|Branding||KETK NBC (general)|
KETK News (news)
56.3: Ion Television
56.4: Antenna TV
|KTPN-LD, KFXK-TV, KFXL-LD|
First air date
|March 9, 1987|
Former call signs
|KTRG (by original license-holder prior to bankruptcy and station launch)|
Former channel number(s)
56 (UHF, 1987–2009)
Call sign meaning
|"Keeping East Texas Covered"|
|HAAT||458.8 m (1,505 ft)|
Public license information
KETK-TV (channel 56) is a television station licensed to Jacksonville, Texas, United States, serving as the NBC affiliate for East Texas. It is owned by Nexstar Media Group alongside Tyler-licensed low-power MyNetworkTV affiliate KTPN-LD (channel 48); Nexstar also provides certain services to Longview-licensed Fox affiliate KFXK-TV (channel 51) under a shared services agreement (SSA) with White Knight Broadcasting. The stations share studios on Richmond Road (at Loop 323) in Tyler, while KETK-TV's transmitter is located near FM 855 in unincorporated northwestern Cherokee County.
KETK-TV was previously relayed on repeater station KETK-LP (UHF analog channel 53) in Nacogdoches. It originally simulcast KETK's entire schedule, but began to produce local news inserts focused on the Nacogdoches–Lufkin area by the late 2000s. KETK-LP's low-power signal only covered the immediate Lufkin area, therefore requiring cable to view the station outside of the city. The station was carried by Consolidated and Suddenlink in Lufkin and Communicomm in Huntington.
In recent years, KETK has refrained from identifying its channel number as part of its station IDs, newscasts, or promotions. The station prefers to use just its call letters in those situations.
In 1984, the Tyler–Longview area gained its second network affiliate, CBS outlet KLMG-TV. As that occurred, the battle was on to build a third network-affiliated station to bring NBC to East Texas. The first contender in the ring was Sunrise Broadcasting, which merged with a competing applicant for channel 14 in December 1982; East Texas Broadcasting, which was building another station, KTET (channel 60), was described as doing "too much, too soon" with no agreement in hand with the network: it went as far as hiring a news department before it was foreclosed on.
However, as other groups sought the NBC nod, it was held the entire time by another permittee: Thomas Robert Gilchrist, who won a construction permit in early 1985 for KTRG (using his initials). Gilchrist went bankrupt, and the construction permit and NBC affiliation agreement were sold to Texas American Broadcasting, in which two of the three partners owned KTEN in Ada, Oklahoma. Texas American proceeded to change the call letters to KETK and begin construction. Even before channel 56 was on the air, TAB was operating a low-power station providing NBC programming to the Jacksonville area.
KETK was originally planned to start in February, but equipment delays and high winds led it to be pushed back. Even with the delays, a tragedy occurred in the final stretch of construction when an crew repairing damage to the studio-transmitter link tower from cold weather suffered an equipment accident, causing one man's death. It finally signed on March 9, 1987.
The launch of KETK took the NBC affiliation from KLTV (channel 7), which had carried the network on a joint primary basis since it signed on in October 1954 and was relegated to secondary status in 1984. KETK was originally owned by Texas American Broadcasting. The station originally operated from studio facilities located on North Jackson Street in Jacksonville; its transmitter facilities were placed on a new tower near Mt. Selman (between Jacksonville and Tyler).
A tornado, on a path from near Palestine to near Whitehouse in November 1987, passed just northwest and north of the center of Jacksonville. The original KETK offices and studio there were along the path, and suffered damage. It took less than two days for the station to get back on the air, but much longer for newsroom and other off-screen areas and functions to recover. Because KETK's broadcast tower and transmitter were located farther to the northwest, and away from the tornado, that facility was spared.
