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.
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.
History[edit | edit source]
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.
|TV stations in Illinois|
|Chicago market independent stations:||Chicago market Spanish stations:||Chicago market religious stations:||Other stations:|
|WGN, Chicago||WOCK-CD, Chicago||WEDE-CD, Arlington Heights||W15BU-D, Johnson City|
|WESV-LD, Chicago||WWTO, Naperville||WTJR, Quincy|
|WMEU-CD, Chicago||WSNS, Chicago||WDCI-LD, Chicago||WHOI, Peoria|
|WXFT, Aurora||WLPD-CD, Chicago||WCHU-LD, Rochelle|
|WPVN-CD, Aurora||WTCT, Chicago||WWME-CD, Chicago|
|WGBO-DT, Aurora||WPXS, Mount Vernon, IL/St. Louis, MO||WRJK-LP, Chicago|
|W40CN-D, Sugar Grove|
|TV stations in Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana|
|WBBM 2 (CBS) |
WMAQ 5 (NBC)
WLS 7 (ABC)
WGN 9 (Ind)
WTTW 11 (PBS)
WOCK-CD 13 (Ind)
WYCC 20 (MHz)
WRJK-LP 22 (Diya TV)
WWME-CD 23 (MeTV)
WPVN-CD 24 (AZA)
W25DW-D 25 (HSN)
WCIU 26 (CW)
WLPD-CD 30 (Hillsong)
WFLD 32 (Fox)
WEDE-CD 34 (Ind)
WWTO 35 (TBN)
WCPX 38 (Ion)
WESV-LD 40 (ESTRELLA)
WSNS 44 (TLM)
WMEU-CD 48 (Ind)
WPWR 50 (MNTV)
WYIN 56 (PBS)
WDCI-LD 57 (Daystar)
WXFT 60 (UMas)
WCHU-LD 61 (JTV)
WJYS 62 (Ind)
WGBO 66 (UNI)