|Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas
|City of license||Dallas, Texas|
|Branding||Fox 4 (general)
Fox 4 News (newscasts)
|Channels||Digital: 35 (UHF)
Virtual: 4 (PSIP)
|Owner||Fox Television Stations
(NW Communications of Texas, Inc.)
|First air date||December 3, 1949|
|Call letters' meaning||Dallas-Fort Worth
(also ICAO code for Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, which it predates by 25 years)
Fox Sports Southwest
|Former callsigns||KRLD-TV (1949–1970)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
4 (VHF, 1949–2009)
|Former affiliations||CBS (1949–1995)|
|Transmitter power||857 kW|
|Height||510 meters (1,670 ft)|
|Public license information:||Profile
KDFW, virtual channel 4 (UHF digital channel 35), is a Fox owned-and-operated television station serving the Dallas–Fort Worth Metroplex that is licensed to Dallas, Texas, United States. The station is owned by the Fox Television Stations subsidiary of 21st Century Fox, as part of a duopoly with MyNetworkTV owned-and-operated station KDFI (channel 27). The two stations share studio facilities located on North Griffin Street in downtown Dallas; KDFW's transmitter is located south of Belt Line Road in Cedar Hill.
As a CBS affiliate
The station first signed on the air on December 3, 1949 as KRLD-TV; originally operating as CBS affiliate, it was founded by the now-defunct Dallas Times Herald newspaper, which also owned KRLD radio (1080 AM, and 92.5 FM, now KZPS). The first program ever broadcast on KRLD-TV on that afternoon was a college football game in which the Notre Dame Fighting Irish defeated the Southern Methodist Mustangs, 27-20. The station inherited the calls of its radio sister – which was named after Edwin Kiest, original investor and later owner of KRLD (AM), and the radio station's original owner, Radio Laboratories of Dallas. Channel 4 was the third television station to sign on in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, following Dallas-based KBTV (channel 8, now WFAA), which launched three months earlier in September 1949; and Fort Worth-licensed WBAP-TV (channel 5, now KXAS-TV), which debuted in September 1948.
KRLD-TV originally produced its programming from a temporary studio facility located north of the Times Herald building, until its full-time facilities based at the Times Herald offices at 1101 Patterson Street in downtown Dallas were completed. The station's original transmitter tower in downtown Dallas, which provided a signal spanning approximately 90 miles (140 km) from the site, was the tallest free-standing television transmission tower in the world at the time at 586 feet (179 m). In 1956, the station relocated its transmitter to a newly constructed 1,521 feet (464 m)-tall tower in Cedar Hill, which itself was considered the world's tallest television broacast tower.
Among the local programs on channel 4 in its early years included O.Kay! Mr. Munn (hosted by an artist drawing visual interpretations of various song lyrics, predating the advent of the music video) and Confessions (a series featuring interviews with incarcerated criminals from the Dallas County Jail revealed why they committed the crimes they were convicted of).
KRLD-TV served as the home base for CBS' network coverage of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, led by Dan Rather, on November 22, 1963. News director Eddie Barker (who was one of the station's first news staffers when it signed on fourteen years earlier) was the first person to announce Kennedy's death on television, passing along word from a Parkland Hospital official; because of a local press pool arrangement, Barker's scoop appeared live simultaneously on CBS and ABC. CBS relied upon channel 4 during the 1960s and 1970s to transmit live programming via its remote unit, particularly for color broadcasts of NFL and college football games. In 1964, KDFW moved its operations into its current, purpose-built studio facility at 400 North Griffin Street (across the street from the Times Herald building).
In 1967, the Federal Communications Commission imposed rules prohibiting common ownership of newspapers and broadcast outlets in the same market, the combination of KRLD-AM-TV and the Dallas Times Herald was protected under a grandfather clause from forced divestiture. However, the newspaper and its broadcast holdings were sold to the Los Angeles-based Times-Mirror Company on May 15, 1970 for $30 million. As a result of the sale, the Times Herald 's grandfathered protection for the radio and television stations became void, but Times-Mirror was granted a waiver to keep the newspaper together with the television station, whose callsign was changed to KDFW-TV (referring to its service area of Dallas and Fort Worth) on July 2, 1970 (the "-TV" suffix was dropped from the callsign in July 1998; the KRLD-TV calls were later used from 1984 to 1986 by channel 33, now KDAF – which ironically was co-owned with KRLD radio during that timeframe). KRLD radio was sold to Metromedia soon thereafter (ironically, it is now co-owned with present-day CBS owned-and-operated station KTVT (channel 11) through CBS Corporation); the newspaper was sold off in 1986 to MediaNews Group, and was shut down five years later in December 1991, after it was purchased by the A.H. Belo Corporation (owners of rival newspaper The Dallas Morning News).
