|Channels||Digital: 10 (VHF)|
|Branding||NewsChannel 10 (general/newscasts)|
NewsChannel 10 Too (on DT2)
Telemundo Amarillo (on DT3)
MeTV Amarillo (on DT4)
|Owner||Gray Television |
(Gray Television Licensee, LLC)
First air date
|April 4, 1953|
Former channel number(s)
10 (VHF, 1953–2009)
9 (VHF, 2001–2009)
DT3: UPN (2002–2006)
DT4: LATV (2007–2011)
Local news/weather (2011–2018)
|HAAT||466 m (1,529 ft)|
Public license information
KFDA-TV, virtual and VHF digital channel 10, is a CBS-affiliated television station licensed to Amarillo, Texas, United States. The station is owned by Gray Television, as part of a duopoly with Borger-licensed Telemundo affiliate KEYU (channel 31). The two stations share studios on Broadway Drive (just south of West Cherry Avenue) in northern Amarillo, where KFDA's transmitter is also located. On cable, the station is available on Suddenlink Communications channel 12 in Amarillo, and on channel 10 on other providers in outlying areas of the market.
On July 3, 1952, the Amarillo Broadcasting Company – a consortium led by radio station owners Wendell Mayes, oil, gas and publishing interest holder C. C. Woodson, Charles B. Jordan (vice president and assistant general manager of the Texas State Network), and Gene L. Cagle (Texas State Network president and general manager) – filed an application with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to obtain a license and construction permit to operate a commercial television station on VHF channel 10. The FCC awarded the license and permit for channel 10 to the Amarillo Broadcasting Company on October 8, 1952; the group subsequently requested and received approval to assign KFDA-TV as the television station's call letters, using the base callsign that had been used by its existing radio station on KFDA (1440 AM, now KPUR) since it signed on in March 1939.
The station first signed on the air on April 4, 1953; it was the second television station to sign on in the Amarillo market, debuting two weeks after NBC affiliate KGNC-TV (channel 4, now KAMR-TV) launched as the market's first television station on March 18. Channel 10 has been an CBS television affiliate since its debut; however, it also initially carried programming from ABC, inheriting those rights through KFDA radio's longtime relationship with the television network's progenitor ABC Radio, which had been affiliated with that station since 1943 (as the post-NBC-split Blue Network).
In January 1954, the Texas State Network (TSN) – a broadcasting consortium owned by Sid W. Richardson (philanthropist and owner of, among other petroleum firms in the state, Fort Worth-based Sid W. Richardson Inc. and Richardson and Bass Oil Producers), media executive Gene L. Cagle, mineral rights firm owner R. K. Hanger, company president Charles B. Jordan and D. C. Homburg – acquired a 75% controlling stake in KFDA-AM-TV from the original stockholders for $525,000, with Jordan retaining his existing 25% interest. KFDA disaffiliated from ABC shortly before KVII-TV (channel 7) signed on as an affiliate of that network on December 21, 1957, with the station remaining an exclusive CBS affiliate. In January 1958, Jordan divested his stake in KFDA-TV to TSN/Amarillo Broadcasting in exchange for full ownership of KFDA radio through his firm, the Lone Star Broadcasting Company. Despite this separation of ownership, the KFDA television and radio stations continued to share a base call sign until 1966, when the radio station changed its call letters to KPUR, in order to comply with a since-repealed FCC rule that prohibited separately owned television and radio stations that were based in the same media market from sharing the same call letters.
In an effort to expand its viewing area, KFDA-TV launched a network of UHF translators to serve areas of the Texas Panhandle that were not covered by its main signal. KFDA's parent companies during the timeframe also acquired two standalone network affiliates during the mid-1960s for conversion into satellite stations to reach areas where its primary signal was impaired by some of the rugged terrain within the Panhandle. The station was all but unviewable in Clovis, Portales and surrounding areas of northeastern New Mexico as well as portions of the far eastern Texas Panhandle. Many viewers in those areas received CBS programming either via KGGM-TV (now KRQE-TV) in Albuquerque or KWTV in Oklahoma City. On September 11, 1963, the Texas State Network purchased primary CBS and secondary ABC affiliate KICA-TV (channel 12) in Clovis, New Mexico from Marshall Enterprises (owned by John H. Marshall Sr., John H. Marshall Jr., Lena V. Marshall and Carolyn A. Marshall) for $350,000; the sale was approved on January 22, 1964. TSN subsequently changed the Clovis station's call letters to KFDW-TV to match its new parent station.
