WAOE is the MyNetworkTV-affiliated television station for North-Central Illinois. It is licensed to Peoria and owned by Venture Technologies Group. The station broadcasts a 720p high definition digital signal on UHF channel 39 (or virtual channel 59.1 via PSIP) from a transmitter on Springfield Road (along I-474) in East Peoria, a section of Groveland Township.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP short name||Programming|
|59.1||720p||16:9||WAOE-HD||Main WAOE programming / MyNetworkTV|
The station signed on in July 1999 as a UPN affiliate and aired an analog signal on UHF channel 59. Originally, it was broadcast from studios on Fulton Street in Downtown Peoria. In its early months, the station broadcast at a low power; WAOE's signal would be upgraded in early 2000, allowing AT&T Cable to add the station to its lineup on February 22. Before WAOE's launch, ABC affiliate WHOI (channel 19) had a secondary affiliation with UPN.
On January 24, 2006, The WB and UPN announced the two networks would end broadcasting and merge to form The CW. On February 22, News Corporation announced it would start up another new network called MyNetworkTV. It was made public on March 15 that WAOE would become the market's MyNetworkTV outlet. Meanwhile, cable-only WB affiliate "WBPE" (operated by WHOI) became the area's CW station. In order to offer non-cable viewers access to The CW, WHOI added a new second digital subchannel to simulcast the new network. WAOE would officially join MyNetworkTV on September 5 while WHOI-DT2 started offering The CW on September 18, 2006.
On December 1, 2008, the station shut down its analog signal on UHF channel 59 and became digital-exclusive.
Until the end of 2014, WAOE was operated through a joint sales agreement by Granite Broadcasting, owner of NBC affiliate WEEK-TV (channel 25). It shared facilities with that station and WHOI (which was operated by WEEK-TV through a separate joint sales and shared services agreement). The Springfield Road studios of WEEK-TV and WHOI once handled some internal operations (such as the maintenance of programming logs) of another Four Seasons Broadcasting station, WBQD-LP (now WQAD-DT3); however, that station was actually controlled through a local marketing agreement with the Quad Cities' ABC affiliate WQAD-TV (owned at the time by Local TV; now owned by Tribune Broadcasting), and most of its operations were run from WQAD's studios in Moline. Quincy Newspapers announced on February 11, 2014 that it would acquire WEEK-TV from Granite Broadcasting. Quincy planned on continuing to provide services to WAOE, but the JSA with Granite expired at the end of 2014.
Newscast and programming
On June 5, 2006, WEEK-TV established a news share agreement with WAOE and began producing a weeknight-only prime time newscast. Known as News 25 at Nine on My 59, the show could be seen for thirty minutes and competed with another half-hour production airing at the same time on Fox outlet WYZZ-TV (produced by CBS affiliate WMBD-TV). WYZZ once aired a weekend edition of its newscast but this was dropped. WAOE also provided a simulcast of the 5-7 a.m. portion of WEEK-TV's weekday morning show.
At some point in time after combining operations, WEEK-TV and WHOI became the first news department in the market to upgrade local newscast production to 16:9 enhanced definition widescreen. Although not truly high definition, the shows match the aspect ratio of HD television screens. It is unknown if the WAOE broadcasts were included in the change, however. After the JSA expired at the end of 2014, all WEEK-TV news programming was dropped from WAOE. Syndicated programming on this station includes Family Guy, American Dad!, How I Met Your Mother, The Office, Judge Judy, and The Doctors among others.