KYW-TV, virtual channel 3 (UHF digital channel 26), is a CBS owned-and-operated television station licensed to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. The station is owned by the CBS Television Stations subsidiary of CBS Corporation, as part of a duopoly with CW East Coast flagship station WPSG (channel 57). The two stations share studios on Hamilton Street north of Center City; KYW-TV's transmitter is located in the Roxborough section of Philadelphia.
As WPTZ (1932–1953)Edit
The channel 3 facility in Philadelphia is one of the world's oldest television stations. It began in 1932 as W3XE, an experimental station owned by Philadelphia's Philco Corporation, at the time and for some decades to come one of the world's largest manufacturers of radio and television sets. Philco engineers created much of the station's equipment, including cameras. When the station began operations as W3XE, it was based within Philco's production plant, at C and East Tioga streets in North Philadelphia, complete with a small studio and transmitter. In 1941, it began sharing programs with W2XBS (later WNBT and now WNBC) in New York City, becoming NBC's second television affiliate, and creating a link between the station and the network that would last for 54 years.
On July 1, 1941, W3XE received a commercial license—the third in the United States, and the first outside of New York City—as WPTZ. The station signed on for the first time on September 1. Philco then moved WPTZ's studios to the penthouse suite of the Architect's Building, at 17th and Sansom streets in downtown Philadelphia, while retaining master control facilities at the Philco plant. The station originally broadcast from a tower in the Philadelphia suburb of Wyndmoor. It significantly cut back operations after the U.S. entered World War II, but returned to a full schedule in 1945. Channel 3 relocated its entire operation to the Wyndmoor transmitter facility during World War II, when the station aired little programming. It then became one of three stations (along with WNBT and Schenectady, New York's WRGB) that premiered NBC's regular television service in 1946, although all three stations did share occasional programs just before and during the war. When full broadcasting was resumed, the station reactivated its studio in the Architect's Building, remaining there until 1947. WPTZ then moved into unused space at 1619 Walnut Street in Center City, where KYW radio was housed. What is now KYW-TV has been based in Center City ever since.
The Westinghouse Electric Corporation, owner of Philadelphia's longtime NBC Radio affiliate KYW, purchased WPTZ in 1953 for a then-record price of $8.5 million.= The WPTZ call letters are now used for the NBC affiliate in Plattsburgh, New York.
As an NBC-owned station (1955–1965)Edit
In May 1955, Westinghouse agreed to trade WPTZ and KYW radio to NBC in exchange for WNBK television and WTAM-AM-FM in Cleveland, and $3 million in cash compensation. NBC had long sought an owned-and-operated television station in Philadelphia, the largest market where it did not own a station. It had made several offers over the years for the Philadelphia stations, but Westinghouse declined each time. After being rebuffed by Westinghouse on several occasions, NBC threatened to drop its affiliation from WPTZ and Westinghouse's other NBC television affiliate, WBZ-TV in Boston, unless Westinghouse agreed to the trade. NBC took over operation of WPTZ and KYW in late January 1956; on February 13, 1956, channel 3's call letters were changed to WRCV-TV (in reference to the RCA-Victor record label; KYW radio adopted the WRCV calls as well).
Shortly after NBC took control of channel 3, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) collapsed the Lehigh Valley, most of northern Delaware and southern New Jersey (including Atlantic City) into the Philadelphia market. NBC realized WRCV-TV's existing tower was inadequate for this enlarged market. In 1957, channel 3 moved to a new 1,100-foot (335 m) tower in Roxborough. The tower was co-owned with WFIL-TV (channel 6, now ABC owned-and-operated station WPVI-TV) and added much of Delaware, the Lehigh Valley and southern New Jersey to the station's city-grade coverage. The new transmitter enabled channel 3 to broadcast in color for the first time.
However, almost immediately after the trade was finalized, Westinghouse complained to the FCC and the United States Department of Justice about NBC's coercion and a lengthy investigation was launched. On September 22, 1959, the Justice Department issued a decision which, in part, forced NBC to divest WRCV-AM-TV by the end of 1962. Several months later in early 1960, NBC announced it would trade the WRCV stations to RKO General in exchange for its Boston outlets, WNAC-AM-FM-TV. RKO would also acquire NBC's WRC-AM-FM-TV in Washington, D.C. in a separate but related sale, and NBC would replace Washington in its TV station portfolio with KTVU in the San Francisco Bay Area, to be purchased separately by the network. As regulators sifted through that multi-level transaction, Philco Corporation, the original operators of WPTZ and by this point owned by the Ford Motor Company, interjected itself into the dispute by first protesting the FCC's 1957 renewal of NBC's licenses for the WRCV stations. Then, in May 1960, Philco filed an application with the FCC to build a new station on channel 3.