Texas American Broadcasting sold the station to Region 56 Network, a subsidiary of Lone Star Broadcasting, in 1989; Region 56 was co-owned by the general manager, Phil Hurley, and TDH Capital Corporation. In September 1991, KETK signed on KLSB-TV (channel 19) as a satellite station to serve southern portions of the market that could not receive channel 56's signal (including Nacogdoches). KETK moved its operations to its current location, a former men's clothing store, on Richmond Road at South Loop 323 in Tyler in 1993. Lone Star then sold KETK to Max Television (later Max Media Properties) in 1996. In 1998, the Sinclair Broadcast Group acquired most of the Max Media Properties stations, including KETK. However, in early 1999, Sinclair sold the non-license assets of the station to the Communications Corporation of America, which operated the station via a time brokerage agreement. Sinclair remained the license holder of KETK until 2004 when ComCorp acquired the station outright.
In 2003, Max Media (a company partially related to Max Media Properties) acquired KLSB-TV and converted it into standalone station KYTX, which became a CBS affiliate in April 2004 (the first in the market since KLMG-TV (channel 51, now KFXK-TV) switched to Fox in April 1991). KETK subsequently signed on a low-power translator on UHF channel 53, KLSB-LP (which later changed its call letters to KETK-LP in 2007) to relay its signal to the southern part of the market; the station shut down in 2012. In June 2006, Communications Corporation of America filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Rival CBS affiliate KYTX (channel 19) sparked controversy by publicly announcing the ComCorp bankruptcy on its newscasts, for an entire week. ComCorp said in a press release viewers and staff would see no changes at the station. The company emerged from bankruptcy in late 2007.
On April 24, 2013, the Communications Corporation of America announced the sale of its television stations, including KETK-TV, to Nexstar Broadcasting Group. KFXK and KTPN were sold to Nexstar partner company Mission Broadcasting; in the case of KFXK, that station was sold to Mission to comply with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) duopoly rules. Nexstar continued KFXK's and KLPN's shared services agreement with sister station KETK. The sale was completed on January 1, 2015.
During March 2017, KETK celebrated its 30th anniversary on the air.
Nexstar completed a $4 million renovation of KETK's studio and office facilities in November 2017. A dedication and reception was held on November 16, which included the presence of Nexstar chairman/president/CEO Perry Sook, as well as Leslie Roberts, an anchorwoman who worked for KETK in the late 1980s, among other attendees.
Main article: KYTX
Prior to KETK-TV's sign-on on March 9, 1987, the Jacksonville-based station intended on providing a signal to both the Tyler–Longview and Lufkin-Nacogdoches areas (Nielsen Media Research designates the two areas as a singular market, although television station signals from Tyler and Longview could not reach Lufkin and vice versa due to the distance between these areas). KETK later moved its main studio facilities from Jacksonville to a new complex in Tyler; in 1991, the station arranged to simulcast its programming in east-central Texas, serving southern portions of the market that could not receive KETK's channel 56 signal, on a newly licensed UHF station in Nacogdoches, KLSB-TV (channel 19), which would be operated by KETK-TV under a local marketing agreement. KLSB-TV signed on the air on September 1, 1991; it ran the majority of the KETK program schedule, with the only differences being local commercials, and in some timeslots, local news inserts.
Max Media, a company partially related to former KETK owner Max Media Properties, purchased KLSB-TV in 2003. Upon acquiring the station, Max Media terminated the LMA with the Communications Corporation of America (which bought KETK in 1998) and signed an affiliation agreement with CBS to become the market's first affiliate of that network since KLMG-TV (channel 51, now KFXK-TV) switched to Fox in April 1991. It also leased a building in southeast Tyler that formerly operated as a four-screen movie theater to serve as the station's new studio facilities. That winter, Max filed an application with the FCC to change the station's callsign to KYTX. Channel 19 dropped the KETK simulcast on April 11, 2004, and officially joined CBS the following day on April 12. On April 13, the FCC officially granted the call sign change to KYTX. On June 13, 2004, the station relocated its transmitter facilities farther north of the original transmitter facility to expand its signal to the Tyler and Longview areas, to a new tower located south of New Summerfield.
|Defunct; served as semi-satellite of KETK-TV|
First air date
|September 1, 1991|
(as full-power station KLSB-TV)
(as a low-power station)
Last air date
|September 1, 2009|
(transmitter shut down)
Former call signs
Call sign meaning
|see KETK-TV infobox|
After the conversion of channel 19 to CBS, the Nacogdoches–Lufkin portion of the Tyler–Longview television market was left without over-the-air access to NBC programming. KETK then entered into an LMA to lease programming time on a new low-power UHF station on channel 53 in Lufkin, assuming the former full-power station's calls as KLSB-LP. As with KLSB-TV, the station began simulcasting KETK-TV's full schedule, except for local commercials and inserts into KETK's newscasts, with advertising and news aimed at the Lufkin and Nacogdoches area. The station's call sign was changed to KETK-LP on April 13, 2007.
