KOLD-TV
In silver on a red background, a box with letters "KOLD" in a sans serif. To the right, a silver box with the blue lettering "NEWS" above a blue box with a CBS eye and silver numeral "13".
Channels
BrandingKOLD News 13
(call sign letters pronounced individually)
Programming
Affiliations
Ownership
Owner
History
First air date
February 1, 1953
(69 years ago)
 (1953-02-01)
Former call signs
KOPO-TV (1953–1957)
Former channel number(s)
  • Analog:
  • 13 (VHF, 1953–2009)
DuMont (secondary, 1953–1956)
Call sign meaning
Derived from then-co-owned KOOL-TV in Phoenix
Technical information
Licensing authority
FCC
Facility ID48663
ERP108 kW
HAAT1,123 m (3,684 ft)
Transmitter coordinates32°24′56″N 110°42′52″W / 32.41556°N 110.71444°W / 32.41556; -110.71444
Translator(s)13 (VHF) Tucson
Links
Public license information
Websitewww.kold.com

KOLD-TV (channel 13) is a television station in Tucson, Arizona, United States, affiliated with CBS. It is owned by Gray Television, which provides certain services to Fox affiliate KMSB (channel 11) and MyNetworkTV affiliate KTTU (channel 18) under a shared services agreement (SSA) with Tegna Inc. The three stations share studios on North Business Park Drive on the northwest side of Tucson (near the Casas Adobes neighborhood). KOLD-TV's primary transmitter is atop Mount Bigelow, with a secondary transmitter atop the Tucson Mountains west of the city to fill in gaps in coverage.

Established in February 1953, KOLD-TV is the second-oldest television station in the state and was the first on air in Tucson. It has been affiliated with CBS for its entire history. The station produces local newscasts that, since the 2000s, have been competitive in the local ratings.

History

Construction and Autry-Chauncey ownership

In the wake of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) lifting its freeze on the award of new television stations, three Tucson radio stations applied for three channels. The Old Pueblo Broadcasting Company, owner of KOPO (1450 AM) and owned by Gene Autry and Tom Chauncey, filed for channel 13 without opposition on June 21 and was granted a construction permit to build on November 12.[1][2] KOPO-TV was built relatively quickly: construction got underway in early December on an interim transmitter facility mounted on the AM radio tower, as 500-foot (150 m) towers were not yet available,[3] and on a television addition to the KOPO radio facility on West Drachman Street.[4]

On January 13, 1953, at 1:13:13 p.m., the KOPO-TV transmitter was turned on.[5] No programming was aired, as construction on the remainder of the television addition to the building was still in progress,[6] until February 1, when the station began to carry CBS and DuMont Television Network programming. The day before, a dedicatory program was broadcast from the studios.[7] Network presentations had to be aired from kinescopes until a coaxial cable hookup was completed in September to be shared by KOPO-TV and new station KVOA-TV.[8]

KOPO radio and television became KOLD radio and television on April 30, 1957.[1] The KOLD call letters had been used by the Autry station in Yuma until it was sold; that outlet became KOFA and closed in 1963. (The designation also paired well with KOOL radio and television in Phoenix, which was commonly owned, and as was done in Phoenix, the phones were answered "It's KOLD in Tucson".[9]) The main transmitter was moved to Mount Bigelow in 1961, simultaneously with KVOA-TV; KGUN-TV had been built on the mountain five years prior.[10]

Evening News, Knight Ridder, and News-Press and Gazette ownership

In December 1968, Autry and Chauncey announced the sale of KOLD-TV, separate from the radio station, for $3.8 million to the Universal Communications Corporation, the broadcasting arm of the Detroit-based Evening News Association.[11] The FCC approved of the deal in 1969, though it required the E. W. Scripps Trust to divest itself of its holding in the Evening News Association, as Scripps-Howard Broadcasting owned four VHF stations and Evening News now would own two (KOLD-TV and WWJ-TV in Detroit).[12] The commission tweaked the ruling to allow Scripps to retain an interest of one percent.[13] The radio station reverted to its former KOPO designation.[14]

The Gannett Company purchased the Evening News Association on September 5, 1985, for $717 million,[15][16] thwarting a $566 million hostile takeover bid by L.P. Media Inc., owned by television producer Norman Lear and media executive A. Jerrold Perenchio.[17] Gannett could not retain the Tucson television station because it already owned the Tucson Citizen newspaper and its signal overlapped with KPNX in the Phoenix area;[18] it would spin off KOLD-TV, along with KTVY in Oklahoma City and WALA-TV in Mobile, Alabama, to Knight Ridder Broadcasting for $160 million.[19][20][21]

