WAXN-TV, virtual channel 64 (UHF digital channel 50), is an independent television station serving Charlotte, North Carolina, United States that is licensed to Kannapolis. The station is owned by the Cox Media Group subsidiary of Atlanta-based Cox Enterprises, as part of a duopoly with Charlotte-licensed ABC affiliate WSOC-TV (channel 9). The two stations share studios on North Tryon Street (U.S. 29/NC 49) north of uptown Charlotte; WAXN's transmitter is located near Reedy Creek Park in the Newell section of Charlotte.
The station's programming is simulcast on fill-in digital repeaters operating on UHF channel 36 (virtual channel 64.7) in China Grove, channel 30 (virtual channel 64.5) from Crowders Mountain, W42DR-D (UHF channel 42, virtual channel 6.2) in Marion (from a transmitter southwest of Connelly Springs), and in Statesville on channel 46 (virtual channel 64.9) from Cool Springs.
On cable, WAXN-TV is carried in standard definition on Charter Spectrum channel 10 in the immediate Charlotte area (channel 2 in Kannapolis and Concord, channel 4 on legacy Charter systems), Comporium Communications channel 110 and AT&T U-verse channel 64, and in high definition on Spectrum channel 1230 (channel 703 on legacy Charter systems), Comporium channel 1110 and U-verse channel 1064.
The station first signed on the air on October 15, 1994 as WKAY-TV. It was originally owned by Kannapolis Television Company, a subsidiary of Truth Temple in Kannapolis. It had originally received a construction permit as WDZH, but changed the call letters to WKAY on November 15, 1989. The pastor of Truth Temple, Garland Faw, named the station WKAY after his wife Kay. The station aired a mix of religious programming, older movies, and barter syndicated programs. Kannapolis Television entered into a joint sales agreement (JSA) with WSOC-TV owner Cox Enterprises, and formally changed the call letters to WAXN-TV in August 1996.
Under the agreement, channel 9 took over channel 64's operations and re-branded the station as "Action 64." The "Action" branding had also been used at the time on Cox's two other independent stations, KICU-TV in San Jose, California and WRDQ in Orlando. Cox invested over $3 million toward relaunching the station and making other improvements. The station moved its operations to WSOC-TV's facilities and underwent a significant technical overhaul, boosting its transmitting power to a level comparable with other Charlotte area stations. Previously, it could only be seen on cable television in most of the market, as its over-the-air analog signal barely made it out of Cabarrus County.
WSOC-TV owned the rights to a large amount of syndicated programming, but due to increased local news commitments it no longer had enough time in its broadcast day to air it all. It placed much of this programming on WAXN, giving channel 64 a much stronger schedule. One of these shows was The Andy Griffith Show, which had aired on channel 9 for many years. From 2001 to 2012, WAXN had also been the Charlotte home of the Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon, which had aired on WSOC-TV since 1974; WAXN's rights to the telethon ended with the 2012 edition, as the Muscular Dystrophy Association decided to move the telethon from syndication to ABC for the final two years of its existence (by then known as the MDA Show of Strength), effectively bringing the program back to WSOC locally.
From 1998 to 2000, WAXN aired many programs from Pax TV (later i: Independent Television, now Ion Television), although the station was never formally affiliated with the network. Until WJZY (channel 46) added Ion as a digital subchannel in 2016, Charlotte was the largest market in the United States that never had an owned-and-operated station or affiliate of Pax/i/Ion. WAXN later began airing repeated episodes of Dr. Phil and The Oprah Winfrey Show that were seen earlier in the day on WSOC in primetime.
On August 5, 1999, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reversed its long standing regulations against duopoly ownerships in the same television market. As stipulated in the original joint sales agreement, Cox was now able to acquire the station outright, doing so for the purchase price of $3 million. The sale was officially approved by the FCC in 2000. In 2007, WAXN dropped the "Action" moniker and rebranded as "TV64".
WAXN had been Charlotte's home to Southeastern Conference football and basketball games from Jefferson-Pilot/Raycom Sports from the SEC's addition of the University of South Carolina in 1991 until 2009, and SEC games syndicated through ESPN Plus-oriented SEC TV from 2009 to the end of the 2013-14 basketball season. This ended in 2014 due to those games being moved to the new SEC Network that launched on August 14, 2014, as a result of a new contract between the Southeastern Conference and ESPN to launch that new network.
|TV stations in North Carolina|
|Independent stations||Religious stations||Spanish-language stations||Other stations|
|WSKY, Manteo/Hampton Roads/Norfolk/Virginia Beach||WRAY/WLXI, Wake Forest/Greensboro||WSOC-DT2, Charlotte||WFPX, Archer Lodge|
|WILM-LD, Wilmington||WHFL-CD, Goldsboro||WUVC/WTNC-LD, Fayetteville/Durham||WNCR-LD, Tarboro|
|WHKY, Hickory||WGTB-CD, Charlotte||WRTD-CD, Raleigh||WARZ-CD, Smithfield|
|WGSR-LD, Reidsville||WHWD-LD/WDMC-LD, Statesville/Charlotte||WNCB-LD/WIRP-LD, Fayetteville||WTMH-LD, Kinston|
|WUBX-CD, Durham||WWIW-LD, Raleigh/Durham||WHEH-LD, Lumberton|
|TV stations in the Charlotte, North Carolina area|
| WBTV 3 (CBS) |
WSOC 9 (ABC)
WHKY 14 (Ind)
WCEE-LP 16 (ESTRELLA)
WUNE 17 (PBS)
WCCB 18 (CW)
W21CK-D 21 (3ABN)
WHWD-LD 21 (Daystar)
WDMC-LD 25 (Daystar)
WGTB-CD 28 (Ind)
WNSC 30 (PBS)
WCNC 36 (NBC)
WVEB-LD 40 (Cozi)
WHEH-LD 41 (AZA)
WTVI 42 (PBS)
WJZY 46 (Fox)
WMYT 55 (MNTV)
WUNG 58 (PBS)
WAXN 64 (Ind)