|Channels||Digital: 20 (UHF)|
Virtual: 25 (PSIP)
|Slogan||Your Hometown News|
|Affiliations||ABC (1993–present; dual primary 1990–1993)|
|Owner||Morgan Murphy Media |
(QueenB Television of Texas, LLC)
|KMOL-LD, KVCT, KUNU-LD, KQZY-LD, KXTS-LD, KVTX-LP|
First air date
|July 21, 1982|
Former channel number(s)
25 (UHF, 1982–2009)
15 (UHF, 2002–2020)
|HAAT||312 m (1,024 ft)|
Public license information
KAVU-TV, virtual channel 25 (UHF digital channel 20), is an ABC-affiliated television station licensed to Victoria, Texas, United States. Owned by Morgan Murphy Media, it is sister to five low-power stations, collectively known as the Victoria Television Group: NBC affiliate KMOL-LD (channel 17), Univision affiliate KUNU-LD (channel 21), Cozi TV affiliate KQZY-LD (channel 33), CBS affiliate KXTS-LD (channel 41), and Telemundo affiliate KVTX-LP (channel 45). Morgan Murphy Media also operates Fox affiliate KVCT (channel 19) under a local marketing agreement (LMA) with owner SagamoreHill Broadcasting. All of the stations share studios on North Navarro Street in Victoria and transmitter facilities on Farm to Market Road 236 west of the city.
Prior channel 25 permit and early years
In February 1969, the FCC granted a construction permit to John J. "Joe" Tibiletti, owner of radio station KTXN-FM, for a channel 25 television station—which applied for the KAVU-TV call letters. Tibiletti had pushed for the commission to assign a second channel to Victoria in 1963. Initially promising to operate a full-service station with possible network affiliation, Tibiletti sold the unbuilt construction permit to K-SIX Television, owners of Corpus Christi station KZTV, in 1971. The sale was never closed, and the commission dismissed Tibiletti's application for more time to build in 1974.
Interest around channel 25 arose again at the end of the 1970s. Two groups sought translators: Corpus Christi public television station KEDT and a husband and wife who proposed to rebroadcast KWEX-TV in San Antonio. By December 1980, however, an application for a new full-service television station on channel 25 had taken precedence, from Community Broadcasting of Coastal Bend, owned by the Constant family: Dr. George and his wife Ruth. This third filing snarled KEDT's plans to expand, even though the commission had granted a construction permit, because a grant of the Community Broadcasting application would bump KEDT's translator to another channel and created uncertainty around the investment; the South Texas Educational Broadcasting Council, owner of KEDT, sought to have channel 25 reserved for noncommercial use.
In September, the FCC awarded a construction permit to Community Broadcasting, which declared its intention to be on the air by July 4, 1982, preferably as a CBS affiliate. Selecting the call letters KAVU-TV, as had Tibiletti in 1969, the station signed an affiliation contract with NBC and began broadcasting July 21, 1982. The studios on Navarro Road, still used by the Victoria Television Group, had previously housed a Devereux Foundation school run by founder Dr. George Constant.
Bank ownership and consolidation with KVCT
Several years after launching, a dispute emerged affecting Community Broadcasting of Coastal Bend, rooted in a promissory note that was issued in March 1983 in order for new investors to buy into the station. In October 1987, the First Victoria National Bank sued channel 25, claiming that KAVU-TV investors had made false statements and misrepresentations in a suit they had filed against the bank two years prior. The station claimed the bank charged excessively high rates as part of its enforcement of what it called an illegal contract. Even as the litigation between KAVU-TV and the bank remained under a gag order, further issues arose when former general manager Richard Lee French, who owned 10.9 percent of the company, filed a challenge to its license renewal the next year. (The FCC denied the challenge, though French continued to contest several later actions.)
In a late July status report in the federal case, which included one of French's filings, First Victoria's planned course of action was revealed, significantly altering the television landscape in Victoria. In addition to KAVU-TV, the bank also held a corporate interest in the ownership of KVCT, its direct competitor; the bank planned to consolidate the two stations, sell KAVU-TV to Withers Broadcasting as the only commercial television station in the market, and convert KVCT into a noncommercially operated outlet. The judge in the federal case would find that the sale to the bank violated the settlement of the state suit; as a result, he also ordered KAVU-TV to pay $28,000 in unpaid royalties to ASCAP.
