|Channels||Digital: 9 (VHF)
Virtual: 9 (PSIP)
9.2 WeatherNation TV
(Multimedia Holdings Corporation)
|First air date||October 12, 1952|
|Call letters' meaning||United States of America
USA Today (also owned by Gannett)
|Sister station(s)||KTVD, KDEN-TV|
|Former callsigns||KBTV (1952–1984)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
9 (VHF, 1952–2009)
16 (UHF, 1997–2009)
|Former affiliations||CBS (1952–1953)
ABC (1952–1995; secondary until 1956)
NBC (secondary 1952-1953), NBC Weather Plus 2004-2008, The Local AccuWeather Channel 2009-2013
|Transmitter power||45 kW|
|Public license information:||Profile
KUSA is the NBC-affiliated television station in Denver, Colorado. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on VHF channel 9 from a transmitter atop Lookout Mountain, near Golden. Owned by the Gannett Company, KUSA is sister to MyNetworkTV affiliate KTVD and both stations share studios at 500 Speer Boulevard in Denver's Speer neighborhood (southeast of KMGH and the shared KDVR/KWGN studios). The station can also be seen on Comcast Xfinity channel 9, with a high definition feed offered on digital channel 653. KUSA is also carried by Carnival Cruise Lines through the in-room entertainment system available on ships touring the Caribbean and South Pacific.
- 1 History
- 2 Digital television
- 3 Programming
- 4 News operation
- 5 Translators
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
The station first went on the air under the callsign KBTV on October 12, 1952. Originally owned by Mullins Broadcasting, it was Denver's second television station after KFEL channel 2 (now KWGN) signed on about three months earlier. The station initially served as a primary affiliate of CBS, but also carried programming from ABC and NBC through secondary affiliations with both networks. Channel 9 gained an affiliation with the DuMont Television Network in 1953, but lost CBS programming to KLZ-TV channel 7 (now KMGH) upon its November 1953 sign-on and later the NBC affiliation to KOA-TV Channel 4 (now KCNC) when it signed on the air one month later (both KLZ-TV and KOA-TV were able to take these affiliations due to the history of each network being affiliated on their sister radio stations). This left KBTV as a primary affiliate of DuMont, and a secondary affiliation with ABC.
The station struggled in the ratings for several years, in part because ABC's overall ratings were not on par with the other major networks until the 1970s. The station lost Dumont programming when the network shut down on August 6, 1956. In 1969, the station gained some national attention for refusing to air the only episode of the ABC sketch comedy series Turn-On as the network's affiliates east of the Rocky Mountains voiced displeasure about the program's risqué content during the airing of the pilot episode, with some pulling the program off-the-air during its broadcast.
In 1972, Mullins Broadcasting sold KBTV and KARK-TV in Little Rock to Combined Communications. Combined's station properties would eventually be merged into the Gannett Company seven years later in what was the largest media merger in United States history at the time. In order to align with Gannett's new newspaper entity USA Today, the station changed its call letters to KUSA-TV on March 19, 1984 (sister station WTCN in the Minneapolis/St. Paul market went through a similar re-branding in 1985, changing its call letters to WUSA, but after Gannett purchased WDVM in Washington D.C. in 1986, it moved the WUSA call letters to its newly acquired station. The old WUSA one was re-branded as KARE). Like many Gannett stations, KUSA dropped the "-TV" suffix ten days after the official digital television transition date of June 12, 2009, although KUSA had made the transition to digital-exclusive broadcasts nearly two months earlier.
KBTV/KUSA's original studios were located at 1089 Bannock Street in the Civic Center neighborhood in Denver. Originally a car dealership, the station occupied this building until April 1992, when it then moved to its new state-of-the-art home at 500 Speer Boulevard. The old location was promptly taken over by PBS affiliate KRMA, now better known as Rocky Mountain PBS.
Switch to NBC
KCNC-TV, which was an owned-and-operated station of NBC at the time, was traded to CBS as a result of a complex ownership deal between the network, Westinghouse Electric Corporation and NBC in 1995. CBS had decided to sell Philadelphia's WCAU to NBC, but did not want to incur the heavy capital gains taxes that would have resulted from the sale. To make the transaction a legal trade, the network swapped ownership of KCNC-TV and Salt Lake City's KUTV, along with the VHF channel 4 frequency and transmitter in Miami (then home to WTVJ) to CBS in exchange for WCAU and the channel 6 frequency in Miami (then home to WCIX, which subsequently became WFOR-TV).
