Kswb fox promo.png
BrandingFox 5 San Diego (cable channel)
OwnerNexstar Media Group
(Tribune Media Company[2])
FoundedMarch 21, 1983
First air date
October 1, 1984
(37 years ago)
Former call signs
KSDT (CP, 3/21/1983–9/22/1983)
KTTY (9/22/1983–1996)
Former channel number(s)
  • Analog:
  • 69 (UHF, 1984–2009)
  • Digital:
  • 19 (UHF, 2000–2019)
Call sign meaning
San Diego's WB
(former affiliation)
Technical information
Licensing authority
Facility ID58827
ERP350 kW
HAAT596 m (1,955 ft)
Transmitter coordinates32°41′47″N 116°56′10″W / 32.69639°N 116.93611°W / 32.69639; -116.93611Coordinates: 32°41′47″N 116°56′10″W / 32.69639°N 116.93611°W / 32.69639; -116.93611
Public license information

KSWB-TV (channel 69) is a television station in San Diego, California, United States, affiliated with the Fox network. Owned by Nexstar Media Group, the station maintains studios on Engineer Road in the city's Kearny Mesa section, and its transmitter is located southeast of Spring Valley.

KSWB-TV is branded as Fox 5 San Diego, in reference to its primary cable channel position in the market on most local cable providers (it is also carried in Baja California, Mexico on Izzi channel 92). Until 2011, the logo bug shown during the station's newscasts rotated between its common cable channel position and its over-the-air virtual channel number, 69.


Early years

The station first signed on the air on October 1, 1984, as KTTY. The station originally operated from studios located on Frontage Road in Chula Vista. KTTY was originally owned by San Diego Television, a group of investors headed by James Harmon,[3] brother of former KFMB-TV co-owner Helen Alvarez Smith.[4] It operated as an independent station; it maintained a general entertainment format featuring a mix of dramas, classic movies, cartoons and religious programming that the other stations in the market declined to air. KTTY also aired a significant amount of paid programming. In part because of its weaker programming and high channel position (not to mention that local cable companies did not place the station in prime positions either), the station suffered from low ratings throughout its run as an independent station, struggling to compete with established independents XETV (channel 6) and KUSI-TV (channel 51). On January 11, 1995, KTTY became the San Diego charter affiliate of The WB, an upstart broadcast network that was majority owned by the Warner Bros. Entertainment division of Time Warner.[5]

However, San Diego Television fell into bankruptcy, and Tribune Broadcasting, whose corporate parent—the Tribune Company—owned the remaining stake in The WB that Time Warner did not maintain, purchased the station at a bankruptcy auction in 1995 for $70.5 million, outbidding UPN co-owner and the Chris-Craft Industries subsidiary United Television.[6][7] Other bidders also included New World Communications (then-owner of KNSD), Newsweb Corporation, Sunshine Broadcasting Inc. and another UPN co-owner Viacom.[7] After purchasing KTTY, Tribune took control of it in 1996; on August 16 of that year, the company changed the station's call letters to KSWB-TV (for "San Diego's WB," which served as the station's slogan for most of its tenure with The WB).[8] After Tribune took ownership of channel 69, the company overhauled the station completely, improved its signal, and negotiated with the cable companies for a better channel position (on most systems, channel 5). They also added many off-network sitcoms to its schedule, with talk and court shows being mixed in as well throughout the remainder of the 1990s.

Transition to The CW

KSWB's CW-era logo, used from September 18, 2006 to July 31, 2008.
KSWB's CW-era logo, used from September 18, 2006 to July 31, 2008.

On January 24, 2006, Time Warner and CBS Corporation announced that the two companies would shut down the broadcast networks that they had respectively owned, The WB and UPN. In their place, the companies would combine The WB and UPN's respective programming to create a new "fifth" network called The CW (a name that represents the first initials of each of the network's corporate parents), which would also include newer series developed for the network.[9][10] With the announcement, The CW signed a ten-year affiliation agreement with Tribune Broadcasting for 16 of the group's 19 WB affiliates, with KSWB-TV named as the network's San Diego affiliate.[10][11]

The CW officially launched on September 18, 2006 (Entravision-owned UPN affiliate XHUPN-TV in nearby Tecate, Baja California, Mexico joined MyNetworkTV, another startup network run by Fox Entertainment Group that launched two weeks prior to The CW's debut, and changed its callsign to XHDTV-TV). Unlike many other former WB affiliates that also had call letters relating to its former affiliation, KSWB chose to retain the callsign that references the now-defunct network. The station also served as the local broadcaster of games from the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers until it switched to Fox, which were produced by Los Angeles sister station KTLA (KTLA itself would lose the broadcast rights to the Clippers to regional sports networks Fox Sports West and Prime Ticket in 2009).

