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4 San Diego
4SD TV (logo).png
Network local origination cable network/regional sports network
Owned by Cox Communications
Picture format 480i (SDTV)
1080i (HDTV)
Country United States
Language English
Broadcast area San Diego County
Imperial County
Coachella Valley
Yuma County
Headquarters San Diego
Website 4sd.com
DirecTV unavailable
Dish Network unavailable
(San Diego)
4 (SD) / 1004 (HD)
Time Warner
(San Diego)
4 (SD) / 704 (HD)
Time Warner
(Desert Cities)
27 (SD) / 627 (HD)
Time Warner
(Yuma/El Centro)
19 (SD) / unavailable (HD)
(Las Vegas)
96 (SD) / 1096 (HD)
(San Diego Padres Baseball and UNLV Rebels Basketball Broadcasts Only)
AT&T U-verse
(San Diego)

4SD, commonly referred to as Channel 4 San Diego (also known as Channel 4 Padres, or COX 4 and originally known as KCOX) is a local origination cable TV channel based in San Diego, California, United States, and is owned and operated by Cox Communications, through its San Diego-based cable television system.

In addition to Cox Communications, 4SD is available on San Diego County's other cable provider, Time Warner Cable. 4SD is not available on DBS providers, DirecTV or Dish Network, nor is it available to IPTV provider, AT&T U-verse. This is because 4SD is distributed via fiber and does not use satellite to uplink its signal, similar to that of CSN Philadelphia. By doing so, they were complying with Cable and Telecommunications Act of 1992 by using the "terrestrial loophole". By using the loophole, Cox was able to avoid making the channel available on DBS or IPTV providers. On January 20, 2010, the FCC voted 4-1, to close the terrestrial loophole.1 On June 15, 2010, Cox Communications has announced its intentions to negotiate with DirecTV, Dish Network, & AT&T U-verse to license 4SD to those providers.2


More or less, it operates as the regional sports network for San Diego County, but does offer public interest programming, as the network's model resembles that of Denver's Altitude Sports and Entertainment channel. 4SD also airs local programming, informercials or older TV series when there is no sports programming to air.

Early usage

The channel was launched by Cox Communications as an outlet used as an experiment during the 1996 Republican Convention, as well as providing around-the-clock coverage for the Super Bowl festivities at Qualcomm Stadium in 1998 and 2003.

San Diego Padres

From 1997-2003, 4SD showed Padres games from Monday-Saturday with Sunday games televised on independent station KUSI. The games on KUSI were produced by 4SD. From 2004-2011, 4SD became the exclusive broadcaster of Padres baseball, with KUSI ceasing carriage of the Padres broadcasts after parts of seventeen seasons. The remaining games that weren't televised on 4SD, ESPN, ESPN2, MLB Network or Fox are not televised back in the Padres television market. The majority of these non-televised games are usually mid-week day games when ratings are typically poor because people are at work or children are at school. However since August 2010, the Padres in conjunction with MLB Advanced Media partnered to show the non televised games for free within the Padres market via mlb.tv for games that did not fall within the Fox Saturday blackout window or the ESPN Sunday Night blackout window . During the time that 4SD owned the Padres broadcast rights, the Cox Communications Las Vegas system simulcasted Padres games on cable channel 96 (known as "COX 96" in Las Vegas). However, COX 96 doesn't have a high definition feed. All other programming on COX 96 is used to televise programming of Las Vegas area government affairs and special events going on in the area and does not follow the Channel 4 San Diego programming schedule.

In 2001, the Padres and Cox Communications signed a 10-year extension for broadcast rights; as a result of the deal, 4SD has a state-of-the-art broadcast center located at Petco Park. However it was announced by station manager, Dennis Morogino, on April 21 that 4SD won't retain the rights for Padres baseball for the 2012 season and beyond. This was formally acknowledged by vice president of cable affairs for Cox Communications of San Diego, Sam Attisha, who announced that 4SD's baseball programming staff will be laid off at the end of the 2011 season.3


In 2004, 4SD began simulcasting Padres games in 1080i high-definition. From 2004 through 2006, 4SD broadcast approximately 120 games in high definition (for every home game, road games in the National League West Division, and interleague matchups against AL West teams, with the remainder of the games in standard definition. Though there was an exception in 2004 when 4SD televised the Padres first ever regular season road trip to Fenway Park against the Boston Red Sox and Yankee Stadium against the New York Yankees in high definition. Since 2007, 4SD has broadcast every Padres game in high definition for home and road games. 4SD high definition is on cable channel 704 on both Cox Communications and Time Warner Cable in San Diego County. On the Time Warner Cable Desert Cities system, 4SD high definition can be found on channel 627.

