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|Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
|City of license||Oklahoma City, OK, USA|
|Branding||NewsChannel 4 (HD)|
|Slogan||The News Leader (newscasts)
"The Weather Leader" (meteorology)
|Channels||Digital: 27 (UHF)
Virtual: 4 (PSIP)
4.2 Antenna TV
K45JZ-D Elk City
K23IZ-D Strong City
Antenna TV (DT2)
(Tribune Broadcasting Oklahoma City License, LLC)
|First air date||June 6, 1949|
|Call letters' meaning||FOuR (refers to former analog – and current virtual – channel, 4)|
|Former callsigns||WKY-TV (1949–1976)
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
4 (VHF, 1949–2009)
|Former affiliations||All secondary:
|Transmitter power||790 kW|
|Public license information:||Profile
KFOR-TV, virtual channel 4 (UHF digital channel 27), is an NBC-affiliated television station located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States. The station is owned by the Tribune Broadcasting subsidiary of the Tribune Company, as part of a duopoly with independent station KAUT-TV (channel 43). The two stations share studio facilities located on Britton Road and U.S. 77 (east of the city's Britton section) in the McCourry Heights section of northeast Oklahoma City; KFOR-TV maintains transmitter facilities located in The Oaks neighborhood on the city's northeast side.
The station first signed on the air on June 6, 1949 as WKY-TV; it was the first television station in Oklahoma, signing on five months before KOTV in Tulsa. It was founded by the Oklahoma Publishing Company (which was operated by the family of founder Edward L. Gaylord until its 2011 sale to The Anschutz Corporation), publishers of the morning Daily Oklahoman and afternoon Oklahoma City Times newspapers, and owners of radio station WKY (930 AM). WKY-TV operated as a primary NBC affiliate (owing to WKY radio's longtime affiliation with the NBC Red Network) and originally held secondary affiliations with CBS, ABC and DuMont. The station's first studio facilities were housed in the Municipal Auditorium in downtown Oklahoma City, with a secondary studio that was used for local programs based at the Little Theatre.
Due to a four-year Federal Communications Commission-imposed freeze on station licenses, WKY-TV was the only television station in the Oklahoma City market until 1953, when KTVQ (channel 25, channel now occupied by KOKH-TV) signed on as the ABC affiliate. CBS then moved to KWTV (channel 9) when it signed on that December. WKY-TV remained a dual NBC/DuMont affiliate until the latter network shut down in 1956. It rejoined ABC that year, after KTVQ ceased operations. In 1958, Enid-based ABC affiliate KGEO-TV (channel 5) relocated its operations and city of license to Oklahoma City – also changing its callsign to KOCO-TV – leaving WKY-TV exclusively with NBC.
As NBC became the first television network to broadcast programs in color in 1954, WKY-TV became one of the first stations in the United States to make this transition (years before many other stations started broadcasting color programming, with most not converting until the mid-1960s). On September 8 of that year (shortly before he left for KWTV), meteorologist Harry Volkman delivered the first television broadcast of a tornado warning over WKY-TV for a tornadic storm approaching the Oklahoma City area, using a bootlegged tornado forecast issued by Tinker Air Force Base staff. Station management decided to air the alert on the belief that giving advance warning of tornadoes would save lives (the FCC prohibited television and radio stations from providing warnings for tornadoes to avoid creating panic; during this period, many significant tornadic events resulted in losses of life exceeding 100+ people); tornado survivors sent letters thanking Volkman and WKY-TV for the advance warning.
WKY-TV's early local programs included the children's shows 3-D Danny (whose host, Danny Williams, would later host the local talk show Dannysday from 1975 to 1988) and Foreman Scotty. In 1966, WKY-TV became the originating studio for the half-hour syndicated program, The Buck Owens Ranch Show (the first season of which was produced by brothers and local businessmen Bud and Don Mathis, founders of locally-based Mathis Brothers Furniture, the former of whom played the "ranch foreman" that joked and bantered with Owens), it was seen in over 100 U.S. markets at its height and was perhaps the most successful program of its kind that was not produced in Nashville, where most country music and country-related television programs have historically originated; regular acts that appeared included Owens' band, the Buckaroos, Kay Adams, the Hager Twins, Susan Raye and Owens' sons Buddy Alan and Mike (the producers of Owens' later series Hee Haw forced him to discontinue Ranch in 1973, due to music duplication on both programs).
Oklahoma Publishing eventually acquired other television and radio stations, including WSFA in Montgomery, Alabama (in 1955); WTVT in Tampa, Florida (in 1956); WVTV in Milwaukee (in 1966); KHTV in Houston (built and signed on by the company in 1967); and KTVT in Fort Worth (in 1971); WKY-TV served as the company's flagship outlet, and it named its television group the WKY Television System. In 1968, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) barred companies from owning newspapers and broadcast outlets in the same market – the so-called "one to a market" rule. However, the FCC "grandfathered" several existing newspaper and broadcasting combinations in several markets. Oklahoma Publishing was able to attain a crossownership waiver under the new rule for the combination of the Daily Oklahoman, Oklahoma City Times and WKY-AM-TV.
