|Jacksonville, Florida/Brunswick, Georgia|
|Branding||CW 17, Cable 9|
|Channels||Digital: 34 (UHF)
Virtual: 17 (PSIP)
|Subchannels||17.1 The CW
17.2 Bounce TV
Bounce TV (DT2)
|Owner||Nexstar Broadcasting Group
(Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc.)
|First air date||February 19, 1966|
|Call letters' meaning||The CW Jacksonville|
|Former callsigns||WJKS-TV (1966-1997)
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
17 (UHF; 1966-2009)
|Former affiliations||ABC (1966-1980 and 1988-1997)
The WB (1997-2006)
|Transmitter power||863 kW (digital)|
|Height||282.5 m (digital)|
WCWJ is the CW-affiliated television station serving Jacksonville, Florida and Brunswick, Georgia. Owned by Nexstar Broadcasting Group, it broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 34 (virtual channel 17.1 via PSIP) from a transmitter at its studios in the city's Kilarney Shores section. Syndicated programming on WCWJ includes Maury, TMZ on TV, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, The Office, and Friends.
As a major network affiliate 
Rust Craft signed channel 17 on the air as ABC affiliate WJKS-TV on February 19, 1966. Before then, ABC had been relegated to off-hours clearances on then-CBS affiliate WJXT and NBC affiliate WTLV. Jacksonville had to wait longer for full network service than other cities of its size, this is because the surrounding suburbs and rural areas are smaller than the city itself. WJKS was bought by Ziff Corporation in March 1979, after acquiring Rust Craft's broadcasting assets for $89.4 million. On March 31, 1980, WJKS and WTLV swapped network affiliations; WTLV took ABC from WJKS, which at the time was #1 among the then-three major U.S. broadcast networks, leaving WJKS with the NBC affiliation, as the network was mired in last place in the ratings.
Media General acquired WJKS from Ziff Corporation for $18 million in October 1982, after Ziff sold off its six television stations to focus on its magazine assets, becoming the second television station in the Media General group (the first being the company's Tampa flagship station WFLA-TV). On April 3, 1988, WTLV and WJKS officially reversed the 1980 affiliation swap between the two stations with WJKS aligning with ABC once again and WTLV returning to NBC. By this time, NBC had emerged as the top-rated American broadcast network, while ABC had dropped to second place.
Losing ABC and gaining The WB 
In 1996, WJKS lost the ABC affiliation to upstart WJXX (channel 25) after Allbritton Communications Company (which operated the station under a local marketing agreement with owner WPR, L.P., before purchasing the station outright in September 1997) signed a long-term groupwide affiliation agreement with the network in nine markets where Albritton owned or operated a station at the time. WJKS began phasing out ABC programming in January 1997 to become the market's WB affiliate under the callsign WJWB; this prompted Allbritton/WPR to move WJXX's launch to February 9 (two months ahead of its planned April 1, 1997 sign-on), and resulted in Brunswick, Georgia-licensed WBSG (which WJKS had replaced as the area's WB affiliate) to switch its affiliation to ABC on that same date.
Having been on the air for over 30 years at the time of the affiliation switch, WJWB was one of the few stations to switch from a "big three" network to the upstart WB. This switch should have spelled trouble for channel 17, which had languished in the ratings in the latter part of its tenure with ABC. However, it thrived during its tenure as a WB affiliate. For most of The WB's run, it consistently ranked as one of the network's highest-rated affiliates.
CW affiliation and sale to Nexstar 
On January 24, 2006, Time Warner and CBS Corporation made the announcement that their respectively owned networks, The WB and UPN, would merge operations to form a new network called The CW, which would be jointly owned by Time Warner's Warner Bros. Entertainment division and CBS. Nearly one month later on February 22, News Corporation announced a new competing network, MyNetworkTV, which would be run by its Fox Television Stations and Twentieth Television units. It seemed that WJWB was expected to join the new CW network due to its status as one of The WB's highest-rated affiliates; network officials were on record as wanting the "strongest" WB and UPN stations. However, when The CW announced its initial group of affiliates outside of those owned by Tribune Company and network co-parent CBS Corporation, WJWB was not included on the list, leading to speculation that The CW would choose to affiliate with independent station WJXT instead.
On April 3, 2006, The CW signed affiliation agreements with WJWB and UPN-affiliated Asheville, North Carolina sister station WASV (now WYCW). On May 26, WJWB changed its callsign to WCWJ to reflect its pending affiliation. The station launched a "Farewell To The Frog Tour", as The WB network and station mascot Michigan J. Frog was retired over the summer. A series of humorous promos later chronicled the frog's failed attempts to find work at several Jacksonville area businesses. New station branding began in mid-August, which included IDs featuring the logos of both The WB and The CW. The affiliation switch took place upon the network's September 18 launch; MyNetworkTV initially ended up as a secondary affiliation on Fox affiliate WAWS (channel 30), before moving to a second digital subchannel of that station in January 2007.
On October 29, 2007, Media General announced that the company was exploring the sale of WCWJ. On January 28, 2009, Nexstar Broadcasting Group announced that it had reached an agreement to purchase WCWJ, The deal closed on May 1, 2009. As a result, WCWJ became the first CW affiliate that is owned and operated directly by Nexstar (Nexstar later acquired three other CW affiliates plus one CW-affiliated digital subchannel from Newport Television and also holds the broadcasting license of CW affiliate WLYH-TV/Harrisburg through an operational agreement with the Sinclair Broadcast Group) and it was at the time the largest television station by market size that is owned by Nexstar (a distinction now held by KTVX and KUCW in Salt Lake City). The WCWJ web site was redesigned almost immediately after Nexstar closed on its purchase.
