|Branding||KALB NewsChannel 5
CBS 2 (on DT2)
|Slogan||Your Local Station
CBS 2 and You!
|Channels||Digital: 35 (UHF)
Virtual: 5 (PSIP)
(Gray Television Licensee, LLC)
|First air date||September 29, 1954|
|Call letters' meaning||Know Alexandria,
|Former channel number(s)||5 (VHF analog, 1954-2009)|
|Former affiliations||DuMont (1954-1955)
|Transmitter power||820 kW|
KALB-TV is the NBC-affiliated television station for Central Louisiana licensed to Alexandria. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 35 (virtual channel 5.1 via PSIP) from a transmitter in Forest Hill. The station can also be seen on Suddenlink channel 5 and in high definition on digital channel 730. Its subchannel on 5.2 is named "CBS 2" for its cable slot on Suddenlink analog channel 2; it also airs on that system in high definition on digital channel 715. Owned by Gray Television, KALB maintains studios on Washington Street in downtown Alexandria. Syndicated programming on the station includes Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy!, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and The Rachael Ray Show, among others.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|5.1||1080i||16:9||KALBNBC||Main KALB programming / NBC|
KALB began broadcasting on September 29, 1954 with NBC's airing of the 1954 World Series. It aired an analog signal on VHF channel 5. The station has been an affiliate with the network from the very first day although it also carried programs from CBS and DuMont until that network folded in 1955. In 1957, the station was bought by Shreveport businessman T. B. Lanford and his company Red River Valley Broadcasting. KALB also aired programming from ABC, such as Happy Days, on a secondary basis until the early 1980s. Park Communications purchased KALB in 1993 and merged with Media General in 1997. KALB began broadcasting in stereo in 1988. The station launched its digital signal in 2002.
For more than two decades Ethma Odum, who hosted her own The Ethma Odum Show weekdays on KALB, was the most recognized regional television personality in Central Louisiana. She sometimes interviewed area politicians as well as actors and other celebrities passing through Alexandria. She often invited local singing groups to perform on the show. Her annual "Letters to Santa" program and her reading of Charles Tazewell's The Littlest Angel, were particularly popular. Various episodes had Odum milking a cow, visiting a shooting range, or interviewing a clown.Mainly, however, Odum geared the program to the homemaker. On closing each broadcast, she urged her viewers to obtain vital cancer screenings. Widely recognized from her lifetime of broadcasting, Odum retired from the station in 2002. She also did occasional "Special Reports" for the evening newscast.
On October 29, 2007, Media General announced it was exploring the sale of KALB. On March 14, 2008, the company reached an agreement to sell the station and sister outlet WMBB in Panama City, Florida to the Hoak Media. The deal was closed on July 16. However, KALB still retained its Media General-era logo with the arc motif and news theme until it adopted a new theme in 2011. The station adopted an updated graphic look, logo, and music theme when the station launched its newscasts in high definition in July, 2012. On February 17, 2009, it turned off its analog signal on channel 5 and now only operates in digital on channel 35. However, through PSIP, digital tuners show the virtual channel as the former analog channel.
Originally, KALB aired a digital signal from a transmitter at its facilities in Downtown Alexandria. KALB is one of the country's most dominant stations in part because it was the only commercial station in town until KLAX-TV signed-on in 1983. Alexandria is sandwiched between Monroe/El Dorado to the north, Baton Rouge to the east, Shreveport to the west, and Lafayette/Lake Charles to the south. This created a large "doughnut" in Central Louisiana where there could be only one VHF license. When cable arrived in the market in the 1970s, companies supplemented the area with stations from those cities. Before CBS began broadcasting on KALB-DT2, viewers watched CBS on cable from KLFY-TV in Lafayette, KNOE-TV in Monroe, or WAFB-TV in Baton Rouge.
KALB operates a relatively large news department compared with other big three affiliates in markets of its size. This results in a higher-quality product than conventional wisdom would suggest for such a small market. It is one of the country's most dominant stations largely because it had the area more or less to itself until KLAX launched in 1983.
The "Jambalaya" morning newscast was expanded to a two-hour broadcast in January, 2012. Unlike some NBC affiliates in the Central Time Zone, there is no early evening local newscast on Sundays. On weeknights, KALB-DT2 airs CBS 2 News at 6:30pm with the CBS Evening News airing at 6:00pm. This is unlike most affiliates in the Central Time Zone, which normally air the broadcast at 5:30pm. The morning news/weather updates and weekend newscasts are simulcast on both CBS 2 and News Channel 5. The weekend broadcasts are co-branded with the title "Weekend Edition".
During weather forecast segments, KALB features a live NOAA National Weather Service weather radar feed from a site on the west side of Alexandria International Airport. On-air, this is known as "Sky Warn 5 Live Doppler". Additionally, KALB has a partnership with Radio Maria, AM 580 in Alexandria, to simulcast its newscasts during severe weather or other emergencies. KALB's meteorologists also provide daily weather updates for Radio Maria and its network of stations.
The station also produces numerous live and recorded locally originated programs such as live coverage of the Komen Alexandria Race for the Cure and live political debates during election season. Each hurricane season, the station's team of meteorologists produces a 30-minute hurricane special called "Surviving the Storm." On Thanksgiving, a "Giving Thanks" special airs, and 30-minute "Spirit of the Season" specials air at various times during the holiday season. Other specialty programming includes specials that include "What's Right About Cenla" which features a look at positive people and organizations in the community, the "Young Achiever Spotlight" showcases outstanding kids and teens in the Central Louisiana region, and "Weekend Drive" takes a look at family-friendly travel destinations within a day's drive of the Central Louisiana area. These programs are hosted by News Channel 5 personalities. News Channel 5's "Junior Edition" is a feature in the weekend newscast which is hosted by area school children and includes news about area schools and community events. These specialty programs are all produced locally by KALB-TV.
The "5th Quarter" show is hosted by sports director/anchor Mo Carter and sports anchor/reporter Chris Bailey. It includes football highlights and scores from schools throughout Central Louisiana. The "5th Quarter" airs from 10:05pm-10:35pm on Friday nights during high school football season.
- "Ethma Odum Collection". Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. Retrieved June 2, 2014.
- "Ethma Ewing Odum, March 22, 2009". Alexandria Town Talk. Retrieved June 2, 2014.
- "Gray Buying Hoak, Prime Stations For $342.5M". TVNewsCheck. November 20, 2013. Retrieved November 20, 2013.
- Gray closes Hoak deal; completes refinancing., rbr.com, Retrieved 13 June, 2014.