CBS Chicago is restoring a giant TV screen outside its building

CBS Chicago is celebrating the launch of its new giant outdoor video screen in the heart of the city.

The screen, which faces Daley Plaza near the corner of Washington and Dearborn in downtown Chicago, was recently completely replaced after the original fell into disrepair before being decommissioned and removed.

WBBM is a tenant inside a mixed-use development called Block 37, having moved in in 2008.

At the time, the station used the glass-enclosed studio below where the new screen was set up as its main news studio, with most of its newscasts and other reporting originating from there.

Original architectural renderings showed a wraparound video screen above most windows, but those plans were never realized, and for years the space to the left and right of the screen looked unfinished, presumably waiting for additional panels to be installed.


Eventually, glass panels mimicking the windows found elsewhere on the facade were installed to give it a more polished look and almost negate the idea of ​​ever having a wrap-around video installation.

WBBM left the studio in 2017 when a brand new set was installed down the hall in a fully enclosed studio.

“For Rent” signs then appeared in the windows as CBS appeared to attempt to sublet the space, although it was never able to sign a deal.

For a time, the station kept the screen active, filling it with streams of its programming and promotional content. However, over time parts of it “died” and the station eventually chose to shut it down rather than display a lower quality picture.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, WBBM reportedly returned to the glass-enclosed studio space, creating additional workstations that allowed station staff to better socially distance and disperse. Although the studio has windows on two sides, the glass can be covered with blinds if required.

Earlier in 2022, the station announced plans to restore the big screen as well as convert the space below into a weather center for its First Alert team.

NewscastStudio has contacted WBBM for an update on the status of this project.

Large outdoor displays such as the one from WBBM are commonly referred to by the name “JumboTron” coined by Sony in the 1980s. Sony stopped using the name in 2001 and it is now considered a generic term.