|Branding||Fox 31 (Denver) (general)|
Fox 31 (Denver) News (newscasts)
|Slogan||We Are Fox 31 (Denver) (general)|
We're On It (newscasts)
|Channels||Digital: 36 (UHF)|
Virtual: 31 (PSIP)
|Translators||KFCT 22 Fort Collins|
|Owner||Nexstar Media Group|
|Licensee||Tribune Broadcasting Company II, LLC|
|First air date||August 10, 1983|
|Call sign meaning||K DenVeR|
|Former channel number(s)|
|Former affiliations||Independent (1983–1986)|
|Transmitter power||641 kW (STA)|
1,000 kW (CP)
|Height||261 m (856 ft) (STA)|
316 m (1,037 ft) (CP)
|Public license information||Profile|
|Fort Collins, Colorado|
|Channels||Digital: 21 (UHF)|
Virtual: 22 (PSIP)
|Owner||Nexstar Media Group|
|Licensee||Tribune Broadcasting Company II, LLC|
|First air date||September 1, 1994|
|Call sign meaning||Fort Collins Television|
|Former channel number(s)|
|Transmitter power||50 kW|
|Height||233 m (764 ft)|
|Public license information|
(satellite of KDVR) Profile
(satellite of KDVR) CDBS
KDVR, virtual channel 31 (UHF digital channel 36), is a Fox-affiliated television station licensed to Denver, Colorado, United States. The station is owned by Nexstar Media Group, as part of a duopoly with CW affiliate KWGN-TV (channel 2). The two stations share studios on East Speer Boulevard in Denver's Speer neighborhood (to the immediate south of the studios of ABC affiliate KMGH-TV, channel 7); KDVR's transmitter is located atop Lookout Mountain, near Golden. On cable, the station is available on Comcast Xfinity channel 13 and CenturyLink Prism channel 31.
KFCT (virtual channel 22, UHF digital channel 21) in Fort Collins operates as a full-time satellite of KDVR; this station's transmitter is located atop Horsetooth Mountain just outside the city. KFCT covers areas of northern Colorado, being that area's only full-power television station, that receive a marginal to non-existent signal from KDVR, though there is significant overlap between the coverage areas of both KDVR and KFCT's signals otherwise (including in Fort Collins proper and the nearby cities of Greeley, Windsor and Longmont). KFCT is a straight simulcast of KDVR; on-air references to KFCT are limited to Federal Communications Commission (FCC)-mandated hourly station identifications during newscasts and other programming. Aside from the transmitter, KFCT does not maintain any physical presence locally in Fort Collins.
The station first signed on the air on August 10, 1983. Founded by a local ownership group, KDVR was the first commercial television station to sign on in the Denver market since KCNC-TV (channel 4) debuted in December 1953, and was the first full-service UHF television station in the state of Colorado. The station originally operated from studio facilities located near 7th Avenue and Auraria Parkway.
Denver had a fairly long wait to receive a second independent station to compete with the longer-established KWGN (now a CW affiliate), especially for a market of its size. On paper, the market's population had been large enough to support two independents since the early 1960s. However, the Denver market is geographically one of the most expansive in the country, stretching across large and mountainous swaths of eastern Colorado, eastern Wyoming and western Nebraska. Denver's four major commercial stations, as well as PBS member KRMA-TV, operated extensive translator networks to cover the vast area, and the expense of building so many translators to extend a new station's signal to these areas scared off potential owners. Additionally, the only available allocations were on the UHF band, and UHF stations do not cover mountainous territory very well.
By the late 1970s, however, cable television—then as now, a must for acceptable television reception in some parts of the market, even in the digital era—had gained enough penetration to make a second independent viable. Also around this time, satellite television providers also began to upload Denver stations nationwide via C-band, allowing those stations to cover the entire market with less infrastructure and translators more confined to population centers than a traditional translator network would have required in the past.
