KWHY-TV, virtual channel 22 and UHF digital channel 42, is a Spanish independent television station located in Los Angeles, California, United States. The station is owned by the Meruelo Group. KWHY's studios are located on West Pico Boulevard in Mid-City, Los Angeles, and its transmitter is located atop Mount Harvard. The station's signal is relayed on two low-power translator stations: K46GF (analog channel 46) in Santa Maria, and K47GD-D (channel 47) in San Luis Obispo.
The UHF channel 22 allocation in Los Angeles was first used for KBIC in 1954 (however, that station had never aired any programming other than a test pattern). In 1962, the station's license changed hands and was relaunched as KIIX, airing a schedule of entirely African American-oriented programming, before it shut down on September 22, 1964. On March 21, 1965, the station returned to the air as general entertainment independent station KPOL-TV, which was co-owned alongside KPOL radio; the station carried a minimal schedule consisting of old movies and syndicated programming. It was sold again in 1966 to the family of Thomas S. Bunn, who changed the station's call letters to KWHY-TV, it became operated by Coast Television Corporation. Together with Quotron, who then provided all brokerage houses with real-time stock market information, launched the first business news service for television (at one time, it grew to a 12-station network, including affiliates in New York City and Chicago). The tickertape was delayed by 15 minutes and airtime was given away to stock brokers while newsreaders "ripped and read" from the newswires. Although KWHY was not profitable, it was a staple in thousands of offices, restaurants and homes each trading day.
The programming format switched to ethnic programs in the afternoon and evening hours, notably in Korean, Japanese and Chinese. Local broadcast personality Dick "Huggy Boy" Hugg, hosted his own dance program, The Huggy Boy Show, which aired weekly on the station. The show was noted for its prominence in Southern California Chicano culture.
In 1978, KWHY-TV received the first subscription television license in the United States from the Federal Communications Commission and soon thereafter replaced much of the ethnic programming with the pay-TV service SelecTV. In 1982, Coast Television Corporation sold the station to Harriscope of Los Angeles, Inc. KWHY-TV took the business news programming through a number of facelifts and distribution expansions. In the 1980s as cable television's reach expanded beyond Los Angeles and Quotron's technology became obsolete, the business news format was reinvented. A complete graphical overhaul was made, creating the first multi-element screen. This showed all of the stock and commodity indexes, two rows of stock ticker tapes and over-the-shoulder real-time pricing information. Meanwhile, an anchor read the news live. The service was renamed "The Business Channel". At the same time, KWHY faced competition from KSCI (channel 18), an affiliate of the Financial News Network. During this time, KWHY became the first station in the county with an automated commercial playback machine, and the first to utilize computer animation from an optical disc player.
Transition to Spanish
In May 1991, FNN went off the air (merging with upstart cable business news channel CNBC). In the meantime, as local stations received FCC protection with must-carry rules, the brand changed to "22 Business News", and then "Business News 22" (or "BN 22", for short). And finally, with the internet, it became "BizNews 1" and was streamed on the internet on BizNews1.com, and broadcast over KJLA (channel 57) as KWHY went to Spanish language programming full-time; sometime in 2001, KJLA discontinued the service.
The growth of cable television and premium services such as HBO caused over-the-air subscription services to lose audiences; SelecTV cut back its hours in 1984. Infomercials filled much of the schedule, including one which featured live broadcasts from car dealerships. In 1984, KWHY launched Video 22, a three-hour rock video show seen on weekday afternoons, which promoted itself under the slogan "We cook for 3 hours before dinner." The show used the first Macintosh computers to inventory the playlists; the program used a stop-motion animated mascot named Video Joe. Video 22 was cancelled when SelecTV merged with competitor ONTV and expanded its programming hours; SelecTV shut down in 1989. KWHY sold its non-business news airtime to Univisa, a division of Televisa, who owned the Spanish-language cable channel Galavision. In 1991, Televisa became part-owner of Univision (owner of KMEX-TV, channel 34); that year, KWHY-TV became the first Spanish-language independent station in the United States. The mix of classic movies, game shows and newscasts gained one of the biggest Spanish-language television audiences in the area.