KDFW's original transmitter tower site was hit by a helicopter in 1968, causing substantial damage. On May 12, 1986, KDFW's Bell JetRanger news helicopter, which was returning from Van Horn (the first site in a three-week tour across Texas for the station's early evening newscasts, in which live remotes were conducted from different locations around the state to inaugurate the rollout of its new satellite news-gathering units), crashed at Guadalupe Mountains National Park while trying to navigate in strong winds after takeoff, killing pilot Irving Patrick and news operations manager Scott "Buster" MacGregor.
A helicopter accident similar to the one that happened 19 years earlier occurred on January 14, 1987, when KDFW's Cedar Hill broadcast tower (which was jointly owned by KDFW and WFAA) was hit by a Navy F-4 Phantom performing training exercises on approach to the Dallas Naval Air Station, clipping several guy-wires. The jet's two occupants survived as they ejected themselves from the aircraft and parachuted to the ground before it crashed. A new 1,400 feet (430 m)-tall tower was constructed a 1⁄4 mile (0.40 km) to the southwest, which was completed in 1989 (the former tower – which had its height reduced to 1,240 feet (380 m) due to the removal of the candelabra mast – was converted into an auxiliary transmitter facility).
In March 1993, Times-Mirror announced its intention to divest its television station properties, KDFW and the other Times-Mirror stations were sold to Argyle Television in a group deal. Early in 1994, KDFW began managing struggling independent station KDFI (channel 27) under a local marketing agreement; that station then began airing rebroadcasts of KDFW's newscasts and select syndicated programs seen on the station.
As a Fox affiliate
On December 17, 1993, Fox acquired the broadcast rights to carry the NFL's National Football Conference television package, which had been held by CBS; New World Communications later reached an agreement to switch the network affiliations of its stations to Fox on May 22, 1994. New World subsequently bought four Argyle stations – KDFW, KTVI in St. Louis, WVTM in Birmingham, Alabama and KTBC in Austin. The purchase was finalized on April 14, 1995 (although New World had already begun operating the Argyle stations through time brokerage agreements on January 19). KDFW and KTBC switched their affiliations to Fox on July 1 of that year (with KTVI following suit on August 7); WVTM, meanwhile, remained an NBC affiliate because Birmingham's ABC affiliate WBRC was sold directly to Fox, though it would not affiliate with the network until its affiliation contract with ABC ended on September 1, 1996 (WVTM was subsequently sold to NBC, before being purchased by current owner Media General). KDFW rebranded as "Fox 4 Texas" upon the affiliation switch, before shortening its branding to simply "Fox 4" in the fall of 1996 to fall in line with the branding conventions of other network-owned stations.
CBS first approached longtime NBC affiliate KXAS about switching to the network. After KXAS's then-owner LIN Broadcasting turned the CBS offer down, the Gaylord Broadcasting Company then signed a deal with CBS to move its affiliation to independent station KTVT and Seattle sister station KSTW. As a result of KDFW receiving the Fox affiliation, News Corporation – then-parent of Fox until it spun off its U.S. television properties to the separate company 21st Century Fox in July 2013 – sold the network's existing O&O KDAF to Renaissance Broadcasting (which later merged with Tribune Broadcasting), which moved the WB affiliation to the station from charter affiliate KXTX-TV (channel 39, now a Telemundo owned-and-operated station); in turn, KXTX reverted to an independent due to a temporary arrangement in which KXTX would carry WB programming until KDAF assumed the affiliation once Fox moved to channel 4.
KDFW was one of two stations that switched to Fox as a result of the New World agreement to replace a previous Fox O&O and later be sold to the network itself; WAGA had earlier replaced WATL as Atlanta's Fox station in December 1994. With Fox switching from UHF to VHF, Dallas-Fort Worth became one of a handful of markets where all of the "Big Four" networks were affiliated with stations on the VHF dial (along with New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Seattle, Miami, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Albuquerque, Honolulu, Boise and Anchorage; Reno joined this distinction in 1996, followed by Portland and Minneapolis-St. Paul in 2002; in both Boise and Honolulu, the Fox affiliation switched from one VHF station to another).
Due to the one-year interruption as a result of CBS losing the NFC rights – the only break in network coverage by KDFW since 1962, when CBS first obtained the television rights to the pre-AFL merger National Football League, the switch resumed channel 4's status as the primary television station for the Dallas Cowboys (KDAF aired the team's games for the first year of Fox's NFC telecast rights as a lame-duck owned-and-operated station); the first NFL season since Fox moved to channel 4, the Cowboys won the 1996 Super Bowl championship. News Corporation purchased KDFW and assumed rights to the LMA with KDFI as part of its acquisition of New World on July 17, 1996, officially making channel 4 a Fox owned-and-operated station once the deal was finalized on January 22, 1997. News Corporation eventually bought KDFI outright in 2000, creating a legal duopoly with KDFW.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|4.1||720p||16:9||KDFW-HD||Main KDFW programming / Fox|
KDFW shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 4, on June 12, 2009, as part of the federally mandated transition from analog to digital television. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 35, using PSIP to display KDFW's virtual channel as 4 on digital television receivers.
