|St. Louis, Missouri|
|Branding||KPLR 11 (general)
News 11 (newscasts)
|Slogan||The "Ones" To Watch (general)
The "Ones" For News (news)
|Channels||Digital: 26 (UHF)
Virtual: 11 (PSIP)
This TV (DT2)
(operated under an
LMA by Local TV, LLC)
|First air date||April 28, 1959|
|Call letters' meaning||Harold KoPLaR
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
11 (VHF, 1959-2009)
The WB (1995-2006)
|Transmitter power||1000 kW|
KPLR-TV, virtual channel 11 (UHF digital channel 26), is a CW-affiliated television station in St. Louis, Missouri, United States. The station is owned by the Tribune Broadcasting subsidiary of the Tribune Company, KPLR is operated by Local TV through a local marketing agreement with Fox affiliate KTVI (channel 2). The two stations share studios in the northwestern St. Louis County community of Maryland Heights (though with a St. Louis city address), and KPLR's transmitter is located in Lemay.
- 1 History
- 2 Digital television
- 3 Local programming
- 4 References
- 5 External links
As an independent station
KPLR-TV commenced broadcasting on April 28, 1959, as the first independent station in Missouri. The station's call letters were derived from the name of its founding owner, St. Louis real estate developer and hotelier Harold Koplar. Despite losing in his quest to build the station from the ground up, Koplar acquired the station's license in 1958 through controversial circumstances.
CBS was originally granted a construction permit by the Federal Communications Commission to build channel 11 in January 1957, prevailing over three other locally-based competitors. But eight months later, CBS decided instead to purchase its existing St. Louis affiliate, KWK-TV (channel 4). As a condition of the channel 4 purchase, the FCC required CBS to relinquish the channel 11 license and construction permit. CBS did so by transferring it to the Koplar group, known as "220 Television, Incorporated", for no financial consideration. Almost immediately, the three-way deal was held up after the St. Louis Amusement Company, one of the original applicants for channel 11, protested to the United States Court of Appeals in January 1958. The U.S. Supreme Court ultimately upheld the decision in November 1958, but CBS had already consummated its deal for channel 4 several months earlier, renaming the station KMOX-TV – the call letters intended for channel 11 – and operating it for 28 years (it is now Belo Corporation-owned KMOV). Meanwhile, Koplar went to work building channel 11 on its own, no longer in the face of opposition.
KPLR originally operated from studios within the Koplar-owned Chase Park Plaza Hotel, located on Maryland Plaza in St. Louis' Central West End district. Channel 11 would move into a separate facility adjacent to the hotel several years later. Starting in the mid-1960s, Harold's son Edward J. "Ted" Koplar began working behind the scenes at KPLR, producing sports programming and developing the station's first regular local newscast. Ted Koplar became president and chief executive officer of channel 11 in 1979, and gained complete control of the station upon his father's death in 1985.
For most of its existence, KPLR was a traditional independent station featuring cartoons, sitcoms, movies, drama series and locally-produced newscasts. The station was also available on many cable systems in Missouri, Illinois and Arkansas as a regional superstation until the late 1980s. Locally, channel 11's first and only competitor came in 1969, when Evans Broadcasting launched KDNL-TV (channel 30). KPLR turned down an offer to affiliate with the upstart Fox network in 1986, instead choosing to remain an independent station; the Fox affiliation for the market instead went to KDNL, when that network launched in October of that year.
On January 11, 1995, KPLR became a network affiliate for the first time when it became a charter station of The WB Television Network. Around the same time, the station also was offered the ABC affiliation after that network's longtime St. Louis affiliate, KTVI (channel 2) switched to Fox as part of a groupwide affiliation agreement with New World Communications (which was in the process of acquiring the station from Argyle Television at the time). Channel 11 turned down the ABC affiliation, effectively sending the network's programming to outgoing Fox affiliate KDNL on August 7, 1995.