In December 1989, sale contracts for both stations were filed with the FCC. KAVU-TV and the station's real estate assets sold for approximately $1.52 million, while KVCT sold for $1.5 million. Approval of the transactions was delayed, as Withers could not retain both licenses and needed to find a buyer for KVCT; the deal was approved after striking a deal with Jerianne Medley of Friendswood in March 1990.
The Withers purchase and KVCT divestiture were completed in early July 1990; on July 5, all of KVCT's sales staff and most of its news team reported to work at KAVU, and two months later, channel 25 became a dual affiliate of NBC and ABC, as KVCT became an independent Christian station. It would retain this status until March 1993, when it became a sole ABC affiliate, citing the difficulties of scheduling two network lineups on one station.
Withers expanded its broadcasting holdings in the Victoria market when it took over the operations of KVCT, which had gone off the air for several months, under a local marketing agreement; the station reemerged in September 1994 as a Fox affiliate. The next year, it leased KTXN-FM, still owned by Tibiletti, and bought KNAL (1410 AM). Two years later, Withers acquired a pair of low-power television stations, on channels 27 and 59; one would offer Spanish-language programming.
Saga and Morgan Murphy
Saga Communications acquired KAVU-TV from Withers in 1998, making it the company's second television property after KOAM-TV in Joplin, Missouri. Channel 25 was sold, along with KNAL, for $11.875 million. Withers stated the only reason he sold was the cost of converting KAVU and KVCT to high definition television. The sale closed the next year, as Saga made a string of investments into the station and its local newscasts.
KAVU-TV was briefly carried in Corpus Christi in 2006 when Time Warner Cable entered into a retransmission consent dispute with that city's ABC affiliate, KIII-TV. The station was not aware of the change until relatives of station employees who lived in the market told them that they enjoyed watching the KAVU morning newscast that day.
Under Saga, the Victoria Television Group continued to expand its suite of channels, adding an NBC affiliate (currently KMOL-LD) in 2001 after convincing the network of the growth potential of the market; at the same time, KVTX-LP became the area's Telemundo affiliate. Aided by changes made by the FCC, they also launched digital signals in time to meet the federal deadline that had prompted Withers to sell. In 2011, KXTS-LD, previously carrying MyNetworkTV, relaunched as the market's first CBS affiliate, giving the group all four major network affiliations in the market, plus Univision and Telemundo. In that year, KAVU alone accounted for two-thirds of all revenue among stations in the Victoria market, and its 6 p.m. local newscast earned a 47 share—representing nearly half of all households.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP short name||Programming|
|25.1||720p||16:9||KAVU-HD||Main KAVU-TV programming / ABC|
|25.2||480i||KMOL-SD||Simulcast of KMOL-LD / NBC|
|25.3||KXTS-SD||Simulcast of KXTS-LD / CBS|
|25.4||This TV||This TV|
- "TV Station Bid Approved". Victoria Advocate. February 28, 1969. p. 1. Retrieved December 9, 2020.
- "Victorian Mum on Bid For UHF TV channel". Victoria Advocate. December 27, 1963. pp. 1, 10. Retrieved December 9, 2020.
- "Public Notice". Victoria Advocate. September 21, 1971. p. 15. Retrieved December 9, 2020.
- "Dismissed" (PDF). Broadcasting. September 2, 1974. p. 49. Retrieved December 9, 2020.
- "Programming Bids Submitted". Victoria Advocate. April 19, 1980. p. 7A. Retrieved December 9, 2020.
- "License for TV Station Asked by Third Group". Victoria Advocate. December 19, 1980. p. 5A. Retrieved December 9, 2020.
- "New TV Channel Awaiting Approval". Victoria Advocate. May 2, 1981. p. 2A. Retrieved December 9, 2020.
- "FCC Review Schedule Delay for TV Station". Victoria Advocate. May 8, 1981. p. 10A. Retrieved December 9, 2020.
- "New TV Station To Open in '82". Victoria Advocate. September 29, 1981. p. 5A. Retrieved December 9, 2020.
