|Slogan||KHOU Stands for Houston|
Digital: 11 (VHF)|
Virtual: 11 (PSIP)
|First air date||March 23, 1953|
|Call letters' meaning||
HOU = IATA airport code for William P. Hobby Airport
|Former channel number(s)||
|Transmitter power||25 kW|
|Height||593 m (1,946 ft)|
|Public license information:||
KHOU, virtual and VHF digital channel 11, is a CBS-affiliated television station licensed to Houston, Texas, United States. The station is owned by Tegna, Inc. KHOU's transmitter is located near Missouri City, in unincorporated northeastern Fort Bend County.
KHOU currently shares studio facilities with PBS member station KUHT (channel 8) at the LeRoy and Lucile Melcher Center for Public Broadcasting on the campus of the University of Houston; master control is based at the studios of Tegna sister station and ABC affiliate WFAA in Dallas. From April 24, 1960 to August 27, 2017 , the station's studios and offices were located at 1945 Allen Parkway, along Buffalo Bayou in the Neartown neighborhood (near Downtown Houston), until floodwaters from Buffalo Bayou inundated the studios during Hurricane Harvey.
During the 2016–17 television season, KHOU became the second-largest (after sister station and Tegna flagship, WUSA in Washington, D.C.) CBS affiliate (not owned by the network) station by market size, after passing Atlanta.
The station first signed on the air on March 23, 1953 as KGUL-TV (either GULF of Mexico or seaGULL). It was founded by Paul Taft of the Taft Broadcasting Co. (no relation to the Cincinnati-based Taft Broadcasting Company). Originally licensed to Galveston, it was the second television station to debut in the Houston market (after KPRC-TV, channel 2), taking the secondary CBS affiliation from KPRC-TV as the network's new primary affiliate, and has stayed aligned with the network ever since. One of the original investors in the station was actor James Stewart, along with a small group of other Galveston investors. The studio was located at 2002 45th Street in Galveston.
In 1956, the original owners sold the station to the Indianapolis-based Whitney Corporation (later Corinthian Broadcasting), which became a subsidiary of Dun & Bradstreet in 1971. In June 1959, the station changed its callsign to KHOU-TV (the "-TV" suffix was dropped from the call letters the week following the June 12, 2009 digital transition, as most Belo stations did at the time) and had its city of license relocated to Houston. The FCC license listed both the Houston and Galveston service areas for a time. On April 24, 1960, the station moved to its first Houston facilities at 1945 Allen Parkway, located just west of downtown.
In 1984, Dun & Bradstreet sold its entire broadcasting division, including KHOU, to the Belo Corporation, who spun off its Beaumont station, KFDM-TV (channel 6) in order to comply with FCC regulations at the time that prevented one company from owning overlapping signals; both stations had overlapping Grade B signals in the vicinity of Liberty County (east of Houston).
Known for its ownership of The Dallas Morning News and its flagship TV station in its home city of Dallas, WFAA (historically one of ABC's strongest affiliates and a local news powerhouse in that city), Belo began to make significant investments into KHOU, which had become one of CBS's weakest affiliates during the 1980s under the final years of Dun & Bradstreet ownership. With the addition of stronger syndicated programming including the popular game shows Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! (both of which were picked up from KPRC-TV) and The Oprah Winfrey Show (which KTRK-TV turned down), the revamping of its news department, and the carrying over of its Dallas flagship's popular branding, The Spirit of Texas, KHOU began to challenge KTRK and KPRC in the local ratings, and eventually became one of CBS's strongest affiliates by the 1990s. In 1998, KHOU became the first television station in the market to begin broadcasting a high-definition digital signal.
The KHOU studios were flooded during Tropical Storm Allison in 2001, resulting in damage to much of the station's offices, including its newsroom. The damage was so severe that the station had to cease regular programming and instead broadcast a West Coast feed of the Late Show with David Letterman, followed by a feed from the station's doppler radar for roughly 90 minutes.
During Hurricane Ike, which hit the Texas Gulf Coast in mid-September 2008, KHOU's storm coverage was distributed nationwide via DirecTV and XM Satellite Radio, as well as through a live feed on the station's website. On June 13, 2013, the Gannett Company announced that it would acquire Belo for $1.5 billion. The sale was completed on December 23.
