KWES-TV, channel 9, commonly referred to as NewsWest 9, is the NBC affiliated television station in the Midland/Odessa area. The station is owned by Raycom Media. It also operates a satellite station, KWAB-TV (virtual channel 4), in Big Spring, Texas. Syndicated programming on KWES/KWAB includes: The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Doctors, Inside Edition, and Dr. Phil among others.
The station began broadcasting on December 1, 1958 as KVKM-TV in Monahans, Texas, an ABC affiliate. It was originally owned by Tri-Cities Broadcasters, which co-owned KVKM radio (1340 AM; now KCKM 1330). Initially broadcasting from a 777 ft (237 m) tower between Kermit and Monahans (shared with the radio station), KVKM-TV moved to a 1,080 ft (330 m) tower at the edge of the Caprock on February 1, 1963.
Grayson Enterprises (named for Sidney Grayson but after 1964 not owned) bought the station in 1969 and renamed it KMOM-TV, for Monahans-Odessa-Midland. Grayson added other stations to his operation during the late 1960s and 1970s, including KCCN (now KKEA) in Honolulu, Hawaii, KLBK-TV in Lubbock, Texas, and KTXS-TV in Abilene/Sweetwater, Texas, among others.
Under Grayson's ownership, KVKM added two satellite stations: KWAB, and KAVE-TV (channel 6) in Carlsbad, New Mexico. The latter station served as a KVKM/KMOM satellite from 1966 until 1969, when KVKM was sold to Grayson, and KAVE became a satellite of KELP-TV El Paso. KAVE later sold to Stanley Marsh 3 and continued as a satellite of KVIA-TV in El Paso, Texas. (KAVE is now KOCT, a satellite of KOAT-TV in Albuquerque, New Mexico.)
However, Grayson Enterprises ran into license renewal trouble in 1968, 1971, 1974, and 1977 for some of its stations. These stations were accused of fraudulent billing, program and transmitter log fabrication, main studio violations, failure to make required technical tests, and other issues. The stations had their renewals deferred and hearings ordered as a result.
The case was settled in what was then described as a "distress sale", in which Grayson's stations were broken up and sold to minority-controlled groups (nowadays known as historically-underutilized groups) at a reduced price. The parameters of such a sale were defined by this sell-off. As a result, Grayson sold both stations to Permian Basin Television Corporation in 1980, while KLBK and KTXS went to Prima, Inc. (whose principals were African American).
The station swapped affiliations with KMID-TV (channel 2) in 1981 and joined NBC. Simultaneous with the affiliation swap, channel 9 changed its call letters to KTPX-TV and moved its studio operations to a new building on County Road 127 in Midland. Permian Basin Television sold the station to MSP Television in 1985. Former owner Drewry Communications Group bought the station in 1991. On August 16, 1993, the call letters were changed to KWES-TV. (KTPX-TV is now assigned to the Ion Television affiliate in Tulsa, Oklahoma.)
In addition to NBC programming, KWES became the home of Dallas Cowboys preseason television broadcasts in 2011, gaining the rights from KPEJ-TV. The rights gave Drewry all Dallas Cowboys preseason rights in West Texas, as KTLE-LP had held the Spanish-language rights since 2006. KWES held Houston Texans preseason TV rights in 2002 and 2003 (during a period when NBC did not hold any NFL rights), but low ratings were produced due to tape delaying the broadcasts until Sunday afternoon. KWES chose to let go of the Texans preseason rights, and they weren't picked up again until 2010 when KPEJ picked them up. KWES lost the rights to the English broadcasts of Cowboys preseason games in 2013.
KWES lost rights to LATV on December 29, 2013, but they were able to gain the rights to The CW from KWWT. As a result, KWES now airs The CW programming on KWES-DT2 with The CW Plus feed. On June 12, 2014, KWES-DT2's CW feed was made available to local Dish Network subscribers on Channel 10.
KWAB began operations in 1956 as KBST-TV, owned by the Big Spring Herald along with KBST radio (1490 AM). The station carried programming from all three networks; however, it was hampered by the presence of KMID-TV in Midland, which carried NBC and some ABC programming, and KOSA-TV (channel 7) in Odessa, which carried CBS, which limited KBST's network programming. Consequently, the station had little success. The radio station was eventually sold to the Snyder Corporation (co-owned by Ted Snyder, who later acquired KARN in Little Rock, Arkansas, and B. Winston Wrinkle), while a half interest in KBST-TV was transferred to Dub Rogers' Texas Telecasting, owner of KDUB-TV in Lubbock (now KLBK-TV) and part-owner of KVER-TV in Clovis, New Mexico (now KVIH-TV). Rogers then changed the call letters of the station to KEDY-TV.
The studios and tower were located at the edge of Howard College campus at 2500 Kentucky Way. Local shows were produced on and off until the late 1960s. Otherwise, KEDY largely became a semi-satellite of KDUB. In 1961, Rogers sold his stations to Grayson Enterprises. Soon afterward, the station took its current KWAB callsign (for Webb Air Force Base), and switched from simulcasting KDUB to KPAR-TV (now KTXS-TV) in Sweetwater. However, both KDUB and KPAR were primarily affiliated with CBS (though KPAR also had a secondary ABC affiliation), resulting at times in KWAB duplicating KOSA. Soon after Grayson's acquisition of KVKM-TV, KWAB began to simulcast that station, alleviating the duplication.
For many years, the stations did some Big Spring production, most of which aired on a delayed basis. Today in Big Spring was recorded in Big Spring and fed back to the Midland studios over the company microwave system. This microwave link proved pivotal for KWES during the February 2008 Alon USA refinery explosion, allowing the station to provide live skycam images and live pictures in the hours immediately after the blast.
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|Main programming / NBC|
KWES-TV & KWAB-TV shut down their analog signals respectively on June 12, 2009, the official date in which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital channel allocations post-transition are as follows:
- KWES-TV shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 9; the station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition VHF channel 13 to former analog channel 9 for post-transition operations.
- KWAB-TV shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 4; the station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 33. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analog channel 4.