- "Television Station Becomes Affiliate". Victoria Advocate. May 21, 1982. p. 9A. Retrieved December 9, 2020.
- "Third TV Station Operating Here". Victoria Advocate. July 23, 1982. p. 5A. Retrieved December 9, 2020.
- KAVU-TV (2017). 25 @ 35 (Video). (Note: Ruth Constant calls it a "nursing home", which is not backed up by newspaper references.)
- "Devereux School Plans Early Summer Move". Victoria Advocate. April 10, 1960. p. 1. Retrieved December 10, 2020.
- "To TV Station Lawsuit: Stockholders Respond". Victoria Advocate. January 24, 1986. p. 5A. Retrieved December 10, 2020.
- "Cross-Action Filed by Local Bank". Victoria Advocate. October 18, 1987. p. 2A. Retrieved December 9, 2020.
- Brown, Don (July 6, 1988). "By Former General Manager: KAVU-TV License Challenged". Victoria Advocate. p. 1A. Retrieved December 9, 2020.
- "Plans for TV Station Sale Outlined to Judge". Victoria Advocate. August 4, 1989. p. 6A. Retrieved December 9, 2020.
- "Application Filed To Move KAVU License". Victoria Advocate. April 8, 1989. p. 7A. Retrieved December 9, 2020.
- "TV License Transfer Expected". Victoria Advocate. May 10, 1989. p. 7A. Retrieved December 9, 2020.
- "Judge Orders Payment for Use of Music". Victoria Advocate. August 16, 1989. p. 9A. Retrieved December 9, 2020.
- Brown, Don (December 2, 1989). "City TV Stations Await OK of Sale". Victoria Advocate. pp. 1A, 12A. Retrieved December 9, 2020.
- "Agreement Reached On TV Station Plan". Victoria Advocate. March 8, 1990. p. 6A. Retrieved December 9, 2020.
- "Station Sale Completed". Victoria Advocate. July 4, 1990. p. 5A. Retrieved December 9, 2020.
- "By TV Station: Changes Noted". Victoria Advocate. September 5, 1990. p. 7A. Retrieved December 9, 2020.
- "Victoria TV station drops NBC affiliation". March 9, 1993. p. 8A. Retrieved December 9, 2020.
- "Fox station hits airwaves". Victoria Advocate. September 11, 1994. p. 8B. Retrieved December 9, 2020.
- "Withers leases KTXN-FM". Victoria Advocate. May 13, 1995. p. 5B. Retrieved December 9, 2020.
- Moulder, Marsha (April 22, 1997). "Broadcasting firm outlines plans to buy 2 TV stations". Victoria Advocate. p. 5A. Retrieved December 9, 2020.
- "Saga doubles TV stable" (PDF). July 13, 1998. p. 13 (27). Retrieved December 9, 2020.
- "Dealing for Dollars" (PDF). Broadcasting & Cable. February 15, 1999. p. 36. Retrieved December 10, 2020.
- Jares, Andrea (July 9, 1998). "Michigan firm to purchase KAVU". Victoria Advocate. pp. 1A, 12A. Retrieved December 9, 2020.
- Overton, Melony (April 7, 1999). "New owners to upgrade TV stations". Victoria Advocate. p. 3A. Retrieved December 10, 2020.
- Doyle, Thomas (February 3, 2006). "Time Warner cable broadcasts KAVU in place of Corpus station". Victoria Advocate. p. 3A. Retrieved December 10, 2020.
- Castaneda, Katania (February 3, 2002). "Cox adds 2 TV channels". pp. 1C, 8C. Retrieved December 10, 2020.
- Gruszka, Mary C. (July 10, 2002). "Saga Meets the Deadline". TV Technology. Retrieved December 10, 2020.
- Malone, Michael (September 12, 2011). "Market Eye: CBS 'Boots' Up In Tiny Texas Market". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved December 10, 2020.
- Miller, Mark (May 10, 2017). "Morgan Murphy Buying 6 Saga Stations". TVNewsCheck. Retrieved December 10, 2020.
- RabbitEars TV Query for KAVU
- Official website
- KAVU in the FCC's TV station database
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on KAVU-TV
- RabbitEars TV Query for KAVU