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|Branding||Colorado's Own Channel 2 (general)
Channel 2 News (newscasts)
|Channels||Digital: 34 (UHF)
Virtual: 2 (PSIP)
|Subchannels||2.1 The CW
2.2 This TV
|First air date||July 18, 1952|
|Call letters' meaning||World's Greatest
(named after sister station WGN-TV; refers to corporate cousin, the Chicago Tribune)
|Former callsigns||KFEL-TV (1952–1955)
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
2 (VHF, 1952–2009)
The WB (1995–2006)
DT2: The Tube Music Network (2006-2007)
|Transmitter power||1000 kW|
|Public license information:||Profile
KWGN-TV, virtual channel 2 (UHF digital channel 34), is a CW-affiliated television station located in Denver, Colorado, United States. The station is owned by the Tribune Broadcasting subsidiary of the Tribune Company, as part of a duopoly with Fox affiliate KDVR (channel 31). The two stations share studios located on East Speer Boulevard in Denver's Speer neighborhood (to the immediate south of KMGH-TV's studios); KWGN's transmitter is located atop Lookout Mountain, near Golden. The station's signal is relayed on three low-power translators: K14JZ-D in Peetz, K49EX-D in Anton and K31IQ-D in Sterling.
KWGN is available to subscribers of the Dish Network satellite service throughout the United States as part of its superstations package (for grandfathered subscribers that purchased the a la carte tier before Dish halted sales of the package to new subscribers in September 2013), and is carried on cable television providers in parts of the western United States. The station is authorized for cable and satellite distribution as a U.S. superstation by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, however KWGN is not currently available on any pay television providers in that country.
The station first signed on the air as KFEL-TV on July 18, 1952. It was the first television station in Colorado and the first station on the VHF band to sign on the air following the Federal Communications Commission's decision to lift its freeze on television station licenses that year. The station was originally owned by Gene O'Fallon, and it operated from studios located in a remodeled brick warehouse at 550 Lincoln Street. Originally, KFEL was a primary affiliate of the DuMont Television Network, but also cherry-picked programs from other networks.
Gotham Broadcasting, owned by J. Elroy McCaw (who also owned WINS in New York City), purchased the station from O'Fallon in 1955. A 50% ownership interest was subsequently acquired by John M. Shaheen, the founder of Tele-Trip Inc., an aviation services company which later became a subsidiary of Mutual of Omaha. Channel 2's call letters were changed that same year to KTVR, and it became an independent station after the DuMont network's collapse in 1956. In the late 1950s, the station was briefly affiliated with the NTA Film Network. In 1959, the station's call letters were changed to KCTO and McCaw became the sole owner of channel 2, buying out Shaheen's share.
Tribune Broadcasting – then known as WGN Incorporated – acquired the station in March 1966. The new owners changed the call letters to the current KWGN-TV after its new sister station, WGN-TV in Chicago (the WGN calls refer to the longtime slogan of the company's flagship newspaper, the Chicago Tribune, "World's Greatest Newspaper"). At the time of its purchase, KWGN became Tribune's fourth television station property – after WGN-TV, WPIX in New York City, and KDAL-TV (now KDLH) in Duluth, Minnesota, the latter of which was owned by Tribune from 1960 to 1978.
When WGN Continental Broadcasting bought the station, the company invested in KWGN to allow the station to upgrade its infrastructure from black-and-white to allow the transmission of programs in color. KWGN promoted itself as Colorado's only all-color station, because all of its local programs were produced in the format. Denver's three major network affiliates (KOA-TV – channel 4, now KCNC-TV; KLZ-TV – channel 7, now KMGH-TV; and KBTV – channel 9, now KUSA-TV) were broadcasting national network programs in color, but had yet to upgrade their studios with color cameras. As an independent station, KWGN aired off-network sitcoms and dramas, cartoons, movies, syndicated game shows and locally produced programs such as Blinky's Fun Club, a local edition of the Romper Room franchise, Fred & Fay, Denver Now, Afternoon at the Movies with Tom Shannon and public affairs program Your Right to Say It.
Starting in the 1960s, the station began building a massive network of translators across the state. Around this time, KWGN became a regional superstation (long before that term was coined by Atlanta station WTBS); it was picked up by most cable television providers in the rest of Colorado, as well as Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, South Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. KWGN was attractive to cable systems because its programming had no duplication with programs seen on the local network affiliates within their given markets. Additionally, it was the only independent station available in much of the region until the 1980s. To this day, KWGN remains available on most cable systems in Colorado and Wyoming, as well as on several systems in western Nebraska and Kansas. The station moved its operations from the Lincoln Street facility to a new building in suburban Greenwood Village in 1983. It remained the only independent station in Denver--and indeed, in all of Colorado--until future sister station KDVR signed on in August 1983.
As one of the strongest independent stations in the country, KWGN was approached by Fox to affiliate with the upstart network upon its October 1986 debut. Channel 2 turned down the affiliation, most likely because most of the smaller markets in its vast cable footprint had enough stations to provide Fox affiliates. The affiliation went to KDVR instead.
