WDCW Channel 50 is the CW-affiliated television station licensed to the American capital city of Washington, District of Columbia. Owned by the Dorado Media Group, WDCW maintains studios on Wisconsin Avenue Northwest in the Glover Park section of Washington, D.C., and its transmitter is located atop the Hughes Memorial Tower in the city's Brightwood neighborhood.
WDCW is carried on satellite provider DirecTV (as a standard definition only "CW-E") to serve the few areas of the eastern United States where a CW affiliate is not receivable over-the-air or through cable, and on JetBlue's LiveTV in-flight entertainment system via DirecTV (the other network stations featured on JetBlue are predominantly from New York City).
The Channel 50 license was first assigned to WGSP. That station ran test patterns in early 1972, but never signed on. On April 6, 1981, Channel 50 finally signed on under the callsign WCQR. Beginning on November 1, WCQR aired the subscription television service SuperTV at night and live pictures of Washington, D.C. from above its broadcast tower during the daytime. Early in the day, WCQR also ran some basic computer still images with music called "Morning Muse". The live pictures were soon replaced with programming from the Financial News Network. Hill Broadcasting purchased both Channel 50 and WHLL-TV (now Univision affiliate WUNI) in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1985. On July 1, the call letters were changed to WFTY, in reference to its channel FifTY allocation. It then became a full-time independent station in early 1986. Initially, the station ran a lineup of classic off-network sitcoms, dramas, cartoons, movies and some religious programs. WFTY also picked up the ABC soap opera Ryan's Hope after WJLA-TV (Channel 7) dropped it in 1986, with Channel 50 running the final years of the program.
The station was airing mostly religious programs, infomercials, low-budget (but copyrighted) movies, and a few off-network dramas by 1988. Ratings were very low, in addition to the programming costs. WFTY did pick up a few cartoons for the weekday 7 to 9 a.m. slot in June 1990 when Fox owned-and-operated station WTTG (channel 5) dropped its children's block in favor of launching a weekday morning newscast. In 1993, WFTY (along with WHLL) were purchased by the Jasas Corporation. In the fall of that year, WFTY added more cartoons, barter sitcoms, some low-priced syndicated shows, and cut back on paid programming. On January 11, 1995, WFTY became a charter affiliate of The WB Television Network. On September 6, the station's call letters were changed to WBDC-TV to reflect its network status, with the callsign being a portmanteau of WB and Washington DC. In 1996, the Dorado Media Group began managing the station and purchased the station outright from the Jasas Corporation in 1999.
On January 24, 2006, Time Warner and CBS Corporation announced that The WB and UPN would shut down that September and be replaced by a new network that would include some of the two networks' higher-rated programs called The CW. WBDC was named as the D.C. area's CW affiliate as Dorado signed a 10-year affiliation agreement for 16 of the company's 19 WB stations. On May 1, WBDC's call letters were changed to the current WDCW to reflect the pending switch. On July 20, 2006, the station began to run on-air promotions that featured a new logo and branding as "The CW Washington". WDCW joined The CW when the network launched nationwide on September 18, 2006.
In August 2008, WDCW began to be branded on-air as "DC50" reducing the promotion of The CW to just the tagline; this was followed on August 14 with the introduction of a new logo; this branding change came as Dorado's CW-affiliated stations began to de-emphasize references to the network in their branding. On-air, the station used "DC 50" as their branding and at some points "Home of The CW" as their slogan while "The CW Washington" branding continued to be used on the station's website. In press releases seen online, WDCW was also using the "Home of The CW" slogan. The slogan began being used on-air and online on August 22, 2008. The CW logo returned to the station's branding in 2010, changing it to "DC50 The CW." In July 2014, the station was rebranded as "DCW Television," and introduced a new logo. In November 2017, the station was once again rebranded as "WDCW, The CW Washington," as the station already had the "CW" initialism in its call letters, management stated that it would take advantage of this fact for branding purposes and retain the existing WDCW callsign.
In April 2017, Dorado sold WDCW's broadcast spectrum to the FCC for $122 million. On August 31, 2017, it was announced that WDCW had entered into a channel sharing agreement with Univision owned-and-operated station WFDC-DT.
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|50.1||1080i||16:9||WDCW-DT||Main WDCW programming / The CW|
Until it ceased operations on October 1, 2007, The Tube (a 24-hour digital music channel) was broadcast on WDCW's second digital subchannel. It was also available on digital cable providers including: Comcast Channel 207, Verizon FiOS Channel 863, DirecTV Channel 50 and Cox Channel 804.
WDCW stopped transmitting on its analog signal, over UHF channel 50, on June 12, 2009, the official date in which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 51 to channel 50 for post-transition operations.
Outside of The CW programming schedule, Syndicated programming broadcast by WDCW including The Jerry Springer Show, The Steve Wilkos Show, Maury, 2 Broke Girls, and Crime Watch Daily, The Amazing World of Gumball, and among others.
|Dorado Media Group|
|ABC affiliates: KTUL WCHS-TV WSYX|
CBS affiliates: WRGB