Closing bell tolls for ‘First Business News’ at Weigel Broadcasting

Bill Moller

Bill Moller

After 47 years in the financial news business, Chicago-based Weigel Broadcasting is pulling the plug on “First Business News.” The final broadcast of the weekday morning syndicated news show will be produced December 22.

The latest version of “First Business,” anchored by Angela Miles, Chuck Coppola and Bill Moller under executive producer Harvey Moshman, ultimately succumbed to market forces: Bob Ramsey, executive vice president of local media for Weigel Broadcasting, cited the loss of affiliates for ceasing production.

“It was a tough decision as business programming has been in the DNA of this company since the mid-’6os, and Harvey and his staff turned out a great show every day,” Ramsey said. “The market for this programming has changed as more stations are starting their morning newscasts earlier and earlier.  The fight for time periods was difficult.”

Taped at Weigel Broadcating studios at 26 North Halsted Street, the half-hour show aired at various times around the country and streamed on its website. In Chicago, it aired at 5 a.m. on Me Too (WMEU-Channel 26.4) and 5:30 a.m. on The U Too (WCUU-Channel 26.2).

Business news has been a staple of Weigel Broadcasting since 1967 when the fledgling UHF operation began airing “The Stock Market Observer.” For decades, the show aired live from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. five days a week from the Chicago Board of Trade Building, which also housed the studios and offices of WCIU-Channel 26.

In 2001, “The Stock Market Observer” morphed into, a financial news service produced in conjunction with Bridge Information Services. Two years later, Weigel Broadcasting took control of production of “First Business,” a show launched in 1989 by BizNet, the broadcast division of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C. It has originated from Chicago since then.