Affiliation swap with XETV

During a seminar by Sam Zell on March 25, 2008, it was revealed that Tribune Broadcasting (which Zell acquired as part of his 2007 takeover of the Tribune Company, which would result in the start of Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings that lasted four years until 2012 due to debt from Zell's leveraged buyout) had signed an affiliation agreement with Fox to make KSWB the network's new San Diego affiliate.[12] This caught station management at Tijuana-licensed XETV off guard as there was no knowledge about the impending loss of its Fox affiliation until the announcement was made public (that station's status as a Fox affiliate was contested unsuccessfully in a previous attempt by KUSI-TV to strip the affiliation from XETV in a 1995 U.S. Court of Appeals filing).[13] Fox later cited concerns with having its programming airing on a Mexican-licensed station (which happened six years earlier when XETV's sister stations in Matamoros and Nuevo Laredo were stripped of their affiliations), even though XETV had broadcast its programming almost entirely in English for over half a century and was Fox's charter affiliate in the market since the network's October 1986 inception.[14]

At first, there was speculation that CW network programming in the San Diego market would be brought in out-of-market from KSWB's Los Angeles sister station KTLA, which was carried on cable locally at the time on Cox Communications channel 14.[15] Two other scenarios were also being entertained, including speculation that KUSI-TV would pick up the CW affiliation or that KSWB would re-activate its second digital subchannel (which had been silent since The Tube Music Network abruptly ceased operations in October 2007) and move the network's programming there. On July 2, 2008, Bay City Television/Grupo Televisa signed an affiliation agreement to bring The CW's programming over to XETV. With the Fox affiliation agreement, KSWB-TV's ten-year contract with The CW was rendered void, ending the station's two-year association with the network as it joined Fox on August 1, 2008, directly swapping affiliations with XETV as the CW affiliation for the market was moved over to that station.[16] In turn, XETV replaced KSWB as the default CW affiliate for DirecTV subscribers in the few areas of the western United States where a CW-affiliated station is not receivable over-the-air or through cable television.

Sinclair purchase attempt; sale to Nexstar

Further information: Attempted acquisition of Tribune Media by Sinclair Broadcast Group

Sinclair Broadcast Group announced their purchase of Tribune Media on May 8, 2017 for $3.9 billion, plus the assumption of $2.7 billion in Tribune debt.[17][18] In order to meet regulatory approval for the merger, Fox Television Stations agreed to purchase KSWB from Sinclair on May 9, 2018 as part of a $910 million deal.[19] Both transactions were nullified on August 9, 2018 when Tribune Media terminated the Sinclair deal and filed a breach of contract lawsuit;[20] this followed a public rejection of the merger by FCC chairman Ajit Pai[21] and the commission voting to put the transactions up for a formal hearing.[22]

Following the merger's collapse, Nexstar Media Group announced a $6.4 billion all-cash purchase of Tribune Media on December 3, 2018.[23][24] The sale was completed on September 19, 2019 with KSWB not subject to any additional transactions.[25]


Syndicated programming

Outside of the Fox network schedule, syndicated programming broadcast by KSWB-TV (as of October 2020) includes Rachael Ray, The Drew Barrymore Show, Judge Judy, Two and a Half Men, Family Guy, Daily Mail TV, Modern Family, Bob's Burgers and The Goldbergs.

News operation

KSWB-TV presently broadcasts 59¾ hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 11¼ hours each weekday and 1¾ hours each on Saturdays and Sundays); in addition, the station produces the 15-minute sports highlight program Fox 5 Sports Final, which airs every night at 10:45 p.m.

