KQCW-DT, virtual channel 19 (UHF digital channel 20), is a CW-affiliated television station serving Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States that is licensed to Muskogee. The station is owned by Griffin Communications, as part of a duopoly with CBS affiliate KOTV-DT (channel 6). The two stations share studio facilities located at the Griffin Communications Media Center on East Cameron Street and North Boston Avenue in downtown Tulsa; KQCW maintains transmitter facilities located near State Highway 16 in rural northwestern Muskogee County.
Even though KQCW operates a digital signal of its own, the broadcasting radius of the station's full-power signal does not reach certain portions of northeastern Oklahoma located northwest of Tulsa proper. Therefore, the station can also be seen through a simulcast on KOTV's second digital subchannel (UHF channel 45.2 or virtual channel 6.2 via PSIP) in order to reach the entire market. On cable, the station is available on Cox Communications channel 12 and AT&T U-verse channel 19. There is a high definition feed available on Cox Communications digital channel 707.
As a WB affiliate
The station first signed on the air on September 12, 1999 as KWBT. Founded by the Cascade Broadcasting Group, it originally operated as the market's first full-time affiliate of The WB. KWBT took the WB affiliation from KWHB (channel 47), which carried only the network's family-oriented primetime programs (such as 7th Heaven, The Parent 'Hood and Sister, Sister), as well as weekday afternoon and Saturday morning children's programs from the network's Kids' WB block. Because of KWHB's ownership by religious broadcaster LeSEA, that station preempted network programs deemed unfit for it to broadcast under the company's strict content standards; however, Tulsa area viewers were able to watch WB programs that were preempted by KWHB on cable and satellite through Chicago-based superstation WGN, which carried WB programming nationally from the network's January 1995 launch until October 1999, one month after KWBT's launch.
On October 8, 2005, KWBT was purchased by Oklahoma City-based Griffin Communications (founding owners of Oklahoma City's CBS affiliate KWTV), creating a duopoly with CBS affiliate KOTV (channel 6), which Griffin had purchased from the Belo Corporation four years earlier in October 2000.
As a CW affiliate
On January 24, 2006, CBS Corporation (which split from Viacom in December 2005, and was the parent company of UPN) and Time Warner's Warner Bros. Entertainment (the division that operated The WB) announced that they would dissolve UPN and The WB, and move some of their programming to a newly created network, The CW. On April 10 of that year, network management confirmed that KQCW would become The CW's affiliate in the Tulsa market. On May 23 of that year, Griffin Communications filed an application with the Federal Communications Commission to have the station's call letters changed from KWBT to KQCW, the callsign change became official on June 30.
In the fall of 2007, due to confusion among viewers on where to find KQCW over-the-air and on cable, the station rebranded itself as "CW12/19" ("12" referring to its channel number on Cox Communications, and "19" referring to its analog, now virtual digital, channel number). The usage of its cable channel within the branding dates back to the final years of its WB affiliation, when the station was branded as "Tulsa's WB19, Cable 12". In the summer of 2009, the station changed its branding to "Tulsa's CW", omitting the channel number entirely.
Channel 19.2 ceased operation in Tulsa on March 9, 2016 at 8:30 AM according to a message broadcast on that channel which included the statement "At this time, we are unaware of ThisTV relocating to any other broadcast channel in the Tulsa area."
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|19.1||1080i||16:9||KQCW-HD||Main KQCW-DT programming / The CW|
|19.2||480i||4:3||unknown||ThisTV programming on 19.2 ended 9 March 2016|
|19.3||unknown||unknown||unknown||19.3 is now listed on the station web site|
Because it was granted an original construction permit after the FCC finalized the digital television allotment plan on April 21, 1997, the station did not receive a companion channel for its digital signal. Instead on February 17, 2009, during the first round of broadcast stations ceasing analog operations on the originally scheduled date of the digital television conversion period for full-power stations, KQCW was required to turn off its analog signal and turn on its digital signal (a method called a "flash-cut"). KQCW elected to choose UHF channel 20 as its final digital channel selection. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 19. Prior to then, KQCW's signal was broadcast on a second digital subchannel of KOTV. However, despite KQCW now having its own physical digital channel, the station is still carried on KOTV-DT channel 6.2.
Syndicated programs broadcast by KQCW-DT include Mike and Molly, The Real, Access Hollywood, Entertainment Tonight and Inside Edition. The station also broadcasts the local tourism program Explore Tulsa, which airs Saturdays.
For a short time starting in September 2006, KQCW began airing The Bold and the Beautiful at 12:30 p.m. Sister station KOTV has not aired the show in daytime for several years as a result of the station's expansion of its weekday noon newscast to one hour in the early 1990s. CBS eventually allowed KOTV to air the soap opera late at night at 1:05 a.m.
The station aired live lottery drawings from the Oklahoma Lottery nightly from August 2006 until the fall of 2007, after which the drawings became cable-exclusive to The Cox Channel, a local origination channel carried on Cox Communications channel 3. Oklahoma City's KOKH-TV (channel 25) and KOCB (channel 34) also aired the live drawings until September 2009, when the Oklahoma Lottery discontinued televised drawings in favor of drawing the winning numbers using a random number generator.
KOTV produces 8½ hours of locally produced newscasts each week for KQCW (with 1½ hours on weekdays, and a half-hour each on Saturdays and Sundays). On September 18, 2006, KQCW began airing a simulcast the KRMG Morning Show, in a partnership with local news/talk radio station KRMG (720 AM), on weekday mornings from 6:00-7:00 a.m. On that same date, KOTV began to produce a half-hour nightly primetime newscast at 9 p.m. for KQCW, which competes against Fox affiliate KOKI's in-house hour-long newscast in that timeslot. On January 7, 2008, KOTV shifted the 8:00 to 9:00 a.m. hour of its Six in the Morning weekday morning newscast to KQCW, in order for KOTV to be able to comply with the new requirements by CBS that its affiliates carry the entire two-hour broadcast of The Early Show (which was replaced by CBS This Morning in January 2012).
On October 24, 2010, KOTV began broadcasting its newscasts in 16:9 widescreen standard definition. The KQCW broadcasts were included in the upgrade. On January 19, 2013, following the completion of the move of the duopoly's operations into the Griffin Communications Media Center, KQCW and KOTV became the last two television stations in the Tulsa market to upgrade their news programming to full high definition. In September 2013, KOTV began simulcasting the 6:00 to 8:00 a.m. block of Six in the Morning on KQCW.