|Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
|Branding||Fox 25 (general)
Fox 25 News (newscasts)
|Channels||Digital: 24 (UHF)
Virtual: 25 (PSIP)
25.2 ZUUS Country
K42AG-D Strong City
K49KK-D Elk City
|Owner||Sinclair Broadcast Group
(KOKH Licensee, LLC)
|First air date||February 2, 1959|
|Call letters' meaning||OKlaHoma|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
25 (UHF, 1959–2009)
|Former affiliations||Educational independent (1959–1979)
Independent (general entertainment) (1979–1990)
|Transmitter power||1000 kW|
|Public license information:||Profile
KOKH-TV, virtual channel 25 (UHF digital channel 24), is a Fox-affiliated television station located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States. The station is owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group, as part of a duopoly with CW affiliate KOCB (channel 34). The two stations share studio and transmitter facilities located on Wilshire Boulevard and Kelley Avenue on the city's northeast side (situated to the adjacent east of the respective studio facilities of CBS affiliate KWTV-DT (channel 9) and the Oklahoma Educational Television Authority PBS member network).
The UHF channel 25 allocation in Oklahoma City was originally occupied by KTVQ, which first signed on the air in 1953; it operated as an ABC affiliate, assuming the affiliation from primary NBC affiliate WKY-TV (channel 4, now KFOR-TV). KTVQ was hampered by low viewership as only a small percentage of television sets in the Oklahoma City area were capable of receiving UHF stations since set manufacturers were not required to equip televisions with tuners to receive stations on that band until the Federal Communications Commission passed the All-Channel Receiver Act in 1961; even with the passage of the law, UHF tuners were not included on all newer sets until 1964. The station shut down in 1956, with ABC returning to WKY-TV as a secondary affiliation (Enid-based ABC affiliate KGEO-TV (channel 5, now KOCO-TV) displaced WKY as the network's Oklahoma City affiliate when it moved its operations and changed its city of license to Oklahoma City in 1958).
KOKH first signed on the air on February 2, 1959 as a educational independent station. Founded by Oklahoma City Public Schools, the school district sold the station to Blair Broadcasting in the summer of 1979; on October 1 of that year at 6:00 a.m., KOKH switched to a general entertainment format, becoming the first commercial independent station in Oklahoma. It was a typical UHF independent featuring a mix of cartoons, classic sitcoms and movies. KOKH gained a competitor exactly one month later on November 1, when KGMC (channel 34, now CW-affiliated sister station KOCB) signed on with a similar format; followed by KAUT (channel 43) on September 24, 1980, which initially featured an all-news format during the daytime hours and subscription service VUE at night, before transitioning to a general entertainment format almost a year later. By that point, the Oklahoma City market had three commercial independents that each competed for the best syndicated programming.
In 1986, Blair Broadcasting restructured into Reliance Capital Group LP, in order to prevent a hostile takeover by some of the company's minority stockholders. Reliance Capital sold the Blair stations to Gillett Communications on December 31, 1986. In 1988, Pappas Telecasting Companies proposed a purchase deal for channel 25, in which it would acquire and then migrate KGMC and KAUT's programming inventories as well as channel 43's Fox affiliation to KOKH. Under the proposal, channel 34 (then-owned by Seraphim Media) would become a Home Shopping Network affiliate, while Heritage Media would sell KAUT to the Oklahoma Educational Television Authority, which would convert it into an educational station. This agreement eventually fell apart and Pappas shelved the proposal in 1989, with all three stations retaining general entertainment formats. Gillett sold KOKH to Busse Broadcasting in 1989.
In a deal similar to the earlier Pappas proposal, Heritage Media sold KAUT to OETA, and acquired KOKH in 1991, resulting in channel 43 becoming the market's secondary PBS member station. Heritage moved KAUT's programming inventory, Fox affiliation and other aspects of its intellectual unit to KOKH on August 15 of that year (channel 43, then KTLC, later reverted to an entertainment format as UPN affiliate KPSG in June 1998 after OETA sold it to the Paramount Stations Group). In August 1996, Heritage Media began trading on the New York Stock Exchange. The following month, it asked for stockholder approval of a 2-for-1 forward stock split, which was later approved. That fall, News Corporation expressed an interest in purchasing outstanding stock belonging to Heritage Media at $20.50 per share with the sale being approved by Heritage's stockholders in late spring 1997. FCC approval was dependent upon Heritage divesting most or all of its stations, as new ownership would place News Corporation over the FCC's station ownership limits of that time. News Corporation's main interest in purchasing Heritage Media was the in-store marketing subsidiary ACTMEDIA, which would make it the world's largest in-store marketing company.
