WGEM-TV is the NBC-affiliated television station for the Tri-States area of Western Illinois, Northeastern Missouri, and extreme Southeastern Iowa that is licensed to Quincy, Illinois. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on VHF channel 10 from a transmitter east of the city on Cannonball Road near I-172. The station is the flagship of Quincy Media, and is a sister operation to the company's namesake, The Quincy Herald-Whig, and WGEM-AM-FM. Its studios are located in the New Tremont Apartments (formerly the Hotel Quincy) on Hampshire Street in Downtown Quincy.

History

The station signed on for the first time on July 5, 1953. WGEM has always been an NBC affiliate, but maintained a secondary ABC affiliation until 1969, shared with CBS affiliate KHQA-TV during the 1960s. WJJY-TV in Jacksonville was the ABC affiliate for Quincy between 1969 and 1971; when WJJY went bankrupt and shut down, WGEM resumed carrying a few ABC shows until the mid-1990s. The station also had a secondary affiliation with Fox between 1990 and 1994. It is one of the few and longest operating television stations in the country, outside of network owned-and-operated stations that has had the same call letters, owner, channel number, and primary network affiliation throughout its history.

Since the mid to late-1990s, WGEM has branded solely with its call letters.

Digital television

Digital channels

The station's digital signal is multiplexed:

ChannelVideoAspectPSIP Short NameProgramming[2]
10.11080i16:9WGEM-DTMain WGEM-TV programming / NBC
10.2480i4:3Tri-states CW
10.3720p16:9Additional syndicated programming / Fox

Analog-to-digital conversion

WGEM-TV shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 10, on February 17, 2009, the original target date in which full-power television stations in the United States were to transition from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate (which was later pushed back to June 12, 2009). The station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 54, which was among the high band UHF channels (52-69) that were removed from broadcasting use as a result of the transition, to its analog-era VHF channel 10.[3][4]

News operation

Appropriately for a station with roots in a newspaper, WGEM-TV has long been the dominant news station in the Tri-State Area. The station has always devoted significant resources to its news department, resulting in a higher-quality product than conventional wisdom would suggest for what has always been a very small market. Currently, WGEM-TV airs an hour-and-a-half newscast weekday mornings at 5:30, as well as half-hour newscasts on weekdays at noon, 5, 6 and 10 pm. The main channel does not air early evening news on weekends, but does air a weekly news roundup at 6:30 am. Even with only one live weekend newscast, WGEM-TV airs 25 hours of news per week, far more than conventional wisdom would suggest for a station in the 171st market.

WGEM once produced a weeknight 9 o'clock newscast for its then cable-only Fox sister station. Known as CGEM News at 9, it debuted in April 2006 but was canceled in March 2007. The broadcast was anchored by Jake Miller with Chief Meteorologist Rich Cain and Sports Director Ben Marth. At one point in time, WGEM-DT2 simulcasted WGEM-FM's weekday morning show, WGEM Sunrise: Radio Edition, from 7 to 9. Today it re-airs one WGEM-produced weekly public affair shows, City Desk, along with one other locally-produced programs: WGEM Academic Challenge. In addition to its main studios, the station used to operate a bureau on South Randolph Street in Macomb, Illinois, but it was closed in 2008. Like all CW Plus affiliates in the Central Time Zone, WGEM-DT2 airs the nationally syndicated morning show The Daily Buzz on weekdays from 5 to 8.