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WDCA Fox 5 Plus.jpg
Washington, D.C.
United States
Branding Fox 5 Plus
Channels Digital: 35 (UHF)
(to share 36 (UHF) with WTTG)
Virtual: 20 (PSIP)
Subchannels 20.1 MyNetworkTV (O&O)
20.2 Movies!
20.3 H&I
20.4 Light TV
Affiliations MyNetworkTV
Fox (alternate)
Owner Fox Television Stations
(Fox Television Stations, LLC)
First air date April 20, 1966; 51 years ago (1966-04-20)
Call letters' meaning Washington, District of Columbia (DCA is also the airport code for Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport)
Sister station(s) WTTG
Former channel number(s)
  • Analog:
  • 20 (UHF, 1966–2009)
Former affiliations
Transmitter power 500 kW
Height 227 m (745 ft)
Facility ID 51567
Transmitter coordinates 38°57′22″N 77°4′59″W / 38.95611°N 77.08306°W / 38.95611; -77.08306Coordinates: 38°57′22″N 77°4′59″W / 38.95611°N 77.08306°W / 38.95611; -77.08306
Licensing authority FCC
Public license information: Profile
Website www.fox5dc.com/fox5plus

WDCA, virtual channel 20 (UHF digital channel 35), branded as Fox 5 Plus, is a MyNetworkTV owned-and-operated television station licensed to the American capital city of Washington, District of Columbia. The station is owned by the Fox Television Stations division of 21st Century Fox, and is part of a duopoly with Fox owned-and-operated station WTTG (channel 5). The two stations share studio and transmitter facilities located on Wisconsin Avenue in the Tenleytown section of Washington's northwest quadrant.[1]


As an independent station[edit]

WDCA's logo under Superior Tube ownership used throughout the 1970s.

WDCA-TV signed on as an independent station on April 20, 1966; it was originally owned by the Capitol Broadcasting Corporation. Channel 20 was Washington's third independent station, nearly 20 years younger than its future sister station WTTG, which had been founded as a DuMont affiliate, and after WOOK, the nation's first African American-oriented television station. Veteran Washington broadcaster Milton Grant, who previously worked at WTTG, was president of Capitol Broadcasting, and also served as WDCA's founding general manager. Grant would sell channel 20 three years later in 1969 to the Superior Tube Company, although he would stay on as WDCA's general manager for the next decade.[2]

In 1979, Superior Tube sold WDCA to Cincinnati-based Taft Broadcasting, but only after an earlier proposed sale to the Chicago-based Tribune Company fell through.[3][4][5] In the 1970s and 1980s, WDCA's best-known personality was Dick Dyszel, who played Bozo the Clown, horror movie host "Count Gore de Vol", and kids show host "Captain 20", and also served as the station's main announcer. The station was also home to Petey Greene's Washington, an Emmy Award-winning show featuring the wit, wisdom and observations of Ralph "Petey" Greene, civil-rights activist and native Washingtonian.

Under Taft's stewardship, channel 20 became very profitable. As Taft upgraded the programming (much of which was distributed by new sister company Worldvision Enterprises, especially Hanna-Barbera cartoons), WDCA gained higher ratings but still trailed WTTG overall. For most of the 1980s and early 1990s, WDCA was the flagship broadcaster of the Washington Bullets and Washington Capitals. It was also the Washington, D.C. home of the Baltimore Orioles.

Channel 20 also became a regional superstation appearing on cable television systems up and down the East Coast. At its height, it was available on nearly every cable provider in Maryland and Virginia, and was carried as far south as Charlotte, North Carolina and as far north as Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. As early as 1987 – when it was displaced on Charlotte-area cable providers by upstart independent station WJZY (now a sister station to WDCA under Fox ownership) – WDCA began losing most of its out-of-market cable audience as more independent stations signed on in its former cable footprint. However, it is still available on several cable providers in Maryland and Virginia.

In February 1987, Taft sold WDCA and its other independent and Fox-affiliated stations to the Norfolk, Virginia-based TVX Broadcast Group. At the same time, the station dropped its longtime branding of "TV20" and became known as "DC20". The Taft purchase created a debt load for TVX and the sale of their smaller-market stations did not fully reduce the debt. In mid-1989, TVX sold a minority interest in the company to Paramount Pictures. Two years later, in 1991, Paramount bought TVX's remaining shares and became full owner of the stations, which were renamed as the Paramount Stations Group and, as a result, WDCA changed its branding to "Paramount 20", like its Houston sister station KTXH. Viacom purchased the group as part of its acquisition of Paramount Pictures in 1993.