Sinclair Broadcast Group showed interest in the Heritage Media stations, despite ownership conflicts that would arise between its own television stations and Heritage's outlets in several cities, including KOCB in the Oklahoma City market. Sinclair purchased Heritage's broadcasting properties in late summer 1997; because Sinclair was legally prohibited from owning both KOCB and KOKH, it sold channel 25 to Sullivan Broadcasting for $60 million. In the spring of 1998, Sinclair in turn began operating KOKH under a local marketing agreement, with KOCB as the senior partner.
In 1999, Glencairn, Ltd. announced that it would acquire KOKH; the family of Sinclair Broadcast Group founder Julian Sinclair Smith owned 97% of Glencairn's stock (Glencairn was to be paid with Sinclair stock for the purchases), effectively making KOKH and KOCB a duopoly in violation of FCC rules of the time. Glencairn owned 11 stations nationwide that Sinclair operated under LMAs, and subsequently announced plans to sell five of its stations to Sinclair outright; this prompted the Rainbow/PUSH coalition (headed by Jesse Jackson) to file challenges against the sale, citing concerns over a single company holding two broadcast licenses in one market and arguing that Glencairn passed itself off as a minority-owned company (its president, former Sinclair executive Edwin Edwards, is African American) when it was really an arm of Sinclair, and used the LMA to gain control of the station. The FCC levied a $40,000 fine against Sinclair in 2001 for illegally controlling Glencairn. Sinclair purchased KOKH outright in 2003, three years after the FCC began permitting television duopolies in August 1999, creating the market's first duopoly with KOCB.
During the late 1990s, KOKH lessened its reliance on running cartoons and classic sitcoms, and began acquiring more talk shows, reality series and court shows, although more recent sitcoms remained as part of its schedule. By the early 2000s, KOKH's daytime schedule (from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) switched to a lineup of mainly court shows (such as Divorce Court, Judge Mathis and The People's Court) and during the 2006-07 season, it broadcast every court show available in syndication at the time. In September 2002, KOKH dropped the "Fox 25" branding from verbal usage (though its channel 25 position continued to be incorporated into the station's logo), alternatingly identifying itself in station promos as either "Fox Oklahoma City" or "Oklahoma City's Fox", before reverting to the "Fox 25" branding full-time in 2006.
In November 2005, KOKH became the flagship station for the Oklahoma Lottery, whose Pick 3 and Cash 5 evening drawings were held at the station's Wilshire Boulevard studios, and were simulcast on KOCB; the Oklahoma Lottery Commission discontinued the televised draws and began conducting the drawings at its offices using a random number generator in July 2009 (KOKH aired a rundown of winning numbers for both original games and Hot Lotto during the 9:00 p.m. newscast and continued to air Powerball drawings until 2013 – since WGN America dropped the Powerball and Mega Millions drawings, the latter's drawings were not carried by KOKH or KOCB after Oklahoma became a Mega Millions participant in January 2011, the winning numbers for those drawings and other Oklahoma Lottery games are only shown on a ticker seen during KOKH's morning newscast). On March 5, 2012, KOKH and KOCB became the last stations in the Oklahoma City market to begin carrying syndicated programs, station promos and other commercials in high definition. On May 15 of that year, Fox extended its affiliation agreement with KOKH and Sinclair's 19 other Fox-affiliated stations for five years, keeping KOKH affiliated with the network until at least 2017.
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|25.1||720p||16:9||KOKH-HD||Main KOKH-TV programming / Fox|
In August 2010, Sinclair signed a groupwide affiliation deal with country music-oriented digital subchannel service The Country Network to the 28 of the company's stations. KOKH-TV bean carrying The Country Network (since renamed ZUUS Country) on newly launched digital subchannel 25.2 on November 4, 2010.
KOKH-TV discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over UHF channel 25, on February 17, 2009, the original date in which full-power television stations in the United States were to transition from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 24; using PSIP to display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 25.
As part of the SAFER Act, KOKH kept its analog signal on the air until March 3 to inform viewers of the digital television transition through a loop of public service announcements from the National Association of Broadcasters.
KOKH-TV currently carries the entire Fox network schedule, with program preemptions only occurring due to extended severe weather coverage (like certain other Sinclair-owned news-producing Fox stations, albeit atypical of most news-producing stations, it rarely carries cut-ins or extended coverage of non-weather-related breaking news events between newscasts, opting to air regularly scheduled programming instead). Syndicated programming currently broadcast by KOKH-TV includes: Bethenny, The Queen Latifah Show, Divorce Court, Paternity Court, The People's Court, Judge Alex, Judge Judy, Judge Mathis, Dish Nation, TMZ, The Arsenio Hall Show, The Big Bang Theory, Two and a Half Men and Seinfeld.
