|City of license||Sanger, California|
|Branding||The CW KFRE 59|
|Channels||Digital: 36 (UHF)
Virtual: 59 (PSIP)
|Subchannels||59.1 The CW
59.2 Estrella TV
|Owner||Sinclair Broadcast Group
(KFRE Licensee, LLC)
|First air date||July 17, 1985|
|Call letters' meaning||FREsno (former call letters of unrelated station KFSN-TV|
|Former callsigns||KMSG-TV (1985–2001)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
59 (UHF, 1985–2009)
|Former affiliations||Independent (1985–1988)
The WB (2001–2006)
|Transmitter power||360 kW|
|Public license information:||Profile
KFRE-TV, virtual channel 59 (UHF digital channel 36), is a CW-affiliated television station serving Fresno, California, United States that is licensed to Sanger. The station is owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group, as part of a duopoly with Fox affiliate KMPH-TV (channel 26). The two stations share studio facilities located on McKinley Avenue in eastern Fresno (one mile southwest of Fresno Yosemite International Airport); KFRE maintains transmitter facilities located on Bear Mountain (near Meadow Lakes).
The station first signed on the air on July 17, 1985 as KMSG-TV; originally operating as an independent station, channel 59 originally ran a bilingual format of Spanish language programming during the afternoon and evening hours, and English language religious programs for about six hours a day each morning; it also ran mostly English language home shopping programs during the overnight hours. The station's Spanish programming was sourced from NetSpan, the second Spanish-language television network to launch in the United States (after the Spanish International Network, now Univision); NetSpan was relaunched as Telemundo in 1987. The following year, the station dropped its inventory of English language programs, and exclusively affiliated with Telemundo.
In 2000, KNSO (channel 51, then an affiliate of The WB) signed a deal to become the Fresno market's new Telemundo affiliate; as a result, Pappas Telecasting Companies terminated a local marketing agreement between KNSO and Fox affiliate KMPH-TV (channel 26). On January 1, 2001, the LMA with KMPH was transferred to KMSG, which also resulted in the WB affiliation moving to the station from KNSO (becoming the network's third affiliate in the market; The WB's original Fresno affiliate was Clovis-based KGMC (channel 43), which was with the network from its launch in 1995 until 1997); channel 59 also changed its call letters to KFRE-TV (the KFRE calls were originally used in the market on what is now KFSN-TV (channel 30) from 1956 to 1971). At this time, the station changed its on-air branding to "WB 59".
Pappas Telecasting purchased KFRE outright in 2002, creating the first television duopoly in the market with KMPH-TV. In 2003, KFRE acquired the rights to Fox's 4Kids TV children's program block from KMPH, airing the block normally aired on Saturdays on a tape delay on Sunday mornings (this resulted in KFRE carrying children's blocks from two major networks, as it already carried The WB's Kids' WB block). The station continued to carry 4Kids TV until the block was discontinued by Fox in November 2008 due to a dispute with the block's lessee 4Kids Entertainment; KFRE-TV now airs Fox's Saturday morning infomercial block Weekend Marketplace, in 4Kids TV's former Sunday morning timeslot on the station.
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. KFRE became the market's CW affiliate when the network launched on September 18, 2006.
On May 10, 2008, thirteen Pappas stations, including KFRE, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. As a result of the bankruptcy, Pappas Telecasting Companies was given until February 15, 2009 to sell these stations to other owners. On January 16, 2009, Pappas announced that most of the stations, including KFRE, would be purchased by New World TV Group, after the sale received United States bankruptcy court approval; the stations would eventually come under the Titan TV Broadcast Group banner. Titan announced the sale of KFRE-TV, KMPH-TV and most of the company's other stations to the Sinclair Broadcast Group on June 3, 2013. The Federal Communications Commission approved the sale on September 19, and the sale was finalized on October 3.
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|59.1||1080i||16:9||KFRE-DT||Main KFRE-TV programming / The CW/ASN|
KFRE-TV shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 59, 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 36. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 59, which was among the high band UHF channels (52-69) that were removed from broadcasting use as a result of the transition.
KFRE formerly served as the local television broadcaster of Fresno State Bulldogs sporting events until 2008, when the rights moved to MyNetworkTV affiliate KAIL (channel 53, now on channel 7). The station was also the local holder of television rights to San Francisco Giants baseball games until the 2007 season; in 2008, the Giants telecasts also moved to KAIL. In 2008, the station held the local rights to Oakland Athletics baseball telecasts, which are produced by regional sports network Comcast SportsNet Bay Area before moving exclusively to Comcast SportsNet California in 2009. In 2014, KFRE airs pre-season San Francisco 49ers football games.
On January 10, 2006, sister station KMPH-TV began producing a half-hour 11:00 p.m. newscast for KFRE-TV; the nightly program was anchored by Allison Ruddell on Monday through Friday nights and Derrol Nail on Saturdays and Sundays. The program was unable to compete with the longer established 11:00 p.m. newscasts on KFSN-TV, NBC affiliate KSEE (channel 24) and KGPE (channel 47), and was canceled on February 5, 2007 due to low ratings. Ruddell was reassigned to anchor KMPH's 11:30 a.m. newscast, before leaving the station in July 2007; Nail, meanwhile, left channel 26 in January 2008. The station currently airs a rebroadcast of KMPH's primetime newscast, the Ten O'Clock News, each weeknight at 11:00 p.m.
- '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.
- Pappas Saga Turning Into Tragedy, TVNewsCheck, September 24, 2008.
- "New World Gets Pappas TVs for $260M". TVnewsday. January 16, 2008. Retrieved January 18, 2008.
- "Sinclair Buys 6 Titan Television Stations". TVNewsCheck. June 3, 2013. Retrieved June 4, 2013.
- SINCLAIR BROADCAST GROUP CLOSES ON ACQUISITION OF THE TITAN STATIONS
- Minium, Harry (August 27, 2014). "ODU's opener with Hampton to be televised in 66 markets". HamptonRoads.com (The Virginian-Pilot). Retrieved September 8, 2014.
- RabbitEars TV Query for KFRE
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24.
- KFRE-TV official website
- Query the FCC's TV station database for KFRE-TV
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on KFRE-TV