|This article needs additional citations for verification. (December 2008)|
|Branding||CBS 13 (general)
CBS 13 News (newscasts)
|Channels||Digital: 25 (UHF)
Virtual: 13 (PSIP)
(Sacramento Television Stations, Inc.)
|First air date||September 5, 1954|
|Call letters' meaning||KOVR = covering all of Northern California|
|Sister station(s)||KMAX-TV, KHTK|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
13 (VHF, 1954-2009)
|Former affiliations||Independent (1954-1957)
|Transmitter power||760 kW|
KOVR, channel 13, is an owned-and-operated station of the CBS Television Network located in Sacramento, California and licensed to Stockton. KOVR shares its offices and studio facilities with sister station KMAX-TV (channel 31) in West Sacramento, California, and its transmitter is located in Walnut Grove, California.
Both KOVR and KMAX are a part of CBS Corporation's Sacramento radio and TV cluster, which includes its CBS Radio partners: KSFM, KYMX, KZZO, KNCI and KHTK. All are based separately in a building just north of Downtown Sacramento.
- 1 History
- 2 Digital television
- 3 Programming
- 4 Out-of-market cable coverage
- 5 News operation
- 6 Notable former on-air staff
- 7 Logos and imagery
- 8 External links
- 9 References
KOVR is Sacramento's oldest continuously-operating television station. It first hit the airwaves on September 6, 1954 from the California State Fair. Originally an independent station with a transmitter located on Mount Diablo, its signal reached the San Francisco Bay Area, hence the call letters KOVR ("covering" all of Northern California). It broadcast from a studio on Miner Avenue in Stockton. Art Finley hosted an afternoon children's program, Toonytown, for several years, before moving to San Francisco's KRON.
As an ABC affiliate
In May 1957, KOVR merged its operations with Sacramento's original ABC affiliate, KCCC (channel 40, which signed on eleven months before KOVR). KCCC went silent, and KOVR became Sacramento's ABC affiliate. At ABC's request, the station moved its transmitter to a temporary site near Jackson to avoid competition with KGO-TV in San Francisco.
By this time, it was obvious that Sacramento, Stockton and Modesto were going to be a single television market. In 1960, KOVR teamed up with KCRA-TV and KXTV to build a new 1,549-foot tower in Walnut Grove. In 1985, KOVR and KXTV moved to their current 2,049-foot (625 m) tower while KCRA moved to its own 2,000-foot (610 m) tower; KCRA still uses the old tower as an auxiliary.
In 1958, Gannett (the present-day owner of rival KXTV) bought KOVR from its original owners, then sold it a year later to John Kluge's Metropolitan Broadcasting (which later became Metromedia). In 1960, the station moved its general offices and news department to a new studio on Arden Way in Sacramento. In 1987 KOVR consolidated its operations into its current facility in West Sacramento.
Metromedia sold KOVR to McClatchy Newspapers in 1964. McClatchy ran the station alongside The Sacramento Bee and Modesto Bee newspapers, as well as radio stations KWG in Stockton and KFBK in Sacramento. McClatchy was able to own KOVR, KWG and KFBK because Sacramento, Stockton and Modesto are separate radio markets. McClatchy had established a trio of bee mascots (originally designed by Walt Disney, whose namesake company would eventually acquire ABC) for its properties. Teevee the Bee was KOVR's official mascot during the years McClatchy owned the station—short cartoons of the bee bookended KOVR's broadcast day, either ushering in or concluding the day's programming. ()
After McClatchy sold the station to Outlet Communications in 1978, KOVR went into a gradual decline in terms of both ratings and programming quality (even as ABC became the country's highest-rated network), and has been in third place in the Sacramento ratings for most of the time since then. The station was then sold to Narragansett Television LP in 1986, then to Anchor Media in 1988. Anchor Media was merged into River City Broadcasting in 1993, and River City was purchased by the Sinclair Broadcast Group three years later.
KOVR does have its high-water marks in local broadcasting: it was the first station in Northern California to use videotape (rather than film) for its newscasts, and was the first station in the Sacramento/Stockton area to broadcast in stereo.
