CityAmes, Iowa
BrandingCW Iowa 23; Local 5 News
First air date
January 20, 2001
(23 years ago)
Former call signs
KPWB-TV (2001–2006)
Former channel number(s)
  • Analog: 23 (UHF, 2001–2009)
  • The WB (2001–2006)
  • UPN (secondary, 2001–2003)
Call sign meaning
The CW Iowa
Technical information[2]
Licensing authority
Facility ID51502
  • 246 kW
  • 1,000 kW (application)
HAAT610 m (2,001 ft)
Transmitter coordinates41°49′48″N 93°36′54.6″W / 41.83000°N 93.615167°W / 41.83000; -93.615167
Public license information

KCWI-TV (channel 23) is a television station licensed to Ames, Iowa, United States, serving as the CW affiliate for the Des Moines area. It is owned by Tegna Inc. alongside ABC affiliate WOI-DT (channel 5), also licensed to Ames. The two stations share studios on Westown Parkway in West Des Moines; KCWI-TV's transmitter is located in Alleman, Iowa.


As a WB affiliate

Channel 23 first signed on the air on January 20, 2001, under the callsign KPWB-TV. The station originally maintained a primary affiliation with The WB and a secondary affiliation with UPN, and was owned by Pappas Telecasting. (This was the second Pappas-owned WB affiliate to use the KPWB-TV call sign; the company previously owned what is now KMAX-TV in Sacramento, California, from 1995 to 1998.) KPWB dropped UPN programming in 2003. Prior to the station's launch, this area had been without programming from The WB; from 1995 to 1999, The WB programming was available on Des Moines–Ames cable systems via the former superstation feed of WGN-TV in Chicago,[3][4][5][6] and from 1999 to 2001, via Iowa City affiliated KWKB.

Older KPWB logo, used from 2001 to 2006.

As a CW affiliate

On January 24, 2006, Time Warner and CBS Corporation announced the shutdowns of The WB and UPN effective that September. In place of these networks, both companies decided to form The CW, a new service that combined the most popular programming from both UPN and The WB with new series produced specifically for the network.[7] Just over one month later on February 22, 2006, News Corporation announced that it would start up MyNetworkTV, a sister network to Fox, which would be operated as a joint venture between Fox Television Stations and Twentieth Television. MyNetworkTV was created in order to give UPN and WB-affiliated stations that were not selected to join The CW another option besides becoming an independent station.[8]

It seemed very likely that KPWB would become The CW's Des Moines affiliate, as NBC affiliate WHO-TV (channel 13) had a secondary affiliation with UPN. On March 16, 2006, Pappas Telecasting signed an affiliation agreement to make KPWB the market's CW affiliate. A few months later, MyNetworkTV announced that it would affiliate with a new station also owned by Pappas, KDMI (then on channel 56), which began broadcasting that network on September 5, 2006. On September 18, 2006, the date that The CW officially launched, KPWB changed its call letters to KCWI-TV to reflect its new affiliation. In 2013, the station's logo switched from the generic version that The CW had used since its inception to a version utilizing the station's call letters.

After MyNetworkTV converted to a programming service in September 2009, KDMI dropped the affiliation in favor of joining This TV. WWE SmackDown, which aired on MyNetworkTV at the time, moved to KCWI airing in a Saturday prime time slot; the station stopped airing the show on September 11, 2010, three weeks before SmackDown itself moved from MyNetworkTV to Syfy that October. As a result of KDMI dropping the MyNetworkTV affiliation, Des Moines was the largest Nielsen media market without an over-the-air affiliate of the service until KDMI rejoined MyNetworkTV on October 3, 2011, though that station began carrying the service's programming four hours later than most MyNetworkTV affiliates upon rejoining the service (Nexstar Broadcasting Group–owned WLMT in Memphis also aired SmackDown in a manner very similar to KCWI after MyNetworkTV's original Memphis affiliate WPXX-TV dropped the programming service; WLMT's second digital subchannel eventually affiliated with the service after SmackDown moved to Syfy).

