Houston station changes its call letters – again

And you thought WLS-FM had a quite a number of call letter changes: Chicago-based Tribune Co.’s CW affiliate in Houston is dumping its KHCW-TV call letters for KIAH-TV, as of July 15.

The move is not meant to distance itself from the fledgling CW network, but the new call letters are in reference to the airport code for Houston’s airport – IAH – assigned to the George Bush International Airport.

Station officials are also re-branding its newscasts, now known as CW 39 News at 10 to 39 News at 9. The move was made because CW does not have a national newscast, and the target audience for the network (women 18-34), do not generally watch newscasts, which are targeted mainly to adults 25-54. For this reason, sister stations WGN-TV in Chicago and KTLA in Los Angeles do not use CW branding in their news operations.

This is the fourth time Channel 39 in Houston has changed its call letters. The station signed on as KHTV in 1967, and three years after being sold by Gaylord Broadcasting to Tribune (in 1999), the calls changed to KHWB – reflecting the station’s ties to the WB at the time. When the WB network merged with UPN to form the CW in 2006, KHWB became KHCW.