|Branding||KPRC Local 2 (general)
Local 2 News (newscasts)
|Slogan||Proud to Cover Houston|
|Channels||Digital: 35 (UHF)
Virtual: 2 (PSIP)
This TV (on DT2)
|Owner||Post-Newsweek Stations, Inc.
(Post-Newsweek Stations, Houston, Inc.)
|First air date||January 1, 1949|
|Call letters' meaning||Kotton Port Rail Center
(from former radio sister)
|Former callsigns||KLEE-TV (1949–1950)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
2 (VHF, 1949–2009)
|Former affiliations||All secondary:
DuMont (1949–1955) 
|Transmitter power||1000 kW|
KPRC-TV is the NBC-affiliated television station in Houston, in the U.S. state of Texas. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 35 (virtual channel 2.1 via PSIP) from a transmitter in unincorporated northeastern Fort Bend County (near Missouri City). Owned by The Washington Post Company subsidiary Post-Newsweek Stations, KPRC maintains studios in the Sharpstown district on the city's southwest side.
Prior to the digital transition, KPRC was the only Houston station on the VHF dial that did not air on a cable channel matching the over-the-air analog channel, due to interference from the low-band VHF terrestrial signal; it was placed on Comcast cable 12 instead. Other cable systems on the outer edges of the Houston media market carried KPRC on cable channel 2. It is also available on cable in Lufkin-Nacogdoches, Victoria and Bryan-College Station.
- 1 History
- 2 Digital television
- 3 Programming
- 4 Newscasts
- 5 Station notoriety
- 6 References
- 7 External links
The station first signed on the air on January 1, 1949 as KLEE-TV, and was originally owned by hotelier W. Albert Lee. It was the first television station in Houston. Lee never did reasonably well with his station, and on June 1, 1950, he sold it to the Hobby family, owners of the Houston Post and Houston's oldest radio station, KPRC (AM 950 and FM 99.7, now KODA at 99.1). The television station's call letters were changed to match its radio sisters on July 3, 1950.
KPRC-TV has been an NBC affiliate from the very first day due to KPRC radio's longstanding affiliation with NBC Radio. Due to the Federal Communications Commission's VHF freeze, channel 2 remained the only Houston television station for four more years, and carried secondary affiliations with CBS, ABC and DuMont until KGUL-TV (now KHOU) and KXYZ (now KTRK-TV) signed on and respectively took over CBS and ABC full-time. The DuMont network ended operations in 1956, though it had carriage on UHF station KNUZ-TV (now KIAH's frequency) for a while. Because of its affiliation with NBC, KPRC was the first station in Houston to broadcast the first color television program in the market and was subsequently the first to broadcast its programming entirely in color.
The station originated from studios on Post Oak Road near what would later become the Galleria shopping complex in Uptown Houston. KPRC was the first station in Houston with weather radar, videotape for field reporting, the first TV station with a fully staffed Austin news bureau, and the first TV station in Houston to hire female and African-American reporters. The station became the source of controversy thanks to some British TV viewers who claimed to receive its signal on September 14, 1953, three years after the original signal was transmitted. However, this was actually a hoax.
From 1969 to 1998, KPRC produced the longest-running syndicated television program in Texas, The Eyes of Texas, which focused on lifestyle segments relating to Texas culture and life (the program continues to air locally on PBS member station KUHT). KPRC was also one of the first stations to air telethons, raising $28,000 for the American Cancer Society in 1950. It has carried the MDA Labor Day Telethon, sponsored by the Muscular Dystrophy Association, every Labor Day since 1970.
In March 1972, KPRC-TV moved into new state-of-the-art studios on the Southwest Freeway in Houston's Sharpstown neighborhood, where its operations remain to this day. The three studios located within the building are suspended from the ground to reduce vibration.
In 1983, the Houston Post was sold to MediaNews Group, while the Hobby broadcast holdings were reorganized as H&C Communications, with KPRC-AM-TV remaining as the flagship stations. After 40 years of ownership by the Hobby family, KPRC was sold to The Washington Post Company in April 1994 (the Houston Post was bought by Hearst and absorbed into its Houston Chronicle, with the last edition printed in April 1995). Since 2004, KPRC has been branded "Local 2."
The station's digital signal, UHF channel 35, is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|2.1||1080i||16:9||KPRC-HD||main KPRC-TV programming / NBC|
On June 12, 2009, the federally mandated date for American television stations to cease analog transmissions across the country, KPRC-TV ceased broadcasting programming on analog VHF channel 2, and began temporary operations as a "nightlight" service until July 12, 2009. Its digital signal remained on UHF channel 35. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as "2.1" to correspond with its former analog channel.
