|Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas
|City of license||Dallas, Texas|
EyeOpener (morning newscasts)
NewsFix (evening newscasts)
|Slogan||TV Now (general)
A Different Kind of Morning Show (morning newscasts)
News in a New Way (evening newscasts)
Putting Our Community First (public service)
|Channels||Digital: 32 (UHF)
Virtual: 33 (PSIP)
|Subchannels||33.1 The CW
33.2 Antenna TV
33.3 This TV
|First air date||May 1980|
|Call letters' meaning||Dallas And Fort Worth|
|Former callsigns||KMEC-TV (1967–1968)
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
33 (UHF, 1967–2009)
|Former affiliations||Independent (1967–1973 and 1984–1986)
The WB (1995–2006)
|Transmitter power||780 kW|
|Public license information:||Profile
KDAF, virtual channel 33 (UHF digital channel 32), is a CW-affiliated television station serving the Dallas–Fort Worth Metroplex that is licensed to Dallas, Texas, United States. The station is owned by the Tribune Broadcasting subsidiary of the Tribune Media Company. KDAF maintains studio facilities located off the State Highway 183/John W. Carpenter Freeway in northwest Dallas, and its transmitter is located south of Belt Line Road in Cedar Hill.
- 1 History
- 2 Digital television
- 3 Programming
- 4 News operation
- 5 References
- 6 External links
The UHF channel 33 allocation in Dallas-Fort Worth has been used by several companies over four decades of operation. It was first used by independent station KMEC, which signed on the air on October 1, 1967, becoming the second UHF television station in the market after KFWT-TV (channel 21, frequency now occupied by KTXA). Founded by Maxwell Electronics Corporation (owned by Carroll Maxwell, who also served as its general manager), the station aired a mix of syndicated and locally produced programming. The station was sold to the Evans Co. on April 2, 1969; Evans paid for the demolition of the existing and construction of a new transmitter tower, however the station never returned to the air, ceasing operations in October 1968. That short-lived attempt was followed by another that signed on February 21, 1972 with Berean Fellowship International acquiring a license for channel 33, operating using the call letters KBFI, which carried a religious programming format. But, like its predecessor, KBFI signed off after only ten months on the air on December 6, 1972.
The Christian Broadcasting Network purchased the channel 33 license, and returned channel 33 to the air on January 11, 1973 as KXTX-TV (for "Christ (X) for TeXas"); it maintained a mostly religious format with some general entertainment programming. But CBN's stay on channel 33 would not be a long one: Doubleday Broadcasting wanted to get rid of its independent station, KDTV on channel 39. After an attempt to donate KDTV to non-profit interests, Doubleday instead donated the channel 39 license and assets to CBN in November 9, 1973. On November 14, CBN moved the KXTX call letters and its programming to channel 39, while Doubleday took over the channel 33 license under the KDTV calls for another nine weeks before shutting the station down in December. The channel 33 allocation would remain dormant in Dallas for the next six-and-a-half years. KDTV's programming was mixed in with KXTX's programming in January of 1974. So CBN acquired the assets of KDTV and combined them with the KXTX unit and made KXTX into a full-time commercial independent station.
The current television station on channel 33 first signed on the air in May 1980 as KNBN-TV; it was owned by the locally-based Hill Broadcasting (operated by Nolanda Hill, Sheldon Turner and other investors, including radio broadcaster Gordon McLendon – the former two partners each owned a 40% interest). The station's call letters were derived from its on-air branding as the "National Business Network". Business news programming aired during the daytime hours, while evenings were filled by the subscription television service VEU (owned by Gene Autry's Golden West Broadcasters). Again, this format was short-lived, and channel 33 reformatted itself again. Within a year and-a-half, the business news programs were gone and VEU programming moved to rival independent KTWS-TV (channel 27, now KDFI); KNBN-TV then affiliated with the Spanish International Network (the forerunner to the present-day Univision). The station operated from studio facilities on 3333 Harry Hines Boulevard, near downtown Dallas (the building has since been torn down).
