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WBBM-TV, channel 2, is the CBS owned and operated television station in Chicago, Illinois. WBBM-TV's main studios and offices are located in The Loop section of Chicago, as part of the development at Block 37, and its transmitter is atop the Willis Tower.

WBBM-TV
Wbbm.png
Chicago, Illinois
Branding CBS 2 HD (general)

CBS 2 News (newscasts)

Slogan The Heart of Chicago
Channels Digital: 12 (VHF)Virtual: 2 (PSIP)
Affiliations CBS
Owner CBS Corporation

(CBS Broadcasting, Inc.)

First air date September 6, 1946
Call letters' meaning World's BestBattery Maker(referring to H. Leslie Atlass, founder of WBBM radio)

also for: We Broadcast Better Music (former alternate slogan of radio sister)

Sister station(s) WBBM, WBBM-FM, WCFS-FM,WJMK, WSCR, WUSN, WXRT
Former callsigns WBKB (1946–1953)
Former channel number(s) Analog:

4 (VHF, 1946–1953) 2 (VHF, 1953–2009) Digital: 3 (VHF, 2001–2009)

Former affiliations Independent (1946-1949)

Paramount Television Network(1949-1953)

Transmitter power 8 kW
Height 497 m
Facility ID 9617
Transmitter coordinates 41°52′44″N 87°38′8″W
Website www.cbschicago.com

History

WBBM-TV traces its history to 1940 when Balaban and Katz, a subsidiary of Paramount Pictures, opened experimental station W9XBK. Balaban and Katz was already well known for owning several theaters in Chicago. On September 6, 1946 [1], it received a commercial license as WBKB (meaning Balaban and Katz Broadcasting) on channel 4, the first commercial station outside the Eastern Time Zone, airing some of the earliest CBS programing, including the debut in 1947 of Junior Jamboree (renamed Kukla, Fran and Ollie after moving to NBC in 1948). Starting in 1948, WBKB shared the CBS affiliation in Chicago with WGN-TV (channel 9). Balaban and Katz became part of United Paramount Theatres in 1950, a year after Paramount was forced to divest its chain of movie theaters by order of the United States Supreme Court.

WBKB played an indirect role in the demise of the DuMont Television Network. Paramount owned a stake in DuMont, and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) considered WBKB a DuMont owned and operated station even though WGN-TV was Chicago's DuMont affiliate. Paramount also owned KTLA in Los Angeles. As DuMont already owned WABD (now WNYW) in New York, WTTG in Washington and WDTV in Pittsburgh (now sister station KDKA-TV), the FCC's decision meant DuMont could not acquire any more stations. Paramount even launched a short-lived "Paramount Television Network" in 1949, with KTLA and WBKB as its flagship stations.[1][2] The programming service never gelled into a true television network.

In 1953 United Paramount Theaters, then-owner of WBKB, merged with ABC, who already owned WENR-TV (channel 7). As the newly merged entity could not keep both stations under FCC regulations of the time, WBKB's channel 4 license was sold to CBS for $6.75 million.

On February 12, one day after the merger took effect, channel 4 took the WBBM-TV call letters (after WBBM radio, which CBS has owned since 1929). The WBKB calls subsequently were taken by ABC's channel 7, the former WENR-TV; that station was renamed WLS-TV in 1968. In addition, all CBS programming that had been airing on WGN-TV was moved to the new WBBM-TV, after a two-month cancellation clause, leaving WGN-TV with the quickly crumbling DuMont as its only network affiliation.

As a result of the FCC's recent Sixth Report and Order, WBBM-TV moved to channel 2 on July 5, 1953 to eliminate interference with WTMJ-TV in Milwaukee, which itself moved to channel 4 from channel 3 to avoid interference with Kalamazoo, Michigan's channel 3, (then WKZO-TV, now WWMT). The channel 2 allocation was opened up coincidentally at the same time because Springfield was forced to let the allocation relocate to St. Louis, Missouri to be used by ABC-turned Fox affiliate KTVI. The cross-lake WKZO/WWMT would come back to haunt WBBM again during the DTV age.

The WBBM-TV Studios at Washington Blvd and Dearborn St, across from Daley Plaza.

In 1956, CBS consolidated its Chicago operations into a renovated arena on North McClurg Court, where the television station remained until September 21, 2008, when WBBM-TV moved to its new facilities in the "Block 37" studio. This move coincided with the debut of channel 2's newscasts in high definition, making them the fourth Chicago television station to do so (early in 2006, the WBBM radio stations moved into new studios within Two Prudential Plaza). The McClurg Court studio building was demolished over a two-month period from February to April 2009. Like in most of the other Chicago stations, the studio and field cameras shoot in high definition but the remote field footage is downconverted to 16:9 widescreen standard definition in the control room (the lone exception is currently WGN-TV, whose local video footage is now aired entirely in high definition).

In 1956, an episode of What's My Line? originated from the WBBM studios, one day prior to the start of the 1956 Democratic National Convention. Between the late 1940s and early 1970s, Columbia Records housed an office and recording studio in the building. In 1960, WBBM's McClurg Court studios were the site of the first televised presidential debate between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon. WBBM-TV also served as home to syndicated programs Donahue from 1982–85 and Siskel & Ebert from 1986 to the late 1990s.

For the past decade or so, WBBM has been one of CBS's weaker owned-and-operated stations, generally rating behind WLS-TV, NBC-owned WMAQ-TV (channel 5) and at times behind WGN-TV and Fox-owned WFLD-TV (channel 32), despite the popularity of CBS's daytime and prime-time shows. The station made some viewership gains during 2009 but has generally remained in third place in the local viewership ratings, partially due to its digital signal on low-VHF channel 3, that was lower-powered than other full-power Chicago stations so it wouldn't interfere with the analog signal of WWMT in Kalamazoo (the same station that indirectly forced the channel change from 4 to 2 in 1953.)

