WFLD-TV, virtual channel 32 (digital channel 31), is the Fox owned-and-operated television station, based in Chicago, Illinois; through its parent company News Corporation, the station is owned in a duopoly with area MyNetworkTV affiliate WPWR-TV (channel 50). Its studios and offices are located in Chicago's Loop neighborhood and its transmitter sits on top of Willis Tower.
|Branding||Fox 32 (general)|
Fox 32 News (newscasts)
|Slogan||What Chicago is talking about
|Channels||Digital: 31 (UHF)Virtual: 32 (UHF)|
|Owner||Fox Television Stations
(Fox Television Stations, Inc.)
|First air date||1971|
|Call letters' meaning||FieLD Communications
(the station's founding owner)
WFLD-TV (1971-1988) Digital: WFLD-DT (1999-2009)
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
|Former affiliations||Independent (1971-1986)|
|Transmitter power||1000 kW|
|Transmitter coordinates||41°52′44″N 87°38′10″W|
WFLD broadcasts almost 40 hours of local newscasts every week, along with airing syndicated first-run talk, court and reality shows, off-network sitcoms, Fox's primetime network programming and sports.
The station signed on January 4, 1966 from its original studios within the Marina City complex on State Street. Its founding owner was Field Enterprises, which also owned the Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Daily News and was owned by heirs of the Marshall Field's department store chain. The station was christened the "Station of Tomorrow" by the Sun-Times in an April 1966 article because of its innovative technical developments in broadcasting its signal. It also broadcast news from the Sun-Times/Daily News newsroom.
Field Enterprises sold controlling interest in WFLD to Kaiser Broadcasting in 1972, and the two companies' new partnership resulted in WFLD joining Kaiser's stable of UHF independent stations in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Cleveland and Detroit. In 1977, Kaiser ended the partnership by selling its share of the stations back to Field Enterprises. From 1966 to 1986, WFLD carried a wide variety of off-network syndication shows primarily from the 1950s and 1960s, and first-run syndicated TV series such as Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, 1975–1978, All That Glitters, 1977–1978, and Fernwood 2 Night/America 2-Night, 1977–1978. Thicke of the Night an American late night talk show produced by MGM Television that was carried by the station during the 1983-1984 TV season.
The station also aired movies, and local public affairs programming. To counter-program against its more established VHF rivals, channel 32 offered documentaries, adult dramas, westerns, and live sports, though for much of the time it trailed WGN-TV (channel 9) in the ratings among Chicago's independent stations until the late 1970s. When it won bids to air shows in syndication such as M*A*S*H (which it continues to air to this day,) All in the Family, Happy Days, Wonder Woman, Star Trek and others, the station finally beat WGN-TV in the ratings, and the two stations continued to go head-to-head throughout the 1980s.
In 1968, WFLD acquired broadcast rights to the Chicago White Sox baseball team from WGN-TV, carrying them initially until 1972, and again from 1982 to 1989. During the 1980s WFLD also aired games of the National Basketball Association's Chicago Bulls, until WGN-TV acquired broadcast rights to both teams in 1990 (Chicago-area attorney and real estate investor Jerry Reinsdorf owns both franchises). WFLD was also noteworthy as the longtime home of the local B-movie program Svengoolie. There were two versions of this show; the original began in 1971 as Screaming Yellow Theatre with local disc jockey Jerry G. Bishop doing scary voices and later wearing a long blond wig. Bishop became such a hit with viewers that the show was popularly called "Svengoolie" after his character (although the name didn't change), and this version lasted until 1973. The second version began in 1979 with Rich Koz as "Son of Svengoolie", and it ran until 1986. The show currently airs on WCIU-TV (channel 26).
In 1983, Field sold WFLD to Metromedia as part of a company-wide liquidation. At that time programming changed slightly but graphics were abruptly changed to reflect the new ownership. Metromedia's television stations, including WFLD, were sold to the News Corporation in 1986, and they formed the core of the new Fox Broadcasting Company.
Following the 1986 sale to the new Fox ownership, the station continued to compete aggressively in the market. Now known on-air as "Fox 32", the station expanded its news presence as well. Fox's news presence began in 1987 with the premiere of the half-hour Fox 32 News at 7 (touted as "the news that doesn't get home before you do") along with a half-hour 11 p.m. newscast which lasted until both newscasts were consolidated to compete with then-independent WGN's 9 p.m. newscast. The newscast was moved back to 7 p.m. by the fall of 1988, and returned to 9 p.m. by the fall of 1989, in anticipation of Fox's expanding prime time schedule. Sometime in 1991, the newscast rebranded its news operation from "Fox 32 News" to "Fox News Chicago" (though most verbal references are to simply "Fox News"). The station started airing a morning newscast first called Good Day Chicago, which later became Fox Thing in the Morning in place of the morning cartoon block.
