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Independent station

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An independent station is a broadcast station, usually a television station, not affiliated with a larger broadcast network. As such, it only broadcasts syndicated programs it has purchased; brokered programming, for which a third party pays the station for airtime; and local programs that it produces itself.

In North American and Japanese television, independent stations with general entertainment formats emerged as a distinct class of station because their lack of network affiliation led to unique strategies in program content, scheduling, and promotion, as well as different economics compared to major network affiliates. The Big Three networks in the United States — ABC, CBS, and NBC — traditionally provided a substantial number of program hours per day to their affiliates, whereas later network startups—Fox, UPN, and The WB (the latter two were succeeded by The CW and, to a lesser extent, MyNetworkTV)—provided substantially fewer shows to their affiliates. Through the early 1990s, Fox affiliates were often considered independents.


The term independent station most often is used to refer to stations with general entertainment formats. Historically, these stations specialized in children's programming, syndicated reruns or first-run shows, and sports coverage.

Some independent stations, mostly those once having been affiliated with a major network, produce substantial amounts of news and public affairs programming. The model for these stations was WSVN in Miami, an NBC affiliate that switched to Fox in January 1989 and dramatically expanded its news output. Further affiliation changes and news expansions from the 1990s onward have produced a number of additional stations, such as KTVK in Phoenix (an ABC affiliate until 1995); WJXT in Jacksonville, Florida (a CBS affiliate until 2002); and WHDH in Boston (an NBC affiliate until 2017), as well as stations such as WGN-TV in Chicago and KUSI-TV in San Diego that never held a major network affiliation.

However, in a broader sense, there are independent stations that focus on a specific genre of television programming. For instance, religious independent stations buy and schedule, or produce locally, evangelism and study programs, and ethnic independent stations purchase or produce programs in specific languages or catering to specific communities.


Early history

During the 1950s and 1960s, independent stations filled their broadcast hours with movies, sports, cartoons, filmed travelogues, and some locally produced television programs, including in some instances newscasts and children's programs. Independents that were on the air during this period would sign-on at times later than that of stations affiliated with a television network, some not doing so until the early or mid-afternoon hours. Another source of programming became available to independent stations by the mid-1960s: reruns of network programs which, after completing their initial runs, were sold into syndication.

As cable television franchises began to be incorporated around the United States during the 1960s and 1970s, independent stations from large and mid-sized markets were imported by these systems via wire or microwave relay to smaller media markets, which often only had stations that were affiliated with the Big Three television networks (ABC, NBC and CBS); these independents became the first "superstations," which were distributed on a statewide or regional basis. In December 1976, Ted Turner decided to uplink his struggling Atlanta, Georgia station WTCG to satellite for national distribution. Soon, other companies decided to copy Turner's idea and applied for satellite uplinks to distribute other stations; WGN-TV in Chicago, KTVU in Oakland-San Francisco, and WPIX and WOR-TV in New York City would begin to be distributed nationally during the late 1970s and early 1980s (in the case of KTVU, it would revert to being a regional superstation by the early part of the latter decade).

By the start of the 1970s, independent stations typically aired children's programming in the morning and afternoon hours, and movies and other adult-oriented shows (some stations aired paid religious programs) during the midday hours. They counterprogrammed local network-affiliated stations' news programs with syndicated reruns – usually sitcoms and hour-long dramas – in the early evening, and movies during prime time and late night hours. In some areas, independent stations carried network programs that were not aired by a local affiliate.

In larger markets such as New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles, independent stations benefited from a ruling by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that barred network-affiliated stations within the top 50 television markets from airing network-originated programs in the hour preceding prime time. This legislation, known as the Prime Time Access Rule, was in effect from 1971 to 1995, and as a result independents faced less competition for syndicated reruns. Some stations in larger markets (such as WGN-TV in Chicago; KTLA, KCOP-TV and KHJ-TV in Los Angeles; KWGN-TV in Denver; and (W)WOR-TV, WPIX and WNEW-TV in New York City) ventured into local news broadcasts, usually airing at 10:00 p.m. in the Eastern and Pacific time zones, and 9:00 p.m. in the Central and Mountain time zones. Network stations aired their late newscasts an hour later.

From the late 1970s through the mid-1980s, independent stations in several U.S. cities, particularly those that had yet to receive a cable franchise, carried a form of a network affiliation through subscription television networks (such as ON TV, Spectrum and SelecTV); these services – which were formatted very similarly to their pay cable counterparts – ran sports, uncut and commercial-free movies (both mainstream and pornographic, broadcasts of the latter often created legal issues that were eventually largely cleared up due to an FCC regulation that legally allowed the broadcast of programs featuring content that would otherwise be deemed indecent when broadcast "in the clear" if the encrypted signal was not visible or audible to nonsubscribers), and on some services, television specials. Independents usually ran the services during the evening and overnight hours in lieu of running movies and other programs acquired off the syndication market by the station, although a few eventually began to carry these services for most of the broadcast day. The services required the use of decoder boxes to access the service's programming (some of which were fairly easy to unencrypt due to the transmission methods stations used to scramble the signal during the service's broadcast hours); some required the payment of an additional one-time fee to receive events and adult films. As cities added cable franchises, thus allowing people to subscribe to conventional premium television networks like HBO and Showtime, nearly all of the over-the-air subscription services had shuttered operations by the end of the 1980s.

