CityRogers, Arkansas
BrandingKNWA Fox 24 (on DT2)
First air date
October 1, 1989; 34 years ago (1989-10-01) (as satellite of KPOM-TV)
Former call signs
KFAA (1989–2004)
Former channel number(s)
  • Analog: 51 (UHF, 1989–2009)
  • Digital: 50 (UHF, 2000–2019)
Call sign meaning
Northwest Arkansas
Technical information[1]
Licensing authority
Facility ID29557
ERP820 kW
HAAT258.7 m (849 ft)
Transmitter coordinates36°24′48″N 93°57′17.4″W / 36.41333°N 93.954833°W / 36.41333; -93.954833
Translator(s)KFTA-DT 24.2 (27.2 UHF) Fort Smith
Public license information

KNWA-TV (channel 51) is a television station licensed to Rogers, Arkansas, United States, serving as the NBC affiliate for Northwest Arkansas and the Arkansas River Valley. It is owned by Nexstar Media Group alongside Fort Smith–licensed Fox affiliate KFTA-TV (channel 24) and Eureka Springs–licensed MyNetworkTV affiliate KXNW (channel 34). The stations share studios on Dickson Street in downtown Fayetteville,[2] with a satellite studio in Rogers. KNWA-TV's transmitter is located southeast of Garfield, Arkansas.

KFTA-TV broadcasts KNWA-TV's NBC programming from its transmitter in unincorporated northeastern Crawford County (south of Artist Point) as one of its subchannels and vice versa.


The station began on October 1, 1989, as KFAA, a satellite of KPOM-TV in Fort Smith.[3] Both stations were owned by Oklahoma City-based Griffin Television. Its sign-on marked the first time that NBC had been seen over-the-air in much of the northern part of the market since KFSM-TV (channel 5) lost the area's NBC affiliation to KPOM in 1983. KPOM only provided Grade B coverage of Fayetteville and could not be seen at all in Rogers and points north. In the early 2000s, KPOM and KFAA began a regional local newscast targeting the Fort Smith and Fayetteville areas, Arkansas NBC News. The newscast was anchored by Don Elkins, Rhonda Justice and Donna Bragg, weather by Steve Gibbs and Rick Katzfey, and sports with Mike Nail. Justice, Bragg, Gibbs, and Nail were all formerly of rival station KHBS (channel 40). The newscast was unable to break into the market successfully however and in 2004, Griffin Television sold KPOM-TV and KFAA to Nexstar.[4] The stations changed their calls to KNWA-TV and KFTA-TV respectively on August 13, 2004, and KNWA became the main station. At the same time, the two stations' operations both were merged in a new studio located in the historic Campbell-Bell building on South Block Avenue in Downtown Fayetteville. KFTA's original studio on Kelley Highway in Fort Smith remained in use as KNWA's Arkansas River Valley bureau.

In April 2006, Nexstar announced that it would sell KFTA to Mission Broadcasting, though it would continue to operate the station under a local marketing agreement with KNWA. Under the plan, KFTA would become the Fox affiliate for the area leaving KNWA as the sole NBC affiliate for Northwest Arkansas. Equity Broadcasting, owner of the Class A Fox-affiliate KPBI-CA, challenged the sale of KFTA to Mission with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Nonetheless, the separation occurred on August 28 while both were under Nexstar ownership. Until the sale of KFTA to Mission was approved, the stations continued to simulcast from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays. KFTA now runs a separate programming schedule from KNWA, even though Nexstar (As of May 19, 2013) still owns both KNWA and KFTA outright. This station took its analog transmitter off-the-air for a few days in mid-August to relocate it to another site for improved coverage.[5]

This did not pose as much of a problem as it may have seemed, given the high penetration of cable and satellite service in this area. During the analog era, KFSM and Arkansas PBS satellite KAFT were the only stations that decently covered the market with a single transmitter. Cable and satellite are all but essential for acceptable television in Northwest Arkansas due to its rugged terrain. For example, Dish Network and DirecTV carried KPBI-CA while it was the Fox affiliate even though those carriers usually do not offer low-power stations. After the split, KPBI-CA was dropped in favor of KFTA. On the other hand, the split improved Fox's coverage and enables high definition Fox programming in this market as KPBI-CA is low-power and does not have a digital transmitter, unlike KNWA and KFTA. According to their FCC filings, both stations have digital transmitters licensed for one million watts each, equivalent to five million watts for an analog UHF transmitter. Thus, their digital coverage areas well exceed the analog coverage areas of both KFTA (2.5 million watts) and especially KNWA.