As an ABC affiliate, KOVR preempted a moderate amount of programming, even the 30-minute soap opera Loving. It also aired some ABC programming out of pattern: All My Children in the early years used to air at 11 a.m. (half of ABC's affiliates air AMC at 11 a.m. to follow it with their noon newscasts; the timeslot is secondary compared to airing AMC at noon traditionally). In the mid-1990s, KOVR moved the soap opera to air at 3 p.m., a practice continued by KXTV by the network switch until the early 2000s.
Switching to CBS
On March 6, 1995, KOVR swapped affiliations with longtime CBS affiliate KXTV (then owned by Belo Corporation; now owned by Gannett). Despite becoming a CBS affiliate, KOVR chose not to air Guiding Light, a practice continued from KXTV during its CBS days (due to the show's below-average ratings in the area). When the program left the air on September 18, 2009, it was one of only two CBS affiliates not carrying the show; the other, WNEM-TV in Bay City, Michigan (mid-Michigan area), aired it on a digital subchannel affiliated with MyNetworkTV. KOVR is the third station in Sacramento to affiliate with CBS, since KCCC aired it as a secondary affiliation in addition to ABC on the outset.
A more notable oddity with KOVR's affiliation with CBS is that the station runs the network's primetime schedule an hour earlier than typical. CBS programming that is seen from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. in other Pacific Time Zone markets (as well as many Eastern Time Zone markets) is shown from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. (typically used by stations in TV markets in both Central and Mountain time zones) instead on KOVR. When KOVR was an ABC affiliate, the station had an 11 p.m. newscast like most stations on the coasts. Upon the network switch, the station followed the practice of now-sister KPIX in having a 10 p.m. hour-long newscast (KPIX later on moved the newscast back up to 11 p.m. in 1998). In recent ratings periods KOVR has been battling Fox affiliate KTXL (channel 40) for the lead in the 10 p.m. news time slot, with KOVR leading in total households and KTXL leading in the key demographics.
In 2001, KOVR gained attention when it landed a "local exclusive" interview with Congressman Gary Condit regarding the Chandra Levy murder (Condit appeared the same evening on ABC, in an interview with Connie Chung). The station televised an interview on August 30 in which he claimed that he did not kill Chandra Levy after a visit with the slain intern. Despite numerous KOVR reports filed by reporter Gloria Gomez, the Condit interview was granted to another KOVR reporter, Jodi Hernandez. Much of the national interest in the case was lost days later, in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks.
In December 2004, Sinclair sold KOVR to Viacom's television stations unit (now part of CBS Corporation), creating CBS' third California duopoly with then-UPN O&O KMAX-TV, now the local CW station. Viacom was forced to sell KFRC-AM in San Francisco as a condition of the sale, as the station's city-grade signal reaches Sacramento. The sale closed on April 29, 2005.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|13.1||1080i||16:9||KOVR-DT||Main KOVR programming / CBS|
KOVR ended regular programming on its analog signal, on VHF channel 13, on June 12, 2009, as part of the DTV transition in the United States, and remained on its pre-transition digital channel 25  PSIP is used to display KOVR's virtual channel as 13.
After the purchase by CBS was announced, some, including station management, had speculated that KOVR would eventually move CBS's primetime lineup back to 8–11 p.m. and add Guiding Light to its schedule, along with dropping The Jerry Springer Show. It was assumed as an O&O, that KOVR would have to carry Guiding Light. However, on May 3, 2005, it was announced that programming would remain exactly the same for the Summer and that there would be no plans to add Guiding Light.
On August 11, 2005, CBS announced that the 7–10 p.m. prime-time lineup, the 10 p.m. local newscast and the 11 p.m. airing of the Late Show with David Letterman would remain in place. The success that the station has had with the early prime-time schedule and its 10 p.m. newscast is cited as the reason for maintaining the status quo. At that point, it also stated that Guiding Light would not be added to KOVR, at least for the 2005 season, but would now be available through online streaming. The logic was that a show that had been off in the market for over 14 years would not receive good ratings. Plus there were few requests for it. Another reason was that the amount of spots available during the show would not make it profitable for the station to run it. The station did, however, change its on-air branding from the long-standing "KOVR 13" to "CBS 13" in compliance with the CBS Mandate.