Stability, then transition
In late 1983, Hill Broadcasting sold KNBN to Metromedia; the sale was finalized on November 8, 1983. Initially, KNBN remained a Spanish station (with plans to eventually switch to an English language format) but added a couple of syndicated programs in English that Metromedia distributed, but had no other station to run them on. On July 31, 1984, the station's call letters were changed to KRLD-TV (after new sister station KRLD radio (1080 AM), which Metromedia later sold – and was previously used by that station's original television sister, the present-day KDFW (channel 4), from 1949 to 1970; the radio station is now co-owned with CBS owned-and-operated station KTVT (channel 11) through CBS Corporation) and switched to a general entertainment format. Its operations moved to studios located next door to KRLD radio at the station's current facility on John W. Carpenter Freeway on the northwest side of Dallas. The new KRLD-TV was entering a very crowded marketplace – its competition included KTXA (channel 21), KXTX-TV and the market's leading independent, KTVT. The station initially programmed a schedule with primarily adult-targeted fare such as first-run syndicated programs, plenty of off-network dramas, reruns of old game shows and some low-budget movies; the station had very few cartoons at first as most of them were found on other stations. From 1984 to 1987, channel 33 served as the broadcast home of the Dallas Sidekicks indoor soccer club. In the fall of 1985, with a huge abundance of barter cartoons now available, KRLD-TV added two-hour blocks of these programs in the 7:00 to 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. timeslots. The station also began phasing in more off-network sitcoms at that point and its format began to increasingly resemble a traditional independent station for that time.
In 1986, Metromedia sold its group of independent stations, including KRLD-TV, to the News Corporation (then-owners of the 20th Century Fox film studio, which was spun off with most of the company's other entertainment properties into 21st Century Fox in July 2013). On March 6, 1986, the station's call letters were changed to KDAF (representing the two cities it served, Dallas and Fort Worth," but would later take on the unofficial secondary meaning as "Dallas Area Fox"); it became one of the charter stations of the Fox Broadcasting Company when it launched seven months later on October 6, making it the first network-owned television station in the Metroplex. The station continued to run mostly cartoons, off-network sitcoms and older movies; despite being with a major network, for all intents and purposes, KDAF was still programmed as an independent station since Fox would not carry seven nights a week of programming until September 1993. The station remained unprofitable well into the 1990s. However, with Fox's growth in the early part of that decade, the station was turning modest profits by 1994.
On December 17, 1993, Fox acquired the broadcast rights to the NFL's National Football Conference from CBS. This made Fox desire more VHF stations, especially those located in markets with an NFC franchise. In April 1994, Fox signed an affiliation deal with New World Communications to move the network's affiliations in twelve markets, including Dallas-Fort Worth (along with two others that would be sold directly to Fox due to FCC ownership rules), to heritage "Big Three" stations that New World either owned outright or were in the process of purchasing.
At the time, New World had acquired then-CBS affiliate KDFW-TV (which had carried Dallas Cowboys games – which often draw high ratings – since 1962) from Argyle Television, and included it as part of its affiliation deal with Fox. Fox jumped at the chance of getting on a VHF station in the nation's seventh-largest market, and placed KDAF up for sale. In the interim, KDAF assumed the local rights to the Cowboys's game telecasts for the first year of Fox's NFC contract, the 1994 NFL season, as a lame-duck O&O. New World took over the operations of KDFW through a time brokerage agreement on January 19, three months before the purchase was finalized on April 14. Fox's primetime and sports programs moved from KDAF to KDFW on July 1, 1995; however, Fox Kids programming remained on KDAF for another two years. Fox Television Stations later announced that it would buy New World outright in July 1996, making KDFW the second Fox owned-and-operated station in the Dallas-Fort Worth market.
Purchase by Tribune and WB affiliation
Two days after KDFW took the Fox affiliation, on July 3, 1995, Fox Television Stations finalized the sale of channel 33 to Renaissance Broadcasting (which was sold to that company in exchange for the network's Denver affiliate KDVR); then on July 5, KDAF became the market's new affiliate of The WB – taking the affiliation from KXTX-TV, which only had an agreement to temporarily carry the network as a placeholder affiliation until Fox could move from KDAF to KDFW. Renaissance merged with Tribune Broadcasting in 1997 (Tribune held an ownership interest in The WB at the time, but KDAF could not technically be considered an O&O since Time Warner held a majority 87.5% interest in the network – which eventually decreased to 78%, when Tribune expanded its interest). Upon the switch, KDAF rebranded as "WB 33".