The owner of KFDA-TV and its satellites changed its name from the Texas State Network to the Bass Broadcasting Company – by then, led by investor/philanthropist Perry R. Bass – in April 1965 (following TSN's sale of KFJZ-AM-FM in Fort Worth to a company that subsequently took on the Texas State Network name). The following year, in February 1966, the Bass family acquired a majority stake in the company from the Sid W. Richardson Foundation (a move that followed concerns from Congress and the Department of the Treasury regarding nonprofit foundations' business interests) and Gene Cagle (who gave up his interest in Bass in exchange for acquiring KRIO in McAllen from the company) for nearly $2.3 million. On July 1 of that year, Bass Broadcasting acquired CBS affiliate KSWB (channel 8) in Elk City, Oklahoma from Southwest Broadcasting Company (owned by Lonnie J. Preston and Alice H. Preston) for $275,000, including a non-compete agreement for Southwest Broadcasting worth $50,000. The sale, along with a concurrent renewal request for the KSWB license and proposed upgrades to its transmitter facility, received FCC approval on November 17, 1965. In September 1966, KSWB was converted into a KFDA satellite under the call letters KFDO-TV (which also had its city of license relocated to the nearby city of Sayre), to relay its programming into portions of western Oklahoma who could not adequately receive CBS programming from KWTV. (The KSWB call letters are currently used by a Fox-affiliated television station in San Diego, California.)
The Bass family decided to exit broadcasting in the mid-1970s to focus on their oil and gas exploration interests. In October 1975, Bass Broadcasting Co. sold KFDO-TV to Amarillo-based Marsh Media Ltd. – owned by entrepreneur and philanthropist Stanley Marsh 3, Tom F. Marsh, Michael C. Marsh and Estelle Marsh Wattlington – for $300,000; Marsh converted KFDO into a satellite station of KVII (under the new calls KVIJ-TV), and along with it, changing the satellite's affiliation from CBS to ABC, serving areas where reception of KOCO-TV in Oklahoma City was not efficient. (KVIJ ceased operations on December 2, 1992, citing the fact that the majority of ABC's viewership in west-central Oklahoma came via either reception of KOCO-TV or KSWO-TV in Lawton on local cable providers in that area.)
Transfer to Drewry
In May 1976, KFDA-TV was sold to the Panhandle Telecasting Company (originally known as Amarillo Telecasters, and under licensee to Midessa Television Inc.) – a partnership of Ray Herndon, majority owner of KMID-TV in Midland, and R.H. Drewry, owner of KSWO-TV in Lawton, Oklahoma – for $2.8 million; the sale was received FCC approval 3½ months later on August 20. The sale of KFDA did not include KFDW-TV, which was instead included in a sale of Bass's remaining stations to Mel Wheeler, Inc. a few months later in a $2.2-million deal. (After subsequent sales, KFDW would become KMCC-TV, a satellite of Lubbock ABC affiliate KAMC in 1979, and KVIH-TV, a satellite of KVII, in 1986; KVIH remains a KVII satellite to this day.) In October 1983, Drewry (through his Lawton Cablevision Inc. subsidiary) acquired majority control of KFDA for $3 million; the transaction received FCC approval on February 27, 1984.
On July 1, 2008, Drewry Communications Group announced its intention to sell its eleven television stations (as well as sister radio property KTXC in Lamesa) to the Dallas-based London Broadcasting Company—a company founded by Terry E. London, former CEO of Gaylord Entertainment, the previous year to acquire broadcast properties in small to mid-sized markets within Texas, beginning operations with the February 2008 purchase of CBS affiliate KYTX in Tyler—for $115 million. While the deal received approval by the FCC, London Broadcasting filed a notice of non-consummation to the FCC in January 2009, after company management decided to terminate the deal due to market uncertainties resulting from the Great Recession.
On February 23, 2011, KFDA became the first television station in the Amarillo market (and the West Texas region as a whole) to carry syndicated programming and advertisements inserted during local commercial breaks (including station and network promos) in high definition. The station upgraded its master control facilities to allow content not directly fed by CBS or produced in-house to be transmitted in HD.
Raycom ownership and sale to Gray
On August 10, 2015, Montgomery, Alabama-based Raycom Media announced that it would purchase Drewry Communications' eight television and two radio stations (which by then included Amarillo radio station KEYU-FM (102.9, now KVWE) for $160 million. The sale was completed on December 1; as result of the Raycom purchase, KFDA gained a new sister station in NBC affiliate KCBD in the adjacent Lubbock market (which Raycom has owned since it acquired Greenville, South Carolina-based Liberty Corporation's television broadcasting unit in 2006.).
