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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The CW network logo in green, with "Quad Cities" above it in orange and "K G C W - T V" beneath it in orange.
CityBurlington, Iowa
BrandingQuad Cities CW
First air date
January 5, 1988 (36 years ago) (1988-01-05)
Former call signs
  • KJMH (1988–2001)
  • KGWB-TV (2001–2006)
  • KGCW-TV (2006–2009)
Former channel number(s)
  • Analog: 26 (UHF, 1988–2009)
  • Digital: 41 (UHF, 2003–2020)
Call sign meaning
Grant (previous owner) CW
Technical information[1]
Licensing authority
Facility ID7841
ERP1,000 kW
HAAT316.4 m (1,038 ft)
Transmitter coordinates41°19′39″N 90°22′46″W / 41.32750°N 90.37944°W / 41.32750; -90.37944
Public license information

KGCW (channel 26) is a television station licensed to Burlington, Iowa, United States, serving as the CW network outlet for the Quad Cities area. It is owned and operated by network majority owner Nexstar Media Group alongside regional CBS affiliate WHBF-TV (channel 4). Nexstar also provides certain services to Fox affiliate KLJB (channel 18) under a shared services agreement (SSA) with Mission Broadcasting. The three stations share studios in the Telco Building on 18th Street in downtown Rock Island, Illinois; KGCW's transmitter is located near Orion, Illinois.

Channel 26 began broadcasting as KJMH, a local station for Burlington, in January 1988 and became a Fox affiliate that July. It was owned by local businessman Steve Hoth, who named it for his wife, JoEllen M. Hoth. In May 1994, the station lost access to Fox programming after the network moved to strip KJMH of its affiliation. It then went off the air that November.

Grant Communications acquired the station and returned it to the air on March 1, 1996, rebroadcasting KLJB-TV in Davenport. In January 2001, channel 26 was split from channel 18 to become the affiliate of The WB in the Quad Cities, where it was seen on cable and a subchannel of KLJB, and its transmitter was relocated from Burlington to a site that offered increased coverage of the Quad Cities. The station became affiliated with The CW in 2006 when The WB and UPN merged. Nexstar acquired the Grant stations in 2014, coinciding with the separate purchase of WHBF-TV.


KJMH: The Hoth years

Burlington Broadcast Company, which was owned by local businessman Steve Hoth, obtained a construction permit for a new television station in Burlington in 1984. The station went unbuilt for three years. An intended November 1987 launch was scrapped because of equipment problems.[2] KJMH—named for JoEllen M. Hoth, Steven's wife[3]—began broadcasting on January 5, 1988.[4][5] The station, airing a mix of independent station programming and (for a time) a local newscast,[3] represented a $1 million investment.[6] It broadcast with an effective radiated power of 200,000 watts from a transmitting facility at Roosevelt Avenue and Winegard Drive in Burlington,[7] sufficient only to reach the Burlington area: Mount Pleasant sat on the edge of the contour, and cities such as Keokuk and Muscatine were outside of its signal range.[4]

Even though KJMH affiliated with Fox on July 31, 1988,[8] financial precarity was a major issue in the station's early history. Amid reports that the station's payroll checks were bouncing, the general manager resigned in 1991.[9][7] Two years later, in November 1993, Fox moved to strip KJMH of its affiliation. Hoth hired a Chicago law firm to fight the disaffiliation in court but was unsuccessful, and KJMH ceased airing Fox programming in May 1994.[7] The station then aired programming from home shopping service ValueVision and Channel America, which had historically catered to low-power stations.[10]

In November 1994, Hoth announced the sale of 80 percent of the station to Kelley Broadcasting for $405,000; Kelley, a consortium of investors based in Texas, planned to affiliate KJMH with the forthcoming UPN network. Additionally, it was announced that the station would leave the air for four to six weeks for equipment installation and refurbishing.[11] Channel 26 did not return after the four-week period of silence, and financial questions continued to swirl. In February 1995, the law firm that had been hired to fight KJMH's disaffiliation sued for nonpayment.[7] Hoth would later file bankruptcy for Burlington Broadcasting and a related company in October 1996; the then-former licensee of the station owed more than $444,000 against $38,000 in assets.[12]

Grant Broadcasting ownership

The Kelley sale was never filed with the FCC; instead, in March 1995, Grant Broadcasting filed to purchase KJMH from Hoth for $400,000.[13] The station was restored to service on March 1, 1996, as a full-time rebroadcaster of Grant-owned KLJB-TV, the Fox affiliate in Davenport.[14]