On December 3, 2018, Nexstar announced it would acquire Chicago-based Tribune Media—which has owned CBS affiliate KFSM-TV and MyNetworkTV affiliate KXNW (channel 34) since December 2013—in an all-cash deal valued at $6.4 billion, including the assumption of Tribune-held outstanding debt. Because KNWA and KFSM both rank among the four highest-rated stations in the Fort Smith–Fayetteville market in total day viewership, and broadcasters are not currently allowed to legally own more than two full-power television stations in a single market, Nexstar may be required to sell either KNWA/KFTA or KFSM/KXNW to another broadcasting company in order to comply with FCC ownership rules and alleviate potential antitrust issues preceding approval of the acquisition. On March 20, 2019, it was announced that Nexstar would keep the KNWA/KFTA duopoly (through an existing satellite station waiver that predated KFTA's conversion into a separately programmed Fox affiliate in 2006) and sell KFSM to McLean, Virginia–based Tegna Inc., as part of the company's sale of nineteen Nexstar- and Tribune-operated stations to Tegna and the E. W. Scripps Company in separate deals worth $1.32 billion. KXNW was not named in the sale, which would effectively result in the formation of a de facto triopoly between KFTA and KNWA. The deal—which would make Nexstar the largest television station operator by total number of stations upon its expected closure late in the third quarter of 2019, pending regulatory approval by the FCC and the U.S. Department of Justice's Antitrust Division—would make the KNWA/KFTA duopoly sister stations to Tribune's Oklahoma City duopoly of NBC affiliate KFOR-TV and independent station KAUT-TV (which, in turn, would result in Nexstar owning stations in every market serving portions of the state of Oklahoma, except for the Tulsa and AdaSherman markets).[6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17] The sale was approved by the FCC on September 16 and was completed on September 19, 2019.

News operation

As of September 2017, KNWA-TV presently broadcasts 19+12 hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 3+12 hours each weekday and one hour each on Saturdays and Sundays). Unlike most NBC-affiliated stations in the Central Time Zone, it does not produce a midday newscast of its own; instead KNWA airs the statewide news program Arkansas Today (which is simulcast on other Nexstar-owned or -managed stations serving Arkansas and border markets including portions of northern Louisiana).

In addition, KNWA produces 13+12 hours of locally produced newscasts each week for Fox-affiliated sister station KFTA (with 3+12 hours each weekday and a half-hour each on Saturdays and Sundays). KNWA may also simulcast long-form severe weather coverage on KFTA-TV in the event that a tornado warning is issued for any county in its viewing area within northwest Arkansas and east-central Oklahoma.

News department history

KPOM and KFAA relaunched a local newscast in 1999. An earlier local broadcast had aired under various titles until 1992. In 2003 after Morris Multimedia sold KARK in Little Rock to Nexstar, the company eventually consolidated most sports operations from that station with KNWA. The two NBC affiliates share certain news resources with some reports filed by KARK personnel occasionally used during KNWA broadcasts. In 2007, the two stations began co-produced a daily newscast at Noon Monday through Friday, Arkansas at Noon, with news anchors in Little Rock and Fayetteville. Eventually, KARK began airing its own broadcast at that time. Since then, this station has not aired a midday newscast.

On April 2, 2012, KNWA debuted a half-hour weekday noon newscast titled Arkansas Today, produced by Little Rock sister station KARK-TV (anchor Mallory Hardin and meteorologist/co-host Greg Dee also appear on KARK's weekday morning newscast); the statewide newscast features news stories filed by reporters from all four Nexstar-owned NBC stations serving Arkansas as well as a KNWA-produced sports segment focusing on University of Arkansas athletics, called Razorback Nation. KNWA also provides a weather insert for northwest Arkansas during the broadcast. In addition to airing on KARK and KNWA, the program is also simulcast on KTAL-TV/ShreveportTexarkana and KTVE/MonroeEl Dorado (the coverage areas of KTVE and KTAL include several counties in southern Arkansas (ten in KTAL's viewing area, fourteen in KTVE's, though both stations primarily serve parts of northern Louisiana and KTAL also serves parts of northeast Texas).[18] On October 24, 2012, KNWA and KFTA started producing its newscast in high definition.[19]

Technical information


KNWA-TV and KFTA-TV broadcast two shared channels (NBC on 51.1 and 24.2 and Fox on 51.2 and 24.1) and two unique diginets each.