In July 1975, the Oklahoma Publishing Company sold WKY-TV to Universal Communications, a subsidiary of the Detroit-based Evening News Association. Channel 4's call letters were changed to KTVY after the sale was finalized. Oklahoma Publishing retained WKY radio, and its television group was rechristened Gaylord Broadcasting. During the late 1970s and 1980s, the station aired edited hour-long replays of University of Oklahoma football games co-hosted by then-head coach Barry Switzer, which were syndicated to other stations (such as KDOC-TV in Anaheim, California); the university challenged the NCAA's rules restricting the number of college football telecasts around this time, which were lifted under a 1984 ruling by the United States Supreme Court.
The Gannett Company bought the Evening News Association in September 1985. However, Gannett had already owned KOCO-TV since its 1979 merger with Combined Communications; as FCC rules of the time prohibited television duopolies, it was forced to sell KTVY (along with KOLD-TV in Tucson, Arizona and WALA-TV in Mobile, Alabama) to Knight-Ridder Broadcasting after just one day of ownership. In the late 1980s, KTVY became the first station in the country to introduce colorized Doppler weather radar.
Knight-Ridder sold all of its broadcasting properties to different owners in 1989, with KTVY going to Palmer Communications, owner of fellow NBC affiliate WHO-TV in Des Moines. The station's call letters were then changed to KFOR-TV in April 1990. The New York Times Company purchased KFOR and WHO in 1996. Later that decade, it became the first television station to broadcast photos and video of severe weather over cell phones. The WKY-AM-TV transmitter tower (located between Kelly Avenue and the Broadway Extension, which had been used as an auxiliary tower for KFOR-TV and WKY radio and was designed to withstand winds in excess of 125 mph (201 km/h)) collapsed during a June 13, 1998 tornado outbreak that affected northern Oklahoma City, as a result of straight-line wind gusts to near 105 mph (169 km/h) (which also caused minor damage to the nearby studios of KOCO-TV).
On September 14, 2005, Paramount Stations Group sold KAUT to The New York Times Company, creating a duopoly with KFOR upon its November 4 consummation. On January 4, 2007, The New York Times Company sold its nine television stations to Local TV, a holding company operated by private equity group Oak Hill Capital Partners; the sale was finalized on May 7. On July 1, 2013, the Tribune Company (which formed a management company that operated both Tribune and Local TV's stations in 2008) acquired the Local TV stations for $2.75 billion. The sale was completed on December 27.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|4.1||1080i||16:9||KFOR-DT||Main KFOR-TV programming / NBC|
Since December 31, 2011, KFOR digital subchannel 4.2 has been the market's Antenna TV affiliate, the network originally ran on channel 4.3 from April 21, 2011 to January 15, 2012 (airing in simulcast with 4.2 from December 31, 2011 until the 4.3 subchannel was removed on January 15, 2012). KAUT has simulcast select Antenna TV programs on a secondary basis since September 16, 2012 to compensate for current-day syndication rights, though 4.2 continues to run the network's complete schedule. From 2006 to December 30, 2011, the 4.2 subchannel operated as "4Warn 24/7" (originally affiliated with NBC Weather Plus until the network's December 1, 2008 shutdown, then with its successor automated service NBC Plus until December 2011).
KFOR-TV signed on its digital signal in June 1999, becoming the first television station in Oklahoma City and the state of Oklahoma overall to begin operating a digital signal. The station discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over VHF channel 4, on June 12, 2009, the official date in which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. KFOR-TV's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 29, using PSIP to display KFOR-TV's virtual channel as 4 on digital television receivers.
KFOR-TV presently broadcasts 40½ hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with seven hours on weekdays, two hours on Saturdays and 3½ hours on Sundays); in regards to the number of hours devoted to news programming, it is the highest local newscast output among Oklahoma City's broadcast television stations. In addition, the station produces Flash Point, a political talk show focusing on state and national issues (moderated by weeknight anchor Kevin Ogle, and featuring panelists Mike Turpin and former Oklahoma City mayor Kirk Humphreys), which debuted in 1993 and airs Sundays at 9:30 a.m. The station has competed with KWTV for the most-watched newscast in the Oklahoma City market for decades. It had placed second behind KWTV in the morning and late evening news timeslots. Nielsen Media Research later found an error in KFOR's ratings in September 2008 in which ratings points were mistakenly assigned to KFOR's 4.1 digital multicast from 2005 to 2008; the corrected ratings showed that it had placed #2 in all timeslots at that time, a rarity given the declined ratings for NBC's programming and its affiliates' local newscasts overall.
