|Branding||CW 39 (general)
|Channels||Digital: 38 (UHF)
Virtual: 39 (PSIP)
Antenna TV (on DT2)
|First air date||January 6, 1967|
|Call letters' meaning||KIAH = airport code for George Bush Intercontinental Airport|
|Former callsigns||KHTV (1967–1999)
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
39 (UHF, 1967–2009)
|Former affiliations||Independent (1967–1995)
The WB (1995–2006)
The Tube (2006–2007, on DT2)
|Transmitter power||1000 kW|
KIAH, UHF channel 39, is a CW-affiliated television station located in Houston, Texas, United States. The station is owned by the Tribune Broadcasting subsidiary of the Tribune Company. KIAH maintains studios adjacent to the Westpark Tollway on the southwest side of Houston, and its transmitter is located in unincorporated Fort Bend County (near Missouri City). The station can also be seen on Comcast Xfinity and AT&T U-verse channel 5, and in high definition on Comcast Xfinity channel 605 and AT&T U-verse channel 1005.
- 1 History
- 2 Digital television
- 3 Programming
- 4 News programming
- 5 References
- 6 External links
The station began broadcasting on January 6, 1967 as an independent station under the callsign KHTV (standing for "Houston TeleVision"). Prior to its debut, the channel 39 allocation in Houston belonged to the now-defunct DuMont Television Network affiliate KNUZ-TV, which existed during the mid-1950s. Channel 39 was originally owned by the WKY Television System, a subsidiary of Oklahoma Publishing Company, publishers of Oklahoma City's major daily newspaper, The Daily Oklahoman. After the company's namesake station, WKY-TV, was sold in 1976, the WKY Television System became Gaylord Broadcasting, named for the family that owned Oklahoma Publishing.
As Houston's first general entertainment independent station, KHTV ran a schedule of programs including children's shows, syndicated programs, movies, religious shows and some sports events. One of its best known locally-produced programs was Houston Wrestling, hosted by local promoter Paul Boesch, which aired on Saturday evenings (having been taped the night before at the weekly live shows in the Sam Houston Coliseum). From 1983 to 1985, it was known as "KHTV 39 Gold". It was the leading independent station in Houston as competitors entered the market. During this time, KHTV was distributed to cable companies as a regional superstation of sorts, reaching systems as far east as Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Prior to its launch in January 1995, The WB Television Network agreed to affiliate with KHTV and three of its sister stations – KTVT in Dallas-Fort Worth, WVTV in Milwaukee and KSTW in Tacoma, Washington. However, after CBS lost its affiliation with KDFW in Dallas-Fort Worth to Fox as a result of Fox's alliance with New World Communications, Gaylord Broadcasting chose to affiliate both KTVT and KSTW with CBS.
Not pleased with Gaylord's about-face, The WB voided its group affiliation contract with Gaylord, and later took the broadcast group to court for breach of contract. This left Houston as the only top-10 television market among without an affiliate of the new network for its first few months in existence; this status came to an end in the fall of 1995, when KHTV was acquired by Tribune Broadcasting, which was an investor in The WB, controlled by Time Warner.1 Channel 39 became a WB affiliate shortly afterward, and began to call itself "Houston's WB39". In 1999, the station changed its call letters to KHWB to reflect its affiliation. The station subsequently dropped references to its channel number in the early 2000s, becoming known as "Houston's WB".
On January 24, 2006, Time Warner and CBS Corporation announced that they would shut down The WB and UPN and consolidate their higher-rated programming onto a new service called The CW Television Network. On that same date, The CW reached an agreement with Tribune Broadcasting to have 15 of the group's 18 WB-affiliated stations at the time become charter affiliates of the network through a ten-year contractual agreement;23 as a result, KHWB became The CW's Houston affiliate.
A few months later, the Federal Communications Commission approved a callsign change from KHWB to KHCW (standing for "Houston's CW"), which became official on April 27, 2006. On September 13, 2006, KHCW changed its on-air branding from "Houston's WB" to "CW 39", restoring the channel number to its branding; The CW officially launched on September 18, 2006. The station also aired The Tube Music Network during this time on its -DT2 digital subchannel until the service was discontinued on October 1, 2007.
On July 15, 2008, Channel 39 changed its call letters to KIAH as part of a branding campaign emphasizing the station's local orientation (KIAH also serves as the ICAO airport code for George Bush Intercontinental Airport).4 Due to sagging ratings for The CW, Tribune Broadcasting wanted its stations (including KIAH) to change its on-air imaging and de-emphasize the network's branding. The station changed to the simplified "Channel 39" branding on August 29, 2008, although "Channel 39, The CW" was used during network promotions. However, it was simplified again to just "39" in January 2011 for regular programming, and the "CW 39" branding returned in use for network promotions (though retaining the numeric "39" introduced with the 2008 rebranding); the "CW 39" branding returned full-time on March 28, using the slogan "Real Houston" to continue to emphasize KIAH's local orientation.5
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|39.1||1080i||16:9||KIAH-DT||Main KIAH-TV programming / The CW|
KIAH shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 39, on June 12, 2009, the official date in which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 38.678 Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 39.