In August 1964, the FCC renewed NBC's licenses for WRCV-AM-TV again—but this time, only on the condition that the 1956 station swap with Westinghouse be reversed. Both RKO General and Ford (through Philco) contested the FCC's decision initially, but soon each firm gave up their efforts and bowed out of the competition. Following nearly a year of appeals by NBC, Westinghouse regained control of WRCV-AM-TV on June 19, 1965. Westinghouse had moved the KYW call letters to Cleveland after the swap, and channel 3 became KYW-TV upon the company regaining control of the Philadelphia outlets. Group W, as Westinghouse's broadcasting division was known by this time, took over a transmitter facility far superior to the one it relinquished in 1956. To this day, KYW-TV insists that it "moved" to Cleveland in 1956 and "returned" to Philadelphia in 1965—in fact, some staffers who worked at KYW-TV in Cleveland (talk show host Mike Douglas, meteorologist Dick Goddard, and news anchor Tom Snyder among them) moved to Philadelphia along with the call letters.
As a Westinghouse station (1965–1995)Edit
In 1994, Baltimore sister station WJZ-TV lost its affiliation with ABC after that network announced a deal with the E. W. Scripps Company to switch three of Scripps' television stations to ABC. One of the Scripps-owned stations joining ABC was Baltimore's NBC affiliate, WMAR-TV. This did not sit well with Westinghouse, who felt betrayed by ABC after nearly half a century of loyalty. As a safeguard, Group W intensified a search (which had begun prior to WJZ's affiliation loss) for affiliation deals of its own. Group W eventually struck an agreement to switch KYW-TV, WBZ-TV and WJZ-TV to CBS (Westinghouse already had two CBS affiliates in its portfolio at the time, KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh and KPIX-TV in San Francisco). CBS was initially skeptical about including KYW-TV in the deal. While KYW-TV was a poor third, CBS-owned WCAU-TV (channel 10) was a solid runner-up to long-dominant ABC-owned WPVI-TV. However, after Westinghouse offered to sell CBS a minority stake in KYW-TV, CBS agreed to move its affiliation to channel 3 and put channel 10 up for sale.
As a CBS-owned station (1995–present)Edit
While WJZ-TV and WBZ-TV switched to CBS in January 1995, the swap was delayed in Philadelphia when CBS discovered that an outright sale of channel 10 would have forced it to pay massive taxes on the proceeds from the deal. To solve this problem, CBS, NBC and Group W entered into a complex ownership/affiliation deal in late 1994. NBC traded KCNC-TV in Denver and KUTV in Salt Lake City (which NBC had acquired earlier that year) to CBS in return for WCAU, which for legal reasons would be an even trade—displacing their respective longtime network affiliates, KMGH-TV and KSL-TV. CBS then traded controlling interest in KCNC and KUTV to Group W in return for a minority stake in KYW-TV. As compensation for the loss of stations, NBC and CBS traded broadcasting facilities in Miami. The deal officially took effect at 12:30 a.m. on September 10, 1995. The final NBC program aired on KYW-TV was a rerun of Saturday Night Live, which began at 11:30 p.m. on September 9, 1995; NBC moved all of its programming locally to WCAU after the program ended. Westinghouse bought CBS outright in late 1995, making KYW-TV a CBS owned-and-operated station.
In 2000, the combined company was purchased by Viacom. The deal brought KYW-TV under common ownership with Philadelphia's UPN station, WPSG, which relocated to the KYW Building on Independence Mall. When Viacom became CBS Corporation in 2006 (after spinning off today's Viacom), CBS retained all related terrestrial broadcasting interests, including KYW-AM-TV and WPSG.
On April 2, 2007, KYW-TV and WPSG moved to a new broadcast complex located at 1555 Hamilton Street near Center City Philadelphia, across from the Community College of Philadelphia and near Fairmount Park. The new building, which is wired for high definition newscasts, is the fourth studio in the station's 75-year history. Channel 3 had been broadcasting from Independence Mall East since July 1972.
On February 2, 2017, CBS agreed to sell CBS Radio to Entercom, currently the fourth-largest radio broadcasting company in the United States. The sale was completed on November 17, 2017, and was conducted using a Reverse Morris Trust so that it was tax-free. While CBS shareholders retain a 72% ownership stake in the combined company, Entercom is the surviving entity, with KYW radio and its sister stations now separated from KYW-TV.
|TV stations in Pennsylvania|
| KYW, Philadelphia|
|TV stations in Philadelphia, including the Lehigh Valley and Tri State Area|
| WDPN 2 (MeTV)|
KYW 3 (CBS)