About KWWL 7When the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) launched bids for channel 7 in Waterloo, it was clear that either Sonderling Broadcasting, owner of KXEL (AM 1540), or R.J. McElroy and his Black Hawk Broadcasting Company, owner of KWWL, would win (AM 1330, now KPTY). After a lengthy legal struggle, Black Hawk obtained the license, and KWWL-TV debuted on November 29, 1953, as a Thanksgiving Day gift to eastern Iowa.
NBC and the DuMont network were the station's first affiliations. The station was also temporarily linked with the NTA Film Network in the late 1950s.
In 1980, Black Hawk agreed to combine with Forward Communications in principle. The FCC, on the other hand, informed Black Hawk and Forward that they would have to sell either KWWL-AM-FM or channel 7. The KWWL stations were grandfathered under a 1970s FCC rule prohibiting radio and television station shared ownership. When Forward opted to maintain the radio stations, Black Hawk sold channel 7 to AFLAC, along with sister station KTIV in Sioux City, immediately before the merger. Raycom Media purchased AFLAC's entire radio operation, including KWWL, in 1997.
Raycom sold KWWL and a few additional stations in 2006 after purchasing the Liberty Corporation in late 2005. Quincy Newspapers purchased KWWL on July 1, 2006. QNI now owns four NBC affiliates in Iowa, as well as the flagship station WGEM-TV in Quincy, Illinois, KTTC in Rochester, Minnesota, and Black Hawk/AFLAC sister KTIV, which was sold to QNI in 1989.
Since February 17, 2009, KWWL has only been available online. The callsign "KWWL" was lawfully moved from the now-defunct analog channel 7 to the new digital channel 7, and the "KWWL-DT" callsign was permanently retired. The PSIP identification, however, still refers to KWWL's primary channel on 7.1 as "KWWL-DT."