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DCW Television Logo.jpg
Washington, D.C.
United States
Branding DCW Television, DCW 50 (general)
DCW 50 News (newscasts)
Slogan Serious Fun
Channels Digital: 15 (UHF)
(shared with WFDC-DT[1])
Virtual: 50 (PSIP)
Owner Tribune Broadcasting
Founded January 1, 1972 (1972-01-01)
First air date April 6, 1981 (37 years ago) (1981-04-06)
Call letters' meaning Washington, D.C.'s CW
Sister station(s) WTVR-TV (newscast production only)
Former callsigns
  • WGSP (1972)
  • WCQR (1981–1985)
  • WFTY (1985–1995)
  • WBDC-TV (1995–2006)
Former channel number(s)
  • Analog:
  • 50 (UHF, 1972–2009)
  • Digital:
  • 51 (UHF, 2006–2009)
  • 50 (UHF, 2009–2018)
Former affiliations
Transmitter power 1000 kW
Height 227 m (745 ft)
Facility ID 30576
Transmitter coordinates 38°57′24″N 77°4′53″W / 38.95667°N 77.08139°W / 38.95667; -77.08139Coordinates: 38°57′24″N 77°4′53″W / 38.95667°N 77.08139°W / 38.95667; -77.08139
Licensing authority FCC
Public license information: Profile
Website dcw50.com

WDCW, virtual channel 50 (UHF digital channel 15), is the CW-affiliated television station licensed to the American capital city of Washington, District of Columbia. Owned by the Tribune Broadcasting subsidiary of the Tribune Media Company, WDCW maintains studios on Wisconsin Avenue in the Glover Park section of Washington, and it shares transmitter facilities with Arlington, Virginia-licensed Univision-owned station WFDC-DT (channel 14) in the Tenleytown section of Washington's northwest quadrant.

On cable, the station is available on Comcast Xfinity channel 23 in Washington, D.C. and Montgomery County, Maryland, Xfinity channel 11 in Reston, Virginia, and channel 3 on most other systems in the market.

WDCW is carried on satellite provider DirecTV (as standard definition only "CW-E") to serve the few areas of the eastern United States where a CW affiliate is not receivable over-the-air or through cable, and on JetBlue's LiveTV in-flight entertainment system via DirecTV (the other network stations featured on JetBlue are predominantly from New York City).


The Channel 50 license was first assigned to WGSP. That station ran test patterns in early 1972, but never signed on. On April 6, 1981, Channel 50 finally signed on under the callsign WCQR. Beginning on November 1, WCQR aired the subscription television service SuperTV at night and live pictures of Washington, D.C. from above its broadcast tower during the daytime. Early in the day, WCQR also ran some basic computer still images with music called "Morning Muse". The live pictures were soon replaced with programming from the Financial News Network. Hill Broadcasting purchased both Channel 50 and WHLL-TV (now Univision affiliate WUNI) in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1985. On July 1, the call letters were changed to WFTY, in reference to its channel FifTY allocation. It then became a full-time independent station in early 1986. Initially, the station ran a lineup of classic off-network sitcoms, dramas, cartoons, movies and some religious programs. WFTY also picked up the ABC soap opera Ryan's Hope after WJLA-TV (Channel 7) dropped it in 1986, with Channel 50 running the final years of the program.

The station was airing mostly religious programs, infomercials, low-budget (but copyrighted) movies, and a few off-network dramas by 1988. Ratings were very low, in addition to the programming costs. WFTY did pick up a few cartoons for the weekday 7 to 9 a.m. slot in June 1990 when Fox owned-and-operated station WTTG (channel 5) dropped its children's block in favor of launching a weekday morning newscast. In 1993, WFTY (along with WHLL) were purchased by the Jasas Corporation. In the fall of that year, WFTY added more cartoons, barter sitcoms, some low-priced syndicated shows, and cut back on paid programming.

WFTY joined The WB on February 20, 1995, six weeks after the network started. WJAL (channel 68) in Hagerstown, Maryland was the WB's charter affiliate in the Washington market, and both stations aired its programming. As the network provided only a single block on Wednesdays from 8 to 10 p.m. at the time, WFTY ran WB programs on six weeknights in order to catch up and begin airing the schedule in pattern on March 1.[3] On September 6, the station's call letters were changed to WBDC-TV to reflect its network status, with the callsign being a portmanteau of WB and Washington DC. In 1996, the Tribune Company (which had a minority ownership interest in The WB) began managing the station and purchased the station outright from the Jasas Corporation in 1999.