CBS 2 former logo

In May 2007, WBBM-TV filed a last-minute request with the FCC to broadcast its post-transition digital signal with high power on channel 12, after analog shutdown in June 2009. The station has filed a request to run 13.8 kW at 520 m above ground level from the Sears Tower. As of the digital transition, WBBM is one of only three CBS O&Os (and the only full-powered Chicago station) to broadcast on the VHF dial (the other two are KTVT in Fort Worth and WJZ-TV in Baltimore); however, one of these three (KTVT) has been granted FCC approval to permanently move to a UHF frequency due to reception problems which adversely affected viewership.

WBBM has applied for a low-powered digital repeater on channel 26 (former analog home of WCIU-TV). It applied only for a repeater on that channel and not a full-powered signal move (as WLS-TV did when it moved its digital signal to channel 44 to avoid problems receiving VHF digital signals on antennas that generally are tuned to UHF signals.)

On September 21, 2008, WBBM-TV moved to new facilities in the "Block 37" studio at the corner of Dearborn and Washington Street, with a 30-by-19-foot (9.1 m × 5.8 m) LED screen that adorns the lower facade of the 17-story building (which some residents complained is "tacky and visually hyperactive").[17][18] This move coincided with the upgrade of channel 2's newscasts to high definition, making WBBM the fourth television station in the Chicago market to begin broadcasting their newscasts in the format (field footage converted to the format over a period of years); in early 2006, the WBBM radio stations moved into new studio facilities within Two Prudential Plaza on North Stetson Avenue. The former McClurg Court facility building was demolished over a two-month period from February to April 2009. WBBM-TV moved their news set upstairs to a more traditional studio in September 2017 after an obligation to maintain their main studio in the streetside space for ten years was fulfilled, with CBS eventually removing the LED screen and putting the space up for retail lease in 2019.[19]

WBBM-TV shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 2, on June 12, 2009, the official date in which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital signal moved from pre-transition VHF channel 3 to the current, post-transition VHF channel 12.[20][21] Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers continued to display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analog channel 2.1.

On October 21, 2014, CBS and locally based Weigel Broadcasting announced that they would partner to launch Decades, a digital subchannel network. The network soft launched in the Chicago market on WBBM digital channel 2.2, when that subchannel launched on February 1, 2015, with the network making its formal national debut four months later on May 25.[22][23] Decades moved to WCIU-DT4 on September 3, 2018, with WBBM-DT2 becoming the home of a second Weigel/CBS concept network known as Start TV, which specializes in airing procedural dramas with women in the lead roles.

On February 2, 2017, CBS agreed to sell CBS Radio to Entercom, currently the fourth-largest radio broadcasting company in the United States. The sale was completed on November 17, 2017,[24] and was conducted using a Reverse Morris Trust so that it was tax-free. While CBS shareholders retain a 72% ownership stake in the combined company, Entercom is the surviving entity, with WBBM radio and its sister stations now separated from WBBM-TV (though WBBM Newsradio maintains a continuing and strong overall partnership with WBBM-TV).[25][26]

In August 2018, Jeff Harris took up the helm as news director of WBBM-TV.[27] Long-time evening anchor Rob Johnson was let go in March of 2019, replaced by Brad Edwards. Edwards joined Irika Sargent in the 5, 6, and 10 p.m. newscasts.[28]

On December 4, 2019, CBS Corporation and Viacom remerged into ViacomCBS.[29] CBSN launched a local version of the service on April 22, 2020 for the station.[30]

Digital programming

Channel  Name  Programming
2.1 WBBM-DT1 Main WBBM-TV Programming / CBS (HD)

WBBM-TV's digital broadcasts are on channel 12. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers continue to display WBBM-TV's virtual channel as 2.1.

Currently, WBBM-TV is the only "full-power" VHF digital television station in Chicago (as it was prior to the June 2009 digital transition). WBBM-TV's rival station, WLS-TV, was the other station to operate its full-power operations on VHF until the station moved its full power operations to the UHF dial in order to alleviate reception problems and keeping its VHF allotment as a digital fill-in translator on October 31, 2009.

Some viewers have had trouble picking up VHF signals since the June 12 transition, so a low-power analog nightlight is airing newscasts.[3] In addition, WBBM-TV has applied for a construction permit to build a low-power fill-in repeater on UHF channel 26 (formerly the analog home of WCIU-TV).

Programming

WBBM airs its midday newscast at 11 a.m. and then The Young and the Restless at 11:30, following the Eastern Time Zone program schedule rather than that of the Central Time Zone, where most CBS affiliates air Y&R at 11 and the news at noon.

News operation

WBBM-TV broadcasts 30½ hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 4 hours, 35 minutes each weekday; 3½ hours on Saturdays and 4½ hours on Sundays).

In the late 1970s, WBBM-TV surged past WMAQ-TV for first place in the Chicago news race. It became one of the most respected local news operations in the country and was considered a bastion of serious journalism. Led by anchors Bill Kurtis and Walter Jacobson, weatherman John Coughlin and sports director Johnny Morris, WBBM dominated the news ratings in the late 1970s and early 1980s. At one point, its dominance was so absolute that it called its 10 p.m. newscast simply THE Ten O'Clock News.

