KSWT, virtual and VHF digital channel 13, is a CBS-affiliated television station licensed to Yuma, Arizona, United States and also serving El Centro, California. The station is owned by Northwest Broadcasting, as part of a duopoly with Yuma-licensed NBC affiliate KYMA-DT (channel 11). News-Press & Gazette Company operates both stations through a shared services agreement (SSA), making them sisters to El Centro-licensed Fox/ABC/CW+ affiliate KECY-TV (channel 9) and Yuma-licensed low-power Telemundo affiliate KESE-LP (analog channel 35). The four stations share studios on South 4th Avenue in downtown Yuma, with an advertising sales office on West Main Street in El Centro; KSWT's transmitter is located northwest of Yuma.
When the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) lifted the freeze on new television station applications in 1952, they allocated VHF channels 11 and 13 for broadcast television service in Yuma. Valley Telecasting quickly applied for and opened KIVA on channel 11, becoming the city's first television station in October 1953. Wrather-Alvarez Broadcasting followed with a January 1956 application to build KYAT on channel 13, but failed, and in September 1958, the construction permit was dismissed. By November 1961, more than eight years after the arrival of local television, Yuma was still a one-station town.
In November 1961, Robert Crites, owner and manager of local CBS-affiliated radio station KBLU, formed a partnership, called Desert Telecasting, and applied to the FCC on November 30, 1961 for a construction permit to build a station on channel 13. New England Industries had filed a competing application for the same channel nearly a month earlier, but on July 23, 1962, the FCC granted the construction permit to Desert Telecasting, and KBLU-TV came into existence, to be the market's CBS television affiliate. It would not be an easy road to sign-on, as Bruce Merrill, owner of both KIVA and the local cable television system, was convinced that the market could not support a second local television station and fought to keep the new station from opening. Merrill opposed a KBLU-TV partnership restructure, an extension of time to construct the station, and a proposal to increase power, then, in September 1963, filed a "motion to stay" to prevent KBLU-TV from building its facilities. All of Merrill's petitions were denied, and on the evening of November 2, 1963, one hour after receiving notice of program test authority, KBLU-TV began broadcasting.
The station expanded its coverage to El Centro in 1965 with another increase in power, and relocation of its transmitter from within the city of Yuma to a site atop Black Mountain, 28 miles (45 km) northwest of Yuma, at a much greater height above average terrain. It also opened an office and studio in El Centro to better serve the Imperial Valley. On December 7, 1966, Desert Telecasting filed an application to transfer the stations to Eller Telecasting, part of Eller Outdoor Advertising Company. Ownership of the station would pass to Karl Eller, but the station would continue to be managed by Crites, who became president of Eller Telecasting. KBLU-TV became part of Combined Communications in 1968, when its parent, Eller Outdoor Advertising Company, merged with KTAR Broadcasting Company.
The sudden demise of KIVA in January 1970 spelled more changes for KBLU-TV, which immediately moved to acquire the NBC affiliation, while the CBS affiliation passed to new station KECC-TV (now KECY-TV). KBLU-TV also took over the television studio facilities formerly occupied by KIVA.
In July 1977, Combined Communications announced that it was selling both radio station KBLU and TV station KBLU-TV, but to different owners. The TV station would keep its NBC affiliation, but was to be sold to Chapman Television of Tuscaloosa, effective January 1, 1978, pending FCC approval. As FCC rules in effect at the time prohibited two stations to share call letters unless commonly-owned, and the radio station was keeping the KBLU call letters, Chapman requested the call sign KYEL-TV (for Yuma EL Centro). The call sign was found to be in use, but it was on a ship which had not been in service since 1803. The FCC approved the sale on November 1, 1977 and on January 1, 1978, KBLU-TV became KYEL-TV.
Chapman Television did not keep the station long, selling it to Service Broadcasters, Inc. in November 1978, who, in turn, sold it to Beam Broadcasters in November 1983 (later known as Beacon Broadcasters). It remained an NBC affiliate until KYMA took the affiliation on February 1, 1991; KYEL-TV took the ABC affiliation previously held by KYMA. In September 1991, Beacon Broadcasters sold the station to KB Media, who promptly renamed the station KSWT on September 13. In September 1994, CBS affiliate KECY-TV flipped to Fox, and KSWT took over the CBS affiliation once again; this left Yuma without an ABC affiliate until KECY launched an ABC-affiliated subchannel in 2007. (In both the 1985-1988 and 1994-1995 interims, KGTV was cabled in from San Diego.) In February 1998, KB Media sold the station to Eclipse Media, and then in September 2000, Eclipse Media sold the station to Pappas Telecasting. KSWT also included Telemundo programming during the overnight hours in the 1990s, until local affiliate KESE-LP began operations. KSWT aired some Pax programming during afternoons beginning in 2000, but had reverted to full-time CBS by 2004.
In July 2013, Pappas filed to sell KSWT to Blackhawk Broadcasting, a company that shares ownership with the Northwest Broadcasting group. The deal required a failing station waiver, as Blackhawk concurrently acquired KYMA-DT from Intermountain West Communications Company. The FCC granted the KSWT failed waiver request on December 23. It previously approved the KYMA transaction earlier on August 12. The sale of both stations was completed on February 18, 2014.
On July 2, 2014, News-Press & Gazette Company, owners of KECY-TV and KESE-LP, announced that it had agreed to form a resource sharing agreement with Blackhawk Broadcasting, giving NPG control of the big four television network affiliates in the Yuma/El Centro market. All employees of KSWT and KYMA-DT, except for sales personnel, became employees of NPG. Blackhawk continues to operate the sales departments of its stations. As a result of the agreement, KSWT and KYMA will relocate to the studios of KECY within five months.
|TV stations in Arizona|
| KPHO, Phoenix|
|TV stations in Arizona|
|Telemundo affiliates||UniMás affiliates||Univision affiliates||Azteca affiliates||Other stations|
|KTAZ, Phoenix||KFTU, Douglas||KTVW, Phoenix||KMOH/KEJR-LD, Kingman/Phoenix||KYUM-LD, Yuma|
|KHRR, Tucson||KFPH, Flagstaff||KUVE, Tucson||KUDF-LP, Tucson||KSWT-DT3, Yuma|
|TV Stations in Yuma County, Arizona and Imperial County, California, including Yuma and El Centro|
|Yuma, Arizona/El Centro, California:||Mexicali, BC/San Luis, Son.:|
|KVYE 7 (UNI)||XHAQ-TDT 1 (A1)|
|KECY 9 (Fox/MNTV)||XHBM-TDT 2 (Las Estrellas)|
|KYMA 11 (NBC)||XHLRT-TDT 2 (Las Estrellas)|
|KSWT 13 (CBS)||XHCTME-TDT 3 (Imagen)|
|KESE-LP 35 (TLM)||XHBC-TDT 4 (Televisa Regional)|
|K39KW-D 39 (3ABN)||XHMEX-TDT 5 (Canal 5)|
|KAJB 54 (UMas)||XHMEE-TDT 10 (Nu9ve)|
|XHRCS-TDT 15 (Telemax)|
|XHEXT-TDT 20 (A7)|
|XHILA-TDT 66 (Intermedia)|
|KVFA-LP 6 (Ind)|
|KIVA 11 (ABC/CBS/NBC/DuMont)|