WKYT News (newscasts)
The CW Lexington (on DT2)
|Affiliations||27.1: CBS (secondary 1958−1968)|
27.2: The CW
27.4: Weather radar
First air date
|September 30, 1957|
Former call signs
Former channel number(s)
27 (UHF, 1957–2009)
13 (VHF, 2002–2010)
36 (UHF, 2010–2019)
|ABC (1957–1968, secondary until 1958)|
UPN (DT2, 2004–2006)
Call sign meaning
|HAAT||296.2 m (972 ft)|
Public license information
WKYT-TV (channel 27) is a television station in Lexington, Kentucky, United States, affiliated with CBS and The CW. The station is owned by Gray Television, and maintains studios and transmitter facilities on Winchester Road (US 60) near I-75 on the east side of Lexington.
WKYT-TV is also received on cable and satellite throughout much of eastern, southern and northern Kentucky. In addition, the station's newscasts (with the exception of the weekday 5–6 a.m. and 10 a.m., and weekend morning programs) are carried on Charter Spectrum digital channel 422 in portions of Northern Kentucky located near the Cincinnati metropolitan area in order to provide that area's residents with more news from Kentucky (although some newscasts, especially on weekend evenings, may be delayed or preempted due to sporting events carried by CBS).
WYMT-TV (channel 57) in Hazard, Kentucky operates as a semi-satellite of WKYT-TV, extending the CBS signal into the Eastern Kentucky Coalfield region. As such, it clears all network programming as provided through WKYT but airs a separate offering of syndicated programming; there are also separate local newscasts, commercial inserts and legal station identifications. Although WYMT maintains its own studios on Black Gold Boulevard in Hazard, master control and some internal operations are based at WKYT's facilities.
WKYT signed on September 30, 1957, as WKXP-TV, owned by Community Broadcast Partners, a local group headed by Frederic Gregg, Charles Wright and Harry Feingold. It was a primary CBS affiliate, sharing ABC with WLEX-TV.
After only one year, Community Broadcast Partners merged with what eventually became Taft Broadcasting. The new owners changed the calls to the current WKYT-TV. Taft also switched the station's primary affiliation to ABC, relegating CBS to secondary status. This was a very unusual arrangement for a two-station market, especially one as small as Lexington. In most two-station markets, ABC, as the smallest and weakest network, was relegated to secondary clearances on one or both of the existing stations. However, then-ABC president Leonard Goldenson had been friends with the Taft family for many years, and it is likely that the Tafts wanted to get their new purchase in line with most of their other stations (including company flagship WKRC-TV in nearby Cincinnati, now, quite coincidentally, a fellow CBS affiliate itself). Until the 1961 sign-on of WLKY in Louisville, viewers in that market could watch the ABC schedule in full if they had reception of WKYT, as CBS affiliate WHAS-TV then only affiliated with the network secondarily, and mainly for sports coverage.
Kentucky Central Insurance Company bought the station in 1967, returning the station to local ownership. When WBLG-TV (channel 62, now WTVQ-DT, channel 36) started in 1968, WKYT opted to return to CBS full-time, no longer having the Taft incentive to stay with the then-third-rated ABC. In 1985, Kentucky Central bought WKYH-TV in Hazard, changed its calls to WYMT-TV and made it a semi-satellite of WKYT. While WYMT has its own studios in Hazard and airs its own newscasts, some internal operations are shared with WKYT. WKYT was the first, and currently only, Lexington station with any presence at all in the eastern portion of the market.
In 1993, after a protracted fraud investigation forced Kentucky Central into bankruptcy, WKYT and WYMT were acquired by Gray Television. At this stage, WKYT was branded 'KYT' instead of WKYT. When Louisville's WHAS-TV switched to ABC in September 1990, WKYT officially became the longest-tenured CBS affiliate in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
WKYT-DT2, branded as The CW Lexington, is the CW-affiliated second digital subchannel of WKYT-TV, broadcasting in 720p high definition on UHF channel 21.2 (or virtual channel 27.2).
The subchannel was originally branded as "UPN Lexington" (or "UKYT") and served as Lexington's UPN affiliate from September 2004 until September 2006, taking the affiliation from WBLU-LP (channel 62). That month, the subchannel was rebranded as "CWKYT" (a portmanteau of the subchannel's affiliated network and the station's callsign) until January 2013; there was no competition for the CW affiliation locally, as WBLU's owner refused to affiliate with the network (taking the MyNetworkTV affiliation instead), and the market's other stations had not yet established their subchannels. From 1999 until October 2006, Campbellsville-licensed WB affiliate WBKI-TV was the network's affiliate in the area as the station marketed as a dual-market station with Louisville after their 1999 transmitter move to Raywick.
