WJJY-TV was the ABC television affiliate for Quincy, Illinois from 1969 to 1971. The station also served Springfield, Illinois as well, making it one of the few stations that has ever had primary coverage in two television markets. It was licensed to Jacksonville, Illinois; with transmitter in Bluffs, Illinois and studios in Jacksonville.
Keith Moyer, an out-of-town promoter who also started WTIM radio in Taylorville, believed that Quincy was big enough to support a third station. With the help of several Jacksonville-area investors, he formed Look Television Corporation and applied for the channel 14 license. Jacksonville was chosen because it was the nearest city to Quincy with an available commercial license, even though it was located on the Springfield/Decatur side of the Champaign/Urbana/Springfield market. On August 18, 1969, WJJY-TV started broadcasting as an ABC affiliate.
WJJY had a lot going for it on paper. It signed using every watt of its legally permitted 4.5 million watts of effective radiated power — at the time, the most powerful UHF station in the world. Its tower, at 1,610 feet, was one of the three tallest man-made structures in the Northern Hemisphere. It was located on the bluffs of the Illinois River, on some of the highest ground in the region. This gave WJJY one of the largest coverage areas in the country, serving portions of Illinois, Iowa and Missouri. On its first day on the air, reception reports came in from as far south as Cape Girardeau, Missouri and as far north as Minneapolis. For more information on the tower, see WJJY TV Mast.
Look Television persuaded ABC to give the station the exclusive affiliation for the Quincy market. Before then, the ABC affiliation for the Quincy market was split between NBC affiliate WGEM-TV and CBS affiliate KHQA (licensed to Hannibal, Missouri; but with studios in Quincy). The transmitter location gave the station primary coverage of Springfield as well even though there was already an ABC affiliate in the area, WAND in Decatur, whose signal covered most of the eastern counties in the market. The station usually identified as "Jacksonville/Springfield/Quincy" on-air, even though Quincy was its primary market. WJJY agreed to air the entire ABC schedule in pattern with no pre-emptions (except for breaking local news). The microwave relay system was built to be redundant in order to ensure that the ABC feed would always be available.
The station was on the air from 9 a.m. to midnight every day. Programming consisted of movies, travelogues and St. Louis Cardinals baseball in addition to ABC. It also aired newscasts at 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. Starting in 1970, it aired some PBS and educational programs via microwave relay from WILL-TV in Champaign-Urbana during off-ABC hours. The area had been one of the few areas in the country without access to public television.
However, WJJY struggled almost from the start. For one thing, most of its viewers in the Quincy market, a previously all-VHF area, had probably not bought new sets since the Federal Communications Commission required television sets to include UHF tuning capability in 1964. In addition, most Quincy-area viewers could watch ABC on two longer-established VHF stations: KTVI in St. Louis (now a Fox affiliate) and KTVO in Kirksville, Missouri. KTVI's grade B signal covers much of the Missouri and Illinois portions of the market, while KTVO's grade B signal covers nearly all of the market. As a result, the station made almost no headway against WGEM and KHQA. It was nonexistent in Springfield as well, gaining no ground against established stations WAND, WICS and WCIA. Look Television had expected WJJY to be profitable almost immediately — an unrealistic goal for any station, especially one that aspired to serve two small markets.
The next year and a half witnessed a litany of bounced paychecks and unpaid bills. The biggest problems, ironically, came from what was potentially WJJY's most important asset: the transmitter, which was a voracious power hog. Look Television was badly undercapitalized, and its owners did not anticipate the high electrical costs from running such a powerful transmitter. The Western Illinois Power Cooperative shut off power to the transmitter on several occasions due to nonpayment. While WIPCO always restored the power, it was not because of a payment arrangement. Rather, it was because the utility would have thus been responsible for a 1,600-foot unlighted airplane hazard.
By early 1971, ABC was giving serious thought to yanking its affiliation from WJJY. The network's Quincy ratings were lower than they were when it aired part-time on KHQA and WGEM. Many of the station's engineering staff had left the station in 1970 after going unpaid. Finally that spring, Look Television was placed into receivership, and WJJY signed off for the last time in April with almost no fanfare. Rumors abounded that even if this had not happened, the FCC would have almost certainly yanked the license due to the numerous unpaid bills and bounced paychecks. ABC would not return on a full-time basis to Quincy until 1995, when KTVO became the default ABC affiliate for Quincy as well. In October 2007, a Qunicy-based affiliate for the network finally launched on KHQA's DT2 digital subchannel, though outside of network hours the channel simulcasts KHQA's syndicated programming.
Football: WHY TOUCH OF QUALITY WILL ERASE FINAL AGONY; Benitez Must Find Cutting Edge to Give Reds Sharper Look Up Front Champions League Final 2007 Liverpool Match Verdict ATHENS 2007 REDS V AC MILAN
May 24, 2007; Byline: Chris Bascombe With the Reds in Athens LIVERPOOL 1 AC MILAN 2 THE Greeks don't indulge miracles as well as well the...