WKYT-TV, virtual channel 27 (UHF digital channel 21), is a dual CBS/CW-affiliated television station licensed to Lexington, Kentucky, United States, serving the east-central part of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The station is owned by Gray Television. WKYT-TV's studios and transmitter are located on Winchester Road (US 60) near I-75 on the east side of Lexington.

WKYT 2012 Logo.png
Lexington, Kentucky
United States
BrandingWKYT (general)
WKYT News (newscasts)
The CW Lexington (on DT2)
SloganWKYT Stands For Kentucky
ChannelsDigital: 21 (UHF)
Virtual: 27 (PSIP)
Affiliations27.1: CBS (1957–1958, 1968–present)
27.2: The CW
27.3: Circle (O&O)
27.4: Weather radar
27.5: Dabl
OwnerGray Television
LicenseeGray Television Licensee, LLC
First air dateSeptember 30, 1957 (62 years ago) (1957-09-30)
Call sign meaningKentuckY Television
Former call signsWKXP-TV (1957–1958)
Former channel number(s)Analog:
27 (UHF, 1957–2009)
13 (VHF, 2002–2010)
36 (UHF, 2010–2019)
Former affiliationsABC (1957–1968, secondary until 1958)
UPN (DT2, 2004–2006)
Transmitter power900 kW
Height296.2 m (972 ft)
Facility ID24914
Transmitter coordinates38°2′23″N 84°24′10″W / 38.03972°N 84.40278°W / 38.03972; -84.40278
Licensing authorityFCC
Public license informationProfile

The station is also received on cable and satellite throughout much of eastern, southern and northern Kentucky.[1][2] In addition, the station's newscasts (with the exception of the weekday 5–6 a.m. and 10 a.m., and weekend morning programs) are carried on Charter Spectrum digital channel 422 in portions of Northern Kentucky located near the Cincinnati metropolitan area (although some newscasts, especially on weekend evenings, may be delayed or preempted due to sporting events carried by CBS, which air on WKRC-TV in that area).

WYMT-TV (channel 57) in Hazard, Kentucky operates as a semi-satellite of WKYT-TV, extending the CBS signal into the Eastern Kentucky Coalfield region. As such, it clears all network programming as provided through WKYT but airs a separate offering of syndicated programming; there are also separate local newscasts, commercial inserts and legal station identifications. Although WYMT maintains its own studios on Black Gold Boulevard in Hazard, master control and some internal operations are based at WKYT's facilities.


Former WKYT logo, used from 2001 to 2012.

WKYT signed on September 30, 1957 as WKXP-TV, owned by Community Broadcast Partners, a local group headed by Frederic Gregg, Charles Wright and Harry Feingold. It was a primary CBS affiliate, sharing ABC with WLEX-TV.

After only one year, Community Broadcast Partners merged with what eventually became Taft Broadcasting. The new owners changed the calls to the current WKYT-TV. Taft also switched the station's primary affiliation to ABC, relegating CBS to secondary status. This was a very unusual arrangement for a two-station market, especially one as small as Lexington. In most two-station markets, ABC, as the smallest and weakest network, was relegated to secondary clearances on one or both of the existing stations. However, ABC president Leonard Goldenson had been friends with the Taft family for many years, and it is likely that the Tafts wanted to get their new purchase in line with most of their other stations (including company flagship WKRC-TV in Cincinnati).

Kentucky Central Insurance Company bought the station in 1967. When WBLG-TV (channel 62, now WTVQ-DT, channel 36) signed on in 1968, WKYT opted to return to CBS full-time. In 1985, Kentucky Central bought WKYH-TV in Hazard, changed its calls to WYMT-TV and made it a semi-satellite of WKYT. While WYMT has its own studios in Hazard and airs its own newscasts, some internal operations are shared with WKYT. WKYT was the first, and currently only, Lexington station with any presence at all in the eastern portion of the market.

In 1993, after a protracted fraud investigation forced Kentucky Central into bankruptcy, WKYT and WYMT were acquired by Gray Television. At this stage, WKYT was known on air as 'KYT' instead of WKYT.


CWKYT logo September 2006-January 2013.

WKYT-DT2, branded as The CW Lexington, is the CW-affiliated second digital subchannel of WKYT-TV, broadcasting in 720p high definition on UHF channel 36.2 (or virtual channel 27.2 via PSIP). The subchannel is available on DirecTV channel 14, Dish Network channel 28, and Charter Spectrum channel 5 in Lexington and channel 99 in the surrounding suburbs.


