||This article needs additional citations for verification. (May 2013)|
|City of license||Washington, D.C.|
|Channels||Digital: 50 (UHF)|
|Subchannels||50.1 The CW
50.2 Antenna TV
50.3 This TV
|First air date||November 1, 1981|
|Call letters' meaning||Washington D.C.'s CW|
|Former callsigns||WCQR (1981-1985)
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
50 (UHF, 1981-2009)
51 (UHF, 2006-2009)
|Former affiliations||Independent (1981-1995)
The WB (1995-2006)
The Tube (2006-2007, on DT2)
|Transmitter power||125 kW|
WDCW is the CW-affiliated television station for Washington, D.C. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 50 from a transmitter atop the Hughes Memorial Tower in the city's Brightwood section. Owned by the Tribune Company, the station maintains studios on Wisconsin Avenue Northwest in the Glover Park section of Washington D.C.
WDCW is carried on the DirecTV satellite service (as standard definition only "CW-E") to serve the few areas of the eastern United States where a CW affiliate is not receivable over-the-air or through cable television, and on JetBlue's LiveTV inflight entertainment system though DirecTV (the other network stations featured on JetBlue are predominantly from New York City).
The channel 50 license was first assigned to WGSP. That station ran test patterns in early-1972 but never signed on. On April 6, 1981, channel 50 finally signed on as WCQR. Beginning on November 1, WCQR aired SuperTV subscription programming at night and live pictures of Washington D.C. from above its broadcasting tower by day. Early in the day, WCQR also ran some basic computer still images with music called "Morning Muse". The live pictures were soon replaced with programming from the Financial News Network. Hill Broadcasting purchased both channel 50 and WHLL-TV (now WUNI) in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1985. On July 1, the call letters were changed to WFTY to match the Channel FifTY allocation. The station then became a full-time independent station in early-1986. Initially, the station ran a lineup of classic off-network sitcoms, dramas, cartoons, movies, and some religious shows. Also WFTY picked up the final years of the ABC soap Ryan's Hope after ABC affiliate WJLA-TV dropped it in 1986.
However, it was airing mostly religious, infomercials, low budget (but copyrighted movies), and a few off-network dramas by 1988. Ratings were very low in addition to the programming costs. WFTY did pick up a few cartoons for the weekday 7 to 9 A.M. slot in June 1990 when Fox affiliate WTTG dropped its children's block for a morning newscast. In 1993, WFTY (along with WHLL) were purchased by the Jasas Corporation. In the Fall of that year, WFTY added more cartoons, barter sitcoms, some low priced syndicated shows, and cut back on paid programming. On January 11, 1995, WFTY became a charter affiliate of The WB. On September 6, the call letters were changed to WBDC-TV to reflect its network status, since the callsign was a portmanteau of WB and Washington DC. In 1996, the Tribune Company (which had an interest in the WB Network) began managing the station and purchased the station outright from the Jasas Corporation in 1999. On January 24, 2006, The WB and UPN announced that they would cease broadcasting and merge into a new network called The CW. WBDC was listed as one of the first CW affiliates as Tribune signed a 10 year affiliation agreement for its WB stations. On May 1, WBDC's call letters became the current WDCW to reflect the coming switch.
On July 20, 2006, the station began airing a promotional item that featured a new logo and branding as "The CW Washington". The station's web address changed to "thecwdc.com". WDCW began airing The CW on September 18, 2006. Until it ceased operations on October 1, 2007, The Tube (a 24-hour digital music channel) was broadcast on WDCW's second digital subchannel. It was also available on digital cable systems including: Comcast channel 207, Verizon FiOS channel 863, DirecTV channel 50 and Cox channel 804. In August 2008, WDCW became known on-air as "DC50" reducing the promotion of The CW to just the tagline. On August 14, Tribune launched a new logo for the station. It also launched a new website located at "dc50tv.com". The logo (used above in the infobox) was being used on-the-air while the previous logo was being used on their website. This changed on August 19, 2008 when the new "dc50tv.com" website launched and the current logo was used both on-air and online. On-air, the station used "DC 50" as their branding and at some points "Home of The CW" as their slogan while online they continued to use "The CW Washington" as their branding. In press releases seen online, WDCW was also using "Home of The CW". The slogan began being used on-air and online on August 22, 2008. The CW logo returned to the station's branding in 2010. The station is now branded as "DC50 The CW."
Digital television 
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|50.1||16:9||1080i||CW50||Main WDCW programming / The CW|
Analog-to-digital conversion 
On June 12, 2009, the official date in which most television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts, WDCW moved its digital signal from UHF channel 51 to its former channel frequency during the analog era, UHF channel 50.
Local programming 
Newscasts and public affairs programming 
As an independent station, the station carried a 7:30 p.m. newscast produced by WRC-TV, titled 7:30 News Headlines, which launched on January 14, 1991; the newscast suffered low ratings during its run and ended almost ten months later on October 25, 1991.
Currently, WDCW does not carry traditional local newscasts; as such, the station is one of only five Tribune-owned stations not carrying daily newscasts (alongside WNOL/New Orleans, WCCT/Hartford-New Haven, WTTV/Indianapolis and WSFL/Miami). The closest to a traditional news program airing on WDCW is NewsPlus with Mark Segraves, a half-hour locally-produced program that airs Fridays at 7:30 a.m. Hosted by investigative reporter Mark Segraves, the 30-minute program features local investigative reports and interviews with regional and national newsmakers.
Other locally-produced programs 
Direct Access with Big Tigger is a locally-produced entertainment program highlighting entertainment, sports, music, and DC nightlife. The half-hour show airs original episodes on Saturday evenings at 11 p.m. and encores on Fridays at 12 a.m. Host Darian "Big Tigger" Morgan is an American television and radio personality. SportsWeek with Lavar Arrington is a weekly sports talk program hosted by the former Redskins linebacker. SportsWeek airs Saturdays at 130pm, with an encore Sundays at 12:30 p.m.
- "Digital Signal Sources". The Washington Post. 2008-05-20.
- "Our World with Black Enterprise on DC50 Home of the CW" (Press release).
- Hill, Michael E. (January 13, 1991). "`7:30 News Headlines'; Four Channels News to Fifty". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 8, 2012. (preview of subscription content)
- Carmody, John (October 21, 1991). "The TV Column". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 8, 2012. (preview of subscription content)
- DC50TV.com - Official WDCW-TV Website
- DC.ThisTV.com - Official This TV D.C. Website
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WDCW
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WDCW-TV