In 1975, Chicago jingle composer Dick Marx wrote a theme for WBBM-TV based on an old folk song, "I Love Chicago, Chicago My Home". This theme, known simply as "Channel 2 News", became very popular in Chicago during WBBM-TV's glory days. WBBM-TV has used this theme and several variations on it for all but six years since then. The tune has also been adopted by several other stations across the country, mostly CBS stations. It has become the de facto official local news theme music for CBS's O&Os. From 1994-1997, 2000–2001, 2002–2008, and from 2010-present, WBBM-TV used an updated version called The CBS Enforcer Music Collection by Frank Gari. A synthesized version of the original theme, it was especially written for the station. From 2006 to 2008, WBBM-TV used an updated version of the theme, composed by Frank Gari's son Christian. For its high-definition news debut, WBBM-TV commissioned a new theme composed by In The Groove Music, which has done theme music for sister stations WCCO, WBZ and ATV. On June 21, 2010, with the adoption of a new CBS O&O graphics package, WBBM-TV brought back "CBS Enforcer" with an orchestrated version originally commissioned by sister station WCBS-TV.

Kurtis and Jacobson were first teamed together in 1973 by general manager Robert Wussler and news director Van Gordon Sauter, who introduced a hard-news format and began using the newsroom as the set for all newscasts. Kurtis became known for his "Focus Unit" in-depth reports, Jacobson for his "Perspective" commentaries. Among the others who were known for their work with WBBM-TV in this period were film critic Gene Siskel, police and crime reporter John "Bulldog" Drummond, women and consumer issues reporter Susan Anderson, feature reporter Bob Wallace, investigative reporter Pam Zekman, medical reporter Roger Field, political reporter Mike Flannery and reporter/weekend news anchor Mike Parker. Bob Sirott and Phil Ponce, later hosts of the WTTW program Chicago Tonight, were also reporters for WBBM-TV during this period. Zekman and Parker are still on WBBM-TV, and Drummond also still contributes occasional reports.

In 1982, Kurtis left WBBM-TV to anchor the CBS Morning News in New York and was replaced by Don Craig, formerly of WMAQ-TV. When Kurtis returned three years later, he was teamed with Craig for the hour-long 6 p.m. news, and Harry Porterfield, who had been the co-anchor of that newscast for several years, was demoted to a weekend shift. Porterfield later left for WLS, but the Rev. Jesse Jackson began a boycott of WBBM-TV after Porterfield, who is African-American, was demoted. WBBM-TV later hired African-American news anchorman Lester Holt, later of MSNBC to replace Porterfield. Kurtis left WBBM for the second time in 1996.

In March 1986, WLS-TV, which had been a strong third for many years, overtook WBBM for the lead. In 1990, WBBM hired Bill Applegate, who had taken WLS to first place as news director, as general manager. Applegate took Jacobson off the anchor desk (Jacobson eventually left for WFLD in 1993) and made the newscasts much flashier than they had previously been. The reporting staff during this time was impressive. It included Elizabeth Vargas (now at ABC News), Rob Stafford (now at NBC), Jim Avila (now at ABC), Larry Mendte (most recently a main anchor at CBS-owned KYW-TV in Philadelphia) and Dawn Stensland (now a main anchor at Fox-owned WTXF in Philadelphia). They were on the streets in addition to Jay Levine, Mike Parker and Pam Zekman. It was enough for a rebound to a first-place tie with WLS-TV by 1993. The momentum did not last as Vargas, Aliva, Mendte, Stafford and Stensland all left the station within a short time. By the mid-1990s, WBBM-TV had crashed to last place. For most of the next decade, WLS and WMAQ fought it out for first, while WBBM-TV's once-proud news division often trailed syndicated reruns on WFLD.

The station has gone through several different on-air branding schemes—from its longtime brand of Channel 2 News to 2 News, News 2 Chicago, The News on CBS 2 Chicago (which is still being said out loud in opens, minus "Chicago"), and finally the present CBS 2 News. A good example of this is in 2002, when the station eliminated its year-old computer-intensive graphics and "newsplex" studio in favor of a simpler studio and corresponding graphics set.

In 2002, Diann Burns, former anchor at WLS-TV and Antonio Mora, news reader from Good Morning America, became WBBM's new main anchor team. In January 2006, WBBM-TV passed WMAQ for second place at 5 p.m. While still far behind WLS, it was WBBM-TV's best finish at 5 p.m. in 13 years. It was still in last place at 10 p.m., but was the only late newscast to gain audience share in the first month of the new year. WBBM-TV also finished second sign-on to sign-off (from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m.), leapfrogging from fourth for its best monthly performance in 23 years. That performance was short-lived, however: in August 2006, WBBM-TV added Rob Johnson as co-anchor of the 5:00 p.m. newscast alongside Burns, while Mora and Burns still co-anchored at 6 and 10. Johnson has previously worked at WLS-TV as weekend anchor since 1998. In May 2007, WBBM-TV slipped to fourth overall (from sign-on to sign-off) behind WLS-TV, CW affiliate WGN-TV and NBC station WMAQ (in descending ratings order), and just barely ahead of Fox station WFLD. And in the July 2007 ratings period, WBBM's reporting of the Amy Jacobson fiasco resulted in the station's newscasts falling further behind in the Nielsen ratings.

WBBM made more anchor changes in 2007, replacing Antonio Mora on the 10 p.m. newscast with Rob Johnson. Mora continued as co-anchor of the 6 p.m. newscast and host of Eye on Chicago. After these changes, the ratings dropped 30%. Mora left WBBM-TV in January 2008 to co-anchor evening newscasts at CBS O&O WFOR-TV (channel 4) in Miami, Florida. Johnson then added the 6 p.m. newscast to his duties.

