KIRO-TV

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KIRO-TV
KIRO 7 Eyewitness News.jpg
Seattle - Tacoma, Washington
United States
City of license Seattle, Washington
Branding KIRO 7 (general)
KIRO 7 Eyewitness News (newscasts)
Slogan Dedicated, Straightforward Seattle News Coverage
Channels Digital: 39 (UHF)
Virtual: 7 (PSIP)
Subchannels 7.1 CBS
7.2 GetTV
Translators (see article)
Affiliations CBS (since 1997; also from 1958–1995)
Owner Cox Media Group
(KIRO-TV, Inc.)
Founded April 1955
First air date February 8, 1958; 56 years ago (1958-02-08)
Call letters' meaning derived from former sister station KIRO radio. Pronounced "Cairo"
Former channel number(s) Analog:
7 (VHF, 1958–2009)
Former affiliations UPN (1995–1997)
Transmitter power 1000 kW
Height 230 m (755 ft)
Facility ID 66781
Transmitter coordinates 47°37′58.8″N 122°21′23.8″W / 47.633000°N 122.356611°W / 47.633000; -122.356611
Licensing authority FCC
Public license information: Profile
CDBS
Website www.kirotv.com

KIRO-TV, channel 7, is a CBS-affiliated television station located in Seattle, Washington, United States. The station is owned by the Cox Media Group subsidiary of Atlanta-based Cox Enterprises. The station's offices and studios are located near the Seattle Center in the city's Belltown neighborhood, and its transmitter is located on Queen Anne Hill, adjacent to the station's original studios.

KIRO-TV is one of five local Seattle television stations seen in Canada via Shaw Broadcast Services for the purposes of time-shifting and can be viewed from many eastern Canadian cities including Toronto and Montreal, and on satellite providers Bell TV and Shaw Direct. It can also been seen on local cable systems in British Columbia, as the "local" CBS affiliate.

Digital television[edit]

Digital channels[edit]

Channel[1] Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming
7.1 1080i 16:9 KIRO-DT Main KIRO-TV programming / CBS
7.2 480i 4:3 KIRO-SD GetTV

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

KIRO-TV shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 7, on June 12, 2009, as part of the federally mandated transition from analog to digital television.[2][3] The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 39,[4] using PSIP to display KIRO-TV's virtual channel as 7 on digital television receivers.

History[edit]

Early years[edit]

After KOMO-TV (channel 4) signed on in December 1953, Seattle's channel 7 was the last commercial VHF channel allocation available in the Puget Sound area, and its construction permit was heavily contested among several local broadcast interests. Three radio stations – KVI (570 AM), KXA (770 AM, now KTTH), and KIRO (710 AM) – were locked in a battle for the frequency over several years of comparative hearings at the Federal Communications Commission. Following an initial decision in 1955[5] and a reaffirmation in 1957,[6] the ultimate victorious party was Queen City Broadcasting, owners of KIRO radio, and channel 7 signed on as KIRO-TV on February 8, 1958.[7] Queen City was led by president and general manager Saul Haas, who purchased KIRO radio in 1933, and included U.S. Senator Warren Magnuson and CBS News correspondent Edward R. Murrow amongst its shareholders. The station's original studios were located on Queen Anne Avenue, adjacent to its broadcast tower and directly across the street from KIRO radio.[8] The first program shown on channel 7 was the explosion of Ripple Rock, a hazard to navigation in Seymour Narrows, British Columbia.

KIRO radio had been a CBS Radio affiliate for over 20 years, and KIRO-TV subsequently became an affiliate of the CBS television network upon signing on. Channel 7 took the CBS affiliation from Tacoma-licensed KTNT-TV (channel 11, now KSTW), prompting that station's owners at the time, the Tacoma News Tribune, to file an antitrust lawsuit accusing CBS of having a standing agreement with KIRO to affiliate with the television network before Queen City's permit to build channel 7 was even approved.[9] In May 1960, KIRO-TV was forced to share CBS with KTNT-TV as part of a settlement reached between the three parties.[10] This arrangement lasted for the next two years, with KIRO-TV again becoming the market's exclusive CBS affiliate in September 1962.[11]

