Ozarks Local News (newscasts)
|Channels||Digital: 28 (UHF)
Virtual: 27 (PSIP)
|Owner||Nexstar Broadcasting Group
(Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc.)
|First air date||1968[when?]|
|Call letters' meaning||OZarks Local|
|Former callsigns||KMTC (1968-1985)
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
27 (UHF, 1968-2009)
|Former affiliations||ABC (1968-1986)
|Transmitter power||1,000 kW|
KOZL-TV is an independent television station serving the Ozark Plateau area of Southwestern Missouri and Northwestern Arkansas that is licensed to Springfield. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 28 from a transmitter on Switchgrass Road north of Fordland. Owned by the Nexstar Broadcasting Group, the station operates CBS affiliate KOLR (that is owned by Mission Broadcasting) through a local marketing agreement (LMA). The two share studios on East Division Street in Springfield. Syndicated programming on KOZL includes: Everybody Loves Raymond, Two and a Half Men, The Simpsons, House M.D. and Seinfeld. Prior to becoming an independent station, it served as the Fox affiliate for the market from the network's 1986 launch until August 31, 2011.
The station first signed-on in 1968 as ABC affiliate KMTC, owned by Meyer Communications. Before then, ABC had been limited to off-hours clearances on KYTV and KTTS-TV (now KOLR). Although Springfield had been big enough since the 1950s to support three full network affiliates, prospective station owners were skeptical about setting up shop on a UHF station in a market that stretched across a large and mostly mountainous swath of Missouri and Arkansas.
In 1985, Woods Communications bought Channel 27 and changed the calls to KDEB-TV after the daughter of the company president. However, the station saw no change in its fortunes. In 1986, ABC dropped its affiliation with KDEB and moved it to three-year old KSPR. KDEB opted to affiliate with the fledgling Fox network.
On November 30, 2001, KDEB's 1,560-foot (480 m) high broadcast tower shared with KTXR-FM 101.3 collapsed on itself due to overnight ice accumulation which resulted in the transmitter being destroyed. A replacement was installed on the tower used by KOLR and KSPR. It had been sold to American Tower Corporation who also owns the current tower. In 2002, it became sister station to CBS affiliate KOLR. It changed its call sign to KSFX-TV in 2005. Also that year, news returned to the station in the form of a newscast produced by KOLR.
The station was one of many Fox affiliates that planned to decline O. J. Simpson's two-night interview special with Judith Regan on November 27 and 29, 2006 called If I Did It. Station management cited overwhelmingly negative viewer feedback as the reason for pre-emption. KSFX was preparing to air past Christmas episodes of The Simpsons instead on both nights within the time slots; however, Fox would cancel the special nationally before it aired.
Fox announced on June 20, 2011 that it would end its affiliation with KSFX and sister station WFFT-TV in Fort Wayne, Indiana; its Springfield affiliation moved to MyNetworkTV affiliate KRBK on September 1, while KSFX became an independent station. Nexstar had earlier lost the Fox affiliation for WTVW in Evansville, Indiana following a dispute with the network over retransmission consent fees, and Nexstar subsequently decided to drop the Fox affiliation from its Terre Haute, Indiana affiliate (WFXW), which became an ABC affiliate under the new callsign WAWV-TV. The last Fox program to air on KSFX was Buried Treasure on August 31, 2011, which ended at 9 p.m. CDT. All Fox programming moved to KRBK when that program ended.
As a result of the loss of the Fox affiliation, KSFX changed its callsign to KOZL-TV (not to be confused with KOZK, the local PBS member station) and began using the on-air branding "Ozarks Local". In lieu of Fox network programming, KOZL will broadcast the newsmagazines Inside Edition and The Insider, along with the sitcoms My Name is Earl and Everybody Loves Raymond on weeknights, along with family movies on Sunday nights. Along with the programming changes, KOZL will broadcast college basketball games from the Southeastern Conference with Wednesday night games during the winter and double-header games airing on Saturday afternoons; games from the first two rounds of the SEC Tournament will also be included.
