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KFTA-TV

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KFTA-TV
CityFort Smith, Arkansas
Channels
Branding
Programming
Affiliations
Ownership
Owner
KNWA-TV, KXNW
History
First air date
November 12, 1978 (45 years ago) (1978-11-12)
Former call signs
  • KLMN (1978–1982)
  • KPOM-TV (1982–2004)
Former channel number(s)
  • Analog: 24 (UHF, 1978–2009)
  • CBS (1978–1980)
  • NBC (primary 1980–2006, secondary 2006–2008)
Call sign meaning
Fort Smith, Arkansas
Technical information[1]
Licensing authority
FCC
Facility ID29560
ERP600 kW
HAAT305 m (1,001 ft)
Transmitter coordinates35°42′36″N 94°8′16″W / 35.71000°N 94.13778°W / 35.71000; -94.13778
Translator(s)KNWA-DT 51.2 (33.2 UHF) Rogers
Links
Public license information
Websitewww.nwahomepage.com

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

KNWA-TV broadcasts KFTA-TV's Fox programming from its transmitter southeast of Garfield, Arkansas, as one of its subchannels and vice versa.

History

As an NBC affiliate

The station debuted on November 12, 1978, as KLMN, the area's third television station. It took the CBS affiliation from KFPW-TV and its Fayetteville satellite KTVP (channel 40 and 29, now KHBS/KHOG). Among its original investors were Walmart heirs Jim and Rob Walton. In 1980, it swapped affiliations with KFSM-TV (channel 5) and became the area's NBC affiliate, due to CBS searching for stronger affiliates in the Fort Smith market.[3] Two years later, on September 22, 1982, the station changed its calls to KPOM-TV ("People on the Move").

Channel 24 struggled during its early years. Besides being the area's newest station, it was hampered by the fact it was a UHF station in a market that is very mountainous. Despite its 2.5 million watt effective radiated power, it only provided a Grade B signal to Fayetteville and could not be seen at all in Rogers and points north. For most of this station's first ten years on the air, viewers in the northern part of the area had to rely on cable to watch the station. Much of the far northern part of the market got a better signal from KSNF in Joplin, Missouri (which, incidentally, switched from CBS to NBC in 1982).

In 1986, the station was sold to Oklahoma City-based Griffin Communications, owners of longtime CBS affiliate KWTV in Oklahoma City, who immediately set about solving the reception problem. It signed-on full-time satellite KFAA-TV in 1989 to provide a better signal in Fayetteville and the northern part of the market. In 2004, Griffin Television sold KPOM/KFAA to Nexstar,[4] the stations changed their calls to KFTA-TV and KNWA-TV respectively on August 13, 2004, and the latter became the main station. The two stations' operations were merged in a new studio in the historic Campbell-Bell Building in downtown Fayetteville, with KFTA's original studio remaining as the stations' Arkansas River Valley bureau.

As a Fox affiliate

On April 19, 2006, Nexstar Broadcasting Group announced it would sell KFTA-TV to Brecksville, Ohio–based Mission Broadcasting – a group which maintained joint sales and shared services agreements with Nexstar-operated outlets (as well as those maintained by Quorum Broadcasting prior to Nexstar's 2003 purchase of that group) to operate many of Mission's stations in markets that did not have enough television stations to allow a legal duopoly between two commercial broadcast outlets – for $5.6 million. Under the terms of the agreement, KFTA would continue to be operated by Nexstar under a local marketing agreement with KNWA. Mission would also relaunch KFTA as a separate station that would take over the market's Fox affiliation; NBC programming would be moved concurrently to a digital subchannel in the form of a KNWA simulcast, in order to continue relaying the network's programming over-the-air throughout the entire market.[5]

Equity Broadcasting, then-owner of Poteau, Oklahoma-licensed Class A station KPBI-CA (channel 46, now defunct), challenged the sale of KFTA with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), on grounds that the Fox affiliation switch would violate an existing contract that Equity had with the network. Despite the challenge continuing onward at the time, KFTA became a Fox affiliate on August 28. (KPBI subsequently become a charter affiliate of MyNetworkTV when the Fox-owned network launched on September 5.) However, with some exceptions, KFTA continued to simulcast the KNWA schedule daily from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and from 10:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. until January 2008, when the two stations began maintaining separate programming schedules full-time.[6] As of September 2019, Nexstar remains the official owner of KFTA, according to FCC records, due to Nexstar's supplemental application of a clarification of waiver (which the FCC has not yet acted on).

