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WUCW
WUCW-TV.png
Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota
Branding The CW Twin Cities
Channel Digital: 22 (UHF)
Virtual: 23 (PSIP)
Subchannels 23.1 The CW (HD)
23.2 The CW (SD)
Affiliations The CW
Owner Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc.
(KLGT Licensee, LLC)
First air date September 22, 1982
Callsign meaning WB + UPN = CW
(The CW is a "merger" of WB and UPN)
Former callsigns KTMA-TV (1982-1992)
KLGT-TV (1992-1998)
KMWB (1998-2006)
Former channels Analog: 23 (UHF)
(September 22, 1982 - February 17, 2009)
Former affiliations independent (1982-1995)
The WB (1995-2006)
Effective power 1000 kilowatts
Height 410 m
Facility ID 36395
Antenna coordinates 45°3′44″N 93°8′21″W / 45.06222°N 93.13917°W / 45.06222; -93.13917
Website www.thecwtc.com

WUCW (digital channel 23) is an affiliate of The CW serving the Minneapolis-St. Paul area of Minnesota. The station is currently owned and operated by the Sinclair Broadcast Group.

WUCW is perhaps best known as the station where the cult cable television series Mystery Science Theater 3000 got its start as a local Twin Cities-area program when the station was called KTMA.

Contents

History

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KTMA

Channel 23 signed on as KTMA on September 22, 1982, as a scrambled pay-per-view UHF service called Spectrum. The call sign stood for "K-Twin Metro Area". The pay-per-view broadcasts offered by KTMA in its early days featured sports (in the form of home games of the Minnesota Twins and Minnesota North Stars (now the Dallas Stars), animations like Grendizer and films (including pornographic movies). This service lasted just two years before the station was sold to the United Cable TV Corporation, who in turn began asking for bids one year later in 1985. The owners of radio station KTWN made a bid, and took some control of the channel for a while, broadcasting music videos. However, the eventual owner in 1986 was the KTMA-TV Acquisition Corp., which offered $7 million for the station. The station's new general manager, Donald W. O'Connor, soon transitioned to a more traditional independent format, broadcasting a number of older syndicated programs such as The Andy Griffith Show and Laurel and Hardy.

Despite a major marketing campaign upon sign-on in 1987, the station was only moderately successful at pulling in viewers and advertising dollars. In 1988 attempts were made at locally-produced comedy shows; some have compared this programming to that of the fictional "U62" channel in the "Weird Al" Yankovic film UHF. Production manager Jim Mallon sought to fill a hole in the Sunday night lineup. He talked to his contacts in the local comedy community and ended up meeting Joel Hodgson. After a particularly successful lunch meeting with Mallon, Hodgson created Mystery Science Theater 3000 (typically abbreviated MST3K), which began airing in November 1988.

In December of that year, KTMA attempted to create a new regional network called the Minnesota Independent Network (MIN) along with a media group based in Fargo, North Dakota, and KXLI channel 41 in St. Cloud, Minnesota. The network never got off the ground, despite good intentions. Eventually KXLI was forced to go off the air for two years. KTMA was also hit hard, leading O'Connor to file for bankruptcy in July 1989. Hodgson and Mallon eventually took their show (MST3K) to the Comedy Channel (now Comedy Central), a cable television network, and later to the Sci-Fi Channel.

In 1989 a small start up home shopping network rented the TV23 studios and dubuted their first broadcast on local low power stations Channels 7 & 62. This network was called Valuevision which later became ShopNBC which is now seen in over 60 million homes and has sales approaching $1 billion.

Through the bankruptcy, the station still maintained its regular programming format, partially supported with infomercials, paid religious shows, daytime network shows that local affiliates didn't clear (mostly game shows from CBS and ABC), and home shopping. It moved into the former offices and studios of local PBS station KTCA in St. Paul, Minnesota in December 1989 (KTCA had constructed a new building). After nearly two more years of bankruptcy proceedings, O'Connor was dismissed as general manager by the court-appointed trustee. In November 1991, the station was purchased by Christian broadcaster Lakeland Group Television.

KLGT

Lakeland started carrying "family friendly" programming, and changed the station's call letters to KLGT (for either "light" or "Lakeland Group Television") in 1992, identifying the station as "Sonlight 23". The format consisted of a few hours of religion a day along with a lot of family oriented off-network sitcoms, cartoons, and old movies. The new format was not very popular, but the station held its own. Sports, this time in the form of the St. Paul Saints, the Minnesota Timberwolves, and the Minnesota Moose, returned to the channel in 1994.

Around this time, KLGT began an association with WCCO-TV At first, the station merely carried news updates during prime time, but in 1995, the two stations worked together on an innovative newscast known as "News of Your Choice." Essentially, two different newscasts were produced at the WCCO studios simultaneously, each one covering different stories. At regular intervals, the news anchors would say what was coming up on the other channel, allowing viewers to decide which story they were more interested in and to tune in to the appropriate channel. Due to declining ratings at WCCO at the time, the project was canceled after a year in January 1996. Also in 1995, KLGT joined the fledgling WB network as its Twin Cities affiliate.

KMWB

Following the sale of the station to Sinclair Broadcast Group (SBG) in 1998, the call sign was again changed to KMWB ("Minnesota's WB"). Programming has stayed fairly consistent over the last decade, airing courtroom shows like The People's Court, talk shows like Ricki Lake and The Jerry Springer Show, and dating shows like Elimidate. The station has continued to carry Minnesota Timberwolves basketball until recently (now carried by KSTC-TV), and has broadcast M*A*S*H for many years.

The station was hit by the 2004 controversy surrounding the decision by corporate parent SBG to air the documentary Stolen Honor, which was critical of U.S. presidential candidate John Kerry's Vietnam War service record.

On January 24, 2006, it was announced that The WB and UPN networks would merge into The CW Television Network. It was very likely that KMWB would become the new network's Twin Cities affiliate, as News Corporation, parent company of Fox announced that all of its current UPN affiliates, including WFTC in the Twin Cities, would affiliate with My Network TV when both networks launched. Although Sinclair's later group deal with My Network TV involving several other stations around the country provided some doubt, on May 2, 2006, Sinclair affiliated its remaining WB and UPN affiliates, including KMWB, with the CW.

WUCW

On June 19, 2006, KMWB changed its call sign to WUCW to reflect its CW affiliation, and to suggest the formation of the new network itself (WB + UPN = CW). WUCW joined other Sinclair stations by adding The Tube Music Network to their digital subchannel, 23-2, on July 15, 2006. However, at the start of 2007, The Tube was dropped.

Today WUCW offers first run syndicated talk reality/court shows, syndicated sitcoms, cartoons from CW4Kids (formerly Kids WB), and CW programming.

On August 16, WUCW replaced the WB23 watermark with the CW Twin Cities watermark on its syndicated programs.

WUCW's broadcasts, like those of most Sinclair-owned stations, have been digital-only since February 17, 2009.[1][2][3]

Ironically, despite three call letter changes, WUCW's licensee is still listed as "KLGT Licensee."

Logos

Broadcasting facilities

WUCW still broadcasts from the St. Paul studios, located near the Minnesota State Fairgrounds, that they moved into in 1989. The station's main transmitters are at the Telefarm installation in Shoreview, Minnesota. The station also uses a network of five broadcast translators to carry the signal greater distances:

Notes

References

  • "TV23 History" (archived file downloaded October 2003 or earlier) from NebraskaRadio.com

External links


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