KBCW
KBCW logo.svg

MeTV Bay Area Logo.svg
CitySan Francisco, California
Channels
BrandingKBCW 44 Cable 12
Programming
Affiliations
Ownership
Owner
KPIX-TV; CBS News Bay Area
History
First air date
January 2, 1968 (54 years ago) (1968-01-02)
Former call signs
KBHK-TV (1967–2006)
Former channel number(s)
  • Analog:
  • 44 (UHF, 1968–2009)
  • Digital:
  • 45 (UHF, 1998–2020)
Call sign meaning
"Bay Area's CW"
Technical information
Licensing authority
FCC
Facility ID69619
ERP1,000 kW
HAAT490.3 m (1,609 ft)
Transmitter coordinates37°45′19″N 122°27′10″W / 37.75528°N 122.45278°W / 37.75528; -122.45278 (KBCW)Coordinates: 37°45′19″N 122°27′10″W / 37.75528°N 122.45278°W / 37.75528; -122.45278 (KBCW)
Links
Public license information
Websitewww.cbsnews.com/sanfrancisco/cwsanfrancisco/

KBCW (channel 44) is a television station licensed to San Francisco, California, United States, serving the San Francisco Bay Area as an affiliate of The CW. It is owned by the CBS News and Stations group alongside CBS owned-and-operated station KPIX-TV (channel 5), also licensed to San Francisco. Both stations share studios at Broadway and Battery Street, just north of San Francisco's Financial District, while KBCW's transmitter is located atop Sutro Tower.

As KBHK, channel 44 was one of the UHF stations built by Kaiser Broadcasting and one of just two commercial UHF stations in the Bay Area to survive a boom-and-bust cycle of new stations in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It was acquired by United Television in 1982 and was one of the launch owned-and-operated stations for the United Paramount Network in 1995. The station has been under its present ownership since 2001 and part of The CW since its 2006 launch.

History

As an independent station

On November 14, 1962, Kaiser Broadcasting, a division of Oakland-based Kaiser Industries and owner of San Francisco radio station KFOG (104.5 FM), obtained a construction permit to build channel 44 in San Francisco.[1] Before the construction permit bore the call letters KBHK, it was originally KFOG-TV and then KHJK-TV, in honor of Kaiser Industries founder Henry J. Kaiser.[2]

KBHK-TV debuted January 2, 1968.[3] It had been intended that Kaiser sign on two stations at once, with WKBF-TV in Cleveland also planned to launch the same day (weather delays in Cleveland pushed back its launch). Channel 44's flagship local program was Tonight in San Francisco.[4] The studios at 420 Taylor Street had a broadcasting heritage that predated channel 44 by decades; the facility was built for NBC and its San Francisco station, KPO/KNBC/KNBR, and was also used for a time by KGO. KGO moved to new radio and television quarters in the 1950s and KNBR to Fox Plaza in 1967, leaving the facility vacant.[5]

With channel 44, Kaiser became the latest broadcaster to enter what was then a crowded, meager existence on the UHF dial in the Bay Area. By 1968, three other UHF stations operated in San Francisco itself alongside one in San Jose (KGSC) and one educational outlet in San Mateo, the underpowered KCSM-TV. In 1966, Concord's KCFT-TV channel 42 had existed for all of seven months. With signals that were often hindered by the region's hilly terrain, ratings were low, and all but children and sports fans were hard gets for the stations. KBHK-TV was no exception; three live entertainment programs had failed by 1969, as had a live 10 p.m. newscast,[6] but ratings were increasing.[7] However, as channels 20, 32 and 38 all sank under the weight of financial losses, it was Kaiser's station that remained afloat and operating.[8] Originally broadcasting from San Bruno Mountain, KBHK-TV moved to Sutro Tower upon its completion, with the San Bruno mast used to broadcast KDTV on channel 60 when it started in 1975.[9]