As a UPN station[edit]

In 1994, Chris-Craft Industries and its broadcasting subsidiary, United Television, partnered with Viacom's newly acquired subsidiary Paramount Pictures to form the United Paramount Network. WDCA became the network's Washington area station when the network debuted on January 16, 1995. At the network's launch, WDCA was an affiliate of UPN as Chris-Craft had wholly owned the network at the time; the following year, Viacom (whose relationship to UPN was initially in the form of a programming partnership) bought a 50% ownership stake in UPN from Chris-Craft; this effectively turned channel 20 into a UPN owned-and-operated station through Viacom's part-ownership (Viacom later bought Chris-Craft's remaining 50% interest in UPN in 2000).

On October 29, 2001, Viacom traded WDCA to the News Corporation's Fox Television Stations unit (along with KTXH in Houston) in exchange for KBHK-TV in San Francisco, resulting in the creation of the first television duopoly in the Washington, D.C. market. Fox merged the two stations' operations, with WDCA moving from its longtime studios in Bethesda, Maryland, into WTTG's facilities on Wisconsin Avenue NW in Washington's Friendship Heights neighborhood. WTTG was itself once related to Paramount Pictures – it was originally an O&O of the DuMont Television Network, which Paramount had owned in part.

As a MyNetworkTV station[edit]

Logo as "DCA 20" following the CW announcement, January to May 2006.
WDCA's first "My 20 logo", used from May to June 2006.
WDCA's second "My 20" logo, used from June 2006 to July 2017

On January 24, 2006, CBS Corporation and Time Warner announced that UPN and The WB Television Network would be shut down, to be replaced by a new network that would feature some of the higher-rated programs from both networks called The CW Television Network.[6][7] WB affiliate WBDC (channel 50, now WDCW) was announced as Washington's CW station, due to its owner Tribune Broadcasting having signed a 10-year affiliation agreement for 16 of the company's 19 WB stations. The day after the announcement of The CW's formation (January 25, 2006), Fox removed all network references from the on-air branding of its UPN affiliates, and stopped promoting UPN programs altogether. WDCA accordingly changed its branding from "UPN 20" to "DCA 20", and altered its logo to replace UPN's logo with the "DCA" lettering.

The formation of MyNetworkTV, with WDCA and the other Fox-owned UPN stations as the nuclei, was announced on February 22, 2006, less than one month later.[8] With the impending switch to MyNetworkTV, channel 20's on-air branding was changed to "My 20" beginning on May 5, 2006. Despite MyNetworkTV's announcement that its launch date would be September 5, 2006, UPN continued to broadcast on stations across the country until September 15, 2006. While some UPN affiliates that switched to MyNetworkTV aired the final two weeks of UPN programming outside its regular primetime period, WDCA and the rest of the network's Fox-owned affiliates dropped UPN's programming entirely on August 31, 2006.

On April 17, 2017, Fox announced that WDCA would be re-branded as "Fox 5 Plus" on July 17, 2017 to provide better name recognition with its sister station WTTG; the channel continues to air its current lineup of MyNetworkTV (on a one-hour delay from 9:00–11:00 p.m.) and syndicated programming, but has also introduced a new 8:00 p.m. primetime newscast produced by WTTG.[9]

Digital television[edit]

Digital channels[edit]

The station's digital channel is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[10]
20.1 720p 16:9 WDCA-DT Main WDCA programming / MyNetworkTV
20.2 480i MOVIES Movies![11]
20.3 HEROES& Heroes & Icons
20.4 LightTV Light TV

In 2012, the station became an affiliate of the MundoFox network, which officially launched on August 13.[12] It stayed a MundoFox affiliate until around August 2015 when a change in ownership in MundoFox saw Fox's interest in the network end and its renaming to MundoMax. Two months later the 20.3 subchannel became home to Heroes & Icons. In July 2017 subchannel 20.4 was added for Light TV.

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

WDCA shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 20, 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 continued to broadcasts on its pre-transition UHF channel 35.[13] Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 20.

