|Channels||Digital: 32 (UHF)|
|Branding||KOLD News 13|
|Owner||Gray Television |
(Gray Television Licensee, LLC)
First air date
|January 13, 1953|
Former call signs
Former channel number(s)
Call sign meaning
|Derived from then-co-owned KOOL-TV in Phoenix|
|HAAT||1,123 m (3,684 ft)|
|Translator(s)||13 (VHF) Tucson|
Public license information
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), which also once housed the Raycom Design Group, an in-house firm that designed graphics packages for Raycom Media's television stations. KOLD-TV's transmitter is located atop Mount Bigelow. The station also operates a fill-in translator on VHF channel 13, whose transmitter is located atop the Tucson Mountains west of Tucson.
Although KOLD-TV's call letters sound like "cold" if pronounced as a word, the station is never referred to in that manner; it is always mentioned on air as "K-O-L-D."
On November 13, 1952, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) granted a construction permit to country singer Gene Autry for VHF channel 13 in Tucson. Two months later, on January 13, 1953, the Old Pueblo Television Company, owned by Autry, signed the station on the air as KOPO-TV, the second television station in Arizona, and first in Tucson. Known as "Lucky 13", KOPO played up the "13" angle, coming on the air at 1:13:13 p.m., the 13th second of the 13th minute of the 13th hour of the 13th day of the year. It was a sister station to KOPO radio (AM 1450, now KTZR; and 98.3 FM, now KOHT). The station originally operated from studio facilities located on West Drachman Street off North Stone Avenue, about a mile north of downtown Tucson.
Channel 13 took the CBS affiliation due to its radio sisters' long affiliation with CBS Radio. It also had a secondary DuMont affiliation. In 1957, the station changed its call letters to KOLD-TV, playing off its sister station, KOOL-TV (now KSAZ-TV in Phoenix). KOOL and KOLD remained sister stations until Autry's Golden West Broadcasters sold off KOLD to Universal Communications, the broadcasting arm of the Detroit-based Evening News Association, on May 21, 1969.
Universal Communications was acquired by the Gannett Company as part of Gannett's purchase of the Evening News Association in August 1985.[nb 1] Gannett had owned the Tucson Citizen since 1977, and FCC regulations of the time forced Gannett to sell KOLD along with KTVY (now KFOR-TV) in Oklahoma City and WALA-TV in Mobile, Alabama to Knight Ridder Broadcasting on November 15, 1985; the sale was approved on January 13, 1986 and finalized later that month. The News-Press & Gazette Company acquired KOLD on June 26, 1989, when Knight Ridder bowed out of broadcasting.
On September 7, 1993, Atlanta-based New Vision Television bought NPG's entire television station group of the time, which included CBS affiliates KOLD, WJTV in Jackson, Mississippi and its semi-satellite WHLT in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, NBC affiliates WSAV-TV in Savannah, Georgia and WECT in Wilmington, North Carolina, and ABC affiliate KSFY-TV in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. On December 21, 1994, New Vision sold all of its stations to another Atlanta-based company, Ellis Communications (New Vision later rebuilt with smaller-market stations, and later resold the group to LIN TV). Ellis, in turn, was sold the next year to a media group funded by the Retirement Systems of Alabama, who purchased two additional broadcasting groups (AFLAC's broadcasting unit and Federal Broadcasting) several months later. That same year, KOLD relocated its longtime studios on West Drachman Street to their current location on North Business Park Drive on the northwest side of Tucson. The three groups merged in 1997 to form Raycom Media.
During 2011, the Raycom station Web sites were redesigned to a uniform format (previously, the Raycom station sites were a hodgepodge of different formats that were inherited from their previous owners). Raycom was once Worldnow's largest client in number of station Web sites, but was dwarfed in total market coverage in Spring 2012 by Fox Television Stations, which relaunched its Web sites during that time.
On November 15, 2011, Dallas-based broadcasting company Belo Corporation, then-owner of local Fox affiliate KMSB and MyNetworkTV affiliate KTTU, announced that it would enter into a shared services agreement 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 Phoenix independent station KTVK to KOLD. KOLD also took over operations of KMSB's website. Though FCC rules disallow common ownership of more than two stations in the same market, combined SSA/duopoly operations are permissible (with such operations existing in Youngstown, Ohio, Topeka, Kansas, Duluth, Minnesota, Nashville and Honolulu).
