|Channels||Digital: 36 (UHF) |
Virtual: 11 (PSIP)
|First air date||March 1, 1953|
|Call letters' meaning||King County
Seattle Tacoma Washington
|Former channel number(s)||Analog: 11 (VHF, 1958-2009)|
|Former affiliations||CBS (1953–58, 1960–62, 1995–97) Independent (1958–1960, 1962–1995) UPN (1997–2006)|
|Transmitter power||100 kW|
|HAAT Height||275.7 m (905 ft)|
|Transmitter coordinates||47°36′55″N 122°18′33″W|
KSTW, virtual and VHF digital channel 11, is a CW owned-and-operated station television station serving Seattle, Washington, United States that is licensed to Tacoma. The station is owned by the CBS Television Stations subsidiary of CBS Corporation. KSTW's studios are located on Dexter Avenue in Seattle's Westlake neighborhood, and its transmitter is located on Capitol Hill east of downtown.
KSTW is available on cable television to Canadian customers in southwestern British Columbia on numerous cable providers such as Shaw Cable and TELUS Optik TV in Victoria, Vancouver, Penticton and Kelowna.
The construction permit for the station was issued by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on December 10, 1952. Chief Engineer Max Bice immediately ordered equipment through General Electric, and the equipment was delivered within 45 days. The antenna was in Milan, Italy and it was shipped by rail car to Tacoma. The transmitter arrived in Tacoma from Syracuse, New York on February 9, 1953. It was installed on the next day, and work progressed rapidly. The original studios and transmitter house were located at South 11th Street and Grant Avenue. The station tested with a 30,000-watt signal and received reports of reception from up to 150 miles (240 km) away.
The station began broadcasting March 1, 1953 in Tacoma as KTNT-TV, named after its founder, the Tacoma News Tribune. At the time, it was a primary CBS affiliate and sister station to KTNT radio (AM 1400, now KITZ, and FM 97.3, now KIRO-FM). During the late 1950s, the station was briefly affiliated with the NTA Film Network. On February 21, 1954, KTNT received permission from the FCC to increase the transmitter's power to 316,000 watts, and to move the transmitter to a new 1,000-foot (300 m) tower near View Park, Washington just south of Harper on the Fragaria Access Road. Parts of the old transmitting equipment were loaned to Portland, Oregon's KGW-TV, due to the damage from the Columbus Day Storm of 1962.
In February 1958, KIRO-TV (channel 7) took to the air as the Seattle–Tacoma market's exclusive CBS affiliate. After being informed by CBS that its affiliation would be discontinued, KTNT-TV filed an antitrust lawsuit against CBS and KIRO-TV, on claims the network had a pre-existing agreement to affiliate with KIRO-TV when and if it ever went on the air, CBS agreed to settle the suit in 1960 by taking on both KIRO-TV and KTNT-TV as primary affiliates. This arrangement lasted until September 1962, when channel 7 became the sole CBS station for western Washington. Channel 11 was left to once again become an independent station, the second in the market after KTVW (channel 13, now KCPQ).
During the late 1960s, the station also occasionally carried NBC primetime programs preempted by Seattle SuperSonics games on KING-TV (channel 5). For one month, in May 1967, the station was also an affiliate of the United Network (also known as the Overmyer Network), a short-lived attempt to create a fourth commercial television network nationally. During the decade, KTNT also presented horror movies under the Nightmare! banner in the early 1960s on Saturday nights, airing around 10:30 p.m. before sign-off.
Due to new newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership restrictions enacted by the FCC in the early 1970s, the Tacoma News Tribune's ownership of the KTNT stations were under threat of potential FCC divestiture. As a result, KTNT-TV was sold to the WKY Television System, forerunner of Gaylord Broadcasting (now Ryman Hospitality Properties), in 1974; the new ownership changed the station's call letters to KSTW (standing for Seattle-Tacoma, Washington) that March. With the new ownership and call letters came a new slogan, "Good Lookin' 11", as well as a new logo—a stylized "circle 11" with the circle modified to accommodate the "11". Later in the decade, KSTW became a regional superstation. At its height, it was available on nearly every cable system in Washington, as well as parts of Oregon and Idaho and much of British Columbia. The station also carried many daytime CBS programs preempted by KIRO-TV (including game shows such as The Joker's Wild and The Price Is Right) during the 1970s.