WDCA's digital signal had been very weak due to a problem with Washington, D.C. in constructing a new transmitter tower. However, around August 10, 2006, it was operating at full power and the signal became receivable in the suburbs.

Mobile DTV[edit]

In July 2009, Washington, D.C. became a test market for Mobile DTV, and WDCA was one of the participating stations.[14]

Like all of the DC-area Mobile DTV broadcasters, WDCA commenced full-time ATSC-M/H broadcasting on February 27, 2011. WDCA also has a Mobile DTV feed of sister station WTTG, displaying as subchannel 5.1, labelled "WTTG Fox5" and a feed of WDCA on 35.2, with two encrypted video feeds of Fox News Channel (on 5.3) and the Fox Business Network (on 5.4), broadcasting at 5.5 Mbit/s. This is tied with WFDC-DT for the highest bit rate of any D.C.-area television station's mobile feed.[15][16]

FCC spectrum auction[edit]

On April 4, 2017, the FCC announced that WDCA would go off the air and in return receive $118,834,183 for the frequency.[17] The station will channel share with WTTG.


Syndicated programming currently on WDCA are The Big Bang Theory, Divorce Court, The Simpsons, Harry, Family Feud, and The Dr. Oz Show, among others. Divorce Court and Family Feud are co-distributed by WDCA's sister company 20th Television, while The Simpsons is acquired from WDCA's secondary affiliate (and sister station WTTG's main affiliate) Fox.

WDCA may air Fox network programs occasionally when WTTG is unable to carry due to some extended breaking news or severe weather coverage. WDCA may also interrupt regularly scheduled programming in certain instances to simulcast live breaking news coverage from WTTG and Fox News.


In July 1995, WDCA experimented with a half-hour nightly 10:00 p.m. newscast called UPN 20 News at 10 to compete with future sister station WTTG's longer-running primetime newscast. The newscast was produced by regional cable news channel NewsChannel 8. The newscast was discontinued in the summer of 1996.

In October 2006, while WTTG aired Fox Sports' coverage of the 2006 Major League Baseball postseason, the first half-hour of that station's 10 p.m. newscast was broadcast by WDCA under the title Fox 5 News at Ten: Special Edition; this also occurred in 2007, with the WDCA broadcast of the program being titled My 20 News at 10.

As previously mentioned, WDCA began airing a primetime newscast, Fox 5 News at 8pm, on July 17 2017, as an half-hour broadcast on weekdays and a full-hour on weekends.


  1. ^ "Digital Signal Sources". The Washington Post. 2008-05-20. 
  2. ^ "$20 million in TV sales approved." Broadcasting, May 12, 1969, pg. 48. [1]
  3. ^ "Chicago Tribune, John Blair buy television outlets." Broadcasting, January 16, 1978, pg. 32. [2]
  4. ^ "Taft's turn to buy WDCA-TV; price this time is $13.5 million." Broadcasting, May 1, 1978, pg. 50.
  5. ^ "FCC stays on course, just barely, with top-50 policy; grants waiver for Taft buy of WDCA-TV." Broadcasting, August 20, 1979, pp. 25-26. [3] [4]
  6. ^ 'Gilmore Girls' meet 'Smackdown'; CW Network to combine WB, UPN in CBS-Warner venture beginning in September, CNNMoney.com, January 24, 2006.
  7. ^ UPN and WB to Combine, Forming New TV Network, The New York Times, January 24, 2006.
  8. ^ News Corp. Unveils MyNetworkTV, Broadcasting & Cable, February 22, 2006.
  9. ^ "Fox Rebrands WDCA As 'Fox 5 Plus'". TVNewsCheck. Retrieved 17 April 2017. 
  10. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WDCA
  11. ^ Movies!: Where to Watch Archived 2013-06-07 at the Wayback Machine.
  12. ^ Marcucci, Carl (13 August 2012). "MundoFox launches across the country". RBR.com. Retrieved 15 August 2012. 
  13. ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-08-29. Retrieved 2012-03-24. 
  14. ^ Dickson, Glen (2009-07-13). "Special Report: Mobile DTV Heats Up". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved 2009-07-15. 
  15. ^ TV Query for WDCA's Mobile DTV Service List
  16. ^ Es konnte nichts gefunden werden.
  17. ^ "DA-17-314A2.pdf" (PDF). FCC.gov. April 4, 2017. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 14, 2017. Retrieved April 14, 2017. 

External links[edit]