The afternoon cartoon block, which became Fox Kids by 1992, continued on the station, as well as the top-rated off-network sitcoms in the evening. It also added more first-run talk shows and court shows. When Fox ended the weekday kids block in January 2002, WFLD added more first-run reality and talk shows to the lineup.
In the mid-1990s, after several years of being known on the air as "Fox 32" (or even "Fox Thirty-Two"), the station rebranded itself as "Fox Chicago" due to the perceived embarrassment of being on a UHF analog channel in the third-largest market in the US where The WB (now The CW) is on a VHF analog channel, WGN-TV on channel 9. WFLD is currently the only Fox O&O that does not use the usual Fox branding of "Fox (Channel Number)", even though most Chicagoans still refer to WFLD as "Fox 32" or "channel 32." (Its Philadelphia sister station did this same practice for some time when Fox bought it from Paramount in the mid-1990s.)
In 1995, WFLD became the unofficial "home" station of the Chicago Bears when Fox acquired the television rights to the National Football Conference of the NFL, of which the Bears are a member. It is now the official station of the Bears, airing preseason telecasts in addition to most regular season tilts, as well as Bears Gameday Live and Gamenight Live, which follows The Final Word on Sunday evenings during the season. Fox purchased WPWR-TV in 2002, and WPWR's operations were integrated into WFLD's facilities in downtown Chicago.
In January 2003, WFLD dropped the Fox Saturday morning cartoon block, by then outsourced by Fox to producer 4Kids Entertainment and subsequently rebranded 4Kids TV, and the programs were moved to WPWR which aired them in the same four-hour time block until the block went off the air on December 27, 2008. WFLD was the first of the original six Fox-owned stations (owned prior to the New World stations purchase) to drop Fox's Saturday children's programming, and one of the few non-New World Fox O&Os (the other is KMSP in the Twin Cities) that currently does not run Weekend Marketplace, which WPWR now airs.
On September 11, 2006, WFLD, alongside with other Fox-owned stations, relaunched its website under the MyFox platform, now located at myfoxchicago.com.
Channel 32 Chicago (Facility ID number 22211) began broadcasting as "WFLD" on January 4, 1966. The station's Microwave transmission link was WDF-28 The callsign was changed to "WFLD-TV" on August 29, 1979, and changed back to "WFLD" on May 7, 1986. Digital channel 31 used the "WFLD-DT" callsign from the inauguration of Digital television broadcasting until the shutoff of analog channel 32 on June 26, 2009, when the "WFLD" callsign was then transferred over to the digital signal on channel 31.
As part of the analog television shutdown and digital conversion, WFLD shut down its analog transmitter, on June 12, 2009 at 11:59 p.m. WFLD was the only station in Chicago which participated in the "Analog Nightlight" program until its analog transmitter on top of the John Hancock Center was turned off for good on June 26, 2009.
It continued to broadcast on its pre-transition digital channel 31, whose transmitter had been upgraded to operate at its full 1 megawatt legal maximum power in early 2009. Digital television receivers display WFLD's virtual channel as 32 through the use of PSIP.
After the shutdown of the channel 32 analog transmitter upon the conclusion of the Analog Nightlight on June 26, 2009, the "WFLD" callsign was legally transferred from the now-defunct analog channel 32 to digital channel 31 and the "WFLD-DT" callsign was discontinued.
WFLD broadcasts a total of 39.5 hours of local news a week (seven and 1/2 hours on weekdays and one hour each on Saturdays and Sundays), second to WGN-TV (8.5 hours on weekdays and two hours each on Saturdays and Sundays) in the Chicago market. WFLD is one of only two remaining Fox owned-and-operated stations without a weeknight early evening newscast, and is the second largest Fox-owned station (in terms of market size) without an early evening newscast (the largest being West Coast flagship KTTV in Los Angeles).
On May 7, 2006, WFLD adopted a new look for its newscasts, featuring a updated set, new music, and new graphics. Similar appearance packages are also being rolled out to other Fox-owned stations such as WNYW. When the new look debuted, the main station logo wasn't changed much (only the new color scheme was added). For some time, WFLD's newscasts have had less of a tabloid feel than those on its Fox sisters. However, they are somewhat flashier than the other newscasts in the Chicago market.
