|Channels||Digital: 19 (UHF)|
Virtual: 18 (PSIP)
Estrella TV KTTU 18.2 (on DT2)
|Owner||Tegna Inc. |
|Founded||March 21, 1983|
First air date
|December 31, 1984|
Former call signs
Former channel number(s)
18 (UHF, 1984–2009)
Call sign meaning
|variation on old calls|
|HAAT||1,123 m (3,684 ft)|
Public license information
KTTU, virtual channel 18 (UHF digital channel 19), is a MyNetworkTV-affiliated television station licensed to Tucson, Arizona, United States. The station is owned by Tegna Inc., as part of a duopoly with Fox affiliate KMSB (channel 11); Gray Television, which owns CBS affiliate KOLD-TV (channel 13), operates both stations under a shared services agreement (SSA). The three outlets share studios on North Business Park Drive on the northwest side of Tucson (near the Casas Adobes neighborhood); KTTU's transmitter is located atop Mount Bigelow.
KTTU was granted a construction permit on March 21, 1983 and went on the air on December 31, 1984 as KDTU, a family-friendly independent station under the ownership of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson. Its call letters partially stood for the Diocese of TUcson, its first owner. Its programming consisted of the typical independent station fare: cartoons, old sitcoms and dramas, old movies, and sports. KDTU was home for Notre Dame, Marquette and DePaul college basketball broadcasts, a reflection of their ownership by the Roman Catholic Diocese. It was one of two UHF independent stations that signed on the air around the same time in the Tucson market (the other was KPOL, channel 40, now Telemundo O&O KHRR). KDTU offered only half an hour a day of religious programming except on Sunday, when they offered several hours. In spite of being owned by a religious organization, KDTU offered the second least amount of religious programming of all the commercial stations in the market.
Most markets the size of Tucson only supported one commercial independent while Tucson had three. KDTU was not profitable and the Diocese put the station up for sale in 1988. In 1989, they sold the station to Clear Channel Communications (now iHeartMedia), then a small but growing media owner. Clear Channel changed the call letters to KTTU on April 1 of that year (the calls were previously used on a station in Fairbanks, Alaska). The programming only changed slightly while presentation became more modern, In spite of the fact that channel 40 went dark and Tucson was down to two commercial independents (including Fox 11), KTTU continued to be unprofitable. Clear Channel decided to focus on their other markets and in radio so they opted to enter into a local marketing agreement with KMSB-TV channel 11, the affiliate of the then-new Fox Broadcasting Company. KMSB would then move into KTTU's more modern studios. Clear Channel continued to program KTTU with separate programming but shows could move from station to station at any time. KMSB's owners would operate KTTU while Clear Channel still held the broadcast license.
1995 brought UPN to KTTU, and two years later, Belo Corp. purchased KMSB from the Providence Journal Company. Belo continued to operate KTTU through a limited marketing agreement until 2002, when federal ownership laws were relaxed, and Belo purchased the license from Clear Channel.
In January 2006, UPN and The WB announced that they would cease operations and would combine forces to launch a new network, to be called The CW. Shortly afterward, Fox announced that it would form a new network of its own, to be called MyNetworkTV. KTTU, the UPN affiliate, and KWBA, the WB affiliate in Tucson, were both losing their affiliations, and it was unknown which station would affiliate with which network, if at all. On March 21, 2006, KWBA was announced as the market's CW affiliate, and two days later, Belo announced that KTTU would be the MyNetwork affiliate.
In November 2011, Belo announced that it would enter into a shared services agreement with Raycom Media beginning in February 2012. This outsourcing arrangement resulted in CBS affiliate KOLD-TV taking over daily operations of KMSB and KTTU and moving their advertising sales department into KOLD's studios. All remaining positions at the two stations were eliminated and master control moved from KTVK in Phoenix to KOLD.
On June 13, 2013, the Gannett Company announced that it would acquire Belo. However, since Gannett holds a partial ownership stake in the publisher of the Arizona Daily Star, the KMSB license was instead acquired by Sander Media, LLC, owned by former Belo executive, Jack Sander. The KTTU license was acquired by Tucker Operating Co., LLC, owned by former president and CEO of Fisher Communications, Ben Tucker, to comply with Federal Communications Commission regulations requiring a market to be left with eight unique station owners after a duopoly is formed (there are already duopolies between ABC affiliate KGUN-TV (channel 9) and CW affiliate KWBA (channel 58) and between Univision station KUVE-DT (channel 46) and UniMás station KFTU-DT (channel 3), and the KMSB–KTTU duopoly lost its grandfathered protection as a result because a Jack Sander acquisition of both stations would have left the Tucson market with only seven unique owners). While the other Belo stations to be acquired by Sander in the deal have various shared services agreements with Gannett, Raycom Media continues to operate the two stations, and the Belo employees handling advertising sales became Gannett employees. The sale was completed on December 23. With the completion of the sale, this is Ben Tucker's second television venture, after his divestiture of Traverse City, Michigan's ABC affiliate WGTU to Cunningham Broadcasting, part of the Sinclair–Barrington acquisition in March 2013.
On June 29, 2015, the Gannett Company split in two, with one side specializing in print media and the other side specializing in broadcast and digital media. KTTU's sales agreement was retained by the latter company, named Tegna.
On August 2, 2019, Tegna exercised its option to acquire KTTU outright for $296,000. The sale was completed on October 1.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|18.1||720p||16:9||KTTU-HD||Main KTTU programming / MyNetworkTV|
|18.3||16:9||H and I||Heroes & Icons|
KTTU was granted a construction permit to build its digital facilities on UHF channel 19 on October 11, 2001. Originally to be co-located with its analog facilities on Towers Peak, the station requested to move its facilities to the Mount Bigelow transmitter site. The request was granted, and the station's digital facilities began operating in late September 2003, and was licensed January 6, 2004.
KTTU discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over UHF channel 18, on January 18, 2009, due to equipment failure. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 19, using PSIP to display KTTU's virtual channel as 18 on digital television receivers.
Syndicated programming on KTTU includes The Big Bang Theory, The 700 Club, Mike & Molly Seinfeld, (which has been airing on KTTU Since fall 2001 after having spant most of their runs on KOLD 13) The King of Queens and Divorce Court among others.