WDCW's CW logo, used from 2006 to 2008.

On January 24, 2006, Time Warner and CBS Corporation announced that The WB and UPN would shut down that September and be replaced by a new network that would include some of the two networks' higher-rated programs called The CW.[4][5] WBDC was named as the D.C. area's CW affiliate as Tribune signed a 10-year affiliation agreement for 16 of the company's 19 WB stations. On May 1, WBDC's call letters were changed to the current WDCW to reflect the pending switch. On July 20, 2006, the station began to run on-air promotions that featured a new logo and branding as "The CW Washington". WDCW joined The CW when the network launched nationwide on September 18, 2006.

In August 2008, WDCW began to be branded on-air as "DC50" reducing the promotion of The CW to just the tagline; this was followed on August 14 with the introduction of a new logo; this branding change came as Tribune's CW-affiliated stations began to de-emphasize references to the network in their branding. On-air, the station used "DC 50" as their branding and at some points "Home of The CW" as their slogan while "The CW Washington" branding continued to be used on the station's website. In press releases seen online, WDCW was also using the "Home of The CW" slogan.[6] The slogan began being used on-air and online on August 22, 2008. The CW logo returned to the station's branding in 2010, changing it to "DC50 The CW." In July 2014, the station was rebranded as "DCW Television," and introduced a new logo.

In April 2017, Tribune sold WDCW's broadcast spectrum to the FCC for $122 million as part of the commission's 2016–17 spectrum reallocation reverse auction.[7] On August 31, 2017, it was announced that WDCW had entered into a channel sharing agreement with Univision owned-and-operated station WFDC-DT. WDCW ended broadcasts over its own channel 50 and began sharing WFDC's channel 15 on January 23, 2018.[1]

Aborted sale to Sinclair Broadcast Group

On May 8, 2017, Sinclair Broadcast Group announced that it would acquire Tribune Media for $3.9 billion, plus the assumption of $2.7 billion in debt held by Tribune. However, on August 9, 2018, Tribune announced that it had pulled out of the deal, after the FCC raised "serious concerns" about the amount of money some of the stations being resold in the deal were being sold for.[8]

Digital television

Digital channels

The station's digital channel is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[2]
50.1 1080i 16:9 WDCW-DT Main WDCW programming / The CW
50.2 480i 4:3 AntTV Antenna TV

Analog-to-digital conversion

WDCW stopped transmitting on its analog signal, over UHF channel 50, 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 relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 51 to channel 50 for post-transition operations.[9]

Local programming

Syndicated programming

Outside of The CW programming schedule, Syndicated programming broadcast by WDCW including The Jerry Springer Show, The Steve Wilkos Show, Maury, 2 Broke Girls, and Crime Watch Daily, among others.

Newscasts and public affairs programming

As an independent station, the station carried a 7:30 p.m. newscast produced by NBC owned-and-operated station WRC-TV, titled 7:30 News Headlines, which launched on January 14, 1991; the newscast suffered low ratings during its run and ended almost ten months later on October 25, 1991.[10][11]

The station began to produce a weekly news program in Washington, DC and neighboring parts of Maryland and Virginia known as the "Inner Loop" from 2005 to 2007 in conjunction with George Washington University and Montgomery College. The Inner Loop eventually evolved into Weekend News with Chris Core which was produced at the Tribune National Media Center in Downtown Washington from 2007 to 2010. Since 2010 the station has been broadcasting the Emmy-nominated NewsPlus with Mark Segraves, a half-hour locally produced program that airs Sunday mornings. Hosted by investigative reporter Mark Segraves, the 30-minute program features local investigative reports and interviews with regional and national newsmakers.

On April 16, 2016, WDCW began airing a nightly half-hour 10pm newscast produced by Tribune sister station WTVR-TV, the CBS affiliate for Richmond, Virginia. WTVR's Candace Burns currently solo anchors the weeknight newscasts, along with chief meteorologist Zach Daniel and sports director Lane Casadonte. Saturday evenings are anchored by Angie Miles, meteorologist Mike Goldberg, and Sean Robertson on sports. Tracy Sears handles anchor duties on Sunday nights, with Goldberg and Robertson on weather and sports, respectively.

