|Oklahoma City, Oklahoma|
|Branding||Freedom 43 TV (general)
Freedom 43 News (newscast produced by KFOR)
|Channels||Digital: 40 (UHF)
Virtual: 43 (PSIP)
K25LQ-D Elk City
K29HY-D Strong City
|Affiliations||Independent (1980-1986 and since 2012)
Antenna TV (secondary)
(sale to Tribune Broadcasting pending)
(Local TV Oklahoma License, LLC)
|First air date||September 24, 1980|
|Call letters' meaning||Named for station founder Gene AUTry|
|Former callsigns||KAUT (1980-1992)
KPSG (June–November 1998)
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
43 (UHF, 1980-2009)
|Former affiliations||Fox (1986-1991)
|Transmitter power||1,000 kW|
KAUT-TV, virtual channel 43 (UHF digital channel 40), is an independent television station located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States. The station is owned by Local TV (a broadcast holding company operated by private equity firm Oak Hill Capital Partners), and is part of a duopoly with NBC affiliate KFOR-TV. Both stations share studios on Britton Road & U.S. 77, east of the city's Britton section, and its transmitter is located near the John Kilpatrick Turnpike/I-44 on the city's northeast side.
Additionally, KAUT has an informal secondary affiliation with Antenna TV, select programs are simulcast with KFOR-TV digital subchannel 4.2, the network's full-time Oklahoma City affiliate. The station can also be seen on Cox Communications channel 16 and AT&T U-verse channel 43 in standard definition, and Cox Communications digital channel 716 and AT&T U-verse channel 1043 in high definition.
- 1 History
- 2 Digital television
- 3 Programming
- 4 Local programming
- 5 References
- 6 External links
KAUT debuted on September 24, 1980 as the sixth television station and fourth UHF outlet in Oklahoma City (after KGMC, KOKH-TV and the defunct KTVQ). It was founded by actor Gene Autry's Golden West Broadcasters, which also owned then-independent station KTLA in Los Angeles (now owned by Tribune Broadcasting as a CW affiliate). The station's original studios were located at 11901 North Eastern Avenue, north of Oklahoma City's Britton section. KAUT originally ran an all-local news format under the title Newswatch 43, initially airing from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (later expanding to 7 p.m.). Nighttime hours were filled by Golden West-owned over-the-air subscription service VUE, which initially signed on at 5 p.m. and later had its start time moved to 7 p.m. after the expansion of news programming.
Newswatch 43 was discontinued in late 1981, and KAUT temporarily replaced it with a format of older feature film westerns, most of which starred Autry, during the daytime hours. In early 1982, the station debuted TMC 43, a two-hour local dance show that ran from 4 to 6 p.m., followed by Oklahoma Country Live, a local country dance show that was broadcast from a local bar; both shows were cancelled by that fall. Some drama series and sitcoms were added to the schedule around this time as well. Nighttime programming from VUE was dropped by the station in 1983, initially replaced with programming from the Financial News Network (which later merged with CNBC by the end of the decade) and the syndicated news program Independent Network News. Later in the year, FNN programming was dropped and additional primetime movies and drama series were added to the schedule. In 1984, cartoons were added during the morning hours and the station acquired more sitcoms to air during evening timeslots.
On June 11, 1985, Golden West sold KAUT to Atlanta-based Rollins Communications. The station became a Fox charter affiliate on October 9, 1986. More afternoon cartoons were added, while the station also began broadcasting Midnight Shopper, a locally-produced home shopping program on weekend late nights. In 1986, Rollins merged with Heritage Broadcasting to form Heritage Media. In 1987, Pappas Telecasting Companies made a proposal to purchase KOKH, in which the programming inventories of KAUT and KGMC as well as KAUT's Fox affiliation would migrate to channel 25. The proposal would have had Seraphim Media-owned KGMC affiliate with the Home Shopping Network and acquire some religious programs, while Heritage would sell KAUT to the Oklahoma Educational Television Authority PBS member network, which would convert channel 43 into an educational station. This agreement eventually fell through in 1988. With uncertainty over the station's future, 16 KAUT employees left the station for employment at Heritage's other stations, the station's sales department also saw a reduction in advertising. All three stations continued on with general entertainment programming as competing independents.
