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For the airport serving Houston, Texas assigned the ICAO code KHOU, see William P. Hobby Airport.
KHOU LOGO2011.pngKHOU-DT2 Bounce Houston.png
Houston, Texas
United States
Branding KHOU 11 (general)
KHOU 11 News (newscasts)
Slogan KHOU Stands for Houston
Channels Digital: 11 (VHF)
Virtual: 11 (PSIP)
Subchannels 11.1 CBS
11.2 Bounce TV
Affiliations CBS
Owner Gannett Company
(KHOU-TV, Inc.)
First air date March 23, 1953 (1953-03-23)
Call letters' meaning Dual meaning:
HOU = airport code for William P. Hobby Airport
Former callsigns KGUL-TV (1953–1959)
KHOU-TV (1959–2009)
Former channel number(s) Analog:
11 (VHF, 1953–2009)
31 (UHF, 1998–2009)
Transmitter power 25 kW
Height 593 m
Facility ID 34529
Transmitter coordinates 29°33′40″N 95°30′4″W / 29.56111°N 95.50111°W / 29.56111; -95.50111
Licensing authority FCC
Public license information: Profile

KHOU, virtual channel and VHF digital channel 11, is a CBS-affiliated television station located in Houston, Texas, United States. The station is owned by the Gannett Company. KHOU maintains studio facilities located along Allen Parkway in the Neartown neighborhood (near Downtown Houston),[1][2] and its transmitter is located in unincorporated northeastern Fort Bend County (near Missouri City).


The station first signed on the air on March 23, 1953 as KGUL-TV (as in gulf or as in "seagull" ); it was founded by Paul Taft of the Taft Broadcasting Co.[3] (no relation to the Cincinnati, Ohio-based Taft Broadcasting Company). Originally licensed to Galveston, it was the second television station to debut in the Houston market (after KPRC-TV, channel 2). One of the original investors in the station was actor James Stewart, along with a small group of other Galveston investors.

In 1956, the original owners sold the station to the Indianapolis-based Whitney Corporation (later Corinthian Broadcasting), which became a subsidiary of Dun & Bradstreet in 1971. In June 1959, the station changed its callsign to KHOU-TV (the "-TV" suffix was dropped from the call letters the week following the June 12, 2009 digital transition, as most Belo stations did at the time) and had its city of license relocated to Houston. The FCC license listed both the Houston and Galveston service areas for a time. On April 24, 1960, the station moved to its present studio facilities just outside downtown Houston on Allen Parkway. To this day, KHOU is the only local television station in Houston to have its primary studios located close to the downtown area.

KHOU Studios and Offices in Neartown Houston.

In 1984, Dun & Bradstreet sold the Corinthian stations to the Belo Corporation. In 1998, channel 11 became the first television station in the market to begin broadcasting a high-definition digital signal. The KHOU studios were flooded during Tropical Storm Allison in 2001, resulting in damage to much of the station's offices, including its newsroom. The flooding was so severe, the station had to cease regular programming and instead broadcast a feed from the station's doppler radar for roughly 90 minutes.

In 2002, the Houston Texans NFL franchise began play, as part of the American Football Conference's South Division. As part of the AFC, all afternoon road games, (and home games against AFC opponents) and Thursday night games are aired on CBS, and are therefore aired locally on KHOU. The Texans are one of two teams never to have been blacked out at home, the other being the Baltimore Ravens.

During Hurricane Ike, which hit the Texas Gulf Coast in mid-September 2008, KHOU's storm coverage was distributed nationwide via DirecTV and XM Satellite Radio, as well as through a live feed on the station's website. On June 13, 2013, the Gannett Company announced that it would acquire Belo for $1.5 billion.[4] The sale was completed on December 23.[5]

Digital television[edit]

Digital channels[edit]

The station's digital channel is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[6]
11.1 1080i 16:9 KHOU-DT Main KHOU programming / CBS
11.2 480i KHOU-SD Bounce TV

On September 26, 2011, KHOU began broadcasting Bounce TV on its second digital subchannel upon the network's launch.[7] The station had previously signed on to carry the .2 Network on one of its digital subchannels, although .2 Network never debuted.

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

KHOU discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over VHF channel 11, 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 relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 31 to VHF channel 11 for post-transition operations.[8][9]


KHOU has been a CBS affiliate for over two decades. While KHOU does air the Late Show with David Letterman immediately following its 10 p.m. newscast, it has aired The Late Late Show on a 30-minute delay (to 12:07 am) ever since the show first premiered in 1995, fitting a syndicated sitcom between the two shows. Because the latter program's original host, Tom Snyder, had a simulcast with the CBS Radio Network and took calls from viewers during his stint as host, KHOU asked via disclaimer for area viewers to not call the toll-free call-in number due to the tape-delay.

KHOU is the local television broadcaster of Houston's annual Thanksgiving Day parade, the H-E-B Holiday Parade, pre-empting the CBS Thanksgiving Day Parade.

News operation[edit]

KHOU newscast title card from 2011-2012.

KHOU presently broadcasts 28 hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with five hours on weekdays, two hours on Saturdays and one hour on Sundays). Channel 11 has been widely regarded as a stepping stone for many well-known television news personalities, as many of its reporters have gone on to work for national networks. KHOU's best known former on-air staffers include former CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather, NBC News correspondent Dennis Murphy, newswomen Linda Ellerbee and Jessica Savitch, and sports anchors Jim Nantz (now with CBS Sports) and Ron Franklin (now with ESPN). The station's newscasts currently rank second among those in the Houston area (behind ABC-owned KTRK); however, they receive decent viewership among 35- to 55-year-olds and suburban audiences. This is noted since, as of 2011, KHOU is the only Houston area station whose traffic reports cover suburban areas, in addition to the Houston freeways.

