WISC-TV (digital channel 50 or PSIP virtual channel 3) is the CBS affiliate television station forMadison, Wisconsin. The station is the flagship of Madison-based Morgan Murphy Media, and has been affiliated with CBS since its launch on June 24, 1956. The station airs regular local and CBS programming on digital channel 3.1 and also operates TVW, a MyNetworkTV affiliate, on digital channel 3.2 (which is also carried on local cable and DIRECTV in the Madison market).

WISC Logo.png
Madison, Wisconsin
Branding Channel 3 (general)

News 3 (newscasts)

Slogan Informed, Involved, and In Touch(newscasts)
Channels Digital: 50 (UHF)

Virtual: 3 (PSIP)

Subchannels 3.1 CBS

3.2 MyNetworkTV

Owner Morgan Murphy Media

(Television Wisconsin, Inc.)

First air date June 24, 1956
Call letters' meaning WISConsin
Sister station(s) WKBT-DT


Former channel number(s) Analog:

3 (1956-2009)

Former affiliations UPN(secondary on WISC 1995-1999; cable/digital only, 2002-2006)

The WB(cable/digital only, 2000-2002)

Transmitter power 603 kW (digital)
Height 466 m (digital)
Facility ID 65143
Transmitter coordinates 43°3′21″N 89°32′6″W


WISC-TV first took to the airwaves on June 24, 1956, taking over Madison's CBS affiliation fromWKOW-TV (which retained ABC affiliation). During the late 1950s, the station was also briefly affiliated with the NTA Film Network.[1] Despite being the state's second largest market, Madison was a "doughnut" where there could only be one VHF license due to being sandwiched between Milwaukee to the east, Wausau and Green Bay to the north, Chicago and Rockford to the south, and La Crosse/Eau Claire to the west. Having the market's only VHF signal gave channel 3 a distinct advantage over its UHF competitors, WKOW and WMTV. Until cable arrived in Madison in the 1980s, WISC was the only local station that provided a clear signal to most of the market. Not surprisingly, it has been the market leader for most of its history. There is also a low power VHF signal in the market occupying analog channel 8 W08CK.

From its early days in broadcasting through the 1970s, the station ID'd as "WISC-TV, Channel 3—Madison. Wisconsin's Leadership Station." Jerry Deane was a very popular news presenter.William "Bill" Dyke was an on-air talent in the early 1960s before he eventually became mayor of Madison.

From 1995 to 1999, WISC-TV carried select UPN programming during overnight hours, before the launch of a separate UPN station in the market, WHPN. UPN returned in 2002 on WISC's cable/digital subchannel, "UPN 14"; that channel now carries MyNetworkTV.

WISC-TV commemorated its 50th anniversary in June 2006, which merited a congratulatory mention by David Letterman on his Late Showbroadcast of June 22, 2006 (its first program, he quipped, was "Good Morning, Cheddar").

At 12:30 p.m. on February 17, 2009, WISC-TV converted all regular programming to its digital signal on channel 50, or PSIP virtual channel3.1. The analog channel 3 continued to serve as a "nightlight," broadcasting a loop of digital transition information and instructions in addition to any local news programming and emergency information, until signing off for good the final week of March 2009.


WISC-TV airs a mix of local programming, newscasts, and syndicated shows (among them The Dr. Oz Show, andEntertainment Tonight). WISC usually airs the full CBS program schedule, though pre-emptions to overnight hours have occurred in the past due to local specials and Wisconsin Badgers sports broadcasts (WISC was home to Badger broadcasts on ESPN Plus before the syndicator's relationship with the Big Ten Conference ended in 2007).


WISC-TV's digital subchannel, 3.2, is known as "tvw," and carries the MyNetworkTV schedule, syndicated programs and off-network reruns, as well as News 3 at 9 on tvw, a prime-time newscast produced by WISC-TV. TVW also serves as a backup channel for programming that is pre-empted on WISC. The channel is carried on Charter Communications cable channel 14, where it originally launched in 1998 as a WBaffiliate.


In addition to its normal morning, midday, 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. newscasts, WISC airs "News 3 Live at Five," which is largely devoted to non-headline news and features that focus on the community and the people of Madison, Dane County, and southern Wisconsin. In April 2011, WISC began offering free on demand segments of their newscasts on the Roku digital video player.[2]

On October 26, 2008, WISC-TV began producing all its newscasts in total high-definition, becoming the first commercial TV station in Wisconsin to do so.[3] The station had produced occasional news features in HD since the beginning of 2008.

