|Bowling Green, Kentucky
|Branding||WBKO 13 (general)
WBKO 13 News (newscasts)
WBKO Fox (on DT2)
Kentucky CW (on DT3)
|Slogan||Stay Connected (general)
Bowling Green's Fox
TV To Talk About (on DT3)
|Channels||Digital: 13 (VHF)
Virtual: 13 (PSIP)
13.3 The CW
Jewelry Television (overnight on DT2)
(Gray Television Licensee, LLC)
|First air date||June 3, 1962|
|Call letters' meaning||We're Bowling Green,
|Sister station(s)||WBKO-DT2, WBKO-DT3, WKYT-TV, WYMT|
|Former callsigns||WLTV (1962-1971)|
|Former channel number(s)||13 (VHF analog, 1962-2009)
33 (UHF digital, 2000-2009)
|Former affiliations||Independent (1962-1967)|
|Transmitter power||31.5 kW|
WBKO, channel 13 (virtual), is the ABC-affiliated television station for South Central Kentucky licensed to Bowling Green. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on VHF channel 13 from a transmitter along KY 185/Richardsville Road in unincorporated Northern Warren County. The station can also be seen on Insight channel 9 and in high definition on digital channel 908. Owned by Gray Television, WBKO has studios on US 68/KY 80/Russellville Road in Bowling Green along the William H. Natcher Parkway. Syndicated programming on the station includes Wheel of Fortune, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and Live! with Kelly and Michael among others.
The station signed-on June 3, 1962 with the call letters WLTV (standing for Wonderful Live Television). It was the first commercial outlet to launch in Bowling Green and aired an analog signal on VHF channel 13. Joe Walters (a former RCA engineer) and Mr. & Mrs. George Brown (local sales people) owned the station. It was an Independent owned by Argus Broadcasting and originally had studios at its transmitter in rural Warren County.
On March 6, 1967, WLTV became affiliated with ABC and aired all of its shows. After spending some time off the air in late 1969 due to an explosion destroying its transmitter, the station changed hands to Professional Telecasting Systems in 1970.
The new owner, Professional Telecasting, adopted the current WBKO (meaning Bowling Green, Kentucky's Own) call sign and instituted color telecasting for local in-studio programming and newscasts in 1971. Also by this time, the station had moved to studios in Downtown Bowling Green. Five years later, a local group known as Bluegrass Media bought WBKO from Professional Telecasting. It remained in Bluegrass's hands until 1983 when broadcaster A. Richard Benedek took over. Under Benedek's management, WBKO built its present studios on Russellville Road in 1985. The station was one of the few ABC stations nationwide that refused to broadcast NYPD Blue in its first season in 1993.
In September 1998, an agreement between this station and the area's cable provider allowed WBKO to launch cable-exclusive WB affiliate "WBWG". The arrangement was established during a period The WB deployed various network stations outside the top 100 markets as cable-only channels. "WBWG" was programmed through The WB 100+ as the Bowling Green market had a rank of 183. Since it was a cable-exclusive outlet, the call sign was not officially recognized by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). WBKO provided sales and promotional opportunities to "WBWG".
In 2000, the station began broadcasting a digital signal on UHF channel 33. In 2002, Benedek sold most of his stations (including WBKO) to current owner Gray Television. Due to its fairly close proximity to Nashville, Tennessee (about sixty miles), WBKO has often competed with that market's ABC affiliate WKRN for viewing allegiances.
WBKO has been the home to Southeastern Conference football and basketball games from Jefferson-Pilot/Raycom Sports from the 1990s until 2009, and SEC games syndicated through ESPN Plus-oriented SEC TV from 2009 to the end of the 2013-14 basketball season. This would end in 2014 due to all those games being moved to the new SEC Network that is to launch in August 2014 due to a new contract between the Southeastern Conference and ESPN to launch that new network. 
WBKO-DT2 and DT3
On January 24, 2006, UPN and The WB announced the two networks would cease broadcasting and merge. The new combined service would be called The CW. The letters would represent the first initial of corporate parents "C"BS (the parent company of UPN) and the "W"arner Bros. unit of Time Warner.
On September 5, 2006, WBKO signed-on a new second digital subchannel to serve as a Fox affiliate. This filled a gap created in 2001 when WNKY dropped its Fox affiliation and switched to NBC. The CW launched on September 18 and WBWG became affiliated with The CW via The CW Plus (a similar operation to The WB 100+). After becoming available on a new third digital subchannel of WBKO, it dropped the faux calls in favor of official WBKO-DT3. As a result of adding Fox, and NBC affiliate WNKY adding CBS on their second digital subchannel in 2007, Bowling Green now offers every major network except for ION Television, which is currently available through cable and satellite only, or through WNPX-TV in Nashville with an outdoor antenna. WCZU-LD signed on in early 2014 with a secondary MyNetworkTV affiliation and primary Antenna TV affiliation in early 2014.
