WDCA, virtual channel 20, is a television station in Washington, D.C.. Owned by Fox Television Stations, a division of the News Corporation, WDCA is a sister station to Fox network outletWTTG (channel 5), and is affiliated with the co-owned MyNetworkTV programming service. The two stations share studio facilities in the Tenleytown section of Washington, which is also where WDCA's transmitter is located.
|Slogan||That Looks Good!|
|Channels||Digital: 35 (UHF)|
|Owner||Fox Television Stations
(Fox Television Stations Inc.)
|First air date||April 20, 1966|
|Call letters' meaning||Washington, District of ColumbiaArea ("DCA" is also the airport code for Ronald Reagan National Airport)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
20 (UHF, 1966-2009)
|Former affiliations||independent (1966–1995)
|Transmitter power||500 kW|
|Transmitter coordinates||38°57′22″N 77°4′59″W|
From January 1995 to August 2006, WDCA was affiliated with the United Paramount Network (UPN). Prior to 1995, WDCA was an independent station.
In 1979, Superior Tube sold WDCA to the Cincinnati, Ohio-based Taft Television and Radio Company. In the 1970s and 1980s, WDCA's best-known personality was Dick Dyszel, who played Bozo the Clown, horror movie host "Count Gore de Vol", kids show host "Captain 20", and also served as the station's main announcer. The station was also home to Petey Greene's Washington, an Emmy award-winning show featuring the witicisms and observations of Ralph "Petey" Greene, civil-rights activist and native Washingtonian.WDCA-TV signed on as an independent station on April 20, 1966, owned by the Capitol Broadcasting Corporation. It was Washington's third independent station, nearly 20 years younger than its future sister station WTTG, which had been founded as a DuMont affiliate, and after WOOK, the nation's first African-American-oriented TV station. Veteran Washington broadcaster Milton Grant, who previously worked at WTTG, was president of Capitol Broadcasting, and thus was WDCA's founding General Manager. Grant would sell channel 20 three years later to the Superior Tube Company, although he would stay on as WDCA's General Manager for the next decade.
As early as 1987—when it was displaced on Charlotte-area cable systems by WJZY--WDCA began losing most of its large cable audience as more independent stations signed on in the areas where it was carried. However, it is still available on several cable systems in Maryland and Virginia.Under Taft's stewardship, channel 20 became very profitable. As Taft upgraded the programming (much of which was distributed by new sister company Worldvision Enterprises, especially Hanna-Barbera cartoons), WDCA gained higher ratings but still trailed WTTG overall. Channel 20 also became a regional superstation appearing oncable television systems up and down the East Coast. At one point, it was available on nearly every cable system in Maryland and Virginia, and was carried as far south as Charlotte, North Carolina and as far north asPennsylvania.
In February 1987, Taft sold WDCA and its other independent and Fox-affiliated stations to the Norfolk, Virginia-based TVX Broadcast Group. At the same time, the station dropped its longtime branding of "TV20" and became known as "DC20."
The Taft purchase created a debt load for TVX and the sale of their smaller-market stations did not fully reduce the debt. In mid-1989, TVX sold a minority interest in its company to Paramount Pictures. Two years later, in 1991, Paramount bought TVX's remaining shares and became full owner of the stations, which were renamed the Paramount Stations Group and as a result, WDCA changed its branding to "Paramount 20". Viacom purchased the group as part of its acquisition of Paramount Pictures in 1993.
In July 1995, WDCA experimented with a 10:00 p.m. newscast to compete with WTTG. UPN 20 News at 10 was a half-hour nightly newscast produced by, and featuring on-air talent from Allbritton Communications' News Channel 8. The newscast was discontinued in the summer of 1996.
On October 29, 2001, Viacom traded WDCA to the News Corporation's Fox Television Stations unit (along withKTXH in Houston) in return for KBHK-TV in San Francisco, resulting in the first television duopoly in the Washington D.C. market. Fox merged the two stations' operations, with WDCA moving from its longtime studios in Bethesda, Maryland, into WTTG's facilities on Wisconsin Avenue NW in Friendship Heights, DC. WTTG was itself once related to Paramount Pictures - it was originally an O&O of the DuMont Television Network, which Paramount had owned in part.
On January 24, 2006, UPN and the WB Television Network announced that they would merge to form a new network, known as the CW Television Network. WB affiliate WBDC (channel 50, now WDCW), owned by Tribune Broadcasting, was announced as Washington's CW station. On the day following the announcement of the creation of the CW, WDCA changed its branding from UPN 20 to DCA 20, and revamped its logo to highlight the brand change. The station also stopped promoting UPN programming. Similar changes were also made to Fox's other UPN affiliates, as The CW did not name any of the Fox-owned UPN stations as affiliates. The formation of MyNetworkTV, of which WDCA and the other Fox-owned UPN stations have become affiliates, was announced on February 22, 2006, less than a month later.
Despite the announced launch date of MyNetworkTV on September 5, 2006, UPN continued to broadcast on stations across the country until September 15, 2006. While some UPN affiliates who switched to MyNetworkTV aired the final two weeks of UPN programming outside its regular primetime period, the Fox-owned stations, including WDCA, dropped UPN entirely on August 31, 2006.Channel 20 began its on-air transition towards MyNetworkTV affiliation on May 5, 2006, when WDCA changed its branding again, this time from "DCA 20" to "My 20".
WDCA's digital signal on UHF channel 35 had been very weak due to a problem with Washington D.C. in constructing a new transmitter tower. However, around August 10, 2006, it was operating at full power and receivable in the suburbs.
On June 12, 2009, WDCA left channel 20 and continued broadcasting on channel 35 to complete its analog to digital conversion. However, through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers still display WDCA's virtual channel as "20".
|Virtual channel||Physical channel||Programming|
|20.1||35.1||main WDCA programming / MNTV HD|
- ^ "Digital Signal Sources". The Washington Post. 2008-05-20.
- ^ http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-06-1082A2.pdf