|WSIL: Harrisburg/Marion/Carbondale, Illinois
KPOB: Poplar Bluff, Missouri
|City of license||Harrisburg, Illinois|
|Branding||WSIL-TV 3 (WSIL general)
KPOB-TV 15 (KPOB general)
News 3 (newscasts)
|Slogan||Your Southern Illinois News Leader|
WSIL: 34 (UHF)
KPOB: 15 (UHF)
WSIL: 3 (PSIP)
KPOB: 15 (PSIP)
|Translators||K10KM-D 10 Cape Girardeau, MO|
|First air date||WSIL: December 19, 1953
KPOB: September 15, 1967
|Call letters' meaning||WSIL: Southern ILlinois
KPOB: POplar Bluff
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
22 (UHF, 1953-1959)
3 (VHF, 1959-2009)
KPOB: 15 (UHF, 1967-2009)
|Transmitter power||WSIL: 1,000 kW
KPOB: 34.5 kW
|Height||WSIL: 291 m
KPOB: 184 m
|Facility ID||WSIL: 73999
|Public license information:||Profile
WSIL-TV is the ABC-affiliated television station for Southern Illinois, Southeastern Missouri, and the Purchase area of Western Kentucky that is licensed to Harrisburg, Illinois. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 34 from a transmitter in Creal Springs, Illinois. Owned by Melvin C. Wheeler, LLC, the station has studios on Country Aire Drive (IL 13) in Carterville, Illinois. The station operates a full-time satellite, KPOB-TV in Poplar Bluff, Missouri. This station airs a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 15 from a transmitter in the city along US 60/US 67. WSIL does not maintain any offices in Poplar Bluff. WSIL can also be seen on its digital translator, K10KM-D (channel 10), in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Syndicated programming on WSIL includes Entertainment Tonight, Ellen, and Rachael Ray.
WSIL signed-on for the first time December 1, 1953. It originally broadcast an analog signal on UHF channel 22, but moved to VHF channel 3 in March 1959 as did numerous stations originally assigned to UHF allocations before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) mandated that television-set manufacturers include UHF tuning capability in their products in 1964. The original UHF transmitter had been built in Harrisburg before Paducah, Harrisburg, and Cape Girardeau had been collapsed into one large market.
However, some parts of Southeastern Missouri could not receive channel 3's signal clearly, presumably because WSIL had to conform it to protect WREC-TV (now WREG-TV) in Memphis, Tennessee in the next market to the south. As a result, KPOB signed-on September 15, 1967 to provide service to those counties, although Jonesboro, Arkansas' KAIT (another ABC station) may have been visible in much of the area.
For many years, WSIL did not air the weeknight broadcasts of ABC News, broadcasting instead a children's show featuring cartoons and Three Stooges shorts in the 5:30 to 6:30 time slot. It was not until sometime in the late-1970s it became the last ABC affiliate in the United States to abandon the practice of preempting the network news. However, in ABC's earlier years, quite a number of local stations did not carry the newscasts because their ratings trailed competitors CBS and NBC by a large margin. This changed when ABC initiated the World News Tonight (now ABC World News) format in 1978, finally establishing the network as a significant news operation.
WSIL had the unique distinction of being the first station in the market to broadcast a digital signal at a full 1 megawatt of power (equivalent to 5 megawatts in analog) on October 22, 2002. It will soon also be the first to air a mobile digital signal. The station was one of the ABC affiliates that refused to air NYPD Blue during its first season in 1993-1994. Station Manager Steve Wheeler appeared on Good Morning America to explain his decision. During the interview with Charlie Gibson, Wheeler announced that if the program was successful, WSIL would reconsider. During this first season, Fox affiliate KBSI aired the program during the assigned network slot Tuesdays nights at 9 Central Time.
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|Main programming / ABC|
WSIL-TV & KPOB-TV shut down their analog signals, respectively over VHF & UHF channels 3 & 15, on June 12, 2009, the official date in which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. WSIL-TV's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 34. KPOB-TV's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 18 to former UHF analog channel 15. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF channel 3.
WSIL's newscasts focus almost exclusively on Southern Illinois, unlike the other big three stations in the area. This is despite the presence of KPOB, which is a straight simulcast of WSIL. In fact, channel 3 does not even mention the market's other two main cities (Paducah and Cape Girardeau) in its on-air identifications, choosing to identify as "Harrisburg/Marion/Carbondale". Its newscasts are known as News 3 even though program listings online and on satellite services can refer to them as News 3 News. Unlike most ABC affiliates, WSIL does not air a midday newscast during the week.
On January 18, 2004 the news operation underwent a major renovation, including the set, logo and on-air graphics. Some personnel changes were also made to compliment the move. The morning newscast was increased to one hour long and re-branded to its current name of News 3 This Morning. Many of these changes are still present in today's newscasts.
On October 6, 2010, WSIL became the first station in the market to offer news in high definition but no changes were made to the set. On September 10, 2012, News 3 This Morning was expanded from one and a half hours to a two-hour newscast by moving its start time to 5 am.