WCWG, virtual channel 20 (UHF digital channel 31), is a CW-affiliated television station licensed to Lexington, North Carolina, United States and serving the Piedmont Triad region (Greensboro–Winston-Salem–High Point). The station is owned by the Hearst Television subsidiary of Hearst Communications, as part of a duopoly with Winston-Salem-licensed NBC affiliate WXII-TV (channel 12). The two stations share studios on Coliseum Drive in Winston-Salem and transmitting facilities on Sauratown Mountain in Stokes County. On cable, WCWG is carried on channel 3 in most areas of the market.
The station first signed on the air on October 30, 1985 as WEJC (standing for "We Exalt Jesus Christ"; operating as an independent station, it originally maintained a religious educational format. Initially, the programming was Baptist- and Reformed-based and stayed away from "Signs and Wonders" preaching. The station first operated from studios located off I-85 Business in Lexington. Due to lack of suitable programming as well as the perception of religious programs due to hard times in Christian broadcasting following the Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart scandals starting in 1987, the station was reduced to minimum staffing and operations from the transmitter building near Randleman. It was originally owned by Koinonia Broadcasting. During this time, WEJC's programming was split in approximately half between the Home Shopping Club and religious programming. In 1990, the station moved its operations to a new studio facility located on Guilford College Road in Greensboro, eventually resuming local studio production and eliminated most of the HSN programming. The station was affiliated with the a broader-based evangelical Christian Television Network from 1990 until March 1996.
Koinonia sold the station to Pappas Telecasting in 1995. Initially it kept the religious format, but it soon became a WB affiliate, and added that network's programming to its lineup immediately after the sale was finalized. On March 14, 1996, it changed its call letters to WBFX. Religious programming was reduced to mornings from 5-7 a.m. and 9 a.m.-noon in the spring of 1996, with the rest of the schedule filled by syndicated cartoons from 7-9 a.m., westerns in the early afternoon, cartoons until 5 p.m., additional westerns in the evening, WB programs and older movies in prime time, and drama series and classic movies in the late night hours.
That summer, the station reached an agreement with Fox owned-and-operated station (now affiliate) WGHP (channel 8) to carry the Fox Kids programming block, which had aired on that station since it switched to Fox in September 1995. Upon gaining new affiliates through its group affiliation deal with New World Communications (which sold WGHP directly to Fox as it placed New World over the 12-station ownership limit at the time), Fox executives had decided to change the carriage policies for Fox Kids, allowing a station to choose to keep airing it or be granted the right to pass the block to another station in the market. More recent off-network sitcoms were added to WBFX's schedule, and more of its religious shows were dropped.
The station's call letters changed to WTWB-TV on August 28, 2000. WTWB dropped Fox's children's programming in early 2002, when Fox canceled the weekday block nationwide; WGHP chose not to pick up Fox's new Saturday morning cartoon block, Fox Box (later 4Kids TV), which replaced Fox Kids in 2002. As a result, the block did not air at all in the Piedmont Triad.
On January 24, 2006, the Warner Bros. unit of Time Warner and CBS Corporation announced that the two companies would shut down The WB and UPN and combine the networks' respective programming to create a new "fifth" network called The CW. On March 2, 2006, UPN affiliate WUPN-TV (channel 48, now WMYV) was announced as an affiliate of MyNetworkTV. Two weeks later on March 17, 2006, WTWB was confirmed as the market's CW outlet. On August 11, 2006, the call sign was changed to WCWG to reflect the affiliation.
On January 16, 2009, Pappas announced that several of its stations, including WCWG, would be sold to New World TV Group, after the acquisition received United States bankruptcy court approval. At some point, New World TV Group would change its name to Titan Broadcasting. On April 1, 2013, Lockwood Broadcast Group announced it would be acquiring WCWG from Titan Broadcasting; the sale was consummated on September 23.
In the FCC's incentive auction, WCWG sold its spectrum for $105,731,122 and indicated that it would enter into a post-auction channel sharing agreement. WCWG subsequently reached a channel sharing agreement with WXII-TV (channel 12); the station also entered into a separate shared services agreement allowing WXII's owner, Hearst Television, to provide additional services to WCWG. With the spectrum move, WCWG dropped Escape and Laff from their channel lineup on July 31, 2017.
On October 4, 2017, it was announced that Hearst would buy WCWG outright for $3.3 million. The purchase was completed on February 16, 2018.
|TV stations in North Carolina|
|TV stations in the Piedmont Triad, including Greensboro, High Point, and Winston-Salem, North Carolina|
|WFMY 2 (CBS) |
WGHP 8 (Fox)
WXII 12 (NBC)
WGPX 16 (Ion)
WGSR-LD 19 (Ind.)
WCWG 20 (CW)
WUNL 26 (PBS)
WLXI 43 (TCT)
WXLV 45 (ABC)
WMYV 48 (MNTV)