Until the late 1970s, independent stations were usually limited to the larger American television markets, due to several factors. Most smaller markets did not have a large enough population to support four commercial stations. Even in markets that were large enough to support a fourth station, the only available license was on a UHF channel allocation. During the analog television era, the reception quality of UHF stations was not nearly as good as stations on the VHF band, especially in areas with rugged terrain (the reverse is true in the present day with the transmission of digital signals) or in markets that cover large geographic areas. Since independent stations had to buy an additional 16 hours of programming per day – a burden not faced by network-affiliated stations – these factors made prospective owners skittish about signing on a television station as an independent. By the 1970s, however, cable television had gained enough penetration to make independent stations viable in smaller markets. This was especially true in markets that were either located in rugged terrain or covered large areas; in these regions, cable (and later satellite) are all but essential for acceptable television. Nearly 300 independent stations existed in the United States by the mid-1980s, in markets of varying sizes,[1] up from fewer than 100 in 1980. They could buy new shows without cash using barter syndication.[2] Many stations belonged to the Association of Independent Television Stations (INTV), a group similar to the National Association of Broadcasters, and which lobbied the FCC on behalf of independents.

In the 1980s, television syndicators began offering original, first-run series such as Solid Gold, Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, Star Search, Independent Network News and Star Trek: The Next Generation (as well as canceled network series revived for first-run syndication such as Fame, Too Close for Comfort, Charles in Charge, It's a Living and Baywatch), and made-for-television movies and miniseries like Sadat. This trend primarily benefited independent stations. Independents scheduled these first-run programs during prime time and on weekends.

In the United States, many independent stations were commonly owned. Companies that operated three or more independents included:


In 1986 several independent outlets, led by the Metromedia stations, formed the Fox Broadcasting Company,[3][4] the first major venture at a fourth U.S. broadcast television network since the DuMont Television Network shut down in August 1956 (which resulted in some of its affiliates, including those owned by Metromedia, becoming independents). Fox made efforts, slowly at first, to have its affiliates emulate a network programming style as much as possible; but in turn, Fox only carried a late-night talk show at its launch in October 1986, and beginning in April 1987, offered one night of prime time programming a week (on Sundays). The network only programmed two hours of prime time programming each night (and, beginning in the 1990s, some children's programming through Fox Kids), but gradually expanded its prime time lineup to all seven nights until January 1993. Fox's owned-and-operated stations left INTV in March 1992.[5]

The lack of programming in other dayparts forced most Fox affiliates to maintain the same programming model as independent stations during non-prime time slots, and during its early years, on nights without prime time programming from the network. Fox coerced most of its affiliates to air prime time newscasts (there were some holdouts as late as 2013, while many others opted to run outsourced local newscasts from a competing network affiliate) as well as news programming in other dayparts common with other major network affiliates. When a complicated six-station affiliation switch in South Florida saw WSVN in Miami switch from NBC to Fox in 1989, the station adopted a news-intensive format unlike any independent station or Fox affiliate prior, a scheduling choice initially ridiculed in local media but quickly attracted industry attention and saw ratings success. This model was copied by stations owned by New World Communications and SF Broadcasting that switched to Fox in the mid-1990s, and to other news-producing Fox and minor network affiliates, and independent stations, by the 2000s.

In September 1993, many independents began carrying the Prime Time Entertainment Network (PTEN), an ad-hoc programming service that emulated a network model, which featured drama series and made-for-TV movies intended for first-run syndication. In January 1995, many remaining independents, including those that carried PTEN, joined upstart networks The WB[6] and the United Paramount Network (UPN). The WB, UPN and their affiliates used a very similar programming model to that initially used by Fox and its stations during their first four years of existence (although neither network would expand their prime time lineups to all seven nights); the launch of those networks resulted in PTEN's demise in 1997, as most stations that became affiliates of UPN and The WB (whose respective founding parents, Chris-Craft Industries and Time Warner, jointly owned PTEN) either dropped the service or moved its lineup out of prime time when those networks launched. Other stations banded together to become charter outlets of the Pax TV (now Ion Television) network in August 1998, although some of the stations that aligned with Pax had earlier affiliated with its predecessor, the Infomall TV Network (inTV), two years before.

The launches of these networks drastically reduced the number of independent stations in the United States; some mid-sized markets would not regain a general entertainment independent until the early 2000s, through sign-ons of unaffiliated stations and disaffiliations by existing stations from other commercial and noncommercial networks. In 2001, Univision Communications purchased several English language independents in larger markets (which mostly operated as Home Shopping Network affiliates until the late 1990s) from USA Broadcasting to form the nuclei of the upstart Spanish language network Telefutura (now UniMás), which launched in January 2002. Several stations affiliated with The WB and UPN became independent again when the respective parent companies of those networks (Time Warner and CBS Corporation) decided to shut them down to form The CW, which launched in September 2006 with a schedule dominated by shows held over from and an affiliate body primarily made up of stations previously aligned with its two predecessors.[7] Some of the newly independent stations subsequently found a new network home through MyNetworkTV, itself created out of the prospect that the UPN affiliates of corporate sister Fox Television Stations would become independents due to The CW choosing to affiliate with CBS Television Stations and Tribune Broadcasting stations in overlapping markets.[8]


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As a result of the various network launches that have occurred since the 1986 launch of Fox, true independent stations have become a rarity. The smallest stations, which in the past would have been forced to adopt a locally originated independent program schedule, now have other options – 24-hour-a-day networks that require no local or syndicated programming for the station to carry; some of these networks, such as AMG TV or America One, follow a full-service variety format, while others are devoted primarily to classic television (such as MeTV) and/or films, or carry mainly niche programming. Many stations that are affiliated with the larger post-1980s networks still behave much like independents, as they program far more hours a day than a station affiliated with one of the Big Three networks.