As a PBS member station
In a deal similar to the aborted Pappas proposal, Heritage Broadcasting traded KAUT to the Oklahoma Educational Television Authority in exchange for KOKH in August 1991, resulting in channel 43's Fox affiliation and syndicated programming, 30 KAUT employees and other equipment and intellectual property moving to channel 25. On August 15, 1991, channel 43 flipped to a non-commercial educational programming format as a PBS member station (the second in the area after OETA flagship KETA-TV); the following year, the station's callsign changed to KTLC to reflect its on-air branding as "The Literacy Channel" (a relatively oxymoronic branding as the station's emphasis, while educational in form, was not entirely focused on literacy). As a PBS station, KTLC's schedule included fitness programs (such as Body Electric, Homestretch and Sit and Be Fit) on weekday mornings from 7 to 8:30, instructional programs and select PBS series (including The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer) during late evenings, and children's programs filling much of the schedule from mid-morning to early evening (differing from other PBS member stations that usually restrict the network's children's shows to daytime hours). Much of the PBS programs seen on the station during this time frame were rebroadcasts from OETA.
KTLC trimmed back its broadcasting hours under OETA ownership, switching its nightly sign-off to 12 a.m. (the same timeslot that OETA signed off on weeknights at the time). Weekends on the station initially retained the same program hours as on weekdays, but its weekend schedule was pared back significantly in 1995, with the broadcast day being substantially reduced to 4 p.m. to 12 a.m. (on cable, KTLC shared channel space with QVC on Cox Cable channel 13, which saw major signal interference by KETA's over-the-air analog signal on VHF channel 13 – QVC programming aired on Cox channel 13 during time periods where KTLC was not on the air). OETA eventually found it too hard to run two stations in the Oklahoma City market, so it decided to put channel 43 up for sale in the fall of 1997.
As a UPN affiliate
In July 1997, KOCB owner Sinclair Broadcast Group signed an affiliation agreement with The WB Television Network to switch five stations owned by the company that were affiliated with the United Paramount Network to The WB; the agreement effectively left Oklahoma City without a UPN affiliate for the next six months once KOCB joined The WB on January 25, 1998. Scrambling to find a new Oklahoma City affiliate, the Paramount Stations Group (owned by UPN co-parent Viacom) entered into an agreement to purchase KTLC from OETA for $23.5 million on January 8, 1998, OETA used the proceeds from the sale to fund the construction of its digital broadcast transmitter.
Paramount reverted the station back into a general entertainment station as the market's new UPN affiliate on June 19, 1998 at 5 a.m. under the callsign KPSG (named after its new owner). The station had intended to join UPN on June 1, 1998, but the switch was delayed twice: first to June 13, and then postponed one more week to June 19 due to technical difficulties unrelated to an outbreak of tornadoes that hit central Oklahoma on the evening of the 13th. Through Viacom's ownership stake in UPN, channel 43 became the first station in Oklahoma to be an owned-and-operated station of a major commercial broadcast network. Conditions of the sale required KPSG to run eight-hour simulcast blocks of OETA's annual pledge drives each weekend during March and August for five years, and PBS educational shows from 7 a.m. to noon after joining UPN; the rest of the schedule outside the UPN and PBS shows featured off-network classic sitcoms, cartoons and movies. That fall, the station became a general entertainment station full-time. After station founder Gene Autry's October 2, 1998 death from lymphoma, channel 43's callsign reverted to KAUT-TV that November in his honor.
Gradually, classic sitcoms were replaced with talk shows and court shows, with cartoons phased out by the Fall of 2003, after UPN discontinued its Disney's One Too children's block. On June 14, 2005, Viacom decided to separate into two companies amid stagnation of the company's stock price; CBS, UPN, their owned-and-operated stations, Showtime Networks and other "slow-growth" businesses owned by Viacom became part of the new CBS Corporation. In the meantime, CBS chose to sell KAUT to The New York Times Company, creating a duopoly with NBC affiliate KFOR-TV.
As a MyNetworkTV affiliate
On January 24, 2006, Time Warner and CBS Corporation announced the creation of jointly-owned The CW Television Network, which would combine programming from both The WB and UPN with shows exclusive to the network. Nearly one month later on February 22, News Corporation announced a new competing network, MyNetworkTV, which would be operated by the company's Fox Television Stations and Twentieth Television units. KAUT was erroneously mentioned as The CW's Oklahoma City charter affiliate in the network's initial station list, not realizing that CBS already sold the station to The New York Times Company. On May 2, The CW signed an agreement with Sinclair to affiliate with WB affiliate KOCB. The day before, KAUT removed all UPN references from its on-air branding and stopped promoting the network's programming, becoming one of a handful of UPN affiliates not owned by Fox Television Stations to do so, the station then branded as simply "43". For months, it was unclear whether KAUT would become an independent station once again or join MyNetworkTV. On August 22, just two weeks before the network launched, MyNetworkTV announced KAUT as its Oklahoma City affiliate, with the affiliation confirmed via an email sent by KAUT station management.