TV Guide had listed a channel 31 in its Denver edition earlier in 1983 (as KX2AEG); however, this was a translator station rebroadcasting the Spanish International Network (now Univision). KDVR has never considered KX2AEG as part of its history. It was only in October 1990 that Univision finally gained a full-power affiliate of its own in Denver in KCEC (channel 50).
KDVR originally operated as a typical general entertainment independent station, running a lineup of cartoons, classic sitcoms, drama series, movies and religious programming. After KWGN turned down an offer to affiliate with the new Fox network prior to its launch in 1986, KDVR stepped in, and became a charter affiliate of Fox when it launched on October 9 of that year. KDVR eventually changed its on-air branding to "Fox 31" in the late 1980s. The station's original local owners sold KDVR to Chase Broadcasting in 1990; Chase subsequently merged with Renaissance Broadcasting in 1992.
On September 1, 1994, Renaissance signed on KFCT (channel 22) in Fort Collins (located 63.5 miles (102.2 km) north of Denver) to serve as a full-time satellite to improve KDVR's over-the-air coverage in northern portions of the market (expanding its coverage area north to the Wyoming border) that could not receive its signal. Prior to KFCT's sign-on, the UHF channel 22 allocation in Fort Collins had been occupied by DuMont affiliate KNCO, which signed on in 1954. That station was hampered by low viewership as only a small percentage of television sets in the area were even capable of receiving UHF stations since set manufacturers were not required to equip televisions with UHF tuners until the FCC passed the All-Channel Receiver Act in 1961, although UHF tuners were not included on all newer sets until 1964. In addition, the terrain of the area made matters even more difficult, as UHF station signals had poorer reception in very mountainous areas. As a result, KNCO shut down in 1956.
Fox Television Stations ownership
Renaissance sold KDVR and KFCT to Fox Television Stations for $70 million on November 15, 1994, in exchange for acquiring that network's owned-and-operated station in Dallas–Fort Worth, KDAF (which was set to lose Fox programming to that market's longtime CBS affiliate, KDFW, as a result of a ten-station affiliation deal with New World Communications); As part of a series of attempts to prevent News Corporation (the parent company of Fox at the time) from acquiring additional stations, NBC filed a request to the FCC to reject the trade, on the grounds that the company was in violation of foreign ownership rules (which prohibit a foreign-owned company from maintaining more than a 25% interest in a U.S. television station).
However, the deal was approved by the FCC and subsequently finalized on July 3, 1995, effectively making channel 31 a Fox owned-and-operated station and the second O&O of a major English language network in the Denver market (KCNC had been owned by NBC from 1986, when the station's owner General Electric added it to NBC's owned-and-operated stations division, until September 9, 1995, when it was traded to CBS along with KUTV in Salt Lake City (which was acquired by NBC the year before) as part of a multi-station trade deal that also involved WCAU and KYW-TV in Philadelphia and the transmitter facilities of WCIX (now WFOR-TV) and WTVJ in Miami due to a multi-part affiliation deal between the network and KYW-TV's then-parent Westinghouse Electric Corporation, thru its broadcasting division Group W, which was resulted in all three companies' owned stations becoming CBS affiliates).
The deal with New World that spurred Fox's trade of KDAF with KDVR would play a factor in the Denver market on September 10, 1995, when CBS affiliate KMGH-TV (channel 7) switched to ABC, NBC affiliate KCNC-TV took over the CBS affiliation, and ABC affiliate KUSA-TV (channel 9) switched to NBC; with the sale to Fox being finalized on July 3, 1995, KDVR was not affected by the switches (it is currently the only television station in the Denver market to have never changed its network affiliation). Fox never intended to hold on to KDVR for long; it initially planned to divest the station to Qwest Broadcasting (a company backed by Quincy Jones and Tribune Broadcasting) and move its affiliation to KWGN. In turn, KDVR would have inherited KWGN's WB affiliation. However, this deal never came to fruition. After becoming a Fox-owned station, KDVR added first-run talk and reality shows to its daytime schedule, while continuing to carry sitcoms during the evening and late night hours. In September 2006, KDVR, along with other Fox-owned stations, had their websites migrated to the MyFox platform, featuring expanded multimedia and social networking features.