The subchannel was originally branded as "UPN Lexington" (or "UKYT") and served as Lexington's UPN affiliate until September 2006. That month, the subchannel was rebranded as "CWKYT" (a portmanteau of the subchannel's affiliated network and the station's callsign) until January 2013. Until October 2006, Louisville WB affiliate (later CW affiliate) WBKI-TV was available on Lexington cable systems; WBKI was later dropped from Insight systems in the Lexington area, to accommodate for the new CW.[3] Baltimore CW station WNUV was the formerly designated WB/CW station for DirecTV in the Lexington market.

On August 21, 2007, WKYT began broadcasting its "CWKYT" second digital subchannel in high definition. This made it one of a handful of stations in the country who transmit their main channel and at least one subchannel in HD. However, although both CBS and The CW prefer their programming be broadcast at 1080i resolution, WKYT's two HD channels were transmitted over-the-air in 720p in order to minimize the loss in image quality (feeds to cable providers use the full 1080i). Since the move to digital channel 36 in September 2010, CWKYT's over-the-air transmission reverted to 4:3 SD, although the digital cable feed remained in HD and WKYT's main channel remained in 720p. As of June 18, 2013, WKYT's main signal has been upgraded to full 1080i HD and The CW Lexington signal was upgraded to 720p HD. As of late 2019, The CW Lexington signal was upgraded to 1080i HD, but at a video resolution of 1280x1080 instead of the standard 1920x1080. This move coincided with WKYT launching two new subchannels, including another 1080i channel on WKYT-DT4, providing uninterrupted weather radar after being moved from WKYT-DT3 (which stayed in 16:9 SD) for the launch of Circle.

Digital televisionEdit

Digital channelsEdit

The station's digital signal is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[4]
27.1 1080i 16:9 WKYT-HD Main WKYT-TV programming / CBS
27.2 CWKYT The CW
27.3 480i CIRCLE Circle
27.4 1080i RADAR "First Alert Weather" Radar
27.5 480i DABL Dabl

Analog-to-digital conversionEdit

WKYT-TV shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 27, on April 16, 2009. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition VHF channel 13.[5][6][7][8] Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 27. On August 22, 2009, WKYT-DT filed a petition of rulemaking with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to move to digital UHF channel 36 (once used by WTVQ with its analog operations)[9] due to reception issues.[10] The FCC issued a Report & Order approved the petition on October 22.[11] On December 12, 2009, WKYT filed a minor change application for a construction permit, reflecting the channel change.[12] On January 11, 2010, the FCC approved the permit.[13] The switchover to the UHF signal took place on September 1 at 1 p.m.[14]

TV spectrum repackEdit

WKYT successfully moved its channel allocation from digital channel 36 to digital channel 21 at 2:00 p.m. ET on June 21, 2019 and remains on virtual channel 27.[15]


General programmingEdit

Although most CBS-affiliated stations in the Eastern Time Zone air The Young and the Restless at 12:30 p.m., WKYT instead airs the soap opera at 1 p.m. due to its hour-long midday newscast at noon. As such, The Bold and the Beautiful airs on a one-day delay (three days with the Friday editions) at 10:30 a.m. (three hours earlier than the network's recommended Eastern Time Zone slot), following the station's 10 a.m. newscast. Outside of the CBS network schedule, syndicated programming on WKYT include Jeopardy!, Wheel of Fortune, Live with Kelly and Ryan, and TMZ.[16]


Outside of the CW network schedule, syndicated programming on WKYT-DT2 includes Anger Management, Hot Bench, Family Feud, How I Met Your Mother, Bones, and Kentucky Afield, among others.[17] In addition to The CW's Saturday morning programming block, WKYT-DT2 also broadcasts the Fox network's Xploration Station block on Sunday mornings since it was turned down by the local Fox affiliate, WDKY-TV.