Upon the MyNetworkTV announcement, a promotional video seen on New York City flagship WWOR-TV noted that its affiliates would use the "My (channel number)" scheme in their on-air branding. KAUT opted to instead brand as "OK 43" (omitting the use of the "My" branding or logos). This was accompanied by a marketing campaign focusing on the station's history and origins with Gene Autry. The MyNetworkTV affiliation resulted in KAUT having the distinction of being one of the few stations in the United States to have been affiliated with both Fox and MyNetworkTV (both operated by News Corporation).
On September 12, 2006, less than a year after closing on its purchase of KAUT, The New York Times Company announced its intention to sell its nine television stations. It entered into an agreement with private equity group Oak Hill Capital Partners to sell its station group to Local TV on January 4, 2007, with the sale finalized on May 7. On April 11, 2011, KAUT rebranded as "Freedom 43 TV", an approach made to cater to, according to a statement by KFOR/KAUT president and general manager Jim Boyer, "all Oklahomans who believe in faith, freedom and patriotism," specifically the large military population in the Oklahoma City market. KFOR-produced newscasts on the station were tweaked to include stories and profiles of interest to conservatives and the military community.
Return to independence
On June 20, 2012, independent station KSBI (owned by locally-based Family Broadcasting Group of Oklahoma) announced in a promo for its Fall 2012 programming slate uploaded on its official YouTube channel that it would join MyNetworkTV on September 17 of that year. The last MyNetworkTV program to air on KAUT was a repeat of Monk on September 14, 2012. Thereafter, KAUT-TV reverted to being an independent station, leaving the station without an affiliation with a major broadcast network – commercial or non-commercial – for the first time since 1986 and giving it the designation of being the first independent station in Local TV's portfolio. Off-network syndicated sitcoms replaced MyNetworkTV programs during the 7-9 p.m. timeslot. On September 16, KAUT began running some limited classic television programming provided by Antenna TV during certain daytime and overnight timeslots (weekday programs from the network were later relegated to overnights only by November 2012) in an informal secondary affiliation with the Tribune Broadcasting-owned network, which largely airs on digital subchannels in most of the network's markets (including locally on sister station KFOR-TV, which retained its full-time affiliation with the network on its 4.2 subchannel). In KAUT's case, the programming is simulcast from the Antenna TV national feed to compensate for current-day syndication rights.
After the 2013 Moore tornado, KAUT aired some NBC programming, while KFOR continued extended news coverage. On July 1, 2013, Local TV announced that its stations would be acquired by the Tribune Company. The company's purchase of KAUT would give Tribune its first independent station since the January 1995 launch of The WB.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|43.1||1080i||16:9||KAUT-DT||Main KAUT-TV programming|
As part of the analog television shutdown and digital conversion in the United States, KAUT-TV shut down its analog transmitter on June 12, 2009, and continued to broadcast its digital signal on its pre-transition UHF channel 40. However, through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display KAUT's virtual channel as 43.
Syndicated programming on KAUT-TV includes 30 Rock, How I Met Your Mother, Steve Harvey, Rules of Engagement, M*A*S*H and Friends. KAUT may occasionally take on the responsibility of running NBC network shows in place of regular programming in the event of extended breaking news or severe weather coverage on KFOR (the first such instance of this occurring was on May 21, 2013, while KFOR-TV ran extended coverage of the aftermath of an EF5 tornado that struck Moore).
Since 2004, KAUT has been the broadcast home of Oklahoma Sooners men's and women's college basketball games produced through the Sooner Sports Network, and also runs Sooners-related basketball and football coaches shows. From January 2006 to May 2008, KAUT broadcast the weekly high school sports wrap-up program Oklahoma High School Sports Express (hosted by former KFOR sports reporter Van Shea Iven), which has aired on KOKH since August 2008. It had also broadcast select Texas Rangers games produced by KDFI/Dallas-Fort Worth during the 2007 Major League Baseball season.