WCWJ currently airs several original programs, including YourJax Music (a local music show), I Know Jax (a magazine style show about fun things to do in Jacksonville) and Local Haunts, and covers local sporting events from the Jacksonville Sharks, Jacksonville RollerGirls, Jacksonville Giants, Jacksonville Suns, and Jacksonville University Dolphins football.
Digital television 
This station's digital signal is multiplexed.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP short name||Programming|
|17.1||1080i||16:9||WCWJ-HD||Main WCWJ programming / The CW|
On June 12, 2009, WCWJ turned off its analog transmitter and converted its broadcasts exclusively to digital television, remaining on its pre-transition UHF channel 34. However, through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display WCWJ's virtual channel as its former analog channel 17.
WJKS started a small news operation in its second year of operation. Newscasts used various titles during the duration of the news department's existence including WJKS-TV News, Pulse News, NewsWatch 17, 17 News and then finally 17 First Coast News. In addition, the station produced a Sunday evening public affairs discussion program titled Face Off for several years. In the early 1990s while the station was an ABC affiliate, WJKS established a news share agreement with Fox affiliate WAWS, this resulted in the production of a half-hour primetime newscast (titled Fox 30 First Coast News) that aired at 10 p.m. seven nights a week on that station. Throughout the news department's existence, WJKS typically placed last among the three local news outlets that existed in Jacksonville prior to 1997, behind WTLV and perennial first place finisher WJXT.
After the announcement that WJKS would lose its ABC affiliation to upstart WJXX, then-owner Media General decided in September 1996 that it would shut down the station's news department, claiming that it would be economically unviable to continue producing newscasts as an affiliate of The WB (this is despite the fact that WB-affiliated stations in other markets, largely those owned by Tribune Broadcasting and Sinclair Broadcast Group, established their own or maintained existing news departments during their network tenures); the station's final newscast and the final edition of Face Off both aired on December 29, 1996. The WJKS-produced 10 p.m. newscast on WAWS was discontinued as a result; WAWS established its own in-house news department in response, which debuted on December 30, the day after channel 17's news department folded. Ironically, when WTLV owner Gannett Company bought WJXX and merged the operations of the two stations, the joint news department that resulted was titled First Coast News.
WCWJ is currently the only commercial television station in the Jacksonville market that does not air locally-produced newscasts, either produced by the station itself or through one of the three news departments operated amongst the five other network affiliates in the area.
News/station presentation 
Newscast titles 
- Pulse News (1968–1973)
- News Scene Today (1973–1977)
- NewsWatch 17 (1977–1986)
- NewsWatch Jacksonville (general) / NightWatch Jacksonville (11 p.m. newscast; 1986–1988)
- 17 News (1988–1990)
- 17 First Coast News (1990–1996)
Station slogans 
- "All the News in 30 Minutes" (mid-1990s; news slogan)
- "Jacksonville's Home of the WB" (December 1996 – 2006)
- "We Don't Do News... We're Non-Stop Entertainment!" (2007–2008)
Newscast music 
- WJKS 1977 News Theme by unknown (1977-1978)
- WTLV 1972 News Theme by unknown (1978–1981)
- Theme From 'Firepower' by Gato Barbieri (1981–1983)
- WJKS 1983 News Theme by unknown (1983–1985)
- News Series 2000 by Gari Communications (1985–1991)
- Real News by Killer Tracks (NJJ Music/HLC) (1991-1995)
- Production Music: Heroics by FirstCom (1995-1996)
- Media General plans to acquire channel 17, The Florida Times-Union, November 25, 1981.
- The Big Switch Is Upon Us, The Florida Times-Union, March 27, 1980.
- Patton, Charlie (August 21, 1997). "Jags fans in lather over TV". The Florida Times-Union. Retrieved May 20, 2011.
- Patton, Charlie (December 13, 1999). "Changing the channel". The Florida Times-Union. Retrieved May 20, 2011.
- 'Gilmore Girls' meet 'Smackdown'; CW Network to combine WB, UPN in CBS-Warner venture beginning in September, CNNMoney.com, January 24, 2006.
- News Corp. Unveils My Network TV, Broadcasting & Cable, February 22, 2006.
- UPN/WB hybrid to air locally on WJWB, The Florida Times-Union, April 4, 2006.
- WAWS turning channel to digital drama in the evening, The Florida Times-Union, August 2, 2006.
- WTEV adding newscast,The Florida Times-Union, January 24, 2007.
- "Media General Exploring Sale of Five Television Stations" (Press release). Media General. 2007-10-29. Retrieved 2007-10-30.
- "Nexstar Broadcasting to Acquire WCWJ in Jacksonville, FL in AccretiveTransaction" (Press release). Nexstar Broadcasting. 2009-01-28. Retrieved 2009-01-28.
- "Media General Completes Sale of WCWJ in Jacksonville, Fla., to Nexstar Broadcasting" (Press release). Media General. 2009-05-01. Retrieved 2009-05-01.
- FCC document: "APPENDIX B: ALL FULL-POWER TELEVISION STATIONS BY DMA, INDICATING THOSE TERMINATING ANALOG SERVICE BEFORE ON OR FEBRUARY 17, 2009."
- CDBS Print
- WJKS News Open 1982
- WJKS 17 News Special Report Open (9/1989)
- WJKS 17 First Coast News at 11pm 6/30/95 (1/4)
- New ABC takes over in April, TV-17 to halt local news operation, The Florida Times-Union, September 14, 1996.
- WJKS NewsWatch Jacksonville - 2/1988 (1/3)
- WCWJ "CW 17"
- WJKS station history
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WCWJ
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WCWJ-TV