|Little Rock, Arkansas
|Branding||Fox 16 (general)
Fox 16 News (newscasts)
|Slogan||Arkansas's Breaking News Leader (newscasts)|
|Channels||Digital: 30 (UHF)
Virtual: 16 (PSIP)
16.2 Laff (TBD)
(Mission Broadcasting, Inc.)
|Operator||Nexstar Broadcasting Group|
|First air date||June 26, 1983|
|Call letters' meaning||Little Rock Television|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
16 (UHF, 1983–2009)
|Former affiliations||Independent (1983–1990)|
|Transmitter power||1,000 kW|
|Public license information:||Profile
KLRT-TV, virtual channel 16 (UHF digital channel 30), is a Fox-affiliated television station located in Little Rock, Arkansas, United States. The station is owned by Mission Broadcasting, as part of a duopoly with CW affiliate KASN (channel 38); Nexstar Broadcasting Group, which owns NBC affiliate KARK-TV (channel 4) and MyNetworkTV affiliate KARZ-TV (channel 42), operates KLRT and KASN under a shared services agreement.
All four stations share studio facilities located on West Capitol Avenue in Downtown Little Rock, one block east of the Arkansas State Capitol; KLRT maintains transmitter facilities located on Shinall Mountain near the Chenal Valley section of Little Rock. On cable, KLRT-TV is available on Comcast Xfinity channel 13 in standard definition and digital channel 434 in high definition.
The station first signed on the air on June 26, 1983, as the first Arkansas as well as the first new commercial television station to sign on in Little Rock in 28 years (since KTHV (channel 11) debuted in November 1955). KLRT was originally locally owned by Little Rock Communications Associates and operated by Scollard Communications. During KLRT's early independent years, the station's slogan was "Prime All The Time". Channel 16's original offices and studios were located on West Markham Street at the southeast corner of Bowman Road in Western Little Rock; it was the first of the city's television stations to maintain studio facilities outside of downtown Little Rock.
In 1988, KASN (channel 38) negotiated a merger with KLRT-TV that would have resulted in KASN's Fox network affiliation and syndicated programming to KLRT; under the deal, KASN would have become an affiliate of the Home Shopping Network. KLRT abruptly pulled out of the merger deal with KASN, notifying the station by fax of its nullification of the deal on its part. However, in April 1990, Fox chose to move its network programming to the higher-rated KLRT, despite the fact that the deal made it so that KASN would continue as a Fox station if the merger fell through. KASN owner MMC Television filed a lawsuit against KLRT owners LRCA/Scollard due to the failed merger, alleging civil conspiracy, misappropriation of trade secrets, interfering with business relationships, breach of contract and fraud.
The station remained under local ownership until 1992, when LRCA/Scollard sold KLRT to US Radio. Ironically, given the previous lawsuit against channel 16, US Radio began entered into a local marketing agreement with MMC Television to operate KASN in 1992. In 1996, KLRT was sold to Clear Channel Communications through the company's acquisition of US Radio. Over the years, the station was joined by various radio stations serving the market that Clear Channel owned.
In 2000, shortly after the Federal Communications Commission revised its media ownership rules to permit television station duopolies in markets with at least eight full-power stations, Clear Channel purchased KASN from Mercury Broadcasting, creating the first such duopoly in the Little Rock market. The following year, KLRT vacated the Markham Street studios and moved into the Clear Channel Metroplex (a converted former Sam's Club) farther southeast on Colonel Glenn Road (east of Interstate 430) in West Little Rock, where all of Clear Channel's Central Arkansas properties were consolidated. KLRT's original facility was razed shortly after the station moved out of the building (a local branch of National Bank of Arkansas, an office of its mortgage division, and a David's Burgers restaurant now occupy the former studio site).
On April 20, 2007, Clear Channel entered into an agreement to sell its television station group to Newport Television, a holding company owned by private equity firm Providence Equity Partners. Following the sale of KLRT and KASN to Providence Equity Partners, both stations remained in the same complex with its former sister radio stations under Clear Channel ownership; the special events portion of the site has since been renamed the Metroplex Events Center.
