Tijuana-based SoCal Player Set For ‘Gala’ Switch


A VHF facility licensed to Tijuana, Baja California will be ending a 64-year run serving the San Diego DMA’s English-speaking audiences in late spring.

It has nothing to do with the border wall that President Trump plans to authorize, and the resulting skirmish with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto that has led to a blackout of all public discussion on the matter.

Rather, the pending switch to Spanish-language programming for XETV-6 is the resulted of failed talks on securing a new contract with The CW Network.

In an interview with the San Diego Union-Tribune, VP/GM Chuck Dunning confirmed that Midwest Television’s KFMB-8, the market’s CBS affiliate, has secured sibling network The CW and will debut its programming on KFMB-8.3 on May 31.

The date was agreed upon with the support of The CW, to ensure that its programming not be shuffled during important sweeps periods.

“It’s not by choice that we are parting ways with the CW,” Dunning told the newspaper. “It’s a very well-run organization, but the business terms just didn’t mesh.”

The loss of The CW will also result in the departure of XETV’s entire news department, with newscasts and all locally produced shows presently airing on the station set to end on March 31; current XETV operator Bay City Television will dissolve on May 31. XETV is owned by Mexican television giant Televisa, and the station is expected to adopt Gala TV. It was incorrectly reported in the press that it would air the Galavisión pay-TV network seen in the U.S., which is owned and operated by Univision.

XETV has been an affiliate of The CW since August 2008, following a 22-year run as San Diego’s FOX affiliate. From 1956 to 1974, XETV was San Diego’s original ABC affiliate; the FCC shifted the affiliation to what is now KNSD-39 in San Diego as part of a build-out of commercial UHF stations, and to keep the network’s affiliation on a U.S.-based station.

Mexico’s Gala TV, with its main signal of XEQ-9 in Mexico City, features a weekday lineup of telenovelas and a weekend slate of variety programs and sports.

Gala TV has most recently aired in Tijuana on XHBJ-45; XETV’s much bigger signal makes puts Televisa in an enviable position, as it will now control the two VHF stations offering Spanish-language programming on both sides of the border. Longtime leader XEWT-12 Tu Canal is a regional Televisa O&O.

— Adam R Jacobson