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|ATSC 3.0 station|
|Branding||CW 61 Arizona; ABC15 News on CW61|
|Founded||May 1, 1991|
First air date
|September 22, 1995|
Former channel number(s)
Call sign meaning
|HAAT||551.8 m (1,810 ft)|
Public license information
KASW (channel 61) is a television station in Phoenix, Arizona, United States, affiliated with The CW. It is owned by the E. W. Scripps Company alongside ABC affiliate KNXV-TV (channel 15). Both stations share studios on North 44th Street on the city's east side, while KASW's primary transmitter is located on South Mountain.
KASW went on the air in 1995 as the Phoenix affiliate of The WB. Its first owner contracted with KTVK (channel 3) for programming and support services, and KTVK bought the station in 1999. It was split from that station in 2014 as the result of KTVK's sale. Scripps acquired it in 2019 and has added local newscasts from KNXV.
Prior history of UHF channel 61 in Phoenix
Prior to KASW's sign-on, the UHF channel 61 frequency in the Phoenix market was originally occupied by low-power station K61CA; that station carried a locally programmed music video format known as "Music Channel" and operated from March 15, 1983, until November 12, 1984, closing due to mounting debts and lack of cash to continue operating.
The construction permit for K61CA remained active for several more years; by 1988, it was owned by Channel 61 Development Corporation and was planned as a satellite-fed relay of KSTS, a Telemundo affiliate (now owned-and-operated station) in San Jose, California.
In November 1987, the FCC allocated channel 61 for full-power use in Phoenix. KUSK-TV applied alongside four other groups; the field was narrowed to three, and Brooks Broadcasting, owned by Chandler farmer Gregory R. Brooks, was granted the permit.
Little activity occurred on the permit, with the call sign KAIK; Brooks considered running home shopping on the station, and he was approached by KPHO-TV about potentially splitting rights to a new major league baseball team with the station.
In December 1994, Brooks entered into a local marketing agreement with Media America Corporation, then owners of KTVK (channel 3). KTVK, in the concluding phase of losing its ABC affiliation, had acquired a large inventory of children's programs, including Fox Kids, and The WB affiliation that did not fit with its planned programming as an independent. Brooks, who was wanting to run a station catering to Phoenix's youth audience but had not been able to get the station going, was surprised when KTVK approached him; Delbert Lewis, the owner, owned a farm adjacent to one of Brooks's properties in Florence but had never met him.
KASW signed on September 23, 1995, as the first new full-power Phoenix television station since KUTP started up in December 1985. In addition to WB, Fox Kids and syndicated shows, it also aired a 30-minute newscast, known as NewsNight, produced by KTVK. Brooks, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also aired the twice-yearly LDS General Conference on channel 61. KTVK and KASW also split over-the-air coverage rights to the Phoenix Coyotes hockey team when it moved to Phoenix in 1996, with 20 of the 25 games in the package airing on channel 61. Because it aired Kids' WB on Saturdays, Fox Kids (and its successors) aired on Sundays until the block was discontinued in 2008.
In 1999, the Federal Communications Commission legalized television duopolies; at the same time, MAC America exited the broadcasting business and sold KTVK to Belo, which also purchased KASW outright. Under Belo, the station transitioned its branding from its over-the-air channel to its cable channel on Cox Communications systems in metro Phoenix, first changing to "WB 6/61" and then to "WB 6" (Kingman-licensed station KMOH-TV, which broadcasts on channel 6, is instead carried via Phoenix-licensed low-powered translator station KEJR-LD, which broadcasts on channel 40). It also began to gradually shift its programming away from classic sitcoms, movies and cartoons. The station began to phase in more talk shows, reality shows and court shows to its schedule. It finally dropped weekday cartoons in January 2006, when The WB discontinued the Kids' WB weekday afternoon lineup (while retaining and expanding its Saturday morning block).
From The WB to The CW
On January 24, 2006, the Warner Bros. unit of Time Warner and CBS Corporation announced that the two companies would shut down The WB (which Time Warner jointly owned with Tribune Company) and UPN and combine the networks' respective programming to create a new "fifth" network called The CW, which would launch on September 18, 2006. On March 8, Belo signed an affiliation agreement with the network for KASW to become The CW's Phoenix charter affiliate; the market's UPN affiliate KUTP (channel 45) became an owned-and-operated station of MyNetworkTV thirteen days before the launch of The CW on September 5 (MyNetworkTV was created by KUTP's then-parent News Corporation after the UPN affiliates it owned through the company's Fox Television Stations unit were passed over for initial affiliations with The CW in favor of stations owned by CBS Television Stations and Tribune Broadcasting).
On June 13, 2013, Belo announced that KTVK and KASW would be acquired by the Gannett Company, owner of KPNX and the Arizona Republic. Since this would give Gannett control of three stations in the Phoenix market, Gannett announced that it would spin off KTVK and KASW to Sander Media, LLC (operated by former Belo executive Jack Sander). While Gannett intended to provide services to the stations through a shared services agreement, KTVK and KASW's operations would have remained largely separate from KPNX and the Republic. On December 23, 2013, shortly after the approval and completion of the Gannett/Belo deal, the Meredith Corporation announced that it would purchase KTVK and the non-license assets of KASW from Sander Media and Gannett in a $407.5 million deal. As Meredith already owned CBS affiliate KPHO-TV (channel 5), the KASW license was instead sold to SagamoreHill Broadcasting, with Meredith operating the station under a shared services agreement.