On June 29, 2015, the Gannett Company split in two, with one side specializing in print media and the other side specializing in broadcast and digital media. KHOU was retained by the latter company, named Tegna.
Effects of Hurricane Harvey and studio relocation
On August 21, 2017, KHOU began covering Hurricane Harvey as the storm was projected to hit the Texas Gulf Coast with extensive rainfall expected in the Greater Houston area. The station began wall-to-wall coverage on August 25, 2017 with extensive coverage of the storm's landfall in Rockport (near Corpus Christi). While initial coverage focused on storm damage and cleanup in parts of KHOU's viewing area, by the following Saturday, August 26th, massive and continuous rain bands from the Gulf of Mexico led to catastrophic flooding throughout the metropolitan area, with much of the flooding being unprecedented in many places.
On the early morning of Sunday, August 27th, KHOU was forced to evacuate its studios due to rising floodwaters from the nearby Buffalo Bayou. Around 6 a.m., the first floor of the building became inundated with floodwaters, forcing station employees to completely abandon its facility nearly three hours later after a move to a second floor conference room proved to only be a short-term option, though critical equipment (such as the studio's robotic cameras) was also moved up to the second floor before the flooding became worse. The station's brand-new news set, which had debut in November 2016, weather center, newsroom and master control were destroyed by the floodwaters, which rose up to five feet within the building. Additionally, the station's over the air signal, including its CBS and diginet feeds, were knocked off the air as computers and other equipment became submerged by floodwaters, with staff relegated to providing updates on social media.
After KHOU's signal was knocked off the air, sister station WFAA began providing live news coverage for KHOU by live-streaming on both station's websites and social media profiles until the station was able to resume broadcasting on its own. The station's staff then evacuated to the nearby Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas Houston Branch building on higher ground while a new contingency plan was drafted.
With the assistance of PBS member station KUHT and master control from WFAA, KHOU eventually resumed live broadcasting later that night from temporary facilities at the LeRoy and Lucile Melcher Center for Public Broadcasting on the campus of the University of Houston. At various times, WFAA, along with Tegna NBC affiliate KUSA in Denver, provided assistance with weather graphics and master control. Due to technical difficulties, WFAA originated the August 27, 2017 edition of the 10 p.m. news that was simulcasted in both cities. Eventually a reliable signal was established an hour later from the Melcher Center and storm coverage continued. KHOU is the third commercial station in Houston to utilize a part of the UH campus for its facilities, after ill-fated KNUZ-TV (channel 39) from 1953 to 1954 and KTRK-TV (channel 13) from its 1954 launch until its 1961 move to its current studios in the Upper Kirby district.
On the evening of August 31, the station resumed CBS programming with its primetime lineup. For the first month, the station only broadcast its main HD channel while its two subchannels (at the time Bounce TV and Justice Network) remained shut down. The following week, on September 4, KHOU began to reuse parts of its previous 2011–2016 news set in the temporary studio. On October 4, the subchannels returned as widescreen SD simulcasts of the main channel in preparation for the eventual return of the diginets, which would finally return on October 12. Around the same time, the station's on-air look returned to normal with full news and weather graphics restored and program guide listings on the terrestrial signal. Currently, the station continues to originate broadcasts from the Melcher Center studios.
On November 16, 2017, KHOU officially announced it would not return to the Allen Parkway facility; the building would eventually be sold to an affiliate of Service Corporation International (whose headquarters are located in an office building adjacent to the former KHOU studios) and was eventually demolished the following May. In December 2017, KHOU announced that it would open a secondary street-side studio at the George R. Brown Convention Center along Avenida Houston, which will primarily be used for morning and daytime newscasts. This is similar to Dallas sister station WFAA's Victory Park studio, which opened a decade earlier in January 2007.
On March 29, 2018, KHOU announced that it had signed a lease for 43,000 square feet (3,995 m2) of space at 5718 Westheimer Road near the Galleria district. The station will occupy three floors of the high-rise that will include two studios, two control rooms, an open collaboration space for all content producing departments, technical operations, sales and executive offices. Occupancy is anticipated in early 2019.
