call_letters = WPWR-TV
station_slogan = The Power Station
station_branding = My50 Chicago
analog = 50 (UHF)
digital = 51 (UHF)
Gary, Indiana- Chicago, Illinois| affiliations = MyNetworkTV
April 4, 1982
callsign_meaning = PoWeR
former_channel_numbers = 60 (1982-1987)
Fox Television Stations
licensee = Fox Television Stations, Inc.|
former_affiliations = Independent (1982-1995)
effective_radiated_power = 5000 kW (analog)
1000 kW (digital)
HAAT = 494 m (analog)
523 m (digital)
facility_id = 48772
coordinates = coord|41|52|44|N|87|38|10.2|W|type:landmark_scale:2000
homepage = [http://www.my50chicago.com/ www.my50chicago.com]
WPWR-TV, channel 50, is a
MyNetworkTV-affiliated television station licensed to Gary, Indiana, and serving the Chicago, Illinoisarea. WPWR-TV is owned by Fox Television Stations, a division of the News Corporation, and is a sister station to Fox network outlet WFLD-TV(channel 32). The two stations share studio facilities in the Chicago Loopneighborhood, and WPWR's transmitter is located atop the Sears Tower.
The station began as a split, two-station operation on
April 4, 1982on channel 60, licensed to the Chicago suburb of Aurora. WPWR-TV was founded by Fred Eychaner's Metrowest Corporation (later to become Newsweb Corporation), which was the original applicant for the channel 60 license in 1978. WPWR premiered with a large percentage of its broadcast schedule dedicated to a new pay television service called Sportsvision, which Eychaner had developed in a deal with Chicago White Soxco-owners Jerry Reinsdorfand Eddie Einhorn. For the service, viewers had to pay for a set top converter and subscription fees to watch their favorite sports teams. However, Sportsvision was not a success and moved to cable in January 1983. With Sportsvision gone, Eychaner began running public domain movies and old sitcoms from the early to middle-1950s as well as old cartoons. In 1984, familiar classic sitcoms and newer barter cartoons were mixed in.
WPWR shared the channel 60 frequency with another station, Spanish-language WBBS, owned by Chicago resident Marcelino Miyares, who assisted Eychaner in completing the construction of channel 60. Another twist in this arrangement was that although WBBS broadcast from the same transmitter, WBBS-TV was actually licensed to West Chicago, Illinois, in DuPage County. WBBS featured an array of Spanish-language programs, including
telenovelas and a locally-produced music video show, "Imagen", hosted by Chicago Spanish-language television personality Rey Mena. One of WBBS' notable events occurred in 1984, when the station introduced the teen group Menudo(which included a young Ricky Martin), to Chicago audiences. WBBS programmed channel 60 from 7:00 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. seven days a week, with WPWR broadcasting the rest of the time.
The 1985 announcement of
WSNS-TV's affiliating with the Spanish International Network(the forerunner to today's Univision) caused WBBS to end weekday programming at the end of 1985, with the exception on weekends when it ran Spanish movies into 1986.
Meanwhile, Eychaner spent $1.5 million for WGMI, a channel 56 construction permit licensed to Gary that had been held by a group of Indiana businessmen since 1976, but was never built. Then, in 1985, Eychaner acquired the educational broadcast license for WCAE, licensed to channel 50 in
St. John, Indiana. He then swapped the licenses and channel 56 became WYIN(now licensed to Gary). Eychaner then proceeded to rebuild channel 50 as a commercial station, with plans to move WPWR's programming there.
In early 1986, Eychaner bought WBBS's share of channel 60 for $11 million, ending the split-channel arrangement. A year later, Eychaner sold channel 60 to the
Home Shopping Networkfor $25 million. The channel switch occurred on January 18, 1987: HSN changed channel 60's call letters to WEHS (it is now WXFT) and at the same time, WPWR moved to channel 50. WPWR's first program on its new frequency was an episode of the anthology series " Night Gallery".
The additional swap to channel 50 was claimed to be needed because channel 56 supposedly was unable to move its transmitter to the
Sears Towerdue to the presence of Channel 60 there. WYIN, the PBS station on channel 56 in Gary, later tried to move its transmitter to the Sears Tower, but was rebuffed by Chicago PBS stations WTTWand WYCCdue to market-exclusivity issues with PBS programming. The swap was delayed due to a failed suit by WGBO-TV(channel 66). WGBO maintained the additional channel move from 56 to 50 was to isolate WGBO at the far end of the dial and so that no one would mistake 56 for 66 both which end in 6 and could be accidentally punched on a keyboard like remote control.
As time went on, WPWR began acquiring many cartoons, more recent off-network sitcoms, drama shows, movies, and first-run syndicated shows, including ' in 1987 and "War of the Worlds" in 1988. At least one "
Star Trek" spinoff would air on WPWR from that time until June 2005, when the last network episode of ' was broadcast. In January 1995, WPWR took the UPN affiliation and continued adding syndicated programming to its lineup.
In July 2002, the "
Chicago Sun-Times" reported that Newsweb Corporation sold WPWR to the News Corporation for $425 million -- a handsome return on Eychaner's original investment. The sale closed on August 21 2002. As a result of this transaction, Fox now owned UPN's three largest affiliates. It already owned WWOR-TVin New York Cityand KCOP-TVin Los Angelesas a result of buying most of the television holdings of Chris-Craft Industriesthe previous year. Although rumors abounded that UPN's future was in jeopardy due to its three largest stations being effectively owned by another network, Fox quickly signed a new affiliation deal with UPN.
January 24, 2006, the UPN and WB networks announced they would merge into a new network called the CW Television Network. The CW's affiliate list didn't include any of Fox's UPN affiliates, but included Tribune Broadcasting's WB affiliate WGN-TVin Chicago as part of its deal with Tribune. A month later, Fox announced the formation of its own network, MyNetworkTVwith WPWR and the other Fox-owned UPN affiliates as the nuclei. Although most on-air promos retained the "Power 50" slogan for the Summer of 2006, the station began to use the "My 50" moniker in some advertising to promote the change, particularly at sponsored events such as the Taste of Chicago. In July 2006, WPWR officially rebranded itself as "My 50."
Occasionally as time permits, WPWR may now air Fox network programming whenever WFLD cannot in the event of an emergency. Also, WPWR breaks into live programming when WFLD does to deliver breaking news coverage.
Effective in 2008 WPWR-TV My50 will be broadcasting 18 matches for the Chicago Fire of
Major League Soccer.
Starting October 3, 2008 WPWR-TV will host every Friday WWE SmackDown normal time for SmackDown is 7-9 Central Time. WWE Tapes SmackDown Tuesday Nights so SmackDown may be Pre-Empted to broadcast different shows
After the analog television shutdown and digital conversion, which is tentatively scheduled to take place on
February 17 2009,http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-06-1082A2.pdf] WPWR-TV will continue digital broadcasts on its current pre-transition channel number, 51. [http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/ws.exe/prod/cdbs/forms/prod/cdbsmenu.hts?context=25&appn=101232746&formid=387&fac_num=48772 CDBS Print ] ] However, through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers will display WPWR-TV's virtual channelas 50.
* [http://www.my50chicago.com/ WPWR-TV Website]
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