In October 2012, KNWA/KFTA relocated its operations into its current facility at the Underwood Building on West Dickson Street, occupying approximately 12,000 square feet (1,100 m2) of studio space on the third floor of the building.[7]

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).[8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19] The sale was approved by the FCC on September 16 and was completed on September 19, 2019.

Newscasts

As of September 2017, KNWA-TV produces 13+12 hours of locally produced newscasts each week for KFTA-TV (with 3+12 hours each weekday and one hour each on Saturdays and Sundays). As the duopoly partner of KNWA, the station may also simulcast long-form severe weather coverage from the NBC affiliate in the event that a tornado warning is issued for any county in its viewing area within northwest Arkansas and east-central Oklahoma.

News programming history

Channel 24 aired local news from its first day on the air in 1978. However, this newscast was never able to gain much traction in the market, even with NBC's prime time lineup as a lead-in. The newscast was canceled in 1992, and for the next seven years KPOM/KFAA was one of the few Big Three affiliates with no newscasts at all.

KPOM and KFAA relaunched a local newscast in 1999, under the brand Arkansas' NBC News; Griffin hired top local talent to anchor the newscasts including Don Elkins, Donna Bragg, Steve Gibbs, Mike Nail, and Rhonda Justice, the latter four of whom formerly worked at rival ABC-affiliated station KHBS/KHOG.

KFTA dramatically scaled back its newscasts upon switching to Fox on August 28, 2006; on that date, KNWA began producing a half-hour prime time newscast at 9 p.m. for KFTA, marking the first attempt at a prime time newscast in the Fort Smith–Fayetteville market. Titled Fox 24 News at 9:00, the program initially originated from a secondary news set at KNWA/KFTA's facility in downtown Fayetteville. Originally co-anchored by Dana Sargent (who was reassigned from her role as anchor of KNWA's weekday morning newscast KNWA Today). Competition for the newscast would eventually come in 2012, when CBS affiliate KFSM-TV began producing a half-hour newscast in that timeslot for its MyNetworkTV-affiliated sister KXNW (channel 34) on March 12; KHBS/KHOG subsequently debuted a half-hour prime time newscast at 9 p.m. for its CW-affiliated DT2 subchannel on August 20, 2012.[20][21]

On February 19, 2008, the newscast – which was concurrently retitled the Fox 24 News Edge – was restructured into a more contemporary newscast designed to appeal to younger viewers in the mold of the so-called "Fox attitude". The revamped newscast included a commercial-free block leading off the broadcast, featuring the day's top headlines, a full weather forecast and a sports headline segment during the program's "A" block, along with entertainment, health and lifestyle news segments.[22]

Additional news expansion on KFTA took place in September 2009, when KNWA began producing an hour-long weekday morning newscast at 7 a.m. extension for the station, under the title Fox 24 News at 7:00. The newscast would later gain additional morning news competitors in the 7 a.m. timeslot during the mid-2010s: KFSM launched an extension of its weekday newscast for KXNW in September 2013, which was followed by the launch of a newscast produced by KHBS/KHOG for its DT2 subchannel on September 6, 2016.[23][24]

On October 24, 2012, coinciding with the move into its new facilities inside the Underwood Building, KNWA began broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition, becoming the market's third and last Big Three network affiliate (after KFSM and KHBS/KHOG) to upgrade its newscasts to the format; KFTA's morning and prime time shows were included in the upgrade.[25] In January 2013, KNWA began production a half-hour newscast at 5:30 p.m. each weeknight for KFTA.

Technical information

Subchannels

KFTA-TV and KNWA-TV broadcast two shared channels (Fox on 24.1 and 51.2 and NBC on 24.2 and 51.1) and two unique diginets each. Also broadcast on the KFTA-TV multiplex is a simulcast of KXNW, whose own signal does not reach the Fort Smith area.