WBKI-TV dropped on Lexington cable systems under new affiliation terms inaugurated by The CW upon their September 2006 debut and replacement for The WB and UPN. The new network required at minimum, an affiliate of The CW Plus, or a locally-originated subchannel in every market, and the discontinuation of dual-market affiliates. DirecTV customers were formerly assigned WNUV from Baltimore to watch The WB or CW until Gray Television forced the carriage of WKYT-DT2 as a condition of carrying their main CBS channel. Likewise, the same situation existed with Dish, which gave viewers WPIX in New York before Gray acquired carriage for WKYT-DT2 on Dish.
On August 21, 2007, WKYT began broadcasting WKYT-DT2 in HD, one of the first in the nation to carry two channels in high definition, albeit both in 720p, below CBS and The CW's master 1080i resolutions (though both channels remained in 1080i on cable). By 2019, both channels were in 1080i over-the-air with improvements overall in multiplexer technology, along with WKYT-DT4, which carries an image of the station's "First Alert Weather" radar full-time, and does not require much overall video refreshing as a still image with radar imagery moving across the screen.
In addition to the CBS network schedule, syndicated programming on WKYT include Jeopardy!, and Wheel of Fortune (the latter two programs are distributed by the network's corporate cousin CBS Media Ventures).
Until 2021, WKYT aired The Young and the Restless at 1 p.m. (a half hour later than most CBS affiliates in the Eastern Time Zone) due to its then hour-long midday newscast at noon; as such, The Bold and the Beautiful aired on a one-day delay (three days with the Friday editions) at 10:30 a.m. (three hours earlier than the network's recommended Eastern Time Zone slot), following the station's 10 a.m. newscast. Since then, the 10 a.m. newscast expanded to a full hour and the noon newscast was reduced to a half-hour, allowing Y&R and B&B to air in pattern.
Outside of the CW network schedule, syndicated programming on WKYT-DT2 includes Hot Bench, Judge Jerry, 25 Words or Less, The Goldbergs, and Schitt's Creek, among others. In addition to The CW's Saturday morning programming block, WKYT-DT2 also broadcasts the Fox network's Xploration Station block on Sunday mornings since it was turned down by the local Fox affiliate, WDKY-TV, as well as the regionally produced Kentucky Afield.
WKYT regularly broadcasts Kentucky Wildcats content, due partly to its status as the television flagship of the UK Sports Network (historically the Big Blue Sports Network), and also due to the Southeastern Conference's broadcast contracts with CBS Sports. In addition to CBS Sports content, both WKYT and WYMT also broadcast the syndicated package of SEC college football and men's basketball games from Raycom Sports (formerly Jefferson-Pilot and Lincoln Financial Sports) from the 1980s until 2009, when Raycom lost the SEC syndication rights. In 2009, the station began carrying the ESPN Plus-operated syndication service SEC TV (formerly SEC Network), which ceased operations in 2014 because of the launch of the new SEC Network, which is the cable- and satellite-only channel operated by ESPN.
From 2014 to 2019, WKYT and WKYT-DT2 served as the local alternating homes of Raycom's ACC Network, the syndicated package of Atlantic Coast Conference football and basketball. This ended with the launch of ESPN's pay TV-only ACC Network in August 2019.
WKYT gained a major ratings windfall in the 1981–82 season, when CBS won the rights to the NCAA basketball tournament after more than a decade on NBC. With the Kentucky Wildcats men's basketball team as a longtime fixture in the tournament, NCAA Tournament games on WKYT are frequently among the most-watched programs in the market during the tournament's run. The station has also aired the Wildcats' victories in the 1996, 1998, and 2012 NCAA national championship games. Due to the 2011 partnership between the NCAA, CBS, and the Turner Broadcasting-owned cable networks TBS, TNT, and TruTV, the station's local ratings on the tournament are affected.
The KHSAA High School Boys and Girls Sweet 16 Basketball Championship Games are aired on WKYT-DT2 in March.
