Chicago Stock Market Observer on channel 23

Anyone remember when Channel 23 was the Chicago area stock market channel? It was called the “Stock Market Observer”. Throughout the 90s (when I watched in my late teens and early 20s) the studio setup was very basic. They had (from what I remember) one small studio desk and they did just about all the reporting from there. I believe they had a small conference room for doing interviews. There was a ton of beiges and browns in the set design. It was representative of a local UHF broadcast. No big CNN budgets or MSNBC budgets here. And it wasn’t necessary. They kept the focus on the important things. It was a straight-forward, information-rich presentation of the latest Stock Market news. The analysis was always in-depth and engaging. It was Stock Market news from about 5 am to 5pm. Then Channel 23 magically turned into an Indian channel in the evening hours. It was crazy-magical.

Then around 2000, someone invested a lot of money in their channel because they upgraded everything! New set. New graphics. New station name (called WebFN). New anchors. New reports. New special segments like feeds to people reporting live from New York.

I was very sad to see some of the standard reporters and hosts assigned other jobs with the new format, like Curt Renz. He did a great job of presenting the day’s stock market news in a professional, knowledgeable, timely, and friendly manner. I’m a novice investor and have a really hard time watching some of the self-interested financial analysts on the bigger national channels. But watching The Stock Market Observer was captivating and information-rich thanks to folks like Curt Renz and Linda Marshall.

Then the stock market tanked about 9 months after their big “WebFN” upgrade and the Chicago stock market channel disappeared. “WebFN” was always a silly name in my opinion. It goes to show the great lengths businesses went to in the late 90s to be associated with the internet craze.

—9/2006 Update—
“The Stock Market Observer” started on channel 26 and left when WCIU started doing its whole “U’z Got It” bit. I’m guessing the show migrated over to channel 23 at that point.

i found a link that talks all about WebFN. They make it sound like WebFN is still on the air. I really thought they got canned in the big stock market crash of the early 2000’s. Maybe it did and they just came back. I’m gonna have to check this out. Oh wait. i think i know what it is. I got married in 2003 and I moved out of cable-less apartment into my home with cable. I remember being upset that I couldn’t get Channel 23 in.

—8/2014 update—
Some of the older comments in the comments section have been removed. Curt Renz himself was kind enough to share some history of this well-reputed, professional crew.

Here’s some ringing endorsements for Curt Renz’s book:

“Curt Renz’s review of the common patterns seen throughout financial markets gives you that spark of insight that is so necessary to investment success.”
–Robert R. Prechter, President, Elliott Wave

“Curt Renz has triumphed in this indispensable guide to technical analysis. His talent for making complicated technical concepts easy to understand is amazing.”
–Phil Flynn, Senior Market Analyst, Alaron Trading

“Curt Renz, one of the giants of financial television, teaches the investor how to ‘read the market’s mind’ through technical analysis.”
–Bernie Schaeffer, Chairman and CEO, Schaeffer’s Investment Research, Inc.

“Curt Renz’s closely reasoned and well-illustrated book plus clear examples belongs in the collection of every trader and investor.”
–Robert Stovall, CFA, Managing Director, Wood Asset Management, Inc.

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Matt Maldre
18 years ago

I just turned on channel 23 in Chicago. It is now called MeTV and I love Lucy is going to be on in four minutes. You think Lucy will do the stock reports?

I remember the stock channel 23. At the Oak Lawn library, they had it on the tv in the lounge. Some middle-aged men were watching it intently.

I don’t recall you being such a channel 23 nut, erik.

Milka Giordano
Milka Giordano
14 years ago

WebFN? It’s dead already, man. Lol. How did you find that link? Maybe they don’t really following the news so they don’t know about it.

Curt Renz
14 years ago

Yes, Erik, its really me. Thank you for your kind comments and the promotion of my book. Your observations about the Stock Market Observer and its successor WebFN were essentially correct (especially the part about my doing a good job, LOL!) I was there from 1987 through to the cancellation in 2003. In 1995 we moved from the dingy studios at the top of the Board of Trade building to the companys own much improved facilities on Halsted at Washington. That was shortly after Channel 26 switched from Spanish language to English language programming during the evening. It was around… Read more »