On June 12, 2009, tropospheric ducting resulted in the KPRC digital signal on UHF channel 35 being receivable as far away as Alexandria, Louisiana, where KPRC virtual channel 2.1 was seen instead of KALB-TV virtual channel 5.1 on digital receivers (both channels broadcast their digital signals on UHF channel 35).
In addition to clearing most of NBC's programming schedule, KPRC-TV broadcasts mostly syndicated programming during the daytime hours such as The Dr. Oz Show, Extra, Entertainment Tonight, The Jeff Probst Show and The Ricki Lake Show.
Beginning in 1965, the American Football League signed a broadcast deal with NBC for airing of the league's games. KPRC became the primary station for the Houston Oilers, one of the league's eight founding teams. This continued after the AFL became the American Football Conference of the National Football League, but Oilers broadcasts ended after the 1996 season, as the team relocated to Nashville and became the Tennessee Titans. During the team's twilight years in Houston, the Oilers failed to sell out many home games, which were subject to in-market television blackouts.
KPRC had been notorious in recent years for its share of preemptions. When the soap opera Passions debuted on NBC in 1999, KPRC (along with Detroit sister station WDIV-TV) were the only NBC affiliates that preempted the show until 2002; both stations had also previously preempted Sunset Beach (though UPN stations in both cities carried the soap opera). Maury aired in place of Passions, until it moved to KHWB after KPRC cleared the latter show in its normal network timeslot. Initially, it aired for a short time on KNWS-TV in 2001, before moving to KPRC the following year airing at 3 a.m. While NBC has become more tolerant of preemptions than in past years, it prefers that its affiliates clear the whole schedule if possible. As a result, KPRC placed Passions in its normal 2 p.m. timeslot in August 2004; however, this matter became moot when the program ended in September 2007.
Late Night with Conan O'Brien also did not air in Houston from 1994 to 1996, with KPRC instead opting to air reruns of The Jenny Jones Show in its place. However, Late Night did return to KPRC in 1996, although it was subject to delayed scheduling in later years with to air various programs such as Ricki Lake at 11:35 p.m., followed by Access Hollywood, a repeat of the 10 p.m. news and Jenny Jones, which delayed Late Night to 2:40 a.m. This fact was not lost on O'Brien, who visited Houston (including the main bus terminal) to watch an episode of his own show with Houstonians in a classic skit; KPRC's mail servers were flooded with emails in response. KPRC moved the show to 12:35 a.m. in 1998, and finally to its network-recommended slot in 2005. Late Night, now hosted by Jimmy Fallon, continues to air in the 11:35 p.m. slot; however, the station still delays Last Call with Carson Daly until 2:05, showing infomercials in the show's network timeslot of 12:35 a.m. KPRC was among a handful of NBC affiliates that did not air Poker After Dark during its entire run, and likewise did not carry the short-lived Face the Ace in August 2009 (along with WDIV and Milwaukee's WTMJ-TV), pre-empting both primetime airings with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital programming. As of January 2013, NBC's current overnight lineups (a rebroadcast of the fourth hour of Today and Mad Money on weekdays; LXTV 1st Look and Open House NYC on weekends) does not air in Houston (as with sister station WDIV).
KPRC was also known for motorsport pre-emptions: in 2001, the a contract with the Miss Texas Scholarship Pageant which was non-pre-emptable resulted in the pre-emption of the Firecracker 400, then televised on NBC under an alternating basis with Fox (Fox and NBC alternated the Daytona 500 and Firecracker 400). In 2013, KPRC aired infomercials and local news, pre-empting the 6:30 AM coverage of the 2013 Monaco Grand Prix, which marked the NBC broadcast network's F1 debut.
2007 NFL season opener
In September 2007, the first half-hour of the NFL Kickoff game between the New Orleans Saints and the Indianapolis Colts was shown on KPRC with default audio in Spanish rather than English. KPRC inadvertently aired the secondary audio program provided by Telemundo (also owned by NBC parent company NBCUniversal).
In its early years under the direction of news director Ray Miller, KPRC was commonly placed first in the local news ratings. This was not surprising given its roots in the Post. In 1972, the station acquired two key personalities from KHOU for its evening newscasts: anchorman Ron Stone and sportscaster Ron Franklin. From 1985 to 1992, the station's newscasts were known as Channel Two News, and broadcast round-the-clock updates throughout the day, including during NBC primetime programs. For several years during the early 1990s, the updates were also aired during the overnight hours with producers and other newsroom personnel anchoring.
