On August 22, 1997, ACME Communications agreed to acquire a 49% stake in KZAR-TV, with an agreement to purchase the other 51% once the television station was on the air. The CEO and co-founder of ACME, Jamie Kellner, was also co-founder and at the time, CEO of The WB Television Network (The WB), so it was natural that KZAR-TV would affiliate with The WB. In February 1998, KZAR-TV changed its call letters KUWB in anticipation of the upcoming WB affiliation.
On April 20, 1998, Paxson entered into an agreement with Roberts Broadcasting and ACME Communications where each station would acquire the other's assets, but WB programming would remain on channel 30. To expedite the process, the parties immediately entered into Local Marketing Agreements (LMAs), whereby the stations would swap call signs and would begin to operate each other’s stations until the FCC could approve the assignments of license. The following day, the stations executed the LMAs. KUPX channel 30 of Ogden became KUWB 30 and KUWB channel 16 of Provo became KUPX 16. Roberts and ACME continued to own the Provo station, now KUPX, but operated the new Provo station, KUPX. Meanwhile, Roberts and ACME continued to own KUPX, but operated KUWB. Two days following the execution of the LMAs, KUPX applied for a license for channel 16 Provo and the station became operational. The license was approved by the FCC on May 29, 1998. Paxson and Roberts Broadcasting/ACME filed formal assignment of license applications in May 1998 and the FCC approved the swap in March 1999. ACME Communications followed through on its agreement to acquire the remaining 51% of KUPX in November 1998 and the deal was consummated in February 1999. ACME and Paxson consummated the station swap agreement in September 1999 and took full ownership of the stations that they had already been operating under the LMAs.
Originally, KUPX was an outlet for inTV, a shopping and infomercial network owned by Paxson Communications, but on August 28, 1998, Paxson launched a family network called Pax TV, and KUPX became a Pax TV station, airing network programming 14 hours per day on weekdays, 13 hours on Saturdays and ten hours on Sundays. KUPX aired programming from The Worship Network during the overnight hours. The remainder of the non-network programming was devoted to infomercials and religious programs. The new network was not as successful as hoped for and in mid-1999, Pax TV ended an hour-long weekday morning show. A three-hour Saturday morning children’s and educational block disappeared in 2000. By 2002, the network had cut down to nine hours on weekdays and seven hours on weekends, and by 2004, network programming was six hours a day during the late afternoon and primetime, with the remainder of the programming day mostly given to infomercials.
By 2005, the network’s syndicated programming had gone over to other networks, and its first-run programming was ended. Later in 2005, Paxson Communications became ION Media Networks and Pax TV became the i Network. Network programming shrunk to five hours a day, between 5PM and 10PM, and the rest of the programming day was infomercials and religious programming. The network again renamed itself to ION Television on January 29, 2007.
|Malad City, Idaho||K46IM|
|Soda Springs, Idaho||K33HO|
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