Seen It"". The Huffington Post. AOL. Retrieved January 2, 2014.