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Washington, D.C.
United States
Branding DCW Television
Slogan Serious Fun
Dare To Defy (network)
Channels Digital: 50 (UHF)
Virtual: 50 (PSIP)
Subchannels 50.1 The CW
50.2 Antenna TV
50.3 This TV
Affiliations The CW
Owner Tribune Broadcasting
Founded January 1, 1972 (1972-01-01)
First air date April 6, 1981 (1981-04-06)
Call letters' meaning Washington D.C.'s CW
Former callsigns WGSP (1972)
WCQR (1981–1985)
WFTY (1985–1995)
WBDC-TV (1995–2006)
Former channel number(s) Analog:
50 (UHF, 1972–2009)
51 (UHF, 2006–2009)
Former affiliations Independent (1972 & 1981-1995)
Silence (1972-1981)
FNN (1981-1985)
The The WB (1995–2006)
The Tube (2006–2007, on DT2)
Transmitter power 1000 kW
Height 253 m
Facility ID 30576
Transmitter coordinates
Licensing authority FCC
Public license information: Profile

WDCW-TV Channel 50 is the CW-affiliated television station located in the American capital city of Washington, District of Columbia. The station is owned by the Tribune Broadcasting subsidiary of the Tribune Media Company. WDCW maintains studios on Wisconsin Avenue Northwest in the Glover Park section of Washington, D.C., and its transmitter is located atop the Hughes Memorial Tower in the city's Brightwood section.[1]

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 television and on JetBlue's LiveTV inflight entertainment system though DirecTV (the other network stations featured on JetBlue are predominantly from New York City).


  • History 1
  • Digital television 2
    • Digital channels 2.1
    • Analog-to-digital conversion 2.2
  • Local programming 3
    • Newscasts and public affairs programming 3.1
    • Other locally produced programs 3.2
    • Awards and Recognition 3.3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


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 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, 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. On January 11, 1995, WFTY became a charter affiliate of The WB Television Network. 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.[2][3] 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, the 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.[4] 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 began to be branded as "DCW Television". The station also created a new logo.

Digital television

Digital channels

The station's digital signal is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[5]
50.1 1080i 16:9 CW50 Main WDCW programming / The CW
50.2 480i 4:3 AntTV Antenna TV
50.3 ThisTV This TV

Until it ceased operations on October 1, 2007, The Tube (a 24-hour digital music channel) was broadcast on WDCW's second digital subchannel. It was also available on digital cable providers including: Comcast Channel 207, Verizon FiOS Channel 863, DirecTV Channel 50 and Cox Channel 804.

Analog-to-digital conversion

On June 12, 2009, WDCW terminated its analog signal, on UHF channel 50, as part of the federally mandated transition from analog to digital television.[6] The station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 51 to former analog channel 50 for post-transition operations.

Local programming

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.[7][8]

The station began to produce a weekly news program in Washington, DC and neighboring parts of Maryland known as the "Inner Loop" from 2005 to 2007 in conjunction with George Washington University and Montgomery Community 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.

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: 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-TV 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. ^ "Digital Signal Sources". The Washington Post. 2008-05-20. 
  2. ^ 'Gilmore Girls' meet 'Smackdown'; CW Network to combine WB, UPN in CBS-Warner venture beginning in September,, January 24, 2006.
  3. ^ UPN and WB to Combine, Forming New TV Network, The New York Times, January 24, 2006.
  4. ^ "Our World with Black Enterprise on DC50 Home of the CW" (Press release). 
  5. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WDCW
  6. ^ List of Digital Full-Power Stations
  7. ^ Hill, Michael E. (January 13, 1991). "`7:30 News Headlines'; Four Channels News to Fifty".   (preview of subscription content)
  8. ^ Carmody, John (October 21, 1991). "The TV Column". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 8, 2012.  (preview of subscription content)

9. Show W/HollyHood & Muhla Green

10. "The Show" With HollyHood & Muhla Green

External links

  • - Official WDCW website
  • - 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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