Sports programmingEdit

WKYT regularly broadcasts Kentucky Wildcats content, due partly to its status as the television flagship of the UK Sports Network (historically the Big Blue Sports Network),[18] and also due to the Southeastern Conference's broadcast contracts with CBS Sports. In addition to CBS Sports content, both WKYT and WYMT also broadcast the syndicated package of SEC college football and men's basketball games from Raycom Sports (formerly Jefferson-Pilot and Lincoln Financial Sports) from the 1980s until 2009, when Raycom lost the SEC syndication rights.[19] In 2009, the station began carrying the ESPN Plus-operated syndication service SEC TV (formerly SEC Network), which ceased operations in 2014 because of the launch of the new SEC Network, which is the cable- and satellite-only channel operated by ESPN.[20]

From 2014 to 2019, WKYT and WKYT-DT2 served as the local alternating homes of Raycom's ACC Network, the syndicated package of Atlantic Coast Conference football and basketball. This ended with the launch of ESPN's pay TV-only ACC Network in August 2019.

WKYT gained a major ratings windfall in the 1981–82 season, when CBS won the rights to the NCAA Basketball Tournament after more than a decade on NBC. With the Kentucky Wildcats men's basketball team as a longtime fixture in the tournament, NCAA Tournament games on WKYT are frequently among the most-watched programs in the market during the tournament's run. Due to the 2011 partnership between the NCAA, CBS, and the Turner Broadcasting-owned cable networks TBS, TNT, and TruTV, the station's local ratings on the tournament are affected.

The KHSAA High School Boys and Girls Sweet 16 Basketball Championship Games are aired on WKYT-DT2 in March.[21]

Locally produced programsEdit

News operationEdit

WKYT broadcasts 41 hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with seven hours each weekday and three hours each on Saturdays and Sundays); in regards to the number of hours devoted to news programming, it is the highest newscast output among Lexington's broadcast television stations. WKYT is one of few CBS affiliates that carries hour-long midday newscast on weekdays. WKYT holds Kentucky's most powerful doppler weather radar, known as the "WKYT First Alert Defender", which outruns NBC affiliate WLEX-TV's radar.[citation needed] The radar is currently out of commission. WKYT has a news share agreement with the local Fox affiliate WDKY-TV (which is owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group) and produces weekday morning 7:00 a.m. and nightly 10:00 p.m. newscasts for that station. The prime-time newscast debuted in 1995 when Fox requested its affiliates to air local news. The morning newscast was added in March 2007.

On April 11, 2007, WKYT began broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition, beginning with the 11:00 p.m. newscast, becoming the first station in Kentucky to carry local newscasts in HD.[22] The WDKY newscasts were included in the upgrade. In late 2012 WKYT dropped the 27 Newsfirst name they have used for decades, rebranded themselves as WKYT News. At the same time, they implemented a new graphics scheme and changed their theme music and bumpers to Gari Media Group's "CBS Enforcer" package.

On November 10, 2012, WKYT launched a new weekend morning newscast from 6:00 to 8:00 a.m. on Saturdays and from 8:00 to 9:00 a.m. on Sundays.[23] In early February 2013, WKYT launched an hour-long 4:00 p.m. newscast, previously they had a 35-minute online-only newscast which was named "27Newsfirst Live Online" which aired at 4:00pm and then they decided to air it on TV at 4:00, but the only one for an hour-long (as WLEX airs it's 4:00 p.m. newscasts for 30 minutes).[24]


WKYT leads in total-day and late-night news ratings except during times when the Olympics air on NBC. That network's local affiliate WLEX-TV leads weekday mornings.[25] The two stations battle each other for the evening news lead[25] in this historically UHF-exclusive market. Most of the local stations' viewership has been via cable; even in digital, it is difficult for the over-the-air analog UHF signals to penetrate the far eastern portion of the market, which is largely rugged, mountainous terrain. WKYT relies mainly on WYMT to cover this part of the market.

Currently, WKYT has the highest-rated 11:00 p.m. newscast in the market, but runs second in late night news to the 10:00 p.m. newscast it produces for WDKY.

Notable former on-air staffEdit

Out of market coverageEdit

WKYT's over-the-air signal can be picked up in some of the Louisville market's easternmost counties like Nelson, Washington, Marion, Henry and Shelby counties, thereby creating some competition between WKYT and Louisville's CBS affiliate WLKY-TV because of that station's close proximity to the Lexington area. WKYT is also available over-the-air in the southernmost counties/areas of the Cincinnati market.