Koplar Communications sold KPLR to ACME Communications in 1997, ending 38 years of local, family ownership. In the sale agreement, Ted Koplar signed a three-year contract to stay with KPLR-TV as its chief executive officer, along with serving as a consultant to ACME. However, Koplar resigned after one year, citing an irreconcilable rift. For many years, even after joining The WB, KPLR was known on-air as "St. Louis 11", often using a logo with the "O" in "St. Louis" (which had a resemblance to the Gateway Arch) converted into its "circle 11" numeric logo; KPLR changed its branding to "WB11" in 1998. In 1999, KPLR began a secondary affiliation with UPN, running select primetime shows and cartoons from the network's children's program block, Disney's One Too. UPN programming had previously run on KDNL during overnight and weekend timeslots, as St. Louis was one of the few top-50 television markets that did not have a full-time UPN affiliate, though that situation changed when WRBU (channel 46) dropped Home Shopping Network programming to join UPN in September 2002.
In March 2003, ACME Communications sold KPLR-TV and its Portland, Oregon sister station KWBP to Tribune Broadcasting. That same year, KPLR relocated its operations out of the Chase Park Plaza (which by that time, went from a gutted complex that the station served as its only major tenant into a boutique hotel) and into a new purpose-built facility in Maryland Heights with a new newsroom and studio.
CW affiliation and LMA with KTVI
On January 24, 2006, Time Warner announced that the company would merge the operations of The WB with CBS Corporation's UPN (which CBS acquired one month earlier in December 2005 following its split from Viacom), to form a joint venture called The CW Television Network. The network signed a ten-year affiliation agreement with Tribune Broadcasting for 16 of the 19 WB affiliates that the company owned at the time, including KPLR. Nearly one month later on February 22, News Corporation announced a new competing network, MyNetworkTV, which would be run by its Fox Television Stations and Twentieth Television units. The affiliation switch took place on September 18, 2006, the day after The WB ended operations; MyNetworkTV ended up affiliating with former UPN affiliate WRBU (owned by Roberts Broadcasting).
On September 17, 2008, Tribune Company announced that it would enter KPLR into a local marketing agreement with Fox affiliate KTVI effective on October 1, 2008, as a result of the formation of a "broadcast management company" that was created to provide management services to stations owned by both Tribune Broadcasting and KTVI owner Local TV. Although KTVI was the senior partner in the deal, it vacated its longtime studios in the Clayton-Tamm/Dogtown neighborhood on St. Louis' west side and moved its operations to KPLR's Maryland Heights facility. The move resulted in both stations combining their news departments and sharing certain syndicated programs.
On November 1, 2008, the station changed its on-air branding from "CW11" to "KPLR 11" as several CW affiliates owned by Tribune began shifting away from using references to The CW within their station branding, and reincorporated the Gateway Arch into its logo that is essentially a revision of the logo that KPLR used during its WB affiliation following the Tribune purchase. On December 23, 2011, KPLR/KTVI launched a news bureau in downtown St. Louis overlooking Market Street in the newly renovated Peabody Opera House to better serve the downtown section and the eastern portion of the St. Louis metropolitan area.
There have long been rumors that ABC has considered moving its affiliation to KPLR, in part because KDNL-TV has been one of the network's weakest affiliates since joining the network in 1995 (in stark contrast to KTVI's former status as one of ABC's strongest affiliates). However on March 26, 2010, KDNL owner Sinclair Broadcast Group extended its affiliation agreement with ABC to retain the network's affiliation on KDNL and the eight other ABC affiliates that Sinclair owned at the time for five years through August 2015.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|11.1||1080i||16:9||CW11-DT||Main KPLR-TV programming / The CW|
On May 31, 2006, KPLR added The Tube Music Network to digital subchannel 11.2; The Tube later abruptly suspended its operations on October 1, 2007. In 2010, the 11.2 subchannel became an affiliate of This TV.
KPLR-TV shut down 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 remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 26. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analog channel 11.
KPLR presently broadcasts 17 hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with three hours on weekdays and one hour each on Saturdays and Sundays); in addition, the station broadcasts a public affairs program on Saturday evenings called The Pulse of St. Louis, which is integrated into the 7 p.m. newscast and runs during the final 45 minutes of the program, and a weekly sports highlight program on Sunday evenings called Sunday Sports Extra, which also airs during the 7 p.m. newscast.
Channel 11 has aired local newscasts since its sign-on, and was one of the first independent stations in the country to have a functioning news department. Like most stations that are not affiliated with one of the Big Three networks, KPLR had traditionally aired a primetime newscast at 9 p.m. that ran one hour ahead of the late newscasts seen on the major network affiliates; for much of the time prior to 2008, KPLR's 9 p.m. newscast ran as a half-hour program. After KTVI moved its late evening newscast to 9 p.m. following its 1995 affiliation switch to Fox, that station's primetime newscast had consistently beaten KPLR's in the ratings.
