KTHV
A shiny silver "T H V" in a sans serif next to a blue 11 in a sans serif and the CBS eye.
Channels
BrandingTHV 11
Programming
Affiliations
Ownership
Owner
History
First air date
November 27, 1955
(68 years ago)
 (1955-11-27)
Former channel number(s)
  • Analog: 11 (VHF, 1955–2009)
Call sign meaning
Derived from KTHS radio
Technical information[1]
Licensing authority
FCC
Facility ID2787
ERP55 kW
HAAT518.7 m (1,701.8 ft)
Transmitter coordinates34°47′57″N 92°30′0″W / 34.79917°N 92.50000°W / 34.79917; -92.50000
Links
Public license information
Websitewww.thv11.com

KTHV (channel 11) is a television station in Little Rock, Arkansas, United States, affiliated with CBS. The station is owned by Tegna Inc. and maintains studios on South Izard Street in downtown Little Rock and a transmitter atop Shinall Mountain, near the Chenal Valley section of the city.

KTHV was the third of Little Rock's major network affiliates to begin broadcasting, going on air in November 1955. It was built by the Arkansas Television Company, a consortium of investors including the Arkansas Democrat and radio station KTHS; it became the full-time CBS affiliate for the market in April 1956. Despite a major change in control of the company in 1977 including the hiring of a successful general manager, KTHV remained deep in third place in its local news ratings. The station had competent news talent but was hampered by a low budget for the news department.

The Gannett Company acquired KTHV from the Arkansas Television Company in 1994 and began a years-long revamp of the news operation, including the addition of new equipment and talent and a rebranding as "Today's THV". The change was successful in lifting the station out of third place in local news for the first time in 30 years, with the station soon trading first place with KATV.

History

Arkansas Television Company ownership

The Arkansas Television Company, a consortium of various equity interests including KTHS (1090 AM), then located in Hot Springs; Radio Broadcasting Inc., a subsidiary of The Shreveport Times newspaper in Louisiana; the Arkansas Democrat Company; Clyde E. Lowry; and the National Equity Life Insurance Company of Little Rock, filed in July 1952 with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for the construction permit to build a new station on channel 4.[2] In February 1953, however, Arkansas Television Company changed its application from channel 4 to channel 11, an action that left station KARK alone in seeking channel 4.[3] The field of competing applicants for the channel slowly winnowed. In August 1953, the Little Rock Television Company pulled out so its lead shareholder, J. D. Wrather, could focus on an application he had filed in Corpus Christi, Texas.[4] Arkansas Telecasters withdrew on October 8, 1954, believing that its move would expedite the establishment of the station.[5] The withdrawal left Arkansas Television Company unopposed, and the FCC granted a construction permit for the station on January 4, 1955.[6]

KTHV began broadcasting on November 27, 1955. It served as an affiliate of CBS and ABC until April 1, 1956, when it became the exclusive CBS station as KATV's network affiliation contract expired.[6] It provisionally occupied studio space in the KTHS building on Main Street until a new two-story facility housing KTHS and KTHV at Eighth and Izard streets were completed in March 1956.[7][8]

Ownership in the Arkansas Television Company changed in 1977 as the result of two transactions. In May, the Democrat Company—which had sold the newspaper of the same name to WEHCO Media in 1974—acquired shares from Lowry's estate. Three months later, Radio Broadcasting sold its 42-percent interest to several stockholders as well as new KTHV general manager Robert L. Brown Sr. after Gannett acquired The Shreveport Times. With these transactions, the Arkansas Television Company became fully owned by Arkansas interests.[9] The key players were Stanley Berry and Marcus George, who were executors of the stock eventually held by the K. A. Engel Trust, set up by the former owner of the Democrat.[10]

The new management was led by Brown, who had set up KTHV's strong competition in the past. He had hired many of the market's most popular TV personalities when he ran KARK-TV in the late 1960s and early 1970s prior to being promoted by Combined Communications to the position of general manager at KPNX in Phoenix, Arizona. Brown hoped to reduce turnover in personnel by raising its traditionally lower salaries and pull the station out of its status as a distant third behind KATV and a dominant KARK; one joke circulated that the station was in fourth place, even though Little Rock only had three commercial TV stations.[11]