On July 19, 2012, Newport Television reached an agreement to sell 22 of its 27 stations to Nexstar Broadcasting Group, Sinclair Broadcast Group and Cox Media Group. KLRT-TV and KASN were among the twelve that were sold to Nexstar. However, since Nexstar already owned NBC affiliate KARK-TV (channel 4) and MyNetworkTV affiliate KARZ-TV (channel 42) and in order to comply with FCC regulations prohibiting common ownership between two of the four highest-rated stations in a single market, KLRT and KASN were instead transferred to Mission Broadcasting, a company which is involved in several local marketing agreements and joint sales agreements with Nexstar-owned stations in other markets where Nexstar itself is legally prohibited from owning multiple television stations. Nexstar/Mission's acquisition of KLRT and WJKT in Jackson, Tennessee (although that station is controlled by and based out of Memphis, Tennessee's ABC affiliate WATN-TV, which was also bought by Nexstar) created an irony, given that Nexstar terminated the Fox affiliations of several of its small-market stations during 2011 and 2012 due to a reverse compensation dispute. The FCC approved Mission's purchase of KLRT and KASN on December 10, 2012, and the deal was consummated on January 3, 2013.
On February 2, 2013, the operations of KLRT and KASN were consolidated with KARK and KARZ at KARK's downtown Little Rock studios, making it the first instance in which four full-power television stations in one market, carrying affiliations with four of the six major English-language networks (NBC, Fox, The CW and MyNetworkTV) were controlled by one company; and all four having been housed out of one facility. Around 30 positions between the KARK/KARZ and KLRT/KASN duopolies (mainly among management – including KLRT-KASN general manager Chuck Spohn – and news department staff) were eliminated in the consolidation. KLRT's former news set would be repurposed by Memphis sister station WATN-TV at its new studio facilities, which officially began operations on June 1, 2013.
On June 15, 2016, Nexstar announced that it has entered into an affiliation agreement with Katz Broadcasting for the Escape, Laff, Grit, and Bounce TV networks (the last one of which is owned by Bounce Media LLC, whose COO Jonathan Katz is president/CEO of Katz Broadcasting), bringing one or more of the four networks to 81 stations owned and/or operated by Nexstar, including KLRT-TV and KARK-TV (Sister station KARZ-TV already airs Bounce TV, and Grit is already available in Little Rock on KATV-DT3).
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|16.1||720p||16:9||KLRT DT||Main KLRT-TV programming / Fox|
|16.2||480i||4:3||Laff (Launch date TBD)|
KLRT-TV shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 16, on February 17, 2009, the original target date for full-power television stations in the United States to transition from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate (which was later pushed back to June 12, 2009). The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 30. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 16.
KLRT presently broadcasts 17 hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with three hours on weekdays and one hour each on weekends), which is well behind the weekly output of the Big Three network affiliates in the area.
Prior to its full-scale broadcasts, KLRT provided some brief news updates and public affairs programming during its earliest years on the air. Early weather segments were once presented by former KKYK-FM and KURB morning disc jockey and current KTHV news anchor Craig O'Neill. O'Neill included a vocal rendition of his radio character "Sherman Bonner, the World's Only Human Themometer" to voice-over some of the weather introductions. Newsbriefs were presented by Bill Powell (formerly of KTHV) and Linda Gilliam on an individual basis in the early years. Ron Breeding, who then primarily worked with radio station KARN-FM (now working with the University of Arkansas at Little Rock via KUAR) provided news and later weather updates for the station in the late-1980s. On September 4, 2000, the station began airing "Fox First Weather", a five-minute late evening weather forecast segment that ran until shortly before KLRT's newscasts debuted (the program was similar to a locally produced weather insert that aired on former sister station KOKI-TV in Tulsa from 1997 to 2002).