As part of the SAFER Act, KDFW kept its analog signal on the air until July 12 to inform viewers of the digital television transition through a loop of public service announcements from the National Association of Broadcasters.
As a network-owned station, KDFW carries the entire Fox network schedule (primetime, Saturday late night and sports programming, and the political talk show Fox News Sunday). Syndicated programs broadcast on KDFW include Live! with Kelly and Michael, The Wendy Williams Show, Judge Judy, TMZ on TV and Divorce Court among others; it also airs children's programs designed to meet the FCC's E/I requirements on weekend mornings. The station began to broadcast a few off-network sitcoms (such as Seinfeld, King of the Hill, 3rd Rock From the Sun and Malcolm in the Middle) during the late 1990s and mid-2000s. All sitcoms were later moved to sister KDFI during the 2008-2009 season. As a rarity for a Fox station, no network sitcoms were aired in the schedule, until September 2013 (when KDFW began carrying syndicated reruns of Modern Family). Some of the syndicated court shows airing on the station air in both daytime and late night timeslots. Like most New World-owned stations, KDFW did not carry Fox Kids; it remained on KDAF until 1997, before moving to KDFI.
KDFW formerly served as the alternate carrier of Texas Rangers baseball games; sister station KDFI (channel 27) served as the team's official flagship (with games produced by co-owned regional sports network Fox Sports Southwest), until rights to Rangers games moved to KTXA, channel 21, in 2010).
In 1972, the station debuted 4 Country Reporter, hosted by Bob Phillips. Phillips left KDFW in 1986, and began selling the show in syndication, renaming it as Texas Country Reporter; the program now airs on stations in all of Texas' 22 television markets. KDFW did not acquire the syndicated version, which was instead carried by rival WFAA (branded as 8 Country Reporter).
|This section requires expansion with: further information on KDFW's news department, particularly prior to the Fox affiliation switch. (August 2010)|
KDFW presently broadcasts 48½ hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with eight hours on weekdays, and four hours each on Saturdays and Sundays); in regards to the number of hours devoted to news programming, it is the largest local newscast output among the Dallas-Fort Worth market's broadcast television stations. In addition, KDFW produces the half-hour sports highlight program Fox 4 Sports Sunday, which airs Sundays after the 9:00 p.m. newscast. The station's Sunday 5:00 p.m. newscast is subject to preemption and the Saturday 6:00 p.m. newscast is subject to delay due to overruns by Fox Sports telecasts. Appropriately for a station that was founded by a newspaper, local news has always had a strong presence on channel 4. For the better part of four decades, it has been part of a spirited battle for first place among the market's news-producing stations with KXAS and WFAA; since joining Fox, the station has often beat its English language competitors in the demographic of adults between 25- and 54-years-old in certain timeslots (particularly in the morning and at 9:00 p.m.).
On January 6, 1980, the station debuted Insights, a weekly public affairs program featuring topical discussions and feature stories focusing on the Metroplex's ethnic community, focusing primarily on issues affecting African Americans; originally hosted by Rochelle Brown and later by longtime reporter Shaun Rabb after Brown stepped down (remaining as executive producer), the Emmy Award-winning program ended its 29-year run on June 21, 2009.
Since becoming a Fox affiliate (and later owned-and-operated station) in 1995, the station has retained a news schedule very similar to the one it had as a CBS affiliate. It has sharply increased its emphasis on local news programming; it increased its output from about 25 hours a week to nearly 40 hours. All of KDFW's existing newscasts were retained, but it expanded its weekday morning newscast from one to three hours (with two hours added from 7:00 to 9:00 a.m.); bridged the weeknight 5:00 and 6:00 p.m. newscasts into a 90-minute early evening news block (by adding a half-hour newscast at 5:30); and added an hour-long primetime newscast at 9:00 p.m., which leads into the existing 10:00 p.m. newscast (KDFW is one of several Fox stations that offer newscasts in both the final hour of primetime and the traditional late news timeslot, and one of the few affiliated with the network that has continued a 10:00 p.m. (or 11:00 p.m.) newscast as well as one of the few to continue its Big Three-era 10:00 p.m. newscast after switching to Fox). In 2006, Fox Television Stations started to push expansion into that timeslot (sister station KTBC in Austin had a 10:00 p.m. newscast for years after switching to Fox, which was moved to 9:00 p.m. in 2000). After the switch, KDFW's 10:00 p.m. newscast was scaled back to weeknights only (Fox late night programming airs on Saturdays at 10:00 p.m., while the sports wrap-up show Fox 4 Sports Sunday airs Sundays in that timeslot). KDFW is the only remaining Fox-owned station whose weekday morning newscast does not run into the 9:00 a.m. hour; this is due to the station's longtime broadcast of Live! with Kelly and Michael and its previous incarnations in that timeslot.
