|Branding||KTKA 49 ABC (general)
Kansas First News (newscasts)
|Slogan||Topeka News and Weather (general/news)
Always Watching. Always Tracking. (weather)
|Channels||Digital: 49 (UHF)
Virtual: 49 (PSIP)
49.3 The CW
|Owner||Vaughan Media, LLC
(operated through SSA by Media General)
(KTKA Television, LLC)
|First air date||June 20, 1983|
|Call letters' meaning||Kansas TopeKA|
|Sister station(s)||KSNT, KTMJ-CD
|Former callsigns||KLDH (1983-1987)|
|Transmitter power||89.1 kW|
|Public license information:||Profile
KTKA-TV, channel 49, is the ABC-affiliated television station in Topeka, Kansas. Owned by Vaughan Media, LLC, the station is operated by Media General though a shared services agreement with NBC affiliate KSNT and low-powered Fox affiliate KTMJ-CD. Its studios are located on Northwest 27th Street (U.S. 24) near the Kiro section of Topeka, while its transmitter is located west of the city.
The station operates its digital signal on UHF channel 49. In the Topeka area, KTKA is available on Cox Communications analog cable channel 9 in standard definition and on digital cable channel 2009 in high definition.
KTKA originally signed on the air as KLDH on June 20, 1983, immediately taking the ABC affiliation. Previously, ABC had been relegated to off-hours clearances on CBS affiliate WIBW-TV (channel 13) and NBC affiliate KTSB (channel 27, now KSNT). Channel 49's inception made Topeka one of the last markets in the country with full service from all three networks. Most of the area, however, could get the full ABC schedule from KMBC-TV in Kansas City or KQTV in St. Joseph, and KMBC had been available on cable in Topeka for decades.
KLDH was plagued by technical problems during its first two years on-air, including a transmitter fire that knocked it off the air for a few weeks, as well as a total collapse of its transmitter tower due to heavy ice build-up shortely thereafter. It changed its calls to the current KTKA-TV in 1987.
In 1998, KTKA moved its studios from downtown Topeka to southwest Topeka; the current studio facilities are also used by radio station KTPK. On August 29, 2005, KTKA was purchased by the World Company, publisher of the Lawrence Journal-World.
On February 4, 2011, KTKA announced that Free State Communications would sell the station to PBC Broadcasting. PBC Broadcasting also owns stations in Youngstown, OH and Savannah, GA. Both operations are part of shared service and local marketing agreements with stations owned by New Vision Television in their markets, suggesting that KTKA would be structured under the same sort of arrangement with New Vision-owned KSNT. Despite objections to the sale by the American Cable Association that the sale could give the virtual triopoly too much leverage in retransmission consent negotiations, the FCC approved the sale of KTKA to PBC Broadcasting for $1.5 million on July 21, 2011. PBC officially consummated on the purchase a week later.
On May 7, 2012, LIN TV Corporation announced that it would acquire the New Vision Television station group, including KSNT and KTMJ-CD, for $330.4 million and the assumption of $12 million in debt. Along with the outright ownership of KTKA-TV, the agreement includes the acquisition of New Vision's shared services agreement with PBC Broadcasting, giving LIN operational control of KTKA-TV.  On October 2, the FCC approved the proposed sale to LIN Media. The transaction is expected to close by late 2012.
On March 21, 2014, Media General announced that it would purchase LIN Media and its stations, including KSNT, KTMJ-CD, and the SSA with KTKA-TV, in a $1.6 billion merger. The FCC approved the merger on December 12, 2014, but a condition of the deal requires Media General to end the SSA between KTKA-TV and KSNT within two years due to tighter scrutiny such deals are getting by the FCC.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|49.1||720p||16:9||KTKA-HD||Main KTKA-TV programming / ABC|
|49.3||KTKACW+||Northeast Kansas CW 5|
KTKA-TV shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 49, at 12:01 a.m. on February 17, 2009, the original date in which full-power television stations in the United States were to transition from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate (which was later pushed back to June 12, 2009). The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 48. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 49. In mid-2010, the station moved its digital broadcasts back to channel 49.
KTKA began airing newscasts after it signed on, but never gained much traction against WIBW-TV and KSNT. It phased out news programming in 2002. After the World Company acquired the station, KTKA received new software and hardware for the re-development of a news division. On February 5, 2006, KTKA launched 49 News at 10 immediately following Super Bowl XL.
At one time[when?], KTKA offered newscasts on weekday mornings (branded as Good Morning Kansas) and a weekday midday newscast at 11 a.m., but they were canceled on November 6, 2008 as part of cutbacks that resulted in nine employees being let go. On July 29, 2011, the station aired its final newscast as a standalone news operation; a shared newscast produced in conjunction with KSNT debuted on July 30, under the banner of Kansas First News. On Saturday, May 4th, 2013, Kansas First News switched to HD, becoming the second, and last news service in the Topeka area to switch to HD.
- FCC OKs KTKA Sale Over ACA Objection, TVNewsCheck, July 21, 2011.
- Malone, Michael (May 7, 2012). "LIN Acquiring New Vision Stations for $330 Million". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved May 7, 2012.
- FCC approves sale of New Vision Television to Lin Media
- Reid Blackwell, John (March 21, 2014). "MG will combine with LIN TV chain". Richmond Times-Dispatch. Retrieved March 22, 2014.
- FCC Okays Media General/LIN Merger Broadcasting & Cable (12/12/2014)
- RabbitEars Query for KTKA
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24.
- KTKA begins digital-only - hraunfoss.fcc.gov
- KTKA begins digital-only - CJOnline.com
- Official website
- Query the FCC's TV station database for KTKA
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on KTKA-TV