As a WB affiliate, KSWB launched its first news department on September 27, 1999 with the debut of a half-hour 10:00 p.m. newscast (called WB News at Ten); the news operation was formed as a result of a corporate request by Tribune for its WB-affiliated stations that did not already have news departments to begin producing their own local newscasts. This program was designed to compete against an established hour-long prime time newscast on KUSI and gained a competitor in XETV-TV's upstart news department when it launched its own newscast at 10:00 p.m. that December. On March 7, 2005, the station debuted The WB Morning Show, a simulcast of Los Angeles sister station KTLA's weekday morning newscast interspersed with half-hourly local news inserts presented by a solo anchor from KSWB's San Diego studios.[26]

On September 22, 2005, KSWB announced that its news department would be shut down, laying off 29 of the department's 30 staffers (with the exception of Jeff Powers, who continued to anchor the 10:00 p.m. newscast until he left the station). The final 10:00 p.m. newscast produced by KSWB aired on October 28, 2005. Production of the prime time newscast was turned over to NBC station KNSD (channel 39) through a news share agreement on October 31. The broadcast retained the WB News at Ten title and the 615 Music-composed music package Firepower News (which was originally commissioned by KSWB for its in-house newscasts), but now originated from KNSD's then-facility at 225 Broadway in downtown San Diego (local cut-ins during The WB Morning Show continued to originate from KSWB's Kearny Mesa studios).[27] The agreement between KNSD and KSWB was similar to outsourced newscasts on other Tribune stations such as WPHL-TV in Philadelphia (whose 10:00 p.m. newscast became produced by WCAU following the 2005 shutdown of WPHL's news department, before production was turned over to WPVI-TV in 2012) and KRCW-TV in Portland (whose 10:00 p.m. newscast was produced by KGW from 2005 to 2019 when production was transferred to Nexstar sister station KOIN[28]).

To correspond with KSWB's affiliation change to The CW, the KTLA morning news simulcast and the KNSD-produced 10:00 p.m. news were accordingly renamed as The CW Morning Show and CW News at Ten on September 18, 2006. KNSD reporter Anne State assumed co-anchoring duties until April 2008, when she left for Chicago's CBS owned-and-operated station WBBM-TV. Vic Salazar then solo anchored the 10:00 p.m. broadcast for the final months of KNSD's production of the program, until he left that station. In addition, the station also produced a public affairs show called Take 5, that aired Sunday evenings at 10:30 p.m.

After the announcement that KSWB would become San Diego's new Fox affiliate, the station reassumed production responsibilities for its newscasts, with the KTLA simulcast and KNSD-produced 10:00 p.m. news airing for the last time on July 31, 2008. The second incarnation of the news department launched upon the August 1 affiliation switch with the debuts of a new weekday morning news program (initially airing from 5:00 to 9:00 a.m.) and a now hour-long 10:00 p.m. newscast, which have both been produced in high definition since the return of in-house news operations.[29][30] The station also began using a logo and graphics package by Hothaus Creative based on the standardized look of Fox's owned-and-operated stations (variants of the KSWB graphics were adapted for use by other Fox affiliates owned by Tribune and some previously owned by Newport Television).

On September 14, 2009, KSWB debuted an hour-long 6:00 p.m. newscast that competes against local newscasts on KUSI-TV (an hour-long program), KNSD and KGTV (channel 10) (both a half-hour at 6:00 p.m.), KFMB-TV (channel 8) (at 6:30) and evening network newscasts on the latter three stations. This was part of a companywide expansion of early evening and in some cases, midday newscasts on Tribune's Fox affiliates (KCPQ in Seattle was the last of the company's seven Fox stations to expand its news programming with the June 2011 debut of a 5:00 p.m. newscast). This was followed two years later on September 26, 2011 by the launch of an hour-long 5:00 p.m. newscast on weeknights; that broadcast was quietly expanded to weekend evenings in May 2014. On September 8, 2014, KSWB debuted two one-hour newscasts at 1:00 and 4:00 p.m. on weekday afternoons.[31]

KSWB-TV is described as a CNN affiliate by the cable news network.[32] Both news operations conduct live shots, air packages, publish stories online, and more with each other. CNN has an "author" page on KSWB-TV's website.[33]