On March 31, 2008, it was announced that Diann Burns' contract would not be renewed. She, along with medical editor Mary Ann Childers, sports director Mark Malone, and reporters Rafael Romo and Katie McCall would no longer be with the station. Also, when WBBM announced the hiring of Ryan Baker from WMAQ, this fueled the thought that he would replace Mark Malone. On April 2, 2008, WBBM News Director Carol Fowler announced a new set of anchor lineups to take effect on April 14, 2008.

On February 20, 2009, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that WBBM was signing its personalities on contracts that were "as short as possible", and the rumored possibility of discontinuing newscasts altogether due to the current economic crisis.[4]

On April 30, 2009, WBBM-TV laid off at least seven – but fewer than 18 – personnel. Those furloughed included reporter and fill-in anchor Joanie Lum, entertainment reporter and film critic Bill Zwecker, sports reporter and anchor Howard Sudberry, assistant news director Todd Woolman, producer Liz Johnson, news writer and producer Shelly Howell, and camera man Chris Cangilla. Along with the layoffs, WBBM-TV canceled its weekend morning newscasts and the very late night rebroadcasts of its 10 o'clock news (replacing them with infomercials in the process) and restructured its weeknight 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts at that time to use a solo anchor.[5][6]

Harry Porterfield returned to WBBM-TV with a very warm welcome[citation needed] after 24 years at WLS-Channel 7 on Monday, August 3, 2009, to anchor the 11 a.m. news with Roseanne Tellez, and also to continue "Someone You Should Know", the series he began at WBBM in 1977. On November 13, 2009, as main anchor Rob Johnson was away, Bill Kurtis and Walter Jacobson returned to the anchor desk to anchor the 10 p.m. newscast; Jacobson has since remained to continue his trademark "Perspecive" commentaries.

At the conclusion of the November 2009 Nielsen Ratings sweeps period, WBBM-TV's 10 p.m. newscast overtook WMAQ-TV for second place, largely due to the low ratings of the latter station's lead-in (The Jay Leno Show). WLS-TV continues to dominate the local newscast ratings in the Chicago market; however, it should be noted[says who?] that WBBM-TV's 10 o'clock newscast was the only late-night newscast in Chicago to see an increase in viewership over the same ratings period the previous year.[7]

For January 2010 ratings period, CBS 2 News at 10 scored a 6.0 points rating, up from 4.3 points year over year.[8]. That was good enough to remain in second place, although WMAQ showed signs of a recovery from its November 2009 swoon. But during the February 2010 Nielsen ratings sweeps period, CBS 2 News at 10 slipped back to third place behind WMAQ due in large part to the latter network's airing of the 2010 Winter Olympics. May 2010 found WBBM-TV's afternoon and evening news programs remaining in third place overall though not quite as distant as it had been in recent years. However, WBBM-TV's early morning show has remained at the very bottom of the ratings, ahead of only WPWR-TV (who airs no news programming at all). In fact, even WCIU-TV's low-rated morning lifestyle show has been drawing more viewers than WBBM-TV's morning show. The July 2010 ratings period found WBBM-TV's 10 p.m. newscast slipping to fourth place among the five late-night newscasts in Chicago (ahead of only WFLD) in large part due to the lack of a co-anchor on most nights.

On March 26, 2010, an unknown number of employees at CBS-owned stations were being paid out of a corporate fund earmarked to write off contracts during the first quarter of 2010. The arrangement allowed stations to enhance their bottom lines immediately by eliminating hefty salaries from their budgets. In most cases, employees were given the option of signing longer contracts for significantly less money or opting for payouts that keep them off the air for the remainder of their existing deals. Anne State's contract was not renewed making her a free agent, along with longtime meteorologist and technology reporter Ed Curran who was relieved of his duties but was still being paid for the remaining 14 months of his contract.[9] On March 29, 2010, it was announced that longtime political editor Mike Flannery would be leaving the station he has called home since 1980 to join rival WFLD-TV.[10]

On July 29, 2010, WBBM announced the reunion of Kurtis and Jacobson on the 6 p.m. broadcast beginning September 1. They also announced the hiring of WCBS morning anchor Kate Sullivan as Johnson's co-anchor at 5 and 10 p.m., effective September 13.[11] Still, these changes have yet to produce much if any improvement in the ratings.

On February 17, 2018, WBBM added a 6:00 p.m. newscast on Saturdays, becoming the first and only station in the Chicago media market to have a 6 p.m. newscast on Saturdays; WLS-TV, WMAQ-TV, and WGN-TV are the three remaining stations in the market to carry syndicated programming and locally produced programming or specials (and occasionally, infomercials) during the 6:00-7:00 p.m. hour on Saturdays.[69] It was only temporary however.[citation needed]

WBBM-TV launched a streaming news service, CBSN Chicago (a localized version of the national CBSN service) on April 21, 2020, as part of a rollout of similar services across the CBS-owned stations.[70] The service was initially planned to launch by the end of March 2020, but was delayed by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.[71] In June of 2020, WBBM-TV was honored with a Peabody Award for the report "Unwarranted", a 2019 investigation into botched police raids in Chicago and the impact they left on families and their homes.[72]

The 10 p.m. news experiment

The most notable of many changes WBBM-TV has made to its news operation occurred in 2000, when it revamped its 10 p.m. newscast by ditching the traditional news format in favor of in-depth "hard news" features, a staple of its glory days. Anchored by Carol Marin, former longtime anchor at WMAQ, the newscast was hailed as a return to quality in-depth journalism in the best CBS tradition at a time when tabloid journalism and "soft news" were becoming the norm in broadcast news. However, plummeting ratings led to the newscast's cancellation in October after being on the air for only nine months.