Kaiser Broadcasting merged with Chicago-based Field Communications in 1973 as part of a joint venture between the companies. In 1977, Kaiser sold its interest in the stations to Field for $42.625 million, making Field the sole owner of KBHK.[10] Field also retained the headquarters of its broadcast division in San Francisco.[11] After Field put its stations up for sale in 1982, KBHK was sold to United Television, a division of Chris-Craft Industries, in 1983.[11] United offered $50 million to KQED to switch channel 9 and 44, moving the commercial station to VHF, in 1984; the offer was rejected as too low.[12]

After nearly 25 years at 420 Taylor Street, KBHK moved to 650 California Street in 1992.[13] The station had been looking to move out for some time; in 1988, it had reached a deal with KQED to purchase its former studios when it relocated,[14] but it changed its mind and opted to default on the purchase.[15]

As a UPN affiliate

KBHK was located at 650 California Street from 1992 to 2001
KBHK was located at 650 California Street from 1992 to 2001

In 1993, Chris-Craft/United Television partnered with Paramount Pictures (which would merge with Viacom in 1994) to launch the United Paramount Network (UPN), with the United Television independent stations becoming charter outlets of the network when it launched on January 16, 1995.[16]

In 2000, Viacom bought Chris-Craft's 50% ownership interest in UPN (which Chris-Craft had wholly owned, until Viacom acquired a stake in the network in 1996). On August 12 of that year, Chris-Craft sold its UPN stations to the Fox Television Stations subsidiary of News Corporation for $5.5 billion;[17] the deal was finalized on July 31, 2001. The deal created immediate ownership cap problems for Fox, which sought to have duopolies in markets where it already owned Fox stations; further, Fox could not convert KBHK to the Fox network because KTVU had a long-term affiliation agreement.[18] Similarly, Viacom, which had purchased CBS and KPIX a year earlier, wanted to have duopolies in more markets.[19] As a result, Fox traded KBHK-TV to Viacom in exchange for KTXH in Houston and WDCA in Washington, D.C., which gave Fox duopolies in those markets.[18] The FCC approved the deal in August 2001 on the condition that Viacom sell one of its San Francisco radio stations.[20] After the sale was consummated, KBHK moved from California Street to Grey Rock, the KPIX studios on Battery Street.[21]

As a CW affiliate

On January 24, 2006, the Warner Bros. unit of Time Warner and CBS Corporation (which had been created as a result of the split of Viacom at the start of the year) 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; the day of the announcement, it was revealed that 11 of CBS Corporation's 15 UPN affiliates, including KBHK, would become CW stations.[22][23] To reflect the new affiliation, the call letters were changed from KBHK to KBCW on July 1, 2006.[21]

On December 4, 2019, CBS Corporation and Viacom remerged into ViacomCBS (now Paramount Global).[24]

Local programming

Sports

When channel 44 launched, it was the home of the Golden State Warriors and Oakland Athletics.[4][25] The A's aired on KBHK from 1968 to 1972[26] and again from 1982 to 1984,[27][28] while the Warriors broadcast on channel 44 from 1968 to and again from 1981 to 1984.[29][30] The station also aired three televised games in the last season of the National Hockey League's California Golden Seals in 1976[31] preseason games from the NFL's San Francisco 49ers in 1973,[32] and the United States Football League's Oakland Invaders.[33] More recently, in 2022, the station aired Bay Area Panthers indoor football home games.[34]

Newscasts

Main article: KPIX-TV § News operation

KBHK briefly produced a nightly newscast in the late 1960s, which was canceled due to low ratings.[6]

On March 3, 2008, KPIX began producing a nightly half-hour primetime newscast at 10:00 p.m. for KBCW; this program competed against KTVU's longer-established, hour-long newscast.[35] In July 2014, the weeknight newscasts were renamed Bay Area Nightbeat. While the newscast came to an end on December 6, 2019, the station provided an hour of CBSN Bay Area weeknights at 10 until cancelling it in June 2020. In January 2012, KPIX-TV started a short-lived hour-long extension of its weekend morning newscast for KBCW airing on Sundays at 8:30 a.m., which ended in 2015.[36]

A 10:00 p.m. newscast was re-introduced in July 2022 as part of the launch of the CBS News Now format.[37]

In September 2022, KPIX began producing a 7–9 a.m. extension of its morning newscast on KBCW.