This is especially the case with MyNetworkTV, whose efforts to offer first-run programming were largely unsuccessful. By 2009, the network had abandoned its first-run programming efforts and became a "programming service", with its programming now focused upon off-network reruns of drama series.[9][10] After this transition, many of MyNetworkTV's affiliates began to downplay their affiliation with the network, and move the block to alternate timeslots (such as late-night).

Current independents follow a very different program format from their predecessors. While sitcom reruns are still popular, expanded newscasts and other syndicated programs such as talk shows; courtroom shows; reruns of recent scripted comedy and drama series; and no-cost public domain programming are common. Another type of content being added to many independent station lineups in recent years has been brokered programming, including infomercials, home shopping and televangelist programs; the Federal Communications Commission did not allow infomercials to be broadcast on American television until 1984, but since then, it has proven to be a lucrative, if somewhat polarizing with viewers, way to fill airtime. During the 1990s when infomercials gained popularity, many stations began broadcasting 24 hours a day rather than signing off at night. By filling the overnight hours with infomercials, the station would be able to generate extra revenue where they had previously been off the air. Home shopping programs (mainly simulcasts of cable services that also have over-the-air distribution such as QVC and the Home Shopping Network) or syndicated programs fill overnight time periods on stations that do not run infomercials during that day part.

Since the FCC revised its media ownership rules to permit station duopolies in August 1999, independents that operate on a standalone basis have become quite rare in the United States and, in turn, independents that are senior partners in duopolies are fairly uncommon. With the proliferation of duopolies and local marketing agreements since that point, most independent stations are operated alongside a major network affiliate (more commonly, one of either ABC, NBC, CBS or Fox), which may share syndicated programming with and/or produce newscasts in non-competitive timeslots for its unaffiliated sister. This is because in most markets, independents tend to have lower viewership than that of a network affiliate, and usually fall within part of the FCC's duopoly criteria (which allows a company to own two stations in the same market if one is not among the four highest-rated at the time of an ownership transaction).

List of notable independent stations, past and present

  • Partial listing: bold text denotes an independent station.

List of notable U.S. independent stations

Media market State Stations First air date Last air date Current network
Albany-Schenectady-Troy New York WXXA-TV 23 July 30, 1982 Fox
WUSV 45 (now WCWN) March 22, 1982 The CW

(now WYPX-TV)

December 14, 1987 Ion
Anchorage Alaska KTBY 4 December 2, 1983 Fox
KYES-TV 5 (now KAUU) January 21, 1990 5.1 CBS

5.4 MyNetworkTV

KDMD 33 October 1, 1989 33.1 Ion

33.2 Telemundo

KCFT-CD 35 July 17, 1984
Atlanta Georgia WATC-DT 57 April 14, 1996
WQXI-TV/WATL-TV 36 December 18, 1954 (original incarnation)

August 16, 1969 (2nd incarnation)

July 5, 1976 (current incarnation)

May 31, 1955 (original incarnation)

April 1, 1971 (2nd incarnation)

WGNX 46 (now WANF) June 6, 1971 CBS

(now WUVG-DT)

April 18, 1989 Univision


(now WPCH-TV)

September 1, 1967 The CW
WVEU/WUPA 69 August 22, 1981
Austin Texas KBVO 42 December 4, 1983 CBS
Baltimore Maryland WBFF 45 April 11, 1971 Fox
WMAR-TV 2 October 27, 1947 ABC
WNUV-TV 54 July 1, 1982 The CW
Baton Rouge Louisiana KZUP-CD 20 November 26, 2002
Beaumont Texas KBMT-LD 64

(now KUIL-LD 12.5)

2003 MyNetworkTV
Birmingham Alabama WTTO 21 April 21, 1982 The CW
WABM 68 January 31, 1986 68.1 MyNetworkTV

68.2 ABC

Bloomington-Peoria Illinois WBLN/WYZZ-TV 43 October 18, 1982 Fox
Boise Idaho KTRV-TV 12 October 18, 1981 Ion
Boston Massachusetts WSBK-TV 38 October 12, 1964
WKBG-TV/WLVI-TV 56 December 21, 1966 The CW

(now WFXT)

October 10, 1977 Fox

(now WUNI)

February 12, 1985 Univision

(now WBPX-TV)

January 2, 1979 Ion


(now WWJE-DT)

September 5, 1983 True Crime Network

(now WUTF-TV)

