|Big Spring/Odessa/Midland, Texas|
|City||Big Spring, Texas|
|Branding||The CW West Texas|
Telemundo 20 (on DT2)
|Slogan||Dare to Defy|
|Channels||Digital: 33 (UHF)|
Virtual: 4 (PSIP)
|Translators||KOSA-DT 7.2 (VHF) Odessa|
(Gray Television Licensee, LLC)
|First air date||January 15, 1956|
|Call letters' meaning||K CW Odessa|
|Sister station(s)||KOSA-TV, KTLE-LD|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:|
4 (VHF, 1956–2009)
|Transmitter power||33.5 kW|
|Height||83.3 m (273 ft)|
|Public license information||Profile|
KCWO-TV, virtual channel 4 (UHF digital channel 33), is a CW+-affiliated television station licensed to Big Spring, Texas, United States and serving the Permian Basin area. The station is owned by Gray Television, as part of a duopoly with Odessa-licensed CBS affiliate KOSA-TV (channel 7); it is also sister to Odessa-licensed low-power Telemundo affiliate KTLE-LD, channel 7.5 (which is simulcast in high definition on KCWO's second digital subchannel). The three stations share studios inside the Music City Mall on East 42nd Street in Odessa, with a secondary studio and news bureau in downtown Midland; KCWO's transmitter is located on US 87 north of Big Spring.
Until January 2019 as KWAB-TV, the station operated as a satellite of Odessa-licensed NBC affiliate KWES-TV (channel 9), then owned by Raycom Media. In conjunction with Gray's acquisition of Raycom and subsequent resale of KWES-TV to Tegna Inc., KWAB was retained by Gray and converted into a stand-alone station; its main channel is simulcast in high definition on KOSA's second digital subchannel (replacing MyNetworkTV) to expand its broadcast range.
KCWO began operations in 1956 as KBST-TV, owned by the Big Spring Herald along with KBST radio (1490 AM). The station carried programming from all three networks; however, it was hampered by the presence of KMID-TV (channel 2) in Midland, which carried NBC and some ABC programming, and KOSA-TV (channel 7) in Odessa, which carried CBS, which limited KBST's network programming. Consequently, the station had little success. The radio station was eventually sold to the Snyder Corporation (co-owned by Ted Snyder, who later acquired KARN in Little Rock, Arkansas, and B. Winston Wrinkle), while a half interest in KBST-TV was transferred to Dub Rogers' Texas Telecasting, owner of KDUB-TV in Lubbock (now KLBK-TV) and part-owner of KVER-TV in Clovis, New Mexico (now KVIH-TV). Rogers then changed the call letters of the station to KEDY-TV.
The studios and tower were located at the edge of Howard College campus at 2500 Kentucky Way. Local shows were produced on and off until the late 1960s. Otherwise, KEDY largely became a semi-satellite of KDUB. In 1961, Rogers sold his stations to Grayson Enterprises. Soon afterward, the station took the KWAB callsign (for Webb Air Force Base), and switched from simulcasting KDUB to KPAR-TV (now KTXS-TV) in Sweetwater. However, both KDUB and KPAR were primarily affiliated with CBS (though KPAR also had a secondary ABC affiliation), resulting at times in KWAB duplicating KOSA. Soon after Grayson's acquisition of KVKM-TV (now KWES-TV), KWAB began to simulcast that station, alleviating the duplication.
Grayson Enterprises ran into license renewal trouble in 1968, 1971, 1974, and 1977 for some of its stations. These stations were accused of fraudulent billing, program and transmitter log fabrication, main studio violations, failure to make required technical tests, and other issues. The stations had their renewals deferred and hearings ordered as a result.
The case was settled in what was then described as a "distress sale", in which Grayson's stations were broken up and sold to minority-controlled groups (nowadays known as historically-underutilized groups) at a reduced price. The parameters of such a sale were defined by this sell-off. As a result, Grayson sold both stations to Permian Basin Television Corporation in 1980.
