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To counterprogram against its more established VHF rivals, channel 32 offered older cartoons, older off-network sitcoms, documentaries, drama series, westerns and live sporting events; although, it easily trailed its biggest competitor, WGN-TV (channel 9, formerly a CW affiliate, now again as an independent station), in the ratings among Chicago's independent stations. Beginning in 1978, WFLD signed on daily before a.m.In 1975, WFLD acquired the local syndication rights to The Brady Bunch and The Partridge Family; two years later in 1977, the station won the rights to a stronger slate of cartoons such as Woody Woodpecker and Tom and Jerry.Channel 32 strengthened its syndicated programming slate in 1979, when it acquired the local syndication rights to M*A*S*H, All in the Family, Happy Days and What's Happening!! The station also acquired the rights to I Love Lucy that year, and later added Battlestar Galactica, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, The Six Million Dollar Man, Wonder Woman and Star Trek in 1982.WFLD began to beat WGN-TV in ratings as a result of its stronger programming acquisitions, and the two stations continued to go head-to-head throughout the 1980s.
Field Enterprises sold controlling interest in WFLD to Kaiser Broadcasting in May 1972.Metromedia was ripe to compete against WGN, based on the group's success in competing against WPIX in the New York City market.In Chicago, Metromedia was given the right of first refusal to purchase WFLD.The station first signed on the air on January 4, 1966, as an independent station.WFLD was founded by a joint venture of the parties that each competed individually for the license and construction permit to operate on UHF channel 32.
As a condition, Metromedia was forced by the FCC to divest radio station WMET (95.5 FM, now WEBG), which it sold to Doubleday Broadcasting.