During its waning years under Clear Channel ownership, KLRT started a full-fledged news department. On March 28, 2004, the station debuted a nightly hour-long prime time newscast at 9:00 p.m. In 2007, it began airing two half-hour newscasts at 5:00 and 5:30 p.m. each weeknight. On January 18, 2010, KLRT debuted a weeknight 10:00 p.m. newscast, which competed against longer-established 10:00 p.m. newscasts on KARK, KTHV and KATV (channel 7) (fellow Fox affiliate and Tulsa sister station KOKI also launched a 10 p.m. newscast on that date).
On April 5, 2011, KLRT became the second television station in the Little Rock market to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition (preceded only by KTHV). With the switch to HD, KLRT introduced a new graphics package and theme music for its newscasts and a new on-air logo. The music and logo currently used is the typical style found on Fox owned-and-operated stations and some affiliates nationwide (although the Fox searchlights are noticeably absent from the station logo unlike other stations that use the Fox O&O graphics); the graphics are a variant of a package designed by Hothaus Creative Design that was also used on KSWB-TV in San Diego, WPMT in Harrisburg, and former sister stations KOKI and WAWS in Jacksonville.
Following the consolidation of the station's operations into the KARK studios, KLRT canceled its 5:00 and 10:00 p.m. newscasts, while retaining newscasts at 5:30 p.m. weekdays and at 9:00 p.m. seven nights a week. Additionally on February 4, 2013, after its news department was merged with KARK-TV, KLRT launched a two-hour weekday morning newscast, airing from 7:00 to 9:00 a.m. (as a result, the KARK-produced morning newscast that aired during the 7:00 a.m. hour on KARZ-TV was canceled).
- Life in the Fox lane; management of television stations KLRT, after Fox Broadcasting affiliation, and KASN 38, after losing Fox affiliation, Arkansas Business, (via HighBeam Research), February 18, 1991.
- Slicing the pie thin; independent TV advertising shares already are small; now channels 16 and 38 are cutting each other, Arkansas Business, (via HighBeam Research), January 29, 1990.
- The FCC cleared Clear Channel Communications Inc. to buy TV and radio stations in Little Rock, Ark., and Memphis, Arkansas Business, (via HighBeam Research), May 20, 1996.
- Clear Channel Plays Duopoly, Arkansas Business, (via HighBeam Research), December 13, 1999.
- Million Dollar Metroplex; Clear Channel Communications Inc. buys studio, Arkansas Business, (via HighBeam Research), March 20, 2000.
- "Clear Channel Agrees to Sell Television Station Group to Providence Equity Partners" (Press release). Clear Channel Communications. 2007-04-20. Retrieved 2007-04-20.
- Newport Sells 22 Stations For $1 Billion, TVNewsCheck, July 19, 2012.
- "Updated: Mission Closes $60M Deal for KLRT, KASN; Chuck Spohn Out as General Manager". Arkansas Business. January 4, 2013. Retrieved March 24, 2014.
- "Almost 30 Lose Jobs at KARK, KLRT as TV Owners Consolidate". Arkansas Business. January 29, 2013. Retrieved January 29, 2013.
- "Nexstar Readies Major Memphis Overhaul". TVNewsCheck. May 30, 2013. Retrieved May 30, 2013.
- "Bounce TV, Grit, Escape, Laff Multicast Deal Covers 81 Stations, 54 Markets". Broadcasting & Cable. June 15, 2016. Retrieved June 16, 2016.
- RabbitEars TV Query for KLRT
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24.
- Fox First Weather, Arkansas Business, (via HighBeam Research), August 28, 2000.
- It's on at 9 p.m., Arkansas Business, (via HighBeam Research), March 29, 2004.
- Alive at five; KLRT-TV to add second newscast this spring, Arkansas Business, (via HighBeam Research), January 15, 2007.
- Outtakes, Arkansas Business (via The Free Library), January 17, 2011.
- Tulsa’s New Energy, Broadcasting & Cable, October 25, 2010.
- New Morning Show to Hit Little Rock Airwaves in February[unreliable source?]