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"Kusi" redirects here. For the Finnish swear word, see Finnish profanity.
KUSI logo.png
San Diego, California
Branding KUSI (general)
KUSI News (newscasts)
Slogan San Diego's News Channel
Channels Digital: 18 (UHF)
Virtual: 51 (PSIP)
Translators K12PO Murrieta
Affiliations Independent
Owner McKinnon Broadcasting Company
(Channel 51 of San Diego, Inc.)
First air date September 13, 1982
Call letters' meaning U.S. International University
(former name of Alliant International University)
Former channel number(s) Analog:
51 (UHF, 1982-2009)
Former affiliations independent (1982-1995)
UPN (1995-1998)
Transmitter power 355 kW
Height 576 m
Facility ID 10238
Transmitter coordinates 32°41′50″N 116°56′4″W / 32.69722°N 116.93444°W / 32.69722; -116.93444
Website www.kusi.com

KUSI-TV is an independent television station in San Diego, California. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 18 (virtual channel 51.1 via PSIP) from a transmitter southeast of Spring Valley. Owned by McKinnon Broadcasting, KUSI maintains studios on Viewridge Avenue (near I-15) in San Diego's Kearny Mesa section. Its signal is relayed on low-powered K12PO in Murrieta. Syndicated programming featured on KUSI includes The Big Bang Theory, TMZ on TV, Extra and Family Feud. This station can also be seen on Cox Communications and AT&T U-verse channel 9. There is a high definition feed available in the San Diego area on Cox Communications and AT&T U-verse channel 1009 and Time Warner Cable digital channel 709, and in Tijuana on Cablemás channel 131.

Digital television[edit]

Digital channel[edit]

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[1]
51.1 720p 16:9 KUSI-HD Main KUSI-TV programming

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

KUSI-TV shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 51, 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 18.[2][3] Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 51.


KUSI signed on the air on September 13, 1982 as a general entertainment independent station, airing children's shows, situation comedies, older theatrical and made-for-TV movies, dramas and sports. United States International University originally held the broadcast license to operate KUSI (whose callsign was taken from the university's initials), though for unknown reasons,[according to whom?] USIU chose not to launch the station and transferred the license to Texas businessman Michael D. McKinnon.[citation needed] The station has been owned by McKinnon Broadcasting since its debut, operated under the wholly owned licensee Channel 51 of San Diego, Inc. (owned by Mike McKinnon (who has a controlling 66.26% stake), brother C. Dan McKinnon (who has a 17.48% stake) and sons Michael Dean McKinnon and Mark Daniel McKinnon (who hold 08.13% each)).[4][5][6] Channel 51 of San Diego, Inc.,[7] is a California-based licensee corporation, while Corpus Christi-based corporation San Diego's Fifty-One, Inc.,[8][9] is a holding company for McKinnon Broadcasting.[citation needed] From 1987 to 1994, and again from 1997 until 2003, KUSI was the over-the-air television home of the San Diego Padres Major League Baseball team.[citation needed]

In early 1994, the premiere and expansion of the station's morning newscast had relegated children's programming to the afternoons; by 1995, those shows were scattered to other local outlets and replaced with more court, talk and reality shows that were added to KUSI's schedule, mirroring the scheduling format of Los Angeles' KCAL-TV. The cartoons and recent off-network sitcoms were moved to a weaker station, KTTY (channel 69), which became a charter affiliate of The WB in January 1995. That same month, KUSI gained a network affiliation as it became San Diego's original outlet of the upstart United Paramount Network. However, the station dropped that network's programming in 1998, citing low ratings for UPN network programming on the station. After KUSI dropped its UPN affiliation, area cable systems piped in KCOP-TV/Los Angeles; however, many San Diegans that did not have a cable television subscription or a strong antenna (facing Los Angeles) were unable to view UPN programming within the market for more than a year until Tecate, Baja California-licensed XHUPN (channel 49) went on the air on November 1, 1999.

While KUSI was affiliated with UPN, the station tried unsuccessfully to wrestle the Fox affiliation away from the network's affiliate at the time, Tijuana-licensed XETV-TV (channel 6) in November 1995. This was after the Fox network first picked up the broadcast rights to the National Football League in 1994, as cited in the United States Court of Appeals case Channel 51 of San Diego, Inc. vs. FCC and Fox Television Stations, Inc. 79 F.3d 1187. In that case, KUSI filed an appeal against the Federal Communications Commission in granting Fox a permit to broadcast live sports on the Mexican-licensed signal of XETV. FCC regulations disallowed stations that were licensed outside the United States from televising live sporting events from a U.S. broadcast network without licensing approval.