4SD Expands into Yuma, El Centro, and Coachella Valley

Since March 2009, the Time Warner Cable Yuma-El Centro and Desert Cities (Palm Springs, Palm Desert, Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, Desert Hot Springs, Indian Wells, Indio, La Quinta, and Coachella) systems added 4SD to their cable lineups. This is because the San Diego Padres have territorial rights in Riverside County east of the San Jacinto Mountains, and in all of the Yuma-El Centro television market. On the Time Warner Cable Yuma-El Centro system, Channel 4 San Diego can be found on channel 19, while on the Desert Cities system, it is available on channel 27; Time Warner Cable in those areas clear the entire 4SD schedule as it would be on the Time Warner Cable San Diego system. In June 2010, Time Warner Cable Desert Cities added the 4SD high definition feed.4

4SD Loses Rights to Padres Baseball for 2012 Season and Beyond

On April 21, 2011 it was announced by 4SD station manager, Dennis Morgigno in a meeting to his employees in a meeting that 4SD will probably not be getting the rights to televise Padres games for the 2012 season and beyond. This was later formally acknowledged by 4SD in an announcement that they are laying off their baseball production staff. It turns out that 4SD and the Padres were $6 million a year apart on TV rights negotiations for the next contract. FSN offered the Padres a 20 year contract with rights fees ranging from $17 million to $22 million a year (20 years, $340 million-$440 million) with some reports of up to $70 million a year (20 years, $1.4 billion).5 FSN won the television rights bid and created Fox Sports San Diego.67

Other San Diego sports teams

San Diego Chargers

While 4SD doesn't show live Charger games they do show ancillary programming including interview shows and preview Charger games.

San Diego State University Aztecs

From 4SD's inception in 1998 through 2006, the network partnered with regional network, Sportswest to show Mountain West Conference games. From September 1, 2006 to June 1, 2012 the Mountain West Conference formed their own network, The Mtn. However as part of the distribution agreement with 4SD's parent company, Cox, to distribute The Mtn. (not including the Time Warner subscribers since the mtn does not have a distribution deal with Time Warner Cable), 4SD was allowed to show select SDSU games that were produced by The Mtn. Also as part of the distribution agreement, 4SD was also allowed to show every round of the MWC Basketball Tournament produced by The Mtn. and CBS Sports Network, excluding the conference tournament championship game, which is shown on NBC Sports Network (formerly Versus).

University of San Diego Toreros

Since 1998, 4SD has become the television partner for USD Toreros home basketball games that are not on ESPN, ESPN2, or ESPNU or FSN. In 2008, 4SD partnered with CSN California and CSN Northwest to provide regional coverage of West Coast Conference men's basketball and continues on to this day.8 For example, when the Santa Clara Broncos visit the Toreros, CSN California would use the 4SD feed to show the game in Northern California, with the 4SD graphics. While if the Toreros were playing the Broncos in Santa Clara, 4SD would use the CSN California feed in with the CSN graphics, televised back in San Diego. 4SD used to show every San Diego State University Aztec football/basketball game that was not on ESPN or ESPN2. However it was announced that 4SD has not renewed a broadcast agreement with the university for the 2011-2012 basketball season.9

CBS & ABC programming

During the October 2007 wildfires that affected San Diego, 4SD carried ABC programming, which included ABC News and network primetime in lieu of KGTV (Channel 10), while that channel aired breaking news coverage of the fires.10 On January 17, 2010, 4SD stepped in to show the Connecticut Huskies vs. Michigan Wolverines college basketball game from CBS affiliate, KFMB. This was due to the fact that KFMB had a Chargers special pregame show for the AFC Divisional playoffs featuring the New York Jets and the San Diego Chargers

Current programming

4SD is now a local-origination entertainment channel. Shows include Sam the Cooking Guy, BackBeat (about local musicians), California Life with Heather Dawson, Forefront, and Cox California Edition. Programs air several times each week.

There are still some sports programs, including Raceline and The Tim McCarver Show, but the channel no longer airs live sports events, with the possible exceptions of high-school football and basketball.11


The channel is available on Cox Cable and Time Warner Cable.

Carriage controversy

The channel is not available on DirecTV, Dish Network or AT&T Uverse. Before the FCC closed the terrestrial loophole in 2010, Cox was allowed to choose who to offer the channel to and deny it to others. However a ruling in January 2010 forced them to offer the channel to all other providers, but it didn't dictate a maximum amount they are allowed to charge. Their asking price is reportedly much more than the above providers are willing to pay.12


External links

Creative Commons License