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- This page is about the existing television station in Cleveland, Ohio. For the previous occupant of channel 61 in Cleveland, see WKBF-TV.
|Channels||Digital: 34 (UHF)
Virtual: 61 (PSIP)
|Subchannels||61.1 Univision (1080i)|
|Owner||Univision Communications, Inc.
(Univision Cleveland, LLC)
|First air date||January 13, 1981|
|Call letters' meaning||Q carried over from former WCLQ calls,
|Former callsigns||WCLQ-TV (1981-1986)
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
|Former affiliations||independent (1981-1986)
|Transmitter power||525 kW (digital)|
|Height||333.8 m (digital)|
WQHS-DT is a Spanish-language television station owned and operated by Univision. It is licensed to serve the Cleveland, Ohio television market, and broadcasts on UHF channel 61 with studios and offices in Parma. It is also one of two stations with the Univision affiliation, alongside KUNS-TV in Seattle, Washington in markets bordering Canada.
A previous license owned by Kaiser Broadcasting occupied Channel 61 as WKBF from 1968 to 1975. It was the first actual independent station to sign on in Cleveland, and the first on the UHF dial. Despite some innovative local programming, and some popular off-network shows, WKBF struggled for the majority of its existence due to poor revenue growth. It failed to achieve profitability while competing against rival station WUAB-TV, which signed on nine months after WKBF in 1968. By 1975, Kaiser Broadcasting & its then partner Field Communications, sold off WKBF's assets to WUAB's owner United Artists Broadcasting, and purchased a minority ownership in the station (which was relinquished when WUAB was sold to Gaylord Broadcasting and when Kaiser fully merged with Field Communications; both of which occurred in 1977).
Kaiser then signed Channel 61 off the air and returned the license to the Federal Communications Commission. WKBF was one of two stations in the Kaiser Broadcasting chain to cease operations permanently; the other was Philadelphia station WKBS in 1983.
1975 to 1980: The dark years
Rumors abounded concerning potential companies that could file for the Channel 61 license in Cleveland, yet none came forward right away. After a few years, the FCC began to accept applications for channel 61 (as a distinctly separate license from WKBF), and Balaban Stations won the license in 1980.
1980 to Present: New license, new owners
The current licensed station signed on in March 1981. The call letters assigned to the new licensee was WCLQ. The Channel 61 logo was similar to WKBF's design, but with a neon glow effect. This station too was classified as "independent" as it did not carry a national network. The air time was filled with general entertainment programming and ran a mix of classic cartoons, hour long off network dramas, westerns, sitcoms, and other syndicated programs. The station even revived a character from the old Channel 61 (Friday night movie host The Ghoul) in 1982.
Not unlike similar flailing high-numbered UHF stations at the time, unlike its predecessor, the station was only able to gain profitability due to its partnership with Preview an early over-the-air scrambled subscription television service.
Similar to other regional over-the-air pay-TV services which aired movies and local sporting events in the evening and on weekends, such as SelecTV in Milwaukee, ONTV in Chicago, or Spectrum in Philadelphia. Preview was discontinued in 1983 and WCLQ was sold to Channel Communications a year later.
In 1985, WOIO and WBNX-TV both signed on with entertainment formats to create further competition, which took viewers away from WCLQ. WOIO surpassed the station in the ratings immediately and WBNX steadily grew in its own right as an independent by increasing its cable coverage as well as over-the-air coverage. It became apparent that Cleveland was unable to support four independent stations at the same time and as a result, WCLQ began to lose money.
As a result, Channel Communications decided to put WCLQ up for sale in May 1986. Earlier that year, the new owners began running Home Shopping Network programming from midnight to 6AM, and that summer also began to air HSN from 10AM to 2PM as well. In August, HSN's broadcasting arm (Silver King Television) bought the station outright, running HSN programming 18 hours a day, while the independent format continued to air from 4 to 10 p.m.
Once the sale was finalized in November 1986, the call letters were changed to WQHS-TV,the independent format was completely dropped and HSN programs began being shown 24/7 for the better part of the next 15 years, during which time much of WCLQ's syndicated programming was picked up by WBNX including sitcoms and cartoons.
Plans emerged in the late 1990s to return WQHS-TV to the independent format by 2002, however, USA Broadcasting (owned by USA Networks) decided to sell its stations in 2000. ABC/Disney made a bid to buy the group, but was outbid by Spanish-language network Univision. As a result, WQHS-TV joined Univision on January 14, 2002.
Today, with the absence of affiliates for the other major Spanish networks such as Telemundo, Azteca America, Estrella TV and MundoFox, the station continues to serve Northern Ohio as its only Spanish-language affiliated station.
On April 22, 2013, an announcement was made that the Sony owned getTV classic movie network would debut in Fall 2013 on the digital subchannels of Univision owned and operated stations. This includes WQHS-DT, which will air the network on the not yet activated channel 61.2 (34.2 DTV)
|61.1/34.1||WQHS main programming / Univision network|