On November 2, 1993, the Warner Bros. Television division of Time Warner and the Tribune Company announced the creation of The WB Television Network; KWGN and the majority of Tribune's other independent stations (except for Atlanta's WGNX, which joined CBS one month prior to The WB's launch) were tapped to serve as the nuclei for the new network. The network launched on January 11, 1995, though KWGN's existing lineup was largely unaffected at first, since The WB initially ran programming only on Wednesday evenings, gradually adding additional nights of programming until 1999; by that time, the network offered primetime programming on Sunday through Friday evenings, along with children's programming on weekdays and Saturdays.
In October 1995, Fox attempted to move that network's affiliation in the market to KWGN, in a sale proposal that would have resulted in KDVR, which Fox had acquired from Renaissance Broadcasting earlier that year, being divested to Qwest Broadcasting (a company backed by Quincy Jones and Tribune Broadcasting) and become a WB affiliate. However, this deal never came to fruition.
In 1996, the station altered its on-air branding from "Denver's 2" to "Denver's WB2" to reflect its network affiliation, the "WB2" branding continued to be used in some form for the remainder of the network's run. During its existence as a WB affiliate, KWGN also served as the default WB affiliate for the Colorado Springs/Pueblo and Grand Junction markets – a status that was reflected under the "WB2 Colorado" moniker used during the final years of The WB's run.
On January 24, 2006, Time Warner's Warner Bros. unit 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. Nearly one month later on February 22, 2006, News Corporation announced the launch of a new "sixth" network called MyNetworkTV, which would be operated by its Fox Television Stations and Twentieth Television units. Tribune Broadcasting signed KWGN and 16 of the company's 18 other WB-affiliated stations to 10-year affiliation agreements with The CW. In preparation for the affiliation switch, the station retitled its newscasts from WB 2 News to News 2 on August 14, 2006. The affiliation switch took place on September 18, 2006, the day after The WB ended operations; MyNetworkTV ended up affiliating with former UPN affiliate KTVD (owned by the Gannett Company).
On July 7, 2008, KWGN removed references to its CW affiliation from its branding in both station promotions and its on-air logo, referring to itself simply as "2", featuring the CW branding era's "2" logotype within a solid circle logo. This was due to Tribune Broadcasting's decision to de-emphasize its CW-affiliated stations' ties to the network from their branding due to The CW's relatively weak ratings, repositioning them as more "local" stations.
On September 17, 2008, Tribune Company announced that it would enter KWGN into a local marketing agreement with Fox affiliate KDVR effective on October 1, 2008, as a result of the formation of a "broadcast management company" that was created to provide management services to stations owned by both Tribune Broadcasting and KDVR owner Local TV. As a result, the two stations would be operated from the KDVR studios in downtown Denver (based near the same location where KWGN's original studios were located during the station's first 30 years on the air). The move resulted in both stations combining their news departments and sharing certain syndicated programming.
On March 30, 2009, KWGN also underwent a change in its on-air branding, dropping its "CW 2" branding to become known as "2 the Deuce" in an attempt to appeal to younger viewers and become more involved in local issues. On March 1, 2010, the locally produced talk show Everyday with Libby and Natalie was renamed as simply Everyday and moved to KWGN from KDVR (effectively changing timeslots as a result moving from late afternoons to late mornings with the program's station switch); Libby Weaver co-hosted the program with Natalie Tysdal until June 1, 2009, after which Weaver was replaced by Chris Parente. After Peter Maroney took over as general manager following the 2009 departure of Dennis Leonard, other noticeable changes to the station took hold with the locally produced consumer talk program Martino TV being replaced in its 11 a.m. timeslot by repeats of Maury.
In May 2010, KWGN dropped "The Deuce" branding and temporarily began to simply identify by the station's call letters. The following month, the station changed its website domain from 2thedeuce.com to KWGN.com to reflect the branding change; later that year, the station rebranded itself as "Channel 2, The CW". That fall, the station dropped Live! with Regis and Kelly from its schedule, which moved to sister station KDVR; this left WGN-TV (which itself lost rights to the talk show in September 2013) and KPLR as the only Tribune-owned stations and two of the few CW affiliates that carry the show. On July 22, 2011, KWGN debuted a new on-air appearance and branding (becoming known as "Colorado's Own Channel 2", resembling the former "Denver's 2" identity from the 1980s and early 1990s), as well as reformatting its local news programming to a more traditional format.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|2.1||16:9||720p||KWGN-DT||Main KWGN-TV programming / The CW|
KWGN shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 2, 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 34. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analog channel 2.
KWGN-TV presently broadcasts 25 hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with five hours every weekday). Unlike most Tribune-owned stations that produce local newscasts, KWGN does not air any local news programs during the morning or evening hours on weekends. There is a considerable amount of sharing between KWGN and KDVR in regards to news coverage, video footage and the use of reporters; though both outlets maintain their own primary on-air personalities (such as news anchors and meteorologists) that only appear on one station; several KWGN on-air staffers that remained with the station after the LMA was formed simultaneously joined KDVR's news department with the consolidation of news operations.