The permit was granted to Fox on behalf of XETV, and the case was settled on March 26, 1996. However until XETV started its news department in December 1999, KUSI provided newsgathering resources to Fox's news and sports divisions for the San Diego market (similarly, there was a rumor in 2008 that KUSI would affiliate with The CW Television Network after KSWB-TV decided to abandon that network following a two-year affiliation in order to become the market's new Fox affiliate on August 1 of that year, but The CW chose to affiliate with XETV instead).

In the fall of 2007, KUSI was planning to open a new state-of-the-art streetside studio space in downtown San Diego. However, the site that was intended to house its new studio facilities was sold to Bosa Development; KUSI continues to operate from its Kearny Mesa studios. Since McKinnon Broadcasting sold its two Texas stations, KIII/Corpus Christi and KBMT/Beaumont, to London Broadcasting Company on August 31, 2010, KUSI is currently the company's only remaining television station property As of May 2013.[citation needed]

Local programming[edit]


Unlike most independent television stations, KUSI allocates a significant portion of its broadcast day to news programming. Currently, KUSI broadcasts a total of 50½ hours of local newscasts each week (with 7½ hours on weekdays and 6½ hours on weekends). This is reflected in the station's former longtime slogan "More Local News" as it statistically has the most hours devoted to local news programming out of the San Diego-Tijuana market's commercial television stations (ahead of Fox affiliate KSWB-TV, which carries 44½ hours each week).

KUSI became a serious player in the local television news race when it introduced a 10 p.m. newscast in September 1990. Originally anchored by veterans Roger Grimsby and George Reading, it was the first station in San Diego to begin producing local newscasts since XETV's original news department folded in 1972, after it lost the ABC affiliation to what was then KCST. In January 1994, joining the growing number of television stations nationwide venturing their local newscasts into that timeslot, a weekday morning newscast was added (originally anchored by Laura Buxton and Tom Blair, the latter was later replaced by Stan Miller), which resulted in the gradual phaseout of the aforementioned children's programs that aired during that time period. The program (currently known as Good Morning San Diego) is currently seen for five hours on weekdays and four hours on weekends.[citation needed]

KUSI became one of the first television stations in the country to produce a nightly evening newscast at 7 p.m. in January 2000; within a few months however, the half-hour broadcast was moved to 6:30 p.m. and was joined by an additional half-hour program at 6 p.m. in July 2001.[10] This was joined by the later addition of a half-hour 11 p.m. newscast in January 2005.[11] In September 2011, Good Morning San Diego was extended by one hour to 10 a.m. (with Live with Regis and Kelly moving to CBS affiliate KFMB-TV in order to make room for the expanded newscast).[citation needed]

The station's current[when?] evening anchor team consists of mostly longtime veterans of San Diego television news, including Sandra Maas, and longtime Chicago weatherman and founder of The Weather Channel, John Coleman, who served as the station's chief meteorologist from 1994 until his retirement in 2014. The station produces a civic and consumer watchdog segment during its evening newscasts called The Turko Files, presented by reporter Michael Turko, who is known for using the line "It Ain't Right". KUSI also provides local news updates for two Baja California-based radio stations owned by Broadcast Company of the Americas: XEPRS-AM/Rosarito Beach and XEPE-AM/Tecate.[citation needed]

On April 18, 2010, starting with the station's 6 p.m. newscast, KUSI became the fourth San Diego television station to broadcast its local newscasts in high definition. The station uses the AFD #10 broadcast flag to present their newscasts in letterboxed widescreen for viewers watching on cable television through 4:3 television sets.[citation needed]

News/station presentation[edit]

Newscast titles[edit]

  • KUSI News (1990–present)
  • Good Morning San Diego (morning newscast; 1994–present)[12]

Station slogans[edit]

  • "The Spirit of San Diego" (1990–1997; based on the Spirit (of Texas) news package by James R. Kirk's TM Productions)
  • "San Diego's More Local News Station" (1997–2002)
  • "More Local News" (2002–2012)
  • "San Diego's News Channel" (2012–present)
Television.svg This film, television or video-related list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it with reliably sourced additions.

