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La Crosse, Wisconsin
United States
BrandingWXOW 19 (general)
News 19 (newscasts)
La Crosse–Eau Claire CW (on DT2)
Decades (on DT3)
SloganLa Crosse's Own
TV Now (on DT2)
ChannelsDigital: 28 (UHF)
Virtual: 19 (PSIP)
Affiliations19.1: ABC
19.2: CW+
19.3: Decades
19.4: Court TV (soon)
19.5: Justice Network (soon)
OwnerQuincy Media
(WXOW-WQOW License, LLC)
First air dateMarch 7, 1970 (49 years ago) (1970-03-07)
Call letters' meaningX (for La Crosse) and sister to Madison's WKOW
Sister station(s)WQOW, WKOW, WAOW/WYOW/WMOW
Former channel number(s)Analog:
19 (UHF, 1970–2009)
14 (UHF, 2002–2009)
48 (UHF, 2009–2018)
Transmitter power251 kW
Height348 m (1,142 ft)
Facility ID64549
Transmitter coordinates43°48′23″N 91°22′3″W / 43.80639°N 91.36750°W / 43.80639; -91.36750
Licensing authorityFCC
Public license informationProfile

WXOW is a dual ABC/CW+-affiliated television station licensed to La Crosse, Wisconsin, United States and serving Western Wisconsin. Owned by Quincy Media, it broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 28 (or virtual channel 19 via PSIP) from a transmitter at its studios on County Highway 25 in La Crescent, Minnesota.

WQOW (channel 18) in Eau Claire operates as a semi-satellite extending the ABC signal into the Chippewa Valley of Wisconsin. As such, that station simulcasts all ABC network and syndicated programming as provided by WXOW but airs separate local newscasts, commercial inserts, legal on-air identifications, and Sunday morning religious programming.[1][2] Master control and some internal operations for WQOW are based at the WXOW studios. WXOW serves the southern half of the La Crosse–Eau Claire market while WQOW serves the northern portion. The two stations are counted as a single unit for ratings purposes. DirecTV and Dish Network offer both WXOW and WQOW as of September 2010.


WXOW signed on on March 7, 1970 as a semi-satellite of WKOW-TV in Madison. Before then, ABC programming in the market was relegated to off-hours clearances on CBS affiliate WKBT (channel 8) and NBC affiliate WEAU (channel 13). Depending on the location, Western Wisconsin viewers could get the full ABC schedule on KMSP-TV from the Twin Cities, KAUS-TV (now KAAL) in Austin, Minnesota, or WKOW.

For its first decade on the air, WXOW's UHF signal was marginal at best in Eau Claire, primarily because its transmitter was located in Minnesota. As a result, Chippewa Valley viewers only got a decent signal from the station when cable arrived in the market in the mid-1970s. In order to solve this reception problem, WXOW severed the electronic umbilical cord with WKOW and signed on WQOW as a full-time satellite on September 22, 1980.

WXOW and WQOW began operating a cable-only affiliate of The WB in 1998 known as "WBCZ".[3] This was seen through a simulcast on channel 15 on most cable systems in La Crosse and Eau Claire. In September 2002, WXOW became the first La Crosse area television station to broadcast in digital on UHF channel 14.[4] WXOW and WQOW replaced "WBCZ" with new second digital subchannels (simulcasting The CW) when the new network launched in the fall of 2006.

After The CW Plus national feed was upgraded to 720p high-definition level in fall 2012, an HD feed became available on Charter digital channel 610. Up until August 2018, there were two different signals from the same tower at WXOW's studios carrying The CW as a digital translator of sister station KTTC also carries a CW subchannel in high definition. However, WXOW-DT2 is considered the area's primary CW affiliate and is the only one available on cable and satellite television providers.

WXOW began airing solely in digital, effective February 17, 2009, with the analog transmitter operating for sixty additional days broadcasting as part of a night lighting service with local news and information about the digital transition.[5] On June 11, 2009, WXOW moved from its initial digital channel assignment to channel 48 at a higher broadcasting power. WXOW and WQOW launched This TV (simulcast on new third digital subchannels of the stations) in February–March 2010.[6][7] WXOW had a construction permit to air a digital fill-in translator covering Tomah, Wisconsin. Airing on UHF channel 28, this low-powered signal would have had a transmitter on Echo Road in western unincorporated Monroe County. The permit was later cancelled on June 6, 2013.[8]

Digital channels[edit]

The station's digital signal is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP short name Programming [9]
19.1 720p 16:9 WXOWABC Main WXOW programming / ABC
19.2 WXOWCW La Crosse's CW
19.3 480i 4:3 WXOWDEC Decades
19.4 16:9 Court TV (soon)
19.5 Justice Network (soon)


Syndicated programming on WXOW includes The Doctors, Inside Edition, Dr. Phil, Rachael Ray and Live with Kelly and Ryan, among others.


With the launch of WQOW, WXOW began to simulcast its newscasts on that station. In 1982, WQOW established a separate news operation with local newscasts focusing on Eau Claire and the surrounding areas. Since it did not operate an in-house weather department of its own, all segments originated from WXOW's studios in a tape-delayed arrangement. The effort was cancelled in March 1990 as a cost-cutting measure and, as a result, WQOW once again began simulcasting WXOW's newscasts.

It would not be until October 1996 when WQOW would relaunch its own local news operation for a second time which remains to this day. Although this incarnation of news production includes a separate weather department from WXOW, meteorologists from that station can fill-in on WQOW (this is the case especially on weekends). In September 2011, WXOW became the second television station in the market to perform an upgrade to high definition newscast production. Included in the change was a new studio and updated graphics package. The news department at WQOW was upgraded to HD level at the same time.


External links[edit]