KFOR presently produces a total of 12½ hours of local newscasts each week for KAUT (with 2½ hours on weekdays); the station does not broadcast any news programming on weekends at the time being. After the sale to The New York Times Company, KFOR-TV began producing a weeknight 9 o'clock newscast for KAUT on June 5, 2006, to compete against KOKH's longer-established 9 p.m. newscast, which debuted ten years earlier. On April 9, 2007, KOKH debuted what at the time was a three-hour weekday morning newscast, running from 6 to 9 a.m. (it has since expanded to four hours starting at 5 a.m.) To compete with this, KAUT began producing a two-hour extension of KFOR's weekday morning newscast on September 8, 2008 (under the title Rise and Shine Oklahoma).
In July 2009, KFOR became the first station in the market to broadcast its local newscasts in high definition. The KAUT broadcasts were included in the switch. In addition to airing local newscasts produced by KFOR-TV, it also will take on the responsibility of simulcasting KFOR-TV's severe weather coverage in place of regular programming in the event that a tornado warning is issued for any part of the station's main over-the-air broadcast area. From July 2004 to September 2010, the station also ran the nationally syndicated morning show The Daily Buzz, initially airing from 5 to 8 a.m., before the third hour of the program was dropped after Rise & Shine debuted (The Daily Buzz moved to MyNetworkTV affiliate KSBI in February 2011; KAUT now airs classic westerns and simulcasts of movies from Antenna TV during the early morning timeslot). With the rebranding as "Freedom 43" in April 2012, production of KAUT's newscasts moved from KFOR's main news set to a secondary set at the Britton Road facility shared by the two stations that is designed to resemble army barracks; the station also incorporated feature reports focused on Oklahoma's military community during its evening newscasts.
- Newswatch 43 (1980–1981)
- Oklahoma's NewsChannel 4 at 9:00 on 43 (9 p.m. newscast; May–August 2006)
- Oklahoma's NewsChannel 4 at 9:00 on OK43 (9 p.m. newscast; 2006–2008)
- Rise and Shine Oklahoma (morning newscast; 2008–present, shortened to simply Rise and Shine since April 2011)
- NewsChannel 4 at 9:00 on OK43 (9 p.m. newscast; 2008–2011)
- Freedom 43 News (2011–present)
- "TV-43, Your Newswatch Station" (1980–1983)
- "Central Oklahoma's Rising Star" (1983–1990)
- "Don't Let Fox 43 Weekends Pass You By" (1987–1988; localized version of Fox ad campaign)
- "KTLC, Public Television for Central Oklahoma" (1991–1998)
- "Oklahoma's Favorite" (2001–2002)
- "It's On!" (2002–2003)
- "It's U!" (2003–2006; reference to its UPN affiliation at the time)
- "An Oklahoma Original" (2006–2009)
- "Turn Us On!" (2009–2011)
- "Red, White and You" (2011–present)
Current on-air staff
Anchors of KAUT's newscasts are Joleen Chaney (weekday mornings on Rise and Shine from 7:00-9:00 a.m.; also reporter), Sara Celi (weeknights at 9:00 p.m.; also reporter), Ali Meyer (weekday morning fill-in anchor) and Kent Ogle (weekday morning fill-in anchor).
The 4WARN Storm Team includes chief meteorologist Mike Morgan (member, AMS; member, NWA; weeknights at 9:00 p.m.), and meteorologists Emily Sutton (weekday mornings on Rise and Shine from 7:00-9:00 a.m.), Troy Christensen (member, AMS; weekday morning 7:00-9:00 a.m. fill-in meteorologist) and Chase Thomason (meteorologist; weekday morning 7:00-9:00 a.m. fill-in meteorologist).
General assignment reporters seen on the newscasts are Meg Alexander (also fill-in 9:00 p.m. anchor), Linda Cavanaugh (also fill-in 9:00 p.m. anchor), Ed Doney, Coutney Francisco, La'Tasha Givens, Ashley Kringen, Adam Mertz, Chellie Mills (weekday morning reporter), Kevin Ogle, Bree Steffen (weekday morning reporter), Sarah Stewart (freelance reporter) and Jesse Wells. Specialty reporters are Lucas Ross (Rise and Shine social media correspondent; also host of Two Movie Guys) and Tim Young (weekday morning traffic reporter).
Contributors for KAUT's newscasts are Ryan Bellgardt (host of Two Movie Guys), Rich DiMuro (technology reporter, based at KTLA in Los Angeles), Jerry Ramsey ("The Drop" DVD, CD and movie reviews) and Lucas Ross (host of Two Movie Guys).