Other locally produced programs

In the fall of 2013, DCW Television created HealthyDC, a station-wide initiative intended to create awareness and educate the DMV to become healthier and happier.

In 2009 DCW Television celebrated Black History month in February with a series of locally produced programming in a "Living Black History Campaign". This included two syndicated specials, as well as multiple vignettes / features that included such notables as Aretha Franklin, Oscar winner Mo'Nique, Arsenio Hall and many others. DCW Television had broadcast two locally produced specials that focused on historic events which impacted the immediate Metro DC community.

Direct Access with Big Tigger (2009-2013) was a locally produced entertainment program, hosted by television and radio personality Darian "Big Tigger" Morgan, highlighting entertainment, sports, music and D.C. area nightlife; the half-hour show aired original episodes on Fridays at 12 a.m and encore episodes Sundays at 10 p.m.

SportsWeek (2010-2013) was a weekly sports talk program hosted by former Washington Redskins linebacker LaVar Arrington; the program aired Saturday afternoons at 1:30 p.m., with encores on Sundays at 12:30 p.m.

Awards and recognition

The Dream Began Here, DCW Television's 2012 "Living Black History Special", won Outstanding Documentary: Historical. From the first African-Americans to pioneer the Civil Rights Movement, to our first African-American president, the documentary explored the evolving roles African Americans had within the White House, the city of Washington, D.C., and our surrounding areas.

The WDCW documentary, Hattie's Lost Legacy was presented the "Outstanding Documentary/Local Market" National Gracie award by the Alliance for Women in the Media in 2012. Hattie's Lost Legacy recounted the story of Oscar Winner Hattie McDaniel's life, focusing on the disappearance of her historic Oscar from Howard University in Washington, DC. "Hattie's Lost Legacy" premiered in February 2011 as part of DC50's "Living Black History" local programming campaign. Hattie's Lost Legacy was also a 2012 finalist in the National Association of Black Journalists television awards in the documentary category and was nominated for a Washington Regional Emmy in the Documentary/Historic category.

DCW Television was awarded the prestigious "Salute to Excellence Award" by the National Association of Black Journalists for the 2010 local documentary, Howard Theatre: A Century in Song.

Direct Access with Big Tigger received an Emmy in the "Outstanding Local Program – Entertainment Category" in 2012.

DCW Television won an Outstanding Public Service Announcement for 2012 DCW Television's "Trot for Hunger" PSA promoting the Annual Thanksgiving 5K Race to support Washington, DC's So Other's Might Eat (SOME). DCW Television has supported SOME's Trot for Hunger for 13 years and has seen the event, which supports DC's homeless, grow from 300 runners in 2001 to 13,000 in 2013.


  1. ^ a b "Modification of a Licensed Facility for DTV Application". FCC.gov. Retrieved August 31, 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c "Digital TV Market Listing for WDCW". RabbitEars.Info. Retrieved January 26, 2017. 
  3. ^ Carmody, John (17 February 1995). "The TV Column". Washington Post. 
  4. ^ 'Gilmore Girls' meet 'Smackdown'; CW Network to combine WB, UPN in CBS-Warner venture beginning in September, CNNMoney.com, January 24, 2006.
  5. ^ UPN and WB to Combine, Forming New TV Network, The New York Times, January 24, 2006.
  6. ^ "Our World with Black Enterprise on DC50 Home of the CW" (Press release). 
  7. ^ http://www.tvnewscheck.com/article/103290/postauction-tv-wont-be-that-different
  8. ^ Dinsmore, Christopher. "Tribune Media pulls out of Sinclair Broadcast merger". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 2018-08-09. 
  9. ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24. 
  10. ^ Hill, Michael E. (January 13, 1991). "`7:30 News Headlines'; Four Channels News to Fifty". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 8, 2012.  (preview of subscription content)
  11. ^ Carmody, John (October 21, 1991). "The TV Column". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 8, 2012.  (preview of subscription content)

External links

  • DCW50.com - Official WDCW website
  • DC.ThisTV.com - Official This TV D.C. website
  • Query the FCC's TV station database for WDCW
  • BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WDCW-TV
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