January 1, 1970 UniMas
WWDP 46 December 6, 1986 ShopHQ
WDPX-TV 58 January 16, 1984 Grit
WNEU 60 August 14, 1987 Telemundo
WMFP 62 October 16, 1987 OnTV4U
WHDH 7 May 22, 1982
Buffalo New York WUTV 29 December 21, 1970 Fox
WNLO 23 May 13, 1987 The CW
WBBZ-TV 67 March 12, 1993 MeTV/Independent
WNYO-TV 49 September 1, 1987 MyNetworkTV
Charlotte North Carolina WAXN-TV 64 October 15, 1994
WCCB 18 September 5, 1961 (2nd incarnation)

November 1, 1964 (current incarnation)

May 16, 1963 (2nd incarnation) The CW
WJZY 46 March 9, 1987 Fox

(now WCNC-TV)

July 9, 1967 NBC
WHKY-TV 14 (now WWJS) February 14, 1968 Sonlife
Chicago Illinois WGN-TV 9 April 5, 1948
WFLD 32 January 4, 1966 Fox
WSNS-TV 44 April 5, 1970 Telemundo
WCIU-TV 26 February 6, 1964 26.1 The CW

26.2 Independent


(now WPWR-TV 50)

April 4, 1982 MyNetworkTV

(now WGBO-DT)

September 18, 1981 Univision
WMEU-CD 48 October 28, 1987
Chico California KCVU-TV 20 May 14, 1986 Fox
Christiansted U.S. Virgin Islands WCVI-TV 23 May 16, 1997 23.1 CBS

23.2 ABC

Cincinnati Ohio WXIX-TV 19 August 1, 1968 Fox
WIII-TV/WSTR-TV 64 January 29, 1980 MyNetworkTV
Cleveland-Akron Ohio WUAB 43 September 15, 1968 The CW
WBNX-TV 55 December 1, 1985
WKBF-TV 61 January 19, 1968 April 25, 1975
WCLQ 61 March 3, 1981 Univision
WOIO 19 May 19, 1985 19.1 CBS

19.2 MeTV/MyNetworkTV

WMFD-TV 68 January 10, 1986
WGGN-TV 52 December 5, 1982
Colorado Springs-Pueblo Colorado KXRM 21 January 22, 1985 Fox
KXTU 57 November 5, 1999 The CW
KWHS 51 1992 CTN
Columbus Georgia WXTX 54 August 29, 1983 Fox
Columbus Ohio WTTE 28 June 1, 1984 TBD
WWAT 53 (now WWHO) August 31, 1987 The CW
Dallas-Fort Worth Texas KDFI 27 January 26, 1981 MyNetworkTV
KFWD 52 September 1, 1988 Shop LC
KLDT 55 (now KAZD) March 18, 1997 55.1 Spectrum News 1

55.2 MeTV




(now KDAF)

September 29, 1980 The CW

(now KSTR-DT)

April 17, 1984 UniMas
KTVT 11 September 11, 1955 CBS
KTXA 21 January 4, 1981
KXTX-TV 39 February 5, 1968 Telemundo
-Rock Island
KLJB 18 July 28, 1985 Fox
Dayton Ohio WSWO-TV 26 July 14, 1968 December 6, 1972

(now WPTD)

March 20, 1967 PBS

(now WBDT)

September 7, 1980 The CW
WRGT-TV 45 September 23, 1984 Dabl
Denver Colorado KWGN-TV 2 July 18, 1952 The CW
KCDO-TV 3 December 18, 1963
KDVR 31 August 10, 1983 Fox
KTVD 20 December 1, 1988 MyNetworkTV
Detroit Michigan WKBD-TV 50 January 10, 1965
WMYD 20 September 15, 1968 The CW

(now WWJ-TV)

September 29, 1975 CBS
WADL 38 May 20, 1989 MyNetworkTV
Des Moines Iowa KCBR/KDSM-TV 17 March 7, 1983 Fox
El Paso Texas KILT 13

(now KVIA-TV 7)

September 1, 1956 7.1 ABC

7.2 The CW


(now KFOX-TV)

August 1, 1979 Fox

(now KTFN)

June 22, 1991 UniMas
Evansville Indiana WTVW 7 August 21, 1956 The CW
Fargo North Dakota KVRR 15 February 14, 1983 Fox
KNRR 12 January 1, 1986 Fox
KBRR 10 September 1985 Fox
Fresno-Visalia California KMPH-TV 26 October 11, 1971 Fox
KAIL 53 (now KAIL 7) December 18, 1961 TCT
Fort Wayne Indiana WFFT 55 December 21, 1977 Fox
Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo-Battle Creek Michigan WXMI 17 March 18, 1982 Fox
Green Bay-Appleton Wisconsin KFIZ-TV 34 August 1, 1968 November 30, 1972 Independent/NET/PBS
WXGZ-TV/WACY-TV 32 March 7, 1984 (original incarnation)

June 1994 (current incarnation)

February 14, 1992 (original incarnation)


February 22, 1984 (original incarnation)

April 30, 1997 (current incarnation)

1987 (original incarnation) The CW
WLRE/WGBA-TV 26 December 31, 1980 NBC
Greensboro-Winston-Salem-High Point North Carolina WGNN-TV/WJTM/


