|This article needs additional citations for verification. (May 2013)|
|Channels||Digital: 50 (UHF)
Virtual: 50 (PSIP)
|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||1000 kW|
WDCW, UHF channel 50, is the CW-affiliated television station located in the American capital city of Washington, District of Columbia. The station is owned by the Tribune Broadcasting subsidiary of the Tribune Company. WDCW maintains studios on Wisconsin Avenue Northwest in the Glover Park section of Washington D.C., and its transmitter is located atop the Hughes Memorial Tower in the city's Brightwood section.
WDCW is carried on satellite provider DirecTV (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 under the callsign WCQR. Beginning on November 1, WCQR aired the subscription television service SuperTV at night and live pictures of Washington D.C. from above its broadcast tower during the daytime. 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, in reference to its channel FifTY allocation. It 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 programs. WFTY also picked up the ABC soap opera Ryan's Hope after WJLA-TV (channel 7) dropped it in 1986, with channel 50 running the final years of the program.
The station 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 owned-and-operated station WTTG (channel 5) dropped its children's block in favor of launching a weekday 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 Television Network. On September 6, the station's call letters were changed to WBDC-TV to reflect its network status, with the callsign being a portmanteau of WB and Washington DC. In 1996, the Tribune Company (which had a minority ownership interest in The WB) began managing the station and purchased the station outright from the Jasas Corporation in 1999.
On January 24, 2006, Time Warner and CBS Corporation announced that The WB and UPN would shut down that September and be replaced by a new network that would include some of the two networks' higher-rated programs called The CW. WBDC was named as the D.C. area's CW affiliate as Tribune signed a 10-year affiliation agreement for 16 of the company's 19 WB stations. On May 1, WBDC's call letters were changed to the current WDCW to reflect the pending switch. On July 20, 2006, the station began to run on-air promotions that featured a new logo and branding as "The CW Washington". WDCW joined The CW when the network launched nationwide on September 18, 2006.
In August 2008, WDCW began to be branded on-air as "DC50" reducing the promotion of The CW to just the tagline; this was followed on August 14 with the introduction of a new logo, the branding change came as Tribune's CW-affiliated stations began to de-emphasize references to the network in their branding. On-air, the station used "DC 50" as their branding and at some points "Home of The CW" as their slogan while "The CW Washington" branding continued to be used on the station's website. In press releases seen online, WDCW was also using the "Home of The CW" slogan. The slogan began being used on-air and online on August 22, 2008. The CW logo returned to the station's branding in 2010, changing it to "DC50 The CW."
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|
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 providers including: Comcast channel 207, Verizon FiOS channel 863, DirecTV channel 50 and Cox channel 804.
WDCW shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 50, on June 12, 2009, the official date in which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 51 to its former analog era frequency, UHF channel 50.
Newscasts and public affairs programming
As an independent station, the station carried a 7:30 p.m. newscast produced by NBC owned-and-operated station 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 that do not carry 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, hosted by television and radio personality Darian "Big Tigger" Morgan, highlighting entertainment, sports, music and D.C. area nightlife; the half-hour show airs original episodes on Fridays at 12 a.m and encore episodes Sundays at 10pm. SportsWeek is a weekly sports talk program hosted by former Washington Redskins linebacker Lavar Arrington; the program airs Saturday afternoons at 1:30 p.m., with encores on Sundays at 12:30 p.m.
- "Digital Signal Sources". The Washington Post. 2008-05-20.
- 'Gilmore Girls' meet 'Smackdown'; CW Network to combine WB, UPN in CBS-Warner venture beginning in September, CNNMoney.com, January 24, 2006.
- UPN and WB to Combine, Forming New TV Network, The New York Times, January 24, 2006.
- "Our World with Black Enterprise on DC50 Home of the CW" (Press release).
- RabbitEars TV Query for WDCW
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24.
- 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)
9.http://washingtonexaminer.com/d.c.-stereotypes-provide-fodder-for-new-urban-sketch-comedy/article/The Show W/HollyHood & Muhla Green
10.http://afro.com/sections/news/Washington/story.htm?storyid=78627 "The Show" With HollyHood & Muhla Green
- DC50TV.com - Official WDCW 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