|Channels||Digital: 24 (UHF)|
|Branding||KATU (pronounced "K-2")|
|Affiliations||2.1: ABC (1964–present)|
|Owner||Sinclair Broadcast Group |
(Sinclair Portland Licensee, LLC)
First air date
|March 15, 1962|
Former call signs
|KOXO (CP, 2/23/1961–6/14/1961)|
Former channel number(s)
2 (VHF, 1962–2009)
43 (UHF, 1998–2019)
Call sign meaning
|HAAT||524 m (1,719 ft)|
Public license information
KATU (channel 2) is a television station in Portland, Oregon, United States, affiliated with ABC. It is owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group alongside La Grande–licensed Univision affiliate KUNP (channel 16). Both stations share studios on NE Sandy Boulevard in Portland, while KATU's transmitter is located in the Sylvan-Highlands section of the city.
A construction permit for channel 2, Portland's last available channel allocation on the VHF band, was issued to Fisher's Blend Station, Inc., (later known as Fisher Communications) in 1958. However, KATU did not begin broadcasting until March 15, 1962, originally operating as an independent station. For its entire history, it has operated from a converted laundry on NE Sandy Boulevard; it is the only one of the original five full-power stations in Portland that still operates from its original studio. The station's transmitter was originally located atop Livingston Mountain, about 7 miles (11 km) NNE of Camas, Washington.
On January 19, 1964, KATU moved its transmitter site 21 miles (34 km) to Portland's West Hills to improve its signal coverage. Just over a month later, it took over the ABC affiliation in Portland away from KPTV (channel 12) on March 1, 1964. This made KATU the fourth television station in the Portland market in less than a decade to have affiliated with ABC full-time (after KLOR [channel 12, frequency now occupied by KPTV], KGW [channel 8], and KPTV). It is also Portland's longest-lasting ABC affiliate to date.
From December 2008 to June 11, 2009, KATU (and the other Fisher-owned stations) were not carried by Dish Network due to a dispute over retransmission consent compensation. On April 10, 2013, KATU and Fisher Communications' other holdings were acquired by the Sinclair Broadcast Group. The Federal Communications Commission granted its approval of the deal on August 7, and the sale was completed the following day.
On May 8, 2017, Sinclair Broadcast Group entered into an agreement to acquire Tribune Media – owner of CW affiliate KRCW-TV (channel 32) – for $3.9 billion, plus the assumption of $2.7 billion in debt held by Tribune, pending regulatory approval by the FCC and the U.S. Department of Justice's Antitrust Division. KUNP would not have been affected as its contours do not overlap with either KATU or KRCW. However, as current FCC rules forbid broadcasters from legally owning more than two full-power television stations in a single market and require at least eight distinct owners after the creation of a duopoly (there would be too few remaining if a new one is created), the companies would have been required to sell either KATU or KRCW to another station group in order to comply with FCC ownership rules preceding approval of the acquisition; however, a sale of either station to an independent buyer was dependent on later decisions by the FCC regarding local ownership of broadcast television stations and future acts by Congress.
On July 18, 2018, the FCC voted to have the Sinclair–Tribune acquisition reviewed by an administrative law judge amid "serious concerns" about Sinclair's forthrightness in its applications to sell certain conflict properties. Three weeks later on August 9, Tribune announced it would terminate the Sinclair deal, intending to seek other M&A opportunities. Tribune also filed a breach of contract lawsuit in the Delaware Chancery Court, alleging that Sinclair engaged in protracted negotiations with the FCC and the U.S. Department of Justice's Antitrust Division over regulatory issues, refused to sell stations in markets where it already had properties, and proposed divestitures to parties with ties to Sinclair executive chair David D. Smith that were rejected or highly subject to rejection to maintain control over stations it was required to sell.
Syndicated programming on KATU (as of January 2022) includes Live with Kelly and Ryan, The Drew Barrymore Show, and Sony game shows Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune (since 1992; previously, they had aired on KOIN-TV).