On April 9, 2007, WFLD launched a new 10 p.m. newscast called The TEN, anchored by David Novarro and former WLS-TV and WBBM-TV anchor/reporter Lauren Cohn which, according to the Chicago Sun-Times' Robert Feder's April 18, 2007 column, beat CBS O&O WBBM-TV's 10 p.m. news on its second day on the air. In September 2007, WFLD's morning newscast Fox News in the Morning was re-named Good Day Chicago for a second time.
Currently, WFLD and WGN are the only two major news stations in the Chicago market who are not broadcasting in a "street side studio." Before May 10, 2009, WFLD was the only major station in the market not airing its newscasts in high definition. The news studio was upgraded for high definition newscasts by Blyth Design and the graphics are the new Fox O&O HD graphics. The station launched its first high definition news starting with the 9 p.m. news although most remote field footage remains in 16:9 widescreen standard definition. The HD feed is now letterboxed on the SD feed.
Effective September 21, 2009, WFLD cancelled its 10 p.m. newscast and replaced it with reruns of The Office. The move was made because that newscast, despite its early success against WBBM-TV, was never much of a factor in the ratings. Towards the end of its run, it fell to a distant fifth behind the newscasts on WBBM-TV, WLS-TV and WMAQ-TV and "Family Guy" reruns on WGN-TV. In a statement on the cancellation of the newscast, former station Vice President and general manager Pat Mullen, said that "We’re always going to look for expansion opportunities with our local news".
The station has been one of Fox's weakest owned-and-operated stations for a number of years. In recent Nielsen ratings sweeps periods, WFLD has been mired in last place among the five major stations' late-night (9 or 10 p.m.) newscasts. As such, Chicago is one of the few markets in the country whose Fox station actually trails the same market's The CW-affiliated station (WGN-TV) in the local viewership ratings, from sign-on to sign-off. This is primarily due to WGN-TV's relatively strong news department, local sports programming and higher-rated syndicated programming.
In March 2011, Fox added brand new studio laptops. This and many other changes in anchors and minor studio renovations allows Fox to revamp their news department.
In the February 2011 Nielsen ratings sweeps period, WFLD's 9 p.m. newscast slid to a 2.3 rating, down more than a full rating point from a 3.4 during the February 2010 sweeps period. This is despite the pairing of co-anchor team Bob Sirott and Robin Robinson, suggesting that the pairing of the anchors has not been able to improve ratings. The station came in third place for its prime-time lead-in.
Newscast umbrella titles
- News Scope (1966–1970)
- Channel 32 News Capsule (1970–1979)
- NewsTalk/Newscene (1979–1983)
- WFLD Evening News (1979–1983)
- The Nine O'Clock News (1983–1986)
- Fox 32 News (1986–1991 & 2012–present)
- Fox News Chicago (general title; 1991–2005 & 2006–2008)
- Fox Thing in the Morning (morning newscast; 1994–2001)
- Fox News in the Morning (morning newscast; 2001–2007)
- Fox Chicago News (2008–2012)
- Good Day Chicago (weekday mornings from 4:30-10 a.m.; 1991-1994 and 2007-present)
- The TEN (10 p.m. newscast; 2007-2009)
- Fox Chicago News - weekdays 12 p.m. and nightly at 9 p.m.
- Good Day Chicago - weekday mornings 4:30a-10 a.m.
- Fox Chicago Sunday - Sundays 8:30 a.m. (political affairs-centered program)
News music packages
- FOX O&O News Package (1987–1991)
- Fox News Chicago Theme (1991–1992)
- FOX News Chicago News Package (1992–1994)
- WFLD News Theme (1992–1994)
- WFLD 1994 News Theme (1994–1995)
- FOX '95 (1995)
- First on FOX (1995–1997)
- WSVN 1998 News Package (1997–1999)
- WFLD 1999 News Theme (1999–2001)
- Streaming News (2000–present)
- The Viper (2004–2006)
- FOX Affiliate News Theme (2006–present)
Current on-air staff
- Kori Chambers - weekday mornings "Good Day Chicago" (4:30-7 a.m.); also 7-10 a.m. newsreader and noon reporter
- Anna Davlantes - weekday mornings "Good Day Chicago" (7-10 a.m.)
- Patrick Elwood - weekdays at noon; also morning reporter
- Dawn Hasbrouck - weekday mornings "Good Day Chicago" (4:30-7 a.m.)