In 2001, following the FCC's decision to allow duopolies (the ownership of two television stations in a single market by one company), Telemundo (which already owned its West Coast flagship, KVEA, channel 52) purchased KWHY; however, it continued to operate it as an independent. After NBC purchased Telemundo in 2002, KVEA and KWHY's operations were integrated with NBC owned-and-operated station KNBC (channel 4) at the NBC Studios complex (now The Burbank Studios) in Burbank. Interestingly, NBC Universal (the company that was created through Vivendi Universal's purchase of NBC in 2003) was temporarily allowed to own three stations in the Los Angeles market, while FCC regulations limit ownership to two. KWHY and KVEA were a duopoly before NBC/Telemundo merged and were allowed to remain co-owned by the FCC pending a decision on the ownership caps.
In addition to its two existing translators, KWHY operated a third repeater, KWHY-LP in Santa Barbara, also on channel 22 (formerly on UHF channel 65); that repeater's transmitter facilities were destroyed by the Montecito Tea Fire on November 14, 2008; the license was surrendered a year later. KWHY-TV also provided much of the programming to San Diego Spanish independent station KBOP-CA; what is now KSEX-CD now operates independently from KWHY. The station also aired on K53GF (channel 53; formerly K67FE on channel 67) in Phoenix, Arizona in the late 1990s and early 2000s; as with the San Diego station, what is now K38IZ-D (channel 38) now operates separately.
On September 9, 2007, NBC Universal announced it would place KWHY and its San Juan, Puerto Rico sister station WKAQ-TV up for sale; this came after NBCU's acquisition of Oxygen Media. The stations were taken off the sale market just over three months later on December 21, 2007.
On May 7, 2010, NBC Universal reportedly planned to sell KWHY due to its pending merger with Comcast. NBC Universal and Comcast had been hoping that the FCC would ease its media ownership rules and allow them to own three stations in major markets, but after the FCC’s first bid to do so was overturned in court, the agency has taken no further steps in that direction. On January 26, 2011, NBCU announced that it would sell KWHY-TV to locally based investment firm The Meruelo Group. The deal was approved by the FCC in April, and officially closed on July 6, 2011.
As a MundoMax affiliate
On August 13, 2012, the station became a charter affiliate of MundoFox and effectively serves as the network's flagship station. The station also intends to expand its local news programming. In addition, non-network programming, along with the station's classic television program inventory subsequently moved to a new digital subchannel that launched the same day under the branding Super 28.2.
On July 27, 2015, the station rebranded as MundoMax 22, in accordance with the network rebranding. A month later, on August 31, Meruelo announced that RCN Television, which owns MundoMax, would take over KWHY-TV's sales and marketing as of September 1; RCN also simultaneously took over the operations of the network's Houston affiliate, KUVM-CD, through a similar arrangement.
Return to independence
On December 1, 2016, following the demise of MundoMax, KWHY-TV began programming a Spanish-language independent format on the station's primary channel. KWHY began to run a broad mix of Spanish language music and entertainment programming (such as Operacion Repo, Cuanto Cuesta el Show, Sala de Justicia, Fiesta de Comediantes, Cine Mexicano, Arriba al Telon, Cine a la Cama, Cineteca 22, among others); it also started airing local Spanish language newscasts (branded as Noticias Milenio 22) broadcasts from Milenio Television studios in Monterrey, Mexico and other local programming (such as Foro 22).
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|22.1||720p||16:9||KWHY 22||Main KWHY-TV programming|
|22.3||16:9||KWHY .3||Spanish infomercials|
KWHY-TV became the first UHF station in the market to sign-on a high definition digital signal in 2001. the station shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 22, 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 42, using PSIP to display KWHY-TV's virtual channel as 22 on digital television receivers.
By August 2015, KWHY-TV broadcast five hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with one hour each on weekdays; the station did not broadcast any local newscasts on Saturdays and Sundays). In addition, the station produced the news and lifestyle program Viva el 22, which airs weekday mornings at 8 a.m. KWHY held the distinction of being the first station in Los Angeles to utilize news anchor-operated TelePrompters for newscasts, and the first to use a news-oriented non-linear editing system (operated by Grass Valley). Following the August 31, 2015 announcement that RCN Television would take over KWHY's operations, the station's newscasts were immediately canceled and the news operation was closed down (RCN had also discontinued MundoFox/MundoMax's national news operation after acquiring full control of the network in July). The station's lead anchor, Palmira Pérez (who was one of five station staffers retained by RCN), was reassigned to anchor one-minute local and national news updates during MundoMax programming.
The station resumed airing news programming in 2017 with carrying newscasts outsourced from Milenio Televisión from Mexico.
On March 13, 2017, the station debuted a local newscast produced by Milenio Televisión called "Noticias 22 Milenio". The newscast covers Los Angeles area news but is based live in Monterrey, Mexico.