KCWX, virtual channel 2 (VHF digital channel 5), is a MyNetworkTV-affiliated television station located in Fredericksburg, Texas, United States. The station is owned by Austin-based Corridor Television. Although Fredericksburg is within the Austin DMA, the station's signal covers the San Antonio and Bexar County area. KCWX maintains studio facilities in northwest San Antonio, and its transmitter is located on the Gillespie-Kendall county line.
As a UPN affiliate
The station first signed on the air on August 3, 2000 as KBEJ. It originally operated as a UPN affiliate; unusual for a network-affiliated station, channel 2 served as the UPN station for two markets – San Antonio and Austin; in a rarity by modern standards (when most the owners of most stations ask for a specific set of calls), the call sign was sequentially assigned within the May 1998 FCC callsign change report. Prior to the station's sign-on, UPN programming had been available in the San Antonio market on KRRT (channel 35, now KMYS) from the network's launch in January 1995 until January 1998, when that station switched to The WB as a result of Sinclair Broadcast Group (which had operated the station at the time, and acquired channel 35 outright three years later)'s affiliation agreement with that network; UPN then was carried during the overnight hours on NBC affiliate KMOL-TV (channel 4, now WOAI-TV). In Austin, the network had been available first on a regional network of low-power stations across Central Texas known as the "Hill Country Paramount Network" (HPN), and later on K13VC (channel 13).
Prior to the station's sign-on, Corridor Television entered into a local marketing agreement with Belo, then-owners of CBS affiliate KENS (channel 5). KBEJ originally maintained a separate feed for Austin cable providers. Under the LMA with Belo, KBEJ's signal always originated from the company's headquarters in Dallas, but some of its programming was provided by KENS and content decisions were controlled from that station's studios in the city's Mockingbird Hill district. Austin ABC affiliate KVUE (channel 24) provided the microwave link for channel 2's Stonewall transmitter and to Time Warner Cable's Austin system. The station's syndicated programming at the time during the dual-market focus usually consisted of lower-tier and older programs, in order to avoid syndication exclusivity blackouts in either market; after the station began to exclusively target San Antonio, its syndicated inventory has continued incorporate lower-profile programming somewhat, while the entire overnight schedule has been leased to paid programming distributors to run infomercials. The KENS and KVUE master controls, located in their respective cities, were completely independent from the Dallas campus and KBEJ.
When KBEJ first signed on, Time Warner Cable was not willing to place KBEJ on its Austin system, which caused protests from fans of Star Trek: Voyager, who were unable to watch the series' final season. This led to many fans downloading illegal copies of the episodes from the Internet or trading taped copies with friends in other cities with a UPN station. Although UPN frowned officially upon this practice, unofficially the network and its parent company, Paramount Pictures, turned a "blind eye" in this instance due to the circumstances of the situation. In 2001, Time Warner Cable signed a carriage agreement to transmit KBEJ, allowing cable subscribers in the market to once again be able to view UPN programming.
As a CW affiliate
On January 24, 2006, the Warner Bros. unit of Time Warner and CBS Corporation announced that the two companies would shut down The WB and UPN and combine the networks' respective programming to create a new "fifth" network called The CW. On March 28, Corridor Television signed an agreement to make KBEJ San Antonio's CW affiliate. While the station was also expected to serve as the new network's Austin affiliate, on April 18, it was announced that the market's WB affiliate KNVA (channel 54) would also be joining The CW. On April 7, 2006, the station changed its call letters to KCWX, in order to reflect its new affiliation.
Soon after The CW launched on September 18, 2006, Time Warner Cable began blacking out CW programming on KCWX in the Austin market, as KNVA owner LIN TV Corporation claimed syndication exclusivity for KNVA on October 2. Time Warner continued to carry KCWX's non-network programming until April 3, 2007, when Time Warner Cable officially dropped KCWX from its Austin channel lineup.
During its four-year run as a CW affiliate, KCWX aired the network's children's programming blocks, Kids' WB, and later The CW4Kids, in pattern. However, when the affiliation moved to KMYS in September 2010, the block then called Toonzai (which has since been replaced by Vortexx) was carried by that station over two days, running in a lower profile slot during the early morning hours on Sundays and Mondays, when the block's target audience of children between the ages of 8 and 12 years is usually asleep.