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|11.1||1080i||16:9||KHOU-DT||Main KHOU programming / CBS|
On September 26, 2011, KHOU began broadcasting Bounce TV on its second digital subchannel upon the network's launch. The station had previously signed on to carry the .2 Network on one of its digital subchannels, although .2 Network never debuted. In 2015, the station began carrying programming from the Justice Network on its third digital subchannel. Quest was added to the fourth digital subchannel on January 16, 2018.
KHOU discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over VHF channel 11, on the morning of June 12, 2009, as part of the federally mandated transition from analog to digital television. The station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 31 to VHF channel 11 for post-transition operations.
Since its inception, KHOU has been a CBS affiliate, and has largely cleared the entire CBS network lineup without interruption. In addition to its newscasts, KHOU also airs Great Day Houston, a local talk show hosted by Deborah Duncan with paid segments from local businesses in Houston, following CBS This Morning. The talk show, which has aired on the station since 2005, is taped at KHOU's Neartown studios with occasional tapings in The Woodlands (a northern suburb of Houston) at the Market Street shopping plaza. Outside of local programming, KHOU's syndicated offerings include The Ellen DeGeneres Show, reruns of Hot in Cleveland, and Wheel of Fortune.
Despite being in a market with an ABC-owned station (KTRK-TV), Jeopardy! aired on KHOU from 1986 to 2015 and Wheel of Fortune has aired on KHOU since 1986 despite their presence on ABC's other network-owned stations along with another ABC O&O syndication staple, The Oprah Winfrey Show, which KHOU carried for its entire run from 1986 to 2011. Jeopardy! moved to KTRK on September 14, 2015, making it the last ABC-owned station to carry the quiz show. However, KHOU continues to carry Wheel of Fortune at 6:30 p.m., making Houston one of the largest (if not the largest) television markets in the United States where both game shows air on separate stations; in most markets, both game shows are sold as a package, often airing next to one another on the same station in prime time access.
Like most CBS affiliates prior to 1993, KHOU often carried syndicated programming in late night following its 10 p.m. newscast. Beginning in 1993, KHOU (like most CBS affiliates) began carrying the Late Show (then hosted by David Letterman) at 11:05 p.m. CT, eventually moving it to immediately following its 10 p.m. newscast (at 10:35 p.m. CT) by 1995. However, prior to 2015 the station always aired The Late Late Show on a 30-minute delay (to 12:07 a.m. CT) ever since the show first premiered in 1995, fitting a syndicated sitcom (as of 2015, the aforementioned Hot in Cleveland), game show or tabloid news program between the two shows. Because the latter program's original host, Tom Snyder, had a simulcast with the CBS Radio Network and took calls from viewers during his stint as host, KHOU asked via disclaimer for Houston area viewers to not call the toll-free call-in number due to the tape-delay. However, on September 8, 2015, it began airing The Late Late Show at its network-approved time (11:37 p.m. CT) following Stephen Colbert's debut as host of The Late Show.
In 2002, the Houston Texans joined the NFL as the league's 32nd franchise, as part of the American Football Conference's newly-formed South Division. Being part of the AFC, most Texans games—including all road games against NFC opponents—are aired on CBS, and are therefore aired locally on KHOU. The station also serves as the over-the-air outlet for all of the Texans' appearances on Thursday Night Football, and have aired simulcasts of ESPN's Monday Night Football in the past (due to ABC's live broadcast of Dancing with the Stars on KTRK conflicting with the games). The Texans are one of two teams never to have been blacked out at home, the other being the Baltimore Ravens; this stands in contrast to the city's previous NFL team, the Houston Oilers, who were often blacked out at home in their twilight years in Houston before moving to Nashville in 1997. Beginning in 2014, with the institution of 'cross-flex' rules, games in which the Texans play an NFC opponent at home can be moved from Fox O&O KRIV (channel 26) to KHOU.
KHOU presently broadcasts 28 hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with five hours on weekdays, two hours on Saturdays and one hour on Sundays). Unlike most CBS affiliates, the station does not air a newscast prior to CBS Sunday Morning. The station also airs KHOU 11 Sports Extra, which features extensive Sunday night sports coverage and commentary, for one half-hour following its Sunday 10 p.m. newscast.