The Enforcer

In 1975, Chicago-based jingle composer Dick Marx wrote a theme music piece for WBBM-TV's newscasts that was based on the song "Chicago" (or "This is my City, Chicago's My Town"), a folk song written by Chicago folk singer Tary Rebenar. The popular theme, known as "Channel 2 News", and several variations on it have been used by WBBM for all but six years since then (with the periods from 1992 to 1994, 1998 to 1999, and 2009 as said exceptions). The tune has also been adopted by several other stations across the country—mostly CBS-owned-and-operated stations and affiliates—and has become the de facto official newscast theme package for CBS's O&Os. From 1994 to 1997, 2000 to 2001, 2002 to 2008 and since 2010, WBBM-TV used an updated and synthesized version of the original theme specially written for the station titled "The CBS Enforcer Music Collection", composed by Frank Gari. From 2006 to 2008, WBBM-TV used an updated version of the theme, composed by Frank's son Christian Gari. Following the station's upgrade to high-definition newscasts, WBBM-TV commissioned a new theme ("Heart of the City") composed by inthegroovemusic. On June 21, 2010, with the adoption of a new standardized graphics package that was rolled out across CBS' O&Os, WBBM-TV brought back "Enforcer" with an orchestrated "New Generation" version originally commissioned by New York City sister station WCBS-TV.

Ratings

With the station's aforementioned weaknesses in total day ratings since the mid-1990s, WBBM-TV's newscasts are among the lowest-rated out of the news departments operated by CBS' owned-and-operated stations, generally rating fourth among the market's English language stations behind WLS-TV, WMAQ-TV and (particularly with that station's expansion of news programming since 2008) WGN-TV, but still ahead of perennial last placer WFLD; this is despite the strong lead-in by CBS' prime time lineup, which nationally has placed first among the major broadcast networks for most of the time since the 2005-06 season.

In the May 2015 local Nielsen ratings, WBBM's newscasts placed fourth overall among Chicago's television stations. The 10:00 p.m. newscast saw continued decline in viewership among the market's late newscasts, scoring a 3.5 rating (down .1 from the May 2014 sweeps period) and at a distant third in the timeslot in the coveted demographic of adults ages 25–54, earning a 0.9 (with prime time newscasts factored in, WBBM-TV's 10:00 p.m. newscast placed fourth among the Chicago market's late-evening newscasts, behind WGN-TV's 9:00 p.m. newscast).[73] The distant third-place standing for the 10:00 p.m. newscast among the market's late newscasts was also apparent in the February 2015 local ratings, with the program earning a 4.3 rating (down a share of 0.7 compared to February 2014).[74]

Newscast titles

  • B&K News (1946–1947)
  • Today's World Picture (1947–1949)
  • Pix of the News (1949-1950s)
  • Standard Oil News Roundup/John Harrington News (mid 1950s–1960s)
  • The Big News (1960s–1971)
  • TV-2 Action News (1971)
  • TV-2 News (1971–1975)
  • Channel 2 News (1975–1994)
  • Channel 2: THE 10 O'Clock News (10 p.m.; late 1970s–1980s)
  • 2 News (1994–1997)
  • News 2 Chicago (1997–2000)
  • The News on CBS 2 Chicago (2000–2001 or 02)
  • CBS 2 News (01 or 2002–present)

Station slogans

  • The Best is Right Here on Channel 2/Channel 2 is Easy on the Eyes (1973-1974; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
  • See The Best....Channel 2 (1974-1975; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
  • Catch The Brightest Stars on Channel 2 (1975-1976; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
  • Channel 2, We're The Hot Ones (1976-1977; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
  • There's Something in Air, on Channel 2 (1977-1978; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
  • Channel 2, Turn Us On, We'll Turn You On (1978-1979; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
  • We're Looking Good, on Channel 2 (1979-1980; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
  • Looking Good Together on Channel 2 (1980-1981; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
  • Reach for the Stars on Channel 2 (1981-1982; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
  • Experience in Action (1982)
  • Great Moments on Channel 2 (1982-1983; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
  • We've Got the Touch, You and Channel 2 (1983–1984; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
  • You and Channel 2, We've Got the Touch (1984-1985; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
  • We've Got the Touch on Channel 2 (1985-1986; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
  • Chicago's #1 News
  • Share the Spirit on Channel 2 (1986-1987; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
  • Chicago's News Team (1980s–1991)
  • Channel 2 Spirit, oh yes (1987-1988; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
  • You Can Feel It on Channel 2 (1988-1989; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
  • Chicago, Get Ready for Channel 2! /Get Ready for Channel 2 (1989-1991; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
  • The Look of Chicago is Channel 2 (1991-1992; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
  • This is CBS, on Channel 2 (1992-1994; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
  • I am Channel 2 People (1994-1995; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
  • Just Turn to 2 (1995-2008)
  • The Address is CBS 2, Welcome Home (1997-1998; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
  • The Address is CBS 2 (1999-2000; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
  • CBS 2 Works for You (2001–2002)
  • The Heart of Chicago (2008–?)
  • Only CBS 2, Only CBS (2009-present; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
  • Expert More (2020-present)

Current on-air staff

Main article: WBBM-TV news team

Anchors

  • Ryan Baker - weekday mornings at 4:30-7AM and 11AM
  • Audrina Bigos - weekdays at 4:30-7AM and 11AM; also an reporter
  • Brad Edwards - weeknights at 5, 6, and 10pm; also an investigator reporter
  • Irika Sargent - weeknights at 5, 6, and 10pm
  • Suzanne Le Mignot - weekend mornings at 5-8AM; also an reporter
  • Jim Willams - saturdays at 5 and 10pm; sundays at 5:30 and 10pm