With anchors such as Ron Stone, Bill Balleza, Jan Carson, Linda Lorelle, Dan O'Rourke, Bob Nicholas, weatherman Doug Johnson and sports anchors Ron Franklin and Craig Roberts, the station's newscasts – while usually in second place behind long-dominant KTRK – often competed for and even placed first at times. In 1994, when Post-Newsweek Stations bought KPRC, the newscasts were retitled News 2 Houston. Three years later, KPRC constructed a new set using the newsroom as a backdrop that was similar to the set used by Miami's WSVN. This set was referred to as the "News Center" and was used on-air until 2006, though the physical newsroom still exists in the same area. After this point, KPRC won more awards and competed with KHOU and KTRK in the ratings, even occasionally beating KTRK at 10 p.m.
From there, the station saw its ratings slip dramatically. Its newscasts prior to the Post-Newsweek buyout were more traditional in comparison. The station's 5 p.m. newscast at one time even reportedly finished in fifth place, behind rival news stations KHOU and KTRK-TV, syndicated reruns of The Simpsons on KRIV, and a Spanish-language newscast on KXLN. The station also saw ratings declines in the mornings and also at 4 and 10 p.m. KPRC was also hit with a boycott by black civil rights activist Quanell X and others following the demotion of two African-American anchors. During the controversy, KPRC hired longtime KHOU anchor Jerome Gray, who is African-American, and moved former anchor Khambrel Marshall to executive producer. In May 2008, KPRC announced Marshall would move back on-air as weekend meteorologist.
Overall, as of early 2008, KPRC was third in the ratings behind KHOU and KTRK. KPRC's morning and late evening newscasts made the most gains in 2007, competing for second place. However, the station consistently ranks #1 among young men ages 25–35 in Houston. Since Nielsen Media Research began using Local People Meters in the Houston market in October 2007, KPRC has seen gains in the morning and at night, while the competition has dropped. On July 19, 2008 during its 6 p.m. newscast, KPRC began broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition. On August 24, 2009, KPRC-TV expanded their morning newscast to begin at 4:30 a.m.
In January 2013, KPRC began promoting its current ratings resurgence. The 6 p.m. newscast boasted the most viewers in November and December 2012, as well as significant gains during all other time periods. The 10 p.m. broadcast has also seen growth in recent months, being rated the #1 10 p.m. broadcast for several months in a row in 2012.
- KPRC-TV News (?-1969)
- Big 2 News (1969–1980)
- 2 News (1980–1985)
- Channel Two News (1985–1992)
- Channel 2 News (1992–1995)
- News 2 Houston (1995–2004)
- Local 2 News (2004-present)
- "KPRC-TV2, Your Houston Post Station" (1950s?-1960s?)
- "Go Where The News Is" (Early 80s)
- "On Your Side" (1985–1988)
- "Turned Into Houston. And The World" (News; 1986–1988)
- "Working For You" (News & Public Affairs; 1988–1991)
- "Houston's 24-Hour News Source / Houston's 24-Hour News Channel" (1990–1994)
- "Where Local News Comes First" (1996–2008)
- "News at the Speed of Life" (2008–2012)
- "Proud to Cover Houston" (2012-present)
- Bill Balleza - weeknights at 5:00, 6:00 and 10:00 p.m.
- Andy Cerota - weekdays at 11:00 a.m.
- Owen Conflenti - weekday mornings (4:30-7:00 a.m.)
- Lauren Freeman - weekday mornings (5:00-7:00) and Mondays-Tuesdays at 11:00 a.m.
- Keith Garvin - weekdays at 4:00 p.m.; also weeknight reporter
- Rachel McNeill - weekdays at 4:00 p.m.
- Phillip Mena - Saturdays at 6:00, Sundays at 5:00 and weekends at 10:00 p.m.
- Jennifer Reyna - weekday mornings (4:30-5:00) and Wednesdays-Fridays at 11:00 a.m.; also weekday morning traffic reporter (4:30-7:00 a.m.)
- Dominique Sachse - weeknights at 5:00, 6:00 and 10:00 p.m.
- Irika Sargent - Saturdays at 6:00, Sundays at 5:00 and weekends at 10:00 p.m.
- Courtney Zavala - weekend mornings (6:00-8:00 a.m.)
- Local 2 Severe Weather Team
- Frank Billingsley (AMS and NWA Seals of Approval) - chief meteorologist; weekdays at 4:00 and weeknights at 5:00, 6:00 and 10:00 p.m.
- Idolina Peralez - meteorologist; weekend mornings (6:00-8:00 a.m.)
