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Kcnc 2009.png
Denver, Colorado
United States
Branding CBS 4 (general)
CBS 4 News (newscasts)
Slogan Only CBS 4 (general)
Colorado's News Channel (news)
On Your Side (investigative reports)
Channels Digital: 35 (UHF)
Virtual: 4 (PSIP)
Subchannels 4.1 CBS
Translators (see article)
Affiliations CBS (O&O)
Owner CBS Corporation
(CBS Television Stations, Inc.)
First air date December 24, 1953; 60 years ago (1953-12-24)
Call letters' meaning Colorado's News Channel
Former callsigns KOA-TV (1953–1983)
Former channel number(s) Analog:
4 (VHF, 1953–2009)
Former affiliations NBC (1953–1995)
Transmitter power 1000 kW
Height 374 m (1,227 ft)
Facility ID 47903
Transmitter coordinates 39°43′50.6″N 105°13′55.6″W / 39.730722°N 105.232111°W / 39.730722; -105.232111
Licensing authority FCC
Public license information: Profile
Website www.cbsdenver.com

KCNC-TV, channel 4, is a CBS owned-and-operated television station located in Denver, Colorado, USA. KCNC-TV's studios and offices are located in downtown Denver, and its transmitter is based on Lookout Mountain, near Golden, Colorado.


As an NBC affiliate[edit]

The station first signed on the air as KOA-TV on December 24, 1953, originally owned by Metropolitan Broadcasting (partly owned by famed comedian Bob Hope),[1] alongside KOA radio (850 AM and 103.5 FM). Channel 4 immediately took the NBC affiliation away from KBTV (channel 9, now KUSA-TV), due to KOA radio's longtime affiliation with and ownership by the NBC Radio Network.

In 1965, KOA-TV carried most of NBC's American Football League games with Curt Gowdy doing play-by-play, but Denver Broncos home games had to be blacked out due to the team's inability to sell out tickets to the games. In 1967, KOA-TV ran an award-winning documentary The Acid Test, LSD; hosted by news editor Bob Palmer, the film took five months to produce with more than 5,000 feet of film shot. Photographers involved included Bill Baker, Medill Barnes, Jerry Curran, Sam Houston and Barry Trader.

KOA-TV, which switched from logo to logo in the 1970s, stuck with this circle 4 logo until 1993.

In 1968, KOA-AM-TV was sold to General Electric for $10 million. Between 1972 and 1976, KOA-TV was brought in out of market to cable providers in Rapid City, South Dakota as NBC did not have an affiliate in that market at the time[citation needed] (KOTA-TV then had a dual primary affiliation with both ABC and CBS with no room for NBC programs on its schedule, and KEVN-TV would not sign on until 1976, sharing NBC with KOTA-TV). General Electric sold the KOA radio stations to A. H. Belo Corporation in 1983 for $22 million, as part of their overall exit strategy from broadcasting. GE did retain channel 4, but was required to change the station's call letters on August 12 of that year to the present-day KCNC-TV (standing for "Colorado's News Channel").

On the evening of June 18, 1984 Alan Berg, who hosted programs on both KOA radio and KOA-TV and was an attorney known for taking a largely liberal stand on issues, at times using an abrasive and combative demeanor to callers and guests with opposing views, was shot and killed in the driveway of his home by members of a White Nationalist group called The Order.

In 1986, General Electric acquired NBC, resulting in KCNC becoming an owned-and-operated station of that network and Colorado's first network-owned station. By 1990, KCNC-TV devoted nearly all of its programming hours outside of network shows to locally-produced news programs, broadcasting nearly 40 hours of newscasts each week. General manager Roger Ogden felt his station's money was better spent on local programming, rather than paying syndication distributors to acquire nationally syndicated shows. In 1990, KCNC paid $11,000 to another television station in Denver to carry election coverage using KCNC's reporters so channel 4 could air NBC's Tuesday night lineup, including Matlock and In the Heat of the Night.[2]

Switch to CBS[edit]

Main article: 1994 United States broadcast TV realignment

In 1994, CBS and Westinghouse Electric Corporation agreed to a long-term affiliation deal that saw three of Westinghouse's television stations become CBS affiliates, joining two longtime CBS affiliates.[3] CBS had a problem in Philadelphia, a cash sale of WCAU in order to affiliate with KYW-TV would have led to huge taxes on the profit of it.[4] To solve this problem, NBC swapped ownership of KCNC-TV and Salt Lake City's KUTV, along with the VHF channel 4 allocation and transmitter in Miami to CBS in exchange for WCAU, which for legal reasons made it an even trade.[5]