KHOU has been widely regarded as a stepping stone for many well-known television news personalities, as many of its reporters have gone on to work for national networks. KHOU's best known former on-air staffers include former CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather, NBC News correspondent Dennis Murphy, newswomen Linda Ellerbee and Jessica Savitch, and sports anchors Jim Nantz (now with CBS Sports) and Ron Franklin (now with ESPN). The station's newscasts currently rank second among those in the Houston area (behind ABC-owned KTRK); however, they receive decent viewership among 35- to 55-year-olds and suburban audiences. This is noted since, as of 2011, KHOU is the only Houston area station whose traffic reports cover suburban areas, in addition to the Houston freeways.
KHOU also has gained a reputation for its investigative reporting staff (currently known as KHOU 11 Investigates), whose notable stories include its 2000 investigation into defective tire designs by Firestone – which led to the mandatory recall of Wilderness AT, Firestone ATX and ATX II tires, as well as numerous lawsuits (the defective tires resulted in a number of deaths, including that of KTRK reporter Stephen Gauvain) and a story in the early 2000s by former reporter Anna Werner that led to the shutdown of the Houston Police Department's crime lab. The investigative unit has also exposed allegations of dropout rate fraud in the Houston Independent School District, which resulted in the dismissal of several HISD officials.
When Belo acquired KHOU in 1984, the station ranked third in the Houston news ratings behind dominant KTRK, then one of ABC's strongest affiliates which eventually became an owned-and-operated station of the network itself, and NBC affiliate KPRC, which usually placed a strong second and would further benefit in the decade from NBC's strong primetime programming of the 1980s. Its newscasts fared even worse, at times even placing behind syndicated reruns on independent stations in the Houston market. Having achieved considerable success with the news department of its flagship station in Dallas, WFAA, since the 1970s, Belo sought to seek similar results for KHOU, and beginning in the late 1980s hired several high-profile people to its news team. The most notable was former National Hurricane Center director Dr. Neil Frank, who was hired as the station's chief meteorologist in July 1987. In another key move, KHOU also hired former KTRK morning anchor Sylvan Rodriguez (then with ABC News' West Coast bureau) to anchor the station's early evening newscasts.
During this time, KHOU also commissioned an image rebrand using the "Spirit of Texas" slogan and (initially) TM Productions' "Spirit" music package that originated at its Dallas sister station WFAA. In January 1989, KHOU revamped the appearance of its newscasts, with an image campaign that included full-page ads in the Houston Chronicle and Post, as well as an on-air promotional campaign that focused more on ordinary citizens throughout Greater Houston than on its news team. With anchors Steve Smith and Marlene McClinton, chief meteorologist Neil Frank and sports director Giff Nielsen as its main news team, along with a new set, graphics and theme music, KHOU began to mount a serious challenge to the other Houston newscasts, leading to a competitive ratings race during the 1990s. Its resurgent newscasts, combined with a strong syndicated programming lineup, helped to sustain the station through what would be a turbulent ratings period for CBS, which lost broadcast rights to NFL games in addition to several of its largest affiliates during this time.
1999 proved to be a breakout year for KHOU, with its newscasts reaching #1 in viewership in several timeslots during the May sweeps period, unseating KTRK during the midday hours, and at 5:00 (it debuted in May 1974) and 6:00 p.m. The station's ratings boost also included an exclusive interview with Serbian and Yugoslavian President Slobodan Milosevic during the Kosovo War, just a month before his indictment. This news came despite the retirement of longtime anchor Steve Smith, anchor Sylvan Rodriguez's eventually fatal bout with pancreatic cancer and the abrupt resignation of fellow anchor Marlene McClinton during one of the station's newscasts on April 8, 2000.
On February 4, 2007, following CBS' coverage of Super Bowl XLI, KHOU began broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition, becoming the first station in the market to do so. On September 7, 2009, KHOU-TV expanded its weekday morning newscast with the addition of the 4:30 a.m. program First Look; despite being the last station in the Houston market to launch a 4:30 a.m. newscast, KHOU was the first station in the market to announce its intentions to do so (three of Houston's major network affiliates – KHOU, KTRK-TV and KPRC-TV – launched 4:30 a.m. newscasts within three weeks of each other in the late summer of 2009). On August 1, 2011, KHOU debuted a new half-hour newscast at 4:00 p.m. on weekdays.
