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Originally Posted by zaphod7501 View Post
RE: WMBD You are talking about a station that had a "buzz" in their audio due to a bad microwave link for almost their entire analog broadcast history, even after they went stereo. They knew it but didn't ever do anything about it. Imagine trying to explain that noise to someone, that there was nothing wrong with their brand new Stereo TV.

BTW, RE: WEEK If something broke, they would throw it into the dumpster and wait till after pickup to inform management that they needed a new one. (or else they would be told to patch obsolete equipment for the 10th time)
You have 2 good points there. WMBD always had it's own fair share of issues, but during the 1990's, their CBS-31 newscasts easily outshone the competition. They were the first in Peoria to get a meteorologist and if WHOI or WEEK could get a nice computer upgrade that would be seen by the viewer, WMBD would answer them with something better within a matter of a few months.

WEEK seemed like they had trouble operating things. I also remember seeing them misspelling info in crawls. I must also make mention the fact that WEEK waited until 2001 (more than a decade past all other NBC affiliates known to me at the time) to broadcast in stereo. I'm sure NBC, who pushed it hard, wasn't very happy with them. And when it came to broadcasting warnings, they got to where they would copy WMBD & WHOI. One time, theirs was actually working and WHOI's was messing up, yet they still made theirs match what WHOI was saying. I had to chuckle. LOL WEEK used to have the worst weather staff. Nowadays they may have a better weather team, but their graphics are still sub-par. The have glitches caused by their central hub, new turnover, and a need to renovate their entire set. I could never figure out how they got the ratings they did. I actually liked WHOI better before WEEK took them over.

And who can forget WHOI, until the end, their graphics were never very impressive, and through the 1990's, they were seldom first in the market to get anything new. They were slow to produce a crawl early on and I remember seeing Logan County spelled as "Logam". And I used to hate their old monophonic audio. It just sounded so muffled to me. I'm glad they at least got rid of their old audio gear.

Originally Posted by sebenste View Post
I hear you, Jeremy. It's 2015, and not one Peoria station is in HD. I keep looking at your situation, and I wanted to say this.

While the 4 stations (not 3) are all in HD now up in the Rockford market, it's known that all the Rockford stations are up for sale to someone who will buy them. As one Chicago media person in the know once told me 3 or 4 years ago: it may not be terribly long before those stations become satellites of the Madison stations. I fully agree. The owners of the ABC/FOX affiliate up here are in bankruptcy, and even the roof of WTVO, our ABC affiliate, was in such poor shape that employees wondered if it was going to collapse. Seriously! Last winter, their tower was so unstable that they had to go off the air for a few days because it was in danger of collapsing into their studios and transmitter!

So, things aren't as rosy as you think they are up here. Furthermore, turnover is very high. After several years, a very good meteorologist was let go...simply because of salary, I am sure. Their news department has been cut beyond to the bone. And, we don't even have a PBS station up here!

I could see WMBD, WEEK, etc become satellites of the Champaign/Springfield market stations, and your market getting absorbed into that one, creating a huge central Illinois TV market, much like Birmingham, AL. While that wouldn't be fun, you'd finally get HD. BTW, Birmingham's ABC affiliate shut down 2 of their three full power transmitters last year to save money. Some people can't get them now except via satellite or cable.

The only thing that I can say is that market revenue is so bad, they cannot upgrade. Furthermore, they can't keep high-paid talent as a result. Finally, going HD would be too expensive for a small or cheap owner. Their return on investment would be too small, otherwise, they would certainly be in HD. And, more than likely, the company has told local management, to put it bluntly, to shut up or hand wave as best they can when the HD question is asked. If they lie, that is wrong, but if they are silent, the answer is "no, and we cannot tell you when...because we don't know either". I'm sure they all wish they were in HD. I'm 100% positive on that. Who doesn't want to look like a Mickey Mouse operation operating with 1990s equipment? But their company bosses higher up have said "no", and I'm sure they are pushing to have it done.

So, I say: don't pummel them hard. It stinks, I know. They likely have NO say in when they will be upgraded, though I am sure they have voiced their concerns, repeatedly. Instead, encourage them, when they get good talent, to pay to keep them. Having idiots in HD who couldn't write or tell a news story is infinitely worse than someone who can in 4:3 and 1990s cameras, switchers and editing equipment.
First off, I should probably make it clear that Nexstar has already upgraded over 75% of their stations to an HD newscast, and many of those stations are in significantly smaller markets than WMBD. That being said, I'm more than positive WMBD would make just enough revenue to support an upgrade. But I'm sure it has to do with the fact Nexstar is too cheap and strategically purchased 2 CBS affiliates adjacent to WMBD so they can eliminate the one in the middle. There's no doubt they have been eying the option of making WMBD a satellite of WCIA or WHBF. I've suspected that for years. And now, my suspiciouns are even more reinforced just seeing they are still not even in digital widescreen, what a joke. It's obvously much cheaper to go to digital widescreen as opposed to full hd, but WMBD is about the last station that can't even make it there.