(now WXLV-TV)

September 22, 1979 ABC
WGGT 48 May 9, 1981 MyNetworkTV

(now WGPX-TV)

August 7, 1984 Ion
WEJC 20 (now WCWG) October 30, 1985 The CW
WLXI 61 (now WLXI 43) March 5, 1984 TCT
Greenville-Spartanburg-Asheville South Carolina
North Carolina

(now WMYA-TV)

December 11, 1953 Dabl
WGGS-TV 16 October 29, 1972
WHNS 21 April 1, 1984 Fox
WASV-TV 62 (now WYCW) October 31, 1984 The CW
WNEG-TV 32 (now WGTA) September 9, 1984 MeTV
Harrisburg-Lancaster-York Pennsylvania WPMT 43 December 21, 1952 Fox
Hartford-New Haven Connecticut WHCT 18 (now WUVN) September 25, 1954 Univision
WCCT-TV 20 September 10, 1953 The CW
WTIC-TV 3 (now WFSB) September 23, 1957 CBS
WTIC-TV 61 September 17, 1984 Fox

(now WHPX-TV)

September 15, 1986 Ion
WWAX-LD 27 March 11, 2013
Hilo Hawaii KOHA-TV/KHBC-TV 13

(now KSIX-TV)

August 22, 1983 13.1 NBC

13.2 Independent

13.3 CBS

Honolulu Hawaii KIKU-TV/KHNL 13 July 4, 1962 13.1 NBC

13.2 Independent

13.3 Telemundo

KHAI-TV/KIKU 20 December 30, 1983

(now KHII-TV)

February 7, 1988 MyNetworkTV
KWHE 14 August 23, 1986
Houston Texas KHTV 39 (now KIAH) January 6, 1967 The CW
KRIV 26 August 15, 1971 Fox
KTXH 20 November 7, 1982 MyNetworkTV

(now KCVH-LD 6)

November 2, 1988

(now KYAZ)

November 3, 1993 MeTV
KTBU 55 July 15, 1998 Quest
KUBE-TV 57 May 18, 1988 Shop LC
Indianapolis Indiana WURD/WHMB-TV 40 February 22, 1971
WTTV 4 November 11, 1949 4.1 CBS

4.2 Independent

WWKI-TV/WTTK 29 May 1, 1988 29.1 CBS

29.2 Independent

WXIN 59 February 1, 1984 Fox

(now WNDY-TV)

October 19, 1987 MyNetworkTV
Jackson Mississippi WDBD 40 November 30, 1984 Fox
Jacksonville Florida WAWS 30

(now WFOX-TV)

February 15, 1981 30.1 Fox

30.2 MyNetworkTV/MeTV

30.4 Telemundo

WJXT 4 September 15, 1949


(now WJAX-TV)

August 1, 1980 CBS
Kansas City Missouri KBMA-TV/KSHB-TV 41 September 28, 1970 NBC
KZKC/KSMO-TV 62 December 7, 1983 MyNetworkTV
KMCI-TV 38 February 1, 1988
KUJH-LP 31 April 23, 1996 June 9, 2014
Knoxville Tennessee WKCH-TV/WTNZ-TV 43 December 31, 1983 Fox
WMAK/WKNX-TV 7 July 31, 2004
Lafayette Louisiana KADN-TV 15 March 1, 1980 Fox
Lansing Michigan WSYM-TV 47 December 1, 1982 47.1 Fox

47.4 MyNetworkTV

Las Vegas Nevada KVVU-TV 5 September 10, 1967 Fox
KHSV 21 July 31, 1984 MeTV

(now KVCW)

July 30, 1989 33.1 The CW

33.2 MyNetworkTV

KTUD-CA 25 February 12, 1999 October 10, 2013
KMCC 34 August 21, 2003
Louisville Kentucky WDRB-TV 41 February 21, 1971 Fox
WBNA 21 April 2, 1986
Los Angeles California KTLA 5 January 22, 1947 The CW


October 6, 1948
KLAC-TV/KCOP-TV 13 September 17, 1948 MyNetworkTV


March 29, 1965
KDOC-TV 56 October 1, 1982 TCT
KCET 28 September 28, 1964 PBS
KSCI 18 June 30, 1977 Shop LC
KBEH 63 August 17, 1985 Canal de la Fe
KTTV 11 January 1, 1949 Fox
KMTW-TV/KBSC-TV 52 (now KVEA) June 29, 1966 Telemundo
Madison Wisconsin WISC-TV 3.2

(branded as "TVW")

September 2000 MyNetworkTV


June 30, 1999 Ion
WMSN-TV 47 June 8, 1986 Fox
WZCK-LD 8 June 9, 1992 OnTV4U
Memphis Tennessee WPTY-TV 24

(now WATN-TV)

September 10, 1978 ABC
WMKW-TV/WLMT 30 April 18, 1983 The CW/MyNetworkTV
Miami-Fort Lauderdale Florida WCIX 6

(now WFOR-TV 4)

September 20, 1967 CBS
WBFS-TV 33 December 9, 1984


October 16, 1982 The CW


(now WAMI-DT)

August 10, 1988 UniMas

(now WSCV)

