call_letters = WPCW
city =
station_slogan =
station_branding = Pittsburgh's CW
analog = 19 (UHF)
digital = 49 (UHF)
other_chs = WBPA-LP 30 Pittsburgh
affiliations = The CW
network =
founded =
airdate = October 15, 1953
location = Jeannette/Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
callsign_meaning = Pittsburgh's CW
former_callsigns = WARD-TV (1953-1972?)
WJNL-TV (1972?-1983)
WFAT-TV (1983-1988)
WPTJ (1988-1994)
WTWB-TV (1997-1998)
WNPA (1998-2006)
former_channel_numbers = 56 (1953-1970?)
owner = CBS Corporation
licensee = Pittsburgh Television Station WPCW, Inc.
sister_stations = KDKA-TV
former_affiliations = CBS (1953-1982)
ABC (secondary, 1952-c.1970)
independent (1982-1991)
The WB (1997-1998)
UPN (1998-2006)
effective_radiated_power = 3020 kW (analog)
431 kW (digital)
HAAT = 340 m (analog)
302.8 m (digital)
class =
facility_id = 69880
coordinates = coord|40|10|51.2|N|79|7|45.2|W|type:landmark_scale:2000 (analog)
coord|40|23|33.1|N|79|46|53.6|W|type:landmark_scale:2000 (digital)
homepage = [http://www.pittsburghscw.com/ www.pittsburghscw.com]

WPCW-TV is a CW Television Network owned and operated station that serves the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania DMA. Known on-air as Pittsburgh CW, the station is owned by the CBS Corporation and is a sister station of CBS O&O KDKA-TV. The two stations are the only O&Os of any network in the Pittsburgh market. It is licensed to Jeannette, a Pittsburgh suburb, but its operations are housed at KDKA-TV's studios in downtown Pittsburgh. WPCW offers off-network sitcoms, first-run talk shows, reality shows, court shows, CW Network programming, and news. WPCW's transmitter is located in Jennerstown, Pennsylvania.

WPCW-TV is rebroadcast on WBPA-LP channel 30 in Pittsburgh, giving the station a city-grade signal throughout the city. [ [http://radiostationworld.com/locations/united_states_of_america/pennsylvania/tv.asp?m=pit RadioStationWorld - Pennsylvania - Television Broadcasting Stations] ] The station is owned by Venture Technologies Group, LLC and currently holds a construction permit to operate a digital signal on VHF channel 6.

WPCW also serves as the default CW affiliate for the Johnstown/Altoona/State College market since that market currently lacks a CW affiliate of its own. Ironically, WPCW was a Johnstown station for most of its history.


WPCW signed on in 1953 as WARD-TV on channel 56, with its studio on Franklin Street in downtown Johnstown. The station was Johnstown's CBS affiliate, with a secondary ABC affiliation.

About 1970, the station changed its call letters to WJNL-TV, in reference to its new owner, Jonel Construction Company of Johnstown. It also moved to channel 19 and dropped ABC programming. The TV studio also located to a cinder-block building next to its broadcast tower atop Cover Hill in suburban Johnstown.

The station was plagued by a weak signal. Most of western Pennsylvania is a very rugged dissected plateau, and at the time UHF stations usually did not get good reception in rugged terrain. In fact, Johnstown viewers got a better signal from WFBG-TV in Altoona and KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh. After WFBG-TV was sold in 1973, it changed its calls to WTAJ-TV in part to acknowledge its Johnstown viewership (its call letters stand for We're Television in Altoona and Johnstown).

The TV station's sister radio stations, WJNL-AM/FM (now WNTJ and WFGI, respectively), joined WJNL-TV at the Benshoff Hill location after the Johnstown Flood of 1977 destroyed their studios in downtown Johnstown. WJNL-TV only stayed afloat because of the tremendous success of its FM sister, an adult contemporary powerhouse. Nevertheless, it had no luck whatsoever against dominant WJAC-TV. It did produce a local newcast from 1971 to 1974 Monday through Friday and a few public affairs programs to try and compete against WJAC, but WJNL-TV's facilities were below the standards expected for a network affiliate.

In 1982, the Johnstown and Altoona/State College markets were collapsed into a single market. CBS gave its affiliation in the newly enlarged market to Altoona's WTAJ, which, as mentioned above, already had a large viewership in Johnstown. In contrast, channel 19 barely covered Altoona and could not be seen at all in much of the eastern part of the enlarged market. WJNL-TV became an independent station. It was sold a year later and renamed WFAT-TV. Forced to buy an additional 19 hours of programming a day, its ratings plummeted even further. It didn't help matters that the major Pittsburgh independents were available on cable. The station was dealt a fatal blow in 1986, when WWCP-TV signed on channel 8, and took most of WFAT's stronger shows. Channel 19 changed its calls to WPTJ in 1988, but saw no change in its fortunes. The station finally went off the air in 1991.