From KIRO to Bonneville[edit]

In April 1963, the communications division of the Salt Lake City-based The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints began purchasing stock in Queen City Broadcasting, starting with a 10% share from several minority partners including Sen. Magnuson.[12] Six months later, the Church purchased an additional 50%, giving them majority control of the KIRO stations.[13] Saul Haas subsequently joined the board of the Church's broadcasting subdsidiary, which was renamed Bonneville International Corporation in 1964.[14]

Soon after the FCC approved the sale, Bonneville executives Lloyd Cooney and Kenneth L. Hatch arrived in Seattle to lead the renamed KIRO Inc. division. Upon Cooney's departure to run for U.S. Senate in 1980, Hatch became president, CEO and chairman, positions he held until 1995. Under Hatch's leadership, KIRO Inc. (which included KIRO-AM-FM-TV, KING AM, and Third Avenue Productions) became one of the nation's premier regional broadcast groups. KIRO's corporate board included many notable leaders including Mary Gates (mother of Bill Gates); Pay 'N Save chairman M. Lamont Bean; Washington Mutual chief executive officer Tony Eyring; and Gordon B. Hinckley, a future president of the LDS Church. The KIRO stations (which later included KING radio and Third Avenue Productions) moved their offices and studios to "Broadcast House" at Third Avenue and Broad Street in Seattle's Belltown district in 1968, where KIRO-TV remains to this day.

Throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s, KIRO-TV still faced competition in some parts of Western Washington from Bellingham-based KVOS-TV (channel 12), which was also then a CBS affiliate. After years of legal challenges and negotiations with CBS and KIRO-TV, KVOS (at the time owned by Wometco Enterprises) began to phase out most CBS programming by 1980. KVOS retained a nominal affiliation with CBS until 1987, during which it would run all network programs preempted by channel 7.

From CBS to UPN[edit]

In 1994, CBS found itself without an affiliate in the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex after KDFW-TV left the network to become a Fox affiliate. Consequently, CBS began to negotiate with Gaylord Broadcasting to secure an affiliation agreement with the independent station it had long owned in Fort Worth, KTVT. As part of the deal, CBS would also affiliate with Gaylord-owned independent KSTW; both KSTW and KTVT had been scheduled to affiliate with The WB Television Network. The deal was announced on September 15, 1994,[15] and CBS programs that had been preempted by KIRO-TV (such as The Bold and The Beautiful) moved to KSTW soon afterward. Other CBS programs such as The Late Late Show with Tom Snyder were shown on KSTW beginning in January 1995, although the show aired an hour later at 1:35 a.m., whereas other CBS affiliates aired the program directly after the Late Show with David Letterman at 12:35 a.m. Even when KSTW regained the CBS affiliation for the third time in its history in March 1995, the program continued to air at 1:35 a.m.

Two days before the affiliation switch was announced, Bonneville announced that it would sell KIRO-TV to the Belo Corporation, while retaining ownership of KIRO radio. In addition, in anticipation of the affiliation change, Belo stated that it would run channel 7 as a news-intensive independent station;[16] however, on December 6, the station reached an affiliation deal with UPN.[17]

More changes descended upon channel 7 after Belo took control of the station on January 31, 1995.[18] The station began carrying UPN programming on January 16; however, until CBS moved to KSTW on March 13, 1995, UPN programs generally aired on weekend afternoons, though KIRO-TV did preempt CBS programming so that it could air the series premiere of Star Trek: Voyager in primetime.[19][20]

Local newscasts on channel 7 expanded during this time to nearly 40 hours each week, with expansions to its morning and early evening newscasts, to compensate for UPN not having national news programs. Outside of UPN's program offerings, the rest of KIRO-TV's schedule was filled with first-run syndicated talk shows, reality shows, off-network dramas, a couple of off-network sitcoms and movies.[21][22] This format was unusual for a UPN affiliate (but was becoming standard for a Fox affiliate), as most UPN affiliates had a general entertainment format outside of network programming hours. In 1996, Belo acquired the Providence Journal Company, which owned Seattle's NBC affiliate KING-TV (channel 5). Belo could not own both KING-TV and KIRO-TV under FCC rules at the time, and as a result, the company opted to sell KIRO-TV.[23]