On October 24, 2014, Pappas reached a deal to sell KCWI-TV to Nexstar Broadcasting Group for $3.5 million. The deal separated the station from KDMI, but created a new duopoly with ABC affiliate WOI-DT (channel 5), by coincidence also licensed to Ames.[9] Shortly after the sale was announced, Harry and Stella Pappas sued to block the deal, arguing that the price undervalued KCWI.[10] The deal was approved by the FCC on December 19, 2014, but the completion of the deal was placed on hold due to the lawsuit. The sale was formally completed on March 14, 2016,[11] with Nexstar announcing shortly after that KCWI would leave its downtown Des Moines studios and consolidate operations with WOI at that station's West Des Moines facilities as of April 1.[12]

On December 3, 2018, Nexstar announced it would acquire the assets of Chicago-based Tribune Media—which had owned NBC affiliate WHO-DT (channel 13) since December 2013—for $6.4 billion in cash and debt. The merger required a divestiture in Des Moines, as FCC regulations prohibit common ownership of more than two stations in the same media market, or two or more of the four highest-rated stations in the market.[13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22]

On March 20, 2019, McLean, Virginia–based Tegna Inc. announced it would purchase WOI and KCWI from Nexstar upon consummation of the merger, as part of the company's sale of nineteen Nexstar- and Tribune-operated stations to Tegna and the E. W. Scripps Company in separate deals worth $1.32 billion; the WOI–KCWI duopoly, along with Moline, Illinois, sister station WQAD-TV (which had been owned by Tribune), would mark Tegna's first television properties to serve Iowa.[1][23] The sale was completed on September 19, 2019.


Since KCWI is a sister station to WOI, it is responsible for airing ABC programming when WOI is unable to or otherwise chooses not to air a program due to weather/emergency updates or local specials.

On August 24, 2016, KCWI launched an affiliation with Escape on its DT2 subchannel and Bounce on its DT3 subchannel.

During its time as KPWB, the station carried St. Louis Cardinals baseball games syndicated from KPLR-TV. It also aired select Chicago Cubs baseball games which were carried by WGN beginning in the 2016 season.


Further information: WOI-DT § News operation

KCWI presently broadcasts a total of 18+12 hours of local newscasts each week (a three-hour local weekday morning newscast from 7 to 10 a.m. and a nightly half hour newscast at 9 p.m.). KCWI did not broadcast any news programming until April 2012, when the station debuted a three-hour morning news and interview show called Great Day on KCWI, now airing four hours each weekday from 6 to 10 a.m. since September 2013. In addition to news, weather, sports and traffic reports, Great Day features guest interviews, animal segments, comedians, music and various videos. The station did not previously offer a prime time newscast following CW network programming, with syndicated sitcom reruns airing instead during the 9 p.m. timeslot. When Nexstar completed its sale of the station, the show's name was changed to The KCWI23-HD Morning Show.

On April 11, 2016, KCWI's morning show was changed once again, this time to CW Iowa Live airing from 7 to 10 a.m. with the 6 a.m. hour now being occupied by infomercials to avoid competition with WOI-DT's morning show. The newly revamped show retained Michelle Brown and Lou Sipolt, but meteorologist Jason Parkin was let go as a result of the changes made; the show also retains the variety show feel of Great Day with some local segments by WOI's news team. The following week, on April 18, KCWI began airing a nightly half-hour 9 p.m. newscast also produced by WOI and also competes against the WHO-DT produced newscast on Fox affiliate KDSM-TV and KCCI's half-hour newscast that it airs on its MeTV subchannel.

Technical information


The station's signal is multiplexed:

Subchannels of KCWI-TV[24]
Channel Res. Aspect Short name Programming
23.1 720p 16:9 KCWI-HD The CW
23.2 480i HSN HSN
23.3 Bounce Bounce TV
23.4 Quest Quest
23.5 4:3 GetTV Get
23.6 16:9 ShopLC Shop LC
5.05 720p WOI-HD ABC (WOI-DT)
5.10 480i DABL Dabl
  Simulcast of subchannels of another station

In February 2020, a fifth subchannel of KCWI-TV was launched as a UHF simulcast of WOI-DT in order to alleviate reception issues with WOI's channel 5 VHF signal.

Analog-to-digital conversion

KCWI-TV shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 23, on June 12, 2009, and "flash-cut" its digital signal into operation UHF channel 23.[25][26] 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. Due to this abnormality, the station's digital signal was carried as a subchannel of now former sister station KDMI.