KATU presently broadcasts 33½ hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 5½ hours each weekday and three hours each on Saturdays and Sundays). During the November 2006 and February 2007 sweeps periods, KATU finished in third place overall in the local newscast ratings, behind KGW and KPTV. In 2006, KATU won two Edward R. Murrow Awards, including an investigative piece reported by Anna Song on a newborn baby that was left severely brain damaged by OHSU hospital. Song also won dual first place (2006) Associated Press Awards in Best Writing, and Best Investigative Reporting.
On October 11, 2007, KATU became the third television station in Portland to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in 16:9 widescreen standard definition. In April 2008, KATU introduced a revamped set that expanded to the entire studio that was designed specifically for high definition broadcasts in 2009. Previously, the studio was divided in half, with one side the news set and the other the AM Northwest set. The new set was one of the most expensive projects in KATU history.
KATU started testing high definition newscasts on August 8, 2009. The full rollout premiered during their 4 p.m. newscast on August 17, 2009, making it the second station in the Portland market to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|2.1||720p||16:9||KATU||Main KATU programming / ABC|
On June 25, 2012, KATU switched its second digital subchannel from This TV to MeTV.
On January 15, 2016, KATU switched its third digital subchannel from GetTV to Comet TV.
On September 6, 2017, KATU activated its fourth digital subchannel and added Stadium.
On July 17, 2008 at 6:15 p.m., KATU conducted a test for viewers to determine whether their television sets were ready for the digital television transition by turning off its analog signal for 10 seconds, which the station conducted other times through the spring of 2009.
KATU shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 2, 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. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 43, using PSIP to display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analog channel 2. During the last segment of the station's 11 p.m. newscast, anchor Steve Dunn reported from KATU's master control facility giving last-minute information on the digital television transition before the switch occurred.
|City of license||Callsign||Channel||ERP||HAAT||Facility ID||Transmitter coordinates||Owner|
|Astoria||K26DB-D||26||5 kW||365 m (1,198 ft)||21650||Sinclair Broadcast Group|
|Baker Valley||K27MX-D||27||1 kW||579 m (1,900 ft)||5959||Blue Mountain Translator District|
(in Eugene market)
|K08PZ-D||8||0.1 kW||339 m (1,112 ft)||21648||Sinclair Broadcast Group|
|Hood River||K28CQ-D||28||1.2 kW||373 m (1,224 ft)||12431||Rural Oregon Wireless Television|
|La Grande (Mt. Harris)||K32LY-D||32||544 m (1,785 ft)||5951||Blue Mountain Translator District|
|La Grande (Mt. Fanny)||K35GA-D||35||0.4 kW||768 m (2,520 ft)||5958|
|Lincoln City, etc.||K32NK-D||32||5 kW||308 m (1,010 ft)||21660||Sinclair Broadcast Group|
|Madras||K26NX-D||26||0.63 kW||26 m (85 ft)||30805||Rural Oregon Wireless Television|
(in Yakima/Kennewick, WA market)
|K28FT-D||28||1 kW||170 m (558 ft)||11496||Citizens TV, Inc.|
(in Yakima/Kennewick, WA market)
|K34DI-D||34||2.1 kW||518 m (1,699 ft)||5962||Rural Oregon Wireless Television|
|Prineville||K35LD-D||35||1 kW||675 m (2,215 ft)||21651||Sinclair Broadcast Group|
|Rainier||K31HK-D||31||0.2 kW||227 m (745 ft)||131076||Rural Oregon Wireless Television|
|Rockaway Beach||K23NS-D||23||0.975 kW||387 m (1,270 ft)||49334|
|The Dalles||K18HH-D||18||1 kW||562 m (1,844 ft)||21657||Sinclair Broadcast Group|
|Tillamook||K34PJ-D||34||683 m (2,241 ft)||21662|
|Grays River, WA
|K20NL-D||20||591 m (1,939 ft)||21653|
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