McGraw-Hill, owner of longtime CBS affiliate KMGH-TV, entered into an affiliation agreement with ABC at the same time; Gannett then entered into an affiliation agreement with NBC that included KUSA, among others. This resulted in a three-way affiliation switch that occurred during the early morning hours of September 10, 1995 that sent the NBC affiliation to KUSA, the station's former ABC affiliation to KMGH-TV and CBS' programming migrating from KMGH to KCNC-TV. The switch effectively reunited KUSA with NBC after losing its secondary affiliation with that network 42 years earlier.
In July 1996, Rapid City station KEVN-TV discontinued its affiliation with NBC to join Fox, leaving the Black Hills region of South Dakota without a full-power NBC affiliate. KUSA was brought in out-of-market to local cable providers to serve as the market's default NBC affiliate, ending when Rapid Broadcasting Company signed on KNBN as the Rapid City market's NBC station on May 14, 2000. Scenes for the NBC made-for-TV movie Asteroid were shot at the KUSA studios, the producers filmed the fictional news reports seen in the movie out of the station's 1996–2004 news set.
From April 2005 to December 2008, KUSA ran programming from NBC Weather Plus under the "9 NEWS Weather Plus" branding on its second digital subchannel (which was also carried on cable through Comcast digital channel 249). On December 31, 2008, following NBC Weather Plus' shutdown, KUSA replaced the network's programming with that of The Local AccuWeather Channel this lasted until May 27, 2013 when KUSA replaced AccuWeather with Weather Nation TV.
In August 2007, KUSA began the "9NEWS High School Hotshots Program", which awarded one of twelve student athletes from Colorado's high schools nominated for their academic excellence, selected by the school's administration and staff that recorded their high school football games; the program has since extended to cover winter sports at the schools.
Comcast HD: 653 Comcast SD: 9
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|9.1||1080i||16:9||KUSA-DT||Main KUSA programming / NBC|
|9.2||480i||4:3||9News N||WeatherNation TV|
KUSA shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 9, on April 16, 2009. The station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 16 to VHF channel 9 for post-transition operations.
Syndicated programming seen on KUSA includes The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Entertainment Tonight, Extra and The Doctors. The station airs the fourth hour of Today two hours later than most NBC affiliates at 11 a.m., and airs Days of Our Lives out of pattern at 2 p.m. (secondary to NBC's primary recommended 1 p.m. timeslot), due to The Doctors airing in that timeslot (Days ran at 3 p.m. upon joining NBC in 1995 and continued to air in that slot until the fall of 2003, when it acquired Ellen and moved Days to 1 p.m., where it remained until the 2007 cancellation of Passions).
KUSA produces a weekdaily lifestyle program called Colorado & Company, that features paid segments by local companies and made its debut in September 2004; it airs at 10 a.m. following the third hour of Today. Colorado & Company was rebroadcast on KPXC-TV from its debut, until the conclusion of NBC's affiliate partnership and joint ownership of Pax TV. KUSA ran the Gannett ID and sounder (often colloquially nicknamed the "Death Star") at the end of the station's weeknight 6 p.m. newscasts from 1994 to 2011; in June 2011, KUSA began to show Gannett's new corporate ID tag at the end of all of the station's newscasts, except for the weekday morning programs.
KUSA presently broadcasts a total of 34½ hours of locally-produced newscasts each week (with 5½ hours on weekdays, three hours on Saturdays and four hours on Sundays). KUSA also provides daily weather forecasts for the Fort Collins Coloradoan newspaper and local weather updates for four radio stations owned by Entercom: KALC, KEZW, KQMT and KOSI; this partnership began on January 1, 2008, after the station's agreement to provide forecasts for KOA radio ended. Weather segments during the station's newscasts are typically presented in the "9 Back Yard", a courtyard outside the Speer Boulevard studios that features a chroma key wall and robotic camera (local weather inserts for The Today Show and updates for 9 NEWS Weather Plus are done from a chroma key wall inside the weather center).
In addition to its main studios in downtown Denver, KUSA operates a "Northern Newsroom" that based out of the Fort Collins Coloradoan offices in Fort Collins; the bureau employs a rotating staff of reporters and photojournalists out of Denver. The station also operates a "Mountain Newsroom" based in Silverthorne. The station's weather radar is presented on-air as "HD-Doppler 9", a DWSR-10001C radar model supplied by Enterprise Electronics Corporation that is located east of Elizabeth and operates at a radiated power of 1 million watts. KUSA brands its websites and sister television properties under the "9NEWS Networks" banner (described by KUSA as its three websites: 9News.com, m.9News.com and HighSchoolSports.net; KTVD and its website; the 9NEWS Now digital subchannel; Metromix; Telemundo owned-and-operated station KDEN-TV (whose Spanish-language newscasts are produced by KUSA) and the "9NEWS Weather Call" weather alert service).
