|Branding||KOTV 6 (general)
The News on 6 (newscasts)
|Channels||Digital: 45 (UHF)
Virtual: 6 (PSIP)
6.2 The CW (KQCW)
6.3 News on 6 Now
|Affiliations||CBS Television Network|
(Griffin Licensing, LLC)
|First air date||October 22, 1949|
|Call letters' meaning||Oklahoma
|Sister station(s)||KWTV-DT, KQCW-DT|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
6 (VHF, 1949–2009)
Digital: 55 (UHF, –2009)
|Former affiliations||All secondary:
|Transmitter power||970 kW|
KOTV-DT, virtual channel 6 (UHF digital channel 45), is a CBS-affiliated television station located in Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States. The station is owned by Griffin Communications, and is part of a duopoly with CW affiliate KQCW-DT (channel 19). Both share studios located at the Griffin Communications Media Center on East Cameron Street and North Boston Avenue in downtown Tulsa, and KOTV's transmitter is located on South 273rd East Avenue in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma (just north of the Muskogee Turnpike). The station can also be seen on Cox Communications channel 6 and in high definition on digital channel 706.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|6.1||1080i||16:9||KOTV-HD||Main KOTV programming / CBS|
|6.2||480i||KOTV-CW||SD simulcast of KQCW-DT|
|6.3||Newson6||News on 6 Now|
On digital subchannel 6.2 is sister station and CW affiliate KQCW-DT. On digital subchannel 6.3 and on Cox digital channel 53 is News on 6 Now, a news simulcast/rebroadcast channel (previously operating as cable-only News Now 53 from 2000 until March 30, 2011), which is owned by Griffin in cooperation with Cox Communications; digital channel 6.3 was previously an affiliate of This TV from January 20, 2009 to March 30, 2011 (This TV has since moved to KQCW digital channel 19.2). During extended breaking news or severe weather coverage on channel 6, KOTV may move CBS network programming from the main channel to the News on 6 Now subchannel.
KOTV shut down its analog transmitter on February 17, 2009 (five months prior to the original date of the analog television shutdown and digital conversion in the United States), KOTV's digital signal operated on a high-band UHF channel (in the 52 to 69 channel range) that was removed from broadcast use after the official June 12, 2009 transition date, its analog channel assignment was on low-band VHF (channels 2 to 6) and therefore prone to signal interference from impulse noise. KOTV selected UHF channel 45 for its post-transition operations, however through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display KOTV's virtual channel as 6.
KOTV's audio signal could be heard on 87.75 MHz on the FM band in Tulsa and the surrounding areas prior to the digital switchover, digital television does not place its audio on an FM subcarrier as the analog system typically does and therefore television stations operating a digital signal cannot be heard using standard broadcast FM radio receivers.
In 1946, the Griffin family, owners of KTUL-AM, assigned Helen Alvarez to make a study of television's chances of success in Tulsa. After two years of research, Alvarez suggested that the Griffins apply for a television station construction permit as quickly as possible. The radio executives decided television was too risky a venture, and planned to wait a year before going to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to apply for a station license. Unfortunately, due to an FCC-imposed freeze on television station license applications, the Griffins would face a much longer wait to get into television, but eventually did so when John Toole Griffin founded KTVX (now KTUL) in 1954.
Alvarez immediately resigned and began casting about for investors willing to get a station on the air right away. At a party, she was introduced to Texas oilman George Cameron, who was looking to spend monthly royalty checks he was banking that totaled $50,000. Along with salesman John Hill, who was working for a Tulsa wire maker, Cameron and Alvarez formed Cameron Television Corporation and applied to the FCC for the channel 6 allocation in Tulsa. With no other applications to consider, the FCC granted a construction permit to the Cameron Television Corporation in the spring of 1948.
The application that was granted listed the callsign for the new station as KOVB, not for KOTV as Cameron had requested. The typo on the application meant the request had to be re-filed, and in May 1948, the FCC approved the callsign change to KOTV. Alvarez negotiated the lease of the International Harvester dealership and repair shop at Third Street and Frankfort Avenue, and it was converted into what was then the nation's largest television studio. KOTV's transmitter, built in the backyard of chief engineer George Jacobs, was eventually hoisted to the top of the National Bank of Tulsa Building in downtown Tulsa. Alvarez had spent a year convincing bank officers that the tower would be both safe and in time, become a local landmark. While the tower was being installed, a workman's wrench fell and struck a woman passing below on the head, killing her instantly.