- Jan Jeffcoat - weekdays at noon
- Corey McPherrin - weekday mornings "Good Day Chicago" (7-10 a.m.)
- Robin Robinson - weeknights at 9 p.m
- Bob Sirott - weeknights at 9 p.m.
- Larry Yellen - weekends at 9 p.m.; also legal analyst
- Bill Bellis (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist and NWA Seals of Approval) - chief meteorologist; weeknights at 9 p.m. & Thursday-Friday at Noon
- Tammie Souza (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist and NWA Seals of Approval) - meteorologist; weekends at 9 p.m. and Monday-Wednesday at noon
- Mark Strehl (AMS Seal of Approval) - meteorologist; weekday mornings "Good Day Chicago"
- Lou Canellis - sports director/primary anchor; Sunday-Thursday at 9 p.m., & host of The Final Word, Bears GameDay Live and Bears GameNight Live
- Dan Jiggets - sports anchor (per diem)
- Kerry Sayers - sports anchor/reporter (per diem)
- Marc Silverman - sports anchor (per diem)
- Tom Waddle - Co-host of Fox Kickoff Sunday & The Final Word; also fill-in sports anchor
- Sondra Solarte - weekday mornings "Good Day Chicago"
- Mike Flannery - political editor; also co-host of Fox Chicago Sunday
- Darlene Hill - general assignment reporter; also noon fill-in anchor & weekend fill-in anchor
- Tisha Lewis - general assignment reporter
- Joanie Lum - general assignment reporter
- Anita Padilla - general assignment reporter; also weekday fill-in anchor
- Dane Placko - investigative reporter; also co-host of Fox Chicago Sunday & weekend fill-in anchor
- Sondra Solarte - noon reporter; also weekday fill-in anchor
- Craig Wall - general assignment reporter; also "Chicago's Most Wanted" & fill-in anchor
- Bill Zwecker - entertainment reporter
- Roe Conn - "The Connversation"
- Karen Conti - legal analyst
- Mona Khanna - medical contributor
- Thom Serafin - political analyst
- Brian Urlacher - The Final Word
Former on-air staff
- Lisa Argen - weather (1993–1995; now with KGO-TV in San Francisco)
- Cathy Ballou - morning weather anchor (?–?)
- Renee Banot - reporter (per diem) (2008; later at WITI-TV in Milwaukee; now at Twelve TV in Minneapolis)
- Steve Baron - fill-in meteorologist/senior web producer of myFoxChicago.com (2006–2009, now VP of Interactive Content with Local TV)
- Mike Barz - morning news anchor (2007–2009; now at WTEV-TV and WAWS-TV in Jacksonville)
- Ron Beattie - announcer (1978–1980)
- Chris Boden - fill-in sports anchor/reporter (per diem) (2004–2007; now at Comcast SportsNet Chicago)
- Jill Carlson - weekend sports anchor/reporter (1999–2010)
- Lilia Chacon - reporter (1989–2010, now Director of Public Relations for the Chicago Treasurer)
- Steve Chamraz - reporter (per diem) (2008–2011; now at WTMJ-TV in Milwaukee)
- Del Clark - announcer (?–?)
- Lauren Cohn - reporter/medical reporter (2000–2004); anchor/reporter (2007–2010; now at WTXF-TV in Philadelphia)
- Jack Conaty - political editor/Fox Chicago Sunday co-host (1987–2009)
- Rick DiMaio - morning meteorologist (1995–2001); chief meteorologist (2001–2007; later at WBBM-TV); meteorologist (per diem) (2010–2011)
- Maurice DuBois - anchor/reporter (1994–1997; now at WCBS-TV in New York)
- Jon Duncanson - morning anchor (1995–1998; later at WBBM-TV; now President of Aviana Productions)
- Amy Freeze - chief meteorologist (2007–2011)
- Michelle Gielan - reporter/substitute anchor (2005–2008; later at CBS News)
- Jeff Goldblatt - anchor (2008–2010; now at WMAQ-TV)
- Sylvia Gomez - weekend anchor/reporter (1996–1997; later at WBBM-TV; now runs Aviana Productions)
- Rhonda Guess - general assignment reporter (1995–1997)
- Tamron Hall - morning anchor/reporter (1997–2007; now at MSNBC)
- Byron Harlan - weekend anchor/reporter (1997–2010; now an Investment Advisor at MetLife)
- Jonathan Hoenig - morning financial analyst (2000–2002; now at Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network)
