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WCGV-TV - 25th Anniversary

Started by Dick Nitelinger, Sunday Feb 13, 2005, 11:34:55 pm

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Dick Nitelinger

March 24th marks another Milwaukee television station's anniversary. (No, it's not a golden, as we've had the past two years. For that, we'll have to wait for WITI's in May of next year.) WCGV-TV marks its 25th anniversary on that date.

Milwaukee was assigned three UHF frequencies in 1952. Those were for channels 19, 25 and 31. As we've seen, WCAN-TV went on the air on channel 25. WOKY-TV went on the air on channel 19. Both went on the air in 1953. WMIL-TV received a CP for channel 31, but never went on the air.

The owners of those stations opted for UHF frequencies in order to avoid long license hearings. Bartell Broadcasters eventually sold WOKY-TV to CBS, who changed the call letters to WXIX. The station was later sold to Cream City Broadcasting, and became an independent station. It changed its call letters to WUHF-TV on 1 January 1963, and then to WVTV after being purchased by WKY in 1966. It eventually became one of the most successful independent UHF stations in the country.

Although congress required all TV receivers be able to receive UHF in 1964, those frequencies still weren't desireable. UHF is more directional than VHF, and the signal wasn't always the greatest. It's interesting that here in Milwaukee, the networks eventually wound up on VHF, while the sole independent station was a UHF. The only other UHF station to take to the air was WMVT, sister station to WMVS - both public stations.

Besides the license for WOKY-TV, CBS also purchased the facilities of WCAN-TV. The studios were in an old warehouse at 5445 N 27th St, with th transmitter and tower atop the Schroeder Hotel in downtown Milwaukee. In 1958 they got the FCC to reassign UHF frequencies in Milwaukee, which received channels 18, 24 and 30.

Lou Poller, who had been the CEO of Midwest Broadcasting, retained the CP for channel 25/24 for sometime after the station went dark in February of 1955. It was 25 years before a station would finally use the frequency.

In the late 1970's, B&F Broadcasting, whose principals were Robert Block and Marvin Fishman (one of the original owners of the Milwaukee Bucks) received a CP for channel 24. The station went on the air on 24 March 1980, and utilized the old WCAN/WXIX/WITI studios on North 27th Street. (WITI having moved to new facilities on North Green Bay Road.) In June of that year, it shifted its evening programming to scrambled movies, broadcast by "SelecTV". That service required a separate converter box. The service was dropped in July of 1984, after competition from cable TV came to the area.

WCGV-TV stands for "Wisconsin's Choice for Great Viewing". It became the second independent TV station on the UHF band.

On 24 September 1986, WCGV-TV was sold to HR Broadcasting, who later affiliated with the new Fox Network.

Milwaukee television had its first major shake-up in years in 1994, when WITI elected to drop its affiliation with CBS, and instead affiliate with the Fox Network. (Fox had acquired an interest in New World Communications, which owned WITI.)  WCGV-TV, which had been the Fox affiliate, joined the new United Paramount Network in January of 1995.

Sinclair Broadcast Group later acquired WCGV-TV. In 1994, they acquired WVTV, but since federal regulations at the time prohibited a company from owning more than one station in a given metropolitan area, they optioned WVTV to Glencairn Ltd., which was owned by a former Sinclair employee and the mother of its CEO. GlenCairn then entered into a marketing agreement in which Sinclair operated the station. Sinclair moved WCGV-TV into the WVTV building on N 35th St.

WCGV-TV briefly lost its affiliation with UPN from January-July 1998.

Happy birthday WCGV-TV!


- Dick    :OnAir:

http://www.milwaukee-horror-hosts.com

John L

Quote from: Dick NitelingerMarch 24th marks another Milwaukee television station's anniversary.

Happy birthday WCGV-TV!


- Dick    :OnAir:

http://www.milwaukee-horror-hosts.com

I remember that very morning of March 24, 1980 at about 9:20 am they signed on the air with News followed by a travel program hosted by Gunta Less at 9:35 am.  Then at 10:00 am until 12 Noon they aired Jim and Tammy Baker's "The PTL Club". PTL meaning "Praise the Lord".  Don't remember what the afternoon offerings were offhand.  I believe they aired a afternoon movie, but at 5:00 pm was a comedy sitcom  "Chico and the Man", 5:30pm "Get Smart" don't recall what was on between 6pm to 7 pm. But at 7:00pm they signed off the air for the day.