Detractors jumped on the accident proclaiming KOTV was "jinxed" from the start. They took to calling it "Cameron's Folly", and speaking at a Tulsa Chamber of Commerce luncheon, a Tulsa radio executive said anyone investing in KOTV or buying a television set was "foolish." However, Cameron Television continued on, and on October 22, 1949, KOTV signed on as Tulsa's first television station, the second television station in Oklahoma and the 90th station in the United States. Alvarez was the station's first general manager, and along with Hill held a minority ownership stake in the station. The station's first broadcast was a test pattern, seen by a handful of viewers across Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and Arkansas. More than a month later, on November 23, 1949, KOTV broadcast its first local program – a live Chamber of Commerce meeting attended by many of the station's original critics.
A week later, the station presented a "Special Dedication Program" featuring Oklahoma governor Roy Turner, Tulsa mayor Roy Lundy, singer Patti Page, Leon McAuliffe and his western swing band and Miss Oklahoma Louise O'Brien. The next day on December 1, KOTV broadcast a two-hour sampling of the top programs from all five networks of the time that the station carried programming from during its first few years: ABC, NBC, CBS, the DuMont Television Network and the Paramount Television Network (the latter's programming being fed to affiliates around the country through a link between KTLA in Los Angeles and WBKB (now WBBM-TV) in Chicago). Over 3,000 television sets were placed throughout the city for public viewing, some of them set on sidewalks outside appliance stores. After several days of this sampling, the public began to buy their own television sets and KOTV began having a small, but growing, viewing audience in the Four State Area.
During the late 1950s, the station was also briefly affiliated with the NTA Film Network. Even though relations between KOTV and all the networks were smooth, KOTV showed a preference for CBS over the others. At first, network programming was aired about a week after being broadcast live on the East Coast; it would not be until 1952, before a microwave link with New York City made live network programming possible.
Three hours of programming were filled in the evening. With a broadcast schedule that began at 12:30 p.m., Channel 6 filled the rest of its schedule with live locally-produced programs. The cooking program Lookin' At Cookin' began a 32-year run that first year, broadcast from the nation's first "Telecast Kitchen". Eventually, the show was cut down to a five-minute program and was retitled Coffee Break, which aired at 10:55 a.m. and pre-empted Douglas Edwards' CBS Midday Newsbreak. In 1981, the kitchen was shut down. KOTV had a live wrestling program, and when the station's staff announcer Bob Hower ended his shift as host of the game show Wishing Well, he became Tulsa's first news anchorman, reading Associated Press and United Press wire copy headlines four times a week for 15 minutes. In 1952, Cameron sold KOTV to another Texas oil magnate, Jack Wrather, for $2.5 million (by comparison, it had cost only $400,000 to build the station). Wrather knew little about television, and persuaded Alvarez to stay on as general manager. He also made her a full partner in what was named the Wrather-Alvarez Television Corporation, later renamed the General Television Corporation.
In 1953, KOTV began airing another live show which aired on Sunday mornings for 42 years: Lewis Meyer's Bookshelf; this program, hosted by author and literary critic Lewis Meyer, was a book review show where Meyer showed off books from his bookstore, located for many years in the city's Brookside district. Each Sunday, he would show off books and read some of their content and each week, Meyer selected and gave a review of the "book of the week"; Meyer signed off each program, reminding viewers that "the more books you read, the taller you grow". Before his death in 1995, Meyer showed off his bookshelf in an interview with Paula Zahn on CBS This Morning. After Meyer's death, the show was not replaced (CBS's political talk show Face the Nation now airs in Bookshelf's former Sunday morning timeslot).
KOTV got a competitor in 1954, when KCEB (channel 23, channel now occupied by KOKI-TV) signed on as a primary NBC and secondary DuMont affiliate. However, as manufacturers were not required to include UHF tuners on television sets at the time, NBC made a secret agreement with KOTV that allowed channel 6 to continue "cherry-picking" NBC's stronger shows. A few months later, KVOO-TV (channel 2, now KJRH) debuted and took the remaining NBC programs. KCEB then switched to ABC, which agreed on condition that KOTV be allowed to cherry-pick its shows as well. When KTVX signed on in 1954, it took all remaining ABC programming, leaving KOTV as a sole CBS affiliate and KCEB with fourth-ranked DuMont. Like many early UHF television stations, KCEB would cease operations before the end of 1954; DuMont itself would fail less than two years later.
