About WXOW ABC19WXOW signed on on March 7, 1970 as a semi-satellite of WKOW-TV in Madison. Before then, ABC programming in the market was relegated to off-hours clearances on CBS affiliate WKBT (channel 8) and NBC affiliate WEAU (channel 13). Depending on the location, Western Wisconsin viewers could get the full ABC schedule on KMSP-TV from the Twin Cities, KAUS-TV (now KAAL) in Austin, Minnesota, or WKOW.
For its first decade on the air, WXOW's UHF signal was marginal at best in Eau Claire, primarily because its transmitter was located in Minnesota. As a result, Chippewa Valley viewers only got a decent signal from the station when cable arrived in the market in the mid-1970s. In order to solve this reception problem, WXOW severed the electronic umbilical cord with WKOW and signed on WQOW as a full-time satellite on September 22, 1980.
WXOW and WQOW began operating a cable-only affiliate of The WB in 1998 known as "WBCZ". This was seen through a simulcast on channel 15 on most cable systems in La Crosse and Eau Claire. In September 2002, WXOW became the first La Crosse area television station to broadcast in digital on UHF channel 14. WXOW and WQOW replaced "WBCZ" with new second digital subchannels (simulcasting The CW) when the new network launched in the fall of 2006.