Rio Grande Valley, Texas
(main facility located in McAllen, Texas)
|Branding||CW 15 Rio Grande Valley|
|Channels||Digital: 26 (UHF)|
Virtual: 15 (PSIP)
|Affiliations||15.1 The CW (2016-present)|
|Owner||TVNorte, S.A. de C.V.|
|First air date||12 January 1979|
|Call letters' meaning|
|Sister station(s)||KNVO, KFXV-LD, KTFV-CD, KCWT-CD, KXFX-CD|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:|
2 (VHF, 1979-2015)
|Former affiliations||English-language independent (1979-1981)|
Spanish-language independent (1981-1988)
|Transmitter power||250 kW|
|Height||317 m (1,040 ft)|
XHRIO-TDT, virtual channel 15 (UHF digital channel 26), is a television station licensed to Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico which mainly operates as an English language station serving as a CW affiliate for the Rio Grande Valley area in southern Texas, United States. Owned by Mexican company TVNorte, it is operated by Entravision Communications, making it a sister station to Univision affiliate KNVO (channel 48), and three low-powered stations: Class A UniMás affiliate KTFV-CD (channel 32), dual Fox/MyNetworkTV affiliate KFXV-LD (channel 67, and its Brownsville, Texas-licensed Class A translator KXFX-CD), and KCWT-CD (channel 21, also a CW Plus affiliate). XHRIO maintains its basic concession-compliant studios in Matamoros, with a second studio facility across the border (shared with Entravision's other stations) on North Jackson Road in McAllen, Texas serving as the main facility for the station. XHRIO-TDT's transmitter is located near El Control, Tamaulipas.
Previously, XHRIO had served as a primary Fox affiliate from 2005 to 2012 and of MundoFox/MundoMax between 2012 and 2016.
The concession for channel 2 was awarded in 1964, receiving the callsign of XHCR-TV and owned by Cadena Radiotelevisora del Norte, S.A. de C.V., a company owned by respected broadcaster Clemente Serna Alvear of Mexico City. In 1973, the name of the concessionaire was changed to Televisoras del Bajo Bravo, S.A.
In 1977, a joint venture was formed between the owners of KRIO (910 AM) in McAllen and KRIX (99.5 FM; now KKPS) in Brownsville and Serna Alvear. The venture brought channel 2 to the air on 12 January 1979 as XHRIO-TV (with callsign authorized on 16 March of that year), an English language independent station. It branded as XRIO-TV-2, running primarily reruns of older American shows and recent feature films. The studios were co-located in McAllen with KRIO. The transmitter was eight miles (13 km) south of the Rio Grande and the Harlingen antenna farm. Since XHRIO-TV was perceived by its American competitors (KRGV-TV and KGBT-TV) as a "border blaster" or pirate station, both being unfounded, they set about to block live delivery of programming across the U.S. border.
Although XHRIO-TV had a broadcast signal superior to its U.S. counterparts, it suffered from serious underfunding and mismanagement by the ownership of the studio facility. During its first year, the technical staff which had created the facility against incredible odds slowly departed. Power to the transmitter site was sporadic and replacement technical people were not up to the task. Thus, XHRIO-TV was never able to establish an advertising base in the English market, despite extremely successful initial ratings. In 1981, the owners of the Mexican concession ended the delivery of programming tapes across the border to the channel 2 transmitter and converted XHRIO to a Spanish language independent station aimed at Matamoros viewers.
In November 1988, the station became the Lower Rio Grande Valley's Telemundo affiliate. The concessionaire became known as Telegrande, S.A. XHRIO's Telemundo affiliation ended on 1 May 1999 due to low ratings (in part because TCI had dropped the station from its lineup in 1997); as a result, the station reverted to English-language programming by becoming a UPN affiliate. Prior to XHRIO joining UPN, the network's programming was seen in the area through secondary affiliations with KRGV-TV (channel 5) and KVEO (channel 23). Telemundo programming returned to the market that June, when KTLM (channel 40) went on the air. To reflect its affiliation, the station changed its callsign to XHHUPN-TV in 2001. In 2005, the station reverted to the XHRIO-TV calls and dropped UPN for Fox.
Fox programming had previously been seen on XHFOX-TV (channel 17) from 1994 until 2002, when station owner Televisa dumped the Fox affiliation and flipped that channel to a XEW-TV repeater as XHTAM-TV. Prior to XHFOX's arrival and before XHRIO took Fox, Lower Rio Grande viewers on the American side received the network from the nationwide Foxnet channel.
In 2007, XHRIO began broadcasting digitally on sister station KNVO's subchannel 48.3, but three years later, after KNVO began airing Univision in HD, XHRIO moved to its own digital channel 2.1.