December 6, 1968 Telemundo
Milwaukee Wisconsin WOKY-TV/WXIX 19/


October 3, 1953 (original incarnation)

July 20, 1959 (current incarnation)

April 1, 1959 (original incarnation) 18.1 The CW

24.1 MyNetworkTV


(now WVTV-DT2 24)

March 24, 1980 January 8, 2018 MyNetworkTV
WDJT-TV 58 November 10, 1988 CBS


January 27, 1990
W65BT 65/W41CI/


(now WBME-CD)

1983 MeTV
Minneapolis-St. Paul Minnesota WTCN-TV/WUSA 11

(now KARE)

September 1, 1953 NBC


(now KMSP-TV 9.9)

January 9, 1955 9.9 Fox

9.10 MyNetworkTV (SD simulcast)


(now WFTC 9.2)

October 11, 1982 9.1 Fox (SD simulcast)

9.2 MyNetworkTV


(now KSTC-TV 5.2)

June 19, 1994

(now WUCW)

September 22, 1982 The CW
KXLI 41 (now KPXM-TV) November 24, 1982 Ion
K34HO-D 34.2 1998
K21GN-D 21
WPMI 15 March 12, 1982 NBC
WFGX 35 April 7, 1987 MyNetworkTV
WJTC 44 December 24, 1984
Nashville Tennessee WMCV/WTLT/WZTV 17 August 5, 1968 17.1 Fox

17.2 The CW


(now WUXP-TV)

February 18, 1984 MyNetworkTV
New Orleans Louisiana WLAE-TV 32 July 8, 1984


October 14, 1967 ABC
WNOL-TV 38 March 25, 1984 The CW
New York City New York WNYE-TV 25 April 5, 1967

(now WNYW)

May 2, 1944 Fox
WOR-TV/WWOR-TV 9 October 11, 1949 MyNetworkTV
WPIX 11 June 15, 1948 The CW

(now WNET)

May 15, 1948 PBS
WLIG/WLNY-TV 55 April 28, 1985
WNJU-TV 47 May 16, 1965 Telemundo
WTZA/WRNN-TV 48 December 15, 1985 Shop LC
WVVH-CD 18 1988 YTA TV/Outside TV
Norfolk Nebraska KNEN-LD 35 2015
Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News Virginia WYAH-TV/WGNT 27 October 1, 1961 The CW
WTVZ 33 September 24, 1979 MyNetworkTV
WVBT 43 March 22, 1993 Fox
WSKY-TV 4 October 19, 2001
Oklahoma City Oklahoma KOKH-TV 25 February 2, 1959 Fox
KAUT-TV 43 October 15, 1980 The CW
KGMC/KOCB-TV 34 August 28, 1979
KSBI 52 October 3, 1988 MyNetworkTV
Orlando-Daytona Beach Florida WCEU/WDSC-TV 15 February 8, 1988
WRES/WBCC/WEFS 68 June 18, 1987
WESH 2 June 11, 1956 NBC
WSWB/WOFL 35 March 31, 1974 (original incarnation)

October 15, 1979 (current incarnation)

September 30, 1976 (original incarnation) Fox

(now WKCF 18)

December 1988 The CW
WRBW 65 June 6, 1994 MyNetworkTV
WRDQ 27 April 23, 2000
Philadelphia Pennsylvania WACP 4 June 18, 2012 TCT
WPHL-TV 17 July 17, 1960 17.1 The CW

17.2 Antenna TV/



(now WTXF-TV)

May 16, 1965 Fox
WKBS-TV/WGTW-TV 48 August 13, 1992 TBN


June 15, 1981

(now WPPT)

June 10, 1990 PBS
WFMZ-TV 67 December 4, 1954 April 15, 1955
WFMZ-TV 69 November 25, 1976
WTVE 51 May 4, 1980 OnTV4U
Phoenix Arizona KPHO-TV 5 December 4, 1949 CBS
KNXV-TV 15 September 9, 1979 ABC
KUTP 45 December 23, 1985 MyNetworkTV


October 24, 1953 Fox
KTVK 3 February 28, 1955
KUSK/KAZT-TV 7 September 5, 1982 The CW
KPHE-LD 44 July 13, 1995
KASW 61 September 23, 1995
Pittsburgh Pennsylvania WPGH-TV 53 July 14, 1953 (original incarnation)

February 1, 1969 (2nd incarnation)

January 14, 1974 (current incarnation)

July 2, 1954 (original incarnation)

August 16, 1971 (2nd incarnation)



September 26, 1978 The CW/MyNetworkTV
WEPA-CD 59 1995 October 25, 2017 Cozi TV


October 15, 1953
Portland Oregon KPTV 27

(now KPTV 12)

September 20, 1952 Fox
KPDX 49 October 9, 1983 MyNetworkTV

(now KRCW-TV)

May 8, 1989 The CW
Providence-New Bedford Rhode Island


August 29, 1953 (original incarnation)

September 5, 1981 (current incarnation)

August 6, 1956 (original incarnation) 64.1 Fox

64.2 The CW

Raleigh-Durham-Fayetteville North Carolina WFCT 62 (now WFPX-TV) March 1985 Bounce TV
WLFL-TV 22 December 18, 1981 The CW
WRAY-TV 30 August 7, 1995 TCT
WRMY 47 (now WRPX-TV) July 8, 1992 Ion
WKFT 40 (now WUVC-DT) June 1, 1981 40.1 Univision

