KEZI

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KEZI
KEZI 9 News Logo 2010.png
Eugene, Oregon
United States
Branding KEZI 9 (general)
KEZI 9 News (newscasts)
Slogan Watching Out For You
Channels Digital: 9 (VHF)
Virtual: 9 (PSIP)
Subchannels 9.1 ABC
9.2 Live Well Network
Translators K27CL-D Coos Bay/North Bend
K46KS-D Roseburg
(for others see article)
Affiliations ABC (primary until 1982; exclusive 1982-present)
Owner Heartland Media, LLC
(Oregon TV License Company, LLC)
First air date December 19, 1960
Call letters' meaning Formerly "E-Z on the I"; no longer used or promoted[1]
Sister station(s) KDRV / KDKF
Former callsigns KEZI-TV (1960–1986)
Former channel number(s) Analog:
9 (VHF, 1960–2009)
Digital:
44 (UHF, 2000–2009)
Former affiliations Secondary:
CBS (1960–1982)[1]
Transmitter power 43.9 kW
Height 533.3 m
Facility ID 34406
Transmitter coordinates 44°6′56.5″N 122°59′56.7″W / 44.115694°N 122.999083°W / 44.115694; -122.999083
Licensing authority FCC
Public license information: Profile
CDBS
Website kezi.com

KEZI is an ABC affiliate television station operating in Eugene, Oregon, United States. Owned by Heartland Media, KEZI produces more than 24 hours of newscasts a week.

History[edit]

KEZI 9 News logo (2008-2010)

In 1959, a group of Eugene investors formed Liberty Communications and were granted a license for Eugene's second television station. These investors included former Chevrolet dealer Julio Silva and his daughter, Carolyn S. Chambers. KEZI went on the air for the first time at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, December 19, 1960. Studios and offices were located at 2225 Coburg Road in north Eugene, and the transmitter was located atop the Coburg Hills northeast of the city. In its inaugural broadcast, KEZI boasted that it was Eugene's first full-power television station. Broadcasting at a powerful 316 kW, KEZI reached 146,000 viewers at its inception.

Logically, the station should have taken the CBS affiliation from primary NBC affiliate KVAL-TV. However, for reasons that remain unknown, KEZI opted to take on a primary ABC affiliation, sharing CBS with KVAL. This was somewhat unusual for a two-station market, especially one of Eugene's size; ABC would be nowhere on the level of CBS and NBC until the 1970s. In most two-station markets at the time, ABC was relegated to secondary status. Eugene-area viewers weren't able to view the full CBS lineup until the late 1960s, when cable arrived in the market and cable operators piped in Portland's KOIN-TV. In October 1982, when KMTR signed on to take the NBC affiliation, KVAL became a full-time CBS affiliate, leaving KEZI with ABC.

In its first 24 years, Liberty grew exponentially, becoming one of the nation's largest cable system operators. In 1983, Tele-Communications Inc. (TCI) purchased Liberty's cable and television assets for $186 million.

Chambers then formed Chambers Communications. and purchased several former Liberty entities, including KEZI. Chambers Communications then bought Medford ABC affiliates, KDRV and its satellite in Klamath Falls, KDKF. Today, Chambers owns many media-related businesses, including an Internet service provider and a multimedia production house, Chambers Productions.

On February 14, 1998 KEZI's entire operation was moved from the original Coburg Road location to the recently completed Chambers Media Center. This 100,000-square-foot (9,300 m2) building is now home to most Chambers Communications projects. Among the amenities at CMC are five sound stages, one of the largest such facilities on the West coast (Chambers Productions' two films, Puerto Vallarta Squeeze and The Sisters, were shot at CMC and in Eugene). KEZI also enjoys a fully digital master control and an advanced newsroom facility.

In September 2006, Chambers Communications established KOHD in Bend, Oregon. KOHD is a sister station of KEZI and an ABC affiliate, with digital broadcasts on channel 51. KOHD was sold to the Zolo Media division of BendBroadband in 2013,[2] though it continues to carry KEZI's newscasts.

On March 5, 2014, Chambers Communications announced that it would exit broadcasting and sell its stations to Heartland Media, a company owned by former Gray Television executive Bob Prather.[3] The sale was completed on July 15.[4]

Dispute with Dish Network[edit]

On December 10, 2010, KEZI announced that Chambers Communications could not reach a deal to keep its stations on Dish Network's local feeds, leaving viewers in those areas in danger of losing local ABC programming as a result. Viewers were encouraged to read a special Q&A page regarding this matter. Despite their best efforts, their previous agreement expired on December 15 and the stations were removed from the Dish Network local line-ups. Chambers and Dish finally came to an agreement to resume service and as of December 30, 2010 the stations returned on Dish Network.[5]

Digital television[edit]

Digital channels[edit]

The station's digital signal is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[6]
9.1 720p 16:9 KEZI-HD Main KEZI programming / ABC
9.2 480i 4:3 KEZI-SD Live Well Network

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

KEZI shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 9, 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 (which was later pushed back to June 12, 2009). The station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 44 to VHF channel 9.[7][8]

Programming[edit]

KEZI's broadcast schedule is dominated by news, local features and ABC network programming. Sports is also a prominent part of KEZI programming, with Oregon Ducks football and basketball, and ABC's extensive sports coverage. In addition to ABC network programming, KEZI airs such shows as omg! Insider, Judge Judy, Katie, and the syndicated version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire?.

