KMTW, virtual channel 36 (UHF digital channel 35), is a MyNetworkTV-affiliated television station serving Wichita, Kansas, United States that is licensed to Hutchinson. The station is owned by the Mercury Broadcasting Company; the Sinclair Broadcast Group, which owns Fox affiliate KSAS-TV (channel 24), operates KMTW under a local marketing agreement. The two stations share studio facilities located on North West Street in northwestern Wichita; KMTW maintains transmitter facilities located in rural southwestern Harvey County (northwest of Sedgwick). On cable, the station is available on Cox Communications channel 6 and AT&T U-verse channel 36, and in high definition on U-verse channel 1036 and Cox digital channel 2006.

History

The station first signed on the air on January 6, 2001 as KSCC. In a rarity for a market of Wichita's size, it originally operated as a UPN owned-and-operated station through Viacom's Paramount Stations Group subsidiary. However, that company only held control of KSCC's license during its first five months on the air, having financed its launch and overseen construction. Just prior to the station's sign-on, its license assets were sold to Mercury Broadcasting, which immediately entered into a local marketing agreement with Clear Channel Communications, owner of Fox affiliate KSAS-TV (channel 24) at the time and controller of several radio stations that were once owned by Viacom. As a result, Clear Channel officially operated the station from the very beginning. In June 2001, Mercury Broadcasting would take over ownership of KSCC. Prior to the station's sign-on, UPN programming was not available in the market as it did not have a UPN affiliate of its own.

In 2003, Clear Channel attempted to buy the station outright, but was denied a "failing station" waiver by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). This special approval for the sale was necessary because the Wichita-Hutchinson designated market area has only seven "unique" full-power television stations. The full-power stations operating outside the immediate metropolitan area all operate as satellites of each of Wichita's four major network affiliates (KSNW (channel 3), KAKE (channel 10), KWCH (channel 12) and KSAS-TV), and the FCC considers the parent and all of its satellites together as one station. That number of unique full-power stations is normally not enough to legally support a duopoly and Clear Channel did not attempt to find a buyer for KSCC that did not need a "failing station" waiver.

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 network called The CW.[2][3] On February 22, 2006, News Corporation announced the launch of another new network called MyNetworkTV, which would be operated by Fox Television Stations and its syndication division Twentieth Television. MyNetworkTV was created to compete against The CW as well as to give UPN and WB stations that would not become CW affiliates another option besides converting to independent stations.[4][5] KSCC was announced as Wichita's MyNetworkTV charter affiliate on June 15, and subsequently changed its callsign to KMTW on August 1. The station affiliated with MyNetworkTV when it launched on September 5; the area's WB affiliate KWCV (channel 33, now KSCW-DT) joined The CW when it launched on September 18.

On April 20, 2007, Clear Channel entered into an agreement to sell its television stations (including KSAS and its LMA with KMTW) to Newport Television, a holding company controlled by private equity firm Providence Equity Partners;[6] the sale was finalized on March 14, 2008. On July 19, 2012, Newport Television announced the sale of KSAS-TV, along with the acquisition of the station's LMA with KMTW, to the Sinclair Broadcast Group as part of a group deal worth an estimated $1 billion involving the sale of 22 stations to Sinclair, the Nexstar Broadcasting Group and Cox Media Group.[7] Included in the acquisition of the LMA was an option for Sinclair to acquire KMTW outright from Mercury Broadcasting should the FCC relax its media ownership rules to allow a duopoly between one of the four highest-rated stations and a station rated below the top four in markets with fewer than nine full-power commercial stations with or without a waiver. The KSAS purchase and the transaction of the LMA was completed on December 3.[8]

Digital television

Digital channels

The station's digital channel is multiplexed:

ChannelVideoAspectPSIP Short NameProgramming[9]
36.1720p16:9KMTW-DTMain KMTW programming / MyNetworkTV
36.2480i4:3CNTV-SDGetTV

On June 23, 2014, the Sinclair Broadcast Group entered into an affiliation agreement with Sony Pictures Television Networks to carry the classic movie service GetTV on 33 of the company's stations, including KMTW.[10][2] The network was added on a newly created third digital subchannel on July 5, 2014.

Analog-to-digital conversion

KMTW shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 36, on February 17, 2009, the original target date in which full-power television stations in the United States were to transition from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate (which was later pushed back to June 12, 2009). The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 35.[2][2] Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 36.

Programming

Syndicated programs broadcast by KMTW include Maury, Jerry Springer, Crime Watch Daily, Judge Mathis and The People's Court.

Newscasts

Until January 31, 2011, KMTW aired a rebroadcast of KSAS's half-hour 9:00 p.m. newscast, which was produced by CBS affiliate KWCH-DT through a news share agreement, nightly at 12:00 a.m. The outsourcing arrangement expired on December 31, 2011, with NBC affiliate KSNW re-assuming production responsibilities for the KSAS newscasts at that time (KSNW had previously produced KSAS's first primetime newscast attempt from 1997 to 1999).