|Slogan||The Breaking News and Weather Authority|
|Channels||Digital: 10 (VHF)|
Virtual: 10 (PSIP)
|Affiliations||10.1: CBS (1956-present)|
10.4: Circle (O&O) (soon)
(Gray Television Licensee, LLC)
|First air date||April 3, 1955|
|Call letters' meaning||Killeen/Waco/Temple, TeXas|
|Sister station(s)||KNCT, KBTX-TV|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:|
10 (VHF, 1955-2009)
53 (UHF, 2001-2009)
Independent (April-September 1955)
ABC (1955-1983, secondary from 1956)
DT2: UPN (2006)
The CW (2006-2019)
|Transmitter power||39 kW|
|Height||554.9 m (1,821 ft)|
|Public license information||Profile|
KWTX-TV, virtual and VHF digital channel 10, is a CBS-affiliated television station licensed to Waco, Texas, United States and serving Central Texas, including Waco, Temple and Killeen. The station is owned by Gray Television, as part of a duopoly with Belton-licensed CW affiliate KNCT (channel 46). The two stations share studios on American Plaza in Waco and transmitter facilities near Moody, Texas.
KWTX also offers Telemundo programming on its second digital subchannel. This subchannel started January 23, 2006 as an UPN affiliate ("UPN Waco") and changed its branding to "The CW12 Central Texas" on September 15, 2006. The subchannel switched to Telemundo on January 2, 2019, after Gray Television moved its CW affiliation to former PBS member station KNCT, which it had just acquired from Central Texas College.
KBTX-TV (channel 3) in Bryan-College Station operates as a semi-satellite of KWTX. As such, it simulcasts all network and syndicated programming as provided through KWTX but airs separate commercial inserts, legal identifications, local newscasts and Sunday morning religious programs, and has its own website. KWTX serves the western half of the Waco-Temple-Bryan market while KBTX serves the eastern portion. The two stations are counted as a single unit for ratings purposes. Although KBTX maintains its own studios on East 29th Street in Bryan, master control and some internal operations are based at KWTX's facilities.
KWTX first signed on the air as an independent station on April 3, 1955. It was originally owned by Texoma Broadcasting, a holding company owned by businessman Milford N. "Buddy" Bostick alongside KWTX radio (AM 1230 and FM 97.5). At the time, crosstown KANG-TV, channel 34, had the ABC, CBS and DuMont affiliations. KWTX picked up ABC in time for the fall 1955 TV season, and DuMont's closure left KANG as a full-time CBS station.
Long plagued by financial difficulties due to being the only UHF station in the market at a time when UHF tuners were rare, KANG, owned by Texas Broadcasting Company, shut down at the end of 1955. KWTX bought KANG's assets in exchange for a 29% share in the combined operation. KWTX picked up the CBS affiliation as a result of the merger with KANG, and has been a primary CBS affiliate ever since. It shared a secondary ABC affiliation with KCEN-TV (channel 6) until 1983. KCEN later briefly switched to being a full-time ABC affiliate.
Beginning December 6, 1955, KWTX televised the murder trial of Harry L. Washburn, marking the first live telecast of a courtroom trial in the United States. The telecast earned near universal praise from the legal community. District Judge D.W. Bartlett praised the station's crew for its unobtrusiveness: "I have not noticed anything that would in any way interfere with the administration of justice. I don't think anyone could object to the television being run while this is on. It is perfectly quiet, it's outside the jury, and there's been perfect decorum of all concerned, and I don't think there would be any reflection on any court to have this television carried on as it has been carried on in this court."
Just before the Mount Carmel raid on February 28, 1993, Davidians learned that they were facing not a service of warrants, but a shootout. KWTX-TV cameraman James Peeler asked directions of Davidian David Jones, who was driving his postal truck. David Koresh's attorney Dick DeGuerin told reporters that Peeler told Jones, "Well, you better get out of here because there's a United States National Guard helicopter over at TSTC (Texas State Technical College) and they're going to have a big shootout with the religious nuts." Peeler was distressed to see Jones immediately drive to Mount Carmel Center and left the area to call his superiors.
According to the Treasury report, Jones told DeGuerin that "Peeler warned him not to go near the Compound as there were going to be 60 to 70 TABC (Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission) guys in helicopters and a shoot-out would occur'." And Peeler himself confessed to the Treasury review team that he had told Jones there would be "some type of law enforcement action" and that "the action was likely to be a raid of some type and that there might be shooting."
KWTX-TV cameraman Dan Mulloney testified that KWTX-TV's initial information came from law enforcement agents he refused to name--something the Treasury report failed to reveal--as well as from a private ambulance driver working with BATF. (Similarly, BATF agent Ballesteros admitted that it was non-BATF law enforcement that tipped off the Waco Tribune-Herald.) Therefore, BATF agents' expectations of a shootout were directly transmitted to the Davidians.
Mulloney, Peeler, and reporter John McLemore, along with reporters from the Waco Tribune-Herald, were the only non-combatants at Mount Carmel that day. Mulloney shot the TV footage used around the world of agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms storming the Davidians' home. Mulloney and McLemore later used their vehicle to transport injured ATF agents away from the shootout. McLemore received letter of commendation from the ATF Director for his bravery that day. However, KWTX reporters became easy targets for blame during the subsequent trials following the botched raid, particularly because Koresh learned about the approaching raid from Jones, the postal worker from which Peeler asked directions. McLemore, Peeler and Mulloney were never charged with any crime.
On April 15, 1999, Atlanta-based Gray Communications Systems (now Gray Television) announced that it would acquire KWTX-TV, KBTX-TV, and KXII from Bostick's three holding companies--KWTX Broadcasting, Inc., Brazos Broadcasting, Inc., and KXII Broadcasters, Inc., respectively--for $139 million. The decision to sell the stations stemmed from recommendations by shareholders of the companies because of the costs that the Bostick companies would incur in launching and operating digital television signals for the three stations, with Gray CEO Hilton H. Howell, Jr. (a shareholder in KWTX) inquiring about purchasing the stations after Bostick was initially unsuccessful in reaching sale agreements with prospective buyers. Through the transaction, which was finalized on October 1, 1999, Gray paid $41.5 million in cash as well as additional cash payments for certain accounts receivable to purchase channel 12 from Bostick-owned KXII Broadcasters Inc.
On August 28, 2018, it was reported that the Central Texas College Board of Trustees had voted to assign the broadcast license of PBS member station KNCT to Gray, which would create a duopoly with KWTX-TV. This was possible because KNCT broadcasts on a channel not reserved for non-commercial broadcasting. The sale was approved by the FCC on December 12, and it was completed on December 17. KNCT returned to the air on January 2, 2019, taking CW programming from KWTX-TV.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|10.1||1080i||16:9||KWTX-DT||Main KWTX-TV programming / CBS|
KWTX-TV shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 10, on February 17, 2009, the original target date in which full-power television stations in the United States were to transition from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate (which was later pushed back to June 12, 2009). The station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 53, which was among the high band UHF channels (52-69) that were removed from broadcasting use as a result of the transition, to its analog-era VHF channel 10 for post-transition operations.