Technical information

Subchannels

The station's digital signal is multiplexed:

Subchannels of KBCW[38]
Channel Video Aspect Short name Programming
44.1 1080i 16:9 KBCW-DT Main KBCW programming / The CW
44.2 480i Comet Comet
44.3 MeTV MeTV
44.4 TBD TBD
44.5 Circle Circle

Analog-to-digital conversion

KBHK-DT began broadcasting on channel 45 on April 15, 1999.[39] KBCW shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 44, on June 12, 2009, as part of the federally mandated transition from analog to digital television.[40]

In 2019, KBCW relocated to digital channel 28 as part of the FCC's spectrum reallocation.[38]

References

  1. ^ FCC History Cards for KBCW
  2. ^ Newton, Dwight (March 13, 1966). "Kaiser TV On the Way". San Francisco Examiner. p. II:5. Archived from the original on September 27, 2021. Retrieved September 26, 2021.
  3. ^ Newton, Dwight (January 2, 1968). "Channel 44 Opens Today". San Francisco Examiner. p. 55. Archived from the original on September 27, 2021. Retrieved September 26, 2021.
  4. ^ a b Newton, Dwight (October 16, 1967). "New KBHK Warms Up". San Francisco Examiner. p. 19. Archived from the original on September 27, 2021. Retrieved September 26, 2021.
  5. ^ Newton, Dwight (December 6, 1967). "New Life at 420 Taylor". San Francisco Examiner. p. 75. Archived from the original on September 27, 2021. Retrieved September 26, 2021.
  6. ^ a b Newton, Dwight (April 27, 1969). "Year of failure for high-number television". San Francisco Examiner. p. B5. Archived from the original on September 27, 2021. Retrieved September 26, 2021.
  7. ^ Newton, Dwight (May 8, 1969). "The Year of The Brochure". San Francisco Examiner. p. 37. Archived from the original on September 27, 2021. Retrieved September 26, 2021.
  8. ^ Newton, Dwight (March 16, 1972). "A Reborning At KEMO-TV". San Francisco Examiner. p. 19. Archived from the original on September 27, 2021. Retrieved September 26, 2021.
  9. ^ Newton, Dwight (August 10, 1975). "Spanish station: TViva!!". San Francisco Sunday Examiner and Chronicle. p. C10. Archived from the original on September 27, 2021. Retrieved September 26, 2021.
  10. ^ "Station sales rise with curve of air billings" (PDF). Broadcasting. January 31, 1977. p. 23. Archived (PDF) from the original on March 8, 2021. Retrieved September 26, 2021.
  11. ^ a b Mann, Bill (July 26, 1983). "Sales of KDIA and KBHK hold promise for Bay Area". Oakland Tribune. p. C-6. Archived from the original on September 27, 2021. Retrieved September 26, 2021.
  12. ^ "KQED to study UHF signals". San Francisco Examiner. May 24, 1985. p. B10. Archived from the original on September 27, 2021. Retrieved September 26, 2021.
  13. ^ Calandra, Thom (August 16, 1992). "It's an office renter's market". San Francisco Examiner. pp. E-1, E-6. Archived from the original on September 27, 2021. Retrieved September 26, 2021.
  14. ^ Watson, Lloyd (October 28, 1988). "KQED Finds a New Home, Three Times Bigger". San Francisco Chronicle. p. C3.
  15. ^ Caen, Herb (November 26, 1991). "The Rambling Wreck". San Francisco Chronicle. p. D1.
  16. ^ "Paramount Plans to Begin Fifth TV Network in 1995". San Francisco Chronicle. October 27, 1993. p. A1.
  17. ^ Hofmeister, Sallie (August 12, 2000). "News Corp. to Buy Chris-Craft Parent for $5.5 Billion, Outbidding Viacom". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on October 4, 2013. Retrieved March 23, 2011.
  18. ^ a b Trigoboff, Dan (August 13, 2001). "Fox swaps for a pair of duops" (PDF). Broadcasting & Cable. p. 9. Archived (PDF) from the original on March 8, 2021. Retrieved September 26, 2021.
  19. ^ McConnell, Bill; Ault, Susanne (July 30, 2001). "Fox TV's 'triopoly' strategy" (PDF). Broadcasting & Cable. pp. 5, 6. Archived (PDF) from the original on March 8, 2021. Retrieved September 26, 2021.
