|This article is outdated. (November 2010)|
|Baton Rouge, Louisiana|
|Slogan||Better Television for Louisiana|
|Channels||Analog: 41 (UHF)|
|Owner||Louisiana Television Broadcasting, LLC (Manship family)|
|Founded||August 5, 1987|
|Call letters' meaning||Ba Ton Rouge, also the IATA airport code for the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport|
|Former callsigns||W49KG (1987-1988)|
|Former channel number(s)||49 (1987-1988)
|Former affiliations||UPN (January 1995-September 1999), All News Channel (mid 1990s) (Urban America Television (January 2000-May 2006), Independent (1987-1995; 1999-2000; 2006-September 2012)|
|Transmitter power||18.9 kW|
KBTR-CA channel 41, known on-air as WBTR 41, is a television station in Baton Rouge, Louisiana affiliated with This TV. The station is owned by Louisiana Television Broadcasting, the owners of area ABC affiliate WBRZ-TV. The station is seen on Cox Communications and AT&T U-verse.
While the station is licensed as KBTR-CA, it brands itself on the air as "WBTR 41" to help fit in with other stations in the market. To keep other stations from using the WBTR calls (other than in legal IDs), KBTR has registered "WBTR" as a Registered trademark.
The channel began as an independent television station on May 1, 1987 as W49KG, a low-powered station on UHF channel 49. It was the first over-the-air outlet of non-network programming in Baton Rouge. Branding as WKG-TV, it was owned by State Senator Woody Jenkins and Great Oaks Broadcasting. The call letters were chosen because of a partnership with WKG-TV-Video-Electronic College, which taught television and radio broadcasting and production. It did not have a local newscast but, instead, ran Independent Network News. Following several format tests, the station officially began broadcasting 24 hours a day on August 5, 1987.
On October 20, 1988, it moved to UHF channel 19 under its current calls, KBTR. From the start, the station had trouble getting added to the Baton Rouge cable lineup due to its low-power status. To improve its reach, it retransmitted its signal on various translator stations; namely, K07UJ, K13VE, W19AW, W39AT, and K65EF. On May 15, 1989, Cablevision added the station to its lineup. The station changed its call letters to WBTR on February 1, 1991 in order to emphasize its local programming and started branding itself using the melody of the Steely Dan song "Hey Nineteen" for its station ids. In January 1995, it took on a UPN affiliation; it also carried programming from the All News Channel overnight in the early-to-mid 1990s.
Even after WBTR affiliated with UPN, the station was in danger of being dropped from Baton Rouge cable systems. In 1996, TCI, which had bought Cablevision Baton Rouge, threatened to drop the station from the lineup, so Jenkins ran PSAs encouraging viewers to lobby to keep the station on the air. This, coupled with support from then-Governor Mike Foster kept the station on the air. In September 1999, cable-only WZUP became Baton Rouge's primary UPN affiliate; however, WBTR continued to air some programming from the network, primarily during the daytime. When White Knight Broadcasting (owner of WZUP) sought to extend its signal over the air in 2002, it purchased the channel 19 allocation from Jenkins to broadcast WZUP (rechristened KZUP) over the air; Jenkins moved WBTR to channel 41 during that time as well, a channel he licensed but had not used. During April 2003, Cox Communications removed the station from the cable lineup in favor of KPBN-LP, ironically a station launched from one of WBTR's former translators, yet Jenkins was able to lobby again to keep the station on cable.
Most of the former translator stations now broadcast other programming. K65EF is now WBRL, Baton Rouge's CW affiliate; W19AW is KZUP, Baton Rouge's RTV affiliate; K07UJ is now KPBN-LP, a sportsman channel affiliated with America One and several other sportsman networks; W39AT is now WSTY (channel 23), a My Family TV affiliate for Hammond; K13VE is currently silent.
In 2005, Jenkins and Great Oaks Broadcasting sold the station to Veritas Broadcasting Company, who also purchased WSTY in Hammond. In late Summer 2007, Veritas Broadcasting, sold the station to the Manship family, owners of WBRZ and The Advocate newspaper in order to concentrate on running WSTY. This secured the station's place on area cable systems, since the Manships now had the option to require cable systems to carry WBTR as part of the must-carry compensation for carrying WBRZ.
WBTR continues to broadcast syndicated reruns and local programming catered to the Baton Rouge market. Since 1991, Baton Rouge Today, a news program covering local and state issues, has aired on the station. This program won 1st place as the Best Community News Program in the U.S. from the Community Broadcasters Association. WBTR also airs sporting events from St. Amant High School in Ascension Parish and the Southland Conference, as well as Newsbeat and Sports Showtime from LSU's Tiger TV, and rebroadcasts of WBRZ's Eyewitness News. In September 2012, the station took a secondary affiliation with This TV, which was previously on a subchannel of WVLA.