KWES/KWAB swapped affiliations with KMID on June 11, 1981 and joined NBC. Permian Basin Television sold KWES and KWAB to MSP Television in 1985. Drewry Communications bought the stations in 1991. Drewry had planned to sell its stations to London Broadcasting in 2008; however, by January 2009, the deal fell through.
For many years, the stations did some Big Spring production, most of which aired on a delayed basis. Today in Big Spring was recorded in Big Spring and fed back to the Midland studios over the company microwave system. This microwave link proved pivotal for KWES during the February 2008 Alon USA refinery explosion, allowing the station to provide live skycam images and live pictures in the hours immediately after the blast.
KWES/KWAB lost rights to LATV on December 29, 2013, but they were able to gain the rights to The CW from KWWT. On June 12, 2014, KWES/KWAB's CW feed was made available to local Dish Network subscribers on Channel 10.
On June 25, 2018, Gray Television announced it had reached an agreement with Raycom to merge their respective broadcasting assets (consisting of Raycom's 63 existing owned-and/or-operated television stations, including KWES and KWAB, and Gray's 93 television stations) under Gray's corporate umbrella. The cash-and-stock merger transaction valued at $3.6 billion—in which Gray shareholders would acquire preferred stock currently held by Raycom—required divestment of either KWES or KOSA due to FCC ownership regulations prohibiting common ownership of two of the four highest-rated stations in a single market (as well as more than two stations in any market). Gray announced it would retain KOSA, and sell KWES to an unrelated third party. On August 20, it was announced that Tegna Inc. would buy KWES and sister station WTOL in Toledo, Ohio for $105 million. KWAB would be retained and converted to a CW+ affiliate, with a simulcast on KOSA's second digital subchannel. The sale was completed on January 2, 2019. Upon completion of the sale, the call letters were changed to KCWO (the "-TV" suffix was added on February 26, 2019).
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|4.1||720p||16:9||KCWO-DT||Main KCWO-TV programming / CW+|
|4.2||1080i||KCWO-D2||Simulcast of KTLE-LD / Telemundo|
|4.3||480i||4:3||KCWO-D3||Heroes & Icons|
KCWO (as KWAB) shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 4, 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 33. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analog channel 4.
- "TEGNA to Acquire the Leading Television Stations WTOL in Toledo, OH, and KWES in Odessa-Midland, TX". Tegna Inc. August 20, 2018. Retrieved August 20, 2018.
- "RESCAN: New channels coming to CBS7 lineup". CBS7.com. Gray Television. December 31, 2018. Retrieved December 31, 2018.
- "London Broadcasting Acquires KWES-TV". KWES NewsWest 9. Retrieved October 22, 2009.
- "London adds a market, leaves a crater". Television Business Report. January 16, 2009. Retrieved October 22, 2009.
- Jessell, Harry A. (August 10, 2015). "Raycom Buying Drewry For $160 Million". TVNewsCheck. Retrieved August 10, 2015.
- Raycom Media Completes $160 Million Acquisition of Drewry Communications Broadcasting & Cable, Retrieved December 1, 2015.
- "GRAY AND RAYCOM TO COMBINE IN A $3.6 BILLION TRANSACTION". Raycom Media (Press release). June 25, 2018.
- Miller, Mark K. (June 25, 2018). "Gray To Buy Raycom For $3.6 Billion". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheckMedia. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
- John Eggerton (June 25, 2018). "Gray Buying Raycom for $3.6B". Broadcasting & Cable. NewBay Media.
- Dade Hayes (June 25, 2018). "Gray Acquiring Raycom For $3.65B, Forming No. 3 Local TV Group". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Media Corporation.
- "FCC Filing: Gray Acquisition of Raycom Comprehensive Exhibit".
- "Gray Completes Acquisition of Raycom Media and Related Transactions", Gray Television, January 2, 2019, Retrieved January 2, 2019.
- "Call Sign History (KCWO-TV)". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved February 27, 2019.
- RabbitEars TV Query for KCWO
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on August 29, 2013. Retrieved March 24, 2012.