The station's Doppler weather radar systems are "4WARN StormTracker" and "4WARN Storm Scanner", both provide radar data from sites at the Oklahoma City studios and from a 1-million-watt dual-Doppler system near Newcastle; both also utilize live data from radars operated by National Weather Service forecast offices nationwide. KFOR also provides local weather updates for six Clear Channel-owned radio stations: KTOK, KGHM, KBRU, KXXY-FM, KTST and KJYO. The station operates a Bell 206L-4 helicopter for newsgathering, "Bob Moore Chopper 4", named through a brand licensing agreement with area car dealership franchise Bob Moore Auto Group in January 2010. On May 3, 1999, the helicopter caught footage of an F5 tornado that killed 44 people as it tracked from Amber to Midwest City (this video was used for 11 years in promos for "Chopper 4"). The helicopter also captured live footage of an EF5 tornado that hit Moore on May 20, 2013, which was broadcast nationally on The Weather Channel. KFOR became the first Oklahoma station to broadcast aerial helicopter footage in high definition on March 11, 2010.
The station is well known in the Oklahoma City market for the longevity of its anchors. Weeknight anchor Linda Cavanaugh is presently the longest-tenured member of KFOR-TV's on-air news staff, having been with the station since 1978. Current 6 and 10 p.m. anchor Kevin Ogle and weekday morning and noon anchor Kent Ogle (their brother Kelly serves as evening co-anchor at KWTV while Kevin's daughter Abigail is a sports anchor for KOCO-TV) are two of the sons of the late Jack Ogle, former main news anchor during most of the WKY era and early KTVY years whose tenure also featured prominent anchor/reporters George Tomek, Ernie Schultz and Jerry Adams. The late Bob Barry served as the station's sports anchor from 1966 to 2008; his son Bob Barry, Jr. now serves as sports director for the weeknight newscasts. Mike Morgan has been chief meteorologist at KFOR since 1993; one of his predecessors, Jim Williams was chief meteorologist at channel 4 for 32 years from 1958 to 1990, one of the few on-air personalities to work at the station under the WKY, KTVY and KFOR callsigns.
The station is known for its In Your Corner series of investigative reports that focus on area residents that have been ripped off by businesses. The segment was helmed by Brad Edwards from 1973 until a few months prior his death in 2006; Scott Hines, Lance West, Ali Meyer and former reporter Cherokee Ballard rotated duties for the segment until Hines was named as Edwards's permanent replacement in 2007. Is This a Great State or What? debuted as a regular feature in 1991, focusing on interesting stories and people around Oklahoma; airing Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 5 p.m., it is hosted by Galen Culver (husband of Saturday morning anchor Tara Blume). The Rant with Kevin Ogle (airing Monday-Thursdays during the 10 p.m. newscast) began in 2006, and features viewer opinions on a selected news story, the Thursday edition serves an "open topic" forum featuring viewer comments on multiple subjects.
In 1972, then-news director Ernie Schultz hired Pam Henry as the first female news reporter on Oklahoma television, later becoming the state's first female anchor. Henry worked in television news for 30 years, despite walking on crutches due to having contracted polio at 14 months old (Henry had served as the national poster child for the March of Dimes in 1959). From 1990 to 2004, the station ran 30-second hourly news updates outside of regular newscasts; these were gradually reduced by 2006 to the current format of twice daily afternoon updates that largely serve as promos for the evening newscasts. KFOR was the first station in the market to offer weekend morning newscasts in 1992; it added a late afternoon newscast at 4:30 p.m. in 1994, followed in 1996 by an early evening 6:30 p.m. newscast on weeknights (which focuses mainly on national and international stories). During coverage of the April 19, 1995 Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building bombing, the station erroneously reported and repeated throughout the day's coverage that a member of the Nation of Islam took credit for the bombing (actually orchestrated by Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols), even though it cautioned that the claim might have been a crank call.
On June 5, 2006, KFOR-TV began producing a half-hour weeknight 9 p.m. newscast for KAUT-TV (which competes against Fox affiliate KOKH-TV's hour-long newscast that debuted in May 1996); a two-hour extension of the station's weekday morning newscast debuted on KAUT on September 8, 2008. On July 12, 2009 starting with its 10 p.m. newscast, KFOR became Oklahoma's second television station (after fellow NBC affiliate KJRH-TV in Tulsa) and Oklahoma City's first commercial station to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition (it also upgraded its severe weather ticker to be overlaid on HD programming without having to downconvert the content to standard definition); the Is This a Great State or What? segments began to be produced in high definition that January. On September 7, 2011, KFOR-TV launched a half-hour 4 p.m. newscast, that features a mix of news, lifestyle and entertainment stories, trending stories on the internet and web videos, with an emphasis on viewer interaction through social media. On August 27, 2012, KFOR expanded its weekday morning newscast to three hours, with the addition of an hour-long block at 4 a.m. In April 2013, KFOR partnered with veteran storm chaser Reed Timmer to help supplement the station's storm chasing fleet, providing coverage of severe weather and tornadic events.
2 Movie Guys (also seen on KAUT-TV)
^[D] - Deceased
The station is carried on cable providers throughout much of the western and southern portions of the state including within the Lawton and Ada-Sherman markets (on Fidelity Communications and Cable One, respectively), which both have NBC affiliates serving their respective regions (KFDX-TV and KTEN). It is also available in areas as far away as Guymon, which is part of the Amarillo market and Idabel, which is part of the Shreveport-Texarkana market.
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