KCNC became Denver's CBS affiliate on September 10, 1995, as part of a three-way affiliation swap between all of Denver's "Big Three" network affiliates. Longtime CBS affiliate KMGH-TV switched its affiliation to ABC through an affiliation agreement with KMGH's then-owner McGraw-Hill, while longtime ABC affiliate KUSA took the NBC affiliation (although KUSA's owners, the Gannett Company, had already owned several NBC affiliates at the time, as is the case in the present day). The final NBC program was an airing of Saturday Night Live on September 9, with NBC moving all of its programming locally to KUSA at the end of the program. Under the terms of the CBS/Westinghouse deal, CBS sold controlling ownership interest in KCNC to Westinghouse's broadcasting division Group W. Later that year, Westinghouse Electric Corporation acquired CBS for $5.4 billion, making KCNC a network-owned station for the second time in the station's history.[6]

In 1998, the American Football Conference of the National Football League (which absorbed the AFL and the Broncos in 1970) moved the broadcast rights to the conference's game telecasts from NBC to CBS, with KCNC regaining the local television rights to the Broncos as a result (coinciding with their second straight Super Bowl championship and fan favorite John Elway's final season with the team before his retirement from the NFL). In 2003, KCNC changed its on-air branding to "CBS 4" to comply with the network's branding conventions (although it retained the News 4 title for its newscasts for another two years).

The station was featured in the 2007 film Blades of Glory, and along with other Denver area stations has also been mentioned on the Colorado-set Comedy Central series South Park. One episode mentioned Ron Zappolo as still being with channel 4 (although he now actually anchors at Fox affiliate KDVR).[7]

Currently, KCNC is one of four television stations in Denver that is owned-and-operated by a broadcast network: the others being Telemundo station KDEN-TV (owned by NBCUniversal), Telefutura station KTFD (owned by Univision Communications) and Ion Television station KPXC (owned by Ion Media Networks). It is also one of a handful of television stations that have been owned by two different networks at separate points in its history (locally, Fox affiliate KDVR was owned Fox Television Stations from 1995 to 2008 and now-CW affiliate KWGN-TV served as a de facto owned-and-operated stations of The WB from 1995 to 2006 through owner Tribune Company's minority ownership interest in that network).

Digital television[edit]

Digital channel[edit]

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[8]
4.1 1080i 16:9 KCNC-TV Main KCNC-TV programming / CBS

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

KCNC-TV shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 4, on June 12, 2009, the official date in which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 35.[9] Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analog channel 4.

News operation[edit]

KCNC newscast title card; seen nightly at 6, since September 2013.

KCNC-TV presently broadcasts a total of 27½ hours of locally-produced newscasts each week (with 5 hours on weekdays, two hours on Saturdays and 3½ hours on Sundays).

Previous news title card used from May 27, 2010 until September 22, 2013, seen nightly at 10.

In 1969, 10 p.m. anchor Bob Palmer left channel 4 for KLZ-TV, to replace John Rayburn, who went on to a station in Kansas City. In the 1970s, the station ran its late evening newscasts at 11 p.m. on weekends (one hour later than the typical timeslot for late evening newscasts in the Mountain Time Zone). In 1981, KBTV news director Roger Ogden was hired by KOA-TV as general manager; during his tenure, Ogden brought Marv Rockford and John Haralson to join the station's news staff from channel 9. Ogden named George Caldwell, Sam Allred and Ron Zappolo as channel 4's #1 news team. Janet Zappala and Alan Berg also joined the station that year. In 1983, Marv Rockford was promoted to the position of news director, Peter Rogot was named weekend anchor at channel 4 and Marty Aarons joined Bob Palmer and Janet Zappala in anchoring duties; others joining channel 4 that year included Wendy Bergen, Karen Layton, Marcia Neville, Tom Raponi and Mike Silva.

In 1982, Bill Stuart left KMGH-TV for KOA-TV, joining several other new hires such as Linda Farrell, Sylvia Cordy, Jeff Hullinger, Stephanie White, Merrie Lynn, Tom Martino and Tom Bear. In June of that year, KOA-TV premiered a half hour 4:30 p.m. newscast titled First News, co-anchored by Larry Green and Linda Farrell, with Suzanne McCarroll as the featured reporter on the new show; the program would eventually expand to one hour beginning at 4 p.m., and remain on the station until its May 26, 2006 cancellation to make way for The Oprah Winfrey Show. Also that year, the station's news helicopter "Copter 4" crashed into a snowy stand of pine trees near Larkspur, while en route to the crash site of a commuter airplane, killing KOA-TV pilot/reporter (the first female in the country) Karen Key and mechanic Larry Zane; Key's blood alcohol content was reported to be at 0.09 (just below the legal limit of 0.10).

