The station is also tweaking its marketing, renaming its nightly newscast 39 News at 9 instead of the current CW39 News at 9.
Vice president and general manager Roger Bare said the effort to stamp the station’s news with The CW brand was fruitless, as The CW network itself does not produce news.
“The legacy of the station resides in its numbers,” he added. “We’ve been known as ‘channel 39’ since we signed on in 1967.”
KIAH will share a moniker with the local airport, George Bush Intercontinental Airport, known as IAH.
Bare said the decision to rebrand was made by the station, not by Tribune management in Chicago. “We really wanted to forge a stronger local identity as we move forward as a TV station,” he added.
Bare said the station will add more local content as the summer progresses.
“As we launch more local programming, including a one-hour primetime news show, we wanted call letters that would reflect our commitment to the local community,” he said in a statement.
The Houston Chronicle reported that it’s KHCW’s fourth set of call letters. Previous ones were KHTV and KHWB.