Subchannels of KFTA-TV[26]
Channel Res. Aspect Short name Programming
24.1 720p 16:9 KFTA-DT Fox
24.2 1080i KNWA-DT NBC (KNWA-TV)
24.3 480p Mystery Ion Mystery
24.4 Bounce Bounce TV
34.1 720p KXNW-DT MyNetworkTV (KXNW)
  Simulcast of subchannels of another station

Analog-to-digital conversion

KFTA-TV discontinued regular programming on its analog signal (over UHF channel 24) in November 2008, due to the failure of its analog transmitter.[27] The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 27,[28] using virtual channel 24.

References

  1. ^ "Facility Technical Data for KFTA-TV". Licensing and Management System. Federal Communications Commission.
  2. ^ "Station Profiles « Federal Communications Commission". Archived from the original on March 2, 2013. Retrieved February 10, 2013.
  3. ^ "The affiliation switches continue" (PDF). Broadcasting. June 23, 1980. Retrieved September 13, 2021.
  4. ^ Nexstar plans to buy Fayetteville's NBC 24/51; Griffin Holdings Co. to sell Fayetteville television station, Arkansas Business (via TheFreeLibrary), September 8, 2003.
  5. ^ Lance Turner (April 19, 2006). "Nexstar to Sell Fort Smith TV Station for $5.6 Million". Arkansas Business. Arkansas Business Publishing Group. Retrieved August 8, 2018.
  6. ^ "Fox Network Likely To Switch In Fort Smith". Arkansas Business. Arkansas Business Publishing Group. August 7, 2006. Retrieved June 21, 2009.
  7. ^ Dustin Bartholomew (August 8, 2012). "KNWA, KFTA moving from the square to The Dickson". Fayetteville Flyer. Wonderstate Media, LLC. Retrieved August 8, 2018.
  8. ^ "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.
  9. ^ "Nexstar Media Group Enters Into Definitive Agreement To Acquire Tribune Media Company". Tribune Media. December 3, 2018. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
  10. ^ "Acquisition of Tribune Media Company" (PDF). Nexstar Media Group. December 3, 2018.
  11. ^ Mark K. Miller (December 3, 2018). "Nexstar Buying Tribune Media For $6.4 Billion". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheck Media.
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ Arjun Panchadar; Sonam Rai (December 3, 2018). "Nexstar to buy Tribune Media for $4.1 billion". Reuters.
  15. ^ Jon Lafayette (December 3, 2018). "Nexstar Announces Deal to Buy Tribune for $6.4B". Broadcasting & Cable. NewBay Media.
  16. ^ Adam Jacobson (December 3, 2018). "It's Official: Nexstar Takes Tribune In Billion-Dollar Stock Deal". Radio-Television Business Report. Streamline-RBR, Inc.
  17. ^ Harry A. Jessell; Mark K. Miller (December 3, 2018). "Nexstar To Spin Off $1B In Stations". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheck Media.
  18. ^ "Nexstar Selling 19 TVs In 15 Markets For $1.32B". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheckMedia. March 20, 2019. Retrieved March 20, 2019.
  19. ^ Nabila Ahmed; Anousha Sakoui (March 20, 2019). "Nexstar to Sell Stations to Tegna, Scripps for $1.32 Billion". Bloomberg News. Bloomberg, L.P.
  20. ^ "Sargent Promoted To Anchor KFTA Fox 24 News at 9". Arkansas TV News. June 27, 2006. Retrieved August 8, 2018.
  21. ^ Merrill Knox (August 20, 2012). "KHBS-KHOG Launch Evening Newscast on Arkansas CW-Affiliate". TVSpy. Mediabistro Holdings.
  22. ^ "KFTA/ FOX 24 Taking the 9pm News To The Edge". Arkansas TV News. February 19, 2008. Retrieved August 8, 2018.
  23. ^ Mark K. Miller (August 23, 2016). "The Arkansas CW Launches Morning Newscast". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheck Media. Retrieved August 24, 2016.
  24. ^ Roly Ortega (September 8, 2017). "The CW Plus is letting local stations expand local morning news". The Changing Newscasts Blog. Retrieved August 7, 2018.
  25. ^ "KNWA goes HD". Archived from the original on February 16, 2013.
  26. ^ "RabbitEars TV Query for KFTA". RabbitEars. Retrieved August 5, 2017.
  27. ^ "Northwest Arkansas' News Source". NWAnews.com. February 14, 2009. Archived from the original on February 17, 2009. Retrieved June 21, 2009.
  28. ^ "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.
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KFTA-TV
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