In 2002, Marv Rockford was forced out as general manager of KCNC and replaced by Walt DeHaven. Tony Lopez moved from San Antonio to join channel 4. In 2003, the primary evening news team at KCNC featured Molly Hughes and Bill Stuart as its 10 p.m. anchors, with Brian Maass and Rick Sallinger as reporters. On April 21, 2008, Karen Leigh (who previously worked at Minneapolis sister station WCCO-TV) replaced Molly Hughes as co-anchor of the weeknight newscasts. KCNC also began broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition on that date, becoming Denver's second station (after KUSA) to do so and the market's third station to broadcast all of its programming, including syndicated programs, in the format (behind KUSA and KTVD).

On May 27, 2010, KCNC joined other CBS-owned stations in the release of a new standardized graphics package, with the CBS Eye logo featured prominently in the package. KCNC retained 615 Music's Newstime as its news theme until October 6, 2011,[10] when the station began using Gari Media Group's The CBS Enforcer News Music Collection as most of CBS' other owned-and-operated stations did upon or before adopting the standardized graphics[11] (cuts from Newstime continue to be used for sponsor tags during the newscasts). The 4 p.m. newscast returned to the schedule on June 13, 2011, only lasting less than three months before it was dropped a second time after the September 2, 2011 broadcast and replaced three days later by Dr. Phil.[12]

On January 13, 2014; CBS4 expanded their morning newscast from 5-7 a.m. to 4:30-7 a.m. KCNC became the third station in Denver to offer news at 4:30 a.m., while KDVR and KWGN are the last ones to start their morning newscasts at 5 a.m.

News/station presentation[edit]

Newscast titles[edit]

  • NBC Choice Channel 4 (1953–1960)
  • KOA Channel 4 News (1960–1973)
  • Channel 4 News (1973–1977)
  • NewsWatch 4 (1977–1979)
  • NewsCenter 4 (1979–1988)[13]
  • News 4 Colorado (1988–1997)[14]
  • News 4 (1997–2005)[15]
  • CBS 4 News (2005–present)[16]

Station slogans[edit]

  • "Channel 4, Colorado's Color Station" (1960s)
  • "Have a Ball This Fall on Channel 4" (1970–1975)
  • "This is TV-4, Colorado's News Service Station" (1975–1976)
  • "For Colorado, 4 Stands Alone" (1976–1977)
  • "Newswatch 4, Newswatching Out for You" (1977–1979)
  • "This is Channel 4, Colorado's News Channel" (1979–1986; used to open newscasts)
  • "Colorado's News Channel" (1985–2005, 2013–present)
  • "Proud to be Owned by NBC" (1986–1995)
  • "More Coloradans Get Their News from News 4, Than from Any Other Source" (1993–1995; used during the close of the Colorado Evening News and NEWS 4 at 10)
  • "This is Who We Are, Still Colorado's News Channel" (September 1995; used to promote affiliation switch to CBS)
  • "The Spirit of Colorado" (1996–2002)
  • "Coverage You Can Count On" (2005–2007)
  • "CBS4 Is Always On" (2005–present; website slogan)
  • "Get The Whole Story" (2007–2010)
  • "On Your Side" (2012–present; used for consumer and investigative reports)

News team[edit]

Current on-air staff[edit]