In 2011, low-powered sister station KSFE-LD began airing a simulcast of XHRIO on its main channel 67.1, with KSFE's previous CW programming being moved to 67.2. In early 2012, KSFE's calls were changed to KFXV-LD and on-air identification heavily emphasized the new call letters as well as channel 67.1. This could potentially lead to confusion as the station was branding itself as channel 2 while identifying itself as channel 67. Although the station was available on both channels, the XHRIO calls were reduced to small print beneath the KFXV calls on station identifications.
In 2012, it was announced a full power Entravision-owned station in the Rio Grande Valley would become a charter affiliate of the new Spanish-language MundoFox station. This caused speculation that the Fox network would be removed from XHRIO in favor of MundoFox, although there was no confirmation. On 7 August 2012, Fox programming was interrupted so that XHRIO could air what they labeled a "señal de prueba" or "test signal" feed of MundoFox on 2.1. After numerous unconfirmed rumors that MundoFox would be on 2.1, Valley residents were finally given confirmation on 8 August 2012, when the station's official Twitter feed announced that XHRIO would join MundoFox and Fox would remain on KFXV-LD, effectively splitting them off into two separate and distinctive channels. On 13 August 2012, MundoFox was launched on XHRIO, effectively ending their affiliation with the Fox network. Less than a week after dropping the Fox affiliation from channel 2 altogether, KFXV's standard definition feed was re-added to XHRIO on channel 2.2.
After San Diego sister station XHDTV-TDT switched from MyNetworkTV to Milenio Television in September 2018, XHRIO became the only Mexican-licensed, English-language station serving an American audience.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP short name||Programming|
|15.1||720p||16:9||FOXHD||Main XHRIO-TDT programming / Rio Grande Valley CW 15|
Because it is licensed in Mexico, XHRIO was not subject to the United States' discontinuation of analog television and instead shut off its analog signal on 14 January 2015, along with other television stations in the Matamoros-Reynosa and Nuevo Laredo markets. In June 2010, KNVO began broadcasting Univision in HD, and XHRIO began broadcasting on digital channel 26, initially using virtual channel 2 by way of PSIP.
The October 2016 shuffle of Mexican virtual channels required XHRIO to vacate channel 2 for national use by the Las Estrellas network and XHTAM-TDT. The IFT initially assigned virtual channel 54, formerly in use by XHVTV-TDT, as its replacement. Instead, XHRIO moved to virtual channel 15 and did so ahead of the Mexican switch of virtual channels, coinciding with its CW affiliation switch. Also around this time, despite obtaining IFT authorization, the Fox feed was removed.
Because XHRIO is licensed and broadcasting from Mexico, it is not covered under U.S. "must-carry" regulations from the FCC (though it is required carriage for Mexican cable systems in its broadcast area). This means that, apart from low-powered affiliates in the U.S., XHRIO was the only Fox affiliate that local cable systems were not required to carry. However, U.S. cable systems were effectively required to carry XHRIO anyway, since it is operated by Entravision, which owns stations on the American side of the border. The same must-carry rules give full-powered American stations the option of "retransmission consent", or requesting compensation from cable systems to carry their station. In this case, Entravision has the right to require cable systems to offer XHRIO as part of the compensation for carrying KNVO.
On 27 September 2006, DirecTV added XHRIO to its lineup in the Rio Grande Valley market on channel 2; prior to that date, DirecTV viewers in that market received Fox programming from Corpus Christi's K47DF. On 6 November 2008, DirecTV added XHRIO's HD channel to its local HD line-up in the Valley.
In spring 2009, Dish Network added XHRIO's HD feed to its local channel line-up in the Valley on channel 2.
After XHRIO and KFXV were split into 2 separate channels, all 3 feeds mentioned above remained KFXV feeds and will continue to air FOX programming. It is unclear if and when XHRIO in its current form will be added to these systems.
When XHRIO debuted in 1979, the station produced hourly bilingual news briefs with KRIO newscasters Fred Cantu and Rod Santa Ana during evening programming.
A full local newscast would not air on the station until 12 March 2007, when XHRIO debuted Fox 2 News at Nine. The 30-minute newscast airs Monday through Friday at 9 p.m. It was not the first 9 p.m. newscast in the area, as XHFOX produced one while it was a Fox affiliate. Like many other Fox affiliates, XHRIO takes advantage of the network's shorter primetime schedule by scheduling their newscasts an hour before the other local affiliates in the region. In addition to local/national news, weather and sports, Fox 2 News also included "Around the World in 80 Seconds", an 80-second segment dedicated to international, health, and entertainment news. XHRIO's newscast line-up is somewhat similar to that of sister station KNVO's Spanish language newscasts since both stations share the same facility.
On 27 September 2010, XHRIO began broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition.
XHRIO's newscast migrated to KFXV in 2012. XHRIO has not had local news since.