News/station presentation

Newscast titles

  • Newsroom 3 (1960s–1971)
  • TV-3 Eyewitness News (1971[4]–1970s)
  • Channel 3 Action News (1970s–1980s)
  • News 3 (198?–2019)
  • News 3 Now (2019-present)

Station slogans

  • TV-3, Your Eyewitness News Station (1971-1982)
  • Channel 3, Where the Action Is (1982-1985)
  • Madison's #1 News Team (1985-1989)
  • Get Ready for TV-3 (1989-1991; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
  • Your 24-Hour News Source (1989-1995)
  • Where the News Comes First (1995-2004)
  • Informed, Involved, and In Touch (2004-present)

News staff

Current on-air staff


  • Sarah Carlson - weeknights at 10 p.m.
  • Andy Choi - Sundays at 5:30 and 10 p.m., and weeknights at 9 p.m. (on TVW)
  • Charlotte Deleste - weekday mornings
  • Eric Franke - weeknights at 6 and 10 p.m.; formerly sports director from 1999-2005
  • Maria Guerrero - Saturdays at 6, weekends at 6 and 10 p.m., and weeknights at 9 (on TVW) and 10 p.m.; also weekday reporter
  • Mark Koehn - weekdays at noon, and weeknights at 5 p.m.
  • Susan Siman - weeknights at 5 and 6 p.m.
  • Rob Starbuck - weekday mornings

Weather team

  • Gary Cannalte (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval) - chief meteorologist; weeknights at 5, 6, 9 (on TVW) and 10 p.m.
  • Bob Lesh - weather anchor; Saturdays at 6, Sundays at 5:30, and weekends at 9 (on TVW) and 10 p.m.
  • Haddie McLean - meteorologist; weekday mornings and noon
  • Karin Swanson - meteorologist; fill-in

Sports team

  • Jay Wilson - sports director; weeknights at 5, 6, 9 (on TVW) and 10 p.m.
  • Matt Queen - sports anchor; Saturdays at 6, Sundays at 5:30, and weekends and 10 p.m.
  • Ely Kumlien - fill-in sports anchor/reporter


  • Jessica Arp - political reporter
  • Angela Bettis - general assignment reporter
  • Brad Chaimson - general assignment reporter; also news photographer
  • David Douglas - general assignment reporter
  • Neil Heinen - host of "For the Record"; also WISC/Madison Magazine editorial director
  • Marc Lovicott - general assignment reporter
  • Margo Spann - Rock County reporter
  • Rex Charger - WTDY traffic reporter
  • Steve Van Dinter - "Gadget Guy" technology reporter; seen Tuesdays

Former on-air staff

  • Teri Barr (Reporter & 9PM/10PM Anchor); position eliminated as part of July 2009 layoffs[1]
  • Laura Behnke (Sports); now with KNTV in San Jose, CA
  • Prema Chandrathil (Reporter); now Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
  • Joel DeSpain (Reporter); now Public Information Officer, Madison Police Dept.
  • Jessie Garcia (Sports); now with WTMJ-TV in Milwaukee, WI
  • Marney Gellner (Sports); now with FSN North
  • Trisha Hermanson (Sports Reporter); position eliminated as part of July 2009 layoffs[2]
  • Angela Jacobs (Sports); now with WTSP-TV in Tampa, FL
  • George Johnson (Sports Director); left station in September 2008 after racist altercation with police[5]
  • John Karcher (Anchor)
  • Martin Kilcoyne (Sports); now with KTVI-TV in St. Louis, MO
  • Sara Kronenberg (Reporter); now with WBAY-TV in Green Bay, WI
  • Matt Lepay (Sports); now play-by-play radio voice of University of Wisconsin Football & Basketball
  • Curt Menefee (Sports); now with Fox Sports as Fox NFL Sunday host
  • Mike Pitas (Sports); now in advertising sales with
  • Alanna Rizzo (Sports); now with FSN Rocky Mountain
  • Jeff Smith (Weather);
  • Dawn Stevens (Anchor/Reporter); now with KMSP-TV in Minneapolis, MN
  • Chris Swanson (Sports); now with NWCN in Seattle, WA
  • Katy Sai (Anchor)
  • Toya Washington (Anchor/Reporter); now with WISN-TV in Milwaukee, WI
  • Carleen Wild (Anchor); now with KCBS-TV in Los Angeles, CA
  • Mike Barsic (Weather); now with Zimbrick Eastside motors, Madison, WI
  • Pam Tauscher (Anchor)


  1. ^ "Require Prime Evening Time for NTA Films" ([dead link]), Boxoffice: 13, November 10, 1956
  2. ^ WISC Debuts Local News Channel on Roku Digital Video Player Retrieved April 15, 2011
  3. ^ "WISC-TV To Air Newscasts In HD", October 20, 2008 announcement from the WISC-TV website
  4. ^ "Stations Here Gain Prime Time But Few Local Shows Develop", page 23. Wisconsin State Journal, 9/5/71.
  5. ^ "WISC-TV sports director is out of a job after a traffic incident"

External links