  1. ^ a b "Nexstar Selling 19 TVs In 15 Markets For .32B". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheckMedia. March 20, 2019. Retrieved March 20, 2019.
  2. ^ "Facility Technical Data for KCWI-TV". Licensing and Management System. Federal Communications Commission.
  3. ^ Time Warner Takes Crucial Step Toward New Network Television: A pact with superstation WGN-TV gives it access to 73% of homes. Analysts say that will still leave gaps., Los Angeles Times, December 4, 1993. Retrieved December 10, 2010.
  4. ^ Moss, Linda (September 20, 1999). "WGN Drops WB, Adds Movies, Sitcoms". Multichannel News. Cahners Business Information. Archived from the original on March 28, 2015. Retrieved June 22, 2013.
  5. ^ Burnside, MaryWade (October 7, 1999). "Last night Dawson's last ? WGN ceases to air WB programming". The Charleston Gazette. The Daily Gazette Company. Archived from the original on March 28, 2015. Retrieved June 22, 2013.
  6. ^ Rutenberg, Jim (May 17, 2000). "TV NOTES; A Mix for WB". The New York Times. Retrieved December 10, 2010.
  7. ^ UPN and WB to Combine, Forming New TV Network, The New York Times, January 24, 2006.
  8. ^ Fox to Launch My Network TV, News Corporation, February 22, 2006.
  9. ^ "Application For Consent To Assignment Of Broadcast Station Construction Permit Or License". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. November 3, 2014. Retrieved November 4, 2014.
  10. ^ Malone, Michael (November 19, 2014). "Pappas Files Suit to Block KCWI Des Moines Sale". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved November 21, 2014.
  11. ^ Consummation Notice, CDBS Public Access, Federal Communications Commission, March 16, 2016, Retrieved March 16, 2016.
  12. ^ Meinch, Timothy (March 21, 2016). "KCWI-TV has new owner, morning show changes planned". The Des Moines Register. Retrieved March 25, 2016.
  13. ^ "Acquisition of Tribune Media Company" (PDF). Nexstar Media Group. December 3, 2018.
  14. ^ Miller, Mark K. (December 3, 2018). "Nexstar Buying Tribune Media For $6.4 Billion". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheck Media.
  15. ^ White, Peter; Hayes, Dade (December 3, 2018). "Nexstar Confirms $4.1B Tribune Media Acquisition To Become Leading Local TV Station Owner". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Media Corporation.
  16. ^ Smith, Gerry; Ahmed, Nabila; Newcomer, Eric (December 3, 2018). "Nexstar to buy WGN owner Tribune Media for $4.1 billion". Chicago Tribune. Tribune Publishing. Bloomberg News.
  17. ^ Panchadar, Arjun; Rai, Sonam (December 3, 2018). "Nexstar to buy Tribune Media for $4.1 billion". Reuters.
  18. ^ Lafayette, Jon (December 3, 2018). "Nexstar Announces Deal to Buy Tribune for $6.4B". Broadcasting & Cable. NewBay Media.
  19. ^ Jacobson, Adam (December 3, 2018). "It's Official: Nexstar Takes Tribune In Billion-Dollar Stock Deal". Radio-Television Business Report. Streamline-RBR, Inc.
  20. ^ Jessell, Harry A.; Miller, Mark K. (December 3, 2018). "Nexstar To Spin Off $1B In Stations". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheck Media.
  21. ^ "Nexstar Media Group Enters into Definitive Agreement to Acquire Tribune Media Company for $6.4 Billion in Accretive Transaction Creating the Nation's Largest Local Television Broadcaster and Local Media Company". Nexstar Media Group. December 3, 2018. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
  22. ^ "Nexstar Media Group Enters Into Definitive Agreement To Acquire Tribune Media Company". Tribune Media. December 3, 2018. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
  23. ^ Ahmed, Nabila; Sakoui, Anousha (March 20, 2019). "Nexstar to Sell Stations to Tegna, Scripps for $1.32 Billion". Bloomberg News. Bloomberg, L.P.
  24. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for KCWI
  25. ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on August 29, 2013. Retrieved March 24, 2012.
  26. ^ Final Digital TV (DTV) Channel Plan from FCC97-115