Still no HD newscasts in Peoria, Illinois either. And Peoria is DMA#116, which is the largest DMA I know of that still doesn't have at least one station broadcasting an HD newscast. Of our neighbors to the south and northwest, all 3 stations are newscats in the Springfield and Quad Cities have been in HD for over a year. And as for our smaller neighbors in the southwest and to the north, all 3 Rockford news facilities are in HD and at least one of Quincy's 2 stations are. I can't veryfy whether or not KHQA is, but they appear to be at least digital widescreen from their online streaming.
Not only does Peoria lack any HD news production, but we also have lacked a third competitor since 2009 when news operations of our ABC affiliate, WHOI, were taken over by our NBC affiliate, WEEK, which is owned by Granite Broadcasting. Since than, the market has been stagnate under Nexstar-Granite control. Our NBC, has had the same studios for 17 years and touts Accu WX graphics as if they're the best in the industry. They also have touted the fact they broadcast in digital widescreen (which is 480P, not HD) since 2010. In addition to operating our ABC affiliate, they also operate our MyNetwork affiliate, which also airs a 9:00 version of our local NBC newscast. These controls from all these stations were all outsourced about 5 years ago to WEEK's sister station in Ft. Wayne and little or no investment has been made at WEEK's facilities, which is becoming a rotting shell & one of the country's poorest news operations.
The only competitor to our ABC/NBC/MyNetwork triopoly is our Nexstar-ran duopoly. Back in 2001, WMBD, our CBS affiliate, took over operations of WYZZ, our Fox affiliate, and they have added a couple of newscasts to WYZZ. Their master controls are still local unlike WEEK. Though their set is so much newer & fresher than WEEK, it's still not all that great and their graphics aren't much better & they are actually still broadcasting local & syndicated programming in 4:3 480i. Furthermore, they're plagued with ongoing transmitter problems & other unusual equipment failures.
When I do watch the news, I'll usually watch them over WEEK because I consider WEEK to be nearly unwatchable. But in knowing that almost every Nexstar news operation has been converted to HD, including those in significantly smaller markets, there's no excuse for WMBD to still be among the last. It's almost as if Nexstar doesn't care about them. Or they know they can get by with it because Granite has only converted 2 of their 10 stations.
I write about this now because things could very well change. Just over a week ago, it was announced that Quincy Newspapers has acquired WEEK-TV, which has remained an overrated #1 in our market, from Granite Broadcasting. And from what I've seen and read, all of Quincy Newspaper's stations will be in hd very soon. So with a little luck, WEEK will be getting a complete face lift by the end of the year. I also hope that Nexstar gets on the ball with WMBD, our #2 station. These stations aren't strapped for cash.
WHOI made the SSA with Granite broadcasting when they were owned by Granite, but are now owned by Sinclair. WYZZ was owned by Sinclair when they made the deal SSA with Nexstar. Once Sinclair bought WHOI, they spun WYZZ off to Cunningham broadcasting, which is basically a shell corporation of Sinclair. Also, 3 months ago, Sinclair announced they will NOT renew the SSA with Granite. It was my hope that we'd get a third news option brought back to either WYZZ or WHOI, which would be a starte-of-the-art HD facility. But after WEEK's announced sale to Quincy, they could very well decide to renew the SSA with Quincy. It's all very complicated. But Granite horrible reign finally coming to an end in Peoria is a good thing in itself. Things can only get better.
WTVP, our PBS affiliate, on the other hand, became the first PBS station in downstate Illinois to produce local programming in HD since building an all-new building & studios in 2002. Kudos to them for actually wanting to serve their community.
Edited by Jokinjer1 - 2/17/14 at 11:59am