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KCWQ-LD, virtual channel 2 (UHF digital channel 20), is a low-powered CW+-affiliated television station licensed to Palm Springs, California, United States and serving the Coachella Valley in California's Inland Empire. Owned by the News-Press & Gazette Company, it is sister to Palm Springs-licensed ABC affiliate KESQ-TV (channel 42) and four other low-power stations: Cathedral City-licensed Class A CBS affiliate KPSP-CD (channel 38), Class A Fox affiliate KDFX-CD (channel 33, licensed to both Indio and Palm Springs), Indio-licensed Telemundo affiliate KUNA-LP (channel 15), and low-powered AccuWeather affiliate KYAV-LD (channel 12). The six stations share studios on Dunham Way in Thousand Palms; KCWQ-LD's transmitter is located on Edom Hill northeast of Cathedral City and I-10.
|Palm Springs, California|
|Branding||Palm Springs CW 5|
|Channels||Digital: 20 (UHF)|
Virtual: 2 (PSIP)
|Translators||KESQ-DT 42.7 (UHF) Palm Springs|
|Owner||News-Press & Gazette Company|
(Gulf-California Broadcast Company)
|Call letters' meaning||The CW KESQ|
|Sister station(s)||KESQ-TV, KPSP-CD, KDFX-CD, KUNA-LP/LD, KYAV-LD, KUNA-FM, KESQ|
|Former channel number(s)||Digital:|
26 (UHF, until 2019)
|Former affiliations||The WB (via The WB 100+, 2006)|
|Transmitter power||0.325 kW|
|Height||196.9 m (646 ft)|
|Public license information||Profile|
Along with other major Coachella Valley television stations, KCWQ identifies itself on-air using its cable designation (Palm Springs CW 5) rather than its over-the-air channel position. The unusual practice stems in part from the area's exceptionally high cable penetration rate of 80.5% which is one of the highest in the United States.
In addition to its own digital signal, KCWQ is simulcast in widescreen standard definition on KESQ's seventh digital subchannel (UHF channel 42.7 or virtual channel 2.1 via PSIP) from the same Edom Hill transmitter facility.
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Between The CW launch on September 18, 2006 and April 21, 2007, KCWQ (and the network) was not available to Time Warner Cable systems in the Coachella Valley due to a carriage dispute. As the station was launched over-the-air, the News-Press & Gazette Company explained that they had requested the station be assigned KCWB's cable designation (channel 5) and came to several agreements to that effect with the local Time Warner Cable office. They were then all successively vetoed by the cable company's head office in Stamford, Connecticut.
The CW is half owned by the cable system's then-parent company, Time Warner. (Time Warner Cable was later spun off from Time Warner in 2009). Thus, by blocking cable carriage for the network in this market, the company was ostensibly hurting itself. Without an agreement in place, News-Press & Gazette was suggesting cable subscribers wishing to watch The CW use an over-the-air antenna and tune to VHF channel 2. The company also pointed out that the channel is available on Dish Network. Instead of KCWQ and The CW, Time Warner Cable substituted Classic Arts Showcase on channel 5. In the early days of the dispute, Time Warner also ran a ticker that explained the problem:
- The CW Network is not available at this time. Despite continued talks, we have not been able to reach an agreement for carriage of this network. We will continue to negotiate and remain hopeful that an agreement will be reached soon.
In April 2007, News-Press & Gazette and Time Warner reached an agreement that would finally add KCWQ to the cable line-up on channel 5 effective at 12:01 a.m. on April 21.