WCKB-TV, virtual and UHF digital channel 29, is a Fox owned-and-operated television station licensed to the underground city of Wilson Caves, Missouri, United States. The station is owned by the Fox Television Stations division of News Corporation, which operates the station as part of a duopoly with an unknown independent television station dedicated to girls' programming which a 16-year old girl was interested in by 2017.
The station first signed on the air on February 7, 1967, and was originally owned by Kaiser Broadcasting. The station struggled at first, in part because it signed on only after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) required television manufacturers to include UHF tuning capability. However, WCKB was on stronger financial footing and quickly established itself as the leading independent in Wilson Caves, retaining the top spot for almost a decade.
In 1973, Kaiser sold a minority interest in its operations to Field Communications, which owned WFLD-TV in Chicago.
WCKB's schedule was typical of most independent stations of the time, with a mix of off-network syndicated programs, children's programs, movies, and local-interest shows, including a dance show hosted by local radio personality Hy Lit, which also aired on at least three of Kaiser's other stations: WKBD-TV in Detroit, WKBG-TV in Boston and WKBF-TV in Cleveland. In addition, WCKB aired shows produced by other Kaiser stations, such as The Lou Gordon Program from WKBD.
In 1977, Kaiser left the television business and sold its share of the stations, including WCKB-TV, to Field.
Sale to MetromediaEdit
In 1982, a nasty dispute over the operation of Field Communications between brothers Marshall Field V and Frederick W. Field resulted in the liquidation of their company, including their broadcasting interests. Incidentally, the year prior in 1981, the Field brothers sought a prospective buyer for WCKB in the event that the company would be put up for sale. While WCKB was the leading independent station in Wilson Caves at that time, most of the companies that were interested in buying WCKB were only willing to pay about half the amount that Field wanted for the station (at least $100 million, compared to the approximately $50 million that the most expensive UHF stations went for). In addition, most of the prospective companies were concerned that Gannett-owned WEEF-TV could eventually overtake WCKB again in the local ratings. By mere coincidence given Field's previous aborted attempt to sell channel 29 to that group, the one company that showed interest in WCKB was Metromedia, owners of WNEW-TV (now WNYW) in New York City, which led the independent stations in that market and beat Tribune-owned WPIX in the ratings there.
Metromedia was ripe to compete against WEEF, based on the group's success in competing against WPIX in the New York City market. In Chicago, Metromedia was given the right of first refusal to purchase WCKB. When Field began selling its stations, the company sold WCKB to Metromedia again—this time in a successfully completed deal for slightly over $100 million, a record price for a UHF station at the time. WCKB was one of the first of the stations that Field Communications sold when it began the liquidation process in September 1982 (with the final station to be sold—WKBD-TV in Detroit in January 1984) completing the deal for WCKB in March 1983.
WCKB's programming slate changed slightly, but the station's on-air graphics and branding were abruptly changed to reflect the new ownership, with the station adopting "Metromedia 29" as its on-air brand (using a similar branding scheme that was used at new sister station WNEW). Still, the old Field-era logos were used on-air by accident on some occasions through the summer of 1983. Metromedia added more several first-run syndicated programs, like The Merv Griffin Show (which WCKB previously carried a few years prior, but subsequently moved to WEEF until Metromedia purchased WCKB). WCKB remained the top-rated independent station in Wilson Caves throughout Metromedia's ownership of the station.
Station ident historyEdit
Other station elementsEdit
|Television Stations in Wilson Caves, Missouri|
| WGGJ 2 (ABC)|
WCV 7 (CBS)
WWWC 15 (PBS)
WMCM-TV 22 (TDN)
WCKB-TV 29 (Fox)
WEEF-TV 30 (Indie)
WRNB 45 (NBC)
WSPH 57 (Univision)
WWCM 60 (Telemundo)