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La Crosse, Wisconsin
United States
ChannelsDigital: 28 (UHF)
Virtual: 19
BrandingWXOW 19 (general)
News 19 (newscasts)
Affiliations19.1: ABC
19.2: Decades
19.3: This TV (O&O)
19.4: Court TV
19.5: True Crime Network
OwnerAllen Media Broadcasting[1]
(La Crosse TV License Company, LLC)
Bally Sports Wisconsin, Bally Sports North
First air date
March 7, 1970 (51 years ago) (1970-03-07)
Former channel number(s)
  • Analog:
  • 19 (UHF, 1970–2009)
  • Digital:
  • 14 (UHF, 2002–2009)
  • 48 (UHF, 2009–2018)
Call sign meaning
X (for La Crosse) and sister to Madison's WKOW
Technical information
Licensing authority
Facility ID64549
ERP251 kW
HAAT348 m (1,142 ft)
Transmitter coordinates43°48′23″N 91°22′3″W / 43.80639°N 91.36750°W / 43.80639; -91.36750
Public license information

WXOW, virtual channel 19 (UHF digital channel 28), is an ABC-affiliated television station licensed to La Crosse, Wisconsin, United States and serving Western Wisconsin. The station is owned by Allen Media Broadcasting, a subsidiary of Los Angeles-based Entertainment Studios. WXOW's studios and transmitter are located on County Highway 25 in La Crescent, Minnesota.

WQOW (channel 18) in Eau Claire operates as a semi-satellite of WXOW, extending the ABC signal into the Chippewa Valley of Wisconsin. As such, it simulcasts all network and syndicated programming as provided through WXOW but airs separate commercial inserts, legal identifications, local newscasts and Sunday morning religious programs,[2][3] and has its own website. WXOW serves the southern half of the La Crosse–Eau Claire market while WQOW serves the northern portion. The two stations are counted as a single unit for ratings purposes. Although WQOW maintains its own studios on Friedeck Road in Eau Claire, master control and some internal operations are based at WXOW's facilities. DirecTV and Dish Network offer both WXOW and WQOW as of September 2010.


WXOW signed on on March 7, 1970 as a semi-satellite of WKOW-TV in Madison, which was owned by Horizon Communications at the time. Before then, ABC programming in the market was relegated to off-hours clearances on CBS affiliate WKBT (channel 8) and NBC affiliate WEAU (channel 13). Depending on the location, Western Wisconsin viewers could get the full ABC schedule on KMSP-TV from the Twin Cities, KAUS-TV (now KAAL) in Austin, Minnesota, or WKOW.

For its first decade on the air, WXOW's UHF signal was marginal at best in Eau Claire, primarily because its transmitter was located in Minnesota. As a result, Chippewa Valley viewers only got a decent signal from the station when cable arrived in the market in the mid-1970s. In order to solve this reception problem, WXOW severed the electronic umbilical cord with WKOW and signed on WQOW as a full-time satellite on September 22, 1980, two years after the station was sold to Liberty Television. Tak Communications purchased Liberty Television's Wisconsin-based stations in 1985. In 1991, Tak filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy; it would be taken over by a group of creditors less than three years later. This resulted in the sale of Tak's Wisconsin stations to Shockley Communications in 1995.

WXOW and WQOW began operating a cable-only affiliate of The WB in 1998 known as "WBCZ".[4] This was seen through a simulcast on channel 15 on most cable systems in La Crosse and Eau Claire. In June 2001, Quincy Newspapers (later Quincy Media) announced that it would acquire Shockley Communications. In September 2002, WXOW became the first La Crosse area television station to broadcast in digital on UHF channel 14.[5] WXOW and WQOW replaced "WBCZ" with new second digital subchannels (simulcasting The CW) when the new network launched in the fall of 2006.