Local TV and Tribune ownership
On December 22, 2007, Fox Television Stations entered into an agreement to sell KDVR and seven other Fox owned-and-operated stations to Local TV (a holding company operated by private equity firm Oak Hill Capital Partners), adding to the nine stations that the group had acquired in May of that same year when it bought the broadcasting division of The New York Times Company. The sale was finalized on July 14, 2008. On September 17, 2008, Tribune Broadcasting announced that Local TV would begin managing KWGN under a local marketing agreement and consolidate its operations with KDVR effective October 1, as a result of the formation of a "broadcast management company" that was created to provide management services to stations owned by both Tribune and Local TV. KWGN vacated its longtime studios in Greenwood Village and consolidated its operations with KDVR at its Speer Boulevard facility. As part of the Local TV-Tribune partnership, on January 22, 2009, KDVR's website switched from the MyFox platform to a website platform managed by Tribune Interactive. Tribune bought KDVR outright on July 1, 2013, as part of its $2.75 billion acquisition of Local TV; the sale was finalized on December 27, forming a legal duopoly between KDVR and KWGN.
Aborted sale to Sinclair; sale to Nexstar
On May 8, 2017, Sinclair Broadcast Group announced that it would acquire Tribune Media for $3.9 billion, plus the assumption of $2.7 billion in debt held by Tribune, pending regulatory approval by the FCC and the U.S. Department of Justice's Antitrust Division. On December 15, 2017, it was speculated that Sinclair would then resell KDVR back to Fox Television Stations. On April 24, 2018, Sinclair announced that KDVR would be one of 23 stations sold to obtain approval for the merger, though it was one of seven stations for which a buyer was not disclosed. On May 9, 2018, it was officially confirmed that Fox Television Stations would indeed buy back KDVR, as part of a $910-million deal that also involved six other Tribune-owned stations (Fox affiliates KTXL, KCPQ/Seattle, KSWB-TV/San Diego, WJW/Cleveland and KSTU/Salt Lake City, and CW affiliate WSFL-TV/Miami).
Three weeks after the FCC's July 18 vote to have the deal reviewed by an administrative law judge amid "serious concerns" about Sinclair's forthrightness in its applications to sell certain conflict properties, on August 9, 2018, Tribune announced it would terminate the Sinclair deal, intending to seek other M&A opportunities. Tribune also filed a breach of contract lawsuit in the Delaware Chancery Court, alleging that Sinclair engaged in protracted negotiations with the FCC and the U.S. Department of Justice's Antitrust Division over regulatory issues, refused to sell stations in markets where it already had properties, and proposed divestitures to parties with ties to Sinclair executive chair David D. Smith that were rejected or highly subject to rejection to maintain control over stations it was required to sell. The termination of the Sinclair sale agreement places uncertainty for the future of Fox's purchases of KSTU and the other six Tribune stations included in that deal, which were predicated on the closure of the Sinclair–Tribune merger.
On December 3, 2018, Irving, Texas-based Nexstar Media Group announced it would acquire the assets of Tribune Media for $6.4 billion in cash and debt. The deal—which would make Nexstar the largest television station operator by total number of stations upon its expected closure late in the third quarter of 2019—would put KDVR and KWGN-TV under common ownership with Nexstar's existing properties in Colorado Springs–Pueblo (Fox affiliate KXRM-TV and CW affiliate KXTU-LD and Grand Junction, MyNetworkTV affiliate KGJT-CD and CBS affiliate KREX-TV as well as its Montrose-based satellite KREY). .
Through all of these changes, KDVR has remained the only Denver television station to never change its affiliation, having always been a Fox affiliate since the network's launch.
