|Sumter/Columbia, South Carolina
|City||Sumter, South Carolina|
|Branding||Columbia CW 63|
|Channels||Digital: 39 (UHF)
(to move to 31 (UHF))
Virtual: 63 (PSIP)
|Owner||WBHQ Columbia, LLC|
|Founded||April 19, 1990|
|First air date||September 15, 1997|
|Call letters' meaning||WK Television of Columbia|
|Former callsigns||WQHB (1997–2003)
|Former channel number(s)||63 (UHF analog, 1997–2009)|
|Former affiliations||The WB (1997–2006, secondary until 2001)
UPN (1997–2004; secondary from 2001)
Pax TV (per-program basis, 1998–2001)
|Transmitter power||500 kW
426 kW (CP)
|Height||391 m (1,283 ft)|
|Public license information:||Profile
WKTC, virtual channel 63 (UHF digital channel 39), is a primary CW and secondary MyNetworkTV-affiliated television station serving Columbia, South Carolina, United States that is licensed to Sumter. The station is locally owned by WBHQ Columbia, LLC. WKTC maintains studio facilities in the Pontiac Business Center complex in Elgin, and its transmitter is located on Rush Road (southeast of I-20) in rural southwestern Kershaw County. On cable, the station is available on Charter Spectrum channel 4 in both standard and high definition.
The station first signed on the air on September 15, 1997 as WQHB; it originally operated as a primary UPN and secondary WB affiliate, with The WB's primetime programming airing on a one-day delay from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. It also aired select programming from Pax TV (now Ion Television). The station's original transmitter in Sumter was not nearly strong enough to provide a decent over-the-air signal to Columbia; as a result, WQHB began operating a fill-in translator in Columbia, W67DP (channel 67).
In 2001, the station became a primary WB affiliate, shifting UPN primetime programming to the late evening hours from 10:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m., after The WB's primetime schedule. Pax TV programming was dropped altogether at this time. In 2003, the station changed its call letters to WBHQ (reversing the last three letters of its original calls) and moved its transmitter to space on the tower of ABC affiliate WOLO-TV (channel 25) near Camden. This gave the station an over-the-air coverage area comparable to Columbia's other full-power stations, enabling it to shut down the channel 67 translator. It also changed its on-air branding from "WB63" to "Midlands' WB4" (a reference to its cable channel placement in the market on Time Warner Cable). During this period, it moved to its current studio facilities in Elgin. WBHQ dropped UPN programming on August 27, 2004, leaving the market without a UPN affiliate until Roberts Broadcasting signed on WZRB (channel 47) on January 1, 2005.
On January 24, 2006, the Warner Bros. unit of Time Warner and CBS Corporation announced that the two companies would shut down The WB and UPN and combine the networks' respective programming to create a new "fifth" network called The CW. On February 22, 2006, News Corporation announced the launch of a new "sixth" network called MyNetworkTV, which would be operated by Fox Television Stations and its syndication division Twentieth Television, which was created to give UPN and WB stations that would not become CW affiliates another option besides converting to independent stations. On March 25, it was announced that WBHQ would become MyNetworkTV's Columbia affiliate.
On June 26, 2006, the station changed its call letters to WKTC (standing for "Television of Columbia," according to the station's co-owner). On June 28, the station began running advertisements in the Columbia Free Times newspaper featuring the cast of one of MyNetworkTV's original telenovelas Desire, with the text "September 5 / It's a whole new ballgame," alongside a stylized "My 63" logo and the new call letters. In August 2007, WBHQ Columbia, LLC converted W67DP into the market's Telemundo affiliate, using the calls "WNXG". Later that month, WKTC began operating its full-power digital signal on channel 39. WBHQ Columbia, LLC also signed on a low-power MyNetworkTV-affiliated station in Wilmington, North Carolina, W47CK (branded as "WMYW"), and a low-power Telemundo-affiliated station in Savannah, Georgia, WHDS-LD.
WKTC became digital-only, effective June 12, 2009.
On December 11, 2013, Roberts Broadcasting received United States bankruptcy court approval to sell WZRB to Ion Media Networks, which converted the station into an Ion Television owned-and-operated station on February 10, 2014. WZRB continued to carry The CW as a secondary affiliation in the interim until March 17, 2014, when the network's programming moved to WKTC as a primary affiliation; the station then changed its on-air branding to "Columbia CW 63". As a result of the change, WKTC pushed MyNetworkTV two hours later, running from 10:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. after CW primetime programming. WKTC regained the title of the only television station in the United States to carry both The CW and MyNetworkTV on its primary channel (similar to that of KNVA in Austin, and KWKB in Iowa City since the launch of both networks in 2006, with KNVA now only carrying the CW and KWKB now carrying This TV, swapping affiliations with KWWL-DT2, which took the CW affiliation from KWKB), until September 1, 2016, when WPWR-TV in Chicago became the largest station in the country to carry both the CW and MyNetworkTV on its primary channel after it took the CW affiliation from WGN-TV.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP short name||Programming |
|63.1||720p||16:9||WKTCDT||Main WKTC programming / The CW & MyNetworkTV|
Prior to November 2009, WKTC carried the Retro Television Network on digital subchannel 63.2. In November 2009, WKTC began carrying a simulcast of low-power station W67DP/WNXG on 63.2, shifting RTV to digital channel 63.3. In November 2011, WKTC began carrying Antenna TV on its 63.3 subchannel, thus shifting RTV once again, this time to digital subchannel 63.4. W67DP would go dark by June 2010. Retro TV would be removed on October 1, 2017, when a contract with Katz Broadcasting to carry Laff and Escape went into effect, which was notable as WKTC was the final Retro TV affiliate nationwide which held a Big Five affiliation on their main subchannel.
In January 2012, WKTC began broadcasting Southeastern Conference college basketball games from ESPN Plus-operated SEC Network (later SEC TV), sharing with WOLO-TV. This ended after the 2013-2014 season because of the launch of the cable-exclusive SEC Network in August 2014.
- '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.
- "News Corp. to launch new mini-network for UPN stations". USA Today. February 22, 2006. Retrieved January 21, 2013.
- News Corp. Unveils MyNetworkTV, Broadcasting & Cable, February 22, 2006.
- Malone, Michael (March 19, 2014). "WKTC Columbia (S.C.) Picks Up CW Affiliation". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved March 20, 2014.
- FCC Broadcast Actions, June 8, 2011.
- SEC Network Announced Affiliate Change in Columbia.