On July 31, 2006, the station received approval from the network to move the weekend lineup back an hour in order to maintain an hour-long 10 p.m. newscast throughout the week. The new weekend schedule, which began August 27, will, for example, have 60 Minutes airing at 6 p.m. on Sunday nights. KOVR is now the only Pacific Time Zone CBS station to run the entire network primetime lineup beginning at 7 p.m. At the time, it was also one of two TV stations in the Sacramento market and in the Pacific Time Zone to start their network primetime lineup early, as KQCA started airing its two-hour MyNetworkTV schedule from 7 to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, on September 5 that same year. KQCA has since moved its primetime lineup back to the 8 to 10 p.m. timeslot.
The Late Late Show (which had been airing at 1 a.m.) moved up one hour, pushing back the Midnight showing of The Jerry Springer Show to a later time (which was seen on the station weekdays at 3 p.m. until September 8, 2006). On September 11, 2006, NBC Universal's Jerry Springer was dropped and moved to KMAX-TV, where it ran until 2007, when it was picked up by KQCA, who now airs the show at Noon and 2 PM. KOVR became the market's new home of Dr. Phil (produced by CBS-owned KingWorld, now CBS Television Distribution)--this currently airs at 3 p.m. on weekdays. Guiding Light would also continue to not be run and Montel Williams continued to air at 2 p.m. weekdays. In July 2006, Maury Povich was dropped in favor of a 4 p.m. newscast on weekdays. That fall, the schedule basically remained the same as during the previous season. The station continued preempting Guiding Light for the 2007–2008 season.
In the fall of 2008, KOVR again declined to add Guilding Light, even though Montel Williams was canceled by co-owned CBS Television Distribution that September. The double run of Montel Williams was scaled back to air in reruns once a day at 9 a.m. weekdays. Its old 2 p.m. time slot would now be occupied by the Dr. Phil spin-off, The Doctors.
On April 1, 2009, it was announced that CBS was finally canceling Guiding Light altogether and its last airdate would be September 18. On August 3, it was announced a new version of Let's Make a Deal would replace the soap beginning on October 5, 2009. Between those dates, an additional hour of The Price Is Right would be run. On September 4, 2009, KOVR ran Frasier reruns for two weeks while Guiding Light aired its last two weeks of episodes. On September 21, Price Is Right's additional temporary hour ran from 9 to 10 a.m. Let's Make A Deal from CBS (seen in most of the country in the afternoon following The Talk) currently runs on KOVR at 9 a.m. on a delayed basis so as to run as part of a game show block with Price Is Right. So, in effect, KOVR currently runs the entire CBS schedule, although its prime-time schedule continues to run from 7–10 p.m.
Out-of-market cable coverage
|This section requires expansion. (June 2010)|
KOVR is available on cable in the northern parts of the Bay Area, mostly in Solano County. KOVR can also be seen in most of the Chico area.
|This section requires expansion. (November 2010)|
KOVR has long had a noon newscast. In 1965, it was just 15 minutes long, followed by "People, Places & Things" at 12:15 p.m. In the 1980s, KOVR aired the ABC soap opera All My Children at 11 a.m. (tape delay from the previous weekday) in order to free the noon slot for the newscast.
While under Sinclair ownership, KOVR had worked with a small-to-medium-sized news staff, which was unusual since Sacramento's dramatic growth during the 1980s had made it a top-20 market. It was also one of several Sinclair-owned stations that did not participate in the wider implementation of Sinclair's now-defunct, controversial News Central format. This centralized operation had national news segments, all weather forecasts, and some sports coverage based at company headquarters on Beaver Dam Road in Hunt Valley, Maryland that supplemented local content at most of Sinclair's in-house news departments. However, with CBS' purchase, the KOVR and KMAX-TV newsrooms have been combined at KOVR's West Sacramento location. On-air staff from KMAX-TV now also make appearances on KOVR and vice versa.