KDAF's programming focus gradually changed; alongside WB network programming, KDAF initially ran a blend cartoons from both Fox Kids and Kids' WB, some syndicated cartoons, older and recent off-network sitcoms, and some first-run syndicated shows. In the fall of 1997, Fox Kids programming moved from KDAF to KDFW's then-local marketing agreement partner, independent station KDFI. Gradually, from the mid-1990s to about 2002, KDAF began focusing more on first-run talk, reality and court shows, shifting away from older programs. By 2002, the only cartoons carried on KDAF came from Kids' WB, which ended its weekday block in January 2006 (replacing it with the Daytime WB rerun block that would evolve into The CW Daytime) – channel 33 was the last station in the market that continued to run weekday afternoon cartoons until that point. In 2005, the station changed its on-air branding to "Dallas-Fort Worth's WB," de-emphasizing the station's channel 33 allocation, before reverting to the "WB 33" brand and the previous accompanying logo by early 2006.
On January 24, 2006, the Warner Bros. unit of Time Warner and CBS Corporation announced that the two companies would shut down The WB and UPN and combine the networks' respective programming to create a new "fifth" network called The CW. As part of the deal, the new network signed a 10-year affiliation deal with 16 of Tribune's 19 WB stations, including KDAF. The station rebranded as "CW 33" in July 2006, two months before the network officially launched on September 18. As a result of The CW's relatively weak ratings (the national average total viewership of its programs ranges from just under 1 million to around 3 million viewers), Tribune Broadcasting's CW-affiliated stations changed their on-air branding beginning in 2008 to de-emphasize their ties to the network. The station changed its branding to the simplified "KDAF 33" in the summer of 2008, before it was quickly changed to "The 33"; the "CW 33" branding eventually returned full-time in September 2011.
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|33.1||1080i||16:9||KDAF-DT||Main KDAF programming / The CW|
|33.3||This TV||This TV|
Digital subchannel 33.2 formerly carried The Tube from 2006 until it ceased operations on October 1, 2007. The subchannel remained dark until November 1, 2007 when it affiliated with the Spanish language network LATV; that network was dropped by KDAF in June 2010. On December 7, 2010, the station began carrying This TV on digital subchannel 33.3. The 33.2 subchannel was later reactivated as a charter affiliate of Antenna TV upon the Tribune-owned network's launch on January 1, 2011.
KDAF shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 33, at 8:00 a.m. 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 32, using PSIP to display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 33.
KDAF presently broadcasts 11½ hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 1½ hours on weekdays and one hour each on Saturdays and Sundays). After being sold to Metromedia, KDAF (as KRLD-TV) debuted the first primetime newscast ever attempted on a commercial station in the Dallas-Fort Worth market, which aired at 7:00 p.m. (it was the first primetime newscast in the market overall since PBS member station KERA-TV (channel 13) cancelled its evening newscast in 1977). The news department underwent tumultuous changes in 1986; news director Tony deHaro, was fired by the station, and then wrote a scathing letter to D Magazine criticizing the news department and KRLD-TV general manager Ray Schonbak, stating that Schonbak insisted on "sensationalis[tic] and inflammatory" journalism techniques. Channel 33's news department was shut down in May 1986, shortly after News Corporation assumed control of the station following the company's merger with Metromedia. With an increase in revenues by the early 1990s, Fox announced plans to re-establish KDAF's news department and launch a primetime newscast at 9:00 p.m. These plans were shelved after Fox decided to affiliate with KDFW – which already had a functioning news department and a sizeable amount of local news programming that would be expanded upon following the switch – through the network's affiliation deal with New World Communications, and sell KDAF in turn; Fox was already beginning to phase in news departments on most of its stations, with the New World stations becoming among the first to take on a news-intensive format (mixing newscasts in both common timeslots, and timeslots normally ceded to morning and late primetime shows on CBS, ABC and NBC).
