KASW, virtual channel 61 (UHF digital channel 27), is a CW-affiliated television station licensed to Phoenix, Arizona, United States. The station is owned by Nexstar Media Group. KASW's studios are located on East Missouri Avenue in Uptown Phoenix, and its transmitter is located on South Mountain on the city's south side. Its signal is relayed across northern and eastern Arizona through a small network of five translators.
The station is the third largest CW affiliate in terms of market size (after WPWR-TV/Chicago and WLVI/Boston) that is not owned by CBS Corporation or Tribune Broadcasting, both of which contributed stations as charter affiliates of the network (previously, these stations were respectively affiliated with UPN or The WB). Also, KASW, unlike WLVI, has never been owned by Tribune in its entire time on the air.
Prior history of UHF channel 61 in Phoenix
Prior to KASW's sign-on, the UHF channel 61 frequency in the Phoenix market was originally occupied by low-power station K61CA; that station carried a locally programmed music video format and operated from March 1983 until December 1984.
In 1988, K61CA was owned by Channel 61 Development Corporation and was a satellite-fed relay of KSTS-TV, a Telemundo-affiliated station in San Jose, California.
By 1991, preparations had been made to sign on another independent station in Phoenix, under the callsign KAIK. The station's construction permit and eventual license bore these calls into 1994, until the license was purchased by the Brooks family the following year, after which the call letters were changed to KASW. The station first signed on the air on September 22, 1995; just prior to its sign-on, the Brooks entered into a local marketing agreement with MAC America Communications, then-owners of KTVK (channel 3, which was in the concluding stages of its transition from an ABC affiliate into an independent station at the time).
KTVK had acquired a large inventory of syndicated programs as it transitioned to a news-intensive independent station. However, it didn't have enough time to air it all. As part of the LMA with the Brooks family, MAC America leased KASW's entire broadcast day and moved much of this excess programming to channel 61. The programming included cartoons (such as The Jetsons, The Flintstones, Double Dragon, Highlander: The Animated Series and Sailor Moon), classic sitcoms (such as Happy Days, The Brady Bunch, Bewitched, Gilligan's Island and All in the Family), older movies and a few recent sitcoms (such as Doogie Howser, M.D., Blossom, Family Matters, The Simpsons and Who's the Boss?). KASW also joined The WB; KTVK had nominally been that network's Phoenix affiliate, but aired WB programming on Saturday nights between the network's launch and September 1995.
Toward the end of 1995, KTVK had also moved Fox Kids (which it carried in lieu of KSAZ-TV, channel 10, which declined the block once it switched to Fox in December 1994, and once it moved to KASW had aired in addition to The WB's own children's block, Kids' WB, thus creating a similar children's programming inventory as Cleveland's WB affiliate WBNX) and other syndicated programs to KASW. These changes allowed KTVK to reinstate its Saturday morning newscasts, while KASW began airing a half-hour 9 p.m. newscast produced by KTVK, which was discontinued in 1997 (after which it moved to KTVK as a one-hour broadcast). When Belo bought most of MAC America's television properties in 1999, the local marketing agreement with KASW was included in the transaction. This move further boosted its programming quality. After the Federal Communications Commission started allowing duopolies in 2000, Belo bought KASW outright.
Due to changes in the industry, from about 1998 to about 2004, KASW began to gradually shift its programming away from classic sitcoms, movies and cartoons. The station began to phase in more talk shows, reality shows and court shows to its schedule. It finally dropped weekday cartoons in January 2006, when The WB discontinued the Kids' WB weekday afternoon lineup (while retaining and expanding its Saturday morning block).
