KCAU 9 News Vector.svg
Sioux City, Iowa
United States
ChannelsDigital: 9 (VHF)
Virtual: 9
BrandingKCAU 9 (general)
KCAU 9 News (newscasts)
OwnerNexstar Media Group
(Nexstar Media Inc.)
First air date
March 9, 1953 (69 years ago) (1953-03-09)
Former call signs
KVTV (1953–1967)
Former channel number(s)
  • Analog:
  • 9 (VHF, 1953–2009)
  • Digital:
  • 30 (UHF, until 2009)
  • Primary:
  • CBS (1953–1967)
  • Secondary:
  • NBC (1953–1954)
  • DuMont (1953–1955)
  • DT2:
  • AccuWX (2009–2012)
  • LWN (2012–2015)
Call sign meaning
"Cares About U"
Technical information
Licensing authority
Facility ID11265
ERP29.5 kW
HAAT616 m (2,021 ft)
Transmitter coordinates42°35′12.2″N 96°13′57.1″W / 42.586722°N 96.232528°W / 42.586722; -96.232528
Translator(s)30 (UHF) Sioux City
35.2 KNEN-LD (UHF) Norfolk, Nebraska
Public license information

KCAU-TV, virtual and VHF digital channel 9, is an ABC-affiliated television station licensed to Sioux City, Iowa, United States, serving northwestern Iowa, northeastern Nebraska and extreme southeastern South Dakota. The station is owned by Nexstar Media Group. KCAU-TV's studios are located on Gordon Drive in Sioux City, and its transmitter is located near Hinton, Iowa.


KCAU is the third-oldest station in Iowa and the oldest in Sioux City. It first signed on air as KVTV on March 9, 1953, and was owned by Peoples Broadcasting Corporation, a subsidiary of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, which in turn was an affiliate of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation. It carried programming from all four networks of the day—CBS, ABC, NBC and DuMont–but was a primary CBS affiliate. It lost NBC in 1954 when KTIV signed on, and DuMont when that network virtually ceased functioning in 1955. It picked up a sister station in 1957 when Peoples bought WNAX radio (AM 570 and 104.1 FM).

Advertisement for Peoples Broadcasting Corporation, later known as Nationwide Communications Inc., a subsidiary of the Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company (Note the Nationwide "eagle" logo inside the Peoples microphone logo)
Advertisement for Peoples Broadcasting Corporation, later known as Nationwide Communications Inc., a subsidiary of the Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company (Note the Nationwide "eagle" logo inside the Peoples microphone logo)

KVTV, like most Sioux City stations, provided a strong grade B signal to Sioux Falls, South Dakota. This bothered Midcontinent Media, owner of that city's KELO-TV, which switched to CBS in 1960. Pressure from Midcontinent president Joe Floyd eventually led Peoples Broadcasting to put KVTV up for sale. Forward Communications purchased KVTV in October 1965, with the intention of making Channel 9 the ABC affiliate for both Sioux City and Sioux Falls, and Peoples purchased WATE-TV in Knoxville, Tennessee. At that time, no full ABC affiliate put even a grade B signal into the area. Forward built a new tower northeast of Sioux City that would reach more viewers than ever before. After 22 months of preparation, during which the amount of ABC programming on KVTV increased noticeably, channel 9 officially joined ABC on September 2, 1967, at 12:30 p.m. Along with the new affiliation came new call letters, KCAU-TV. In almost no time, KCAU became one of ABC's highest-rated affiliates. Three days after the switch, on September 5, 1967, KMEG-TV signed on and took the CBS affiliation. KCAU branded as Siouxland ABC for most of the 1970s, even though Sioux Falls got an ABC affiliate of its own in KORN-TV (channel 5, now KDLT-TV on channel 46). The KVTV calls later surfaced on the now-dark CBS affiliate in Laredo, Texas.

Logo during Citadel ownership from 2006 to 2017
Logo during Citadel ownership from 2006 to 2017

Citadel Communications (not to be confused with the larger Citadel Broadcasting, the former owner of numerous radio stations across the U.S.) bought the station in 1985, also purchasing Albion, Nebraska, station KBGT-TV (channel 8) a year later; that station was converted into KCAN, a satellite of KCAU. Citadel moved KCAN's license to Lincoln, Nebraska and converted the station into KLKN, a standalone ABC affiliate, in 1996.

From 1953 to 1985, KVTV/KCAU was home to Canyon Kid's Corner, a popular children's show in the area. Longtime KCAU announcer Jim Henry hosted the show for its entire run.

From the mid-2000s to 2011, KCAU did not carry ABC World News Now. Instead, the station joined its fellow Citadel stations in signing off every night at 1:05 a.m., one of the few stations in the United States to do so.

In November 2004, all three Citadel ABC-affiliated stations, including KCAU, had preempted their Veterans' Day showing of the movie Saving Private Ryan.[1]

On September 16, 2013, Citadel announced that it would sell KCAU-TV, along with WOI-DT in Des Moines and WHBF-TV in Rock Island, Illinois to the Nexstar Broadcasting Group for $88 million. Nexstar immediately took over the station's operations through a time brokerage agreement. The deal separated KCAU from former satellite KLKN, which Citadel retains.[2] Citadel's sale of the three stations followed Phil Lombardo's decision to "slow down," as well as a desire by Lynch Entertainment, an investor in WOI and WHBF, to sell.[3] The sale was completed on March 13, 2014.[4] The deal reunited KCAU with two of its former Citadel sister stations, WIVT in Binghamton, New York and WVNY in Burlington, Vermont.