Grant Broadcasting intended to eventually air separate programming on the station from the start.[3] KLJB-TV had previously acquired the rights to programming from The WB in the Quad Cities market in September 1999 as a result of Superstation WGN ceasing carriage of WB programming nationally; selected WB shows aired in late night time slots on channel 18.[15] In January 2001, The WB programming moved from a secondary affiliation on KLJB–KJMH to channel 26 alone, which was added to Quad Cities cable systems and changed its call sign to KGWB-TV.[16] Initially, KGWB-TV broadcast its own programming for half of the broadcast day, continuing to air KLJB-TV's programming in other time slots.[3]

While branded as channel 26, the Burlington signal was so far from the Quad Cities that another station was allowed to operate on the channel: low-power WBQD-LP debuted in 2002 as the Quad Cities area's UPN affiliate.[17] KGWB-TV programming was made available over-the-air in the Quad Cities as early as 2003 as a subchannel on KLJB-TV's digital signal.[18] After splitting channel 26's programming, Grant invested in a relocation of the KGWB-TV transmitter facility from Burlington to Seaton, Illinois, midway between Burlington and the Quad Cities, to increase the station's availability in the more populous Quad Cities area.[3]

KGWB-TV became the local affiliate of The CW in 2006, upon the merger of The WB and UPN, under new KGCW-TV call letters.[19][20]

Nexstar ownership

Grant Broadcasting announced the sale of its stations for $87.5 million to Nexstar Broadcasting Group in November 2013. It was the second acquisition by Nexstar involving a Quad Cities-market television station in six weeks; in September, Nexstar had announced the acquisition of WHBF-TV in Rock Island, Illinois.[21] The Grant purchase closed in December 2014, along with the acquisition of KLJB by Marshall Broadcasting Group under a deal in which Nexstar continued to provide services via a shared services agreement; Nexstar could own WHBF-TV with KGCW outright but not with KLJB, which was one of the top four-rated stations in the market.[22][23] In May 2015, KGCW's Quad Cities simulcast—still needed to serve some viewers who could not receive a strong signal from Seaton—moved from a subchannel of KLJB to a subchannel of WHBF-TV as a consequence of the ownership change, a move that had been anticipated for months.[24][25] Another effect was that KLJB and KGCW could no longer share syndicated programming.[26]

In 2020, KGCW moved its transmitter to a new tower at Orion, from where other Quad Cities stations are broadcast.[27] This coincided with the repack from the 2016 United States wireless spectrum auction, which moved the station to channel 21.[28] As a result, the WHBF-TV subchannel simulcast was discontinued.[29]

Technical information


The station's signal is multiplexed:

Subchannels of KGCW[30]
Channel Res. Aspect Short name Programming
26.1 720p 16:9 KGCW-DT The CW
26.2 480i Rewind Rewind TV
26.3 Laff Laff
  Simulcast of subchannels of another station

Analog-to-digital conversion

KGCW was the only Quad Cities-market station to cease analog broadcasts on February 17, 2009, the original date on which full-power television stations in the United States were to transition from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate.[31] The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 41, using virtual channel 26.[32]