The station has many elements to it that reflect Southern Californian culture. They frequently feature celebrities as guests on their morning news program, many of them San Diego natives. Past guests include The Black Eyed Peas,[34] Bobby Lee, who starred in Mad TV which used to air on the station via the Fox network,[35] and YouTube star brothers Brian, and Brandon Awadis.[36] During the morning broadcast, some weather segments are branded as the "Surf Report". Some female KSWB-TV on-air personalities have been featured in annual "Hottest News Chick" contests.[37] The morning show also features a recurring live interview segment with KTLA entertainment reporter Sam Rubin. The top "water cooler talk" entertainment stories of the morning is the topic of discussion.[38]

Notable former on-air staff

Technical information


The station's digital signal is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect Short name Programming[1]
69.1 720p 16:9 KSWB Main KSWB-TV programming / Fox
69.2 480i 4:3 Antenna Antenna TV
69.3 16:9 CourtTV Court TV
69.4 ION Ion Television
69.5 Rewind Rewind TV

Upon receiving the Fox affiliation, KSWB surpassed Syracuse, New York affiliate WSYT (which broadcast on UHF channel 68) as the highest channel allocation of any Fox station in the country (and was tied with Atlanta owned-and-operated station WUPA for the highest channel number of any CW affiliate during KSWB's two-year tenure with that network). Since the digital transition, it retains the highest virtual channel number out of Fox's stations.

On October 1, 2010, the station began to carry This TV on its second digital subchannel, the first time since a short-lived affiliation with The Tube Music Network prior to that service ending operations in October 2007 that KSWB had carried a digital subchannel. The station then added the Tribune-owned classic television service Antenna TV to a new 69.3 subchannel upon that network's January 1, 2011 debut. It moved to KSWB-DT2 on November 1, 2019 upon the launch of Court TV under a deal with Tribune on all their stations made before the Nexstar merger went into effect, with This TV being removed upon that date.

Analog-to-digital conversion

KSWB shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 69, 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 five months to June 12, 2009). The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 19.[40][41] Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 69, which was among the high band UHF channels (52-69) that were removed from broadcasting use as a result of the transition.

