WBBM’s new digs

This story in the Tribune Sunday features the impending move of CBS-owned WBBM-TV from its longtime home at 630 McClurg Court on the North Side’s Streeterville neighborhood to Block 37 in the heart of The Loop.

McClurg Court has been home to WBBM-AM-FM-TV since 1956 and was home to the nation’s first televised debate between John Kennedy and Richard Nixon in 1960. The facility was also home to Donahue, The Lee Phillip Show, Siskel & Ebert, and its predecessor, Ebert & Roeper (until the program moved to WLS-TV a few years ago.)

The radio stations moved out of McClurg Court in 2006.

With the move to the Loop, WBBM-TV also brings HD-produced newscasts to the station for the very first time – joining ABC-owned WLS-TV and NBC-owned WMAQ-TV as stations broadcasting news in HD, with a new street-level studio. The building also comes with a Jumbotron, where CBS programming is going to be prominently featured.

But the question is, will they come? WBBM continues to lag behind its’ competitors for a number of reasons, and more than a few point out the station’s lousy signal (in analog and digital) in the comments section of the story (you won’t see my name there. Yours truly has learned his lesson.)

WBBM though, has taken steps to right the ship – ratings in the just concluded May sweeps have inched upward, despite the fact CBS and other networks saw ratings erosion in prime-time, partly due to the recently concluded writers’ strike. And some fresh faces at the station – notably Ryan Baker and Anne State – haven’t hurt.