San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose, California
United States
CitySan Francisco, California
ChannelsDigital: 32 (UHF)
(shared with KMTP-TV, KTNC-TV and KEMO-TV)
Virtual: 38
Affiliations38.1: ShopHQ
38.2: Sky Link TV
38.3: Sonlife
38.5: NTD TV
38.6: NTD English
OwnerWRNN-TV Associates[1]
(RNN National, LLC)
First air date
January 6, 1986 (35 years ago) (1986-01-06)
Former call signs
KWBB (1986–1991)
Former channel number(s)
38 (UHF, 1986–2009)
39 (UHF, until 2020)
Independent (1986–1998, 2020–2021)
Shop at Home/Jewelry Television (1998–2007)
Infomercials (January–April 2007)
RTV (2007–2012)
MundoFox/MundoMax (2012–2016)
SonLife (2016–2020)
Estrella TV (2016–2021)
Call sign meaning
ChiNeSe Television (for station's Sino-Filipino language format at the time of call sign change)
Technical information
Licensing authority
Facility ID71586
ERP1,000 kW
HAAT511.7 m (1,679 ft)
Transmitter coordinates37°45′19″N 122°27′10″W / 37.75528°N 122.45278°W / 37.75528; -122.45278
Public license information

KCNS, virtual channel 38 (UHF digital channel 32), is ShopHQ-affiliated television station licensed to San Francisco, California, United States and serving the San Francisco Bay Area. The station is owned by WRNN-TV Associates. KCNS shares digital channel 32 and transmitter facilities with KMTP-TV (virtual channel 32), KTNC-TV (virtual channel 42), and KEMO-TV (virtual channel 50). Their transmitter is located atop Sutro Tower in San Francisco.



Main article: KVOF-TV

The first channel 38 signed on the air on December 28, 1968, as KUDO. With a lineup heavy on live and local shows, including financial programming during the morning and early afternoon hours and even an interview show hosted by Willie Mays, KUDO failed financially; it went bankrupt and fell dark on April 15, 1971.

Faith Center, managed by pastor Ray Schoch (1917–1977), acquired the station at a low price and returned it to the air in 1974 as KVOF-TV, carrying Christian programming for about 12 hours a day. Some shows were produced by Faith Center while others came from outside Christian groups. In 1975, the station expanded its programming to nearly 24 hours a day, when Dr. Gene Scott became pastor of Faith Center and assumed control of its television stations. By 1978, the station was only running programming from Scott's "University Network" 24 hours a day. However, the station lost its license, along with those of sister stations KHOF (99.5 FM) in Los Angeles and KHOF-TV in San Bernardino, after Faith Center refused to disclose its private donor records to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in a case over alleged misuse of funds for uses other than originally stated purposes.

West Coast United

The FCC's 1980 decision to deny a distress sale of KVOF-TV spurred three applications for new stations on channel 38, from West Coast United Broadcasting Company, Together Media Ministries (owned by the First Assembly of God of Fremont[2]), and Carmel-based LDA Communications, which all sought channel 38; this proceeding in turn depended on the renewal for the radio station.[3] Administrative law judge Edward Kuhlmann dismissed KVOF-TV's renewal application in 1983 for failure to answer questions and produce documents that were necessary for the hearing.[4] The initial decision that December gave the nod to West Coast United Broadcasting Company, whose Tacoma, Washington-based staff presented a superior proposal on integration of staff and management.[5] Faith Center appealed the dismissal of its license application, but the FCC denied this in 1984 and gave the church 90 days to continue running KVOF-TV in order to wind up its affairs.[6] Faith Center then attempted to have the Supreme Court of the United States hear a challenge to its losses; it refused.[7]

KVOF-TV was given until January 2, 1986, to close. Scott warned viewers of his San Francisco successor, "Here comes the Tower of Babel religious brigade ... the voices like Oral Roberts, Jimmy Swaggart and Jerry Falwell preaching homosexuals into hell and beating the drum with the same claptrap you hear Sunday on every religious station in the country".[8] KWBB began operation in January 1986, featuring secular and religious programs—including Scott, who purchased four hours every night.[9] The deal with Scott also granted use of the San Bruno Mountain studio and transmitter facilities associated with the former KVOF-TV.[10] In 1989, channel 38 moved to Sutro Tower, becoming the last new analog station to use the site.