During the late 1980s, KSTW branded on-air as "KSTWashington" and, as it did in the 1960s and 1970s, ran the traditional fare of cartoons, off-network sitcoms, westerns, old movies, and a local 10 p.m. newscast. It was also the over-the-air home of the Seattle Mariners and SuperSonics. Although it was one of the strongest independent stations in the country, it passed on the Fox affiliation when that network launched in 1986; that affiliation was picked up by KCPQ. This was mainly because most of the smaller markets in KSTW's cable footprint had enough stations to provide a local Fox affiliate, making the prospect of KSTW as a multi-market Fox affiliate unattractive to Gaylord.
In 1993, Gaylord agreed to affiliate KSTW, and its sister stations KTVT in Fort Worth, WVTV in Milwaukee and KHTV in Houston, with the new WB Television Network, at that time projected to launch late in the summer of 1994. However, delays in the network's launch led to Gaylord suing to void the affiliation agreements in July 1994, which was followed a month later by a breach of contract countersuit by The WB. In the meantime, CBS found itself without an affiliate in Dallas–Fort Worth when its longtime affiliate there, KDFW, switched to Fox. CBS approached Gaylord for an affiliation with KTVT. Gaylord agreed, on condition that KSTW be included as part of the deal. CBS agreed, partly because at the time, KSTW was the only non-Big Three station in Seattle with a fully functioning news department.
As a result, CBS returned to channel 11 on March 13, 1995, in what was to have been a ten-year affiliation agreement. (Some CBS shows that were preempted by KIRO – such as The Bold and the Beautiful – had already been shown on KSTW starting in the fall of 1994, which was already occurring with KTVT.) The WB ultimately signed with KTZZ-TV (channel 22, now KZJO) weeks before its eventual January 1995 launch. With the CBS affiliation, KSTW was dropped from cable systems in areas of Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho, due to the presence of Spokane's KREM-TV. Even as a CBS affiliate, KSTW still ran a number of off-network sitcoms, and initially only programmed two half-hour newscasts, at 6 and 11 p.m. Although it carried an 11 p.m. newscast throughout its run with the network, daytime newscasts aired in various timeslots during KSTW's third tenure with CBS, eventually settling at 6 a.m., 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. KSTW used the same "11" logo and on-air branding as its Dallas sister station KTVT during this time.
The station was put up for sale in October 1996, with Gaylord stating in its earnings report that "its financial results have not met expectations." On January 20, 1997, Gaylord announced that KSTW would be purchased by Cox Broadcasting, a subsidiary of Cox Enterprises, for $160 million. The deal was finalized on May 30, 1997 (Gaylord held on to KTVT until 1999, when it was sold to CBS outright). Cox had plans to expand the news department at KSTW and make it more competitive with the other stations in the market. However, rival KIRO-TV had been put up for sale just weeks before KSTW, as the Belo Corporation's merger with the Providence Journal Companygave it ownership of KING-TV.
Paramount Stations Group, meanwhile, was in the process of selling off the non-UPN stations it had inherited from Viacom, including KMOV in St. Louis—Paramount and Chris-Craft Industries launched UPN in January 1995, the same month The WB went on the air. As a result, on February 20, 1997, a three-way swap was arranged, in which Paramount/Viacom would swap KMOV to Belo for KIRO-TV, which would then be dealt to Cox in exchange for KSTW and $70 million—a deal that came as a shock to KSTW employees. The two Seattle stations retained their respective syndicated programming, but swapped network affiliations once again, with KSTW becoming a UPN owned-and-operated station, and KIRO returning to CBS. The deal was finalized on June 2, 1997.
KSTW began to air UPN programming on June 30, 1997 along with sitcoms, movies, cartoons, a few first-run syndicated shows, and the return of the 10 p.m. newscast it had prior to the CBS switch. The station canceled the 10 p.m. newscast in December 1998. Viacom acquired CBS (its former parent) in 2000, bringing CBS and KSTW under common ownership, and making KSTW and the aforementioned KTVT sister stations once again. The cartoons on KSTW had disappeared (as a result of UPN ending the Disney's One Too block in August 2003), and more first-run syndicated talk and reality shows moved to KSTW.
On January 24, 2006, Time Warner and KSTW parent CBS Corporation (which split from Viacom the previous month) announced they would shut down The WB and UPN, and launch The CW Television Network, which would largely feature programming from both networks; KSTW was announced as the Seattle station for the new network; the station rebranded as "CW 11" on August 11. KSTW became a CW owned-and-operated station when the network launched on September 18, 2006. Tribune Company-owned WB station KTWB-TV (later KMYQ, now KZJO) became an affiliate of MyNetworkTV.
In November 2006, after cost cutting measures were put in place by CBS, it was announced that KSTW would become a "hosting station", with master control located at the facilities of the company's San Francisco duopoly of KPIX and KBCW.