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|Salt Lake City, Utah
|Branding||Fox 13 (general)
Fox 13 News (newscasts)
|Channels||Digital: 28 (UHF)
Virtual: 13 (PSIP)
(KSTU License, LLC)
|First air date||October 24, 1978
(current license dates from November 9, 1987)
|Call letters' meaning||Springfield Television of Utah
|Former channel number(s)||
|Former affiliations||Independent (1978–1986)|
|Transmitter power||350 kW|
|Public license information:||Profile
KSTU, virtual channel 13 (UHF digital channel 28), is a Fox-affiliated television station located in Salt Lake City, Utah, United States. The station is owned by the Tribune Broadcasting subsidiary of the Tribune Media Company. KSTU maintains studio facilities located on West Amelia Earhart Drive in the northwestern section of Salt Lake City, and its transmitter located on Farnsworth Peak in the Oquirrh Mountains, southwest of Salt Lake City. The station has a large network of broadcast translators that extend its over-the-air coverage throughout Utah, as well as portions of Nevada.
As an independent station
The station first signed on the air on October 24, 1978 under the ownership of Massachusetts-based Springfield Television, which also owned NBC affiliate WWLP in Springfield, Massachusetts and ABC affiliate WKEF in Dayton, Ohio. It was the first independent station in Utah, as well as the first new commercial station to sign on in the area since KUTV (channel 2) hit the airwaves 24 years earlier. Salt Lake City had a fairly long wait for an independent station compared to other cities of its size; it had been big enough on paper to support one since the early 1960s. However, the Salt Lake City market covers all of Utah and large slices of Nevada and Wyoming, forcing all of the major stations to build a large network of low-power translators to cover it. The costs associated with building a translator network scared off most prospective investors until the 1970s. By the mid-1970s, however, cable television--a must for acceptable television in much of Utah--had gotten enough penetration in the market to lessen the need for translators and make an independent station viable.
The station originally broadcast on UHF channel 20 using a transmitter originally used for WWLP's partial satellite, WRLP-TV in Greenfield, Massachusetts (which closed down shortly before KSTU's sign-on). KSTU's programming at the time was typical for an independent station – cartoons, off-network classic sitcoms, classic movies, and drama series. The Springfield Television group was sold to Adams Communications in 1984. On October 6, 1986, the station became a charter affiliate of Fox. However, like most early Fox affiliates, it was still essentially programmed as an independent. Fox initially ran only late night programming at launch and when it added primetime programming in April 1987, it only aired such programs on Saturdays and Sundays.
A new license
In 1980, the Federal Communications Commission added a new VHF allocation on channel 13 to the Salt Lake City market. Five groups submitted applications for a permit to build a television station on that allocation in May 1981. The FCC held evidentiary hearings with the competing applicants in 1984, and in 1985, announced the winning applicant. The second-place applicant, locally owned Mountain West Television Company, or MWT Company, appealed the FCC decision, but lost the appeal. When that failed, MWT Company proposed a buyout of the other four competing interests, including the winning applicants. The strategy succeeded and was carried out in November 1986. At the same time, Mountain West entered into a limited partnership agreement with Northstar Communications, which was partly owned by Allstate, and a new company, called MWT, Ltd., was formed. On January 20, 1987, the FCC awarded the original construction permit for a new station on channel 13 to MWT, Ltd., under the calls KTMW. Buying equipment for the new station soon proved difficult.
Meanwhile, Adams Communications was undergoing serious financial difficulties and decided to sell off its stations. There were few takers for channel 20, however. Under the circumstances, it was very receptive to an offer from MWT to buy KSTU's assets for $30 million. Adams was able to make a considerable profit on the deal, while MWT was able to get the equipment it needed at a substantial discount. The two parties reached a sales agreement in July, the sale was approved by the FCC in September, and the transaction was finalized on October 23, 1987.
On November 9, 1987; MWT moved the channel 20 intellectual unit (call letters, staff, programming and Fox affiliation) to channel 13. It also returned the channel 20 license to the FCC on the same day. As a result, the FCC reckons the current KSTU as a separate station from the old channel 20. MWT went on the air with the new KSTU on channel 13 under Program Test Authority. It requested a license to cover the CP on November 16, which was duly granted on March 7, 1988. The purchase of KSTU, however, put a financial strain on MWT, namely on the old Mountain West partners. In May 1988, Mountain West sold its interest in KSTU to Northstar. The station rebranded as "Fox 13" by 1989.
Fox takes over
Northstar sold KSTU to Fox Television Stations the next year, making it a Fox owned-and-operated station, and the first network-owned station in Utah. Unlike its rival stations, which have changed networks over the years, KSTU was the only VHF commercial station in Salt Lake City that has remained affiliated with the same network since that network's inception; only KTVX (channel 4), originally an NBC affiliate, has been affiliated with ABC longer than KSTU has been a Fox affiliate.