The stations' digital signals are multiplexed:
(KDVR / KFCT)
|Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|31.1 / 22.1||720p||16:9||KDVR DT||Main KDVR programming / Fox|
|31.2 / 22.2||480i||4:3||Antenna||Antenna TV|
|31.3 / 22.3||KDVR-TBD||TBD|
KDVR became a charter affiliate of Antenna TV upon the network's launch on January 1, 2011, it is carried on digital subchannel 31.2. Local TV-owned KDVR was given the Antenna TV affiliation in the Denver market despite the fact that the network's corporate parent, the Tribune Company, owns KDVR's sister station KWGN-TV.
On December 7, 2017, TBD was added as KDVR and KFCT launched a third subchannel.
KDVR shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 31, 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 32. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 31. On April 28, 2020 KVDR switched broadcast channels to UHF 36 from 32 as part of the FCC Repack, retaining the same PSIP information and virtual channel numbers.
KDVR clears the entire Fox network schedule (nightly prime time, Saturday late night, and Fox Sports programming, along with the network's Saturday morning infomercial block, Weekend Marketplace and the political talk show Fox News Sunday). Syndicated programs broadcast by KDVR include Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy!, Live with Kelly and Ryan, Judge Judy and The Simpsons (which also airs first run episodes). In addition, the station produces Everyday, an hour-long lifestyle program which originated as an afternoon program on sister station KWGN in 2008 as Everyday with Libby and Natalie (then hosted by evening anchor Libby Weaver and reporter Natalie Tysdal); the program moved to KDVR on March 1, 2010, effectively moving to late mornings with the move.
On August 7, 2014, KDVR entered into a partnership with the Denver Broncos to broadcast head coach John Fox's weekly analysis show (which had been airing on KMGH-TV as The John Fox Show since 2012); the program, which moved to KDVR under the new title Fox on Fox on September 5 (preempting the second half-hour of the 9:00 p.m. newscast on Fridays), is hosted by sports director Nick Griffith.
In late August 2014, KDVR acquired the Sony game shows Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune to premiere on September 8 of that year after they moved from their longtime home of KMGH due to Scripps (KMGH's owner) continually removing the shows from their stations throughout the country for lower-cost internally produced programming and local newscasts. The two game shows displaced the longtime hour of The Simpsons leading into prime time to after KDVR's 10 p.m. news.
KDVR is one of the eight Fox affiliates in the United States to air both Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune; the others are in Baltimore; Syracuse, New York; Cincinnati; Green Bay, Wisconsin; New Orleans; Lake Charles, Louisiana and Mobile, Alabama.
Since 1994, with the startup of Fox's own sports division, KDVR has been involved in the Denver pro sports teams through Fox Sports. KDVR is given at least two games to be aired ( when an NFC team plays at Empower Field at Mile High; starting in 2014, with the institution of the NFL's "cross-flex" rules, games that involve the Broncos either playing another AFC opponent or an NFC team at home can be arbitrarily moved from KCNC to KDVR, and since 2018, via Fox's exclusive contract, all Thursday Night Football games air on KDVR. The station aired the Broncos' second Super Bowl championship in Super Bowl XXXIII.
Since 1996, through Fox's MLB broadcast contract, select Colorado Rockies games have aired on KDVR, in addition, when Fox held the NHL over-the-air broadcast contract from 1995 to 1999, games involving the Colorado Avalanche were also televised on KDVR.
KDVR presently broadcasts 51½ hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 8½ hours each weekday and 4½ hours each on Saturdays and Sundays).
In early 2000, KDVR began plans to produce a prime time newscast to compete with KWGN's longer-established 9:00 p.m. newscast. The station built a "news and technology center" at 100 East Speer Boulevard (near downtown Denver), to house the new news department; KDVR moved its operations into the building on April 15, 2000. The news department launched three months later on July 16, with the premiere of Fox 31 News at 9 O'Clock; as a result, KDVR became the last Fox-owned station to begin producing local newscasts (until WJZY in Charlotte, North Carolina, which Fox had acquired in April 2013, launched its news operation in January 2014). The program was originally anchored by Ron Zappolo (who previously served as a sports anchor at KCNC and KUSA) and Libby Weaver (who joined the station from WMAQ-TV in Chicago and had formerly hosted the syndicated entertainment news program Extra), who both served as lead anchors for the newscast from its inception until Weaver's departure in 2012.