Soon after KOTV became an exclusive CBS affiliate, General Television sold the station to the Indianapolis-based Whitney Corporation, which was renamed Corinthian Broadcasting Corporation in 1957. Corinthian merged with Dun & Bradstreet in 1971. In December 1983, Belo Corporation acquired Dun and Bradstreet's television station division, including KOTV. On October 18, 2000, the station returned to Oklahoma-based ownership when Griffin Communications (which is now run by the descendants of John Toole Griffin, whose family had earlier passed on bidding for the channel 6 license, and had owned Oklahoma City's CBS affiliate KWTV since its December 1953 inception) announced its purchase of KOTV from Belo.
Griffin upgraded KOTV's facilities to accommodate high-definition and digital broadcasting, including a new transmitter, production control and master control facilities. KOTV outfitted its photojournalists with the first digital cameras in the market. Since the Griffin purchase, KOTV and KWTV have cooperated with one another, sharing news stories between the two stations, and jointly producing a Sunday night sports highlight and discussion program called the Oklahoma Sports Blitz, which airs on both stations. In recent years, KOTV also debuted Tulsa's most-advanced news helicopter, "SkyNews 6", which the station occasionally collaborates with sister station KWTV's helicopter "SkyNews 9HD" for aerial news coverage in areas where the Oklahoma City and Tulsa markets overlap.
On June 20, 2007, the "SkyNews 6" helicopter was shooting a station promotion when its rotors struck the dish of a KOTV satellite truck, sending the chopper spinning out of control and resulting in its crash, destroying the Bell 206B helicopter. Two people, including the chopper's pilot, survived the accident with minor injuries. KOTV debuted a new helicopter on May 5, 2008. The new chopper is also called SkyNews 6. Improvements to the new helicopter include an additional camera on the craft's tail, that shows the side of the chopper in profile on the left side of the screen, while showing the scene on the right side. The new cameras have been rebranded as "SteadiZoom 360".
On October 25, 2007, Griffin announced that it would construct a 50,000 sq ft (4,600 m2) media center in downtown Tulsa's historic Brady district that would house KOTV, KQCW and Griffin New Media, which manages all websites operated by Griffin Communications. Construction began on the $20 million facility on April 8, 2008, but was delayed upon the midst of the global recession, before resuming in early 2011. The new facility, which allowed for the station to upgrade production of its news programming to full high definition, officially opened on January 19, 2013.
KOTV presently broadcasts 30 hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 5½ hours on weekdays, 1½ hours on Saturdays and one hour on Sundays). In addition, the station broadcasts a 35-minute sports highlight and discussion program on Sunday evenings, Oklahoma Sports Blitz, which is co-hosted by KOTV sports director John Holcomb, along with KWTV sports director Dean Blevins; the program is produced out of KWTV's studio facility on North Kelley Avenue in Oklahoma City.
For many years, KOTV's newscasts placed a strong second in the local ratings, behind KTUL. This continued until 1999, when KOTV overtook KTUL as the most-watched news outlet in the marker. KOTV's news broadcasts continue to win all time periods by comfortable margins, largely aided by the strengths of CBS's primetime programming. In November 2007, the station's 10 p.m. newscast was the eighth highest-rated late newscast in the United States.
KOTV's weekday morning newscast runs from 5 to 8 a.m., delaying the station's broadcast of CBS This Morning by one hour from 8 to 10 a.m. The newscast (which uses the Six in the Morning brand for the 6-8 a.m. portion of the program) had earlier ran for four hours until 9 a.m. until January 7, 2008, when the 8 a.m. hour of the newscast moved to KQCW, in order for KOTV to comply with new requirements by CBS that its affiliates carry the entire two-hour broadcast of what was then The Early Show (which was replaced by CBS This Morning in January 2012). In the fall of 2008, KOTV expanded the Saturday edition of its 10 p.m. newscast to one hour, with the 10:30 half-hour titled News on 6 Late Edition (this is the same with sister station KWTV-DT in Oklahoma City, which also airs an hour-long 10 p.m. newscast on Saturdays).