KOKH presently broadcasts 34 hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 6½ hours on weekdays, and one hour each on Saturdays and Sundays). In addition, the station produces the sports highlight and discussion program Fox 25 Sports Sunday (hosted by sports director Myron Patton, sports anchor Curtis Fitzpatrick and WWLS-FM radio host Jim Traber), airing Sundays at 10:00 p.m., and an online-only weeknight 5:00 p.m. newscast that is streamed on the station's website (off-network syndicated sitcoms air instead during that timeslot on channel 25). KOKH also provides local weather updates for Tyler Media Group-owned radio stations KJKE (93.3 FM), KKNG (97.3 FM), KTUZ-FM (106.7), KEBC (1560 AM) and KTLR (890 AM). As is the case with competitor KOCO, KOKH has experienced fairly heavy turnover among its on-air staff, leading to the unfamiliarity that some of its on-air personalities have in the market (the longest-serving member of KOKH's on-air news staff presently is chief meteorologist Jeff George, who joined KOKH in 2006). The station's newscasts regularly place fourth among the market's news-produciing stations, behind local news and network programs on KFOR, KOCO and KWTV, although its morning and 9:00 p.m. newscasts beat the KFOR-produced newscasts on KAUT.
From October 1, 1979 to July 1991, KOKH aired brief 90-second hourly newsbriefs, branded as Newstouch 25, from 6:00 a.m. until sign-off (usually around 1:30 a.m.); some morning and late night updates were pre-recorded. Among those who anchored the updates were Mike Monday, Karie Ross, Felicia Ferguson (who won the Miss Oklahoma pageant in 1985), Janis Walkingstick and Kelly Ogle (now evening anchor at KWTV). Until the late 1980s, the station also produced 90-second weather updates called Weathertouch 25 that aired on the half-hour during the broadcast day; the segments (featuring weathercasters such as Ross Dixon, Dan Satterfield and Kevin Foreman) utilized the first colorized radar scan converter and satellite picture colorizer in Oklahoma, and used live radar data from the National Weather Service Terminal Doppler site at Will Rogers World Airport. The station also produced several public affairs and interview programs including Meet The Mayor, Woman to Woman and Sunday PM.
After the April 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, Fox urged KOKH station management to develop a full-scale news department. The current news department began on May 1, 1996 with the debut of The Nine O'Clock News (which was retitled as the Fox 25 Primetime News at Nine in 2001), a half-hour weeknight-only 9:00 p.m. newscast that was originally anchored by Kirsten McIntyre, and former KOCO and KWTV news anchor Jack Bowen. Under Sullivan ownership, KOKH expanded the weeknight broadcast of the program to one hour in August 1998; this was followed by the addition of hour-long weekend editions in September 1999. Around the time it acquired the station, the Sinclair Broadcast Group began providing national news segments on its news-producing stations with the March 2003 launch of News Central; while local news segments continued to be based out of the KOKH studios and the station maintained its own locally based anchors and reporters, weather forecasts and sports segments were produced out of studios at Sinclair's headquarters in Hunt Valley, Maryland.
The first time that KOKH programmed news outside its established 9:00 slot was in early 2004, when it premiered a half-hour weeknight 10:00 p.m. newscast (it is currently one of the few Fox stations that produces a newscast in the traditional late news timeslot, 10:00 p.m. in the Central Time Zone, which does not produce newscasts in midday or early evening time periods). In 2005, the station debuted a segment on the Saturday edition of the 9:00 p.m. newscast titled Oklahoma's Most Wanted, which was based on former Fox series America's Most Wanted and profiled criminals being sought by law enforcement for various felonies. As part of corporate cutbacks at Sinclair's news operations, the company shuttered its News Central division with all national segments ending on March 31, 2006; KOKH subsequently restored in-house weather and sports segments. That December, KOKH launched Fox 25 Sports Sunday as a 15-minute Sunday evening sports wrap-up program at 9:45 p.m., before it expanded to a half-hour and moved to 10:00 p.m. three months later, adopting a panel discussion format. On April 9, 2007, KOKH debuted a three-hour weekday morning newscast from 6:00 to 9:00 a.m. (starting in the former timeslot instead of the 5:00 a.m. start time common with many local morning newscasts in the U.S. at the time); a fourth hour of the broadcast at 5:00 a.m. was added on January 4, 2010.
On October 11, 2010, KOKH became the first Oklahoma City area station to stream its local newscasts, breaking news and severe weather coverage on smartphone and other mobile devices. On January 31, 2011, the station debuted an hour-long extension of the morning newscast at 9:00 a.m., Good Day Oklahoma – featuring a mix of news updates and discussions, interviews and community event information. On August 14, 2013, KOKH became the fourth overall and the last remaining English-language station in the Oklahoma City market to begin broadcasting its newscasts in high definition. On April 13, 2014, KOKH debuted an HD-ready news set built by Devlin Design Group (the station's newsroom had previously doubled as its main set from the news department's inception), which features a dedicated weather center, several large widescreen monitors and a multi-purpose area used for interviews, and the morning and Sports Sunday broadcasts.
NOTE: Although the newscasts are each currently known under individual names ("Morning News", "Primetime News at Nine" and "Late Edition"), reporters use the unified identification of "Fox 25 News" at the end of story packages.