|Waterloo/Cedar Rapids/Dubuque/Iowa City, Iowa|
|Channels||Digital: 7 (VHF)|
News 7 KWWL or KWWL News (newscasts)
The CW 7.2 (DT2)
MeTV KWWL 7.3 (on DT3)
|Slogan||We've Got You Covered|
7.2: The CW
7.4: Court TV
7.5: True Crime Network
(sale to Gray Television pending; to be resold to another owner thereafter)
(KWWL License, LLC)
|Sioux City: KTIV|
First air date
|November 29, 1953|
Former call signs
Former channel number(s)
7 (VHF, 1953–2009)
55 (UHF, 2003–2009)
DuMont (secondary, 1953–1956)
NTA (secondary, 1956–1961)
NBC Weather Plus (2004-2008)
This TV (2011–2016)
Call sign meaning
|Keep Watching WaterLoo|
(common, but inaccurate belief)
Waterloo Way Leads
|HAAT||601 m (1,972 ft)|
Public license information
KWWL, virtual and VHF digital channel 7, is a dual NBC/CW-affiliated television station licensed to Waterloo, Iowa, United States and serving the Eastern Iowa television market (Cedar Rapids–Waterloo–Iowa City–Dubuque). The station is owned by Quincy Media. KWWL's studios are located on East 5th Street in Waterloo, and its transmitter is located north of Rowley, Iowa, a city in Buchanan County. The station also operates newsrooms and sales offices in Cedar Rapids, Dubuque and Iowa City. On cable, KWWL is available on Mediacom channel 7 and in high definition on digital channel 807.
When the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) opened up bids for channel 7 in Waterloo, it was obvious that the license would either go to Sonderling Broadcasting, owner of KXEL (AM 1540), or R.J. McElroy and his Black Hawk Broadcasting Company, owner of KWWL (AM 1330, now KPTY). After a long legal battle, Black Hawk won the license, and KWWL-TV signed on for the first time on November 29, 1953—a Thanksgiving Day present to eastern Iowa.
The station was originally affiliated with NBC and the DuMont network. During the late 1950s, the station was also briefly affiliated with the NTA Film Network.
In 1980, Black Hawk agreed in principle to merge with Forward Communications. However, the FCC told Black Hawk and Forward that it would have to sell either KWWL-AM-FM or channel 7. The KWWL stations had been grandfathered under a 1970s FCC rule banning common ownership of radio and television stations. When Forward decided to keep the radio stations, Black Hawk sold channel 7, along with sister station KTIV in Sioux City, to AFLAC just before the merger closed. In 1997, AFLAC sold its entire broadcasting division, including KWWL, to Raycom Media.
In 2006, Raycom sold KWWL and a handful of other stations following its purchase of the Liberty Corporation in late 2005. Quincy Newspapers became owner of KWWL on July 1, 2006. The merger made QNI the owner of four of the NBC affiliates serving Iowa, along with flagship station WGEM-TV in Quincy, Illinois, KTTC in Rochester, Minnesota, and Black Hawk/AFLAC sibling KTIV, which had been sold to QNI in 1989.
KWWL has been digital-only since February 17, 2009. The "KWWL" callsign was legally transferred from the now-defunct analog channel 7 to the new digital channel 7, with the "KWWL-DT" callsign being permanently discontinued. However, the PSIP identifier still identifies KWWL's main channel on 7.1 as "KWWL-DT."
On November 1, 2010, the FCC granted KWWL a construction permit for a 300-watt digital fill-in translator on channel 7 (the same frequency as their main channel). The translator would serve the immediate part and areas northwest of Dubuque. The permit was later cancelled on June 6, 2013.
On January 7, 2021, Quincy Media announced that it had put itself up for sale. A few weeks later, Gray Television announced it had purchased Quincy for $925 million. As Gray already owns the market's KCRG-TV and both stations rank among the top four in ratings in the Cedar Rapids–Waterloo market, it intends to keep KCRG-TV and sell KWWL in order to satisfy FCC requirements. Gray's decision to sell KWWL comes as an ironic twist, given that they had acquired the station's previous owner Raycom in 2019.
In late 2014, the KWWL building underwent a major renovation project, which involved extensive interior and exterior work. The neighboring American Legion building was demolished to make way for a new parking lot. This also led to the building's "front" changing from the 4th Street side to the 5th Street side. Further exterior work restored the 4th Street side to how it appeared when the building was first constructed in the early 1900s. This included restoring original trim and detail work, as well as the large windows which surrounded half the building. On the interior, the newsroom and studio were relocated to the newly renovated and updated second floor. The new KWWL set debuted on October 26, 2016. A week later, demolition and remodeling of the first floor began. In July 2017, the remainder of KWWL's departments (Marketing, Sales and Administration) moved to their new location on the first floor. The full renovation of the studio building was completed on September 20, 2017.
KWWL-DT2 is the CW-affiliated second digital subchannel of KWWL, broadcasting in 720p high definition on digital and VHF channel 7.2. On cable, the subchannel is available on Mediacom digital channel 107 and in high definition on channel 819.
KWWL-DT2 began operations in November 2004 as an affiliate of NBC Weather Plus, airing national weather forecasts from the service as well as inserts of local weather forecasts from the KWWL weather center. However, on October 7, 2008, NBC Universal announced that they would shut down the NBC Weather Plus service by December 31, 2008, concurrently, in January 2009, that subchannel began airing RTV programming.
In late-April 2011, KWWL-DT2 dropped RTV and became affiliated with This TV.
In April 2016, KWWL announced that they would add programming from The CW on KWWL-DT2 beginning on September 12, 2016. At the same time, KWWL-DT2 ended its five-year affiliation with This TV. This resulted in an affiliation swap between KWWL-DT2 and Iowa City-based KWKB (channel 20), the Cedar Rapids market's former CW affiliate, which then became the This TV affiliate for the Cedar Rapids market.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP short name||Programming |
|7.1||1080i||16:9||KWWL-DT||Main KWWL programming / NBC|
|7.5||True Crime Network|
Syndicated programs aired by KWWL include Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy!, and Inside Edition.
On April 11, 2010, KWWL became the first station in eastern Iowa and the first QNI station to broadcast its newscasts in high definition. At this time, its updated its logo, removing the large blue circle that surrounded the 7.
1. Lipps, Rick and Weaver, Tim. KWWL Station History (https://web.archive.org/web/20050310021154/http://www.kwwl.com/Global/story.asp?S=277765) Date Accessed: July 30, 2005. Waterloo, Iowa: KWWL.