On September 1, 2009, KETK-LP's transmitter was shut down. However, its programming remained available in the area via cable on Suddenlink Communications, which also carried NBC programming and KETK news simulcasts from the station in high definition. The station had a construction permit to build digital transmitter facilities, with plans to operate a digital signal on UHF channel 27 under the callsign KETK-LD. The FCC canceled both KETK-LP's license and digital construction permit—its digital transmitter facility was never built—at some point in 2011 or 2012.
KETK-TV carries the entire NBC network schedule; however, it delays the network's overnight lineup (consisting of a rebroadcast of the fourth hour of Today and the CNBC program Mad Money) by one hour due to paid programming. It is also one of a handful of NBC stations that carry Days of Our Lives at noon (instead of the network-recommended 1:00 p.m. or alternate 2:00 p.m. timeslots); NBC owned-and-operated station KXAS-TV in the adjacent market of Dallas–Fort Worth has also carried the soap opera in that slot since September 2013. Syndicated programs broadcast by KETK include Dr. Phil, The Doctors, Rachael Ray, and Entertainment Tonight, among others.
In its early years, KETK aired occasional 'community calendar'-type segments called TV-56 Dateline, hosted by the station's public relations director. These consisted of events happening in the station's broadcast area; the segments aired in a short format during commercial breaks. Also during this time, KETK aired 30-minute public affairs shows, usually once or twice on the weekend, called TV-56 Weekly. They were hosted by Nancy Davis, one of KETK's news anchors at the time. The first portion of the show was an interview with a newsmaker or other individual who had local relevance. The latter portion of the program, usually for at least 5 to 10 minutes, was Davis in an office with KETK's then-general manager, Phil Hurley. This portion would involve Davis fielding viewer questions to Hurley about various programming issues regarding either the station or NBC. That segment of the show was patterned after WFAA's long-running Let Me Speak to the Manager / Inside Television program.
KETK-TV presently broadcasts 26½ hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 4½ hours each weekday and two hours each on Saturdays and Sundays). The station also produces the seasonal sports program Friday Football Fever, which airs on Friday nights during the final 15 minutes of the 10:00 p.m. newscast during the high school football season and is hosted by sports director Mike Alzamora. In addition, the station produces 12½ hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 2½ hours each weekday) for Fox-affiliated sister station KFXK-TV.
Newscasts on KETK first went by the name TV-56 News in 1987. There were few airings, mainly at 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. during the week. There were no weekend newscasts at first. The next year, the newscasts took on the name Region 56 News which KETK would use for the next several years. By this time, there were newscasts at not only 6 p.m. and 10 p.m., but also weekdays at 5 p.m., as well as weekends. In recent years, the station has chosen to use the simple KETK News name for its newscasts.
KETK is one of only three former ComCorp stations that produced their newscasts in-house (the others being fellow NBC affiliates KTSM-TV in El Paso and WVLA-TV in Baton Rouge, Louisiana). Due to insufficient funds for most ComCorp stations to produce their own newscasts, KETK served as a hub for the news operations for most of ComCorp's television stations, it produced pre-recorded newscasts for most of its Fox affiliates including Longview-licensed sister station KFXK-TV, KWKT in Waco and its College Station satellite KYLE, and KMSS-TV in Shreveport, Louisiana. Previously, the station also provided pre-recorded newscasts for the Baton Rouge virtual duopoly of WVLA and Fox-affiliated sister WGMB (it produced in-studio news segments for WVLA's evening newscasts from 2009 to 2010, when that station began producing its evening newscasts locally once again following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill; however, WVLA's weekend newscasts were still pre-recorded at the KETK studios).