After The CW Plus national feed was upgraded to 720p high-definition level in fall 2012, an HD feed became available on Charter digital channel 610. Up until August 2018, there were two different signals from the same tower at WXOW's studios carrying The CW as a digital translator of sister station KTTC also carried a CW subchannel in high definition.

WXOW began airing solely in digital effective February 17, 2009, with the analog transmitter operating for 60 additional days broadcasting as part of a "nightlight" service with local news and information about the digital transition.[6] On June 11, 2009, WXOW moved from its initial digital channel assignment to channel 48 at a higher broadcasting power. WXOW and WQOW launched This TV (simulcast on new third digital subchannels of the stations) in February–March 2010.[7][8] WXOW had a construction permit to air a digital fill-in translator covering Tomah, Wisconsin. Airing on UHF channel 28, this low-powered signal would have had a transmitter on Echo Road in western unincorporated Monroe County. The permit was canceled on June 6, 2013.[9]

In January 2021, Gray Television announced its intent to purchase Quincy Media for $925 million.[10] As Gray already owns the market's WEAU, it planned to keep that station and sell both WXOW and WQOW in order to satisfy FCC requirements.[11] On April 29, Gray announced that WXOW and WQOW would be divested to Allen Media Broadcasting.[1] The sale was completed on August 2;[12] on that day, WEAU assumed the CW and MeTV affiliations from WXOW/WQOW.[13][14]

Digital channels[edit]

The station's digital signal is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP short name Programming [15]
19.1 720p 16:9 WXOWABC Main WXOW programming / ABC
19.2 480i WXOWDEC Decades
19.3 thisTV This TV
19.4 CourtTV Court TV
19.5 Justice True Crime Network


Syndicated programming on WXOW includes The Doctors, Inside Edition, Dr. Phil, Rachael Ray and Live with Kelly and Ryan, among others. The station is also a part of the Green Bay Packers and WIAA sports networks; the former allows WXOW to carry Packers preseason games and official team programming, and to brand itself as "Your Official Packers Station" for the La Crosse market.


With the launch of WQOW, WXOW began to simulcast its newscasts on that station. In 1982, WQOW established a separate news operation with local newscasts focusing on Eau Claire and the surrounding areas. Since it did not operate an in-house weather department of its own, all segments originated from WXOW's studios in a tape-delayed arrangement. The effort was cancelled in March 1990 as a cost-cutting measure and, as a result, WQOW once again began simulcasting WXOW's newscasts.

In October 1996 WQOW relaunched its local news operation for a second time, which remains to this day. Although this incarnation of news production includes a separate weather department from WXOW, meteorologists from that station can fill-in on WQOW. In September 2011, WXOW became the second television station in the market to perform an upgrade to high definition newscast production. Included in the change was a new studio and updated graphics package. The news department at WQOW was upgraded to HD level at the same time.


  1. ^ a b "Gray Sells Divestiture Stations From Quincy Media Transaction to Allen Media for $380 Million," press release from GlobeNewswire, 4/29/2021
  2. ^ Program Information for WXOW at TitanTV.com
  3. ^ Program Information for WQOW at TitanTV.com
  4. ^ Chippewa.com
  5. ^ Wxow.com
  6. ^ Tomahjournal.com
  7. ^ AVSforum.com
  8. ^ AVSforum.com
  9. ^ http://licensing.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/prod/cdbs/forms/prod/getimportletter_exh.cgi?import_letter_id=41540
  10. ^ "Quincy Media, Inc. Considering sale of company". January 7, 2021.
  11. ^ Goldsmith, Jill (February 1, 2021). "Gray Television Acquires Quincy Media For $925 Million In Cash". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved February 1, 2021.
  12. ^ "Gray Television Closes Quincy Acquisition". Gray Television. August 2, 2021. Retrieved August 2, 2021.
  13. ^ "WEAU 13 News is offering new channels starting August 2; rescan required".
  14. ^ "Gray Takes over CW, MeTV Affiliations in Several Markets – Upper Midwest Broadcasting".
  15. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WXOW

External links[edit]