KWBA-TV, virtual channel 58 (UHF digital channel 44), is a CW-affiliated television station serving Tucson, Arizona, United States, that is licensed to Sierra Vista. Owned by the E. W. Scripps Company, the station is operated as part of a duopoly with ABC affiliate KGUN-TV (channel 9). KWBA maintains transmitter facilities located atop the Santa Rita Mountains southeast of Tucson. Both stations share studios on East Rosewood Street in East Tucson. It is currently Scripps' only CW affiliate since KNIN-TV in Caldwell, Idaho switched from The CW to Fox in 2011. Syndicated programming on KWBA includes: Judge Judy, Steve Harvey, TMZ on TV, and Hot Bench among others.
The first attempt at putting a station on channel 58 in Sierra Vista was KCCA-TV (calls standing for Cochise County, Arizona). KCCA was owned by Sierra Vista Television, owned by Thomas Gramatikas. The proposed station would have broadcast from a tower in the Sierra Vista area with a power of 2.38 million watts. It may have desired to operate as a subscription television station, indicated by a 1982 filing where the FCC granted KCCA permission to install subscription television equipment. By 1985, the permittee was Manning Telecasting, who also held the construction permit for channel 11 in Yuma, but the permit vanished the next year, and KCCA never made it to air.
The history of the current channel 58 began November 22, 1996 with a construction permit granted to KM Communications to serve Sierra Vista and Tucson on analog channel 58. The call letters were originally KAUC, but in August 1997, the station changed their call letters to KWBA to reflect their affiliation deal with The WB; the former superstation feed of Chicago's WGN-TV served as Tucson's de facto affiliate of The WB until KWBA signed on. KWBA began broadcasting under Program Test Authority on January 5, 1999 and was licensed on May 24, 1999. Also in May 1999, KM Communications transferred the station to Cascade Broadcasting Group. It switched to The CW on September 18, 2006. KWBA is one of the former WB affiliates to retain its "WB" callsigns after affiliating with The CW (KSWB-TV San Diego, which became Fox on July 31, 2008 was the other, along with WSWB-TV in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, although "SWB" doesn't mean its former WB affiliation, but its broadcast area; the "W" might mean Williamsport).
KWBA broadcast the games of the Arizona Diamondbacks in cooperation with KTVK in Phoenix until 2008, when FSN Arizona secured an exclusive 10-year deal with the franchise. The station resultingly lost audience share.
On March 18, 2008, Journal Broadcast Group announced plans to buy KWBA from Cascade for undisclosed terms, creating a duopoly with Journal-owned ABC affiliate KGUN-TV (channel 9). On June 3 of that year, the Federal Communications Commission issued a failing station waiver which allowed Journal to buy KWBA, which blamed the loss of broadcast Arizona Diamondbacks baseball rights and continued financial losses as the reason for the sale (the special waiver was necessary since the Tucson market already had two co-owned duopolies at the time, and a Journal purchase of KWBA would leave the market with only seven unique station owners). In the waiver, Journal said it would launch a newscast produced by KGUN on the station. The acquisition was completed on July 23, 2008.
On July 30, 2014, it was announced that the E. W. Scripps Company would acquire Journal Communications in an all-stock transaction. The combined firm will retain their broadcast properties, including KWBA and KGUN, and spin off their print assets as Journal Media Group. The FCC approved the deal on December 12, 2014. It was approved by shareholders on March 11, 2015, and was completed on April 1.
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|58.1||1080i||16:9||KWBA-HD||Main KWBA-TV programming / The CW|
In 2006, KWBA-TV began multicasting LATV on digital subchannel 58.2. LATV is provided by KJLA-TV in Los Angeles. This station also serves the New Mexico Bootheel. LATV was temporarily moved to 58.3 in July 2015 when This TV was moved over from sister station KGUN-TV. As of August 2016 This TV is carried on 58.3 and LATV is on 58.2.
KWBA-TV discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over UHF channel 58, on June 12, 2009, as part of the federally mandated transition from analog to digital television. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 44, using PSIP to display KWBA-TV's virtual channel as 58 on digital television receivers, which was among the high band UHF channels (52-69) that were removed from broadcasting use as a result of the transition.
In 2003, KWBA entered into an agreement with local CBS affiliate KOLD-TV and launched a 9 p.m. newscast in April of that year; Fox affiliate KMSB-TV soon followed with their own 9 p.m. newscast. KWBA's 9 p.m. newscast was short-lived, as it went off the air in December 2005 after the contract with KOLD-TV expired. In September 2008, KGUN began rebroadcasting its 6 p.m. newscast on KWBA at 9 p.m. KGUN began producing a live weeknight-only 9 p.m. newscast for KWBA-TV on March 9, 2009.
In April 2014, KGUN began airing a one-hour extension of its weekday morning newscast on KWBA from 7-8 a.m. titled Good Morning Tucson Extra. This replaced the simulcast of the weekday 7-9 a.m. portion of The Jon Justice Show from sister-station KQTH-FM.