Sale to Nexstar and separation from KTVK
The FCC approved the sale of KASW and KTVK to SagamoreHill and Meredith on June 17, 2014, and the deal closed two days later. The two companies also agreed to voluntarily divest KASW to an independent buyer within 90 days of the deal's closure; on October 23, 2014, Meredith and SagamoreHill announced that it would sell KASW to Nexstar Broadcasting Group for $68 million, giving the company its first station in the Phoenix market. The FCC approved the sale to Nexstar on December 19, and the sale was consummated on January 30, 2015, ending the nearly 20-year partnership between KASW and KTVK. The station began migrating out of KTVK's facilities in September 2015.
Sale to Scripps
On March 20, 2019, as part of its proposed acquisition of Tribune Media, Nexstar announced that it would sell KASW and seven other stations to the Cincinnati-based E. W. Scripps Company, owner of local ABC affiliate KNXV-TV (channel 15). The sale would create the third duopoly in the Phoenix market after Fox Television Stations' KSAZ-TV/KUTP and Meredith Corporation's KPHO-TV/KTVK. Although other stations acquired from the Nexstar/Tribune divestitures came from the Tribune portfolio, KASW was the only Nexstar station to be bought out by Scripps. The sale was approved by the FCC on September 16 and was completed on September 19.
In addition to the CW network schedule, Syndicated programming featured on KASW includes Two and a Half Men, Judge Mathis, Lauren Lake's Paternity Court, The Simpsons, 2 Broke Girls, and Friends among others. Though KASW aired 4Kids TV and its previous iterations until Fox discontinued their children's program blocks in December 2008, KASW declined to pick up its successor block, Weekend Marketplace, which now airs on independent station KAZT-TV (channel 7).
KASW served as the former over-the-air broadcast home of the NHL's Phoenix Coyotes, airing the team's games from the time that the franchise moved to Phoenix in 1996 until 2006, when the Coyotes announced[permanent dead link] the move of their over-the-air telecasts to KAZT-TV. The station also became the first ever broadcast home of the Arizona Rattlers from 1999 to the 2004 season until the Rattlers moved their broadcasts to Fox Sports Arizona in the 2005 season. In 2018, the Rattlers announced they would be airing their home games on KASW for the 2019 season. KASW also carried a 2013 Arizona Cardinals wild card playoff game airing on and produced by ESPN on January 3, 2014, in order to ensure local over-the-air coverage of the game (for future seasons, all ABC stations simulcast said ESPN game nationwide).
From 2015 to 2018, the station broadcast Major League Soccer games involving Real Salt Lake, simulcasting from Salt Lake City's MyNetworkTV affiliate KMYU. In 2019, KASW became the official broadcast partner of Phoenix Rising FC of the USL Championship. This ended after the 2021 season, with Bally Sports Arizona taking over the rights in 2022.
Other local programming
KTVK began producing a half-hour 9 p.m. newscast for KASW when that station signed on in September 1995, under the name Newsnight. However, it was unable to compete with KSAZ-TV and it was later canceled.
In January 2016, KASW premiered its first ever original program, Politics in the Yard, a talk show hosted by Jaime Molera. KASW also announced a partnership with Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication to launch the :60 Second Download, a news break segment that aired at the top of the hour before each program. Both programs were canceled after Scripps took over operation of the station.
After the station was sold to Scripps, sister station KNXV began producing two local newscasts for KASW; both of them debuted in a gradual basis over the course of 2020. The first of these newscasts debuted on March 30, when KASW debuted a two-hour extension of KNXV's morning newscast, anchored by a separate team of anchors from that of the main KNXV newscast. It was followed on August 30 by a half-hour long 9pm newscast, anchored by the station's evening team. Both newscasts air only on weeknights (weekends continue to feature syndicated programming at those timeslots) and compete with the longer-established newscasts at KTVK and KSAZ-TV.
The station's ATSC 1.0 channels are carried on the multiplexed digital signals of other Phoenix television stations:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||Short name||Programming||ATSC 1.0 host|
|61.1||1080i||16:9||CW61AZ||Main KASW programming / The CW||KNXV-TV|
KASW shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 61, at 4:30 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 switchover was originally scheduled for 12:01 a.m. in order for the analog signal to be shut down at the same time as its sister station KTVK; however, it was delayed for unknown reasons). The station's digital signal continued to broadcast on its pre-transition UHF channel 49. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 61, which was among the high band UHF channels (52-69) that were removed from broadcasting use as a result of the transition.
On March 27, 2020, this station was launched as a high-power ATSC 3.0 (NextGen TV) transmitter for Phoenix, operating alongside KFPH-CD and carrying the main program streams of KASW, KNXV, KSAZ and KUTP. It also is being used in the testing of single-frequency networks, with a second transmitter atop Shaw Butte.
On July 8, 2021, KPHO and KPNX were added to KASW from KFPH-CD, placing all four major network affiliates on the same ATSC 3.0 multiplex.
Since conversion, programming from KASW has been seen through the translators of its ATSC 1.0 hosts. K34EE-D in Cottonwood was switched to rebroadcast KNXV-TV in June 2021. Mohave County also surrendered the licenses of its two translators carrying KASW in July 2022.
- Channel 27 digital TV stations in the United States
- Channel 61 virtual TV stations in the United States
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