On June 25, 2018, Atlanta-based Gray Television announced it had reached an agreement with Raycom to merge their respective broadcasting assets (consisting of Raycom's 63 existing owned-and/or-operated television stations, including KFDA-TV and KEYU as well as Lubbock sister station KCBD, and Gray's 93 television stations) under the former's corporate umbrella. The cash-and-stock merger transaction valued at $3.6 billion – in which Gray shareholders would acquire preferred stock currently held by Raycom – resulted in KFDA/KEYU gaining a new sister station in the Odessa–Midland market as Gray retained ownership of fellow CBS affiliate KOSA-TV in exchange for selling NBC affiliate KWES-TV (which was sold to Tegna Inc., along with CBS affiliate WTOL in Toledo, Ohio, to comply with FCC ownership rules prohibiting common ownership of two of the four highest-rated stations in a single market). The sale was approved on December 20, and was completed on January 2, 2019.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|10.1||1080i||16:9||KFDA-HD||Main KFDA-TV programming / CBS|
|10.2||480i||KZBZ||NewsChannel 10 Too|
|10.3||KEYU||Simulcast of KEYU / Telemundo|
KFDA-DT2 (branded as "NewsChannel 10 Too") is the independent-formatted second digital subchannel of KFDA-TV, broadcasting in 16:9 widescreen standard definition on virtual and VHF digital channel 10.2. On cable, KFDA-DT2 is available on Suddenlink Communications basic channel 6 and digital channel 106 in Amarillo. Syndicated programs broadcast on KFDA-DT2 include Maury, Family Feud, The Wendy Williams Show, Access Hollywood and TMZ on TV.
KFDA launched a digital subchannel on virtual channel 10.2 on September 16, 2002, to serve as a simulcast of low-power Telemundo affiliate KTMO-LP (channel 36, now defunct). On September 21, 2009, KFDA-DT2 converted into a simulcast of sister independent station KZBZ-LP (channel 46, later KTXC-LP) – which changed its branding to "NewsChannel 10 Too" as a brand extension to its parent outlet – in order to relay the analog low-power station's programming throughout the entire Amarillo market. KFDA-DT2 operates as an independent station due to the lack of standalone commercial stations in the market to support a primary-feed independent outlet. Along with syndicated programs acquired exclusively for KFDA-DT2 and second runs of syndicated shows seen on KFDA's main feed (consisting mainly of talk shows, game shows, drama series and newsmagazines), "NewsChannel 10 Too" also simulcasts select local newscasts seen on KFDA 10.1. After Drewry had the KTXC-LP license cancelled by the FCC on July 23, 2015, the "NewsChannel 10 Too" format became an exclusive subchannel-only transmission on virtual channel 10.2.
As the station's broadcasting radius (which covers a 55.2-mile-wide [88.8 km] area, compared to KFDA's 75.2-mile-wide [121.0 km] signal contour) does not reach the entire Amarillo market despite its full-power status, KFDA carries a simulcast of the Ion Television Feed of Telemundo-affiliated sister station KEYU on virtual and VHF digital channel 10.3 in order to relay channel 31's programming to portions of the Texas Panhandle that do not receive KEYU's signal adequately or at all. The KEYU simulcast currently transmits in 16:9 widescreen standard definition.
KFDA first launched a digital subchannel on virtual channel 10.3 on September 1, 2002, to serve as a simulcast of low-power UPN affiliate KZBZ-LP. The launch occurred two weeks prior to KZBZ assuming the UPN affiliation rights from KCPN-LP (channel 33). On September 21, 2009, in coincidence with the transfer of the KZBZ simulcast to KFDA-DT2, KTMO moved its full-power simulcast to virtual channel 10.3; the following year, the simulcast switched to that of the full-power KEYU, following Drewry's acquisition of that station from Equity Media Holdings.
KFDA-DT4 (branded as "MeTV Amarillo") is the MeTV-affiliated second digital subchannel of KFDA-TV, broadcasting in widescreen standard definition on VHF digital channel 10.4. On cable, KFDA-DT4 is available on Suddenlink Communications digital channel 127 in the Amarillo area. On April 23, 2007, under an agreement between the Spanish-primary bilingual network and Drewry Communications, KFDA-TV launched a digital subchannel on virtual channel 10.4 to serve as a charter affiliate of LATV.
On July 30, 2011, KFDA-DT4 converted into a 24-hour news format under the brand "NewsChannel 10 24/7," which carried simulcasts of KFDA's morning, midday and evening newscasts and, outside of live newscasts, aired pre-recorded weather updates in 15-minute intervals as well as loops of weather radar and satellite imagery, near-real-time video from one of the station's SkyCams, current conditions, and local and regional forecasts (accompanied by a ticker showing current conditions and short-term weather forecasts for cities within the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles and Eastern New Mexico). The service also carried a three-hour block of educational programming aimed at older children and teenagers on Saturday afternoons to fulfill subchannel compliance guidelines included in the Children's Television Act. (The LATV service moved to sister station KEYU's second digital subchannel.) On June 4, 2018, KFDA-DT4 became an affiliate of MeTV; as a result of the subchannel switching to the classic television network, the "NewsChannel 10 24/7" stream was moved exclusively to the station's website.