Other locally-produced programs
The station runs a rebroadcast of KFOR-TV's political discussion program Flash Point at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday mornings (two hours after its initial broadcast on KFOR). KAUT also produces 2 Movie Guys, a Saturday primetime movie presentation that features comedic wraparound segments included before and after commercial breaks; the program is hosted by Lucas Ross and Ryan Bellgardt (the latter of whom also serves as the station's continuity announcer). Ross and Bellgardt are also seen on the Friday morning edition of KAUT-TV's weekday morning news program Rise and Shine, providing reviews for movies that will be released in theaters that week. Since 2009, Ross and Bellgardt are also featured in half-hour annual 2 Movie Guys holiday specials that are broadcast each Christmas Day in place of KAUT's 9 p.m. newscast and KFOR's 6:30 p.m. newscast that evening.
Local program hosts
- Kevin Ogle - moderator
- Kirk Humphreys - commentator
- Mike Turpen - commentator; also KFOR-TV political analyst
2 Movie Guys
- Ryan Bellgardt - co-host; also station announcer
- Lucas Ross - co-host
- Television Shopping / Snyder & Co. Establishes Roots with TV Home Retailing Program, The Journal Record (via Questia Online Library), September 2, 1986.
- KAUT Selected to Affiliate with Fox Broadcasting Co., The Journal Record (via Questia Online Library), July 25, 1986.
- Unexperienced Gillett Predicts Few Changes as Owner of KOKH-TV, The Journal Record (via Questia Online Library), December 20, 1986.
- OETA Files Application of Intent to Purchase KGMC-TV, The Journal Record (via Questia Online Library), August 18, 1988.
- KAUT Starts Rebuilding Process, The Journal Record (via Questia Online Library), May 17, 1989.
- KOKH-TV Fox 25 to Challenge Major Network Affiliates, The Journal Record (via Questia Online Library), August 23, 1991.
- KOKH, KAUT to Change Operations on Thursday, The Journal Record (via Questia Online Library), August 13, 1991.
- UPN offers highest bid for KTLC, The Journal Record (via Questia Online Library), December 22, 1997.
- Slicing up television pie, The Journal Record (via Questia Online Library), January 20, 1998.
- WB woos and wins Sinclair, Broadcasting & Cable, July 21, 1997.
- OETA to sell KTLC-43 to Paramount Stations, The Journal Record, January 8, 1998.
- UPN returns on Saturday, The Journal Record, June 19, 1998.
- Channel 43 sale completed, The Journal Record, July 22, 1998.
- The New York Times Company Agrees to Acquire KAUT-TV in Oklahoma City from Viacom's TV Station Group; Duopoly to Further Broadcast Media Group's Growth Strategy, Business Wire (via HighBeam Research), September 14, 2005.
- 'Gilmore Girls' meet 'Smackdown'; CW Network to combine WB, UPN in CBS-Warner venture beginning in September, CNNMoney.com, January 24, 2006.
- UPN and WB to Combine, Forming New TV Network, The New York Times, January 24, 2006.
- News Corp. Unveils MyNetworkTV, Broadcasting & Cable, February 22, 2006.
- Network shuffle: WB stations take CW, UPN affiliates join MyNetworkTV, The Journal Record (via HighBeam Research), August 23, 2006.
- NY Times CO. Sell TV Group to Equity Firm for $530M; Second equity group to buy a media business in two weeks., NewsInc. (via HighBeam Research), January 8, 2007.
- "Freedom's Just Another Word For... KAUT," from the BroadcastingCable.com Station to Station blog, 3/24/2011
- "Patriotism Key to KAUT Rebranding," from tvnewscheck.com, 3/24/2011
- Fall Programming Lineup on KSBI
- KSBI-52 joining MyNetworkTV, The Oklahoman, August 21, 2012.
- KAUT Freedom 43 TV to air classics, The Oklahoman, September 12, 2012.
- Channick, Robert (July 1, 2013). "Acquisition to make Tribune Co. largest U.S. TV station operator". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved July 1, 2013.
- RabbitEars TV Query for KAUT
- List of Digital Full-Power Stations
- FCC document: "APPENDIX B: ALL FULL-POWER TELEVISION STATIONS BY DMA, INDICATING THOSE TERMINATING ANALOG SERVICE BEFORE ON OR FEBRUARY 17, 2009."
- CDBS Print
- KAUT begins news program: Ernie Paulson to join Cherokee Ballard as co-anchor on 9 o'clock news, The Journal Record (via Questia Online Library), June 12, 2006.
- "Meet the KFOR Newsteam". KFOR. Retrieved 2011-03-24.