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|El Paso, Texas/Las Cruces, New Mexico|
ABC 7 News
|Slogan||Where News Comes First|
|Channels||Digital: 7 (VHF)
Virtual: 7 (PSIP)
|Translators||K41KY-D 41 Las Cruces & Organ|
|Owner||News-Press & Gazette Company
(NPG of Texas, LP)
|First air date||September 1, 1956|
|Call letters' meaning||V-I-A is derived from the Roman numeral for 7 which represented former sister station KVII’s channel number in Amarillo. The A could also stand for ABC.|
|Former callsigns||KILT (1956-1957)
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
13 (VHF, 1956-1981)
7 (VHF, 1981-2009)
|Former affiliations||LATV (DT4) (to 2010)|
|Transmitter power||CH 7 32.4 kW
CH 17 263 kW
KVIA-TV is an ABC affiliate television station in El Paso, Texas. It broadcasts its digital signal on channel 7 and channel 17. It is owned by and was the flagship television station of the News-Press & Gazette Company of St. Joseph, Missouri before the company acquired KRDO-TV. Its transmitter is located in El Paso, and studios are located on Mesa Drive on the northwest side.
The station signed on the air on September 1, 1956 on channel 13, originally as KILT, and was owned by famous television and radio personality Gordon McLendon. It adopted the KELP-TV call sign in 1957. After short period of ownership, the McClendon Investment Corporation sold KILT to Joseph Harris and Norman Alexander in March 1957. The TV station became KELP-TV before the John B. Walton Jr. purchase in January 1966.
The KELP era
KELP-TV was the third station on in the growing El Paso area. Channel 4, KROD-TV (now KDBC-TV), signed on in late 1952 from a mountain top site at Comanche Peak. Channel 9, KTSM-TV, had a tall tower at a lower elevation in downtown El Paso. KELP-TV signed on from 4530 Delta Drive (also home of 920 KELP (AM) in central El Paso. KELP had studios and transmitters of each station at the site, which was leased from the City of El Paso. After KELP's 1956 debut, El Paso had only three English-speaking channels for the next 22 years, until the debut of KCOS-TV in 1978 and KCIK-TV (now KFOX) in 1979.
The station's original site amounted to a landfill next to a sewer, so over the years the studio land subsided, and the floors became uneven (cameras had to be chocked in place, and could come loose and run to end of cables or slam into walls, or trip over cables) and outside walls developed gaps through which studio light shone out, and landfill/sewer insects would fly in). Anchors needed to lean with the sets and cameras so that they looked upright on camera. Power was 28,000 watts on a 350-foot tower (putting the antenna only up about 110 feet above average terrain). During the same period, the station depended for its network transmissions on microwave signal sent from Los Angeles; on at least one occasion, an ice storm in Arizona caused a significant disruption in the station's network programming.
The transmitter of channel 13 was moved to the south end of Comanche Peak just above Scenic Drive in 1961. The studios moved to the west side of El Paso at the current Rio Bravo location in 1968.
Walton oversaw the move of KELP to its present location at 4140 Rio Bravo, off Executive Center on El Paso’s westside. During the 1960s and 1970s, KELP-TV was one of the few TV stations in the country with an outdoor swimming pool.
The old KELP-TV Channel 13 was home to the popular dance show Crosno's Hop, hosted by El Paso radio DJ Steve Crosno in the 1960s.
After being bought by Stanley Marsh 3 in February 1976, it changed its call sign to the current KVIA-TV in 1979. Then KVIA swapped channels with PBS member station KCOS on July 10, 1981, moving from channel 13 to channel 7. It is said that the move was made to compete better with KDBC and KTSM. In 1995, KVIA-TV was bought by its current owner, News-Press & Gazette.
