From Audiovisual Identity Database


WTTW is a PBS affiliate located in Chicago, Illinois. It's one of the two PBS stations serving the Chicago area, with the other being WYIN (Lakeshore PBS) and formerly WYCC.

1st Logo (1978-1988)

Logo: We back away from a drawing of the Chicago skyline at sunset from below. Then, pale purple-blue streaks shoot towards the sky parallel to the buildings, and the drawing fades to a black background. The streaks are revealed to belong to the top half of the text "WTTW" in an outlined Helvetica font, which moves to the top of the screen to make room for the bottom half zooming into view. This is followed by the text "Chicago" zooming out underneath in the same manner, and the word "presents" in a smaller Helvetica font fading in under the logo.


  • A shorter version starts at the logo zooming out.
  • Another version omits "presents".

Technique: The logo parts zooming out with a streaking effect, achieved via slit-scan photography.

Music/Sounds: A Moog synth drone and a somber 5-note synth-violin theme that syncs up with the parts of the text zooming out.

Music/Sounds Variant: A rearranged variant of the short version exists.

Availability: Extremely rare. Originally appeared on The Frugal Gourmet, The McLaughlin Group, Sneak Previews, and PBS reruns of The Paper Chase. One specific tape that has the shorter version is a 1990 videocassette of The Frugal Gourmet: A Colonial Christmas with Friends (one of the last programs to use this) from Pacific Arts and PBS Home Video.

2nd Logo (September 28, 1987-2006)

Logo: On a black-blue gradient background, we see a close-up of a ball, which has the buildings of Chicago (you might spot WLS' old Sears Tower studio in the ball as well) in it. As it starts to zoom away from the viewer, "WTTW" and "Chicago", in Century Schoolbook, also zoom out, both tilted on their sides at first, but rotating while they zoom out. When the letters stop zooming out, the ball zooms out for a few more seconds before it dots the "i" in "Chicago".

Technique: Stupendous 1980s CGI graphics; the logo even holds up for today.

Music/Sounds: A synthesized chime tune, in which was actually done on the Roland D-50 synthesizer with the "Fantasia" patch. However, on Paragon Entertainment videos of Lamb Chop’s Play-Along!, the music from the Paragon Entertainment Group logo can be heard after the PEG "Star P" logo is seen.

Music/Sounds Variants:

  • Sometimes the first note is shorter and the last note is longer.
  • When the logo first appeared, a synth choir tune was heard.
  • On the 3rd season of Lamb Chop's Play-Along!, a 4-note synth chime tune was heard (an alternate take).

Availability: Common. Can be seen on Lamb Chop’s Play-Along! on PBS Kids. Also appeared on other shows produced by WTTW such as America by Design, The Frugal Gourmet, Handy Ma'am and The McLaughlin Group (which used this logo until 2006). Obviously, this logo can also be seen on old Sneak Previews episodes as well.

3rd Logo (1987-1993)

Logo: On a black-blue gradient background (much like the previous logo), the text "A PRESENTATION OF" (in Futura) and "WTTW/Chicago" (in Bodoni) slide in from opposite sides of the screen.

Technique: Simple animation.

Music/Sounds: A three-note synth tune that was used on the station's idents during this time.

Availability: Hard to find. Only known to be seen as an alternate logo on early 90s episodes of The McLaughlin Group.

4th Logo (September 1-26, 1997)

Logo: On a background of the Earth, we see "WTTW Chicago" in Helvetica. On the logo, there's written "Produced in Association with".

Technique: None.

Music/Sounds: The final note of the 1987 Together Again Productions jingle.

Availability: Used on the 4th season of The Kidsongs Television Show.

5th Logo (1997-2001)

Logo: On a water background, "WTTW" turns to face the viewer with a sun shining over the letters, which dies down by the time "Chicago" fades in. The end result is similar to the last logo but on a water background.

Technique: Simple, but nice animation.

Music/Sounds: A piano tune. A male announcer says "Produced in Chicago by WTTW." Handy Ma'am with Beverly DeJulio has its closing theme playing over it.

Availability: Rare. Spotted on I Live Until I Die.

6th Logo (2006-2015)

Logo: A blue background opens up to show a blue and white gradient bar, bordered by golden lines. "wttwN" zooms out and settles itself in front of a light cyan gradient background. "national" appears below the "N".

Trivia: The branding was made by Troika Design Group

Variant: On WordWorld, the logo is on a white background and plays in warp speed.

Technique: Not much, just the opening of the BG and the zooming out of the logo.

Music/Sounds: Four piano notes, backed up by guitar strumming. OnWordWorld, the logo uses closing theme .

Availability: Can be seen at the end of new McLaughlin Group episodes and possibly some other productions.

7th Logo (2015-)

Logo: On a transparent white background, we see some people standing around the Cloud Gate Sculpture. "wttw" swings into place and "CHICAGO" appears below the bar. A transparent rainbow bar appears during the animation.

Technique: The swinging.

Music/Sounds: The closing theme of the show.

Availability: Only seen on Nature Cat.

8th Logo (2015-)

Logo: On a black background, the center opens up to a bar with a picture of Chicago's skyline in it. "wttw" from the last logo zooms out into place. Blue lines emerge from the bar. "CHICAGO" appears letter-by-letter below with a fading effect.

Technique: The bar, the lines and the text.

Music/Sounds: Either the same as the 6th logo or an inspiring tune backed up by drumbeats, with some similarities.

Availability: Current. The version with the 6th logo's music was spotted on Weekend in Havana with Geoffrey Baer and the different theme variant was spotted on I Remember Better When I Paint.

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