Weather Team

  • Mary Kay Kleist (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist and NWA Seals of Approval) - meteorologist; weeknights at 5, 6, and 10pm
  • Ed Curran - weekday mornings at 4:30-7AM and 11AM
  • Robb Ellis - weekend mornings at 5-8AM and weekends (Saturdays at 5 and 10pm; Sundays at 5:30 and 10pm)

Sports Team

  • Matt Zahn - sports director; weeknights at 5, 6 and 10 p.m.
  • TBD - sports anchor; Saturdays at 5, Sundays at 5:30 and weekends at 10 p.m., also weekday field sports reporter

Traffic

  • Yassmen Hassan - weekday mornings
  • Kris Habermehl - "Chopper 2 HD" and fill-in traffic mornings

Reporters

  • Jermont Terry - general assignment reporter
  • Steven Graves - general assignment reporter
  • Chris Tye - general assignment reporter
  • Marissa Para - general assignment reporter
  • Tara Molina - general assignment reporter
  • Tim McNicolas - general assignment reporter
  • Mugo Odigwe - general assignment reporter
  • Vi Nguyen - general assignment reporter
  • Megan Hickey - general assignment reporter
  • Charlie DeMar - general assignment reporter
  • Lauren Victory - general assignment reporter
  • Jeremy Ross - general assignment reporter
  • Dorothy Tucker - general assignment reporter
  • Dana Kozlow - general assignment reporter
  • Vince Geraslo - general assignment reporter

2 Investigators

  • Dave Savini - investigative reporter
  • Pam Zekman - investigative reporter

Chopper 2 HD

  • Kris Habermehl - weekday main photojournalist
  • Bart Shore - weekday fill-in photojournalist
  • Skip Hahn - weekday fill-in photojournalist