Over in Pittsburgh, WBPA-LP, channel 29 signed on in 1994 as a low-powered station owned by Venture Technologies Group, LLC. It ran some ABC and NBC shows that WTAE-TV and WPXI pre-empted, along with infomercials, religious and shop-at-home programming. It added WB programming in 1995 and a few syndicated shows in the fall of that year.

Also in 1995, Venture Technologies bought the dormant channel 19 license in Johnstown. The station returned to the air in early 1997 as WTWB-TV, a full-powered satellite of WBPA-LP.

Venture, however, still had trouble getting viewership in Pittsburgh, in part because cable systems in the area weren't willing to pick it up. To solve this problem, Venture asked and received permission to move WTWB's license to Jeannette (about 30 miles southeast of Pittsburgh) and place it in the Pittsburgh market. This qualified it for "must-carry" status on Pittsburgh cable systems. In the wake of the move, WTWB, now Pittsburgh's WB affiliate, began to acquire more off-network sitcoms and first-run syndicated shows, alongside cartoons from Kids WB and prime time programming from the WB.

When WPTT acquired the WB affiliation and changed its call letters to WCWB in 1998 (it is now WPMY), the UPN affiliation in the market became available. As such, channel 19 took the affiliation and changed call letters to WNPA-TV.

Viacom bought the station in 1998. It became a sister station to KDKA-TV after Viacom merged with CBS in 2000. Viacom consolidated WNPA's operations into KDKA-AM-TV's studios at Gateway Center by 2001. In August 2001, the station began to carry a 10 P.M. newscast produced by KDKA-TV and anchored by Ken Rice.

The station began to identify on air as "UPN Pittsburgh" in late 2003 as different cable systems carry it on different channels.

In 2005, the station launched a two-hour weekday morning newscast beginning at 7 A.M. Just like its evening counterpart, it is produced by KDKA-TV. It was later shortened to one hour amid poor ratings.Fact|date=July 2008

On January 24, 2006 it was announced that the station would become an affiliate of the CW Network, which is a merger of both UPN and The WB. The changeover would start in the Fall of 2006. To coincide with this change the station changed its call sign to WPCW, and rebranded itself as "Pittsburgh CW" in August 2006.

To this day, its transmitter is still located on Laurel Mountain, which is 35 miles southeast of Jeannette. It still provides city-grade coverage to Johnstown, but only provides "rimshot" coverage to Pittsburgh. Its signal is marginal at best in several parts of the city (especially in low-lying city neighborhoods such as Lawrenceville and the Strip District), and can't be seen at all in many of the western suburbs. When it applied to move channel 19's license to Jeannette, Venture sought and received a waiver from the FCC rule requiring a station's transmitter to be no farther than 15 miles from the city of license. It successfully contended that there was no way it could build an analog tower within the 15-mile limit without interfering with WOIO in Cleveland. It does, however, have a construction permit to build its digital tower just west of Pittsburgh.

WPCW is one of three former CBS affiliates that have since become CW stations owned by CBS, along with WTVX in West Palm Beach and KSTW in Seattle; however, WTVX has since been divested to Cerberus Capital Management's Four Points Media Group.

WPCW usually televises about six Pittsburgh Penguins games a year, so that the Penguins' other television partner, FSN Pittsburgh, may show college football.

Digital TV

When US full-power analog TV signals sign off on February 17th, 2009, WPCW is expected to move to WPXI's current channel 11 allocation, [ [http://www.fcc.gov/fcc-bin/tvq?call=WPCW TV Query Results - Video Division (FCC) USA ] ] [ [http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/01jan20071800/edocket.access.gpo.gov/2007/E7-17643.htm FR Doc E7-17643 ] ] (and its repeater WBPA-LP to move over to channel 6 [ [http://www.fcc.gov/fcc-bin/tvq?call=WBPA TV Query Results - Video Division (FCC) USA ] ] ) to avoid future interference with WOIO while at the same time giving the station much better coverage in Pittsburgh. The station's current digital signal position, 49, (which is currently dark) would interfere with WLLS-LP in Indiana, Pennsylvania and, to a lesser extent, WEAO in Akron once those station's traditional station numbers switched to digital. WPXI will keep its current digital channel number 48 permanently as a result.

However, it is not known at this time if WPCW will continue to use channel 19 as the channel's virtual channel number or if it will use another number, since WPXI will continue channel 11 as its virtual channel number. In an ironic twist, WOIO will remain on its current digital signal of channel 10 but will continue to use channel 19 as its virtual channel number.

Due to WPXI currently having its analog signal on channel 11, WPCW is expected to flash-cut to digital suddenly without a transition period. WPCW-HD is, however, currently available on cable to Comcast and Verizon FiOS customers.

On-Air Personalities

See current KDKA-TV personalities list.

External links

* [http://www.pittsburghscw.com/ Official site]


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