KPLR has attempted in the past to format its newscasts to attract a younger audience, employing anchors under the age of 35 and featuring a more fast-paced reporting style. However, in a market where most television personalities have been around for several years and the perennial ratings winner, KSDK, does not have a main presenter who has been with the station less than ten years, this has for the most part caused channel 11 to struggle in the ratings, in addition to what viewers perceived as a "soft" approach to news. Nevertheless, KPLR has often been pointed out by St. Louis Post-Dispatch television critics as a station strong on "sweeps stories", in which the station will runs one or more major investigative pieces during the November, January and May sweeps periods. KPLR's stories have also been seen as much more broad-based and less sensationalistic compared to other stations.
After entering into the local marketing agreement with KTVI, major changes were made to KPLR's news programming. First on September 8, 2008, KPLR shifted the flagship 9 p.m. newscast to 7 p.m. and expanded the program to one hour, trading timeslots with the CW's primetime programming schedule, which moved to 8-10 p.m. (instead of the network-recommended 7-9 p.m. slot for the network's Central Time Zone affiliates); this effectively resulted in the newscast being reduced to airing only on Monday through Friday evenings in part due to The CW airing a three-hour primetime lineup on Sunday evenings at the time (although The CW turned Sunday primetime slots over to the network's affiliates in September 2009, the 7 p.m. newscast would not expand to weekend evenings until September 2012). The station cited an underserved younger audience in the 9 p.m. timeslot with the Big Three stations airing network programming meant for older viewers and competition from KTVI's 9 p.m. newscast as reasons behind the move, and KPLR management was given permission from the network itself before going forward with the change.
In December 2008, KPLR began broadcasting its news programs from a temporary set in KTVI's Hampton studios as the Maryland Heights facility underwent remodeling to accommodate both KPLR and KTVI's newscasts. On February 16, 2009, KPLR became the fourth St. Louis television station to broadcast its local newscasts in high definition (one day after sister station KTVI converted its newscasts to HD), broadcasting from a newly remodeled studio (which contained pieces from the KTVI's former "Studio B" set, along with a modernized news desk and a state-of-the-art weather center) that is located adjacent to the main news set now occupied by KTVI. As KPLR's news department merged with that of KTVI's, there is a considerable amount of sharing between both stations in regards to news coverage, video footage and the use of reporters; though both outlets maintain their own primary on-air personalities (such as news and sports anchors) that only appear on one station. KPLR's newscasts made their first expansion into daytime on April 6, 2009, when KPLR debuted an hour-long midday newscast at noon on weekdays. This was followed on September 20, 2010 with the debut of an hour-long weekday afternoon newscast at 4 p.m.
- KPLR-TV News (1959–1966)
- Channel 11 News (1966–1972)
- KPLR-TV NewsWatch (1972–1977)
- NewsWatch 11 (1977–1989)
- St. Louis 11 News (1989–1998)
- 11 News (1998-2000)
- WB 11 News (2000–2006)
- CW 11 News (2006–2008)
- News 11 (2008–present)
- "The Ones to Watch" (1977–1990 and 2009–present)
- "Your Movie Station" (late 1980s–1990)
- "Count On Us" (1990–1997)
- "It's About Time" (1998–2006)
- "Where People Are the Story" (2006–2008)
- "First, Complete, Local" (news slogan; 2008–2012)
- "The Ones For News" (news slogan; 2009–present)
+ denotes personnel seen exclusively on KPLR-TV
- Dan Gray - weeknights at 7:00 p.m.
- Melanie Moon - weeknights at 7:00 p.m.
- April Simpson - weekdays at 4:00 p.m.
- Christine Buck - weekdays at noon; also 4:00 p.m. reporter
- Shirley Washington - Saturdays at 7:00 p.m.; also host of The Pulse of St. Louis
- Michelle Anselmo - news and meteorologist Sundays at 7:00 p.m.
- John Fuller - (AMS Seal of Approval; weekdays at noon and 4:00 and weeknights at 7:00 p.m.
- Chris Higgins - (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval; Saturdays at 7:00 p.m.