Contributors

  • Chris Jones - theater contributor
  • Irv Miller - legal analyst

Notable former on-air staff

  • Jim Acosta - general assignment reporter (2000–2001, now at CNN)
  • Mike Adamle - sports anchor (2001–2004, now at WMAQ-TV)
  • Tom Alderman - weather forecaster (1976–1977)
  • Susan Anderson - women's issues reporter/anchor (1971–1986 and 1989–1998)
  • Terry Anzur - anchor/reporter (1981–1985)
  • Rich Apuzzo - weather forecaster (mid-1990s)
  • Adele Arakawa - anchor (1989–1993, now at KUSA-TV in Denver)
  • Jim Avila - reporter (1984–1994, now Senior Law and Justice Correspondent for ABC News)
  • Michael Ayala - morning news anchor/reporter (2001–2004, now owner of MIA Media Group)
  • Steve Baskerville - longtime meteorologist (1987-2017) (retired)
  • Stephen Bardo - sports anchor/reporter (2003–2006, now at ESPN)
  • Jim Berry - sports anchor/reporter (1994–1996)
  • Varen Black - reporter (part-time) (1996–2000)
  • Katherine Bliss - anchor/reporter (1998–2002)
  • Chris Boden - sports reporter (1998–2003, later at WFLD-TV, now at Comcast SportsNet Chicago)
  • Markina Brown - weather forecaster (2002–2003, now at KTLA in Los Angeles)
  • Diann Burns - anchor (2003–2008, now host of Next TV)
  • Dr. Michael Breen - medical reporter (1995–2002)
  • Cyndy Brucato - reporter (1975–1978, now at KSTP-TV in Minneapolis)
  • Tom Burse, Meteorologist
  • Susan Carlson - anchor/traffic reporter (2003-2013) (now at WMAQ-TV)
  • John Callaway - reporter (1971–1974, later at WTTW-TV, deceased)
  • Gwen Castaldi - reporter (early -1980s)
  • Mary Ann Childers - anchor/medical editor (1994–2008, now Senior Consultant at Res Publica Group)
  • Lauren Cohn - anchor/reporter (1998–2004, later at WFLD-TV)
  • Chuck Coppola - reporter (per diem) (2001)
  • Jodine Costanzo - reporter (1996–1998, now at WPXI-TV in Pittsburgh)
  • John Coughlin - longtime weatherman (1953–1989, deceased)
  • Don Craig - anchor (1982–1987)
  • Ed Curran - meteorologist/technology reporter (2002–2010)
  • Frank Currier - anchor/reporter (1979–1982)
  • Penny Daniels - anchor/reporter (1993–1994)
  • Lisa Dietlin - charity and philanthropy contributor
  • John Davis - weekend anchor/reporter (1982–2003)
  • Steve Deshler - weather anchor (1997–2002)
  • Paul Douglas - meteorologist (1994–1997, most recently at WCCO-TV in Minneapolis)
  • Christine Doyle - (1994–1998) (per diem from 1994–1996)
  • John Drury - anchor/reporter (1962–1967, later at WLS-TV, deceased)
  • John Drummond - longtime reporter/contributor (1969-1997 and 2000-2014) (semiretired)
  • Stacia Dubin - morning news anchor (2000–2004)
  • Jon Duncanson - weekend anchor/reporter (1992–1995, later at WFLD-TV and 2003–2006, now president of Aviana Productions)
  • Jerry Dunphy - sports reporter (1950s, deceased)
  • Bob Faw - reporter (1971–1977, now Washington correspondent at NBC News)
  • Renee Ferguson - reporter (1977–1981, later at WMAQ-TV)
  • Giselle Fernandez - anchor/reporter (1987–1989, later at Access Hollywood)
  • Roger Field - science/technology reporter (1970s-1986)
  • Mike Flannery - political editor (1980–2010, now at WFLD-TV)
  • Fahey Flynn - anchor (1952–1967, deceased)
  • Judie Garcia - reporter (per diem) (2002, now at WGN-TV)
  • Chuck Gomez - reporter (1970s-1985)
  • Sylvia Gomez - weekend anchor/reporter (1994–1996, later at WFLD-TV and 2003–2006, now runs Aviana Productions)
  • Lauren Green - reporter (1993–1996, now at Fox News Channel)
  • Holly Gregory - reporter (per diem) (2006, later at WGN-TV)
  • Alita Guillen - weekend anchor/reporter (2002–2007)
  • Terri Hamilton - medical reporter (1993–1995)
  • Chris Hernandez - reporter (2002–2004, now at KSHB-TV in Kansas City)
  • Burleigh Hines - reporter (1968–2001, deceased)
  • Lester Holt - anchor/reporter (1986–2000, currently a co-host on NBC's Weekend Today)
  • I.J. Hudson - technology reporter (1982–1985)
  • Peter Hyams - producer/anchor/reporter (1968–1970)
  • Chelsea Irving - reporter (per diem, 2001–2005, 2008; full-time, 2005–2006)
  • Walter Jacobson - longtime anchor/reporter (1975-1991 and 2010-2013)
  • Bob Jamieson - reporter (1968–1970, now at ABC News)
  • Dan Jiggetts - weekday mornings sports reporter (1989–1991) and Monsters and Money in the Morning (2010) now back at WFLD-TV
  • Rob Johnson - anchor (2006-2019)
  • David Kerley - anchor (1998–2002, now a Washington correspondent for ABC News)
  • Lisa Kim - reporter (1995–1996, now at KNTV-TV in San Jose, California)
  • Emery King - reporter (1976–1981, later at WDIV, now at Detroit Medical Center)
  • Rich King - sports anchor (1987–1991, now at WGN-TV)
  • Bill Kurtis - longtime anchor/reporter (1966-1970, 1973-1982, 1985-1996, and 2009-2013)
  • Alissa Krinsky - reporter (1999–2000)
  • Kyung Lah - reporter (2000–2003, now at CNN Newsource in Washington)
  • Janet Langhart - weekend weather forecaster (1960s-1970s)
  • Steven Lattimore- reporter (2000–2003)
  • Joan Lovett - anchor/reporter (1993–1999)
  • Sarah Lucero - reporter (1996–1998, now at KENS-TV in San Antonio)
  • Joanie Lum - reporter/fill-in anchor (2003–2009, now at WFLD-TV)
  • Linda MacLennan - anchor/reporter (1987–2003, now runs Linda MacLennan Photography)
  • Mark Malone - sports anchor (2004–2008, now a Color Commentator at Westwood One)
  • Carol Marin - anchor/reporter (1997–2000, now at WMAQ-TV)
  • Anita Malichi - reporter (1991–1994)
  • Katie McCall - reporter (2006–2008, now at KTRK-TV in Houston)
  • Jennifer McLogan - reporter (1989–1993, now at WCBS-TV in New York)
  • Corey McPherrin - sports anchor (1991–1995, now at WFLD-TV)
  • Larry Mendte - anchor/reporter (1990–1996, most recently at Access Hollywood and KYW-TV in Philadelphia, now at WGN-TV and WPIX-TV)
  • Judi Moen - reporter and talk-show host (1981–1994)
  • Antonio Mora - anchor/Eye On Chicago host (2002–2008, now at WFOR-TV in Miami)
  • Geoff Morrell - reporter (1996–2000)
  • Jeannie Morris - sports reporter (1975–1988)
  • Johnny Morris - longtime sports anchor (1964–1968 and 1975–1994)
  • Kim Morris - free-lance reporter (1995–1996)
  • Jim Mullen - disability reporter (2003–2008)
  • Carolyn Murray - consumer reporter (2001–2003)
  • Brent Musburger - sports anchor (1968–1975, now a sportscaster for ABC/ESPN)
  • Mary Nissenson - reporter and substitute news anchor (1987–1988)
  • Mike North - weekday morningsMonsters and Money in the Morning (2010)
  • Mike Parker - longtime anchor/reporter (1980-2016) (deceased)
  • Phil Ponce - reporter (1982–1991, now at WTTW)
  • Harry Porterfield - longtime reporter/anchor (1968-1985 and 2009-2015) (retired)
  • Kathryn Pratt - health and science reporter (1980s)
  • Dave Price - weather anchor (1996–1998, currently on The Early Show on CBS)
  • Hank Price - General Manager (1996–2000)
  • John Quinones - reporter (1978–1982, now at ABC News)
  • Robin Robinson - reporter (1984–1987, now at WFLD-TV)
  • Bruce Roberts- Sportscaster extroidenaire. 1970s and early 1980s.
  • Rob Roblin - weekend weather anchor on a per-diem basis (1987, now at WBAL-TV)
  • Rafael Romo - reporter (2004–2008, now Senior Latin American Affairs Editor for CNN)
  • Brian Rooney - reporter (1985–1987, now Western U.S. Correspondent for ABC News)
  • Jodi Saeland, weather forecaster (July-November 1996)
  • Randy Salerno, Morning News and 11 a.m. Anchor, (2004–2008, deceased)
  • Cynthia Santana - weekend anchor/reporter (2002–2003, now a Producer/Writer/Narrator at Morgan Howard Productions)
  • Warner Saunders - Common Ground host (1972–1982, later at WMAQ-TV)
  • Mark Schaefer - feature reporter (1987–1990)
  • Janet Shamlian - anchor/reporter (now at NBC News)
  • Steve Shepard - reporter (1970s)
  • Bob Sirott - lifestyle/entertainment reporter (1980–1985, later at WMAQ-TV, WFLD-TV and WTTW-TV)
  • Gene Siskel - film critic (1974–1999, deceased)
  • Anita Smith - reporter, 1993-1994 (left to join WCIX-TV in Miami (now WFOR-TV); immediately prior had been at WFTV-TV in Orlando)
  • Rob Stafford - reporter (1992–1996, now at WMAQ-TV)
  • Anne State - anchor/reporter (2008–2010) now at WITI-TV in Milwaukee
  • Dawn Stensland - reporter/anchor (1991–1994, wife of Larry Mendte)
  • Howard Sudberry - weekend sports anchor/reporter (1984–2009, now at WGN-TV)
  • Kate Sullivan - anchor (2010-2015)
  • Elaine Tack - reporter (1990–1991)
  • Tony Tantillo - fresh grocer (2005–2009, now at WGN-TV)
  • Jeff Taylor - meteorologist (2006–2007)
  • Roesanne Tellez - morning news anchor (2004-2018) (now at WFLD-TV)
  • Jim Tilmon - afternoon meteorologist (2002–2005) and aviation analyst (2005–2006, 2007, 2008)
  • Tracy Townsend - anchor/reporter (2001–2003, now at WBNS-TV in Columbus, Ohio)
  • Mike Tsolinas - meteorologist (1989–1992, later at KTNV-TV, now deceased)
  • Elizabeth Vargas - anchor/reporter (1989–1993, now at ABC News)
  • Carmen Velez - reporter (1998–2000)
  • Harry Volkman - weatherman (1978–1996, later at WFLD-TV, now deceased)
  • Bob Wallace - reporter (1970–1992)
  • Phil Walters - reporter/anchor (1976–1986, deceased)
  • Monty Webb - meteorologist (1998–2002, now at WHAS-TV in Louisville, Kentucky)
  • Jenniffer Weigel - feature and entertainment reporter (1999–2002)
  • Tim Weigel - sports anchor (1995–2001, deceased)
  • Bill Zwecker - entertainment reporter/film critic (2003–2009, now at WFLD-TV)