On January 27, 2016, Nexstar announced that it had reached an agreement to acquire Media General, bringing KCAU under the same common ownership with KELO-TV.[5] The following year, KCAU left its longtime home in the former Tomba Ballroom at the corner of 7th and Douglas in downtown Sioux City for a state-of-the-art facility located on the city's east side.[6]

KCAU-TV tower

The KCAU-TV tower is a guyed mast for television transmission in Sioux City at 42°35′12.2″N 96°13′57.1″W / 42.586722°N 96.232528°W / 42.586722; -96.232528. The tower was built from 1965 to 1967 and is 609.9 meters (2,001 ft) high. It is tied for the tallest structure in Iowa and is one of the tallest structures in the world.

Digital television

Digital channels

The station's digital signal is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect Short name Programming[7]
9.1 720p 16:9 KCAU-TV Main KCAU-TV programming / ABC
9.2 480p 4:3 Escape Ion Mystery
9.3 Laff Laff
9.4 Bounce Bounce TV

In 2009, KCAU added The Local AccuWeather Channel as a digital subchannel. Until January 16, 2012, KCAU was the only station owned by Citadel Communications to carry AccuWeather programming on a digital subchannel; sister stations KLKN, WOI-DT, and WHBF-TV instead carried RTV on their DT2 subchannels, while WLNE-TV did not offer a DT2 subchannel. KCAU-DT2 originally identified as "KCAU WeatherNow" but by 2010 was instead branded as "Accuweather 9".

On January 16, 2012, KCAU, along with all of its sister stations, began broadcasting Disney/ABC's lifestyle-oriented Live Well Network on its digital subchannel, replacing "Accuweather 9".[8] KCAU-TV helped out competitor KTIV-TV when their tower went down in 2014, simulcasting its primary service on digital channel 9.2 Subchannel 9.2 went back to Live Well in late 2014, but went silent by January 2015, the month Live Well discontinued operations.[9] That subchannel, along with two more subchannels, were re-activated in fall 2016, when Nexstar and Katz Broadcasting agreed to carriage of their three networks on Nexstar stations.

At the start of July 2021, Flood Communications, the owner of the low-power News Channel Nebraska system, began to simulcast KCAU's main channel on the second subchannel of KNEN-LD (channel 35), which serves Norfolk, Nebraska. The subchannel maps to 9.1 via the PSIP standard.[10]

Analog-to-digital conversion

KCAU-TV shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 9, at noon on February 17, 2009, which had been the official date of the federally mandated transition from analog to digital television[11][12] until the date was moved to June 12 earlier that month. The station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 30 to VHF channel 9.

News operation

KCAU-TV presently broadcasts 22 hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with four hours each weekday and one hour each on Saturdays and Sundays).

In December 2006, KCAU received new graphics and Frank Gari's "Eyewitness News (ABC O&O News Collection)" music package; however, it did not drop Eyewitness News branding, like sister stations WOI-TV and WHBF-TV did, until August 30, 2013.

KCAU began broadcasting local news in high-definition on November 23, 2010, the first station in the Sioux City market to do so (KMEG/KPTH began broadcasting 16x9 widescreen news earlier, but not HD).

Notable former on-air staff

See also


  1. ^ "Midwest TV stations cancel 'Saving Private Ryan'". JournalStar.com. Retrieved 2021-11-25.
  2. ^ Malone, Michael (September 16, 2013). "Nexstar to Acquire Citadel's Iowa Stations for $88 Million". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved September 16, 2013.
  3. ^ Hicks, Lynn (September 16, 2013). "Nexstar buys WOI, other Citadel TV stations in Iowa". Des Moines Register. Archived from the original on September 16, 2013. Retrieved September 16, 2013.
  4. ^ Consummation Notice, Federal Communications Commission, Retrieved 17 March 2014.
  5. ^ Picker, Leslie (January 27, 2016). "Nexstar Clinches Deal to Acquire Media General". The New York Times. Retrieved January 27, 2016.
  6. ^ Gallagher, Tim (February 22, 2017). "GALLAGHER: For KCAU staffers an old door closes, a new one opens". Sioux City Journal. Lee Enterprises. Retrieved March 8, 2017.
  7. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for KCAU
  8. ^ Malone, Michael (9 January 2012). "Citadel Communications Stations Grab Live Well". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved 10 January 2012.
  9. ^ Source: KCAU-TV on Facebook (posted January 12, 2015)
  10. ^ Feenstra, Danielle (1 July 2021). "KCAU 9 expands over-the-air coverage in Norfolk, Nebraska". KCAU-TV. Retrieved 27 July 2021.
  11. ^ Today is the day for digital TV switch, Dave Dreeszen, Sioux City Journal, February 17, 2009
  12. ^ List of Digital Full-Power Stations Archived 2013-08-29 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ a b c Dreeszen, Dave (March 29, 2003). "Sioux City's first television station, KCAU, marks 50 years on the air". Sioux City Journal. Retrieved March 27, 2014.