Subchannels of KNWA-TV[20]
Channel Res. Aspect Short name Programming
51.1 1080i 16:9 KNWA-DT NBC
51.2 720p KFTA-DT Fox (KFTA-TV)
51.3 480p Laff Laff
51.4 Grit Grit
  Simulcast of subchannels of another station

Analog-to-digital conversion

KNWA-TV discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over UHF channel 51, on June 12, 2009, the official date on 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 50,[21][22] using virtual channel 51.


  1. ^ "Facility Technical Data for KNWA-TV". Licensing and Management System. Federal Communications Commission.
  2. ^ "Contact Us". May 30, 2019.
  3. ^ AP: NBC Affiliates in Arkansas Re-Launch Local News with AP's ENPS Archived August 27, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Nexstar plans to buy Fayetteville's NBC 24/51; Griffin Holdings Co. to sell Fayetteville television station, Arkansas Business (via HighBeam Research), September 8, 2003.
  5. ^ Channel 51 Off Air Archived March 11, 2007, at the Wayback Machine (August 14, 2006)
  6. ^ "Nexstar Media Group Enters into Definitive Agreement to Acquire Tribune Media Company for $6.4 Billion in Accretive Transaction Creating the Nation's Largest Local Television Broadcaster and Local Media Company". Nexstar Media Group. December 3, 2018. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
  7. ^ "Nexstar Media Group Enters Into Definitive Agreement To Acquire Tribune Media Company". Tribune Media. December 3, 2018. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
  8. ^ "Acquisition of Tribune Media Company" (PDF). Nexstar Media Group. December 3, 2018.
  9. ^ Mark K. Miller (December 3, 2018). "Nexstar Buying Tribune Media For $6.4 Billion". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheck Media.
  10. ^ Peter White; Dade Hayes (December 3, 2018). "Nexstar Confirms $4.1B Tribune Media Acquisition To Become Leading Local TV Station Owner". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Media Corporation.
  11. ^ Gerry Smith; Nabila Ahmed; Eric Newcomer (December 3, 2018). "Nexstar to buy WGN owner Tribune Media for $4.1 billion". Chicago Tribune. Tribune Publishing. Bloomberg News.
  12. ^ Arjun Panchadar; Sonam Rai (December 3, 2018). "Nexstar to buy Tribune Media for $4.1 billion". Reuters.
  13. ^ Jon Lafayette (December 3, 2018). "Nexstar Announces Deal to Buy Tribune for $6.4B". Broadcasting & Cable. NewBay Media.
  14. ^ Adam Jacobson (December 3, 2018). "It's Official: Nexstar Takes Tribune In Billion-Dollar Stock Deal". Radio-Television Business Report. Streamline-RBR, Inc.
  15. ^ Harry A. Jessell; Mark K. Miller (December 3, 2018). "Nexstar To Spin Off $1B In Stations". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheck Media.
  16. ^ "Nexstar Selling 19 TVs In 15 Markets For $1.32B". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheckMedia. March 20, 2019. Retrieved March 20, 2019.
  17. ^ Nabila Ahmed; Anousha Sakoui (March 20, 2019). "Nexstar to Sell Stations to Tegna, Scripps for $1.32 Billion". Bloomberg News. Bloomberg, L.P.
  18. ^ Nexstar Launches Statewide Ark. Newscast, TVNewsCheck, April 2, 2012.
  19. ^ "Error". Retrieved August 25, 2016.
  20. ^ "RabbitEars TV Query for KNWA". RabbitEars. Retrieved August 5, 2017.
  21. ^ L. Lamor Williams (February 7, 2009). "Northwest Arkansas' News Source". Archived from the original on February 12, 2009. Retrieved July 16, 2009.
  22. ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on August 29, 2013. Retrieved March 24, 2012.

Further reading