Tribune Broadcasting decided to re-establish a news department for KDAF after its purchase of the station; in January 1999, it launched a half-hour newscast at 9:00 p.m. weeknights (originally anchored by Patrick Greenlaw and Crystal Thornton), in order to compete with KDFW's established hour-long newscast in that timeslot. Within a year, it was expanded to seven days a week (with Dawn Tongish as weekend anchor) and then expanded to an hour on Monday through Friday nights in January 2001, weekend newscasts followed suit by 2003. In the mid-2000s, the station debuted a half-hour Sunday morning public affairs program titled DFW Close-Up, which ran until September 2013. In late February 2009, anchors Tom Crespo and Terri Chappell were replaced on the weeknight newscasts by Amanda Salinas and Walt Maciborski (the latter joining from WFTS in Tampa). KDAF debuted a new nightly 5:30 p.m. newscast on September 21, 2009 to compete with KDFW's own 5:30 newscast as well as the network newscasts on KTVT, KXAS-TV (channel 5) and WFAA (channel 8), featuring former interns turned full-time reporters and some new segments that would end up being irrelevant at the 9:00 p.m. hour.
In March 2010, KDAF expanded its early evening newscast on weekdays to a full hour from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m., while the weekend editions retained the 5:30 start time and half-hour length; then in May, the weekday newscast was reduced to a half-hour, eliminating the 5:30 p.m. half-hour of the broadcast. On weekdays, the newscast now competes against local newscasts on KDFW, WFAA, KXAS and KTVT, while the weekend 5:30 p.m. newscast competes on Saturdays against national newscasts on WFAA, KXAS and KTVT (as they – along with KDFW – do not air their early evening newscasts until 6:00 p.m.), and against local newscasts on KTVT, WFAA and KDFW and a national network newscast on KXAS on Sundays. On May 22, 2010, KDAF became the last remaining English language station in the Dallas-Fort Worth market to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition. Unlike the other stations in the Dallas-Fort Worth market, video shot during field reports is recorded and broadcast in true high definition. The other stations broadcast studio segments in HD, but their video footage during field reports are shot in 16:9 widescreen standard definition.
On October 31, 2011, KDAF began producing and airing EyeOpener, a Tribune-distributed morning news program (running for three hours starting at 5:00 a.m. weekdays) that originally premiered as a test run in May 2011 on Houston sister station KIAH; the program features a mix of news, lifestyle, entertainment and opinion segments. Local news and traffic updates are presented live by the program's national news segment anchor (and former KTVT anchor) Nerissa Knight, while weather segments are presented by (former KXAS) meteorologist Krista Villarreal. Other segments are also produced at the KDAF studios, which replaced Tribune's Chicago headquarters as the show's production hub. The program is also syndicated to Tribune stations in four additional markets (Philadelphia, Miami, Portland, Oregon and Fort Smith, Arkansas), as well as a non-Tribune station in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Local news and weather segments are each provided by those stations.
During the summer of 2012, KDAF's news department underwent a series of staff departures: news director David Duitch left to become website editor for The Dallas Morning News in July following ratings declines during his tenure, while August saw the departures of chief meteorologist Bob Goosman and sports reporter Chase Williams, the resignation of reporter Giselle Phelps and Walt MacIborski's departure for Indianapolis sister station WXIN. On August 16 of that year, EyeOpener senior producer Larissa Hall was promoted to a director of content position to oversee the newscasts.
On September 4, 2012, KDAF management announced to station staff that the evening newscasts would adopt a format similar to EyeOpener, in order to reduce costs and make the broadcast profitable (the 9:00 p.m. newscast regularly places a very distant second behind KDFW's newscast in the same timeslot). The revamped newscast – titled Nightcap – debuted on November 1, 2012, incorporating multimedia journalists (which require a single person to film, edit and report news stories) and humor within most of its story content. New staff members were hired to anchor and report for the newscasts, while about half of the newsroom staff (including several staffers that were with KDAF since the current news department's inception in 1999) was laid off. Even with the format switch, KDAF remains in last place among Dallas-Fort Worth's news-producing English stations, to the point of registering "hashmarks" (indicating viewership too low to register a ratings point) on some nights during the initial switch to the Nightcap format, though ratings have slowly increased since then (particularly in the adult 25-54 demographic).
