Its signal is multiplexed. It operates the area's ABC affiliate on a second digital subchannel. This can also be seen on Time Warner Cable channel 5 (hence the ABC 5 branding) and in high definition on digital channel 705. Syndicated programming on KECY-DT2 includes: Everybody Loves Raymond, George Lopez, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, and The Dr. Oz Show. KECY operates the area's CW affiliate on a third digital subchannel. This is also offered on Time Warner Cable channel 6 (hence the Desert CW 6 branding). KECY-DT3 gets all of its programming from The CW Plus. Due to its low powered status, Telemundo affiliate KESE-LPdoes not air a digital signal of it own. Therefore, it can be seen on KECY's fourth digital subchannel.
Founded in 1965 as a satellite of KBLU-TV (now KSWT), it later separated in 1968 as an ABC affiliate until 1972 and remained a CBS affiliate until 1995. The station, along with a low-powered translator licensed to Palm Desert known as KDBA-LP, was sold to Pacific Media Corporation and became the first CBS affiliate in the country to switch to Fox.
The translator originally aired as K20CB and K40DB in the late-1980s/early-1990s. KDBA-LP went on-air on November 1, 1992 from Indio and signed-off January 1, 1999. KECY's first studios were located on Main Street in a former Bank of America building in El Centro. The station moved to Yuma when that area's growth began to accelerate rapidly.
In 1997, Pacific Media Corporation (which was principally controlled by Judge Robinson O. Everett of Wilmington, North Carolina) entered into a local management agreement (LMA) with a subsidiary of Lambert Broadcasting. Lambert split the KDBA translator off and relaunched it as Palm Desert's Fox affiliate KDFX-CA and the channel was moved to 33. The LMA and options to purchase the two stations were sold a year later to News-Press Gazette Company (NPG) of St. Joseph, Missouri. In May 2008 with the options running out, NPG officially bought the stations for $2 million. It was already the owners of KESQ-TV in the Palm Springs market.
On January 1, 2007, KECY launched a full-time ABC affiliate in the El Centro/Yuma market on a new second digital subchannel and Time Warner Cable channel 5. In Yuma, it replaced KNXV from Phoenix which was seen on that channel. In the California portion of the market, it replaced San Diego's KGTV which was seen on cable channel 10; that channel slot now only airs KGTV's local news and syndicated programming, with ABC programming blacked out and replaced with other programming. Currently, some over-the-air viewers in the Coachella Valley facing south to the Imperial Valley can receive KECY over-the-air but interference may occur from KVCR-TV repeater K09XW.
KECY began broadcasting in high definition during early-2006 becoming the first station in the market to make the upgrade. KECY broadcasts Fox prime time and Fox Sports in high definition. As of March 29, 2010, the station gained the CW affiliation on its third digital subchanel. KESE-LP was moved to DT4 to make room for this new service. Previously, CBS affiliate KSWT carried The CW on its second digital subchannel. The network also began airing prime time an hour earlier at 7 like other affiliates in the Mountain Time Zone.
At present unlike most Fox affiliates, KECY does not carry any newscasts either produced in-house or by another station in the market. As a CBS affiliate, it had a local newscast titled News 9 which ended sometime in the early-1990s. KECY-DT3 airs the nationally syndicated morning show The Daily Buzz on weekdays from 5 to 8.