  20. ^ McConnell, Bill (October 26, 2001). "FCC clears Fox, Viacom trade". Broadcasting & Cable. Archived from the original on September 27, 2021. Retrieved September 26, 2021.
  21. ^ a b Mann, Bill (June 25, 2006). "Q Tube". The Press Democrat. ProQuest 282279915 – via ProQuest.
  22. ^ Seid, Jessica (January 24, 2006). "'Gilmore Girls' meet 'Smackdown'; CW Network to combine WB, UPN in CBS-Warner venture beginning in September". CNN Money. CNN. Archived from the original on March 16, 2017. Retrieved August 3, 2020.
  23. ^ Carter, Bill (January 24, 2006). "UPN and WB to Combine, Forming New TV Network". The New York Times. Archived from the original on October 17, 2015. Retrieved February 22, 2017.
  24. ^ Weprin, Alex (December 4, 2019). "Bob Bakish's Memo to ViacomCBS Staff: Merger "a Historic Moment"". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on April 6, 2020. Retrieved April 7, 2020.
  25. ^ "Finley's Radio-Video Pact Worth Million". San Francisco Examiner. November 17, 1967. p. 53. Archived from the original on September 27, 2021. Retrieved September 26, 2021.
  26. ^ Gordon, Frank (March 7, 1973). "Frankly Speaking". The Register. p. 9A. Archived from the original on September 27, 2021. Retrieved September 26, 2021.
  27. ^ Bergman, Ron (March 26, 1982). "Television war brewing". Oakland Tribune. p. F-3. Archived from the original on September 27, 2021. Retrieved September 26, 2021.
  28. ^ Bergman, Ron (November 8, 1984). "A's games will switch to Channel 5". Oakland Tribune. p. E-4. Archived from the original on September 26, 2021. Retrieved September 26, 2021.
  29. ^ "Oakland A's switch TV to Channel 44". San Francisco Examiner. September 18, 1981. p. F1. Archived from the original on September 26, 2021. Retrieved September 26, 2021.
  30. ^ "Hoop happenings". San Francisco Examiner. July 18, 1984. p. F9. Archived from the original on September 26, 2021. Retrieved September 26, 2021.
  31. ^ "Seals on TV". Contra Costa Times. January 14, 1976. p. 27. Archived from the original on September 26, 2021. Retrieved September 25, 2021.
  32. ^ Foster, Bob (August 10, 1973). "49ers Put Channel 44 In the TV Big Time". The Times. p. 20. Archived from the original on September 26, 2021. Retrieved September 24, 2021.
  33. ^ Cooney, Frank (March 18, 1983). "Invaders finally make TV debut". San Francisco Examiner. pp. F1, F3. Archived from the original on September 26, 2021. Retrieved September 25, 2021.
  34. ^ Hahn, Michael (March 21, 2022). "Bay Area Panthers announce broadcast partners for 2022 season". bayareapanthers.com. Archived from the original on July 10, 2022. Retrieved July 10, 2022.
  35. ^ TVNewsCheck Staff (February 23, 2008). "KPIX San Francisco launches news on KBCW". Archived from the original on April 3, 2015.
  36. ^ "KPIX Producing KBCW Sunday Morning News". TVNewsCheck. January 4, 2012. Archived from the original on September 26, 2021. Retrieved September 26, 2021.
  37. ^ Malone, Michael (July 21, 2022). "CBS-Owned Stations Debut Primetime News in Ten Markets". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved July 21, 2022.
  38. ^ a b "RabbitEars TV". rabbitears.info. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved October 23, 2013.
  39. ^ Bowser, Andrew (August 2, 1999). "Bumpy digital ride for KBHK-DT" (PDF). Broadcasting & Cable. p. 32. Archived (PDF) from the original on March 8, 2021. Retrieved September 26, 2021.
  40. ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and Second Rounds" (PDF). Federal Communications Commission. May 23, 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 29, 2013. Retrieved August 29, 2021.