40.2 UniMas

WYED-TV 17 (now WNCN-TV) April 11, 1988 CBS
WAUG-LD 8 1988
Richmond Virginia WRLH-TV 35 February 20, 1982 35.1 Fox

35.2 MyNetworkTV/TBD

WZXK/WAWB 65 (now WUPV) March 9, 1990 The CW
Reno Nevada KNSN-TV 21 October 11, 1981 Independent/MyNetworkTV
-Mason City
KXLT-TV August 21, 1987 Fox
Rochester New York WUHF 31 January 27, 1980 Fox
WBGT-CD 46 February 2, 1998 MyNetworkTV
Sacramento-Stockton California KTXL 40 October 26, 1968 Fox
KMUV/KRBK/KMAX 31 October 5, 1974
KSCH 58 (now KQCA) April 13, 1986 The CW/MyNetworkTV
KBFT unknown
St. Louis Missouri KPLR-TV 11 April 28, 1959 The CW
KNLC 24 September 12, 1982 24.1 MeTV

24.2 Religious Indepenent

KDNL-TV 30 June 8, 1969 ABC
Salt Lake City Utah KSTU 13 October 4, 1978 Fox
KAZG/KPNZ 24 December 6, 1998 TCT
KXIV/KJZZ-TV 14 February 14, 1989
KUEN 9 December 1, 1986
KUPX-TV 16 April 21, 1998 16.1 Independent

16.4 Ion

San Antonio Texas KCOR-TV/KUAL-TV 41

(now KWEX-DT)

June 10, 1955 Univision
KABB 29 December 16, 1987 Fox
San Diego California KCST-TV 39

(now KNSD)

November 14, 1965 NBC
XETV-TV/XETV-TDT 6 April 29, 1953 Canal 5
KUSI-TV 51 September 13, 1982

(now KSWB-TV)

September 30, 1984 Fox
San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose California KCSM-TV/KPJK 60 October 12, 1964
KRON-TV 4 November 15, 1949 The CW/MyNetworkTV
KTVU 2 March 3, 1958 Fox


January 2, 1968
KGSC-TV/KICU-TV 36 October 3, 1967



April 1, 1968 Grit

(now KEMO-TV)

April 1981 Estrella TV
KQSL 8 1990 TLN
KNTV 11 September 12, 1955 NBC
KSTS 48 May 31, 1981 Telemundo
KTNC-TV 42 June 19, 1983 TCT
KTSF 26 September 4, 1976
San Juan Puerto Rico WKAQ-TV 2 March 28, 1954 2.1 Telemundo

2.2 Independent

2.3 NBC

WAPA-TV 4 May 1, 1954
WCCV-TV 54 November 15, 1981
WDWL 36 May 11, 1987 Enlace
WIDP 46 1997
WIPR-TV 6 January 6, 1958
WSTE-DT 7 February 2, 1958
WWXY-LD 38 2001
WLII-DT 11 May 23, 1960 Univision
WORO-DT 13 November 1, 1984
WJPX 24 February 15, 1987 America TeVe
WTCV 18 October 1, 1962 (original incarnation)

July 29, 1984 (current incarnation)

1972 (original incarnation) Mega TV
WVQS-LD 20 1990 CTNi
WRFB 5 1997 ABC
WUJA 58 July 25, 1983
Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Pennsylvania WSWB/WOLF-TV 38

(now WSWB)

June 3, 1981 The CW

(now WOLF-TV)

June 6, 1985 Fox
Seattle-Tacoma Washington KTNT-TV/KSTW 11 March 1, 1953


August 2, 1953 Fox
KVOS-TV 12 June 3, 1953 Univision
KONG 16 July 8, 1997


June 22, 1985 MyNetworkTV
Shreveport Louisiana KMSS-TV 33 April 11, 1985 Fox
KWLB/KSHV-TV 45 April 15, 1994 MyNetworkTV
South Bend Indiana WHME-TV 46 August 3, 1974
Spokane Washington KAYU-TV 28 October 31, 1982 28.1 Fox

28.2 Antenna TV/ MyNetworkTV/CW Sports

KNEE-LD 10 July 1, 2006 February 9, 2023
Springfield-Decatur-Champaign Illinois WBHW/WRSP-TV 55 June 1, 1979 Fox
WFHL 23 (now WBUI) May 14, 1984 The CW
Springfield Missouri KOZL-TV 27 September 22, 1968 MyNetworkTV
Tampa-St. Petersburg Florida WTOG 44 November 4, 1968
WTTA 38 June 21, 1991 The CW/MyNetworkTV
WMOR-TV 32 January 11, 1984
WFTS-TV 28 December 14, 1981 ABC
WPDS-LD 14 1990
Toledo Ohio WUPW 36 September 22, 1985 Fox
Tucson Arizona KZAZ/KMSB-TV 11 February 1, 1967 Fox
KDTU/KTTU 18 December 31, 1984 MyNetworkTV
KPOL 40 (now KHRR) January 5, 1985 Telemundo
Tulsa Oklahoma KOKI-TV 23 October 26, 1980 Fox

