SportsChannel Chicago, which gradually has been increasing its output since it set up shop here eight years ago, has become the first regional cable sports outlet to provide around-the-clock programming seven days a week.

In addition to reaching 24-hours-a-day status before other local and regional cable sports channels around the country, SportsChannel Chicago also beat other SportsChannel Network operations in New York, New England, Philadelphia, Florida, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Los Angeles and the Bay Area.

Jim Corno, v.p and general manager, credited three factors for SportsChannel’s Chicago success: The channel is a basic service here, requiring no additional charge to subscribers; it has broad distribution throughout the region; and it has no shortage of product, with the large number of pro, college and even high school sports followed avidly by viewers.

“This market is always hungry for more product,” Corno said. “It’s a sports hotbed.”

SportsChannel Chicago has offered 24-hour coverage on the weekends since November and weekday programming from noon to 3 a.m. since last March. The channel now fills the 3 a.m. to noon timeslot with a variety of taped programs and replays of major events, such as White Sox games, from each preceding night.

Corno said his production team is currently at work on expanding the channel’s original programming, such as its live “SportsChannel Report” news show, and features such as “White Sox Weekly” and the extremely popular “Sports Writers On TV.”

Along with its increased lineup, SportsChannel is scheduling a multi-million dollar up-grade of its Oak Park production facilities.

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