- Khambrel Marshall - meteorologist; Saturdays at 6:00, Sundays at 5:00 and weekends at 10:00 p.m.
- Anthony Yanez (AMS and NWA Seals of Approval) - meteorologist; weekday mornings (4:30-7:00 a.m.) and weekdays at 11:00 a.m.
- Sports team
- Randy McIlvoy - sports director; Sundays at 5:00, Monday-Thursdays at 6:00 and Sundays-Thursdays at 10:00 p.m.
- Chester Pitts - sports anchor; Fridays and Saturdays at 6:00 and 10:00 p.m.; also sports reporter and executive sports producer
- Nick Giovanni - sports reporter and fill-in anchor
- Phil Archer - general assignment reporter
- Robert Arnold - investigative reporter
- Jennifer Bauer - general assignment reporter
- Mary Benton - general assignment reporter
- Mark Boyle - general assignment reporter
- Gianna Caserta- general assignment reporter
- Amy Davis - investigative reporter
- Courtney Gilmore - general assignment and traffic reporter
- Joel Eisenbaum - investigative reporter
- Ryan Korsgard - general assignment reporter
- Amanda Perez - general assignment reporter
- Bill Spencer - investigative reporter
Notable former on-air staff
- Gayle Anderson - "2 On Your Side" reporter/midday anchor (1986–1991; now at KTLA in Los Angeles)
- Ron Franklin - sports director (1980–1987; formerly play-by-play announcer for ESPN)
- Wes Hohenstein - Daybreak Meteorologist (2003–2006; now at WNCN in Raleigh)
- Kay Bailey Hutchison - known on-air as Kay Bailey, Channel 2's first female reporter (1967–1972; later a Republican United States Senator from Texas)
- Tom Jarriel - worked behind the scenes in the news department as a reporter for a number of years (formerly of ABC News)
- Tony Kovaleski - investigative reporter (1997–2001; now an investigative reporter at KNTV in San Jose/San Francisco, California; 2010 Alfred I. duPont Columbia Silver Baton award winner)
- Linda Lorelle - anchor (1989–2006, recently freelancing at KRIV, now working in Real Estate)
- Ray Miller - news director (1950s–1979) and host of The Eyes of Texas during the early years of the program (died in 2008)
- John Quiñones - reporter/anchor (1975–1978; now a correspondent with ABC News)
- Jacque Reid - reporter/anchor (1997–2000, went on to anchor BET Nightly News)
- Janet Shamlian - weekend anchor (1995–1997; currently a correspondent for NBC News)
- Ron Stone - anchor (1972–1992, deceased)
- Spencer Tillman - sports reporter/anchor (1987–1997; first hired during the offseason period when he was playing with the Houston Oilers, later moved to WABC-TV in New York and now at CBS Sports)
- Chris Wragge - sports director (1998–2004; also covered sports for NBC and USA simultaneously, later anchor of CBS's The Early Show, now news anchor for CBS o&o station WCBS-TV in New York City)
- Paula Zahn - anchor (1981–1983, formerly with CNN)
- Marvin Zindler - reporter (1950–1954; later became investigative reporter for KTRK, deceased)
- During the 1980–1982 run of the NBC soap opera Texas, which used Houston as its primary setting, several mentions were made of TV station "KVIK", run by one of the characters on the show. In an opening title shown later in Texas' run, a brief view of a TV station's exterior can be seen. Marked with a "KVIK" sign in front, the building is actually KPRC's studio and offices. In one scene during the series, two characters are conversing while walking down a second-floor hallway at "KVIK" that overlooks the first floor lobby. Again, KPRC's building was used for the interior scene.
- "Contact." KRPC-TV. Retrieved on March 3, 2010.
- "Districts." Greater Sharpstown Management District. Retrieved on August 15, 2009.
- "CDBS Print", FCC CDBS database, retrieved November 20, 2012
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and Second Rounds", FCC CDBS database, retrieved November 20, 2012
- NBC 'Passions' wane, Variety, July 1, 1999.
- Scroll down to the "comments" section of the page
- KPRC Channel Two News Weekend Open, 12/27/1987
- KPRC Channel 2 News Weekend Open, 11/15/1992
- KPRC, News 2 Houston at Noon 1998 Open
- KPRC Local 2 News This Morning Open
- KPRC News Team
- "Ron Franklin bio". ESPN. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
- "Janet Shamlian bio". NBC News. 12 October 2006. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
- Barron, David (13 May 2008). "Anchorman Ron Stone left deep imprint on local news". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
- Official site
- Snopes.com article about a KLEE-TV phantom broadcast
- Query the FCC's TV station database for KPRC
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on KPRC-TV