KDVR expanded news programming to mornings on March 22, 2004, with the debut of Good Day Colorado, which was created to compete with KWGN's weekday morning newscast, WB2 Morning News (now titled Daybreak). Initially a 2½-hour newscast beginning at 5:30 a.m., Good Day expanded over time into a four-hour block beginning at 5:00 a.m. In January 2005, KDVR began producing a 5:00 p.m. newscast on Saturday evenings; this was later followed by the launch of a half-hour 5:30 p.m. newscast on weekdays in September 2008.
After entering into the local marketing agreement, major changes were made to KDVR and KWGN's news programming to benefit both stations as best as possible. While it does hinder both stations, KDVR and KWGN each produce weekday morning newscasts that run concurrently from 5:00 to 9:00 a.m. Besides competing with KWGN, the final two hours of the newscast also compete with the KUSA-produced weekday morning newscast on KTVD. KWGN discontinued its 5:30 p.m. newscast on January 12, 2009, while KDVR pushed back its early evening newscast to 5:00 p.m. and expanded it to an hour. Two months later on March 30, KWGN moved its prime time newscast two hours earlier to 7:00 p.m. (an unusual timeslot for a network-affiliated station in the Mountain Time Zone) to avoid competition with KDVR's 9:00 p.m. newscast and scaled back the program to weekdays only, leaving a KUSA-produced prime time newscast on KTVD as KDVR's only news competition in the latter slot. There is a considerable amount of sharing between KDVR and KWGN in regards to news coverage, video footage and the use of reporters; though both outlets maintain their own primary on-air personalities (such as news anchors and meteorologists) that only appear on one station; several KWGN on-air staffers that remained with the station after the LMA was formed joined KDVR's news staff with the consolidation of news departments, with most of KDVR's news staff appearing on KWGN's newscasts as well. On June 28, 2010, KDVR added a half-hour 10:00 p.m. newscast titled Fox 31 Nightside, which focuses on more hard-hitting stories than the local news programs seen on the other major network affiliates during the same timeslot.
During breaking news coverage of the fatal crash of a news helicopter rented by KOMO-TV in Seattle on March 18, 2014, the station briefly aired a Twitpic image of an adult penis sticking out from unzipped pants (immediately following images of Johnny Depp as Edward Scissorhands, and a baked food dish) as Good Day Colorado co-anchor Kurt Yuhnke searched for user-submitted pictures from the crash's aftermath on social media during the segment; some of the four anchors could be heard gasping, as master control operators quickly tossed back to the studio while Yuhnke switched to a photo from the crash site. In a statement apologizing for the incident, KDVR/KWGN news director Ed Kosowski clarified that the photo "did not come from the tablet" being used by Yuhnke and stated that the station would be "taking immediate steps to prevent such an accident from happening again." On June 1, 2014, KDVR debuted #COpolitics – From the Source, an unconventionally formatted Sunday morning political discussion program that is taped at The Source food market in Denver.
Notable former on-air staff
- Crystal Egger – Good Day Colorado meteorologist (2006–2010; later at The Weather Channel, last at KNBC in Los Angeles)
- Phil Keating – weekend anchor-reporter (2000–2004; now at Fox News Channel)
- Tom Martino – "Troubleshooter" consumer reporter and host of Martino TV (2000–2011, now radio host on KHOW (630 AM); Martino filed a federal discrimination lawsuit against KDVR in 2013, alleging that the station refused to renew his contract in September 2011 after he announced that he was filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection; the suit was settled in June 2014)
- David Treadwell – sports director (2000–2005)
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