Duo County Telecom, based in Jamestown, carries WKYT's main subchannel on their cable system serving Adair,[27] Cumberland[28] and Russell[29] counties. Russell County is considered to be within WKYT's local market, but Adair County is considered to be in the Louisville market, and Cumberland County is within the Nashville, Tennessee DMA. WKYT is also carried on Charter Spectrum and Armstrong Cable systems in the Ashland area, which is in the Charleston/Huntington, West Virginia media market. In addition, WKYT, along with WYMT and WLEX, are available in the Jellico, Tennessee area, which is in the Knoxville media market.

At one time from the 1990s until 2010, WKYT was also available on the cable system of Glasgow, Kentucky-based South Central Rural Telephone Cooperative, which serves the eastern half of the Bowling Green media market, where CBS programming would be served by either WNKY-DT2 or Nashville CBS affiliate WTVF.


  1. ^ Time Warner Cable Channel Lineup - Metro Lexington, KY area Archived January 8, 2015, at the Wayback Machine Retrieved January 26, 2015.
  2. ^ Frankfort Plant Board - Preferred Cable Lineup
  3. ^ An e-mail query from a Wikipedia member to WBKI Chief Operating Officer Carol LaFever led to news that, due to a condition of WBKI's affiliation agreement, that station must vacate the channel on Insight Lexington for CWKYT. WBKI can still be seen over the air in much of the Lexington DMA and on about 20 other cable systems in that market, but not on Charter Spectrum in Lexington.
  4. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WKYT
  5. ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on August 29, 2013. Retrieved March 24, 2012.
  6. ^ "Stations Transitioning Before June 12" (PDF). Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved March 18, 2009.[dead link]
  7. ^ Sloan, Scott (April 14, 2009). "KET, WKYT go digital on Thursday". Lexington Herald-Leader. Retrieved April 14, 2009.
  8. ^ "WKYT Goes All Digital Thursday". WKYT-TV. April 16, 2009. Retrieved April 16, 2009.
  9. ^ "Noticed of Proposed Rulemaking" (PDF). Federal Communications Commission. September 14, 2009. Retrieved September 16, 2009.
  10. ^ "WKYT switches to UHF". WKYT-TV. August 24, 2010. Archived from the original on October 25, 2011. Retrieved August 29, 2010.
  11. ^ "Report and Order" (PDF). Federal Communications Commission. October 22, 2009. Retrieved October 23, 2009.
  12. ^ Application View ... Redirecting
  13. ^ "Construction Permit" (PDF). Federal Communications Commission. January 11, 2010. Retrieved January 22, 2010.[dead link]
  14. ^ "WKYT-TV to Upgrade its Digital Channel September 1". WKYT-TV. August 26, 2010. Retrieved August 27, 2010.
  15. ^ http://www.rabbitears.info/market.php?request=station_search&callsign=WKYT
  16. ^ Titan TV - 3 Day Schedule View (WKYT-DT)
  17. ^ "CW Lexington Programming Schedule - Titan TV". wkyt.com. Archived from the original on April 21, 2015. Retrieved July 29, 2018.
  18. ^ "UK IMG Sports Network Affiliates". UKAthletics.com. Retrieved October 17, 2011.
  19. ^ 1997 SEC Basketball Schedule. Jefferson Pilot Sports. Archived from the original January 5, 1997. Retrieved July 27, 2014.
  20. ^ "Affiliate List". Southeastern Conference. Retrieved September 23, 2010.
  21. ^ "KHSAA Boys' and Girls' Sweet 16 Tournament Draw Show to air Feb. 3 on The CW Lexington". kyforward.com. Archived from the original on January 8, 2015. Retrieved July 29, 2018.
  22. ^ WKYT 27 NEWSFIRST- First In Local HD
  23. ^ Knox, Merill (November 9, 2012). "WKYT Launches Weekend Morning Newscasts". TVSpy. Retrieved November 11, 2012.
  24. ^ http://www.kentucky.com/2013/02/04/2503186/wkyt-adds-daily-4-pm-newscast.html
  25. ^ a b Sloan, Scott (April 18, 2010). "Cats top Winter Olympics in TV ratings battle". Lexington Herald-Leader. Retrieved April 18, 2010.
  26. ^ "Emily Gimmel bio". WKYT-TV. Archived from the original on May 8, 2014. Retrieved March 12, 2013.
  27. ^ Duo County Telecom - Channel Guide for Adair County
  28. ^ Duo County Telecom - Channel Guide for Cumberland County, KY
  29. ^ Duo County Telecom - Channel Guide for Russell County

External linksEdit