For over 30 years, KUSA's newscasts (currently titled as 9NEWS) have dominated Denver's local news ratings. In February 1976, Ed Sardella and John Rayburn anchored the 10 p.m. newscast on weeknights, helping that program overtake longtime leader KMGH-TV for the top ratings spot; Rayburn was succeeded by Mike Landess in 1977, who would remain paired with Sardella as one of Denver's top anchor teams for 16 years until leaving for KUSA's Atlanta sister station WXIA-TV in late 1993. Adele Arakawa, who had been an anchor at WBBM in Chicago, was hired to succeed Landess. Sardella retired from the anchor desk in 2000, and was succeeded by Jim Benemann, but returned briefly in 2003 to replace Benemann when he left for KCNC-TV. Landess, after anchoring at WTTG/Washington, D.C., returned to Denver on rival KMGH-TV in 2002.
The KUSA News Package (created by Third Street Music) was commissioned by KUSA in 1995. On October 15, 2008, KUSA debuted a standardized graphics package for the Gannett stations created by the Gannett Graphics Group, along with a standardized music package composed by Rampage Music New York. The closing cut of the previous theme was last used on February 6, 2009, and the remastered talent bumper cut was used until January 10, 2013. (Minneapolis sister station KARE continued to use its own custom theme composed in 1996 by Third Street Music called the KARE 11 News Theme until January 25, 2013, when it discontinued it for a new standardized news package by Gari Media Group called This Is Home). KUSA formerly rebroadcast its weeknight 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts on KPXC-TV as part of an agreement between NBC and Pax TV to provide news rebroadcasts from the network's stations on Pax's owned-and-operated stations nationally, which ended in 2005 upon that network's rebrand to I: Independent Television.
In April 2004, KUSA became Denver's first television station, the first Gannett-owned station and the second U.S. television station to begin producing its locally-produced newscasts in high definition. On September 5, 2006, KUSA began to produce a daily half-hour primetime newscast at 9 p.m. on sister station KTVD, coinciding with that station's affiliation switch from UPN to MyNetworkTV; this expanded on December 5, 2006 to include a two-hour extension of KUSA's weekday morning newscast from 7 to 9 a.m. and later to weekend morning newscasts at 6 a.m. on KTVD. During the November 2007 sweeps period, KCNC's newscasts surged over KUSA in the 5 p.m. timeslot for the first time in over a decade, that station also overtook KUSA in overall sign-on to sign-off numbers (this is partially due to KCNC's shift towards investigative reports and human interest stories, though the strength of CBS' primetime lineup and viewership declines for NBC primetime also played a factor). Overall, KUSA remains the highest-rated local news outlet in the market despite a very close ratings battle between it, KCNC-TV and KMGH-TV.
On March 6, 2009, KUSA began streaming its noon newscast on the station's website with a live chat room (it now steams all newscasts seen on KUSA and KTVD). In June 2010, KUSA expanded its weekday morning newscast to 2½ hours with the addition of a half-hour at 4:30 a.m., the KUSA-produced 9 p.m. newscast on KTVD also expanded to one hour that month. On February 20, 2012, KUSA updated its HD-ready set constructed in 2004 to feature a new backdrop for its daytime newscasts that is a variant of its evening backdrop photograph in a daytime setting. On June 3 of that year, KUSA's newscasts were relocated to a temporary set in "Studio B" for two weeks while their primary news set received updated duratrans.