- Rich Gould - weekdays at 4:00 and weeknights at 7:00 p.m., also host of Sunday Sports Extra
- Kurt LaBelle - Saturdays at 7:00 p.m., also sports and general assignment news reporter
- Jeff Bernthal - general assignment reporter
- Patrick Clark - feature reporter
- Kelley Hoskins - web reporter
- Kim Hudson - multimedia journalist
- Charles Jaco - political and war correspondent
- Anthony Kiekow - general assignment reporter
- Rebecca Roberts - general assignment reporter
- Shawndrea Thomas - multimedia journalist
Notable former on-air staff
- Julie Piekarski - entertainment reporter (1986-1988)
KPLR-TV has served as the home broadcaster of the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team (for two stints from 1959–1962 and 1988–2006), the NBA's St. Louis Hawks (1959–1968) and the NHL's St. Louis Blues (for three stints from 1967–1976, 1982–1983 and 1986–2009). The last Blues telecast on KPLR aired on April 21, 2009, a 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs loss to the Vancouver Canucks.
Beginning on May 23, 1959, channel 11 broadcast Wrestling at the Chase, a professional wrestling program produced first from Chase-Park Plaza's Khorassan Ballroom (until 1970). The show featured the most famous wrestlers in the National Wrestling Alliance, which was controlled in part by St. Louis promoter Sam Muchnick. Participants included Ric Flair, Harley Race, former NFL player Dick the Bruiser and Ted DiBiase, and is considered one of the pro-wrestling industry's most historic programs. About 1,100 episodes were produced during the show's run, which ended on September 10, 1983.
KPLR aired and produced Captain 11's Showboat, an after-school program for children, that introduced The Three Stooges to St. Louis area television viewers, from 1959 to 1968. Captain 11 was played by long-time radio personality Harry Fender. Ted Koplar also diversified the Koplar family's entertainment holdings during his time at the helm of KPLR. This was most notably achieved through World Events Productions, which distributed the animated series Voltron: Defender of the Universe and Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs, and later developed and co-produced another, Denver, the Last Dinosaur.
Other locally-produced programming
From April 9, 2006 to September 7, 2008, KPLR produced The Fan Show, a live sports talk program that was hosted by sports director Rich Gould, featuring audience-participation games and discussion. It was originally broadcast from The Casino Queen's Club Sevens for the first 20 months of its run, before the program relocated to AJ's Bar and Grill in December 2007.
- "Pressed into service." Broadcasting, May 18, 1959, pg. 80. 
- "FCC acts to clear key market V's." Broadcasting - Telecasting, January 21, 1957, pp. 35-37. 
- "St. Louis handshake." Broadcasting - Telecasting, September 9, 1957, pg. 5. 
- "New alignment set for St. Louis TV." Broadcasting - Telecasting, October 28, 1957, pg. 73. 
- "Court blocks TV sale." The New York Times, Jan. 3, 1958, p. 44.
- "Court issues temporary stay in St. Louis ch. 11 situation." Broadcasting - Telecasting, January 6, 1958, pg. 74. 
- "St. Louis TV appeal blocked by court." The New York Times, Nov. 18, 1958, p. 34.
- "Supreme Court refuses plea to upset St. Louis TV grant." Broadcasting - Telecasting, November 24, 1958, pg. 79. 
- "CBS-TV takes over KWK-TV." Broadcasting - Telecasting, March 3, 1958, pg. 10. 
- Koplar seeks $4 million from Acme, St. Louis Business Journal, October 17, 1999.
- '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.
- Tribune TV Stations to Lead Affiliate Group of New Network, Tribune Company corporate website, January 24, 2006.
- News Corp. Unveils MyNetworkTV, Broadcasting & Cable, February 22, 2006.
- Denver, St. Louis To Get Fox-CW Duops, TVNewsCheck, September 16, 2008.
- http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118016982.html?categoryid=14&cs=1 Sinclair reups with ABC], Variety, March 26, 2010.
- RabbitEars TV Query for KPLR
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24.
- CDBS Print
- CW's KPLR-TV Changes Times, Expands News, Advertising Week, August 25, 2008.
- Off the LA freeway, Patrick Clark is back home at Ch. 11, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, September 3, 2010.
- KPLR11.com - Official KPLR-TV website
- StLouis.ThisTV.com - Official This TV St. Louis website
- Query the FCC's TV station database for KPLR
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on KPLR-TV