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WLEX-TV, virtual channel 18 (UHF digital channel 39), is an NBC-affiliated television station licensed to Lexington, Kentucky, United States, serving the east-central region of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The station is owned by the Cincinnati-based E. W. Scripps Company. WLEX's studios are located on Russell Cave Road (KY 353) in Lexington, and its transmitter is located six miles (10 km) east of downtown Lexington near Hamburg Pavilion on competitor WTVQ-DT's tower.

The station can be viewed within the Lexington metropolitan area on Charter Spectrum channel 8 (channel numbers will vary throughout the market). It is also available on Frankfort Plant Board Cable channel 7 and throughout the entire Lexington designated market area on various other cable systems, including independent and rural systems.

HistoryEdit

Channel 18 signed on March 15, 1955 as Lexington's first television station and the third in Kentucky (following Louisville's WAVE-TV and WHAS-TV). It was co-owned with WLEX radio (1300 AM, now WLXG) and carried programming from all four networks (NBC, ABC, CBS, and DuMont). The DuMont network went out of business later that year. On February 18, 1956, WLEX broadcast the first-ever telecast of a Kentucky Wildcats basketball game. In 1957, CBS programming moved to WKXP-TV (channel 27, now WKYT-TV). After only one year, however, new owners switched channel 27 to primary ABC affiliation, leaving WLEX to pick up a secondary CBS affiliation once again.

In 1968, CBS moved to WKYT when WBLG-TV (now WTVQ-TV) signed on and took the ABC affiliation, making WLEX a full-time NBC affiliate. For many years, the station was owned by the Gay & Bell families until they sold WLEX to the Evening Post in 1999. Of the 13 stations owned by Evening Post Industries, WLEX is the only one east of the Mississippi River, and thus the only station in the group whose call letters begin with a W.

In November 2009, WLEX added the Wazoo Sports Network, which was dedicated to Kentucky sports, on a digital subchannel as part of a service branded as WZLEX. Wazoo Sports filed for bankruptcy in December 2011; WLEX pulled the network at that time, with the station's general manager stating that Wazoo was "[not] strong enough to make a second commitment to it." Wazoo Sports would be replaced by MeTV.

Cordillera Communications announced on October 29, 2018 that it will sell most of its stations, including WLEX, to the E. W. Scripps Company. The sale was completed on May 1, 2019. This made WLEX a sister station to ABC affiliate and corporate flagship station WCPO-TV in adjacent Cincinnati.


TV stations in Kentucky
WLEX, Lexington

WAVE, Louisville
WPSD, Paducah
WNKY, Bowling Green

TV stations in Central Kentucky Bluegrass region, including Lexington and Frankfort
WOBZ-LD 9 (BUZZR)
W10BM 10 (AMGTV/WHT)
WLEX 18 (NBC)
WKYT 27 (CBS)
WKSO 29 (PBS)
WKHA 35 (PBS)
WTVQ 36 (ABC)
WKMR 38 (PBS)
WKLE 46 (PBS)
WVTN-LP 48 (Rel.)
WKON 52 (PBS)
WDKY 56 (Fox)
WYMT 57 (CBS)
WLJC 65 (Cozi)
WUPX 67 (Ion)
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