The station promotes its weather team as having the "Most Powerful Radar in East Texas", which is branded as "KETK Live Doppler Skywatch". Also, KETK is the only station in the market to have four college degreed meteorologists on its weather team. Since its sign-on, KETK has finished a modest second behind market leader KLTV. In 1998, KETK began producing a 9:00 p.m. newscast each weeknight for KFXK under a news share agreement; initially receiving strong ratings, ratings fell after the program's original anchors left channel 56, plus due to logistical problems resulting from delays from Fox Sports programming overruns, that caused the program to be tape delayed to allow KETK to produce its own 10:00 p.m. newscast on schedule; the program was eventually canceled by 2001.
From July 2008 to October 2009, KETK was the solid #2 television news outlet in East Texas. KLTV led the local news ratings by far, with over 70,000 households, while KYTX was a distant third. However, in November 2009, KETK dropped to a distant third place behind both KLTV and KYTX, although KETK's ratings were expected to recover after The Jay Leno Show was dropped by NBC in February 2010. KETK restored a prime time newscast on KFXK on January 28, 2008, with the debut of a half-hour weeknight-only 9:00 p.m. newscast; it subsequently began producing a two-hour weekday morning newscast from 7:00 to 9:00 a.m. for channel 51 in September 2011. On April 23, 2010, KETK became the second television station in the Tyler–Longview market (after KYTX) to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition.
In deleted scenes from the 2009 film Brüno, the title character (played by Sacha Baron Cohen) visits the KETK studios and meets with news director/anchor Neal Barton and sports director Danny Elzner. The two signed releases to appear in the film, expecting to talk about small-town news in the United States. Instead, the interviews conducted by the flamboyant Brüno character drifted towards the topic of homosexuality. The scene culminated with an interview that "Brüno" did with a local white supremacist, who threatened to call the police on him when his behavior became too overtly homosexual.
KETK-TV's digital signal is multiplexed:
|56.1||1080i||16:9||KETK-DT||Main KETK-TV programming / NBC|
On September 8, 2006, KETK launched a second digital subchannel carrying NBC Weather Plus; the national Weather Plus feed was shut down on December 1, 2008. One month later on January 1, 2009, KETK replaced the local feed of Weather Plus with MeTV. In 2011, the subchannel switched to Estrella TV after the affiliation moved to former CW affiliate KCEB (channel 54).
KETK-TV began operating a full-power digital signal on UHF channel 22 on June 17, 2006. The station began testing high definition broadcasts of NBC programming on September 1 of that year, and started airing NBC programming in 1080i HD full-time four days later on September 5.
During the analog television era, the station's UHF channel 56 signal had the designation of having the highest channel allocation of any NBC affiliate. This ended after the high-band UHF channels (52-69) were removed from broadcasting use during the digital television transition on June 12, 2009. There was speculation that between the original transition deadline of February 17, 2009 and the new federally set deadline of June 12, 2009 that KETK would change its on-air station branding to reflect its physical digital channel 22.
However, the analog transmitter failed during the early morning hours of March 27, 2009, due to a malfunction of the cooling system at the transmitter facilities. Because of the cost and time involved that it would have taken to repair the analog transmitter, KETK filed a Notice of Suspension of Operations with the FCC and permanently shut down its analog operations over UHF channel 56 on March 27, 2009. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 22, using PSIP to display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 56, however KETK removed on-air references to its channel position several months after the transition in 2009 and only brands by its call letters.
KETK serves the Tyler–Longview–Lufkin–Nacogdoches market, which includes Smith, Gregg, Wood, Upshur, Franklin, Camp, Rusk, Cherokee, Angelina, Nacogdoches, Houston, San Augustine, and Sabine counties, but with their antenna signal, also includes all or parts of Anderson, Henderson, Van Zandt, Hopkins, Rains, Navarro, and Freestone counties in the Dallas–Fort Worth market, Titus, Morris, Cass, Marion, Panola, and Shelby counties in the Shreveport market, Polk and Trinity counties in the Houston market, and Leon and Madison counties in the Bryan–College Station/Waco–Temple market, although the station is considered "significantly viewed" in Trinity County.