A few months later they debuted the "Tempo 24" 2 hour talk show with Joe Thompson (formerly of WITI) and a female host whom I forgot, seems like the name was Lee ???? something or another.

Saturday afternoons was "Battle of the Cowboys" they aired 2 to 3 old cowboy movies.

They also carried a package of hockey and college basketball games at the very begining as well.

-John L.

Dick Nitelinger


Jimboy

Quote from: Dick Nitelinger

Happy Anniversary WCGV-TV!


Thanks!

I've been here for 22 years, since 1983. I've even been Rupert (FOX Kids Club Host) a few times in the late 80's (Avatar Picture). It's amazing how things have changed since I started.

Dick Nitelinger

I know someone in programming who has been there for around 20 years.

I had hoped that you folks would do something for the 25th, but alas, like WVTV's 50th in October of '03 'twas not to be!

- Dick

wysiwyg

Jimboy, that "Rupert" reference jogged a memory in my brain that I have not thought about since I watched said character as a kid. The character's full name was Rupert Snicklefritz, right? And wasn't there a "sidekick" girl named Amy or did she come after the Rupert era? What year did these characters leave Channel 24, it could not have gone much past 1990.

Jimboy

Quote from: Dick NitelingerI know someone in programming who has been there for around 20 years.

I had hoped that you folks would do something for the 25th, but alas, like WVTV's 50th in October of '03 'twas not to be!

- Dick

I know the person you refer to. There's a mention on your web site.

After various ownership changes the feeling just isn't there for any official jumps for joy, but it is a milestone regardless. If the original owners were still involved the attitude might be different.

Jimboy

Quote from: wysiwygJimboy, that "Rupert" reference jogged a memory in my brain that I have not thought about since I watched said character as a kid. The character's full name was Rupert Snicklefritz, right? And wasn't there a "sidekick" girl named Amy or did she come after the Rupert era? What year did these characters leave Channel 24, it could not have gone much past 1990.

Prior to Rupert Channel 24 did an afternoon kid's club that was hosted by kid's. That later evolved into Kid's on 24 which showcased drawings that were sent in. Then when FOX started up Rupert stepped in.  

Rupert Sniclklefritz was Fox 24's Kids Club Host.  Channel 18 had their own Kids Club going on at the same time (SuperKidsClub) with Amy and Dudley the Dragon. We were competing stations prior to 1993. My best guess is 1991 when Rupert gave up his gig.
We still have both suits...Rupert and Dudley.

Dick Nitelinger

Of course, WCGV-TV also ran the infamous "Bozo's Breakfast Club" in ...1982?

- Dick

Dick Nitelinger

It's been a couple of years, but the last time I went by the famous old WCAN/WXIX/WITI/WCGV-TV building on 27th St., it still had WCGV-TV channel 24 painted on its side!

I was told the new owners found a bunch of old WITI stuff inside.

- Dick :OnAir:

Jimboy

Quote from: Dick NitelingerIt's been a couple of years, but the last time I went by the famous old WCAN/WXIX/WITI/WCGV-TV building on 27th St., it still had WCGV-TV channel 24 painted on its side!

I was told the new owners found a bunch of old WITI stuff inside.

- Dick :OnAir:

They didn't find it.
When WCGV moved out in 1998 we left some items behind. The new owners wanted the old studio equipment (cameras, video switcher, audio stuff). I've never seen anything from WITI.
The old FOX 24 sign is still on the north side of the building.

Jimboy

Quote from: Dick NitelingerOf course, WCGV-TV also ran the infamous "Bozo's Breakfast Club" in ...1982?

- Dick

At one time I had a copy of the famous Mr. Potato head show. I don't have it anymore though.

Gregg Lengling

JimBoy I guess you've been with the station long enough to remember my good friend Bill Witt.......great guy!
 :wave:
Gregg R. Lengling, W9DHI
Living the life with a 65" Aquos
glengling at milwaukeehdtv dot org  {fart}

Dick Nitelinger

JimBoy,

I wasn't told anything about equipment. (Thanks for letting me know.) Apparently they found old photographs from the WITI days.

- Dick :OnAir:

Jimboy

I've been through every nook and cranny of that building and I never found any pictures. It's possible they were buried in a wall and found when they did their remodeling.