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WLEX-TV logo.png
Metv wlex.png
Lexington, Kentucky
United States
CityLexington, Kentucky
BrandingLEX 18 (general)
LEX 18 News (newscasts)
SloganCount on LEX 18
ChannelsDigital: 39 (UHF)
(to move to 28 (UHF))
Virtual: 18 (PSIP)
Affiliations18.1: NBC
18.2: MeTV
18.3: Bounce TV
18.4: Court TV
OwnerE. W. Scripps Company
(Scripps Broadcasting Holdings LLC)
First air dateMarch 15, 1955 (64 years ago) (1955-03-15)
Call letters' meaningLEXington
Sister station(s)WCPO-TV
Former channel number(s)Analog:
18 (UHF, 1955–2009)
Former affiliationsAll secondary:
DuMont (1955)
CBS (1955–1957, 1958–1968)
ABC (1955–1958)
Wazoo Sports Network (2009–2011)
Transmitter power475 kW
379 kW (CP)
Height286 m (938 ft)
Facility ID73203
Transmitter coordinates38°2′3″N 84°23′39″W / 38.03417°N 84.39417°W / 38.03417; -84.39417 (digital)
Licensing authorityFCC
Public license informationProfile

WLEX-TV, virtual channel 18 (UHF digital channel 39), is an NBC-affiliated television station licensed to Lexington, Kentucky, United States, serving the east-central region of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The station is owned by the Cincinnati-based E. W. Scripps Company. WLEX's studios are located on Russell Cave Road (KY 353) in Lexington, and its transmitter is located six miles (10 km) east of downtown Lexington near Hamburg Pavilion on competitor WTVQ-DT's tower.

The station can be viewed within the Lexington metropolitan area on Charter Spectrum channel 8 (channel numbers will vary throughout the market).[1] It is also available on Frankfort Plant Board Cable channel 7[2] and throughout the entire Lexington designated market area on various other cable systems, including independent and rural systems.


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. Of the 13 stations owned by Evening Post Industries, WLEX is the only one east of the Mississippi River, and thus the only station in the group whose call letters begin with a W.

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]

Cordillera Communications announced on October 29, 2018 that it will sell most of its stations, including WLEX, to the E. W. Scripps Company.[6] The sale was completed on May 1, 2019.[7] This made WLEX a sister station to ABC affiliate and corporate flagship station WCPO-TV in adjacent Cincinnati.

Digital television[edit]

Digital channels[edit]

The station's digital signal is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[8]
18.1 1080i 16:9 WLEX-TV Main WLEX-TV programming / NBC
18.2 720p MeTV MeTV
18.3 480i Bounce Bounce TV
18.4 720p CourtTV Court 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.[9] 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.[10][11]

TV spectrum repack[edit]

WLEX will plan to move its channel allocation from digital channel 39 to digital channel 28 and it will remain on virtual channel 18 once is completed.[12]

News operation[edit]

WLEX-TV broadcasts 35½ hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 6 hours each weekday, 2½ hours on Saturdays and 3 hours on Sundays). 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.[13]

In the fall of 2013, the station's 6 p.m. newscast began to air 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. In addition, some providers in the easternmost portions of the Louisville market carry WLEX, including Campbellsville and Bardstown.[14]


  1. ^ Time Warner Cable - Channel Lineup for Lexington, Kentucky Archived January 8, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Frankfort Plant Board - Preferred Cable Lineup
  3. ^ "WLEX, Wazoo Sports Debut Channel". TVNewsCheck. Retrieved March 2, 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 March 2, 2016.
  6. ^ "The E.W. Scripps Company buys more television stations, bringing total to 51". WCPO-TV. Retrieved October 29, 2018.
  7. ^ Miller, Mark K. (May 1, 2019). "Scripps Closes On Cordillera Stations Purchase". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheckMedia. Retrieved May 1, 2019.
  8. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WLEX
  9. ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved March 24, 2012.
  10. ^ "LEX 18 To Turn Off Analog Broadcast Signal On Friday". WLEX-TV. June 11, 2009. Archived from the original on June 16, 2009. Retrieved June 11, 2009.
  11. ^ http://www.kentucky.com/211/story/689551.html
  12. ^ http://www.rabbitears.info/market.php?request=station_search&callsign=WLEX
  13. ^ "WLEX to add 4 p.m. newscast". Lexington Herald-Leader. August 6, 2010. Retrieved August 13, 2010.
  14. ^ "LEX 18 Coverage Map". WLEX-TV. Archived from the original on September 29, 2003 via Wayback Machine. Retrieved May 14, 2015.

External links[edit]