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WLEX 2009 Logo.jpg

Metv wlex.png
Lexington, Kentucky
United States
Branding LEX 18 (general)
LEX 18 News (newscasts)
Slogan Count on LEX 18
Channels Digital: 39 (UHF)
Virtual: 18 (PSIP)
Subchannels 18.1 NBC
18.2 Me-TV
Affiliations NBC (primary until 1968; exclusive 1968-present)
Me-TV (DT2; 2011-present)
Owner Cordillera Communications
(WLEX Communications, LLC)
First air date March 15, 1955 (1955-03-15)
Call letters' meaning LEXington
Former channel number(s) Analog:
18 (UHF, 1955-2009)
Former affiliations All secondary:
DuMont (1955)
CBS (1955-1957, 1958-1968)
ABC (1955-1957)
Wazoo Sports Network (2009-2011)
Transmitter power 475 kW (digital)
Height 286 m (digital)
Facility ID 73203
Transmitter coordinates 38°2′3″N 84°23′39″W / 38.03417°N 84.39417°W / 38.03417; -84.39417 (digital)
Licensing authority FCC
Public license information: Profile
Website LEX18.com
For the experimental television station in Boston that used the branding "WLEX", see W1XAY.

WLEX-TV, channel 18, is the NBC-affiliated television station for Lexington, Kentucky and the East-Central Kentucky region. Its transmitter is located in Southern Lexington near Hamburg Pavilion on WTVQ-DT's tower. WLEX-TV's studio is on Russell Cave Road off of Loudon Avenue in northern downtown Lexington.


Channel 18 signed on March 15, 1955 as Lexington's first television station and the third in Kentucky (following Louisville's WAVE-TV and WHAS-TV). It was co-owned with WLEX radio (1300 AM, now WLXG) and carried programming from all four networks (NBC, ABC, CBS, and DuMont). The DuMont network went out of business later that year. In 1957, CBS programming moved to WKXP-TV (channel 27, now WKYT-TV). After only one year, however, new owners switched channel 27 to primary ABC affiliation, leaving WLEX to pick up a secondary CBS affiliation once again. In 1968 CBS moved to WKYT when WBLG-TV (now WTVQ-TV) signed on and took the ABC affiliation, making WLEX a full-time NBC affiliate. For many years, the station was owned by the Gay & Bell families until they sold WLEX to the Evening Post in 1999.

In November 2009, it was announced that WLEX has partnered with online sports site Wazoo Sports to form the Wazoo Sports Network. The new regional television network will be dedicated to carrying live coverage of Kentucky High School sporting events, as well as classic coverage of past high school & college events. The network was available until late 2011 on the Lexington-area digital cable outlet, as well as on WLEX digital subchannel 18.2.[1][2]

On December 31, 2011, WLEX digital subchannel 18.2 started broadcasting programming from Me-TV.


  • First tower over 600 feet in Kentucky (December 1954)
  • First station to broadcast a test pattern in Lexington (January 19, 1955)
  • First station to broadcast programming in Lexington (March 15, 1955)
  • First Kentucky commercial station to regularly schedule an educational program (Zemanski and White Physics, 1959; Anthropology I, September 1959)
  • First television broadcast of University of Kentucky basketball – DePaul University, from Chicago, February 18, 1956 (DePaul won 81-79)
  • First station to air regularly scheduled church service telecast in Kentucky (Immanuel Baptist)
  • First station in Kentucky to broadcast in full-color and first full-color UHF in the United States (November 15, 1962)
  • First station in Lexington to have a female news anchor, Sue Hackett Wylie (April 1968)
  • First station in Kentucky to produce a computer-generated program log (July 1968)
  • First commercial station in Lexington to use broadcast-quality Electronic News Gathering, ENG, (October 1978)
  • First station in Lexington to air a Saturday morning newscast (July 4, 1992)
  • First station in Lexington to air an hour-long weekly morning newscast (July 6, 1992)
  • First station in Kentucky and Lexington to announce the appointment of John Calipari as the head coach of the University of Kentucky Basketball program on March 31, 2009 at 6:45 p.m.[citation needed]
  • First station in Lexington and the Ohio Valley with a "LIVE" Doppler, the Maxtrack LIVE Doppler Radar in 2004.
  • In September 2007, Kristie Kubovic became the first woman in Kentucky to receive the American Meteorological Society's CBM seal. This seal is an upgrade to the AMS seal.
  • First station in Lexington to launch a 7:00 p.m. newscast.[3]
  • WLEX is the first station in Lexington to have an on-the-air 4:00 p.m. newscast.[4]
  • First station in the Lexington market to expand their morning newscast from 4:30-7:00 a.m.

Digital television[edit]

Digital channels[edit]

The station's digital channel is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[5]
18.1 1080i 16:9 WLEX-TV Main WLEX-TV programming / NBC
18.2 480i 4:3 MeTV Me-TV

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

WLEX-TV shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 18, at 7 a.m. 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 remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 39.[6] Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 18. The digital signal originates from the tower that also transmits the WTVQ-TV signal.[7][8]

News operation[edit]

In the Spring of 2007, WLEX-TV became the second station in Lexington and the entire state of Kentucky to broadcast local newscasts in high definition, and it debuted a new set in preparation for the transition.

In the fall of 2013, the station's 6 p.m. newscast began to be simulcasted on a half-hour delay on Louisville's Ion Television station, WBNA (Channel 21); that station also airs the midday newscast of fellow NBC affiliate WAVE in Louisville.

Notable current on-air staff[edit]

Notable former on-air staff[edit]

Out-of-market coverage[edit]

In Tennessee, Lexington television stations WLEX and WKYT are carried in Jellico. WLEX is also available in Ashland, which is in the Charleston/Huntington, West Virginia market.


2. Cordillera Communications. Station Information. [1] 3.Lexington Herald-Leader (2008-11-17). "WLEX-18 manager retiring in February" [2]

External links[edit]