  • Jim Benemann - weeknights at 5:00, 6:00, and 10:00 p.m. (1987-1993; 2003)
  • Alan Gionet - weekday mornings (4:30-7:00 a.m.) and weekdays at noon (1994-1998; 2006)
  • Karen Leigh - weeknights at 5:00, 6:00, and 10:00 p.m. (2008)
  • Britt Moreno - weekday mornings (4:30-7:00 a.m.) and weekdays at noon (2013)
  • Tom Mustin - weekends at 5:00 and 10:00 p.m. (2002)
  • Kathy Walsh - weekends at 5:00 and 10:00 p.m.; also health reporter (1984)
  • Mark Taylor - weekend mornings (7:00-8:00 Saturdays and 6:00-8:00 a.m. Sundays)
Weather team[17]
  • Ed Greene (AMS Seal of Approval) - chief meteorologist; weeknights at 5:00, 6:00, and 10:00 p.m. (1981-1996; 2001)
  • Dave Aguilera (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist and NWA Seals of Approval) - meteorologist; weekends at 5:00 and 10:00 p.m. (1993)
  • Justin McHeffey - meteorologist; weekend mornings (7:00-8:00 Saturdays and 6:00-8:00 a.m Sundays; 2012)
  • Lauren Whitney - meteorologist; weekday mornings (4:30-7:00 a.m.) and weekdays at noon (2011)
Sports team[17]
  • Vic Lombardi - sports director; weeknights at 5:00, 6:00, and 10:00 p.m. (1998)
  • Tom Helmer - sports anchor; weekends at 5:00 and 10:00 p.m.
  • Shaun Boyd - political specialist reporter (1998)
  • Ty Brennan - Northern Newsroom reporter (2012)
  • Jennifer Brice - general assignment reporter; also fill-in anchor (2010)
  • Stan Bush - general assignment reporter (2006)
  • Valerie Castro - weeknight reporter at 5:00, 6:00, 6:30 and 10:00 p.m. (2010)
  • Joel Hillan - weekday morning traffic reporter (4:30-7:00 a.m.; 2012)
  • Dr. Dave Hnida - medical editor and reporter (1990)
  • Andrea Lopez - general assignment reporter (2002)
  • Greg Moody - critic-at-large and entertainment reporter (1988)
  • Howard Nathan - general assignment reporter (2007)
  • Gloria Neal - "Interactive Help Center" reporter
  • Brooke Rogers - general assignment reporter (2009)
  • Nina Sparano - general assignment reporter (2013)
  • Jeff Todd - Mountain Newsroom reporter (2011)
  • Kelly Werthmann - weekday morning reporter (4:30-7:00 a.m.; 2012)
CBS 4 On Your Side[17]
  • Jodi Brooks - consumer reporter
  • Suzanne 'I don't research' McCarroll - "Money Saver" feature reporter (1982), Currently - Fiction news stories.
  • Brian Maass - investigative reporter (1983)
  • Rick Sallinger - investigative reporter (1993)

Notable former on-air staff[edit]


The Denver market includes large portions of Colorado, Nebraska and Wyoming. KCNC serves this vast area with one of the largest translator networks in the country. All translators are in Colorado unless otherwise listed.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Eggerton, John (2003-08-03). "Hope and Glory". Broadcasting and Cable: 2. [dead link]
  2. ^ "Zapped." US News and World Report 109.15 (1990): 24.
  3. ^ Carter, Bill (July 15, 1994). "CBS to Add Three Affiliates in Deal With Westinghouse". The New York Times. Retrieved July 12, 2012. 
  4. ^ "From the official archives of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia". Retrieved 9/2/12. 
  5. ^ CBS, NBC Changing Channels, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, November 22, 1994.
  6. ^ Hofmeister, Sallie (August 2, 1995). "CBS Agrees to Buyout Bid by Westinghouse : Entertainment: $5.4-billion merger would create biggest TV, radio empire. But the deal faces obstacles.". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 22, 2012. 
  7. ^ Husted, Bill (November 11, 2007). ""South Park" drops names, takes jabs". Denver Post. Retrieved 2008-07-07. 
  8. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for KCNC
  9. ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24. 
  10. ^ Newstime Package
  11. ^ Enforcer Collection Package
  12. ^ CBS4 drops 4 p.m. newscast
  13. ^ KCNC Denver: News Open - 1986 Weekend Edition
  14. ^ KCNC News 4 Colorado 10 PM News Open (Early-Summer 1995)
  15. ^ KCNC News 4 Denver 5PM Open (March 1998)
  16. ^ KCNC: CBS4 News at Noon (2010)
  17. ^ a b c d e News Team
  18. ^ "Dick Albert Bio". Retrieved 9 March 2013. 
  19. ^ "Carlos Amezcua's LinkedIn profile". Retrieved 9 March 2013. 
  20. ^ "The History Of Television In Denver". Broadcast Professionals of Colorado. Retrieved 9 March 2013. 
  21. ^ "David Crabtree Bio". WRAL-TV. Retrieved 9 March 2013. 
  22. ^ http://www.thedenverchannel.com/about/news-team/john-ferrugia
  23. ^ "Chris Fowler Bio". ESPN. Retrieved 9 March 2013. 
  24. ^ "Tom Martino leaves KCNC". Denver Business Journal. 17 December 1999. Retrieved 9 March 2013. 

External links[edit]