However, under Brown, KTHV never achieved the desired improvement, remaining a distant third in local news in Little Rock, though it was slightly more competitive in the Little Rock metro area as opposed to the full area of dominant influence.[12] By 1990, it was the only one of the three major stations without a local newscast at 6 a.m. or 5 p.m.[13]

Gannett acquisition

Rumors began to circulate in August 1994 that Gannett was about to buy KTHV; the deal would mark a return to the city for the company, which in addition to once owning KARK-TV shuttered the Arkansas Gazette in 1991. KTHV management denied the station had been sold but noted that interest had picked up in a purchase, with more suitors in six months than the preceding six years;[14] the deal was not officially announced until late September and consisted of a $27 million stock swap.[10] It was also a moneymaker, with no debt and making an estimated $6.2 million to $6.8 million in revenue a year.[15] At the time, KTHV made Little Rock Gannett's second-smallest market, behind Austin, Texas, which had higher revenue.[15] When Gannett took over on December 1, 1994, general manager and minority owner Bob Brown immediately retired; he was 68, and Gannett had a mandatory retirement policy at 65. He was replaced by Paul Trelstad, who had been general sales manager of KPNX.[16]

At left, in navy blue in a geometric sans serif on two lines, the words Today's and T H V, with T H V bolder and larger. To the right on an orange gradient box with an angled top is a vertically slanted 11, the left numeral 1 extending slightly to the edge. A yellow CBS eye sits in the lower right corner.
KTHV's Today's THV logo, used from November 1995 to February 2013.

Gannett's first priority was to turn around the station's newscasts, which had been in third place for decades. Despite competent newsgathering and talent, the lack of resources for the newsroom resulted in a product few watched. Gannett began investing in needed technological upgrades to bring KTHV up to par.[17] From Trelstad's office, he could see a sign of another company, "Today's Office", on a nearby building. That got him thinking about a station in Milwaukee that had added "Today's" to its branding. The resulting rebrand to "Today's THV", implemented despite a negative response from a Gannett executive, also reduced call letter misspellings that brought KTHV closer to KATV.[18] Other changes included new weekend sports coverage and a new male anchor, Larry Audas, to be paired with station stalwart Anne Jansen.[18]

On March 1, 1997, KTHV chief meteorologist Ed Buckner went on the air to cover a significant tornado outbreak that caused damage to much of Arkansas and produced destructive tornadoes. The coverage of the storm by Buckner and Tom Brannon, aided by an investment in Doppler weather radar,[19] was a turning point for the station.[20][21][22] At the same time, KARK pivoted to a tabloid news approach which caused viewers to defect to KTHV.[20] Ratings began to rise in 1997,[21] and in April 1999, KTHV surpassed an ailing KARK at 10 p.m. to pull into second place in late news for the first time in nearly 30 years. The event was cause for celebration in the KTHV studios, where signs and posters with the number 2 exclaimed the station's position.[23]

KTHV continued to strengthen its hand when former morning radio DJ Craig O'Neill became the station's new evening sportscaster in 2000.[22] In February 2001, KTHV had an outright win at 10 p.m., the first time KATV had not been in first place in a decade;[20] however, channel 7 had the stronger early evening newscasts.[24] KTHV and KATV continued to fight at 10 p.m. and in mornings through the 2000s,[25][26] though KATV had regained the lead in both time slots by 2012,[27] leaving KTHV second in ratings and revenue.[28]

On April 6, 2009, KTHV expanded its 6 p.m. newscast to one hour with the addition of a half-hour newscast at 6:30 p.m., the only such newscast in the market at the time.[29] On April 3, 2010, the station debuted a two-hour Saturday morning newscast, competing with KATV.[30]

A woman holds a Today's T H V-labeled microphone out to a man in a United States Navy uniform
Former KTHV reporter Faith Abubey during a live television broadcast on May 30, 2010.

