What TV Channels Are Over the Air?


Quick Answer

ABC, NBC, CBS, CW and Fox are the five major television networks that broadcast over the air in the United States. Each of these stations broadcasts to at least 95 percent of American households. Other available stations vary based on broadcast market and the viewer's location within that market.

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Full Answer

Stations available in limited markets include Ion TV, PBS, religious broadcasts and locally-operated broadcast networks. Chicago's WGN network is an example of a local broadcast network; it is available over the air, but only in the Chicago media market. Ion TV and PBS operate nationally, but are not available in every market.

PBS is the largest publicly-funded network in the country, reaching 96 percent of American households. Other national public networks are Create and World, which reach 70 percent and 59 percent of households, respectively. V-me is the largest Spanish-language public network in the U.S., reaching 47 percent of households. Public television in Japanese, German and French is available in more limited markets. Of these languages, Japanese reaches the largest percentage of households; 17 percent of American households have access to the Japanese public news channel NHK World.

Commercial Spanish-language television is available over the air in some broadcast markets. Univision, Telemundo, MundoFox and UniMas are the four largest Spanish television networks in the U.S., and each is available to more than 50 percent of households.

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