Chicago’s CLTV Prepares To Cease Operations


Twenty-six years ago, an all-news channel focused on Chicagoland — modeled after such nascent operations as NY1 under Time Warner Cable in New York and Allbritton’s pioneering NewsChannel 8 in Washington, D.C. — made its debut.

It offered 24/7 information and reporting for and about Chicago. But, times change — as did the cable channel’s owner. With Nexstar Media Group buying Tribune Media, the company led by Perry Sook is pulling the plug on CLTV.

As first reported by the Chicago Tribune and veteran Chicago media journalist Robert Feder, the cable channel that debuted New Year’s Day 1993 will see its final sunset on New Year’s Eve 2019.

The growth of other news sources, both linear and digital in nature, is what is said to led to a downturn in viewers, contributing to an elimination of nearly all of its own programming under Tribune ownership.

CLTV GM Paul Rennie, who also manages WGN-9, disclosed the plans for CLTV in an internal email distributed to staff Monday afternoon and received by the Tribune.

“CLTV has had a great run since it first signed on … but the media landscape has changed dramatically since that time,” Rennie wrote. “Unfortunately, with news now available 24 hours-a-day, seven days-a-week across a variety of multi-media platforms, it has become increasingly difficult for CLTV to hold on to its audience and remain competitive, despite the high-quality of the local journalism it produces.”

Some 12 individuals were reportedly employed at CLTV. They will have the opportunity to apply for new positions at WGN-9.

Rennie concluded his memo by thanking everyone at CLTV “for their constant effort and dedication to producing quality local journalism through the years. I am proud to have been a small part of CLTV’s history.”