(now KMYT-TV)

March 18, 1981 MyNetworkTV
KRSU-TV 35 1987
KTCT/KWHB 47 June 3, 1985 CTN
Washington D.C. WTTG 5 December 10, 1946 Fox
WDCA-TV 20 April 20, 1966 MyNetworkTV
WFTY 50 (now WDCW) November 1, 1981 The CW
WJAL 68 August 1, 1984 ShopHQ
WHAG-TV/WDVM-TV 25 January 3, 1970
Waterloo-Cedar Rapids Iowa KWWF 22 December 1, 2002 August 2, 2013 Untamed Sports TV
West Palm Beach Florida WBEC-TV 1999
WFLX October 1, 1982 Fox
WTVX April 5, 1966 The CW
WHDT May 25, 2000
Wilmington North Carolina WILM-LD 10 April 3, 1989

List of notable Canadian independent stations

While independent stations were not as common in Canada, there were several notable examples of such:

Media market Province Station(s) First air date
Hamilton Ontario CHCH-DT June 7, 1954
Lethbridge Alberta CJIL-DT January 14, 1996
Montreal Quebec CFHD-DT December 11, 2013
CFTU-DT August 20, 1986
St. John's Newfoundland and Labrador CJON-DT September 6, 1955
Vancouver British Columbia CHNU-DT September 15, 2001
Victoria British Columbia CHEK-DT December 1, 1956
Winnipeg Manitoba CIIT-DT February 6, 2006

Since the mid-1990s, most independent television stations in Canada have merged into television systems (such as CTV Two) by adopting common branding and/or programming, or have become fully owned-and-operated stations of networks with which they had previously had more informal programming arrangements as with CIHF, CICT and CITV, which are all now Global stations. However, this trend was partially reversed in 2009 with the demise of Canwest's E! system, which resulted in three of its stations, with CHCH in Hamilton, CJNT in Montreal and CHEK in Victoria, with CHCH-DT becoming independent; CJNT-DT becoming subsequently affiliated with City in 2012 (later becoming a full-time O&O in 2013) and CHEK-DT becoming independent as well (Although having a secondary affiliation with Yes TV).

CHCH and CHEK are the only television stations in Canada currently operating as independent stations in the American sense of the term. However, since the fall of 2010, these two stations (previously along with CJNT) have resumed sharing some common American programming.

CJON in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, while officially unaffiliated with a network, in practice airs a mix of programming sublicensed from two of Canada's main commercial networks, CTV (which it was formally affiliated with until 2002, with only CTV's news programming being carried on the station since then) and Global, rather than purchasing broadcast rights independently.

CFTU and CFHD in Montreal also operate as independents. However, each of these stations has a specific programming focus: educational programming in the case of the former, and multicultural programming in that of the latter.

Three independent religious stations also exist in Canada: CHNU in the Fraser Valley Regional District, CIIT in Winnipeg, and CJIL in Lethbridge. CIIT and CHNU formerly served as part of the two-station Joytv religious television system from 2005 until the system's dissolution in 2013.

Apart from these, some additional independent stations exist in Canada as community-oriented specialty stations. These stations, such as CFTV-DT in Leamington, Ontario and CHCO-TV in St. Andrews, New Brunswick, transmit at low power.

Independent television in Japan

Refer to caption
Chiba TV is one of the members of the Japanese Association of Independent Television Stations.

In Japan, independent television stations are generally those not affiliated with one of the national networks based in Tokyo, which supply the vast majority of their affiliates' programs. Independent stations in Japan primarily serve heavily urbanized areas and frequently band together in the purchasing of programs and sale of advertising.

See also


  1. ^ Kanner, Bernice (June 17, 1985). "Thinking About a Fourth Network". New York Magazine. New York: 19–23. Retrieved October 4, 2009.
  2. ^ Harmetz, Aljean (November 2, 1986). "New 'Star Trek' Plan Reflects Symbiosis of TV and Movies". The New York Times. p. 31. Retrieved February 11, 2015.
  3. ^ "Murdoch acquired six Metromedia TV stations". Los Angeles Times. March 7, 1986. Retrieved May 9, 2014.
  4. ^ "Fox Broadcasting Co. reaches affiliate agreements with 79 TV stations to exclusively broadcast offered programming". PR Newswire. August 4, 1986.
  5. ^ Flint, Joe (March 9, 1992). "Fox O&O's out of INTV" (PDF). Broadcasting. pp. 5–6.
  6. ^ Elber, Lynn (November 2, 1993). "Time Warner TV network to cover 40% of nation". The Buffalo News. Associated Press. p. D12. Retrieved September 21, 2023 – via
  7. ^ UPN and WB to Combine, Forming New TV Network, The New York Times, January 24, 2006.
  8. ^ "News Corp. to launch new mini-network for UPN stations". USA Today. February 22, 2006. Retrieved January 21, 2013.
  9. ^ Michael Malone (February 9, 2009). "MyNetworkTV Shifts From Network to Programming Service". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved September 23, 2012.
  10. ^ Toni Fitzgerald (February 10, 2009). "MNTV: Broadcast model 'not working'". Media Life Magazine. Retrieved September 23, 2012.
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