Channel 2 was the first television station in Denver to air a locally produced nightly primetime newscast. The 9 p.m. newscast, which debuted shortly after the station signed on, remained a constant through several ownership changes. In 1966, the newscast expanded to one hour – becoming the only hour-long newscast in the Denver market at that point. Titled The Big News, the program heavily concentrated on local stories because filmed national and international news reports were not available through news feeds to stations that lacked a network affiliation during that period. If a major national story occurred, anchor Ron Voigt would read the wire copy while the camera would show black-and-white wire photos supplied by the Associated Press.
From the late 1960s until 1975, The Big News had two regular commentators to provide news analysis, George Salem and Gene Amole. The final segment of the newscast was titled "Speak Out" and was often devoted to phone calls from viewers. The program was also known for its meteorologist, Ed Bowman (known as Weatherman Bowman), who came to KWGN from KOA-TV-AM. Bowman frequently discussed the jet stream while drawing large arcs over a map of the continental United States. The sports director during the 1960s and early 1970s was Fred Leo, who provided play-by-play analysis for many of the area's professional sports teams.
The first time KWGN programmed news outside its established 9:00 slot was in 1997, when it premiered a midday newscast at 11 a.m. The program lasted three years, and was cancelled in the fall of 2000. Also in 2000, the station debuted a weekday morning newscast titled WB2day (now known by its present title Daybreak), which originally aired for three hours from 6 to 9 a.m. A few years later, it expanded to a four-hour program starting at 5 a.m. An 11 a.m. newscast returned to the schedule on September 11, 2006. On July 7, 2008, KWGN branched out its news programming into early evenings for the first time with the launch of a half-hour 5:30 p.m. newscast, anchored by Kellie MacMullan and Ernie Bjorkman. One month later on August 4, 2008, the station expanded its 11 a.m. newscast to one hour.
After entering into the local marketing agreement with KDVR, major changes were made to KWGN's news programming. First, the station discontinued its 5:30 p.m. newscast on January 12, 2009, as KDVR expanded its own early evening newscast to an hour at 5 p.m. On March 2, 2009, KWGN moved its newscasts to a temporary set in preparation for its March 30 move from its Greenwood Village facility to KDVR's studios on Speer Boulevard. On March 30, when KWGN's operations were formally integrated with KDVR, channel 2 shifted its flagship 9 p.m. newscast to 7 p.m., shifting The CW's primetime programming to the 8–10 p.m. slot; this effectively resulted in the newscast being reduced to airing only on Monday through Friday evenings in part due to The CW airing a three-hour primetime lineup on Sunday evenings at the time (the 7 p.m. newscast on KWGN continues to air exclusively on weeknights despite the fact that The CW turned over its Sunday primetime hours to their affiliates in September 2009). St. Louis sister station KPLR-TV also moved its 9 p.m. newscast to 7 p.m. around the same time to avoid competing with the late evening newscast on LMA partner KTVI. KWGN discontinued the 11 a.m. newscast once again on May 29, 2009, which was replaced the following Monday with Martino TV, a lifestyle program featuring paid segments from local businesses. At that time, KWGN began broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition.
+ denotes personnel seen exclusively on KWGN-TV
KWGN-TV's primary news anchors are Nick Emmons+ (weeknights at 7:00 p.m.), Tom Green+ (weekday mornings on Daybreak from 5:00-9:00 a.m.), Hema Mullur (weeknights at 7:00 p.m.) and Kim Posey (weekday mornings on Daybreak from 5:00-9:00 a.m.).
The Pinpoint Weather team (shared with KDVR) includes chief meteorologist Dave Fraser (AMS and NWA Seals of Approval; weeknights at 7:00 p.m.), and meteorologists Chris Tomer+ (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist and NWA Seals of Approval; weekday mornings on Daybreak from 5:00-9:00 a.m.), Nick Carter (fill-in meteorologist) and Shanna Mendiola (fill-in meteorologist).
The station's sports team (shared with KDVR) includes sports director Nick Griffith (weeknights at 7:00 p.m.), and fill-in sports anchors Kami Carmann (also sports reporter) and Raul Martinez.
The station's reporting staff (shared with KDVR) includes Josh Bernstein (senior investigative reporter), Jon Bowman (general assignment reporter), Dan Daru (weekday morning feature reporter), Julie Hayden (investigative reporter), Heidi Hemmat (investigative reporter), Jim Hooley (general assignment reporter), Chris Jose (general assignment reporter), Justin Joseph (general assignment reporter), Marika Lorraine (general assignment reporter), Melody Mendez (general assignment reporter), Mark Meredith (general assignment reporter), Sara Morris (general assignment reporter), Greg Nieto (general assignment reporter), Chris Parente (entertainment reporter; also fill-in anchor), Boris Sanchez (general assignment reporter; also fill-in anchor), Eli Stokols (political reporter; also fill-in anchor), Hendrick Sybrandy (general assignment reporter), Shaul Turner (health and weekday morning assignment reporter), Tammy Vigil (general assignment reporter) and Dave Young (general assignment reporter).
Hosts for the lifestyle program Colorado's Best are Joanna Canals+ and Paula Haddock +.