In May 1991, former KRON-TV anchor Jim Paymar became KWBB's general manager. The station changed its call sign to KCNS on June 24, 1991.[11] It aired imported and locally produced shows in several Asian languages, including Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Vietnamese and Korean. Based at studios in the former Hamm's Brewery, most of the local programs were produced by third parties.[12] There was also home shopping programming during the day.[12] While the station struggled to gain cable carriage at a time when there was no must-carry rule for local TV stations,[13] it was able to reach agreements to produce a Cantonese-language simulcast of KRON's 6 p.m. newscast in 1992 and even several Oakland Athletics baseball games in 1993.[14][15]

Home shopping and return to Chinese-language programming

In 1996, Ramcast Corporation bought KCNS from West Coast United for $30 million. Ramcast, a subsidiary of Global Broadcasting Systems, cut the station's Asian programming from 24 hours a day to three to add more home shopping.[16] Global then went bankrupt in 1997; its assets were acquired by the Shop at Home Network for $77 million.[17] This lasted until June 21, 2006, when the Shop at Home's parent, the E. W. Scripps Company, suspended the network's operations. KCNS switched to Jewelry Television, and two days later, it started broadcasting a mixture of programming from both networks, after Jewelry Television bought Shop at Home and resumed that network's operations.

On September 26, 2006, Multicultural Television announced it would purchase KCNS from Scripps as part of a deal to buy all of Scripps' Shop at Home stations for $170 million.[18] Multicultural closed on KCNS and its sister stations in Cleveland and Raleigh on December 20, 2006. On January 14, 2007, KCNS ended its simulcast of Shop at Home and began carrying educational and informational programming on early weekday mornings and infomercials for the rest of the day. On April 8, 2007, KCNS began broadcasting Chinese language programming in Mandarin and Cantonese, under the "Sino TV" (華語電視 Huáyǔ Diànshì) banner nightly from 6 p.m. to midnight, including news programs in both Mandarin and Cantonese. The following day on April 9, 2007, KCNS began carrying programming from the Retro Television Network during the daytime hours.

Financial difficulties and sale to NRJ TV

After Multicultural ran into financial problems and defaulted on its loans, KCNS was placed into a trust;[19] in 2011, the station, along with WMFP in Boston, was sold to NRJ TV (a company unrelated to European broadcaster NRJ Radio).[20] The sale was consummated on May 13, 2011.[21][failed verification] A one-third equity stake in NRJ TV is held by Titan Broadcast Management, which also operates KTNC-TV (channel 42); Titan had already managed KCNS for some time prior to the sale.[22] Titan exited its equity stake in NRJ TV in December 2017.

On August 13, 2012, KCNS became a charter affiliate of the Spanish language network MundoFox/MundoMax. On September 1, 2016, KCNS became an affiliate of the SonLife Broadcasting Network, exiting MundoMax as it became clear it would no longer be a going concern within the next few months.

Sale to RNN

On December 9, 2019, it was announced that WRNN-TV Associates, owner of New York City-based WRNN-TV, secured a deal to purchase seven full-power TV stations (including KCNS) and one Class A station from NRJ.[1] The sale was approved by the FCC on January 23,[23] and was completed on February 4, 2020, breaking up NRJ's duopoly in the Bay Area, although KCNS and KTNC would continue channel sharing. Upon completion of the sale, the SonLife schedule shifted to another subchannel, and the station now broadcasts infomercials most of the day, along with a simulcast of WRNN's nightly talk show Richard French Live.

On May 20, 2021, RNN and iMedia Brands announced an agreement to affiliate most of RNN's television stations (including KCNS) with home shopping network ShopHQ. KCNS returned to home shopping programming, this time carrying ShopHQ programming, on June 28, 2021.[24]

Digital television

Digital channels

The station's digital channel is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[25]
38.1 720p 16:9 KCNS ShopHQ
38.2 480i SkyLink Sky Link TV
38.3 SBN Sonlife
38.5 NTD New Tang Dynasty
38.6 NTD Eng NTD English

Analog-to-digital conversion

KCNS shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 38, on February 17, 2009, as part of the federally mandated transition from analog to digital television (the deadline was later moved to June 12).[26] The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 39, using PSIP to display KCNS' virtual channel as 38 on digital television receivers.