WKYT broadcasts 41 hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with seven hours each weekday and three hours each on Saturdays and Sundays); in regards to the number of hours devoted to news programming, it is the highest newscast output among Lexington's broadcast television stations. WKYT holds Kentucky's most powerful doppler weather radar, known as the "WKYT First Alert Defender", which outruns NBC affiliate WLEX-TV's radar. The radar is currently out of commission. WKYT had a news share agreement with the local Fox affiliate WDKY-TV (which is owned by the Nexstar Media Group) (until January 2022 when Nexstar started an In-House News Department for WDKY) and produced weekday morning 7:00 a.m. and nightly 10:00 p.m. newscasts for that station. The prime time newscast debuted in 1995 when Fox requested its affiliates to air local news. The morning newscast was added in March 2007.
On April 11, 2007, WKYT began broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition, beginning with the 11:00 p.m. newscast, becoming the first station in Kentucky to carry local newscasts in HD. The WDKY newscasts were included in the upgrade. In late 2012 WKYT dropped the 27 Newsfirst name they have used for decades, rebranded themselves as WKYT News. At the same time, they implemented a new graphics scheme and changed their theme music and bumpers to Gari Media Group's "CBS Enforcer" package.
On November 10, 2012, WKYT launched a new weekend morning newscast from 6:00 to 8:00 a.m. on Saturdays and from 8:00 to 9:00 a.m. on Sundays. In early February 2013, WKYT launched an hour-long 4:00 p.m. newscast; previously they had a 35-minute online-only newscast which was named 27Newsfirst Live Online which aired at 4:00 p.m. When they decided to begin a 4:00 p.m. newscast on TV, they became the first station in Lexington to air news at 4:00 p.m. for one hour (as WLEX airs its 4:00 p.m. newscasts for 30 minutes).
WKYT leads in total-day and late-night news ratings except during times when the Olympics air on NBC. That network's local affiliate WLEX-TV leads weekday mornings. The two stations battle each other for the evening news lead in this historically UHF-exclusive market. Most of the local stations' viewership has been via cable; even in digital, it is difficult for the over-the-air analog UHF signals to penetrate the far eastern portion of the market, which is largely rugged, mountainous terrain. WKYT relies mainly on WYMT to cover this part of the market.
Currently, WKYT has the highest-rated 11:00 p.m. newscast in the market, but runs second in late night news to the 10:00 p.m. newscast it formerly produced for WDKY.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|27.1||1080i||16:9||WKYT-HD||Main WKYT-TV programming / CBS|
|27.2||CWKYT||WKYT-DT2 / The CW|
|27.4||1080i||RADAR||"First Alert Weather" Radar|
WKYT-TV shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 27, on April 16, 2009. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition VHF channel 13. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 27. On August 22, 2009, WKYT-DT filed a petition of rulemaking with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to move to digital UHF channel 36 (once used by WTVQ with its analog operations) due to reception issues. The FCC issued a Report & Order approved the petition on October 22. On December 12, 2009, WKYT filed a minor change application for a construction permit, reflecting the channel change. On January 11, 2010, the FCC approved the permit. The switchover to the UHF signal took place on September 1 at 1 p.m.
WKYT successfully moved its channel allocation from digital channel 36 to digital channel 21 at 2:00 p.m. ET on June 21, 2019 and remains on virtual channel 27.
WKYT's over-the-air signal can be picked up in some of the Louisville market's easternmost counties like Nelson, Washington, Marion, Henry and Shelby counties, thereby creating some competition between WKYT and Louisville's CBS affiliate WLKY-TV because of that station's close proximity to the Lexington area. WKYT is also available over-the-air in the southernmost counties/areas of the Cincinnati market.
Duo County Telecom, based in Jamestown, carries WKYT's main subchannel on their cable system serving Adair, Cumberland and Russell counties. Russell County is considered to be within WKYT's local market, but Adair County is considered to be in the Louisville market, and Cumberland County is within the Nashville, Tennessee DMA. WKYT is also carried on Charter Spectrum and Armstrong Cable systems in the Ashland area, which is in the Charleston/Huntington, West Virginia media market. In addition, WKYT, along with WYMT and WLEX, are available in the Jellico, Tennessee area, which is in the Knoxville media market.
At one time from the 1990s until 2010, WKYT was also available on the cable system of Glasgow, Kentucky-based South Central Rural Telephone Cooperative, which serves the eastern half of the Bowling Green media market, where CBS programming would be served by either WNKY-DT2 or Nashville CBS affiliate WTVF.