KHOU also has gained a reputation for its investigative reporting staff (currently known as the "KHOU 11 News I-Team"), whose notable stories include its 2000 investigation into defective tire designs by Firestone – which led to the mandatory recall of Wilderness AT, Firestone ATX and ATX II tires, as well as numerous lawsuits (the defective tires resulted in a number of deaths, including that of KTRK reporter Stephen Gauvain) and a story in the early 2000s by former reporter Anna Werner that led to the shutdown of the Houston Police Department's crime lab. The investigative unit has also exposed allegations of dropout rate fraud in the Houston Independent School District, which resulted in the dismissal of several HISD officials.

Beginning in the late 1980s, KHOU hired several high-profile people to its news team. The most notable was former National Hurricane Center director Dr. Neil Frank, who was hired as the station's chief meteorologist in July 1987. In another key move, KHOU also hired former KTRK anchor Sylvan Rodriguez (then with ABC News' West Coast bureau) to anchor the station's early evening newscasts. KHOU also began to use the "Spirit of Texas" slogan and TM Productions' "Spirit" music package, which originated at Dallas sister station WFAA. In January 1989, KHOU revamped the appearance of its newscasts, with an image campaign that included full-page ads in the Houston Chronicle and Post, as well as an on-air promotional campaign that focused more on ordinary citizens throughout Greater Houston than on its news team. With anchors Steve Smith and Marlene McClinton, chief meteorologist Neil Frank and sports director Giff Nielsen as its main news team, along with a new set, graphics and theme music, KHOU began to mount a serious challenge to the other Houston newscasts, leading to a competitive ratings race during the 1990s.

1999 proved to be a breakout year for KHOU, with its newscasts reaching #1 in viewership in several timeslots during the May sweeps period, unseating KTRK during the midday hours, and at 5:00 (it debuted in May 1974) and 6:00 pm. The station's ratings boost also included an exclusive interview with Serbian and Yugoslavian President Slobodan Milosevic during the Kosovo War, just a month before his indictment. This news came despite the retirement of longtime anchor Steve Smith, anchor Sylvan Rodriguez's eventually fatal bout with pancreatic cancer and the abrupt resignation of fellow anchor Marlene McClinton during one of the station's newscasts.

On February 4, 2007, following CBS' coverage of Super Bowl XLI, KHOU began broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition. On September 7, 2009, KHOU-TV expanded its weekday morning newscast with the addition of the 4:30 am program First Look; despite being the last station in the Houston market to launch a 4:30 a.m. newscast, KHOU was the first station in the market to announce its intentions to do so (three of Houston's major network affiliates – KHOU, KTRK-TV and KPRC-TV – launched 4:30 am newscasts within three weeks of each other in the late summer of 2009). On August 1, 2011, KHOU debuted a new half-hour newscast at 4:00 pm on weekdays.[10]

Notable former on-air staff[edit]


  1. ^ Map of Neartown. Neartown Association. Retrieved October 20, 2008.
  2. ^ "Submit a tip to KHOU-TV." KHOU-TV. Retrieved on March 2, 2010.
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Gannett to buy TV station owner Belo for $1.5B". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Associated Press. June 13, 2013. Retrieved June 13, 2013. 
  5. ^ Gannett Completes Its Acquisition of Belo, TVNewsCheck, Retrieved December 23, 2013.
  6. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for KHOU
  7. ^ "Bounce TV Sets Launch for Sept. 26". Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  8. ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24. 
  9. ^ CDBS Print
  10. ^ KHOU adding a newscast to replace Oprah, Houston Chronicle, July 13, 2011.
  11. ^ "Reggie Aqui joins as ˜Now in the News' anchor". Media Life Magazine. 28 August 2007. Retrieved 13 March 2013. 
  12. ^ "Atrium Restaurant Photo Gallery". Retrieved 13 March 2013. 
  13. ^ "Linda Ellerbee - Television Journalist". Paley Center for Media. Retrieved 13 March 2013. 
  14. ^ Barron, David (14 December 2007). "KHOU-TV's Neil Frank is hanging up his raincoat". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 13 March 2013. 
  15. ^ "Ron Franklin bio". ESPN. Retrieved 13 March 2013. 
  16. ^ "KHOU-TV Film Box 7406, Reel 9". Retrieved 13 March 2013. 
  17. ^ "Jim Nantz bio". Retrieved 13 March 2013. 
  18. ^ "Vietnamese-American reporters shine in the US". 9 July 2012. Retrieved 13 March 2013. 
  19. ^ "Giff Nielsen signs off after 25 years at Channel 11". 15 August 2009. Retrieved 13 March 2013. 
  20. ^ Swartz, Mimi (January 2007). "Here Comes Trouble". Texas Monthly. Retrieved 13 March 2013. 
  21. ^ "Dan Rather Biography". Retrieved 13 March 2013. 
  22. ^ McGuff, Mike (13 November 2009). "Former KHOU reporter let go from CNN newscast". Retrieved 13 March 2013. 
  23. ^ Haller, Scot (7 November 1983). "The Two Faces of a Newswoman". People Magazine. Retrieved 13 March 2013. 
  24. ^ "Janet Shamlian bio". NBC News. 12 October 2006. Retrieved 13 March 2013. 
  25. ^ Barron, David (13 May 2008). "Anchorman Ron Stone left deep imprint on local news". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 13 March 2013. 

External links[edit]