call_letters = WPCW
station_branding = Pittsburgh's CW
analog = 19 (UHF)
digital = 49 (UHF)
other_chs = WBPA-LP 30
affiliations = The CW
October 15, 1953
location = Jeannette/
callsign_meaning = Pittsburgh's CW
former_callsigns = WARD-TV (1953-1972?)
former_channel_numbers = 56 (1953-1970?)
licensee = Pittsburgh Television Station WPCW, Inc.
ABC (secondary, 1952-c.1970)
The WB (1997-1998)
effective_radiated_power = 3020 kW (analog)
431 kW (digital)
HAAT = 340 m (analog)
302.8 m (digital)
facility_id = 69880
coordinates = coord|40|10|51.2|N|79|7|45.2|W|type:landmark_scale:2000 (analog)
homepage = [http://www.pittsburghscw.com/ www.pittsburghscw.com]
WPCW-TV is a
CW Television Network owned and operated stationthat serves the Pittsburgh, PennsylvaniaDMA. Known on-air as Pittsburgh CW, the station is owned by the CBS Corporationand is a sister station of CBSO&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, LLCand currently holds a construction permitto 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
1953as 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-TVin 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
WNTJand WFGI, respectively), joined WJNL-TV at the Benshoff Hill location after the Johnstown Floodof 1977 destroyed their studios in downtown Johnstown. WJNL-TV only stayed afloat because of the tremendous success of its FM sister, an adult contemporarypowerhouse. 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.
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-TVsigned 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
1994as a low-powered station owned by Venture Technologies Group, LLC. It ran some ABC and NBCshows that WTAE-TVand WPXIpre-empted, along with infomercials, religious and shop-at-home programming. It added WB programming in 1995and 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
1997as 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 UPNaffiliation 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
2003as different cable systems carry it on different channels.
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
January 24, 2006it was announced that the station would become an affiliate of the CW Network, which is a merger of both UPNand 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 WOIOin 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
WTVXin West Palm Beachand KSTWin Seattle; however, WTVX has since been divested to Cerberus Capital Management's Four Points Media Group.
WPCW usually televises about six
Pittsburgh Penguinsgames a year, so that the Penguins' other television partner, FSN Pittsburgh, may show college football.
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-LPin Indiana, Pennsylvaniaand, to a lesser extent, WEAO in Akrononce 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 channelnumber 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-cutto digital suddenly without a transition period. WPCW-HD is, however, currently available on cable to Comcastand Verizon FiOScustomers.
See current KDKA-TV personalities list.
* [http://www.pittsburghscw.com/ Official site]
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