On September 13, 2010, KTHV moved its weekday morning newscast to 4:30 a.m., expanding it to 2½ hours and becoming the first television station in Arkansas to start its weekday morning newscast before 5 a.m.[31] KTHV was also first in the market and the state with local high definition newscasts, which debuted that December.[32] The station's branding was amended (along with the introduction of a new logo) in February 2013, being revised to "THV11".[28]

On June 29, 2015, Gannett's broadcasting division split from the newspaper division and renamed its broadcasting and digital divisions under the Tegna name (KTHV was included in the transaction to Tegna).[33] In 2019, a new news set debuted as well as two new programs: a refreshed morning newscast, Wake Up Central, and an evening lifestyle program, 630 Central.[34]

Notable former on-air staff

Technical information

Subchannels

The station's signal is multiplexed:

Subchannels of KTHV[38]
Channel Res. Aspect Short name Programming
11.1 1080i 16:9 KTHV-DT Main KTHV programming / CBS
11.2 480i CourtTV Court TV
11.3 Crime True Crime Network
11.4 Quest Quest
11.5 OPEN blank
11.6 Crimes True Crime Network
11.7 Scripps News
11.8 Shop LC

Analog-to-digital conversion

In April 2002, KTHV became the first television station in the Little Rock market to broadcast a digital television signal.[39] It was also the first station to begin broadcasting a second subchannel, in 2006.[40] The analog channel on VHF channel 11 ceased regular programming 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 VHF channel 12, using virtual channel 11.[41][42] The analog signal briefly continued to operate as a "nightlight" station to provide transition assistance as part of the SAFER Act.[43]