On October 24, 2010 beginning with the KQCW 9 p.m. newscast, KOTV introduced new on-air graphics designed by Hothaus Creative, a new news music package, a new station logo (a rounded red square with a "6" in Goudy type), and a new station slogan ("Oklahoma's Own"). Oklahoma City sister station KWTV adopted a similar logo, and identical graphics and slogan, as well as adopting The CBS Enforcer News Music Collection by Gari Communications (which KOTV has used since 2006) as its news theme on that same date. Although its Oklahoma City sister station KWTV upgraded its news programming to high definition with the adoption of the new standardized look, KOTV's newscasts upgraded only to 16:9 widescreen standard definition. On January 19, 2013, following the completion of the move of the duopoly's operations into the Griffin Communications Media Center, KOTV and KQCW became the last two television stations in the Tulsa market to upgrade their news programming to full high definition.
- Channel 6 News (1949–December 1968 and January 1969–1971)
- 6 Photo News (December 1968–January 1969)
- Channel 6 Eyewitness News (1971–1987)
- Tulsa Tonight (10 p.m. newscast; 1984–1987)
- The News on 6 (1987–present)
- Six in the Morning (1999–present; morning newscast)
- "First in Tulsa" (1949–mid 1970s)
- "The First One You Turn To" (mid 1970s)
- "Take A Look" (1978–1980)
- "On a Scale of One to Five, We're Six" (c. early 1980s)
- "We're Everything that Tulsa Means to You" (1983–1984)
- "The Spirit of Oklahoma" (1984–2001; also formerly used on now sister station KWTV)
- "Anchors Who Cover the News, Know the News." (2002–2008)
- "Getting Answers. So You'll Know More." (2008–2010)
- "Oklahoma's Own" (2010–present)
Current on-air staff
KOTV's primary news anchors are Craig Day (weeknights at 5:00 p.m.; also "Oklahoma's Own" reporter), Lori Fullbright (weeknights at 5:00 p.m.; also crime reporter), Terry Hood (weeknights at 6:00 and 10:00 p.m.), Havonnah Johnson (weekdays at noon; also weekday morning reporter), Chera Kimiko (weeknights at 9:00 p.m. on KQCW), Rich Lenz (weekday mornings on Six in the Morning from 5:00-8:00 on KOTV and 8:00-9:00 a.m. on KQCW), Lacie Lowry (Saturdays at 5:00 and 6:00, Sundays at 5:30 and weekends at 9:00 (KQCW) and 10:00 p.m.; also weeknight reporter), Jennifer Loren (weeknights at 9:00 p.m. on KQCW; also "Oklahoma Impact Team" investigative reporter), LeAnne Taylor (weekday mornings on Six in the Morning from 5:00-8:00 on KOTV and 8:00-9:00 a.m. on KQCW) and Scott Thompson (weeknights at 6:00 and 10:00 p.m.).
The News On 6 WARN Weather Team includes chief meteorologist Travis Meyer (AMS Seal of Approval; member, NWA; weeknights at 5:00, 6:00, 9:00 on KQCW (Thursdays and Fridays) and 10:00 p.m.); and meteorologists Alan Crone (AMS Seal of Approval; member, NWA; weekday mornings on Six in the Morning from 5:00-8:00 on KOTV and 8:00-9:00 a.m. on KQCW), Dick Faurot (AMS Seal of Approval; member, NWA; Saturdays at 5:00 and 6:00, Sundays at 5:30 and weekends at 9:00 (KQCW) and 10:00 p.m. and Mondays-Wednesdays at noon) and Mike Grogan (Thursdays and Fridays at noon and Mondays-Wednesdays at 9:00 p.m. (KQCW), also fill-in meteorologist).
The station's sports team includes sports director John Holcomb (weeknights at 5:00, 6:00, 9:00 (KQCW) and 10 p.m.), sports anchor Charlie Hannema (Saturdays at 5:00 and 6:00, Sundays at 5:30 and weekends at 9:00 (KQCW) and 10:00 p.m.) and sports reporter Harold Kuntz (also fill-in sports anchor).