Larissa Hall, who oversaw Nightcap's launch as KDAF's director of content, left the station at the end of 2012, shifting to other duties within Tribune and giving Nightcap only partial oversight.
In November 2013, KDAF hired Steve Simon, a former producer at CW-affiliated Houston sister station KIAH, as its news director. While at KIAH, Simon helped launch NewsFix, a newsreel-style newscast that uses only an off-camera narrator for continuity, requiring a far smaller staff than most newscasts. In the months prior to the format change, many of KDAF's on-air news staff departed from the station including longtime reporter Barry Carpenter and anchor Amanda Fitzpatrick (both of whom were with the station prior to the adoption of the Nightcap format). NewsFix officially debuted on May 20, 2014, beginning with the 5:00 p.m. broadcast.
Notable former on-air staff
- "FCC Assignment of License / Transfer of Control Group Search Results - Facility ID 73879". FCC.gov. Federal Communications Commission.
- "FCC 316 - APPLICATION FOR CONSENT TO ASSIGN BROADCAST STATION CONSTRUCTION PERMIT OR LICENSE OR TO TRANSFER CONTROL OF ENTITY HOLDING BROADCAST STATION CONSTRUCTION PERMIT OR LICENSE - BALCDT-20120615ABS". FCC.gov. Federal Communications Commission. Accepted 18 June 2012; Granted 28 June 2012; Consummation 12 December 2012. Check date values in:
- CBS, NBC Battle for AFC Rights // Fox Steals NFC Package, Chicago Sun-Times (via HighBeam Research), December 18, 1993.
- "Fox Gains 12 Stations in New World Deal". Chicago Sun-Times. May 23, 1994. Retrieved June 1, 2013.
- Fox Network Takes 12 Stations from Big Three, The Buffalo News (via HighBeam Research), May 24, 1994.
- Lowry, Brian (July 18, 1996). "New World Vision : Murdoch's News Corp. to Buy Broadcast Group". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 22, 2012.
- Fox, Renaissance trade markets, Broadcasting & Cable (via HighBeam Research), November 21, 1994.
- Tribune's renaissance: $1.13-billion purchase of six more TVs brings broadcaster into one-third of U.S. homes, Broadcasting & Cable (via HighBeam Research), July 8, 1996.
- '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.
- RabbitEars TV Query for KDAF
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24.
- Dallas/Fort Worth Market Profile (in 2002)
- CW33 hires new meteorologist, ramps up for early morning show on two levels
- CW33 tabs Larissa Hall as newsroom's latest Director of Content, UncleBarky.com, August 16, 2012.
- Report: Meteorologist Bob Goosmann, sports anchor Chase Williams leave KDAF, DFW.com, August 1, 2012.
- Reporter Giselle Phelps resigns from Dallas-based CW33, UncleBarky.com, August 11, 2012.
- Nightcap springs itself on CW33
- "Transitioning" at CW33 claims first wave of staffers, UncleBarky.com, October 10, 2012.
- Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Mon., Nov. 5) -- Peacock again crows with 18-to-49-year-olds
- Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Wed., March 27) -- a diminished Idol stll good enough
- "Larissa Hall shifing responsibilities with Tribune-owned CW33 and its prime-time Nightcap news show", from UncleBarky.com, 12/19/2012
- "CW33's Nightcap to be supplanted by NewsFix," from UncleBarky.com, 11/25/2013
- "Steve Simon expands NewsFix to KDAF from KIAH," from MikeMcGuff.com, 11/25/2013
- KDAF/Channel 33 debuts anchorless ‘NewsFix’, DFW.com, May. 20, 2014.
- Official website
- Official website – Antenna TV DFW
- Official website – This TV DFW
- Query the FCC's TV station database for KDAF
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on KDAF-TV
- DFW Radio/TV History