Rejoining CBS[edit]

Though there was speculation that Belo would swap KIRO-TV to Fox Television Stations in exchange for KSAZ-TV in Phoenix and KTBC-TV in Austin, Texas,[24] Belo announced on February 20, 1997, that it would swap channel 7 to UPN co-owner Viacom's Paramount Stations Group subsidiary (now part of CBS Television Stations), in exchange for KMOV in St. Louis. At the time, Paramount Stations Group was in the process of selling off the CBS and NBC affiliates that it inherited from Viacom through its 1994 purchase of Paramount Pictures.

Concurrently, Paramount/Viacom traded KIRO-TV to Cox Enterprises in exchange for KSTW, just one month after Cox announced it would acquire that station from Gaylord Broadcasting.[25] The trades were completed on June 2, 1997.[25] The two stations retained their respective syndicated programming, but swapped network affiliations once again–with KSTW becoming a UPN owned-and-operated station, and KIRO-TV regaining its CBS affiliation on June 30, 1997.[26]

Programming[edit]

JP and Gertrude in 2008 tribute.

Syndicated programs broadcast on KIRO-TV presently include Right This Minute, The Meredith Vieira Show, Entertainment Tonight, The Insider and Judge Judy. KIRO runs the entire CBS programming lineup with minimal pre-emptions, generally only for KIRO's award-winning special, InColor.

One of the most famous and longest-running regional children's television programs in the United States, The J.P. Patches Show was produced in-house by KIRO-TV and broadcast steadily from 1958 to 1981. The program starred Chris Wedes as Julius Pierpont Patches, a shabby clown and self-professed mayor of the City Dump, and Bob Newman as J.P.'s "girlfriend" Gertrude, in addition to a number of other characters. Nightmare Theatre was KIRO-TV's weekly horror movie series, seen from 1964 to 1978, and hosted by "The Count" (Joe Towey) from 1968 to 1975. Towey, who also directed the J.P. Patches Show died in 1989.

During the 1970s, KIRO preempted the first half hour of Captain Kangaroo each morning in order to air J.P. Patches. Many parents protested by writing letters to the station because they preferred more educational value from Captain Kangaroo than with "J.P.", while children preferred J.P. Patches. From 1987 to 1995, under Bonneville ownership, KIRO refused to air The Bold and the Beautiful, which normally aired at 12:30 p.m.; the station aired an hour-long local newscast from noon to 1 p.m. instead. As a result, the station received many protest letters from fans of the show during that period, and even one from the show's creator himself, William J. Bell. During that time, the show was seen instead on KTZZ-TV (now KZJO), KVOS-TV and KSTW.

In 1990, KIRO tape-delayed the Daytona 500 by six hours to show a Seattle SuperSonics game, as KIRO was the flagship station of the team. The race was won by Derrike Cope, who is a native of nearby Spanaway, Washington, in an upset over Dale Earnhardt in the final lap after a cut tire. Prior to joining UPN in 1995, KIRO ran the CBS Evening News at 6 p.m. between local newscasts at 5 and 6:30 p.m. (the program now airs at 6:30, the recommended Pacific Time Zone slot for the newscast).

Sports programming[edit]

KIRO was also the flagship station for pre-season game broadcasts of the Seattle Seahawks from 1976 to 1980. Play-by-play announcers were Gary Justice (1976–78) and Wayne Cody (1979–85), who was also the station's sports anchor. For years, KIRO also was the flagship station for Seattle SuperSonics broadcasts, coinciding with the NBA's deal with CBS. KIRO also carried the Seattle Mariners from 1986 to 1988 as well as in 1992 and again from 1995 to 1998 as well as from 2000 to 2002. KIRO also carried the Tacoma Stars (MISL) from 1986 to 1988.