I have a lot of disgust & hatred for Nexstar. I hate reading all these stories where they brag about their accomplishments while seeing what they're doing to WMBD. And when I saw they were giving WHBF a new set, I was infuriated! There's NOTHING wrong with their set, and it's only 3 years old. I don't even know why they're putting that kind of money into WHBF anyway. WHBF's ratings were lower than WHOI used to be. Nexstar deals with hundreds of millions of dollars each year and they continue to increase their revenue. $2 million to give WMBD a facelift wouldn't break them. I hope WMBD is able to convince them, but I'm positive Nexstar is going to force them to repeat WHBF or WCIA. I do have to say that Peoria has the superior PBS affiliate when compared to the QC though. I'm glad we have WTVP and it sucks that Rockford doesn't have a PBS affiliate.

Originally Posted by eureka22 View Post
And even though WMBD doesn't have a single Meteorologist with a CBM, AMS or NWA certification, as well as a horrible turnover rate, I still like them better than WEEK.

Funny you should mention that Jokinjer1. WMBD's Chief met announced on his Facebook that he is leaving Mar 13 to go to WISH8 in Indy (his home area). In the job opening for his replacement one of the requirements is the AMS seal or CBM. I hope they get someone who can give their WSI MAX system a good workout. If nothing else their upgraded scroll system is not five minutes behind like the old one was. It also scrolls the actual text of the warning or svr wx statement instead of the generic 'warning for x until y'. If you're not doing live coverage that information is vital and has irritated me for years that no one has had it locally since WHOI's Accuweather First Warn crawl back in 1996.
Haha I just heard Marcus was leaving today. I was actually half surprised, but I shouldn't have been. Everybody leaves WMBD eventually. I'm with you though. WMBD news is so much better than WEEK. WMBD news is faster and more aggressive whereas WEEK tends to just bumble. WMBD weather presentations and graphics are also much better. I still liked Marcus Bailey regardless of his lack of a seal, but I'm glad to see WMBD is looking for a replacement who has one. It just adds to the value of the station. LOL I remember when my grip used to be a lack of meteorologists in the Peoria area. That problem has since improved as WMBD usually has 3 and WEEK has at least Chuck and, I assume, one other. But it pains me to watch WEEK. I would rather have seen WHOI become a repeater of WQAD or WAND rather than WEEK. At least it would have given Peoria more variety. And the only real jobs added in the merger took place in Ft. Wayne. Come to think of it, I wouldn't mind seeing WEEK become a repeater of KWQC or WICS. I do not know how they still remain such a ratings powerhouse.

I remember WHOI's First Warn System. It's map was a rare first for Peoria from WHOI. It looked a little cheap to me and it had it's own fair share of issues, including glitchy delivery of the watches which they opted to just enter in manually. But it was fairly reliable at delivering the warnings for 3 years. And though the crawl was fairly slow, I do remember it was faster than the other 2. It was a pleasant turnaround for WHOI, who seemed to be the latest at entering manual crawls (WMBD was always first in the manual days, followed closely behind by WEEK and WHOI a distant third). However, with the first warn system, since each watch had to be edited and entered manually, they eventually got pretty good at manual overrides. I always thought that was a Baron crawl system.

WEEK was actually the first to have an automatic crawl system with their ***Instant Alert*** in 1995, but it was totally defective and lacked a county map & legend. During the next 3 years, depending n WEEK for watches and/or warnings was a joke. WMBD was just 2 weeks behind WHOI in debuting their first automatic crawl system, and last in the area, but theirs cost nearly twice as much as the others. It was a classic example of WMBD going one up on the competition. Though state-of-the-art, they had it set up rather plain though.

In 1998, WEEK finally replaced the Instant Alert with the same type of system WMBD had, though it was a newer version dressed up fancier with interstate and river markings. It was almost exactly the same speed as WMBD's system (few seconds behind WHOI) and was even more reliable than WMBD's system. It was at this time WHOI's First Warn system started having some trouble. And one of those times it wasn't displaying correctly, WEEK, being used to their defective instant alert, overrode their system to make all the watches and warnings match what was on WHOI. WEEK's WSI system of 1998 was also a beauty, but too bad it was a stripped-down package. WHOI & WMBD followed in 2000 and 2002 with upgrades.

WHOI's WSI system in 1997 was WHOI's best ever, and did a good job at showing street-level mapping, but lacked lightening-tracking and other things. WMBD's Weather Central system of 2009 was fully-loaded, but I don't think it looked quite as good as what WHOI had. Now WMBD has WSI's latest. I just hope it's fully loaded. And I agree it needs a bit more of a workout than what I've seen lately.

As for generating the actual text of the warnings, I had always thought it was a function of a higher-end system to edit out all the gibberish, but I, too, have benefited from the extra stuff coming straight from the NWS. It's nice to have at least one station doing it again. I'll have to check it out soon.
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