The state of Iowa is served by nine different television markets, of various sizes and numbers of broadcasters. It has three different markets ranked in the top one hundred for the United States.
Iowa’s very first commercial television station began broadcasting on October 31, 1949, under the call sign WOC-TV. Many of the personnel came from WOC radio. Since television as a medium was in its infancy, there was little in the way of established content for broadcast, so employees had to improvise and quickly create programming for the station. When it first started broadcasting, only around 400 television sets existed within range of its broadcast to receive its programming.
How to Find Channels
- Our channel lists are separated by city and state.
- Be sure to view channels based on the type of service you have (antenna, cable, or satellite TV)
- Use the search bar at the top if you don’t see your listed channels.
Prior to this station, the University of Iowa’s engineering department operated TV station W9XK, starting in 1933. It was the first television station to offer regularly scheduled educational programming. It operated on the older mechanical television technology, which was replaced by electronic television developed, and it went off the air in 1939.
Iowa was also home to the longest running children’s TV show in American history, The Magic Window. It ran from 1951-1994 on Ames, Iowa’s WOI-TV station.
Current Television Networks
The largest market in Iowa, Des Moines, is centered around the state’s capital. It is home to affiliates of every major network. WOI-DT shows ABC programming, KCCI is the CBS affiliate, WHO-DT is NBC, and KDSM-TV is Fox. In addition to the major networks, Des Moines also broadcasts networks like MyNetworkTV, ION Television, and the CW.
The Davenport market, also known as Quad Cities, has stations broadcasting content from the major networks, as well. Affiliates include WHBF-TV (CBS), KWQC-TV (NBC), WQAD-TV (ABC), and KLJB (Fox).
Cedar Rapids-Waterloo, the other major television market in Iowa, Sioux City, and Mason City, all have major network affiliates providing programming to local residents.
Iowa Public Television is the PBS broadcaster for the state of Iowa. It is composed of a network of full-power stations. Nine such stations are located throughout the state, with the flagship station in Des Moines, providing educational public programming to Iowa residents.
Current Cable and Satellite Providers
Iowa residents are served by a number of different cable television providers. National companies like Comcast and Cable One serve many Iowans, as do services like Mediacom and ImOn, as well as local telecom companies and smaller firms.
Satellite options in Iowa are similar to many other states, with DirecTV and Dish Network being the main providers of satellite television services.
College and Campus Television
Iowa State University students operate ISUtv, a campus television station providing programming relevant to students at the university. Content includes news, sports weather for Ames, and entertainment programming (http://isutv.stuorg.iastate.edu/faq/).
The University of Iowa also operates a television channel, directed towards both students and local residents around the community of the university. It features a variety of content created by University of Iowa students, as well as events like spring commencement. It is designed to help turn the university experience outward, and give students a venue to broadcast their unique campus activities.
DTV Channel Lists are available for the following cities in Iowa.
Des Moines, Iowa (IA)
Cedar Rapids, Iowa (IA)
Davenport, Iowa (IA)
Sioux City, Iowa (IA)
Waterloo, Iowa (IA)
Iowa City, Iowa (IA)
Council Bluffs, Iowa (IA)
Dubuque, Iowa (IA)
Ames, Iowa (IA)
West Des Moines, Iowa (IA)