Notable former on-air staff
- Steve Edwards – anchor/talk show host (1972–1975; was at KTTV in Los Angeles) until his termination on December 11, 2017
- Linda Ellerbee – reporter (1972–1973; later with NBC News, now host of Nickelodeon's Nick News)
- Dr. Neil Frank – chief meteorologist (1987–2008; now retired; returns periodically for special weather events)
- Ron Franklin – sports director (1971–1980; formerly play-by-play announcer at ESPN)
- John Hambrick – ancher/reporter (1960s; deceased)
- Dennis Murphy – reporter/assignment editor (1975–1978; now with NBC News)
- Jim Nantz – sports anchor/reporter (early 1980s; now with CBS Sports as the network's top play-by-play announcer for NFL coverage)
- Chau Nguyen – anchor/reporter (2003–2007)
- Giff Nielsen – sports director (1984–2009)
- Dan Patrick – sports anchor (1980s; later conservative talk show host KSEV-AM; now Lieutenant Governor of Texas)
- Dan Rather – anchor/reporter (early 1960s; former anchor of CBS Evening News)
- Rick Sanchez – reporter (1986–1988; formerly with CNN, now at WJAN-CD)
- Jessica Savitch – anchor/reporter (1971–1972; later KYW-TV and NBC News, deceased)
- Janet Shamlian – anchor/reporter (1987–1995; now NBC News)
- Ron Stone – anchor (1961–1972; later KPRC-TV, deceased)
- "Map of Neartown". Neartown Association. Retrieved October 20, 2008.
- "Submit a tip to KHOU-TV". KHOU.com. KHOU. Retrieved March 2, 2010.
- Mcguff, Mike (31 August 2016). "Houston now 8th Nielsen Designated Market Area (DMA)". mikemcguff.com.
- "Gannett to buy TV station owner Belo for $1.5B". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Associated Press. June 13, 2013. Retrieved June 13, 2013.
- Gannett Completes Its Acquisition of Belo, TVNewsCheck, Retrieved December 23, 2013.
- "Separation of Gannett into two public companies completed | TEGNA". Tegna. Retrieved 2015-06-29.
- "With main news set flooded, KHOU creates temporary sets".
- Mcguff, Mike (4 September 2017). "KHOU begins studio rebuild process". mikemcguff.com.
- "KHOU repurposes parts of its past for temporary set".
- "It's official: KHOU not returning to Allen Parkway". KHOU. 16 November 2017. Retrieved 17 November 2017.
- "KHOU plans first satellite studio of its kind along downtown's Avenida Houston". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2017-12-16.
- "KHOU announces location of new station". KHOU.com. Retrieved March 29, 2018.
- RabbitEars TV Query for KHOU
- "Bounce TV Sets Launch for Sept. 26". Retrieved July 12, 2011.
- List of Digital Full-Power Stations Archived 2013-08-29 at the Wayback Machine.
- CDBS Print
- KHOU adding a newscast to replace Oprah, Houston Chronicle, July 13, 2011.
- "Atrium Restaurant Photo Gallery". Retrieved 13 March 2013.
- "Linda Ellerbee – Television Journalist". Paley Center for Media. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
- Barron, David (14 December 2007). "KHOU-TV's Neil Frank is hanging up his raincoat". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
- "Ron Franklin bio". ESPN. Archived from the original on July 22, 2009. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
- "KHOU-TV Film Box 7406, Reel 9". Retrieved 13 March 2013.
- "Jim Nantz bio". CBSSports.com. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
- "Vietnamese-American reporters shine in the US". 9 July 2012. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
- "Giff Nielsen signs off after 25 years at Channel 11". 15 August 2009. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
- Swartz, Mimi (January 2007). "Here Comes Trouble". Texas Monthly. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
- "Dan Rather Biography". Retrieved 13 March 2013.
- McGuff, Mike (13 November 2009). "Former KHOU reporter let go from CNN newscast". Retrieved 13 March 2013.
- Haller, Scot (7 November 1983). "The Two Faces of a Newswoman". People Magazine. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
- "Janet Shamlian bio". NBC News. 12 October 2006. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
- Barron, David (13 May 2008). "Anchorman Ron Stone left deep imprint on local news". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 13 March 2013.