General managers

  • H. Leslie Atlass (1940–1959)
  • Clark B. George (1960–1965)
  • Edward R. Kenefick (1965–1970)
  • Leon Drew 1970-1972)
  • Robert Wussler (1972–1974)
  • Neil Derrough (1974–1977)
  • David Nelson (1977–1978)
  • Ed Joyce (1978–1980)
  • Peter Lund (1980–1983)
  • Eric Ober (1983–1984)
  • Gary Cummings (1984–1986)
  • Johnathan Rodgers (1986–1990)
  • Bill Applegate (1990–1993)
  • Bob McGann (1993–1996)
  • Hank Price (1996–2000)
  • Walt DeHaven (2000–2002)
  • Joe Ahern (2002–2008)
  • Bruno Cohen (2008–present)

Gallery

Station trivia

See also

References

  1. ^ White, Timothy R. (1992). "Hollywood on (Re)Trial: The American Broadcasting-United Paramount Merger Hearing" Cinema Journal, Vol. 31, No. 3. (Spring, 1992), pp. 19-36.
  2. ^ Jajkowski, Steve (2001). "Advertising on Chicago Television". Chicago Television History. Retrieved January 10, 2007.
  3. ^ Eggerton, John (2009-06-17). "Weigel's Analog Nightlight Could Help Chicago Stations With Reception Issues". Broadcasting & Cable. http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/295225-Weigel_s_Analog_Nightlight_Could_Help_Chicago_Stations_With_Reception_Issues.php?rssid=20068&q=digital+tv.
  4. ^ Lazare, Lewis (February 20, 2009). "Ch. 2 tuning out news?". Chicago Sun-Times. http://www.suntimes.com/business/lazare/1441174,CST-FIN-lew20.article. Retrieved 2009-02-20.
  5. ^ Chicago Tribune. http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/columnists/chi-fri-wbbm-cuts-0501-may01,0,2545751.column.
  6. ^ . http://www.suntimes.com/business/lazare/1553116,CST-FIN-lew01.article. [dead link]
  7. ^ . http://www.suntimes.com/business/lazare/1912877,CST-FIN-lew01.article. [dead link]
  8. ^ . http://www.suntimes.com/business/lazare/2030914,CST-NWS-lewTV05.article. [dead link]
  9. ^ "WBBM anchor Anne State out, weatherman Ed Curran off". Chicago Tribune. March 26, 2010. http://newsblogs.chicagotribune.com/towerticker/2010/03/anne-state-wbbm-ed-curran-news-cuts-weather-anchor-.html.
  10. ^ "WFLD gets Mike Flannery, WBBM political ace since '80". Chicago Tribune. March 29, 2010. http://newsblogs.chicagotribune.com/towerticker/2010/03/wfld-snags-mike-flannery-wbbms-political-ace-since-1980.html#more.
  11. ^ CBS2 Chicago (July 29, 2010). "Kurtis, Jacobson To Anchor CBS 2 News At 6 PM". Press release. http://cbs2chicago.com/studio/cbs.anchor.teams.2.1831466.html. Retrieved September 18, 2010.
  12. ^ http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=archive&ct=res&cd=1-0&url=http%3A%2F%2Fpqasb.pqarchiver.com%2Fchicagotribune%2Faccess%2F597564362.html%3Fdids%3D597564362%3A597564362%26FMT%3DCITE%26FMTS%3DCITE%3AAI%26type%3Dhistoric%26date%3DSep%2B11%252C%2B1971%26author%3D%26pub%3DChicago%2BTribune%26desc%3DDisplay%2BAd%2B186%2B--%2BNo%2BTitle%26pqatl%3Dgoogle&ei=0mZ5TMWuJuOCnwf6uqyLDA&usg=AFQjCNHAtr00Chr1LybXiFtZ5O71gXP9PQ

External links

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