KCEB, virtual channel 54 (UHF digital channel 26), is a SonLife-affiliated television station serving Tyler, Texas, United States that is licensed to Longview. The station is owned by the London Broadcasting Company, formerly as part of a duopoly with Nacogdoches-licensed CBS affiliate KYTX (channel 19) (now owned by Tegna Media). The two stations share studio facilities located near Loop 323 and State Highway 110 in southeastern Tyler; KCEB maintains transmitter facilities located near FM 125 in rural northwestern Rusk County (southeast of Overton). On cable, the station is available on Suddenlink Communications channel 2 and Longview Cable Television channel 10.
The station first signed on the air on July 27, 2003; operating as a UPN affiliate, it originally served as the full-power satellite of low-power stations KTPN-LP in Tyler and KLPN-LP in Longview. The stations were collectively branded as "UPN 58/54/48". The station's original analog transmitter facilities were located northwest of Longview, at the intersection of State Highway 300 and FM1844, near the town of East Mountain.
On January 1, 2006, KCEB, KLPN-LP and KTPN-LP lost the UPN affiliation to CBS affiliate KYTX (channel 19), which carried the network on its second digital subchannel. The station immediately switched its affiliation to The WB, effectively replacing "KWTL," a cable-only WB outlet that was part of The WB 100+ Station Group, a service that was created in September 1998 to expand The WB's national coverage primarily through cable-only outlets in smaller markets, which were managed locally by cable providers (since it was cable-exclusive, the channel used the "KWTL" callsign in a fictional manner). During the transition, KTPN and KLPN became independent stations.
Shortly after receiving the affiliation, on January 24, 2006, the Warner Bros. unit of Time Warner and CBS Corporation announced that the two companies would shut down The WB and UPN and combine the networks' respective programming to create a new "fifth" network called The CW, which would be aimed at young adults between the ages of 18 and 34.
One month later on February 22, the News Corporation announced the launch of a new network of its own called MyNetworkTV, which would be operated by Fox Television Stations and its syndication division Twentieth Television, which was created to give UPN and WB stations that did not strike affiliation agreements with The CW another option besides converting to independent stations. KCEB affiliated with The CW upon the network's launch on September 18, 2006 (affiliated with the network through The WB 100+ Station Group's successor The CW Plus), while KLPN and KTPN chose to join MyNetworkTV, which launched two weeks earlier on September 5.
In 2008, KCEB changed its on-air branding from "CW 54" to "CW 54/5", adding the station's cable channel assignment on Suddenlink Communications in the Tyler area. On November 6, 2009, the station was sold to the London Broadcasting Company, owner of KYTX. London initially operated the station under a sales and management agreement prior to the Federal Communications Commission giving approval for London to acquire the license assets. The sale was finalized on August 31, 2010. KCEB swapped affiliations with KYTX in May 2012, taking that subchannel's Me-TV affiliation, while KYTX's second digital subchannel began carrying programming from The CW Plus.
On May 14, 2014, the Gannett Company announced that it would acquire KYTX and five other London Broadcasting stations in a $215 million all-cash transaction. Gannett's CEO Gracia Martore touted that the acquisition would give the company a presence in several fast-growing markets, and opportunities for local advertisers to leverage its digital marketing platform. London exempted KCEB from the deal (as well as company flagship KTXD-TV in the Dallas suburb of Greenville), which will result in only the second instance in which a duopoly will be legally and operationally separated (the Sinclair Broadcast Group is similarly splitting up its Birmingham duopoly of WTTO and WABM, in order to acquire WBMA-LD and its satellites as part of its purchase of Allbritton Communications).
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|54.1||480i||4:3||KCEB 1||Sonlife Broadcasting Network|
|54.3||KCEB 3||Cozi TV|
Because it was granted an original construction permit after the Federal Communications Commission finalized the digital television allotment plan on April 21, 1997, the station did not originally receive a companion channel for a digital television signal. In May 2007, the station was granted a construction permit by the FCC to construct a digital transmitter facility to broadcast a signal on UHF channel 38, and move its transmitter to the KFXK tower near New London. In May 2008, they submitted an application to the FCC to move their digital allotment from channel 38 to channel 51, in order to utilize the antenna used by Fox affiliate KFXK-TV (channel 51) that would be effectively abandoned by that station when it terminated its analog signal upon the digital television transition. In January 2009, the application was approved, and a modification of the construction permit was granted for channel 51 at 1000 kW.
On June 12, 2009, KCEB shut down its analog signal on channel 54, while KFXK ceased its analog signal on channel 51. KCEB then flash-cut its digital signal into operation on UHF channel 51 from the New London tower on a temporary 70 kW transmitter under special temporary authority from the FCC. At this point, KCEB was under severe financial hardship, and could not afford to build the digital signal out to its maximum authorization. On December 12, 2009, KCEB was issued a construction permit to install a 500 kW transmitter.
KCEB was one of a handful of MeTV affiliates that pre-empts some portion of the network's schedule (many of the network's affiliates carry at least the majority of the schedule, with any pre-emptions usually limited to local newscasts produced for the subchannel/station or any network programming that a co-owned major network affiliate chooses to shift to the subchannel to air live due to breaking news or severe weather coverage). The station pre-empted much of the network's Sunday morning schedule (which consists primarily of either a secondary block of E/I programming or classic television series depending on the market) with televised church services and paid programming. KCEB also carried a rebroadcast of sister station KYTX's morning newscast, pre-empting classic television programs aired by Me-TV from 7:00 to 9:00 a.m. weekdays.
Since the 2012 football season, KCEB has carried Southland Conference college football and basketball games from the Southland Conference Television Network, which includes game telecasts from nearby institution Stephen F. Austin State University.