Digital TV Transition and post-transition
On December 8, 2008 at 1:15 in the morning, WBKO shut down its analog signal in a flash-cut procedure. This allowed the station to begin the process of installing a new digital antenna and other equipment. Originally, its digital signal was scheduled to move to VHF channel 13 on or immediately after December 22. However, due to inclement weather and the holiday season, the construction took longer than anticipated with eight more days of construction resuming on January 3, 2009.  Due to the installation of the equipment at the transmitter site, the digital signal (on UHF channel 33) was off-the-air during daytime hours so that installation work could be completed.  Until the completion of the over-the-air transition, WBKO was seen non-stop on several area cable systems.
According to Weather Director Chris Allen's official Facebook page on May 20, 2010, he posted Dish Network was in the process of adding WBKO's main signal and Fox subchannel to its system (the actual addition occurred June 3). Viewers living in Warren, Butler, Hart, Edmonson, Barren, and Metcalfe Counties in South Central Kentucky are eligible to switch to Bowling Green local stations. This was made possible by the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act of 2010 signed into law by President Barack Obama the week prior. WBKO and other local Bowling Green stations are still unavailable on DirecTV at this time.
|Channel||PSIP Short Name||Video||Aspect||Programming|
|13.1||WBKO-HD||720p||16:9||Main WBKO programming / ABC|
|13.2||WBKO-FX||480i||4:3||WBKO Fox / Jewelry TV|
|13.3||WBKO-CW||South Central Kentucky CW|
As the first commercial television station to launch in Bowling Green, WBKO has been a longtime leader according to Nielsen ratings. Even after the sign-on of WQQB (now WNKY) in 1989, the station has remained the dominant outlet for South Central Kentucky. However, it has also competed with Nashville stations transmitting rimshot signals into parts of the Bowling Green area. WBKO's first newscasts were branded as Channel 13 News Report and began airing in 1963. In the 1970s, the news operation was known as 13 News. Most recently, the broadcasts were re-branded to WBKO 13 News.
As the area's original Fox affiliate in the mid-1990s, WNKY established its own news department. Unable to gain consistent viewership and ratings against WBKO, that station's short lived full news operation was eventually shut down. In the early-2000s, WNKY slowly re-entered the market with an unusual weather-only approach. Instead of full newscasts, it offers weekday morning and nightly local weather forecast cut-ins provided through AccuWeather of State College, Pennsylvania.
In late-January 2009 in an attempt to increase its presence against WBKO, WNKY launched a weekday morning show. Airing for a half-hour at 6:30, the broadcast is produced in partnership with the Bowling Green Daily News. The newspaper provides short local news updates and WNKY produces traditional weather segments. The show is replayed at 9 in the morning on WNKY's CBS-affiliated second subchannel.
On October 21, 2007, current Fox affiliate WBKO-DT2 began airing a thirty-minute prime time newscast on weeknights known as WBKO Fox News at 9. Sarah Goebel originally anchored the show until early-2008 when she was promoted to WBKO's main weeknight broadcasts. After this, Daniel Kemp was the news anchor until early-June when he moved to the weekend newscasts on the main channel. Julie Talley would host the prime time broadcast for a short time in mid-2008 after which reporter and internet producer Sam Provenzano anchored the show until its cancellation. WBKO Fox News at 9 stopped airing on November 28, 2008 as a result of financial issues. WBKO-DT2 continues to replay MidDay Live tape-delayed weekdays at noon.
Like all CW plus affiliates in the Central Time Zone, WBKO-DT3 airs the nationally syndicated morning show The Daily Buzz on weekdays from 5 until 8. At its studios, WBKO operates a Doppler weather radar of its own known as "First Alert Live Doppler". Unlike most ABC affiliates, the station does not air a full two-hour weekday morning show and/or early evening news on weekends.
WBKO has always had a long-standing policy to preempt regular programming for wall-to-wall, uninterrupted severe weather coverage in the event that the National Weather Service issues a tornado warning for any county within its viewing area. The station operates their very own doppler radar, the First Alert Live Doppler, launched in 1998. It is a real time doppler radar that was majorly used until late 2004 when the station began utilizing NWS nexrad doppler radars from Nashville, Paducah, and Louisville for better resolution in tracking storms. Weather forecasts from this station can be heard on WKLX FM 100.7, WOVO 106.3, and WPTQ FM 105.3.
- WBKO Shuts Down Analog Signal WBKO. Retrieved on December 8, 2008.
- FCC Database Retrieved on December 8, 2008.
- Digital Transition WBKO. Retrieved on December 19, 2008.
- Important Digital Changeover Information WBKO. Retrieved on December 9, 2008.