Before satellites were widely used in US broadcast television, many smaller market network affiliates had to arrange their own network connections. KELP-TV leased mountain tops between Phoenix, AZ and El Paso. They picked up KTVK Phoenix (an ABC affiliate until the mid-1990s) and KGUN-TV Tucson, off air, and fed them over several hops of microwave relay towers, and landed back at the mountain top transmitter of KELP-TV. For a time, this required the transmitter operator at the site to switch between the studio feed and that of the incoming network feed. Later, the station added a backhaul link to get the network feed back to the studios. This then allowed the studio operator to preview network shows before putting them on KELP's air.
From 1976 until 1993, KVIA had a satellite station based in Carlsbad, New Mexico; KAVE-TV (channel 6), which carried a circle 6 logo, and in 1987 was renamed KVIO-TV to better identify it with the parent station. In 1993, KVIO was sold to Pulitzer Broadcasting, owner of KOAT-TV in Albuquerque, which changed its call letters to KOCT and made it a KOAT satellite; it was supplanted by a KOAT translator in 2012.
KVIA was also the first station in El Paso to introduce a computerized weather radar, implemented in 1979. The station also provided El Paso's first noon newscast, which began in 1976.
Beginning in 1993, Gary Warner and Estela Casas anchored the evening newscasts together, making them the market's longest-running anchor team in local television history. Their run ended at 10:50 PM on Wednesday, May 21, 2008, when Warner signed off for the last time following a special broadcast tribute. Warner was a part of KVIA/KELP since the mid-1970s; becoming the main co-anchor of Pro News in 1976 alongside Al Hinojos. Warner did leave KVIA in the late 1980s for a short stint at CNN, but returned to El Paso a few years later.
KVIA also uses a red version of the "circle 7 logo" as opposed to the more widely used blue version. The "red 7" is very similar in color, but not in shape, to the logos from Boston, MA's NBC affiliate WHDH and Miami, Florida's Fox affiliate WSVN. KVIA's slogan is "Where News Comes First".
On February 7, 2009, KVIA began broadcasting its news in high-definition, becoming the second TV station in El Paso to do so. KVIA-TV and XEPM-TV in Juarez share resources especially with violence in Juarez. On December 5, 2010, KVIA-TV began carrying Azteca América on DT4, moving LATV to KINT-TV 26.3 and KTFN 65.3.
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
|7.1||main KVIA-TV/ ABC programming|
|7.3||StormTrack 24/7 Weather|
On June 12, 2009 at 12:30 P.M. MDT, KVIA-TV completed the analog television shutdown and digital conversion. Also, KVIA moved its digital broadcasts from 17 to its former analog channel number, 7. on July 23, 2009 KVIA was given Special Temporary Authority by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to also operate on Digital Channel 17, because of reports of reception problems on digital channel 7. KVIA has filed a petition to the FCC to remain on channel 17 permanently.
- KILT News (1956–1957)
- KELP-TV News (1957–1973)
- Eyewitness News (1973–1976)
- Pro News 7 (13) (1976–1989)
- News 7 (1989–1993)
- 7 News (1993–1998)
- ABC 7 News (1998–present)
- Better Together (mid-1980s–1993; general slogan)
- The News Leader (late 1980s–1993; news slogan)
- 7 Together (late 1980s-1993; general slogan)
- It Must Be KVIA/If It's KVIA, It Must Be ABC (1992–1993; local version of ABC ad campaign)
- The News Station (1993–1998)
- Always 1st (1997-1999)
- Where News Comes First (1998–present)
News music packages
- Spirit Of Texas by TM Productions (1985–1992)
- KVIA News Theme by Unknown Composer (1992–1998)
- ABC News Affiliate Music Packages by Score Productions (1998–2009)
- High Velocity (V.2) by 615 Music (2009–present)
Former on-air staff
KVIA clears ABC's entire schedule.
On April 20, 2007, Time Warner cable began broadcasting The CW on cable channel 13 from KVIA digital television 7.2.
- "A History of ABC 7". KVIA.com. January 20, 2006.
- KVIA Website
- KVIA-DT2 "El Paso/Las Cruces CW"
- Query the FCC's TV station database for KVIA-TV
- Query the FCC's TV station database for K41KY-D
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on KVIA-TV