Knight Ridder subsequently announced in October 1988 their intent to sell their station group to help reduce a $929 million debt load[22] and finance a $353 million acquisition of online information provider Dialog Information Services.[23] The News-Press & Gazette Company (NPG) acquired KOLD on June 26, 1989, spending $18 million.[24] It implemented budget cuts in the newsroom, which was wracked by employee turnover as a result.[25] NPG also moved KOLD from Mount Bigelow to the Tucson Mountains west of the city; this improved reception in some parts of the city that had terrain blockages but affected as many as 15 percent of the station's viewers, notably in outlying areas such as Benson, Arizona, and created signal ingress issues for cable subscribers.[26][27][28]

Turnaround

In 1993, New Vision Television, a new broadcast station group based in Lansing, Michigan, bought NPG's entire television station group of the time, which included KOLD and stations in five other markets.[29] New Vision took over before the end of the year and immediately made moves to shore up flagging employee morale at KOLD. In addition to a new general manager, New Vision began planning for a new facility on Tucson's northwest side with nearly twice as much space as the Drachman facility, which the station had outgrown.[30] The new facility, outfitted with a news studio called the "Newsplex", debuted in late 1994, before New Vision sold its stations to Ellis Communications in 1995; Ellis was in turn folded into Raycom Media in 1997.[28] Raycom would house its centralized design operation, Raycom Design Group, in Tucson.[31]

Shared services agreement with KMSB and KTTU

On November 15, 2011, the Belo Corporation, then-owner of local Fox affiliate KMSB and MyNetworkTV affiliate KTTU, announced that it would enter into a shared services agreement (SSA) with Raycom Media beginning in February 2012, resulting in KOLD taking over the two stations' operations and moving their advertising sales department to the KOLD studios. All remaining positions at KMSB and KTTU, including news, engineering and production, were eliminated, and master control operations moved from Belo's KTVK in Phoenix to KOLD. Though FCC rules disallow common ownership of more than two stations in the same market, combined SSA/duopoly operations are permissible.[32]

Sale to Gray Television

In 2018, Raycom Media was acquired by Gray Television. The $3.6 billion transaction gave Gray its first station in Arizona. The arrangements with KMSB and KTTU remained unchanged.[33][34][35][36] The sale was approved on December 20 of that year[37] and was completed on January 2, 2019.[38]

News operation

Behind-the-scenes at KOLD-TV with Ann Kirkpatrick as a guest.
Behind-the-scenes at KOLD-TV with Ann Kirkpatrick as a guest.

Originally, local news programming for KOPO-TV/KOLD-TV was provided by KOOL-TV in Phoenix.[9] However, by the 1960s, the station was leading the news ratings in the Tucson market, a status it would hold until the late 1970s, when KVOA took the lead.[39] The station continued in second or third place for the next quarter-century, reaching a nadir under News-Press & Gazette ownership. Budget cuts meant outdated equipment that broke down,[28] while a series of anchors were fired and replaced with cheaper, entry-level talent. Vic Caputo, who had spent seven years at channel 13, was released by his contract in a decision he attributed to the owners' "money crunch".[40] NPG fired sports anchor Kevin McCabe a day before Christmas[27] in a dispute that led to a lawsuit over severance pay.[41] Weatherman Pat Evans was told that there was a "big plan" for him, but when he asked, they would not reveal it; he declined to sign a new contract and took a new job in Sacramento, California.[25]

In the late 1990s, KOLD-TV became Tucson's first station to operate a news helicopter.[42][43] Despite these improvements, newscast ratings continued to languish far behind the other two major stations, with channel 13 drawing half as many news viewers.[44]

However, the 2000s would change that picture. Ratings improved, and the station won its first and (to date) only Alfred I. duPont–Columbia University Award, given in 2001 to Chip Yost for a story about exploding fuel tanks in police cars.[45] By 2004, KOLD had pulled ahead of KVOA in all evening timeslots in the 25–54 demo, a feat which had not occurred in Tucson in 25 years.[46] During this time, KOLD-TV also produced a 9 p.m. local newscast for KWBA-TV from 2003 to 2005.[47] Not all were happy: anchor Randy Garsee was fired in 2006 after sending an email to all employees criticizing the news director for "micromanaging".[48]

As part of taking over KMSB's operations, KOLD-TV took over its local 9 p.m. newscast and added a weekday morning newscast, with the existing KMSB news team laid off.[49][50] KMSB and KOLD also introduced a shared website, originally branded Tucson News Now.[51]

In 2022, Gray introduced new 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. newscasts for KOLD.[52]