On June 25, 2018, yet another Atlanta-based business, Gray Television, announced it had reached an agreement with Raycom to merge their respective broadcasting assets (consisting of Raycom's 63 existing owned-and/or-operated television stations, including KOLD-TV), and Gray's 93 television stations) under Gray's corporate umbrella. The cash-and-stock merger transaction valued at $3.6 billion – in which Gray shareholders would acquire preferred stock currently held by Raycom – will result in KOLD-TV becoming the first station that Gray had ever acquired in Arizona. The arrangements with KMSB and KTTU would remain unchanged. The sale was approved on December 20, and was completed on January 2, 2019.
In addition to the CBS lineup, syndicated programs currently airing on KOLD-TV include The Doctors, Tamron Hall, Game Time with Boomer Esiason, and Entertainment Tonight. Two of the programs are distributed by CBS' corporate cousin, CBS Media Ventures. It was formerly Tucson's home of The Jerry Springer Show, and in 1998, was one of numerous stations that refused to carry the episode "I Married a Horse", which led to it being pulled before airing.
The station has had an arguably more confusing schedule than most CBS affiliates; as an example, it ran The Price Is Right on a one-day delay when it initially broadcast the current version of the show, and at one point it ran many of CBS' other daytime programs out of pattern. In 1971, KOLD picked up the Tucson rights for the syndicated version of The Lawrence Welk Show, which ran on KGUN-TV from that station's launch in 1956 until ABC canceled it late in the 1970–71 TV season. KOLD often preempted the 7 p.m. MT or even the 7:30 MT portion of the CBS Saturday night line-up in order to air the Welk show; CBS pressured the station to air it at 6 p.m. in the later years of the Welk show's syndicated run. Following Welk's retirement (and the subsequent cancellation of his show) in 1982 (ten years before his death at age 89), KOLD scrambled to find a replacement for his old program, of which the OETA-produced reruns currently air locally on KUAT; the replacements ranged from Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert's first post-PBS movie review series to syndicated reruns of Roseanne and Seinfeld; KOLD has run the hour-long weekend edition of the syndicated entertainment newsmagazine Entertainment Tonight at 6 p.m. since September 5, 2009.
Currently,[when?] KOLD-TV broadcasts a total of 29½ hours of local newscasts each week (with 5½ hours each weekday and one hour each on Saturdays and Sundays).
On August 30, 2010, KOLD became the second station in Tucson to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition.
On November 15, 2011, KMSB owner Belo Corporation announced that due to a lack of advertising revenue, that in February 2012, it will enter into a news share agreement with KOLD and shut down KMSB's in-house news department (KMSB had previously partnered with local NBC affiliate KVOA as well as with Phoenix independent station KTVK for its news operations). KOLD took over production of KMSB's nightly 9 p.m. newscast, as well as launched a two-hour 7-9 a.m. newscast on weekday mornings on that station. The KMSB newscasts were upgraded to high definition at that time. KMSB and KOLD also introduced a shared website, Tucson News Now. The website was later rebranded to focus on KOLD and references to Tucson News Now were dropped.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|13.1||1080i||16:9||KOLD DT||Main KOLD-TV programming / CBS|
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. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 32, using PSIP to display KOLD-TV's virtual channel as 13 on digital television receivers.
Oddly, a 13.3 subchannel also exists which formerly carried until about April 2011 a message apologizing for the discontinuation of The Tube Music Network, which ended operations in late October 2007. On August 15, 2011, KOLD-TV added MeTV to subchannel 13.2 and moved its "News 13 Now" programming to the previous vacant 13.3. In January 2012, KOLD-TV dropped the 13.3 subchannel, discontinuing the News 13 Now service.
While KOLD's analog signal originated from a transmitter site in the Tucson Mountains west of downtown, KOLD's digital transmitter is at the Mount Bigelow transmitter site to the northeast of the city.
KOLD-TV applied for and later was granted authorization for a fill-in digital translator on its pre-analog channel 13 to benefit viewers who live in certain rugged terrain areas that are having difficulty receiving the signal on channel 32.