|La Crosse, Wisconsin
|Branding||WXOW 19 (general)
News 19 (newscasts)
La Crosse-Eau Claire CW (on DT2)
Decades (on DT3)
|Slogan||La Crosse's Own
TV Now (on DT2)
|Channels||Digital: 48 (UHF)
Virtual: 19 (PSIP)
|First air date||March 7, 1970|
|Call letters' meaning||X (for La Crosse) and sister to Madison's WKOW|
|Sister station(s)||WQOW, WKOW, WAOW/WYOW/WMOW, KTTC|
|Former channel number(s)||19 (UHF analog, 1970–2009)
14 (UHF digital, 2002–2009)
|Transmitter power||371 kW|
|Height||348 m (1,142 ft)|
WXOW is the ABC-affiliated television station for Western Wisconsin that is licensed to La Crosse. Owned by Quincy Media, it broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 48 (or virtual channel 19.1 via PSIP) from a transmitter at its studios on County Highway 25 in La Crescent, Minnesota.
WQOW in Eau Claire, Wisconsin operates as semi-satellite extending the ABC signal into the Chippewa Valley of Wisconsin. As such, that station simulcasts ABC network and syndicated programming as provided by WXOW but airs separate commercials, legal identifications, local newscasts, and Sunday morning programming. WXOW serves the southern half of the market while WQOW serves the northern portion. The two stations are counted as a single unit for ratings purposes. DirecTV and Dish Network offers both WXOW and WQOW as of September 2010.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP short name||Programming |
|19.1||720p||16:9||WXOWABC||Main WXOW programming / ABC|
|19.2||WXOWCW||La Crosse-Eau Claire CW|
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 and NBC affiliate WEAU-TV. 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". This was seen through a simulcast on channel 15 on most 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. 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. There are two different signals from the same tower at WXOW's studios carrying The CW as a low-powered 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. 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. 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.
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.