Circle 7 logo

Circle 7 logo
The Circle 7 logo.

The Circle 7 logo is one of the most commonly used television station logos in the United States. Designed in the early 1960s for the ABC Television Network's five owned and operated stations (O&Os), the logo, or a version of it, is currently being used not only by ABC stations and affiliates, but also by a number of TV broadcasters around the world.


History and information

The Circle 7 logo was concocted by G. Dean Smith, and first used in 1962 by ABC for its five television stations: WABC-TV in New York City, KABC-TV in Los Angeles, WBKB (now WLS-TV) in Chicago, KGO-TV in San Francisco and WXYZ-TV in Detroit. When ABC applied for TV licenses in the late 1940s, it was thought that the low-band (channels 2 through 6) TV channels would be discontinued, thus making these five stations broadcasting on VHF channel 7 the lowest on the TV dial.[citation needed] American Broadcasting Companies, Inc., ABC's corporate parent, registered the Circle 7 logo with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 1962.

When WABC-TV adopted the Eyewitness News format in 1968, all reporters and anchors were required to wear a blazer with a Circle 7 patch (in later years a lapel pin) when they appeared on the air—a marketing practice that spread to the other ABC O&Os, and eventually to other ABC affiliates.

The Circle 7 logo was designed to be interchangeable with the circular ABC logo in network and channel imaging, although since the late 1990s, the ABC logo was incorporated into the logo design in different variations (see below). It also was used as the name Circle 7 Productions of the production company for locally-produced programming by ABC owned-and-operated stations prior to ABC's takeover by Capital Cities Communications in 1985.

This logo has become iconic in local television, largely due to the presence of the logo in major markets. Today, many other ABC affiliates around the United States which broadcast on channel 7 are allowed to use the Circle 7 logo. Some of them utilize the exact design, or adopted a variation with some stylized alteration. These stations include:

Due to its popularity, several variations have arisen. A non-ABC affiliate, WWNY-TV in Carthage, N.Y., uses a double-line circle-seven with rounded edges.

The Circle 7 design was also used on WTVW in Evansville, Indiana when it was an ABC affiliate (The station later affiliated with Fox and is now an independent station). KMGH-TV in Denver uses a variation of the Circle 7 logo, and places the ABC logo in the same position as the other stations.

The low-VHF channels 2-6 never were discontinued, but were subject to greatly reduced power limits as a result of the 2009 DTV transition in the United States. The Band I channels are also highly susceptible to impulse noise, leaving relatively few stations willing to remain on these channels. As a station limited to 20kW or less on channel 6 could apply for up to 65 kW of power on channel 7-13 or 1000 kW UHF, channel 7 remained a desirable post-transition choice for many North American DTV broadcasters.

Other TV stations have used a circle logo with a different frequency number. WEWS-TV in Cleveland is the most prominent station to have closely imitated the "Circle 7" logo, from 1968 until 1998, and again since 2007, with a 5 embedded instead. (WEWS' sister station in West Palm Beach, Florida, NBC affiliate WPTV has used the same "Circle 5" logo for nearly the same amount of time.) In 2009, WEWS incorporated the ABC-TV logo to the right of the Circle 5, WEWS's sister station WXYZ-TV uses the circle 7, but their ABC is to the right. In 2011, Philadelphia's WPVI-TV uses a circle 6 with the ABC-TV bug embedded.

Boston's three Circle 7 logos over the last 30+ years

What is today WHDH-TV in Boston, Massachusetts has had three different "Circle 7" logos in its' history. In the mid-1970s, as WNAC-TV, it had a logo similar to the "Circle 7" design (except it was a white "7" inside a filled circle with no border), but was abandoned in 1977 for a Times-Serif-Italic "7". In 1987, as WNEV-TV, another circle logo debuted, which also was a filled circle, with a "7" made up of 7 small white dots. That logo was abandoned shortly after the sale of the station - rebranded WHDH-TV - to Sunbeam Television, which implemented the "Circle 7" logo used by sister station WSVN in Miami, Florida.

ABC affiliates on channel 7

All ABC stations broadcasting on channel 7 use one form or another of the circle 7 logo

¹ Denotes user of the original Circle 7 design



Fictional Usage

  • Many films set in either New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago have licensed the use of ABC's local news departments to report on fictional events within those films, and feature the Circle 7 prominently.
  • The 2003 film Bruce Almighty revolved around a fictional representation of Buffalo's WKBW-TV, Channel 7, which carries their own version of the Circle 7.
  • The Fairly Oddparents has a Channel 7 in that program which uses a Circle 7 logo.
  • Full House has main character Danny Tanner working as a sports anchor at a fictional San Francisco Channel 8, which has a Circle 8 logo. Danny Tanner moved on to another station in later seasons as a morning show host, which never had a specific channel number revealed.
  • Family Guy has a station known as "Quahog 5", which has a Circle 5 logo.
  • The Channel 5 in the Tim Heidecker/Eric Wareheim universe (consisting of the shows Tom Goes to the Mayor and Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!) features a Circle 5 logo purposefully dated to look as if it was created in the late '70s or early '80s.
  • In The Simpsons, the Channel 6 station has a circle 6 logo. In The Springfield Files episode, it also branded itself as Eyewitness news.

See also


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