KWBQ is the CW-affiliated television station serving Albuquerque and New Mexico. Licensed to Santa Fe, it broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 29 (virtual channel 19.1 via PSIP) from a transmitter atop Sandia Crest. KRWB-TV rebroadcasts KWBQ's signal across southeasten New Mexico and is licensed to Roswell. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 21 from a transmitter in rural southeastern Chaves County.
Owned by Tamer Media, KWBQ is sister to MyNetworkTV affiliate KASY-TV and both stations share studios on Washington Street in northeastern Albuquerque. Media General provides technical, engineering and accounting services for KWBQ through a shared services agreement, though the station is otherwise operated separately from KASA-TV and KRQE as Tamer handles master control, programming and advertising services. Syndicated programs seen on KWBQ include The Big Bang Theory, Two and a Half Men, How I Met Your Mother, Modern Family, Seinfeld and The Office. Following the cancelation of The Daily Buzz in April 2015, KWBQ began to air local news from KRQE from 7-9 a.m. The station can also be seen on Comcast Xfinity channel 6 and in high definition on digital channel 214.
KWBQ commenced operations on March 5, 1999 as an affiliate of The WB, bringing that network's programming back to the market two years after then-UPN affiliate KASY-TV dropped its secondary affiliation with the network after a two-year run in 1997 (the station was originally branded as "WB19" at sign-on, before it was later changed to "New Mexico's WB"). ACME Communications would purchase KASY from Ramar Communications in June 1999, a deal that resulted in the formation of Albuquerque's first major television duopoly and the termination of KASY's local marketing agreement with Lee Broadcasting (then-owners of CBS affiliate KRQE). In February 2003, KWBQ signed on Roswell-licensed satellite station KRWB-TV on UHF channel 21 to extend KWBQ's broadcast signal into southeastern New Mexico.
On January 24, 2006, Time Warner's Warner Bros. Entertainment unit and CBS Corporation announced that the two companies would merge the operations of The WB and UPN, which the companies respectively owned, into a joint venture called The CW Television Network. On March 9 of that year, ACME Communications signed an affiliation agreement with the network for KWBQ and its KRWB satellite to join The CW upon the network's September 18 launch, while KASY would join another new service, the Fox Entertainment Group-owned MyNetworkTV, upon its September 5, 2006 launch. The deals made ACME the third station group, after Capitol Broadcasting Company (WJZY-WMYT-TV/Charlotte) and Weigel Broadcasting (WCWW-LP-WMYS-LP/South Bend) to have duopolies affiliated with both The CW and MyNetworkTV. In September 2006, KWBQ/KRWB was rebranded as "New Mexico's CW" to reflect their new affiliation. At that time, the station created a new mascot dubbed "The CW Guy" (designed basically as an anthropomorphic television with arms and legs and The CW's logo on its screen) to serve as a promotional tool at local station events; "The CW Guy" served as a replacement for The WB's former mascot Michigan J. Frog.
On June 4, 2010, ACME announced it would enter into a shared services agreement with LIN Media; as a result, LIN's own duopoly of KASA-TV and KRQE would provide technical, engineering and accounting services for KWBQ and KASY, with the mutual operating costs shared in order to help reduce overall costs for ACME.
On September 10, 2012, ACME announced a proposed sale of KASY-TV as well as KWBQ (and its Roswell repeater, KRWB-TV) to Tamer Media, a company founded by broadcast industry veteran John S. Viall, Jr. The $17.3 million sale, which the FCC approved the sale on November 21, and was completed on December 11, it gives Tamer Media its first TV properties, while ACME is making its exit from the station ownership business (the three stations are the last portions of ACME's TV station portfolio). The stations' shared services agreement with LIN Media will continue under new ownership.
On March 21, 2014, Media General announced that it would purchase LIN Media and its stations, including KRQE, KASA-TV, and the SSA with KWBQ/KRWB-TV and KASY-TV, in a $1.6 billion merger. The merger was completed on December 19.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|Main programming / The CW|
KWBQ has not carried any subchannels in past years but on January 11, 2016 the station added the action/western channel Grit and comedy channel Laff from Katz Broadcasting. Laff further adds to KWBQ's identity as a station for comedy while Grit could add some programming diversity to the signal.
KWBQ & KRWB-TV shut down their analog signals, respectively over UHF channels 19 & 21, on June 12, 2009, the official date in which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. KWBQ's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 29; through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 19. KRWB-TV "flash-cut" its digital signal into operation on its analog-era UHF channel 21.
As part of the SAFER Act, KWBQ kept its analog signal on the air until June 26 to inform viewers of the digital television transition through a loop of public service announcements from the National Association of Broadcasters.