From The WB to The CW
On January 24, 2006, the Warner Bros. unit of Time Warner and CBS Corporation announced that the two companies would shut down The WB (which Time Warner jointly owned with Tribune Company) and UPN and combine the networks' respective programming to create a new "fifth" network called The CW, which would launch on September 18, 2006. On March 8, Belo signed an affiliation agreement with the network for KASW to become The CW's Phoenix charter affiliate; the market's UPN affiliate KUTP (channel 45) became an owned-and-operated station of MyNetworkTV thirteen days before the launch of The CW on September 5 (MyNetworkTV was created by KUTP's then-parent News Corporation after the UPN affiliates it owned through the company's Fox Television Stations unit were passed over for initial affiliations with The CW in favor of stations owned by CBS Television Stations and Tribune Broadcasting).
KASW only tweaked its branding to reflect its new network affiliation, keeping the "6" that represents its cable channel position in the area on Cox Communications (satellite providers carry KASW on channel 61). The station also aired its own CW "man-on-the-street" promos before the switch. The images and links on its website, Quick6.com, were revamped a week before the change and feature a new "Quick6" logo.
The station ran Vortexx, a successor of The CW4Kids (which in turn, was the successor of Kids' WB), later known as Toonzai on Saturday mornings. It also aired children's programming from 4Kids TV on Sunday mornings until the block was discontinued by Fox on December 27, 2008 (therefore, children's programs on KASW that aired on both Saturday and Sunday mornings were essentially programmed by one company, 4Kids Entertainment, for seven months). These properties, in one form or another, were carried on KTVK when that station was the market's original charter affiliate of The WB in 1995 and were moved to KASW in September 1995 and 1996, respectively. The same situation occurred in other markets, in which a station picked up the rights to the 4Kids lineup from an existing Fox affiliate (like KFRE-TV in Fresno, which assumed rights from KMPH-TV) or due to rejection by stations that Fox inherited from New World Communications (as was the case with KTVK, and WBNX-TV in Cleveland).
On June 13, 2013, Belo announced that KTVK and KASW would be acquired by the Gannett Company, owner of KPNX and the Arizona Republic. Since this would give Gannett control of three stations in the Phoenix market, Gannett announced that it would spin off KTVK and KASW to Sander Media, LLC (operated by former Belo executive Jack Sander). While Gannett intended to provide services to the stations through a shared services agreement, KTVK and KASW's operations would have remained largely separate from KPNX and the Republic. On December 23, 2013, shortly after the approval and completion of the Gannett/Belo deal, the Meredith Corporation announced that it would purchase KTVK and the non-license assets of KASW from Sander Media and Gannett in a $407.5 million deal. As Meredith already owns CBS affiliate KPHO-TV (channel 5), the KASW license was instead sold to SagamoreHill Broadcasting, with Meredith operating the station under a shared services agreement.
Sale to Nexstar and separation from KTVK
The FCC approved the sale of KASW and KTVK to SagamoreHill and Meredith on June 17, 2014, and the deal closed two days later. However, the two companies also agreed to "voluntarily" divest KASW to an independent buyer within 90 days of the deal's closure; on October 23, 2014, Meredith and SagamoreHill announced that it would sell KASW to Nexstar Broadcasting Group for $68 million, giving the company its first station in the Phoenix market. The FCC approved the sale to Nexstar on December 19, and the sale was consummated on January 30, 2015, ending a nearly 20-year partnership between KASW and KTVK, which launched channel 61 in 1995. The station began migrating out of KTVK's facilities in September 2015.
Sale to Scripps
On March 20, 2019, as part of its proposed acquisition of Tribune Media, Nexstar announced that it would sell KASW and seven other stations to the E.W. Scripps Company, owner of local ABC station KNXV-TV. The sale will create a new duopoly between KASW and KNXV.
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K18JL-D 25 (AFTV)
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KKAX-LP 36 (Youtoo)
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KPDF-CD 41 (Rel)
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KPHE-LD 44 (LATV)
KUTP 45 (MNTV)
KDPH-LP 48 (Daystar)
KFPB-LD 50 (Nuestra)
KPPX 51 (Ion)
KASW 61 (CW)