  1. ^ a b "RNN Reaches Agreement to Increase Permanent Distribution Platform to 28 Percent of the US With NRJ Purchase". Globe Newswire. December 9, 2019. Archived from the original on December 10, 2019. Retrieved December 10, 2019.
  2. ^ "Federal judge picks company to take over church's KVOF-TV". Oakland Tribune. Associated Press. October 16, 1983. p. D-8. Archived from the original on September 28, 2021. Retrieved September 28, 2021.
  3. ^ "Memorandum Opinion and Order (90 FCC 2d 519)". Federal Communications Commission. June 23, 1982. Archived from the original on September 28, 2021. Retrieved September 28, 2021.
  4. ^ "In Brief" (PDF). Broadcasting. March 28, 1983. p. 125. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2021-07-18. Retrieved 2021-09-28.
  5. ^ "KVOF grant" (PDF). Broadcasting. March 28, 1983. p. 53. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2021-03-08. Retrieved 2021-09-28.
  6. ^ "In contest" (PDF). Broadcasting. February 20, 1984. p. 86. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2021-07-09. Retrieved 2021-09-28.
  7. ^ "High court passes" (PDF). Broadcasting. December 9, 1985. p. 91. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2021-03-08. Retrieved 2021-09-28.
  8. ^ Rosenthal, David (December 5, 1985). "No revival for Gene Scott: TV preacher's license yanked". The Mercury News. p. 1F.
  9. ^ Rosenthal, David (August 23, 1986). "Could KPIX's Kate Kelly be Chicago-bound?". The Mercury News. p. 1C.
  10. ^ Morse, Rob (January 12, 1986). "I'll have to spin, Pat". San Francisco Examiner. p. A-18.
  11. ^ "KCNS-TV joins Viacom cable system Monday". San Francisco Examiner. November 2, 1991. p. C-11. Archived from the original on September 28, 2021. Retrieved September 28, 2021.
  12. ^ a b Fong-Torres, Ben (September 16, 1991). "And Now, The News In Mandarin / Foreign-language reporters are up to it". San Francisco Chronicle. p. D3.
  13. ^ Miller, Ron (June 5, 1992). "Pacific bridge: Former anchorman Jim Paymar steps behind the camera to link two continents by satellite and give a broad community its own broadcasts". The Mercury News. p. 1E.
  14. ^ "News to be given in Cantonese". The Mercury News. October 15, 1992. p. 3C.
  15. ^ Gomez, Pedro (May 23, 1993). "Rickey runs to another milestone". The Mercury News. p. 7D.
  16. ^ Fahey, Tom (March 28, 1997). "WNDS Sale Remains on Hold; Proposed Purchaser Big in Home Shopping Programs". New Hampshire Union-Leader.
  17. ^ Geisel, Amy (November 22, 1997). "Paxson to enter Knox TV market". Knoxville News-Sentinel. p. C8.
  18. ^ "Scripps sells Shop At Home TV stations" (Press release). E. W. Scripps Company. September 26, 2006. Archived from the original on September 2, 2007. Retrieved May 30, 2021.
  19. ^ Jessell, Harry A. (December 28, 2010). "Multicultural Handing Over WSAH To Trustee". TVNewsCheck. Archived from the original on September 28, 2021. Retrieved December 28, 2010.
  20. ^ "Multicultural clears out a TV on each coast". Television Business Report. January 31, 2011. Archived from the original on February 3, 2011. Retrieved February 1, 2011.
  21. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-10-26. Retrieved 2011-05-19.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  22. ^ "Titan, Patrick Have Stakes In KCNS, WMFP". TVNewsCheck. February 2, 2011. Archived from the original on September 28, 2021. Retrieved May 19, 2011.
  23. ^ "Application Search Details – NRJ TV DFW License Co., LLC". Federal Communications Commission. January 23, 2020. Archived from the original on May 13, 2021. Retrieved May 30, 2021.
  24. ^ "iMedia's ShopHQ Set to Launch in 20+ Million High-Definition Homes in Top U.S. Markets". GlobeNewswire News Room. May 20, 2021. Archived from the original on 28 June 2021. Retrieved 28 June 2021.
  25. ^ "RabbitEars TV Query for KCNS". Archived from the original on 2013-10-29. Retrieved 2013-10-27.
  26. ^ List of Digital Full-Power Stations Archived 2013-08-29 at the Wayback Machine