Technical information

Subchannels

The station's digital signal is multiplexed:

Subchannels of KOLD-TV[53]
Channel Video Aspect Short name Programming
13.1 1080i 16:9 KOLD DT Main KOLD-TV programming / CBS
13.2 480i Me TV MeTV
13.3 Circle Circle
13.4 KOLDDT4 Defy TV

Analog-to-digital transition

KOLD-TV discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over VHF channel 13, on June 12, 2009, as part of the federally mandated transition from analog to digital television.[54] The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 32.[55]

While KOLD's analog signal originated from a transmitter site in the Tucson Mountains west of downtown, KOLD's primary digital transmitter is at the Mount Bigelow transmitter site to the northeast of the city, where the major Tucson stations built a common digital transmission facility in 2003.[56] The Tucson Mountains site was then converted to a digital replacement translator on channel 13 to provide service to the Catalina Foothills.[57]

References

  1. ^ a b FCC History Cards for KOLD-TV
  2. ^ "2 TV Stations Authorized in Tucson". Arizona Daily Star. Tucson, Arizona. November 14, 1952. p. 1A, 12A. Archived from the original on June 25, 2022. Retrieved June 25, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  3. ^ Harrington, Norman (December 4, 1952). "Construction Near On TV; One Station Readies Tower". Tucson Daily Citizen. Tucson, Arizona. p. 29. Archived from the original on June 25, 2022. Retrieved June 25, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  4. ^ "Permit for TV Given to KCNA". Arizona Daily Star. Tucson, Arizona. December 19, 1952. p. 8A. Archived from the original on June 25, 2022. Retrieved June 25, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  5. ^ "KOPO-TV Airs First Telecast With No. 13 In Starring Role". Tucson Daily Citizen. Tucson, Arizona. January 14, 1953. p. 20. Archived from the original on June 25, 2022. Retrieved June 25, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  6. ^ Harrington, Norman (January 12, 1953). "KOPO-TV Expects To Have Most Powerful Station: Feb. 1 Is Set For First Local Casts". Tucson Daily Citizen. Tucson, Arizona. p. 21. Archived from the original on June 25, 2022. Retrieved June 25, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  7. ^ "Sunday To See KOPO-TV Debut: Columbia Program Will Inaugurate Start of Television Here". Arizona Daily Star. Tucson, Arizona. January 31, 1953. p. 2A. Archived from the original on June 25, 2022. Retrieved June 25, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  8. ^ "Cable Will Mean More Shows". Tucson Daily Citizen. Tucson, Arizona. September 26, 1953. p. 24. Archived from the original on June 25, 2022. Retrieved June 25, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  9. ^ a b Turner, Tom (June 25, 1995). "Tucson TV: KOLD". Arizona Daily Star. Tucson, Arizona. p. 10-I. Archived from the original on June 25, 2022. Retrieved June 25, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
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  11. ^ "KOLD-TV Sold To Detroit Firm". Tucson Daily Citizen. Tucson, Arizona. December 11, 1968. p. 27. Archived from the original on June 25, 2022. Retrieved June 25, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  12. ^ "$4.1 Million Tag: KOLD-TV Sale Given Approval". Arizona Daily Star. Tucson, Arizona. Associated Press. May 29, 1969. p. 2A. Archived from the original on June 25, 2022. Retrieved June 25, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
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  19. ^ Mary Jo Nelson (November 16, 1985). "Gannett Sells KTVY To Knight-Ridder". The Daily Oklahoman. Retrieved October 2, 2017.
  20. ^ "Knight-Ridder agrees to purchase KTVY-TV". Journal Record. October 16, 1985. ProQuest 258986810 – via ProQuest.
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  24. ^ "KOLD-TV purchase price $18 million, says buyer". Arizona Daily Star. Tucson, Arizona. February 24, 1989. p. 17B. Archived from the original on June 25, 2022. Retrieved June 25, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  25. ^ a b Sorenson, Dan (March 29, 1990). "Lean times at KOLD". Tucson Citizen. Tucson, Arizona. pp. 1B, 3B. Archived from the original on June 25, 2022. Retrieved June 25, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  26. ^ Huff, Dan (March 14, 1991). "Southeast Ariz. man irate about loss of KOLD signal". Arizona Daily Star. Tucson, Arizona. p. 4B. Archived from the original on June 25, 2022. Retrieved June 25, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  27. ^ a b Bronson, Peter (April 4, 1991). "Channel 13's unlucky new signal is not good news". Tucson Citizen. Tucson, Arizona. p. 13A. Archived from the original on June 25, 2022. Retrieved June 25, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  28. ^ a b c Turner, Tom (May 3, 1995). "KOLD's new look: Executive foresees bright future". Arizona Daily Star. Tucson, Arizona. p. 1D, 3D. Archived from the original on June 25, 2022. Retrieved June 25, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  29. ^ Gary, Roderick (July 9, 1993). "Broadcast group buys KOLD-TV, 7 other stations". Arizona Daily Star. Tucson, Arizona. p. 8B. Archived from the original on June 25, 2022. Retrieved June 25, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  30. ^ Cermak, Frank (January 10, 1994). "KOLD's management eager to upgrade station's facilities". Arizona Daily Star. Tucson, Arizona. p. 4B, 6B. Archived from the original on June 25, 2022. Retrieved June 25, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
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  33. ^ "GRAY AND RAYCOM TO COMBINE IN A $3.6 BILLION TRANSACTION". Raycom Media (Press release). June 25, 2018. Archived from the original on June 25, 2018. Retrieved October 6, 2018.
  34. ^ Miller, Mark K. (June 25, 2018). "Gray To Buy Raycom For $3.6 Billion". TVNewsCheck. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
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  40. ^ Henry, Bonnie (September 30, 1989). "KOLD and anchor Vic Caputo reach a parting of the ways". Arizona Daily Star. Tucson, Arizona. p. 7B. Archived from the original on June 25, 2022. Retrieved June 25, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  41. ^ "McCabe sues KOLD for severance pay". Tucson Citizen. Tucson, Arizona. April 19, 1990. p. 1D. Archived from the original on June 25, 2022. Retrieved June 25, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  42. ^ Abbott, Jim (April 12, 2000). "WKMG hires new general manager". The Orlando Sentinel. Orlando, Florida. p. B-1. Archived from the original on June 25, 2022. Retrieved June 25, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  43. ^ Bailey, Rob (February 21, 2001). "Channel 13 opts to ditch helicopter it touted heavily". Arizona Daily Star. Tucson, Arizona. p. B4. Archived from the original on June 25, 2022. Retrieved June 25, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
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  45. ^ "KOLD reporter wins award for TV news series". Arizona Daily Star. Tucson, Arizona. Associated Press. December 21, 2001. p. B5. Retrieved June 25, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  46. ^ Hatfield, David (May 2, 2004). "KVOA falls to KOLD in news race". Arizona Daily Star. Tucson, Arizona. p. E1, E3. Archived from the original on June 25, 2022. Retrieved June 25, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  47. ^ White, Erin (December 11, 2005). "WB News at 9 signing off after Thursday". Arizona Daily Star. Tucson, Arizona. p. E6. Archived from the original on June 25, 2022. Retrieved June 25, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  48. ^ "KOLD anchor says he was fired for email". Arizona Daily Star. Tucson, Arizona. October 6, 2006. p. 1. Archived from the original on June 25, 2022. Retrieved June 25, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  49. ^ "Belo Shuts Down KMSB News Operations; Dozens of Layoffs Expected". TVSpy. November 15, 2011. Archived from the original on November 16, 2011.
  50. ^ "Fox 11 to lay off news staff, cancel newscast in Feb". TucsonSentinel.com. Archived from the original on June 25, 2022. Retrieved January 28, 2020.
  51. ^ "Answering Your Questions about Tucson News Now". tucsonnewsnow.com. Raycom Media. Archived from the original on May 18, 2012. Retrieved February 3, 2012.
  52. ^ "KOLD Adds 9 a.m. And 3 p.m. Newscasts". TVNewsCheck. August 31, 2022. Retrieved September 1, 2022.
  53. ^ "RabbitEars query for KOLD-TV". www.rabbitears.info. Archived from the original on May 26, 2019. Retrieved June 24, 2022.
  54. ^ Villarreal, Phil (June 13, 2009). "Nearly all locals prepared for digital TV". Arizona Daily Star. Tucson, Arizona. p. A11, A12. Archived from the original on June 25, 2022. Retrieved June 25, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  55. ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and Second Rounds" (PDF). Federal Communications Commission. May 23, 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 29, 2013. Retrieved August 29, 2021.
  56. ^ Abeyta, Oscar (July 4, 2003). "Mt. Bigelow blaze threatening to darken local TVs". Tucson Citizen. Tucson, Arizona. p. 4A. Archived from the original on June 25, 2022. Retrieved June 25, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  57. ^ "Request for Special Temporary Authority". FCC Consolidated Database System. February 27, 2009. Archived from the original on June 25, 2022. Retrieved June 25, 2022.

Notes