On February 1, 2006, KOVR debuted its new graphics along with new music, a new set, and a new main anchor team of Sam Shane (from MSNBC and KCRA) and Pallas Hupé (from Detroit Fox station WJBK). The evening newscast has instituted a three-anchor format. The program begins with Shane and Brinias anchoring the major news stories of the day, deferring to anchor/reporter Christina Anderson for World and National News stories. The unique three-anchor setup remained during weekend prime-time newscasts with rotating anchors. KOVR has been without a competitive sports department since the departure of John Henk in the late 1990s. Most KOVR on-air staff with the station during the Sinclair years have either been fired or have resigned. Dismissals of former lead anchors Paul Joncich and Jennifer Whitney were sudden and unannounced whereas Marcy Valenzuela and Jennifer Krier were allowed to say farewell to viewers on air. Remaining on-air staff include chief meteorologist Dave Bender and investigative reporter Kurtis Ming.
In October 2008, KOVR started broadcasting its newscasts in high-definition. Only the in-studio portions of its newscasts are in HD; however, for over a year and a half after KTXL upgraded to high-definition newscasts it was the only station in the Sacramento market that still relied on pillarboxed 4:3 standard-definition footage for its remote field reports. No plans were announced to make field cameras high-def at the time. In-studio sister station KMAX-TV also started producing their newscasts in high-definition in Summer 2009. The CBS 13 News at 10 won the 2010 Emmy Award for Best Evening Newscast and was the #1 rated late news in Sacramento for the May 2010 ratings period.
In September 2010, KOVR made a graphic change. The graphics mirrors that of many of its sister stations, including KCBS and nearby sister-station KPIX. However, unlike many of its O&Os, KOVR kept the branding logo, its current slogan, and the same music theme (used in their previous news open) for its news opens while the station identification is not shown in the news openings. KOVR has since begun using HD cameras for its field reports; however, much of the field footage is still downconverted to 16:9 widescreen standard definition in the control room. In the summer of 2011, KOVR switched to "The Enforcer" music package, the basic theme of which has been used on many of CBS's O&O stations since the mid-1970s.
On November 17, 2010, the websites for KOVR, KMAX and sister sports talk radio station KHTK (1140) were merged into the new CBSSacramento.com as part of CBS and CBS Radio merging many of their websites into geographic-region specific portals.
CBS13.com Rush Limbaugh controversy
In May 2007, KOVR revamped its morning news program with an emphasis on its website. The 5-6 a.m. newscast, called "CBS13.com", featured anchors Chris Burrous and Lisa Gonzales and weather personality Jeff James in a show centered around viewer feedback through the web, viral videos and news found on the Internet.
On May 7, 2009, CBS13.com reported on a song that conservative radio broadcaster Rush Limbaugh played heavily on his nationally-syndicated program called "Barack the Magic Negro" (to the tune of Puff the Magic Dragon) that spoofed the then-upcoming election of now-President Barack Obama. The song was a satire of an article called "Magic Negro Returns" that had appeared in the Los Angeles Times claiming that Mr. Obama was—in many people's minds—fulfilling a Hollywood film archetype the author called the "Magic Negro", who has only positive attributes and exists to improve the lives of the main protagonists, who are white. CBS13.com ran a poll asking people whether they thought the song was racist. Limbaugh, in turn, claimed KOVR was a part of the "liberal media" and called the Burrous–Gonzales–James team "morons". In newscasts throughout the day, KOVR covered Limbaugh's lash-out against the station, adding with a disclaimer after every story that KOVR never intended to couple Limbaugh with the parody song and admitting that the station found the song on YouTube.
- Newsreel (1954–1960)
- Bob Hilton and the News (1960–1961)
- The California Report (1961–1967)
- Television 13 News/TV-13 News (1967–1974)
- Action News 13 (1974–1980)
- NewsWatch 13 (1980–1987)
- KOVR 13 News (1987–2005)
- CBS 13 News (2005–present)
- Northern California's Full Color Station (1960s)
- Channel 13 Action News is Where the Action Is (1970s)
- 13 Belongs (1979–1981)
- Northern California's Fastest Growing News Service (mid 1980s-1987)
- All the News for Northern California (1989–1995)
- For All of Northern California (1995–2004, where the station switched to CBS)
- Asking Questions. Getting Answers. (2008–2012)
- Getting Answers (2013–present)
- CBS 13 News at 5:00 a.m. - 5:00-6:00 a.m.
- CBS 13 News at 6:00 a.m. - 6:00-7:00 a.m.
- CBS 13 News at Noon - 12:00-12:30 p.m.