Today, the station airs Seahawks games when the team hosts an American Football Conference team at CenturyLink Field, via the NFL on CBS (it was previously the station where the majority of the team's games aired in 1976, and again from 1998-2001).

News operation[edit]

KIRO 7 Eyewitness News opening animation, circa 1998.

In 1969, KIRO made major upgrades to its news programming, implementing the now-commonplace "Eyewitness News" format with chief correspondent Clif Kirk, sportscaster Ron Forsell, and assistant anchor Sandy Hill, who later left KIRO to become a co-host of Good Morning America. Throughout the 1970s, KIRO was known in Seattle for hiring women in the roles of "assistant anchors" and "weather presenters", including Sandy Hill, Ann Martin, Mikki Flowers and Ann Busch. Throughout the decades, KIRO placed a high emphasis on news programming and investigative stories. During the late 1970s and early 1980s, the Eyewitness News team of anchors John Marler and Gary Justice, meteorologist Harry Wappler and Wayne Cody (and later joined by Susan Hutchison) overtook KING-TV for supremacy in local news.

Beginning in the 1970s, KIRO's newscasts also included op-ed segments prepared by Lloyd R. Cooney. After Cooney left the station in 1980 to pursue an unsuccessful U.S. Senate campaign, the station editorials were handled by a series of commentators: KIRO Inc. CEO and chairman Ken Hatch, followed by former Seattle City Council member John Miller (later elected as Congressman from Washington's First District) and then by former Seattle Post-Intelligencer editor Louis R. Guzzo. In 1986, KIRO debuted Point Counterpoint featuring conservative John Carlson and liberal Walt Crowley;[27] the segment aired on what was then KIRO's most popular newscast, The Sunday Newshour, with Crowley and Carlson becoming well known for their pointed and bombastic debates.

In 1990, KIRO became one of the first television stations in the United States (if not the first) to expand its weekday morning newscast into the 4:30 a.m. timeslot – long before it started to become commonplace nationwide in the late 2000s and 2010s (at the time, most news-producing stations started their morning news programs at 6:00 or 6:30, with many not expanding into earlier timeslots until as early as the mid-1990s); the program eventually reverted to a 5:30 a.m. start by 1993. By the early 1990s, the well-worn, "happy talk" format faltered and KING's newscasts had overtaken KIRO in the local news ratings. As a result, KIRO reformatted its newscasts in January 1993, with an approach unofficially known as "News Outside the Box," which was an attempt to synergize both the KIRO radio and television staffs (the "KIRO News Network") in an open newsroom that also doubled as a set for the station's broadcasts. The Seattle Symphony was commissioned to record the station's news theme, and ballet instructors coached KIRO-TV anchors in the art of walking toward a moving camera while simultaneously delivering the news. The result was an unmitigated disaster: viewers quickly complained they were distracted by the moving anchors, constant buzz of assignment editors in the background of newscasts and periodic "visits" into the KIRO radio studios; television reporters' primary assets were lost on radio listeners, and many of the radio reporters were clearly uncomfortable on camera. The original concept also called for live airing of unedited field tape, which only called attention to the importance of proper news editing. In addition, KOMO-TV and KING-TV were fighting for first place in the Seattle market. By September, the concept was scrapped for a fixed anchor desk and a rebranding to KIRO NewsChannel 7 before ultimately returning to Eyewitness News (with a new graphics set and logo based off sister station WHIO-TV in Dayton, Ohio) when Cox purchased the station in 1997.

Notable current on-air staff[edit]

Notable former on-air staff[edit]

Translators[29][edit]

KIRO is rebroadcast on the following translator stations:

Digital translators

Callsign Channel City of license
K17IZ-D 17 Everett
K26IC-D 26 Bremerton
KIRO 28 Mount Vernon
K29IA-D 29 Centralia
K30FL-D 30 Port Angeles
KIRO 34 Olympia
K47LG-D 47 Point Pulley
K49IX-D 49 Puyallup
KIRO 51 Issaquah

Low power analog translators in Bellevue, Edmonds, Olympia, Renton and Shelton have long since been discontinued.