News and station presentation
- KBTV News (1960–1970)
- 9 KBTV News (1970–1976)
- KBTV Action Center – 9NEWS (1976–1977)
- 9 News Action Center (1977–1984)
- 9NEWS (1984–present)
- "Channel 9's Still the One!" (1977-1978/1979-1980, local version of ABC ad campaign)
- "We're the One on Channel 9" (1978-1979; local version of ABC ad campaign)
- "#1 In Colorado" (1977–1992)
- "Colorado's News Leader" (1976–2008; 2012)
- "Now Is The Time, Channel 9 Is The Place" (1981-1982; local version of ABC ad campaign)
- "Come on Along with Channel 9" (1982-1983; local version of ABC ad campaign)
- "That Special Feeling on Channel 9" (1983-1984; local version of ABC ad campaign)
- "We're with You on Channel 9" (1984-1985; local version of ABC ad campaign)
- "You'll Love It on Channel 9" (1985-1986; local version of ABC ad campaign)
- "Together on Channel 9" (1986-1987; local version of ABC ad campaign)
- "It's All Right Here on Channel 9" (1988–1992; used during period station used Frank Gari's It's All Right Here; also used in conjunction with ABC ad campaigns)
- "Colorado's 24-Hour News Source" (1992–1995)
- "NBC & 9NEWS: Switch to Great TV" (September 1995; used to promote the affiliation switch - produced by NBC) 
- "9NEWS & PAX TV, Colorado's News Leaders" (2000–2005, used for KPXC rebroadcasts of 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts)
- "Where News Comes First" (2004–2011)
- "Colorado's High Definition News Leader" (2006–2012)
- "The 9NEWS Networks, Colorado's Information Center" (2008–2012; used on newscast reopens)
- "9NEWS, Everywhere." (2011–present)
- "This is Home" (2013–present)
Current on-air staff
- Adele Arakawa - weeknights at 5:00, 6:00 and 10:00 p.m. (1993)
- Kim Christiansen - weekdays at 4:00 and weeknights at 9:00 p.m. (KTVD) (1985)
- Kyle Clark - weeknights at 6:00, 9:00 (KTVD) and 10:00 p.m.; also general assignment and investigative reporter (2007)
- Kyle Dyer - weekday mornings (5:00-7:00 on KUSA and 7:00-9:00 a.m. on KTVD) and weekdays at noon (1996)
- Jessica Oh - weekend mornings (6:00-7:00 on KTVD and 7:00-9:00 a.m. on KUSA); also general reporter (2014)
- Mark Koebrich - weekdays at 4:00 and weeknights at 5:00 p.m.; also consumer reporter (1981)
- Gregg Moss - weekday mornings (4:30-5:00 a.m.); also weekday morning business reporter (1993-2008; 2009)
- Cheryl Preheim - weekends at 5:00, 9:00 (KTVD) and 10:00 p.m.; also weeknight reporter (1999)
- Will Ripley - weekend mornings (6:00-7:00 on KTVD and 7:00-9:00 a.m. on KUSA); also general assignment and investigative reporter (2011)
- Corey Rose - weekday mornings (5:00-7:00 on KUSA and 7:00-9:00 a.m. on KTVD); also general assignment reporter (2010)
- Gary Shapiro - weekday mornings (5:00-7:00 on KUSA and 7:00-9:00 on KTVD) and weekdays at 11:00 a.m. (KTVD; 1983)
- Weather team
- Kathy Sabine (AMS and NWA Seal of Approval) - chief meteorologist; weekdays at 4:00 and weeknights at 5:00, 6:00, 9:00 (KTVD) and 10:00 p.m. (1993)
- Marty Coniglio (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist and NWA Seals of Approval) - meteorologist; weekends at 5:00, 9:00 (KTVD) and 10:00 p.m. (2004)
- Becky Ditchfield (AMS Seal of Approval) - meteorologist; weekday mornings (4:30-7:00 on KUSA and 7:00-9:00 on KTVD) and weekdays at 11:00 a.m. (KTVD) and noon (2007)
- Belen de Leon - meteorologist; weekend mornings (6:00-7:00 on KTVD and 7:00-9:00 a.m. on KUSA; 2012)
- Danielle Grant - meteorologist; weekday mornings (4:30-7:00 on KUSA and 7:00-9:00 a.m. on KTVD; 2013)
- Sports team
- Drew Soicher - sports director; weeknights at 5:00, 6:00, 9:00 (KTVD) and 10:00 p.m. (2000)
- Rod Mackey - sports anchor; weekends at 5:00, 9:00 (KTVD) and 10:00 p.m.; also weeknight sports reporter (2000)
- Susie Wargen - sports anchor; weekday mornings (4:30-7:00 on KUSA and 7:00-9:00 a.m. on KTVD; 2000)
- Aaron Matas - prep sports anchor/reporter; weekend mornings (6:00-7:00 on KTVD and 7:00-9:00 a.m. on KUSA; 2011)
- Anastasiya Bolton - general assignment and criminal justice reporter (2006)
- Dave Delozier - general assignment reporter ("Backpack Journalist") (1979)
- Meagan Fitzgerald - general assignment reporter (2012)
- Nelson Garcia - general assignment and education reporter (2005)
- Nick McGurk - Northern Newsroom reporter (2011)
- Matt Renoux - Mountain Newsroom reporter (1999)
- Brandon Rittiman - political reporter (2011)
- TaRhonda Thomas - general assignment reporter; also fill-in anchor (2007)
- Dr. John Torres - medical specialist reporter (2009)
- Kevin Torres - general assignment reporter ("Backpack Journalist") (2009)
- Vida Urbonas - general assignment reporter (2013)
- Chris Vanderveen - general assignment reporter; also host of Your Show (2002)
- Todd Walker - general assignment reporter (2012)
- 9 Wants to Know
- Melissa Blasius - investigative reporter (2012)
- Jeremy Jojola - investigative reporter (2011)
- Jace Larson - investigative reporter (2007)
- Floyd Ciruli - political analyst
- Greg Feith - aviation expert
- Ryan Frazier - political contributor
- Rob Proctor - gardening expert
- Scott Robinson - legal analyst
- Andrew Romanoff - political contributor
- Dr. James Rouse - nutrition expert; now featured only on 9NEWS.com
- Steve Spangler - science contributor; featured on the weekday morning and 4:00 p.m. newscasts
Notable former on-air staff
- Amelia Rose Earhart - weekday traffic reporter and fill-in weather anchor (2007-2009; 2010-2014; now is the President and CEO of FWA Aviation)
- Kevin Corke - sports anchor/reporter (1989–1999; now at ESPN)
- Aristea Brady - joined WCCO-TV in July 2011 after two years of being a weekend anchor/reporter for KUSA in Denver.