Switch to MyNetworkTV
In Sinclair Broadcast Group's annual report for 2009 that was released in March 2010, the company disclosed that it had signed an affiliation agreement to move the CW affiliation to its San Antonio MyNetworkTV affiliate KMYS on September 1, 2010. The affiliation switch was eventually moved up two days to August 30; on that date, the MyNetworkTV affiliation moved to KCWX. With the then-pending loss of its CW affiliation, Belo terminated its LMA with Corridor Television on April 24, 2010, forcing Corridor to operate KCWX on its own.
KCWX's run as a CW affiliate ended on August 28, 2010, with the conclusion of the network's Friday primetime programming (which the station had delayed to Saturday night to accommodate a Major League Baseball game). By that time, The CW had discontinued its Sunday primetime programming. As a result, KCWX's last official day of its CW affiliation – August 29, 2010 – featured mostly time-shifted programming from This TV. With the affiliation switch, WWE SmackDown briefly returned to KCWX for the first time since 2008 when The CW dropped the program; it moved to the Syfy cable channel one month later. As had been the case during its CW affiliation, KCWX does not serve the Austin market, as KBVO (channel 14) serves as that market's MyNetworkTV affiliate. KCWX is one of fifteen MyNetworkTV affiliates that have not adopted the network's "blue TV" logo and/or "My (channel number/region)" branding scheme (among the others include KPDX in Portland, Oregon, KSMO-TV in Kansas City, WPHL-TV in Philadelphia; KZJO in Seattle; WUAB in Cleveland; subchannel-only affiliates WYTV-TV in Youngstown, Ohio and WISC-TV in Madison, Wisconsin; and former affiliate KAUT-TV in Oklahoma City; KSMO-TV, WPHL-TV and WSTR-TV in Cincinnati each currently use the blue MyNetworkTV logo but not the "My" branding). In early 2011, KCWX launched a new website, www.kcwx.com.
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|2.1||1080i||16:9||KCWX-HD||Main KCWX programming / MyNetworkTV|
Shortly after KCWX signed on its digital signal, the station launched a second digital subchannel that would serve as the San Antonio affiliate of This TV.
Because it was granted an original construction permit after the Federal Communications Commission finalized the DTV allotment plan on April 21, 1997 , the station did not receive a companion channel for a digital television station. Instead, on June 12, 2009, which was the end of the digital television conversion period for full-service stations, KCWX was required to turn off its analog signal and turn on its digital signal. The station flash-cut its digital signal into operation on VHF channel 5; as it chose that allocation as its final digital channel selection, it had to wait for CBS affiliate KENS to shut down its analog signal before KCWX could bring its digital signal online, using PSIP to display its virtual channel as its former analog channel 2.
In late May 2009, in a filing with the FCC, Belo/Corridor stated that it would not have KCWX's digital signal ready to sign-on on June 12, instead expecting it to be ready on July 10 due to weather delays. Cable subscribers continued to view the station via a direct fiber connection of KCWX from KENS to the Time Warner Cable headend. Corridor/Belo was able to negotiate with the tower installer to finish the construction of the tower earlier than expected; KCWX's digital signal finally signed on the air on July 1, 2009. The signal reaches south of San Antonio and southeast to Nixon, north to Lampasas and west to Junction.
Since KCWX operates its digital signal on a low-band VHF channel, KCWX filed with FCC to increase the station's effective radiated power from 23.7 kW to 82.9 kW. It also filed an FCC application to launch two fill-in digital translators that would broadcast on VHF channel 8 and transmit at 300 watts – one in the immediate part of Austin and the other in the immediate part of San Antonio.
Outside of the MyNetworkTV schedule, syndicated programs broadcast by KCWX include Paternity Court, The Real, That '70s Show, and Castle among others. In January 2011, KCWX began airing roller derby matches from the Austin-based TXRD Lonestar Rollergirls, airing for two hours on Saturday nights. The station also carries regular season Major League Baseball games from the Texas Rangers produced by Dallas independent station KTXA.