References[edit]

  1. ^ RabbitEars.info Query for KIRO
  2. ^ http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/article/20090207/news/302079996
  3. ^ List of Digital Full-Power Stations
  4. ^ CDBS Print
  5. ^ "FCC proposes 3 VHF grants." Broadcasting - Telecasting, April 11, 1955, pg. 96. [1]
  6. ^ "VHFs go to Pittsburgh, Seattle." Broadcasting - Telecasting, July 29, 1957, pg. 60. [2]
  7. ^ "KIRO-TV operating in Seattle after winning court, FCC bouts." Broadcasting, February 17, 1958, pg. 86. [3]
  8. ^ KIRO-AM-FM-TV advertisement. Broadcasting, August 25, 1958, pp. 57-60. [4][5][6][7]
  9. ^ "KTNT antitrust suit asks $15 million of CBS, KIRO, affiliation switch hit." Broadcasting, June 2, 1958, pg. 9. [8]
  10. ^ "CBS' own Northwest compromise." Broadcasting, May 30, 1960, pg. 34. [9]
  11. ^ "KTNT-TV, CBS to part; KIRO-TV to be primary." Broadcasting, April 30, 1962, pg. 9. [10]
  12. ^ "KIRO minority to Mormons." Broadcasting, April 15, 1963, pg. 5
  13. ^ [11]"Changing hands." Broadcasting, September 9, 1963, pp. 46-47
  14. ^ "For the record." Broadcasting, August 17, 1964, pg. 90
  15. ^ Taylor, Chuck (September 15, 1994). "CBS Drops KIRO-TV For KSTW -- Switch Will Take At Least Six Months". The Seattle Times. Retrieved October 22, 2012. 
  16. ^ Taylor, Chuck (September 13, 1994). "KIRO-TV Sold For $160 Million -- CBS May Drop Longtime Affiliate For Move To KSTW". The Seattle Times. Retrieved October 23, 2012. 
  17. ^ Corr, O. Casey (December 7, 1994). "KIRO Joins Paramount Network". The Seattle Times. Retrieved October 23, 2012. 
  18. ^ Taylor, Chuck (January 31, 1995). "Belo Closing Purchase Of KIRO-TV Today". The Seattle Times. Retrieved October 23, 2012. 
  19. ^ Taylor, Chuck (January 15, 1995). "The Expanding Network Universe -- CBS' Move From KIRO To KSTW Is Just Part Of The Channel-Changing That's Shaking Up Seattle's TV". The Seattle Times. Retrieved October 23, 2012. 
  20. ^ Taylor, Chuck (March 12, 1995). "The CBS Switch -- Questions, Answers On Tomorrow's Big Move". The Seattle Times. Retrieved October 23, 2012. 
  21. ^ Taylor, Chuck (January 18, 1995). "CBS Change Moved Up; KIRO Details Programming". The Seattle Times. Retrieved October 23, 2012. 
  22. ^ Taylor, Chuck (February 1, 1995). "New KIRO Schedule Heavy On Talk Television". The Seattle Times. Retrieved October 23, 2012. 
  23. ^ Taylor, Chuck (October 4, 1996). "KIRO-TV Awaits Its Fate In A Competitive Arena". The Seattle Times. Retrieved October 23, 2012. 
  24. ^ Taylor, Chuck (February 5, 1997). "Three-Network Switch Possible For Seattle TV". The Seattle Times. Retrieved October 23, 2012. 
  25. ^ a b Taylor, Chuck (February 21, 1997). "Deals Shuffle 3 TV Stations -- KIRO, KSTW To Get New Owners, Networks; KING Still NBC". The Seattle Times. Retrieved October 23, 2012. 
  26. ^ Taylor, Chuck (June 29, 1997). "The CBS Switch Is On - Again -- Change Is Nothing New For Seattle Television". The Seattle Times. Retrieved October 23, 2012. 
  27. ^ [12]
  28. ^ "Aaron Brown: Curriculum Vitae". Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. Retrieved 26 September 2013. 
  29. ^ KIRO 7 Translators

External links[edit]