On-air staff[edit]


  • Ross Becker - weeknights at 11:00 p.m.
  • David Davis - weekday mornings on Good Morning San Diego (5:00-10:00 a.m.)
  • Allen Denton - weeknights at 6:00 and 10:00 p.m.; also co-host of San Diego People
  • Jon Du Pre - weekends at 6:00, 10:00 and 11:00 p.m.; also weekday reporter
  • Kristen Cusato - weekends at 6:00, 10:00 and 11:00 p.m.; also weekday reporter
  • Sandra Maas - weeknights at 6:00 and 10:00 p.m.; also co-host of San Diego People
  • Brandi Williams - weekday mornings on Good Morning San Diego (5:00-10:00 a.m.)
  • Lauren Phinney- weeknights at 11:00 p.m.
  • Dan Plante - weekend mornings on Good Morning San Diego (6:00-10:00 a.m.); also general assignment reporter
  • Lisa Remillard - weekend mornings on Good Morning San Diego (6:00-10:00 a.m.); also general assignment reporter

SuperCast Weather

  • Leslie Lopez - chief weather anchor; weeknights at 6:00, 10:00 and 11:00 p.m.
  • Dave Scott (AMS Seal of Approval) - meteorologist; weekend mornings on Good Morning San Diego (6:00-10:00 a.m.) and weekends at 6:00, 10:00 and 11:00 p.m.
  • TBD - weather anchor; weekday mornings on Good Morning San Diego (5:00-10:00 a.m.), also reporter

Sports team

  • Paul Rudy - sports director; weeknights at 6:00, 10:00 and 11:00 p.m.
  • Rick Willis - sports anchor; weekends at 6:00, 10:00 and 11:00 p.m.


  • Steve Bosh - general assignment reporter
  • Jane King - Bloomberg NYSE business reporter
  • Ed Lenderman - general assignment reporter
  • Brad Perry - morning features reporter (5:00-10:00 a.m.)
  • Michael Turko - investigative and consumer reporter
  • Sasha Foo - general assignment reporter
  • John Soderman - general assignment reporter

Notable former on-air staff[edit]

  • John Coleman (1994-2014; chief meteorologist; weeknights at 6:00, 10:00 and 11:00 p.m.; retired)

Other locally-produced programs[edit]

One of the station's most popular locally-produced shows is The Prep Pigskin Report, which has been awarded the local Emmy award. The hour-long show, which airs live on Friday nights at 10:30 p.m. during the football season, features videotaped highlights from nearly every high school football game in San Diego County played that evening, or in some cases on Thursday. KUSI also produces the Sunday morning public affairs program San Diego People, which airs Sundays at 10 a.m. and features the station's main evening anchors.[citation needed]

Local program hosts[edit]

The Prep Pigskin Report Team

  • Paul Rudy - host
  • Stephanie Kelly - "East County Game of the Week" reporter
  • Brandon Stone - reporter
  • John Shacklett - reporter
  • John Soderman - South Bay correspondent
  • Rick Willis - "North County Game of the Week" reporter


  1. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for KUSI
  2. ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24. 
  3. ^ CDBS Print
  4. ^ Ownership Report for Commercial Broadcast Stations for KUSI-TV at FCC.gov
  5. ^ KUSI-TV, Cable 9/Channel 51 profile @ San Diego Source - San Diego Daily Transcript[dead link][dead link]
  6. ^ Fictitious Business Name Statement for KUSI @ San Diego Source - San Diego Daily Transcript[dead link][dead link]
  7. ^ Corporation status for Channel 51 of San Diego, Inc., Secretary of State office - State of California[dead link][dead link]
  8. ^ San Diego's Fifty One Inc (Mckinnon Broadcasting) profile @ Manta.com
  9. ^ Franchise Tax Certification of Account Status for San Diego's Fifty-One, Inc., Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts - State of Texas
  10. ^ Broadcast Briefs, U-T San Diego, July 4, 2001.
  11. ^ Spanish-language radio station ranks second in S.D. County, U-T San Diego, January 26, 2005.
  12. ^ KUSI Good Morning San Diego Open

External links[edit]