The station's reporting staff includes general assignment reporters Dan Bewley, Emory Bryan (also government reporter), Dave Davis (weekday morning reporter from 5:00-8:00 on KOTV and 8:00-9:00 a.m. on KQCW), Ashlei King, Tess Maune and Grant Sloan; Newson6.com reporter Chris Howell, "SkyNews 6" pilot Will Kavanagh, "Money Saving Queen" consumer contributor Sarah Roe and feature reporter Rick Wells.
Notable former on-air staff
- John Anderson - sports anchor (?-?; now with ESPN and co-host of ABC's Wipeout)
- Chuck Bowman - announcer (later moved to Los Angeles as an actor/producer)
- Ken Broo - sports anchor (now sports reporter at WCPO in Cincinnati, Ohio)
- Bob Brown - news anchor/reporter (later feature reporter for ABC's 20/20)
- Denny Delk - staff announcer (now based in San Francisco)
- Mike Flynn - news anchor/reporter/musician (later producer/host of the nationally-syndicated radio show The Folk Sampler)
- Jim Giles - chief meteorologist (1981-2006; deceased)
- Jim Hartz - news anchor (formerly with NBC as co-host of Today and NASA reporter, writer/author, co-hosted of PBS's Over Easy)
- Robert Joffe - anchor (1986-1990; found dead in Dallas and is now the subject of an upcoming book "Death of a news anchor")
- Bob Losure - anchor (late 1970s-early 1980s; later anchor at CNN Headline News)
- Spanky McFarland - children's program host (formerly appeared as a child in the Our Gang series of shorts)
- Gail Pennybacker - reporter (early 1980s; later at WJLA-TV in Washington)
- Bill Pitcock - news anchor (arrival at KOTV from KTUL prompting a lawsuit that KOTV won, and subsequently resulted in the start of the first talent contracts used by television stations, the first and only contract previously was for Spanky McFarland)
- Jim Ruddle - reporter (later anchor at WGN-TV in Chicago)
- Cameron Sanders - reporter (later CNN correspondent and host of public radio's Marketplace)
- Gailard Sartain (actor/comedian, longtime actor on Hee Haw, moved on to highly successful movie career)
- Bob Thomas - weather anchor (later at WKY-TV in Oklahoma City and then in Chicago)
- Jilda Unruh - reporter (early 1980s; later at WPLG-TV in Miami)
- Clayton Vaughan - news director/anchor (later director of the Tulsa Historical Society)
- Harry Volkman - meteorologist (later at WKY-TV in Oklahoma City, and WBBM-TV, WGN-TV and WFLD in Chicago)
- Lee Woodward - children's program host/weather anchor (1957-1982)
- "TV Programming Schedule - Check Local TV Listings - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |". NewsOn6.com. 2012-11-08. Retrieved 2012-11-15.
- "Griffin, Cox cable change channels". Tulsa World. Retrieved 2012-11-15.
- KWTV to repurpose News Now 53
- Tulsa: Oklahoma broadcasters go forward on transition to digital. Tulsa World, February 6, 2009.
- "Federal Communications Commission FCC 07-138". Retrieved 2012-11-24.
- CDBS Print
- Blanca Gonzalez (Jan 28, 2010). "OBITUARY: Maria Helen Alvarez Smith: Businesswoman was TV pioneer, ex-wife of C. Arnholt Smith". San Diego Union-Tribune.
- "Require Prime Evening Time for NTA Films", Boxoffice, November 10, 1956: 13.
- Belo to Sell Tulsa, Okla., TV Station to Oklahoma City Communications Firm, Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News (via HighBeam Research), October 18, 2000.
- Griffin Going Green With New Tulsa Digs, TVNewsCheck, October 25, 2012.
- KOTV once again tops the ratings in key time slots, Tulsa World, April 9, 2007.
- News On 6 Launches "Oklahoma's Own" Campaign With New Logo
- "KOTV EYEWITNESS NEWS OPEN - 1985". YouTube. 2009-02-01. Retrieved 2012-11-15.
- "KOTV The News on 6 at 10:00 Open, 2009". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-11-15.
- "KOTV NEWS-91". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-11-15.
- Contact Us, NewsOn6.com.
- NewsOn6.com - Official website
- Query the FCC's TV station database for KOTV
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on KOTV-DT
- SkyNews 6 photo