Incidentally, when Fox Television Stations acquired the television station group owned by KTVX's then-parent Chris-Craft Industries on August 12, 2000 KTVX was one of two stations that the company traded to Clear Channel Communications (as part of a swap with WFTC in Minneapolis-St. Paul). It was forced to sell KTVX due to FCC regulations prohibiting one company from owning two of the four highest-rated stations in a single market, as well as the fact that the station was in the middle of a long-term affiliation contract with ABC.
The station replaced most of the classic sitcoms on its lineup with talk shows in the mid-1990s. The station added additional syndicated programming in 2002, once Fox dropped the Fox Kids weekday children's block nationally. In 2006, KSTU migrated its website to Fox Interactive Media's MyFox web platform; it also introduced a new logo, in a style in line with the other Fox O&O stations. However, the Times New Roman "13," which the station has used since 1997, was retained (unlike WHBQ-TV in Memphis, which switched to a "13" resembling that used by its Tampa sister station WTVT).
KSTU was one of two network-owned stations in the Salt Lake City market from 1995 to 2007, when CBS sold KUTV to Four Points Media Group, a subsidiary of private-equity group Cerberus Capital Management. On June 13, 2007, Fox sold KSTU and seven other owned-and-operated stations to Local TV (a subsidiary of another private equity firm Oak Hill Capital Partners), which had acquired the former broadcasting division of The New York Times Company the previous year. The sale was finalized on July 14, 2008. On July 1, 2013, the Tribune Company (which formed a management company that operated both Tribune and Local TV's stations in 2008) acquired the Local TV stations for $2.75 billion; the sale was completed on December 27.
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|13.1||720p||16:9||KSTU-HD||Main KSTU programming / Fox|
KSTU shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 13, on June 12, 2009, as part of the federally mandated transition from analog to digital television. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 28, using PSIP to display KSTU's virtual channel as 13 on digital television receivers.
KSTU presently broadcasts 54 hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 9 hours on weekdays and 4½ hours on weekends); in regards to the number of hours devoted to news programming, it is the highest local newscast output among Utah's television stations. KSTU's Saturday and Sunday 5 p.m. newscasts are subject to preemption due to network sports coverage, as is standard with Fox stations that carry early evening weekend newscasts.
The station launched its news department in 1992, with the debut of a half-hour 9 p.m. newscast; KSTU added a three-hour weekday morning newscast, titled Good Day Utah, a few years later[when?], replacing morning cartoons. In 2005, the station launched a midday newscast at 11 a.m. In August 2008, KSTU entered into a strategic alliance with news/talk radio station KNRS-FM (105.7 FM), in which KSTU meteorologists provide weather reports to KNRS, while KSTU reporters are often heard during KNRS newscasts and talk shows. In September 2008, KSTU debuted an hour-long early evening newscast at 5:00 p.m.
On August 17, 2009, the station expanded its midday newscast to 90 minutes by adding a half-hour newscast at noon, following its existing hour-long 11:00 a.m. newscast. On January 23, 2010, KSTU debuted a 90-minute weekend morning newscast from 7:30-9:00 a.m. In January 2013, KSTU expanded its weekend morning newscast by one hour to 6:30 a.m. On April 23, 2012, KSTU became the fourth (and last) major network station in Utah to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition. In September 2013, KSTU debuted an hour-long 4 p.m. newscast, which competes with hour-long newscasts on KUTV and KTVX.
Notable former on-air staff
- Nick Clooney - anchor (also father of actor George Clooney)
- Brad Giffen - anchor (currently at CFTO-DT and CTV News Channel in Toronto)
- Megan Henderson - anchor (now at KTLA in Los Angeles)
- Shauna Parsons - anchor (now at KPTV in Portland)
KSTU extends its coverage throughout the entire state of Utah (with a rebroadcaster KKRP-LD channel 46 - formerly KSTG in Saint George, Utah), plus parts of Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, and Wyoming, using a network of community-owned translator television stations listed below.
- Hofmeister, Sallie (August 12, 2000). "News Corp. to Buy Chris-Craft Parent for $5.5 Billion, Outbidding Viacom". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 23 March 2011.
- News Corporation
- Channick, Robert (July 1, 2013). "Acquisition to make Tribune Co. largest U.S. TV station operator". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved July 1, 2013.
- Company Completes Final Steps of Transaction Announced in July, Tribune Company, December 27, 2013.
- Tribune Closes Local TV Holdings Purchase, TVNewsCheck, December 27, 2013.
- RabbitEars TV Query for KSTU
- List of Digital Full-Power Stations