See also


  1. ^ a b RabbitEars - Digital TV Market Listing for KSWB-TV
  2. ^ Commercial Broadcast Stations Biennial Ownership Report (FCC Form 323), Federal Communications Commission, January 31, 2020, p. 11, retrieved February 2, 2020
  3. ^ "1985 Television Factbook" (PDF). Retrieved 2021-11-26.
  4. ^ "Imperial Airlines Sells 70% of Stock to Group". Los Angeles Times. January 11, 1986. Retrieved November 26, 2021.
  5. ^ "Warner Bros., Tribune Broadcasting & Jamie Kellner to Launch WB Network in 1994" (Press release). Warner Bros./Tribune Broadcasting. PR Newswire. November 2, 1993. Retrieved December 10, 2010 – via The Free Library.
  6. ^ "For $70.5 Million: Tribune Co. Buying KTTY-TV In San Diego". Chicago Tribune. Tribune Publishing. August 30, 1995. Retrieved October 10, 2014.
  7. ^ a b Rathbun, Elizabeth (September 4, 1995). "Tribune's $70.5 million takes San Diego UHF" (PDF). Broadcasting & Cable. Vol. 125, no. 36. pp. 7–8. Retrieved October 10, 2021 – via worldradiohistory.com.
  8. ^ "Tribune Broadcasting Joins with Warner Bros. to Launch Fifth Television Network" (Press release). Warner Bros./Tribune Broadcasting. PR Newswire. Retrieved December 10, 2010 – via The Free Library.
  9. ^ Jessica Seid (January 24, 2006). "'Gilmore Girls' meet 'Smackdown'; CW Network to combine WB, UPN in CBS-Warner venture beginning in September". CNNMoney.com. Time Warner.
  10. ^ a b Bill Carter (January 24, 2006). "UPN and WB to Combine, Forming New TV Network". The New York Times.
  11. ^ Jennifer Davies; Karla Peterson (January 25, 2006). "Struggling WB, UPN to merge as the CW". U-T San Diego. Copley Press.
  12. ^ Karla Peterson (March 25, 2008). "Fox switching affiliates in S.D." U-T San Diego. Copley Press.
  13. ^ "XETV, KSWB Battle For Fox Affiliation In San Diego". Radio Matthew. Archived from the original on 2008-06-09.
  14. ^ Karla Peterson (August 1, 2008). "Trading places: Fox, CW switch network channels". U-T San Diego. Copley Press. Archived from the original on August 14, 2014.
  15. ^ Gary Sassaman (July 3, 2008). "It's official: XETV picks up The CW affiliation..." Innocent Bystander.
  16. ^ "XETV San Diego Becomes CW Affil Aug. 1". TVWeek. Dexter Canfield Media. July 3, 2008.
  17. ^ Stephen Battaglio (May 8, 2017). "Sinclair Broadcast Group to buy Tribune Media for $3.9 billion plus debt". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 6, 2017.
  18. ^ Liana Baker; Jessica Toonkel (May 7, 2017). "Sinclair Broadcast nears deal for Tribune Media". Reuters. Retrieved June 6, 2017.
  19. ^ Hayes, Dade (May 9, 2018). "21st Century Fox Buys Seven Local TV Stations From Sinclair For $910 Million". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  20. ^ Mark K. Miller (August 9, 2018). "Tribune Kills Sinclair Merger, Files Suit". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheck Media.
  21. ^ Benjamin Hart (July 16, 2018). "FCC Throws Wrench Into Sinclair Media Megadeal". New York. New York Media, LLC. Retrieved August 9, 2018.
  22. ^ Lorraine Mirabella (July 18, 2018). "FCC orders hearing even as Sinclair changes plans to sell TV stations to address concerns about Tribune deal". Baltimore Sun. Tronc. Retrieved August 9, 2018.
  23. ^ Peter White; Dade Hayes (December 3, 2018). "Nexstar Confirms $4.1B Tribune Media Acquisition To Become Leading Local TV Station Owner". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Media Corporation.
  24. ^ Jon Lafayette (December 3, 2018). "Nexstar Announces Deal to Buy Tribune for $6.4B". Broadcasting & Cable. NewBay Media.
  25. ^ Mark K. Miller (September 19, 2019). "Nexstar Closes On Tribune Merger". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheck Media.
  26. ^ Preston Turegano (February 2, 2005). "'KTLA Morning News' set to debut on Tribune-owned KSWB in March". U-T San Diego. Copley Press.
  27. ^ Robert P. Laurence (September 22, 2005). "KSWB news changes hands; 30 to lose jobs". U-T San Diego. Copley Press.
  28. ^ "Wondering about the KGW-KOIN switcheroo on Portland's CW 10 p.m. Newscast? Here's what happened". 26 September 2019.
  29. ^ Karla Peterson (July 3, 2008). "Fox and CW changing channels". U-T San Diego. Copley Press. Archived from the original on February 2, 2013.
  30. ^ Karla Peterson (August 25, 2008). "'Fox 5': First the bad news and now the good news?". U-T San Diego. Copley Press. Archived from the original on September 16, 2008.
  31. ^ "KSWB San Diego Adds 1 & 4PM Newscasts," from TVNewsCheck, 9/8/2014
  32. ^ "Local News - U.S./West Region". CNN.com. 2007-06-29. Retrieved 2022-06-10.
  33. ^ "CNN Wire". 5 January 2020.
  34. ^ "Black Eyed Peas show off new 'Masters of the Sun' comic on FOX 5". 25 July 2017.
  35. ^ "Local comedian Bobby Lee stops by the FOX 5 studio". 6 November 2015.
  36. ^ "Local YouTube stars make millions with prank videos". 17 January 2017.
  37. ^ "No Complaints over Radio Station's 'Hottest News Chicks in San Diego' Contest".
  38. ^ "Sam Rubin breaks down Playboys decision to change up the magazine". 13 October 2015.
  39. ^ https://variety.com/2022/tv/news/kendis-gibson-msnbc-cbs-miami-anchor-1235155928/
  40. ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and Second Rounds" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-08-29. Retrieved 2012-03-24.
  41. ^ CDBS Print