WCIU-TV operates a low-power repeater station, WFBN-LP (channel 33), in Rockford, Illinois.
From the late 1960s to 1985, WCIU ran religious shows in the early morning. From about 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., it ran The Stock Market Observer (business news similar to today's CNBC) from the Chicago Board of Trade (whose building housed the WCIU studios). After 5 p.m. on weekdays, the station ran Spanish entertainment programming from the Spanish International Network, the forerunner to today's Univision. On weekends, WCIU ran a blend of religious shows, ethnic brokered shows, and Spanish programming. Beginning in the summer of 1985, SIN moved to WSNS-TV (channel 44). WCIU picked up NetSpan, which would later become Telemundo, shortly after. In 1989, Univision returned to WCIU, after WSNS-TV dropped the network.
In 1994, Univision asked WCIU to drop "Stock Market Observer" and all other non-Spanish programs and become a full-time affiliate. WCIU refused, which led Univision to purchase WGBO-TV (channel 66) and move its programming there. On January 1, 1995, WCIU began to broadcast general entertainment programming, taking some of the leftover programming from WGBO, along with newly-purchased shows that were not on the air in Chicago, moving its remaining ethnic programming to its low-powered sister station on channel 23, then WFBT.
Initially, the station continued to run the "Stock Market Observer" from 8:30AM until 3:30PM and entertainment programming afterward and on weekends. WCIU then added a 7-9AM weekday kids block by March 1995. In the fall of 1995, the station began to air Kids' WB in lieu of WB affiliate WGN-TV, which continued to air their morning newscast and afternoon sitcom block instead. The business news was pulled back to 9 a.m. to noon on the weekdays, and a couple years later it would move to their low power station on Channel 23 as "WebFN", a joint venture between Weigel and Bridge Information Systems which also aired on Milwaukee sister station WMLW, and featured several former anchors from WMAQ radio after that station converted to sports talk in 2000 as WSCR.
The channel broadcasted mostly sitcoms and old movies in the 1960s and 1970s, only later to broadcast syndicated shows and sports programming. Eventually more recent sitcoms were added, as well as first-run syndicated fare such as talk shows, court shows, and reality shows. WCIU also carries selected telecasts of the Chicago Cubs, White Sox, and Bulls, produced by WGN-TV. Occasionally, the station will air Bears Monday Night Football games, which are produced by ESPN.
By 1999, WCIU dropped the afternoon kids block and kept Kids' WB programming in the morning. In 2004, the station dropped Kids' WB, which moved to WGN-TV. Today, WCIU focuses on more recent sitcoms, talk shows, court shows, and news magazines.
Early in 2005, the business news format was scaled back to a daily program, "First Business." On January 1, 2005 (exactly 10 years after WCIU became a general-market station,) channel 23's ethnic programming moved to channel 48, and 23 became "ME-TV" WWME-CA expanding a lineup of classic TV shows that had started several months earlier. On March 1, 2008, channel 48 became "Me-Too" WMEU-CA, an extension of ME-TV's "Classic TV" format and channel 48's ethnic programming returned to WCIU on a digital channel "FBT."
In April 2006, WCIU began broadcasting home games of the Chicago White Sox, Chicago Cubs, and the Chicago Bulls in 720p HD with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio on its digital signal. In April 2008, WCIU began broadcasting both home and away games of the Chicago White Sox, Chicago Cubs in 720p HD with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio on its digital signal.
In July 2008, Weigel announced the creation of This TV, a nationwide subchannel network operated as a joint venture of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Weigel Broadcasting. It is currently unknown if or where it would be offered on WCIU's digital channel.
WCIU is also known for its "dog promos" where Chicagoan's pet dogs are filmed to promote shows on the station. Casting calls are announced on the station's website every few months.
WCIU's digital channel features multicasting of four digital channels:
|26.1||WCIU's regular schedule; offers some sports programming in high definition|
|26.2||"Me TV", simulcast of low-power analog channel 23 (WWME-CA), which has a "classic TV" format|
|26.3||"Me Too," simulcast of low-power analog channel 48 (WMEU-CA), an extension of "Me TV," with more classic programs|
|26.6||FBT--Time brokered ethnic programming; formerly carried on WFBT-CA Channel 48, its ethnic programming is now exclusively on this digital subchannel|
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