- CBS 13 News at 4:00 - 4:00-5:00 p.m.
- CBS 13 News at 5:00 - 5:00-5:30 p.m.
- CBS 13 News at 6:00 - 6:00-6:30 p.m.
- CBS 13 News at 10:00 - 10:00-11:00 p.m.
- CBS 13 News at 5:00 - 5:00-5:30 p.m.
- CBS 13 News at 10:00 - 10:00-11:00 p.m.
(Year person joined KOVR in parentheses)
Current on-air staff
- Christina Anderson - weekdays at 4:00 and weeknights at 11:00 p.m. (KMAX); also weeknight national and world reporter at 5:00, 6:00 and 10:00 p.m. (2010)
- Audrey Asistio - weekday mornings (5:00-7:00 a.m.); weekdays at noon (2013)
- Shannon Brinias - weeknights at 5:00, 6:00 and 10:00 p.m. (2012)
- Ron Jones - weekday mornings (5:00-7:00 a.m.); weekdays at noon; and also reporter (2004)
- Tony Lopez - weekdays at 4:00 p.m.; also reporter (2005)
- Maria Medina - weekends at 5:00 and 10;00 p.m.; also reporter (2010)
- Sam Shane - weeknights at 5:00, 6:00 and 10:00 p.m. (2006)
- Dave Bender - Chief meteorologist; weekdays at 4:00 and weeknights at 5:00, 6:00, 10:00 and 11:00 p.m. (KMAX; 1996)
- Ian Schwartz - weather anchor; weekends at 5:00 and 10:00 p.m.; also reporter (2012)
- Laura Skirde (AMS Seal of Approval) - meteorologist; weekday mornings (5:00-7:00 on KOVR and 7:00-10:00 a.m. on KMAX) and weekdays at noon (2009)
- Laura Cole - general assignment reporter (2007)
- Anjali Hemphill - general assignment reporter (2012)
- Nick Janes - general assignment reporter (2008)
- Steve Large - general assignment reporter
- Andrea Menniti - general assignment reporter (2007)
- Kurtis Ming - consumer investigator (2003)
- Derek Shore - general assignment reporter (2010)
Notable former on-air staff
- Stan Atkinson - anchor (1994-1999 previously an anchor at KCRA, now retired running local ads)
- David Begnaud- Reporter (2007–2010, now Reporter at KTLA in Los Angeles)
- Claudia Cowan - anchor/reporter (later moved to KRON in San Francisco, now reporter for Fox News)
- Jonathan Elias - investigative reporter (1991–1993, now anchor/reporter at WBZ-TV in Boston)
- Dan Gray - anchor (1980s-90s, now at KPLR in St. Louis)
- Kristine Hanson - meteorologist (2004–2005; now freelancing at KGO in San Francisco and KTXL in Sacramento)
- Lois Hart - anchor (as recently at KCRA, now retired)
- Bob Hilton - anchor
- Brandi Hitt-anchor/reporter (2005-2010,now with ABC News)
- Pallas Hupe - anchor (2006–2011, left due to her husband's new opportunity in New Zealand and spending time with her two boys)
- Cristina Mendonsa (now evening anchor at KXTV)
- Kris Pickel - anchor (Now at WKYC in Cleveland)
- Steve Somers (now at sports radio station WFAN in New York City)
- Dave Walker - anchor (later went to CNN and KCRA, now retired)
- Jim Wieder - reporter/anchor (1989-2005) (retired from anchoring in 2006)
Logos and imagery
From 1974 to around 1978, KOVR-TV's logo for Action News 13 consisted of a middle-sized word saying "Action", and a larger word saying "News", with a split arrow pointing to the right and KOVR's old logo in the middle. From 1978 to the early 1980s, a new logo for Action News was used, consisting of the Action News text in lowercase letters. The word "action" was colored yellow with a slightly larger O in the word and the "13" logo inside it, with the word "news" colored orange and placed directly below "action". In the 1980s, KOVR used a new logo for NewsWatch 13, which had the italicized word "News" and the stylized "13" next to it, with the word "Watch" below.
- CBSSacramento.com - Official Website
- Query the FCC's TV station database for KOVR
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on KOVR-TV