  1. ^ "Facility Technical Data for KGCW". Licensing and Management System. Federal Communications Commission.
  2. ^ "New Burlington TV station delays debut". The Des Moines Register. Des Moines, Iowa. December 21, 1987. p. 21. Archived from the original on March 1, 2023. Retrieved March 1, 2023 – via
  3. ^ a b c d e Martin, Stephen A. (February 8, 2001). "Local TV station breaks with Davenport's format". The Hawk Eye.
  4. ^ a b "KJMH" (PDF). Television Factbook. 1990. p. A-448. Archived (PDF) from the original on January 31, 2023. Retrieved March 1, 2023.
  5. ^ Delaney, Steve (January 5, 1988). "KJMH-26 signs on; anticipates 24-hour service". The Hawk Eye. p. 3A.
  6. ^ "Fine Tuning: New Burlington UHF station set to debut". The Des Moines Register. Des Moines, Iowa. November 23, 1987. p. 1T. Archived from the original on December 27, 2022. Retrieved March 1, 2023 – via
  7. ^ a b c d "A look at KJMH". The Hawk Eye. January 5, 2000.
  8. ^ Wilson, Bob (July 26, 1988). "Bob Wilson". The Hawk Eye. p. 2A.
  9. ^ George, Gene (July 28, 1991). "KJMH battles start-up gremlins: Station's owner optimistic after stormy 3 1/2 years". The Hawk Eye. pp. 1D, 3D.
  10. ^ Gysi, Chuck (May 7, 1994). "KJMH, Fox part company". The Hawk Eye. p. 3A.
  11. ^ Delaney, Steve (November 9, 1994). "Texas group buys local TV station". The Hawk Eye. p. 7B.
  12. ^ Augspurger, Mike (November 22, 1996). "The former owner of KJMH-TV 26...". The Hawk Eye.
  13. ^ "Changing Hands" (PDF). Broadcasting & Cable. March 27, 1995. p. 56. ProQuest 1014764519. Archived (PDF) from the original on January 31, 2023. Retrieved March 1, 2023.
  14. ^ Delaney, Steve (March 4, 1996). "Burlington lands Fox affiliate". The Hawk Eye. p. 1D.
  15. ^ Leary, Sean (September 26, 1999). "KLJB comes to the rescue of the vampire slayer". The Dispatch. Moline, Illinois. p. H1, H4. Archived from the original on March 1, 2023. Retrieved February 28, 2023 – via
  16. ^ Burke, David (December 31, 2000). "WB makes its home in Quad-Cities". Quad-City Times. Davenport, Iowa. p. TV Times 4. Archived from the original on March 1, 2023. Retrieved February 28, 2023 – via
  17. ^ Burke, David (May 18, 2002). "UPN station should be in the Q-C by this summer". Quad-City Times. p. A1, A2. Retrieved February 28, 2023 – via
  18. ^ "Television". Quad-City Times. August 24, 2003. p. Answer Book 33. Archived from the original on March 1, 2023. Retrieved February 28, 2023 – via
  19. ^ Burke, David (March 30, 2006). "Networks sort out programming; KGWB lands The CW". Quad-City Times. p. A10. Archived from the original on March 1, 2023. Retrieved February 28, 2023 – via
  20. ^ "Television". Quad-City Times. August 20, 2006. p. Answer Book 36. Archived from the original on March 1, 2023. Retrieved February 28, 2023 – via
  21. ^ Malone, Michael (September 16, 2013). "Nexstar to Acquire Citadel's Iowa Stations for $88 Million". Broadcasting & Cable. Archived from the original on September 21, 2013. Retrieved September 16, 2013.
  22. ^ "Nexstar Selling 3 Fox Affils For $58.5 Million". TVNewsCheck. Archived from the original on June 25, 2014. Retrieved June 7, 2014.
  23. ^ "Consummation Notice". Consolidated Database System. Federal Communications Commission. Archived from the original on January 20, 2015. Retrieved December 3, 2014.
  24. ^ Burke, David (November 10, 2014). "Big changes likely ahead for 3 Quad-City television stations". Quad-City Times. Lee Enterprises. Archived from the original on December 24, 2014. Retrieved May 22, 2015.
  25. ^ "Important Programming Note". Quad Cities CW (Facebook). May 14, 2015. Archived from the original on March 1, 2023. Retrieved February 28, 2023. You spoke and we listened! We are happy to announce that KGCW-TV, the Quad Cities CW, is now being broadcast on channel 4.2. You will remember that FCC Ownership Rules forced us to take The CW off of the channel 18 transport stream (18.2), leaving the station largely unavailable to many over-the-air viewers who were unable to access it on 26.1. So, after overcoming some technical and operational hurdles, as of Thursday afternoon, the Quad Cities CW is now available on channel 4.2. A channel re-scan on your digital tuner will likely be necessary.
  26. ^ Burke, David (August 7, 2015). "'Local 4' adding 4 p.m. newscast this fall". Quad-City Times. Archived from the original on August 8, 2015. Retrieved January 1, 2016.
  27. ^ Hoke, Owen (February 12, 2020). "KGCW tower in Orion assembled via helicopter". OurQuadCities. Archived from the original on July 11, 2022. Retrieved March 1, 2023.
  28. ^ "FCC TV Spectrum Phase Assignment Table" (CSV). Federal Communications Commission. April 13, 2017. Archived from the original on April 17, 2017. Retrieved April 17, 2017.
  29. ^ "Watch the Quad Cities' CW on Channel 26.1!". Quad Cities CW (Facebook). July 8, 2020. Archived from the original on March 1, 2023. Retrieved February 28, 2023. Recently, some viewers have wondered why they can no longer watch KGCW, The Quad Cities' CW on channel 4.2. KGCW has always been available on channel 26.1, but the KGCW broadcast tower was in Seton, IL and many viewers had issues receiving a clear and consistent signal. In March, the KGCW began broadcasting from Orion, IL and the signal has been more reliable for Quad City viewers. So Monday, WHBF changed 4.2 programming to Court TV in an effort to provide a larger variety of free program choices to Quad City television viewers.
  30. ^ "RabbitEars TV Query for KGCW". RabbitEars. Archived from the original on May 24, 2022. Retrieved March 1, 2023.
  31. ^ "Quad-City station among hundreds that will pull the plug on analog". The Muscatine Journal. Associated Press. February 11, 2009. p. 2A. Archived from the original on March 1, 2023. Retrieved March 1, 2023 – via
  32. ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and Second Rounds" (PDF). Federal Communications Commission. May 23, 2006. p. 9. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 29, 2013. Retrieved August 29, 2021.

External links

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