San Jose, California
|City of license||San Francisco, California|
|Channels||Digital: 39 (UHF)
Virtual: 38 (PSIP)
|Owner||NRJ TV, LLC
(operated by Titan TV Broadcast Group)
(NRJ TV San Fran License Co, LLC)
|First air date||First incarnation:
December 1, 1968
October 4, 1971
January 6, 1986
|Last air date||First incarnation:
October 3, 1971
December 30, 1985
|Call letters' meaning||California's
|Former callsigns||KWBB (1986–1991)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
38 (UHF, 1968–2009)
|Former affiliations||Independent (1968–1971 and 1986–1988)
Religious independent (1971–1986)
Shop at Home/Jewelry Television (1998–2007)
infomercials (January–April 2007)
|Transmitter power||1000 kW|
|Public license information:||Profile
KCNS, virtual channel 38 (UHF digital channel 39), is a MundoFox-affiliated television station located in San Francisco, California, United States. The station is owned by NRJ TV, LLC, as part of a duopoly with Estrella TV affiliate KTNC-TV (channel 42). KCNS maintains studios and offices located on Montgomery Street in the North Beach district of San Francisco, and its transmitter is located atop Sutro Tower.
Channel 38 first signed on the air on December 1, 1968 as KUDO-TV. The station initially broadcast financial programming during the morning and early afternoon hours, along with movies at night. The station went dark on October 3, 1971 due to financial difficulties. On October 4, 1971, the Faith Center (owned by Eugene Scott) acquired the station at a cheap price and returned it to the air as KVOF-TV, carrying Christian programming about 12 hours a day. Some was produced by Gene Scott while other shows came from outside Christian groups. The station expanded to nearly 24 hours a day by 1975. They ran a mix of shows like PTL Club and 700 Club along with Faith Center programming. By 1981, the station was only running programming from Scott's "University Network" 24 hours a day. However, the station lost its license, along with those of sister stations KHOF-FM (relicensed as KKLA) in Los Angeles and KHOF-TV (relicensed as KZKI-TV, now KPXN-TV) in San Bernardino, California, after Faith Center refused to disclose its private donor records to the Federal Communications Commission.
The current channel 38 license began broadcasting on January 6, 1986 as KWBB, with transmitter facilities located on San Bruno Mountain. The station shared a building on Radio Road with KTSF (channel 26), but could not continue with that arrangement. The licensee, West Coast United Broadcasting, and Dr. Gene Scott entered into an agreement, making available the original KVOF broadcasting facilities, in exchange for continuing Dr. Scott's nighttime programming. The new licensee ran infomercials and other programming during the day.
The station was sold to Global Broadcasting Systems and changed its call sign to KCNS on January 6, 1991. It switched to Chinese and Filipino language programming, with studios at the Hamms Building in San Francisco. In addition, the transmitter power was increased to five megawatts, and the transmitter moved to Sutro Tower on August 7, 1989, becoming the last analog television station to move there. On January 5, 1998, KCNS began carrying home shopping programming from the Shop at Home Network. This lasted until June 21, 2006, when the Shop at Home's parent, The E. W. Scripps Company, suspended the network's operations. KCNS switched to Jewelry Television, and two days later, it started broadcasting a mixture of programming from both networks, after Jewelry Television bought Shop at Home and resumed that network's operations.
On September 26, 2006, Multicultural Television announced it would purchase KCNS from Scripps, as part of a deal to buy all of Scripps' Shop at Home stations for $170 million.  Multicultural closed on KCNS and its sister stations in Cleveland and Raleigh on December 20, 2006. On January 14, 2007, KCNS ended its simulcast of Shop at Home and began carrying educational and informational programming on early weekday mornings and infomercials for the rest of the day. On April 8, 2007, KCNS began broadcasting Chinese language programming in Mandarin and Cantonese, under the "Sino TV" (華語電視) banner nightly from 6:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m., including news programs in both Mandarin and Cantonese. The following day on April 9, 2007, KCNS began carrying programming from the Retro Television Network during the daytime hours.
Financial difficulties and sale to NRJ TV
After Multicultural ran into financial problems and defaulted on its loans, KCNS was placed into a trust; in 2011, the station, along with WMFP in Boston, was sold to NRJ TV (a company unrelated to European broadcaster NRJ Radio). The sale was consummated on May 13, 2011. A one-third equity stake in NRJ TV is held by Titan Broadcast Management, which also operates KTNC-TV (channel 42); Titan had already managed KCNS for some time prior to the sale. On August 13, 2012, KCNS became a charter affiliate of the Spanish language network MundoFox.
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
KCNS shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 38, on February 17, 2009, the original date in which full-power television stations in the United States were to transition from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate (the deadline was later moved to June 12, 2009). The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 39, using PSIP to display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 38.
- Jessell, Harry A. (December 28, 2010). "Multicultural Handing Over WSAH To Trustee". TVNewsCheck. Retrieved December 28, 2010.
- "Multicultural clears out a TV on each coast". Television Business Report. January 31, 2011. Retrieved February 1, 2011.
- "Titan, Patrick Have Stakes In KCNS, WMFP". TVNewsCheck. February 2, 2011. Retrieved May 19, 2011.
- RabbitEars TV Query for KCNS
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24.
- KCNS-TV 38 San Francisco
- Ming Pao (San Francisco edition) article on Chinese programming on KCNS, dated April 6, 2007 (in Chinese)
- Query the FCC's TV station database for KCNS
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on KCNS-TV
- Tokyo TV-TV 38.4 San Francisco Bay Area
- New Tang Dynasty Television