References

  1. ^ "Facility Technical Data for KTHV". Licensing and Management System. Federal Communications Commission.
  2. ^ "Second Little Rock Company Asks TV Permit From FCC". Arkansas Gazette. July 9, 1952. p. 8A. Archived from the original on July 5, 2023. Retrieved July 5, 2023.
  3. ^ "Arkansans Amend TV Station Petition To Seek Channel 11". Arkansas Gazette. June 18, 1953. p. 1B. Archived from the original on July 5, 2023. Retrieved July 5, 2023.
  4. ^ "TV Channel Fight Reduced To 2-way Affair". Arkansas Gazette. United Press. August 28, 1953. p. 8. Archived from the original on July 5, 2023. Retrieved July 5, 2023.
  5. ^ "Channel 11 Applicant Unopposed". Arkansas Democrat. Associated Press. October 9, 1954. p. 2. Archived from the original on July 5, 2023. Retrieved July 5, 2023.
  6. ^ a b "KTHV, Channel 11, Goes on Air Today". Arkansas Gazette. November 27, 1955. p. 12A. Archived from the original on July 5, 2023. Retrieved July 5, 2023.
  7. ^ "New Television Station Goes on Air in Two Weeks". Arkansas Gazette. November 13, 1955. p. 3C. Archived from the original on July 5, 2023. Retrieved July 5, 2023.
  8. ^ "Ultra-Modern KTHV-KTHS Studios Open Today for Public Inspection". Arkansas Democrat. May 20, 1956. p. 9D. Archived from the original on July 5, 2023. Retrieved July 5, 2023.
  9. ^ "$3.3 Million Sale Makes TV Firm Locally Owned". Arkansas Gazette. August 24, 1977. p. 8A. Archived from the original on July 5, 2023. Retrieved July 5, 2023.
  10. ^ a b Donald, Leroy (September 30, 1994). "$27 million puts Gannett at controls of Channel 11". Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. p. 1A.
  11. ^ Hays, Steele (July 6, 1977). "New KTHV president: 'I've stacked deck against myself'". Arkansas Democrat. pp. 1A, 20A. Archived from the original on July 9, 2023. Retrieved July 9, 2023.
  12. ^ Meins, Jan (September 9, 1984). "Competition heats up for news, game shows". Arkansas Democrat. p. 3E. Archived from the original on July 9, 2023. Retrieved July 9, 2023.
  13. ^ Johnson, Paul (December 19, 1990). "KARK, KATV tied at 6 and 10 p.m.; A.C. Nielsen ratings give Channel 4 edge during election coverage". Arkansas Gazette. p. 2C. Archived from the original on July 9, 2023. Retrieved July 9, 2023.
  14. ^ Donald, Leroy (August 12, 1994). "Rumors fill air, but KTHV says no sale". Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. p. 1D.
  15. ^ a b Hunter, Kris (September 5, 1994). "Gannett's return ignites changes in TV market". Arkansas Business. Gale A16094965.
  16. ^ Donald, Leroy (December 1, 1994). "'Sad' KTHV chief leaves; Gannett arrives". Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. p. 1D.
  17. ^ Brummett, John (June 2, 1995). "Battle of the talking heads". Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. p. 1E.
  18. ^ a b Brummett, John (October 22, 1996). "Cold noses for the news". Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. p. 1E. The soon-to-be-promoted Trelstadt showed a visitor that from his desk at 8th and Izard streets he could see the building logo of "Today's Office" on West 7th Street. Then he thought about a station in Milwaukee that began using "Today's" in front of its call letters.
  19. ^ Donald, Leroy (July 27, 1997). "Money makers". Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. p. 1G.
  20. ^ a b c Turner, Lance (April 2, 2001). "KTHV Claims No. 1 at 10 p.m. as KATV Vows to Fight Back". Arkansas Business. Gale A73091034.
  21. ^ a b Donald, Leroy (August 31, 1997). "Ratings a new dawn for KTHV". Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. p. 1G.
  22. ^ a b Harris, Jim (April 6, 2001). "Channel 11 goes on top at 10: The news is a new ratings leader". Arkansas Times. p. 8. ProQuest 204788059.
  23. ^ Rengers, Carrie (April 1, 1999). "Paper Trails: If you can't be with the one who's wedding, join the one who is". Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. p. E8.
  24. ^ Rengers, Carrie (April 8, 2001). "Paper trails: Feeling the difference – KTHV bumps KATV at 10". Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. p. E6.
  25. ^ Hinkel, Nate (July 4, 2005). "Tussle at ten". Arkansas Business. Gale A134388179.
  26. ^ Hengel, Mark (January 5, 2009). "The rundown". Arkansas Business. Gale A195753557.
  27. ^ Knable, Kate (June 25, 2012). "KATV reigns king in the May Nielsens". Arkansas Business. Gale A296161373.
  28. ^ a b Malone, Michael (October 6, 2013). "Market Eye: Big Change in Little Rock". Broadcasting & Cable. Archived from the original on November 27, 2022. Retrieved July 8, 2023.
  29. ^ "KTHV to Launch 6:30 P.M. News". Broadcasting & Cable. March 28, 2009. Archived from the original on October 2, 2012. Retrieved March 10, 2011.
  30. ^ "KTHV Launches 6 A.M. Saturday 'Cast". Broadcasting & Cable. Archived from the original on April 7, 2010. Retrieved March 10, 2011.
  31. ^ "KTHV Adds 30 Minutes To 'This Morning'". TVNewsCheck. September 13, 2010. Archived from the original on July 9, 2023. Retrieved March 10, 2011.
  32. ^ "KTHV Introducing Local News In High Def". TVNewsCheck.com. September 9, 2010. Archived from the original on July 9, 2023. Retrieved March 10, 2011.
  33. ^ "Separation of Gannett into two public companies completed". Tegna. June 29, 2015. Archived from the original on July 2, 2015. Retrieved June 29, 2015.
  34. ^ Massey, Kyle (October 28, 2019). "New Set at Channel 11, But Many Familiar Faces". Arkansas Business. Gale A607065190.
  35. ^ Ho, Rodney (July 21, 2016). "Alyse Eady takes Gurvir Dhindsa's spot on 'Good Day Atlanta'". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
  36. ^ Clancy, Sean (January 31, 2021). "TV anchor says living the dream". Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
  37. ^ Caillouet, Linda (May 6, 2009). "Broadcaster on air for a half-century". Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. p. Arkansas 9.
  38. ^ "Digital TV Listing for KTHV". RabbitEars.Info. Archived from the original on August 15, 2020. Retrieved November 1, 2022.
  39. ^ Zehr, Dan (April 28, 2002). "TV stations slow to digital switch". Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. p. 61.
  40. ^ Hinkel, Nate (March 6, 2006). "The deuce". Arkansas Business. Gale A143527183.
  41. ^ "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.
  42. ^ Williams, L. Lamor (February 7, 2009). "LR station won't delay digital shift". Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Archived from the original on February 12, 2009.
  43. ^ "UPDATED List of Participants in the Analog Nightlight Program" (PDF). Federal Communications Commission. June 12, 2009. Archived from the original on February 1, 2014. Retrieved June 4, 2012.