As of September 10, 2012, KOZL was rebranded 'Z-27' (not to be confused with C-27 its former 80s branding). The logo and branding is similar to sister stations WCIX in Springfield, Illinois and KARZ-TV in Little Rock, Arkansas.
With sister stations WTVW in Evansville, IN joining The CW at the end of January 2013 and WFFT in Fort Wayne, IN rejoining FOX at the beginning of March 2013, KOZL is the only station owned by Nexstar affected by the 2011 Nexstar-Fox dispute to remain an independent station.
Newscasts and other local programming
When KSFX became an independent on September 1, 2011 and became KOZL, it expanded its locally-produced programming; the morning newscast expanded to two hours from 7-9 a.m, and has since been cut back to 7-8 am. On September 4, KOZL debuted a half-hour 6 p.m. newscast on Sundays, the only newscast in the market at that timeslot; then on September 6, KOZL debuted an hour-long weekday 4 p.m. news/lifestyle program. This program has subsequently moved to KOLR.
In addition, KOZL also broadcasts half-hour sports wrap-up programs on weekend evenings after the 9 p.m. newscast, both under the Ozarks Sports banner in September, along with a local business program, Ozarks Local Business Journal on Sunday evenings after the 6 p.m. newscast.
- KMTC News (1968-1974)
- NewsWatch 27 (1974-1980)
- C-27 News (1980-1986)
- The Ten O'Clock News (1986-1995)
- FOX 27 News (1995-2005)
- KSFX News (2005–August 2011)
- Ozarks Local: The Morning Rush (morning newscast; September 2011–August 2012)
- KOLR 10 News This Morning on KOZL(August 2012 - present)
- KOLR 10 News at Nine ON Z (September 2011-present)
- Z-27 (September 2012-present; Non-News On-Air Branding)
- "The Ozarks Primetime News" (2005–2008; news slogan)
- "Just You Watch Ozarks Fox" (2005–2011; general slogan)
- "The Ozarks Only Mid-Morning News" (2008–2011; morning news slogan)
- "The Ozarks Only Primetime Newscast" (2008–2011; 9 p.m. news slogan)
- "The Ozarks Fox News Channel in High Definition" (2011)
- Lindsay Clein - weekends at 9 p.m.; also reporter
- Rob Evans - weekday mornings (7-8 a.m.)
- Shannon Miller - weekday mornings (7-8 a.m.)
- Jaime Warriner (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval) - chief meteorologist, and weeknights at 9 p.m.
- Chris Smith - meteorologist; weekday mornings (7-8 a.m.)
- Nick Carboni - sports director; Wednesday-Sundays at 9 p.m.; host of Ozarks Sports Saturday and Ozarks Sports Sunday
- Dan Lucy - sports anchor; Mondays and Tuesdays at 9 p.m., also Wednesday-Friday fill-in
- Justin Dougherty - special projects journalist
- Kevin Schwaller - general assignment reporter
- April Hansen - general assignment reporter
- "Fox Moves Afills In Springfield, Ft. Wayne". TVNewsCheck. June 20, 2011. Retrieved June 20, 2011.
- "Changes Coming to KSFX in September". OzarksFirst.com. June 20, 2011. Retrieved June 20, 2011.[dead link]
- Schisler, Monte (June 20, 2011). "Local Fox TV Affiliate To Change". Hometown Daily News. Retrieved June 21, 2011.
- Jessell, Harry A. (June 28, 2011). "Nexstar Drops Fox For ABC In Terre Haute". TVNewsCheck. Retrieved June 28, 2011.
- KSFX Becomes KOZL "Ozarks Local" on September 1
- KOZL Press Release
- KSFX News at Nine Open
- Our Staff
- Official website
- Query the FCC's TV station database for KOZL
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on KOZL-TV