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WLEX-TV logo.png

Metv wlex.png
Lexington-Frankfort, 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 MeTV
18.3 Bounce TV
Affiliations NBC (Secondary through 1968)
Owner Cordillera Communications
(WLEX Communications, LLC)
First air date March 15, 1955; 62 years ago (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 (1955–1958)
Wazoo Sports Network (2009–2011)
Transmitter power 475 kW (digital)
Height 286 metres (938 ft)
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 www.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 in Lexington, Kentucky, United States, serving the east-central part of Kentucky. Its transmitter is located in Southern Lexington near Hamburg Pavilion on competitor WTVQ-DT's tower. WLEX's studios are located on Russell Cave Road (KY 353) in Lexington.

The station can be viewed within the Lexington area on Charter Spectrum channels 8 (SD) and 906 (HD) (channel numbers will vary throughout the market). It is also available on Frankfort Plant Board channels 7 (SD) and 507 (HD).[1][2]


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. On February 18, 1956, WLEX broadcast the first-ever telecast of a Kentucky Wildcats basketball game. 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, WLEX added the Wazoo Sports Network, which was dedicated to Kentucky sports, on a digital subchannel as part of a service branded as WZLEX.[3] Wazoo Sports filed for bankruptcy in December 2011; WLEX pulled the network at that time, with the station's general manager stating that Wazoo was "[not] strong enough to make a second commitment to it." Wazoo Sports would be replaced by MeTV.[4][5]

Digital television[edit]

Digital channels[edit]

The station's digital channel is multiplexed:

Channel PSIP Short Name Video Aspect Programming[6]
18.1 WLEX-TV 1080i 16:9 Main WLEX-TV programming / NBC
18.2 MeTV 720p MeTV
18.3 Bounce TV 480i Bounce 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.[7] 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.[8][9]

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 September 2010, WLEX became the first station in Lexington to have an on-the-air 4:00 p.m. newscast.[10]

In the fall of 2013, the station's 6 p.m. newscast began to be simulcasted on a half-hour delay on Louisville's independent 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. In addition, some providers in portions of the easternmost portions of the Louisville market carry WLEX, including Campbellsville and Bardstown.[11]


  1. ^ Time Warner Cable - Channel Lineup for Lexington, Kentucky
  2. ^ Frankfort Plant Board - Preferred Cable Lineup
  3. ^ "WLEX, Wazoo Sports Debut Channel". TVNewsCheck. Retrieved 2 March 2016. 
  4. ^ Sloan, Scott (January 9, 2012). "Kentucky broadcaster Wazoo Sports files for bankruptcy". Lexington Herald-Leader. Retrieved January 9, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Media Notebook: WTVQ, WLEX add subchannels of retro TV". Kentucky Herald-Leader. Retrieved 2 March 2016. 
  6. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WLEX
  7. ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24. 
  8. ^ "LEX 18 To Turn Off Analog Broadcast Signal On Friday". WLEX-TV. 2009-06-11. Archived from the original on June 16, 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-11. 
  9. ^ http://www.kentucky.com/211/story/689551.html
  10. ^ "WLEX to add 4 p.m. newscast". Lexington Herald-Leader. 6 August 2010. Retrieved 13 August 2010. 
  11. ^ "LEX 18 Coverage Map". WLEX-TV. Archived from the original on September 29, 2003 via Wayback Machine. Retrieved May 14, 2015.

External links[edit]