In seasons past, KEZI aired reruns of Star Trek, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Taxi

Local programming[edit]

KEZI's news department occasionally airs a special culled from a feature seen on news: Rick Dancer's aforementioned Guatemala trip became a one-time special in 2005.[citation needed]

In late 2005, KEZI pioneered high definition television (HDTV) programming in the Eugene market by airing a locally-originated Oregon Ducks football game in HDTV. KEZI coordinated the broadcast with the Oregon Sports Network and ESPN Plus. Up until that point, no other broadcast station had aired local HDTV programming in western Oregon (all HDTV broadcasts had been network).[citation needed] On April 26, 2010, KEZI became the first station in the Eugene market to broadcast local news in high definition.

News operation[edit]

The KEZI news department is a large operation serving most of southwestern Oregon. KEZI's sister stations KDRV Medford and KDKF Klamath Falls provide news and video for KEZI's broadcasts, and vice versa. The news department also operates bureaus in Corvallis, Roseburg, and Coos Bay. For national stories, the station primarily relies on ABC NewsOne and CNN. KEZI also carries Portland-area stories from KATU and KGW. Weather reporting is overseen by Justin Stapleton, Melissa Frey, and Marisa Woloszyn.

KEZI prides itself on its coverage of sports. The station was the longtime flagship of the Oregon Sports Network, official TV net for University of Oregon football, basketball and other sports. KEZI's parent company, Chambers Communication, terminated its relationship with the Oregon Sports Network in 2008.[9]

In March 2010, newscasts started originating from a temporary set in the newsroom while a new set was constructed and other upgrades were made to prepare for HD. Chambers Communication's cancellation of long-form newscasts at KOHD, KEZI's sister station in Bend, Oregon, allowed KEZI to upgrade equipment.[10]

On April 26, 2010, KEZI became the first (and only) station to broadcast local news in high definition in the Eugene market.[11] By comparison, the newscasts on KVAL and KLSR-TV are in 16:9 enhanced definition widescreen while those on KMTR remain in pillarboxed 4:3 standard definition.

KEZI 9 Plus Main Logo.PNG

KEZI 9+ Nonstop News (2011-2013)[edit]

In January 2011, KEZI launched its new 24-hour local news service, KEZI 9+ Nonstop News, airing on over-the-air digital channel 9.2. It broadcasts local news programming from the news team as well as a three-hour block of children's programming to keep up with the FCC requirements for educational/informational programs. In the fall of 2011, 9+ began airing the Friday Night Blitz Game of the Week, local live telecasts of high school football. And in the winter of 2012, the station began broadcasting the Roundball Wrap Game of the Week, local live telecasts of high school basketball. Both sports programs are similar to those broadcast by sister station KDRV NewsWatch 12+, which includes cross-market games.

Live Well Network Western Oregon[edit]

On September 9, 2013, KEZI 9.2 replaced KEZI 9+ with Live Well Network Western Oregon. Live Well Network is a home, health and lifestyle high definition digital subchannel network owned by Disney-ABC Television Group, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company and is operated by the ABC Owned Television Stations. It launched on April 27, 2009, but KEZI didn't add the network to 9.2 until September 9.

Despite that change, KEZI will continue to carry the "Friday Night Blitz" and "Roundball Wrap" Games of the Week on 9.2.

Recent awards[edit]

Former members of KEZI Rick Dancer and Al Peterson were highlighted in the Oregon Associated Press Best Feature category for Division II in 2005.[12] KEZI won several Oregon Associated Press awards in 2010, including Overall Excellence.

News/station presentation[edit]

Newscast titles[edit]

  • Eyewitness News (1970s– late 1990s)
  • KEZI News (late 1990s–2002)
  • 9 News (2002–2007)
  • KEZI 9 News (2007–present)

Station slogans[edit]

  • Your Local News Team (2003–2008)
  • Connecting You (2008–2013)
  • Watching Out For You (2013–present)

News team[edit]

Current on-air staff[13][edit]

Current anchors

  • Sean Cuellar - weekday mornings
  • Jessica Debbas - weekend anchor/producer; also reporter
  • Cyd Dutcher (formerly from KMTR) - weekend morning anchor/producer; also reporter
  • Matt Templeman (formerly from KMTR) - Anchors weeknights at 5, 6 and 6:30pm
  • Renee McCullough (formerly from KMTR) - Anchors weeknights at 5, 6 and 6:30pm
  • Brian Richardson - Anchors weeknights at 11pm and is a reporter
  • Jennifer Richardson - Anchors weeknights at 11pm and is a reporter

Stormtracker 9 Weather

  • Justin Stapleton (AMS Seal of Approval) – chief meteorologist; weeknights at 5, 6, 6:30 and 11 p.m.
  • Melissa Frey (AMS AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval) – meteorologist; weekday mornings
  • Marisa Woloszyn - meteorologist; weekends

Sports team

  • Jake Zivin – sports director
  • Erik Elken - sports anchor/reporter
  • Stephen Nelson - sports reporter/anchor

Reporters

  • Kelsey Card - general assignment reporter
  • Lauren Mickler - general assignment reporter
  • Nha Nguyen - general assignment reporter
  • Rhoda Krause (from KMTR) - Corvallis reporter

News personnel[edit]

  • Mark Hatfield – managing director of news and programming

Notable former staff[edit]

  • Rick Dancer - evening news anchor – 16 years at KEZI
  • Lisa Verch Fletcher - evening news anchor until 2002
  • John Fisher - 20+ years as chief meteorologist
  • Brandi Smith – news anchor - 5 years at KEZI, now BiMart Spokesperson[14]

Translators[edit]

KEZI is rebroadcast on the following translators:

Low power translators for Myrtle Point, Newport, and Black Butte Ranch have been discontinued.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]