KFDA began transmitting a digital television signal on UHF channel 39 on September 1, 2002. It became the first television station in Amarillo to begin digital broadcasting operations upon sign-on of the digital channel as well as the first station in the market to simulcast programming content in high definition.
The station shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 10, on June 12, 2009, the official date in which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital television under federal mandate. The station's digital signal moved to its pre-transition VHF channel 10.
This section needs to be updated.(March 2021)
In addition to maintaining cable carriage within this area, KFDA-TV covers a large portion of the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles, northeastern New Mexico and far southwestern Kansas through a network of 19 UHF translators that distribute its programming beyond the 75.2-mile-wide (121.0 km) range corridor of its broadcast signal (all translators transmit on virtual channel 10):
KFDA-TV clears the entire CBS network schedule; however, the station carries some of the network's programs out of pattern. Due to its half-hour Saturday morning newscast, the CBS Dream Team block airs a half-hour later than on most CBS affiliates, and also airs over two days (the first 2½ hours of the block air on Saturdays and the remaining half-hour airs on Sunday mornings). Syndicated programs broadcast on KFDA-TV as of September 2018[update] include Dr. Phil, Inside Edition, and Jeopardy!; all of which are distributed by corporate cousin CBS Media Ventures. (Amarillo is one of a small number of U.S. television markets in which Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune are carried on separate stations: Wheel airs on ABC affiliate KVII-TV, which has carried the program locally since September 1984). Syndicated programs broadcast by KFDA-DT2 include Maury, Family Feud, and The Wendy Williams Show.
On September 10, 2018, the station began producing a local program called NewsChannel 10's 2nd Cup, which airs weekdays at 9:00 a.m.
Channel 10 served as the Amarillo market's "Love Network" affiliate for the Muscular Dystrophy Association's Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon for 39 years from September 1973 until September 2012. Because of the station's commitments to run CBS' entertainment and sports programming, KFDA usually aired the telethon on a three-hour tape delay following its 10:00 p.m. newscast on the Sunday preceding Labor Day. For the same reason, when the telethon was reduced to a six-hour prime time telecast on the Sunday before Labor Day in September 2011, the broadcast was transferred over to KFDA-DT2 to allow the main feed to fulfill its CBS programming commitments. (The broadcast—by then reduced to a two-hour special—moved to ABC in September 2013, airing thereafter by association on KVII-TV until the final telecast of the retitled MDA Show of Strength in August 2014.)
In 2020, KFDA-DT2 began producing a local morning talk show known as The Chat, which partners with radio station KGNC 710 AM which airs weekday mornings at 7:00 a.m. and also reruns weekday afternoons at 3:00 p.m.
Chicago Hope controversy
On October 14, 1999, KFDA preempted an episode of Chicago Hope in which Mark Harmon's character Jack McNeil says the word "shit" while amputating a boy's leg and replaced the show with local programming. The station's then vice president and general manager Mike Lee decided for the station to not to air the episode due to the curse word and later apologized to viewers for the network's poor choice, but not for the local decision to preempt.
This section needs expansion with: further details on the history of KFDA-TV's news operation. You can help by adding to it. (August 2018)
As of September 2017[update], KFDA-TV currently broadcasts 24½ hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 4½ hours each weekday and one hour each on Saturdays and Sundays). In addition, KFDA-DT2 broadcasts 12½ hours of locally produced newscasts each week: a morning newscast consisting of a combined second-hour simulcast and half-hour exclusive extension of the NewsChannel 10 Early Show, and a simulcast of the hour-long 6:00 p.m. newscast carried on the station's main feed. These air only on weekdays. The station may also simulcast long-form severe weather coverage on "NewsChannel 10 Too" in the event that a tornado warning is issued for any county within the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles as well as Eastern New Mexico.
On February 23, 2011, KFDA became the first television station in the Amarillo market to upgrade production and transmission of its local newscasts to high definition.
Notable former on-air staff
- Jim Reese - reporter (early 1950s; later Mayor of Odessa, deceased)
- Chris Hernandez – anchor/reporter (early 1990s; now marketing director at the Unicorn Theatre in Kansas City)
- Brian Wilson – reporter (later on WMAL in Washington, D.C.)
- Channel 10 digital TV stations in the United States
- Channel 10 virtual TV stations in the United States
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