KBCW (TV): Wikis


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San Francisco, California
Branding The CW, 44/Cable 12
Channels Digital: 45 (UHF)
Affiliations The CW
CBS (alternate affiliate)
Owner CBS Corporation
(San Francisco Television Station KBCW, Inc.)
First air date January 2, 1968
Call letters’ meaning A portmanteau of:
Kaiser Broadcasting and Bay Area CW
(reflects original owner and current affiliation)
Former callsigns KBHK-TV (1968-2006)
Former channel number(s) Analog:
44 (UHF, 1968-2009)
Former affiliations independent (1968-1995)
UPN (1995-2006)
Transmitter Power 400 kW
Height 446 m
Facility ID 69619
Transmitter Coordinates 37°45′18.8″N 122°27′10.4″W / 37.755222°N 122.452889°W / 37.755222; -122.452889 (KBCW)
Website www.cwbayarea.com

KBCW, digital channel 45 (virtual channel 44), is a CW-affiliated television station based in San Francisco, California. KBCW is owned by the CBS Corporation, and is part of a duopoly with CBS station KPIX-TV. The station's signal is transmitted from Sutro Tower.

From January 1995 until September 2006, KBCW was an owned-and-operated station of United Paramount Network (UPN). Before 1995, the station was an independent station. Channel 44 used the call letters KBHK-TV from its inception in 1968 until 2006. It airs on cable channel 12 on most cable systems in the Bay Area.

The station is also considered an alternate CBS affiliate, and as such KBCW can air CBS programs if KPIX should preempt it in a news-related emergency (which only happens occasionally). KBCW also airs reruns of Face the Nation, CBS Sunday Morning, and local programming such as Evening Magazine, now called Eye on the Bay, and the Last Honest Sports Show, produced by KPIX. The Cookie Jar TV children's block is carried on KBCW if pre-empted by CBS Sports coverage.(Cookie Jar TV would itself pre-empt The CW4Kids block)




As an independent (KBHK)

The station signed on as KBHK-TV on January 2, 1968, making it the second commercial UHF station in the San Francisco Bay area behind San Jose-based KICU (originally KGSC-TV). It was also first independent station in the region licensed to San Francisco as KTVU is based in Oakland. The KBHK callsign meant: Kaiser Broadcasting/Henry Kaiser as it was originally owned by Kaiser Broadcasting, which owned other UHF stations in Los Angeles, Detroit, Philadelphia, Boston, and Cleveland. Kaiser later merged with Chicago's Field Communications in 1973.

In 1977, Kaiser sold its interest in the stations to Field, making Field the sole owner of KBHK. Field later put its stations up for sale in 1982, and KBHK was sold to United Television in 1983.

The station's studio for a long time was located at 650 California Street. Several key scenes from the Robert Redford movie The Candidate were filmed in KBHK's studio at 420 Taylor Street (originally NBC Radio Studios). Many of KBHK's technicians appeared in the movie as themselves.


KBHK had a typical independent program schedule consisting of a morning and afternoon children's block (which in the 1970s consisted mainly of off-network reruns of Hanna-Barbera cartoons, as well as the Famous Studios Popeye shorts, the classic Warner Bros. Cartoons, Dusty's Treehouse, New Zoo Revue, plus the Our Gang and Three Stooges shorts), off-network sitcoms (such as The Brady Bunch), feature films, and public affairs programming. The station attempted to produce a nightly newscast, only to abandon it due to low ratings. At one point, KBHK was known as the Bay Area's Movie Station since the station aired a movie in prime time six nights a week. KBHK also aired hit first run programming including the popular Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman and The Arsenio Hall Show. Several local programs produced at KBHK were syndicated nationally including Leonard Nimoy's Star Trek Memories (Paramount) and The Twilight Zone Special (Viacom). Bay Area kids were introduced to Japanese anime such as Speed Racer, Astro Boy, Kimba the White Lion, Robotech, and Captain Harlock and the Queen of 1000 Years. Later on in the 1990s, KBHK became home to anime such as: Ronin Warriors, Sailor Moon, and Pokémon while it was still in syndication before moving to Kids WB.

Over the years at various times, KBHK was the television home of the Oakland A's, Golden State Warriors, California Golden Seals (NHL) and San Francisco 49ers preseason football.

As a UPN affiliate (1995-2006)

The station continued with its format and in 1995, United Television partnered with Paramount to create the UPN (United Paramount Network). Along with United Television's other independents, KBHK became a UPN owned-and-operated station.

The old sitcoms and cartoons were gradually replaced with more recent sitcoms, talk shows, game shows, court shows, and reality shows.

When News Corporation purchased the Chris-Craft station group in 2001, it traded KBHK-TV to Viacom in exchange for KTXH in Houston and WDCA in Washington, D.C.. Viacom had purchased CBS a few months earlier, making KBHK a sister station to KPIX. Since News Corp. also owned the Fox television network, the station trade-off also protected Cox Enterprises-owned KTVU as the Bay Area's Fox affiliate. The Viacom purchase also reunited KBHK with Detroit's WKBD, which had been purchased by Paramount Stations Group (which was in the process of being sold to Viacom) in 1993. Under new ownership, KBHK moved from its original long-time studios on California Street in the Nob Hill area to share facilities with KPIX on Battery Street.

As a CW affiliate (2006-present)

Logo as CW Bay Area (2006-07) although is still used for some promos

On January 24, 2006, it was announced that UPN and WB would combine to form a new fifth television network, The CW, in September. On the day the new network was announced, it signed a 10-year affiliation deal with 11 of CBS' UPN stations, including KBHK. To reflect the new affiliation, KBHK officially changed its call sign to KBCW on July 1, 2006.

With the network change, Kids WB (now The CW4Kids) also moved to KBCW from KBWB (now KOFY-TV).

Despite being aligned with KPIX's strong news department, KBCW has only aired a nightly 10 p.m. newscast since March 3, 2008; it competes against KTVU's long-dominant primetime newscast. The newscast is broadcast in high definition. [1]

Station Presentation

  • In San Francisco, the Choice is Yours, on Channel 44 (1978-1983)

Digital television

The station's digital channel is multiplexed:

Digital channels

Subchannel Programming
44.1 / 45.1 main KBCW/CW programming

Analog-to-digital conversion

KBCW shut down its analog signal on June 12, 2009 as part of the DTV transition[1], remaining on channel 45 [2] using PSIP to display KBCW's virtual channel as 44 on digital television receivers. After the conversion, KTVU now holds channel 44 post-transition after it shut down its analog signal on channel 2.


  • With the launch of The CW, KBCW held the distinction of being the Bay Area's only major English-language network station on the UHF dial.
  • KBCW is the first station in the Bay Area to be owned and operated by two different networks under CBS Corporation: UPN and the new The CW. In the case of UPN, then-KBHK was owned by United Television/Chris-Craft, the then owner of UPN.
  • KBHK served the Monterey Bay market with UPN programming from 2003 to 2006 after KCBA and KION dropped it in their respective area due to the inconvenience of jointly carrying UPN programs while they're both primary full-time affiliates for Fox and CBS. KION airs The CW on a digital subchannel, which means KBCW no longer serves Monterey.
  • KBCW is the only affiliate of The CW that can be seen on TVUnetworks.
  • KBCW is actually one of four flagships for The CW due to CBS not owning KTLA or WPIX., thus giving them the distinction of being the only West Coast network flagship not in Los Angeles. KBCW was also UPN's flagship from 2001 until UPN's shutdown.


External links


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