- Heidi Collins - anchor/reporter (1999–2002; later anchor at KMSP-TV in Minneapolis)
- Tom Costello - reporter (1988-1994; now with NBC News as a correspondent for NBC Nightly News and MSNBC)
- Monica Gayle - anchor (1980s; now anchor at WJBK in Detroit)
- Bazi Kanani - weekend anchor/reporter (now with ABC News as a Nairobi correspondent)
- Phil Keating - lead reporter (1994–2000; now at Fox News Channel)
- Bob Kendrick - anchor (2003-2008; now with WSYX/WTTE in Columbus, Ohio)
- Bill Kuster - weather anchor (1979–1996; deceased)
- Cristina Mendonsa - anchor/reporter (1991–1995; now at sister station KXTV in Sacramento, California)
- Regis Philbin - fill-in sports anchor (1974)
- Leon "Stormy" Rottman - chief meteorologist (1969–1988; deceased)
- Ed Sardella - weeknight anchor (1974–2000, 2003; now retired and living in Denver)
- Brian Joyce - sports anchor/reporter (2006-2008; now Director of News & Programming for London Broadcasting Company)
- Ward Lucas - Weekend anchor (retired)
- Carrie McClure - Weekend anchor
- Bertha Lynn - anchored every time period in Denver television news, and played herself in an uncredited appearance in the 1980 film The Shining
The Denver market includes large portions of Colorado, Nebraska and Wyoming. KUSA & NBC serve this vast area with a large translator network (all translators on this list are in Colorado unless otherwise listed).
- "CCC plans to buy Mullins holdings." Broadcasting, April 12, 1971, pg. 37. 
- "Gannett goes from mostly newspapers to multiple media in one big deal." Broadcasting, May 15, 1978, pp. 26-27. 
- "FCC clears biggest deal ever." Broadcasting, June 11, 1979, pp. 19-20. 
- CBS, NBC Changing Channels, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, November 22, 1994.
- CBS, NBC Changing Channels, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, November 22, 1994.
- RabbitEars TV Query for KUSA
- DTV Transition: Still not seeing a picture? KUSA 9 News, Denver, April 2009
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24.
- cbs4denver.com – Jim Benemann
- "KBTV PROMOS". AvidEditGuyinDFWTX. Retrieved January 25, 2012.
- 9NEWS Team & Social Media Directory
- "Kevin Corke Joins WTVJ As Julia Yarbough Replacement". 20 October 2009. Retrieved 9 March 2013.
- "Tom Costello Bio". NBC News. 3 May 2011. Retrieved 9 March 2013.
- "Phil Keating Bio". Fox News. Retrieved 9 March 2013.
- "Bill Kuster". Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia. Retrieved 9 March 2013.
- http://www.news10.net/company/bios/article/42992/90/Biography- Cristina-Mendonsa
- "Broadcast Professionals of Colorado Hall of Fame". Retrieved 9 March 2013.
- "Everywhere Since 1952: Channel 9 memories: Ed Sardella". KUSA. 11 October 2012. Retrieved 9 March 2013.
- Bertha Lynn, Hall of Famer
- 7News anchor Bertha Lynn to retire after 40 years on Denver TV
- 9News.com - KUSA-TV official website
- KTVD.com - KTVD-TV official website
- Query the FCC's TV station database for KUSA
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on KUSA-TV