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Channel 51, Lincoln

City of License: Lincoln, NE

First Air Date: June 26, 2006

Operating Power: 14.1 kw

Original Call Letters: KOWH TV

Network Affiliation: CW

Issued To: Omaha World Herald

Through the Years

  • 2006

    June 26, 2006- KOWH-TV signs on.  Studio- 707 N. 48th St., Lincoln, NE  Transmitter:  4100 Industrial Avenue, Lincoln.  Operator:  Operations outsourced to Pappas Broadcasting which provides marketing, sales and programming services to the station.  Network affiliation  The CW.

    August 2, 2006- Calls are changed to KCWL TV.  The WB and UN had announced five months before KOWH’s sign-on that they would close and form the CW Television Network.  Pappas had obtained the affiliation for KOWH by the time it signed on, and changed its call sign to KCWL-TV.

  • 2008

    May, 2008- Harry Pappas and his station group are forced into bankruptcy.  The company reported in court filings that it had more than $536 million in debt and $460 million in assets.  Problems that led to the bankruptcy included poor performance of the CW network.  The failed attempt to launch Spanish-language network Azteca America,  and preparations for the 2009 analog shutdown.

  • 2009

    June, 2009- KCWL-TV simultaneously converts from analog to digital broadcasting and from the CW to Fox, joining KTVG TV and KSNB TV as the Fox affiliate for the Lincoln-Hastings-Kearney markets.  The station turned off its analog signal on June 9.  When it returned as a digital-only on June 12, it di so as a Fox affiliate with new calls, KFXL-TV.

  • 2010

    KFXL-TV is purchased from the Omaha World-Herald by T. Stanley Trapp of Visalia, CA in a $300,000 deal first reached in December 2006 but not approved until March 30, 2010.  The deal closed on June 9.

  • 2012

    February, 2012-  Just a few weeks after approving a change to the table of allotments, the FCC granted a construction permit for FOX affiliate KFXL-TV Channel 51 to move to digital channel 15 and upgrade to 1,000kW.  The upgraded station will theoretically reach some broadcast viewers in Omaha.  KXFL is owned by Lincoln Broadcasting and operated by Pappas Telecasting.

  • 2014

    July, 2014- FCC downgrades the KFXL-TV power increase.  In a modification of the construction permit, it’s reduced from 1,000 kW to 21.5 kW.

  • 2015

    January, 2015- The FCC approves another duopoly in the Lincoln Tri-Cities market, allowing Pappas Liquidating Trust to buy FOX affiliate KFXL TV-51.1 from Stanley Trapp for $300,000.

  • 2016

    Sinclair Broadcast Group emerged as the winning bidder in the Pappas company’s liquidating trust bankruptcy auction of the central Nebraska stations, which took place October 27, 2015, and announced on November 4, 2015, that it agreed to purchase NTV and KFXL-TV for $31.25 million.  The sale was completed on May 1.

    (DETAIL- The Central Nebraska stations are “Nebraska TV” ABC affiliates KHGI-TV/13.1 Kearney, satellite KWNB-TV/6.1 Hayes Center, KHGI-CD North Platte, and translator stations in McCook and O’Neill.  KFXL’s FOX programming is also relayed on KHGI/KWNB subchannels.  Even thought the market does not have enough ownership voices for a duopoly, Sinclair argues it should be allowed to own both KXFL-TV and KHGI-TV because the stations’ coverage areas do not overlap.  Sinclair also owns FOX42 KPTM Omaha and operates CW 15 KXVO Omaha, both of which Pappas had previously run.)

  • 2017

    October 20-  The 500-foot tower in North Lincoln that held KFXL-TV’s antenna collapses. Reduced-power operation from a new site begins on January 12, 2018.  KFXL’s new transmitter site is located on Yankee Hill Road in southeast Lincoln.  The KFXL TV studios are on Nebraska Highway 44 in Axtell, about 14 miles south of Kearney, with a secondary studio and news bureau at the Conestoga Mall in Grand Island