Starting in 2006, the Fox-owned stations began revamping their sets and graphics to be more closely aligned visually with Fox News Channel, along with adopting standardized "kitebox" logos. KDFW debuted the new logo, set, graphics and theme music on September 20, 2006 beginning with its 9:00 p.m. newscast. The station also relaunched its website to feature more news and video content, using the "myfox" name and interface developed by Fox Interactive Media (the Fox O&O sites have since been migrated to the WorldNow web platform). On February 18, 2009 beginning with the noon newscasts, KDFW became the fifth television station in the Dallas-Fort Worth market to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition. On April 5, 2010, the station expanded its morning newscast by a half-hour, running from 4:30 to 9:00 a.m. On July 10, 2011, KDFW debuted a Sunday morning edition of its Good Day newscast (prior to that point, the only weekend morning newscast that KDFW had aired was a two-hour Saturday broadcast from 8:00 to 10:00 a.m., which remains on the station and has since moved to 7:00 to 9:00 a.m.).
Notable current on-air staff
- Clarice Tinsley – weeknights anchor
Notable former on-air staff
- Rebecca Aguilar – reporter (1994–2008)
- Ashleigh Banfield – anchor (1995–2000); now with CNN
- Katherine Creag – reporter (2002–05); now at WNYW in New York City
- Sam Donaldson – announcer (1959–60); later with ABC News, retired
- Wayne Freedman – reporter (1980–81); now at KGO-TV in San Francisco
- Frank Glieber – sports reporter/anchor (deceased)
- Cynthia Gouw – weekend anchor/reporter (1993–94)
- Judd Hambrick – anchor (1972–73)
- Dale Hansen – sports anchor (1980–83); now sports director at WFAA
- Megan Henderson – Good Day anchor (2003–09); now at KTLA in Los Angeles
- Craig James – sports anchor (1992–93); later with ABC Sports and ESPN
- Dick Johnson – anchor (1976–82); now at WMAQ-TV in Chicago
- Judy Jordan – anchor (1975–77)
- Bill Mercer – sportscaster/wrestling announcer (1953–64)
- Mark Mullen – reporter (1989–91); now at KNSD in San Diego
- Bob Phillips – host of 4 Country Reporter (1972–86); now host of Texas Country Reporter
- Dick Risenhoover – sports anchor (1970–73); deceased
- James Spann – meteorologist (mid-1980s); now at WBMA-LP/WCFT-TV/WJSU-TV in Birmingham, Alabama
- Casey Stegall – reporter (2005–07); now with Fox News
- Roger Twibell – sports reporter (1975–76); now at Big Ten Network
- Wes Wise – sports anchor (1960s); later mayor of Dallas from 1971 to 1976
- "TV helicopter crashes, kills 2". The Seguin Gazette-Enterprise (Southern Newspapers). May 13, 1986. Retrieved April 14, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- Times Mirror confirms intention to exit TV station business, Broadcasting & Cable (via HighBeam Research), March 29, 1993.
- Times Mirror Reaches Accord to Sell Four Television Stations, Los Angeles Times, March 30, 1993.
- 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.
- NBC and New World Announce Closing of Sale of Birmingham TV Station to NBC
- Media General Completes Purchase of Four NBC Television Stations
- Lowry, Brian (July 18, 1996). "New World Vision : Murdoch's News Corp. to Buy Broadcast Group". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 22, 2012.
- RabbitEars TV Query for KDFW
- List of Digital Full-Power Stations
- CDBS Print
- "UPDATED List of Participants in the Analog Nightlight Program" (PDF). Federal Communications Commission. June 12, 2009. Retrieved June 4, 2012.
- "Insights and Rochelle Brown are now out of sight at Fox4". Uncle Barky's Bites. July 2, 2009. Retrieved April 14, 2015.
- Fox4's new Good Day Sunday gives Adrian Arambulo an anchor shot amid surrounding shot clocks, UncleBarky.com, July 11, 2011.
- Official website
- Official website – KDFI-TV
- Query the FCC's TV station database for KDFW
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on KDFW-TV
- Very old pictures from KRLD Radio and TV
- DFW Radio/TV History