- Walter Jacobson - anchor/reporter/Perspectives host (1993–2006; now at WBBM-TV)
- Laura Jones - weekend anchor/family and health reporter (1994–1999)
- Sheryl Kahn - reporter (1989–1994)
- Anne Kavanaugh - morning reporter (1987–2009; now runs Media Pros 24/7)
- Bud Kelly - announcer (?–1977)
- Kelly Kraft - reporter (per diem) (2006–2009; now Director of Communications for Governor Quinn's Office of Management and Budget)
- Sarah Kustok - weekend sports anchor/reporter (per diem) (2008, now at Comcast SportsNet Chicago)
- Michelle Leigh - morning meteorologist (2001–2006)
- Rick Leventhal - fill-in anchor/reporter (now at Fox News Channel)
- Kris Long - anchor (1987–1993; now at KPSP-LD in Palm Springs)
- Nancy Loo - afternoon anchor/reporter (2001–2010; now at WGN-TV)
- Brant Miller - meteorologist (1989–1991; now at WMAQ-TV)
- Johnny Morris - sports anchor/commentator (1994–1998)
- Marianne Murciano - morning/noon anchor (1994–2000) evening anchor fill-in (2010)
- Jon Najarian (Dr. J) - financial analyst (now with MSNBC)
- David Novarro - morning anchor (2000–2010; now at WABC-TV in New York)
- Nancy Pender - weekend anchor/reporter (1997–2010)
- Michael Pomeranz - anchor/reporter (1997–2000; now at KARE-TV in Minneapolis)
- Michelle Releford (2007)
- Richard Roeper - lifestyle commentator and movie critic (1994–2001)
- Andy Roesgen - reporter (per diem) (2006–2009, 2010, now a Chicago correspondent for NBC News)
- David Rose - morning anchor (1993–1995; now at KCPQ-TV in Seattle)
- Mark Saxenmeyer - special assignment reporter (1994–2010)
- Steve Perez Schill - evening weather anchor (1995–2001; now at KMIR-TV in Palm Springs)
- Amy Scott - entertainment reporter (1992–1996)
- Danielle Serino - consumer reporter (2001–2006; now at WOIO-TV in Cleveland)
- Margaret Shortridge - family/health reporter (2000–2009)
- Chris Sowers - weekend meterologist (2008–2010)
- AJ Sterling - reporter (per diem) (2004–2008)
- Mark Suppelsa - afternoon/evening anchor (2003–2008; now at WGN-TV)
- Kevin Tomich - reporter (per diem) (2006–2009; now Sales Account Executive for Six Flags Great America)
- Darian Trotter - reporter (2007–2009; now at WDIV-TV in Detroit)
- Mike Tsolinas - meteorologist (1992–1995)
- Al Vaughters - reporter (1990–1994; now at WIVB-TV in Buffalo)
- David Viggiano - entertainment reporter (2000–2009; now runs Media Pros 24/7 and at Radar Online)
- Harry Volkman - weekend meteorologist (1996–2004)
- Sheila White - weekday mornings traffic (1997–2005)
- Tera Williams - reporter (2006–2010; now at WTEV-TV and WAWS-TV in Jacksonville)
- Bruce Wolf - morning sports anchor (1987–2006; now at WMAQ-TV)
- Joe Zone - sports anchor/reporter (1993–1996; now sports director at WFSB-TV in Hartford)
- ^ This was not the first time for either company regarding WFLD. Field had attempted to sell the station to Metromedia as early as 1969, per: "METROMEDIA TO ADD CHICAGO TV STATION" (The New York Times, March 5, 1969).
- ^ TV Guide Chicago Issue #1798
- ^ TV Guide Chicago Issue #1853
- ^ TV Guide Chicago Issue #1902
- ^ http://licensing.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/ws.exe/prod/cdbs/pubacc/prod/call_hist.pl?Facility_id=22211&Callsign=WFLD
- ^ 
- ^ "Fox, NBC Share Chicago Chopper". http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/162072-Fox_NBC_Share_Chicago_Chopper.php. Retrieved 2009-01-12.
- ^ WFLD To Eliminate 10PM Newscast; "The Office" Reruns Debut In September, Chicago Tribune, July 10, 2009
- ^ Johnson-Sullivan anchor duo paying off for WBBM-Channel 2, Chicago Sun-Times, March 4, 2011.
- MyFoxChicago.com - Official WFLD-TV Website
- My50Chicago.com - Official WPWR-TV Website
- WFLD's Morning News Website
- Fox Weather Watch - Live Radar and Ten Day trend Website
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WFLD
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WFLD-TV