When the current incarnation of channel 39 signed on as an independent station, it aired hourly news updates between programs during commercial breaks. In August 1990, the station launched its first news department and began producing full-fledged newscasts at 7 and 11 p.m., a move that was made to fill a gap that KRIV had left open, following that station's 1989 decision to discontinue its 7 p.m. newscast and move it to 9 p.m. as the Fox network had expanded its primetime schedule to additional nights. The 11 p.m. newscast was intended to cater to people that missed the traditional 10 p.m. newscasts, though both proved unsuccessful and the news department was ultimately shut down in May 1992.
KHWB did not carry any news programming from that point on, until Tribune Broadcasting required its then-WB affiliates that did not already produce their own newscasts to form news departments in 1999; the station launched a half-hour 9 p.m. newscast in 2000, to compete with KRIV's longer-running and hour-long late evening newscast in that timeslot. The station's then-chief meteorologist, Keith Monahan, won numerous awards for his weather reports including several Texas Lone Star Awards and multiple first place finishes in Texas AP judging, and was honored with a Lone Star Emmy in 2006 and a Lone Star Emmy nomination in 2007 for the "Best Weathercast in Texas".9
The station expanded its late evening newscast to one hour on June 30, 2008 (the program previously only expanded to a one-hour broadcast due to significant breaking news events). Plans originally called for the launch of a weekday morning newscast in 2010 (which ultimately never launched), along with plans to unveil a new set and the upgrade of its news broadcasts to high definition.10 On September 28, 2009, KIAH launched an hour-long early evening newscast at 5 p.m. The station then began broadcasting its newscasts in high definition on May 10, 2010 with the debut of a new set, becoming the last English-language network station in the Houston market to make the upgrade. However, like most Tribune-owned stations with in-house newscasts in HD, the locally-originated live field reports are also broadcast in the format.
On March 19, 2011 (delayed from an originally slated fall 2010 launch), KIAH relaunched its newscasts and became the pilot station for a new Tribune-developed news format, NewsFix. Described by KIAH general manager Roger Bare as "a newsreel updated for the 21st century,"11 the program de-emphasizes the traditional use of anchors and reporters, preferring instead to use footage featuring those involved in the story. Houston radio personality Greg Onofrio provides continuity as the program's narrator, and also appears on-screen to provide a commentary segment at the end of the newscast. The plan was to roll out the format to certain other Tribune-owned stations if NewsFix proved successful on KIAH,121312 although this has not yet taken place.
On May 9, 2011, KIAH became the test market for another Tribune news concept, EyeOpener. Airing weekday mornings (from 5-8 a.m.), the program is a local/national hybrid show billed as a "provocative and unpredictable" combination of daily news, lifestyle, entertainment and opinion segments, interspersed with half-hourly local news, weather and traffic inserts presented by a solo anchor from KIAH's Houston studios,14 with national content initially pre-produced at Tribune's Chicago headquarters.15 By Fall 2011, production of Eye Opener's national segments relocated from Chicago to the studios of KIAH sister station and fellow CW affiliate KDAF in Dallas,16 which began airing Eye Opener on October 31 of that year, along with Tribune stations in Philadelphia, Miami and Portland (which, unlike KDAF and KIAH, do not produce their own news programming).
- Houston TV News (1990–1991)
- 39 News (1991–1992 and 2008–2011)
- WB 39 News (2000–2002)
- Houston's WB News (2002–2006)17
- Channel 39 News (2006)
- CW 39 News (2006–2008)
- 39 News (2008–2011)18
- 39 NewsFix (evenings, 2011–present)
- EyeOpener (mornings, 2011–present)
- "Channel 39, We Play Favorites!" (1970s–1980)
- "KHTV 39 Gold" (1980-1986)19
- "News When You Want It" (1990–1991; news slogan)
- "News to Talk About" (2009–2011; local variant of The CW's "TV to Talk About" ad campaign)
- "Real Houston" (2011–present)
39 NewsFix (nightly from 5-6 and 9-10 p.m.)
- Craig Hlavaty - segment host
- Greg Onofrio - narrator
- Steve Simon - specialty reporter
EyeOpener (weekday mornings from 5-8 a.m.)20
- Nerissa Knight - co-host
- Oliver Tull - technology correspondent
- Kirby O'Connell- co-host
- Alan Ashby - sports director
- Mia Gradney - anchor/reporter/Eye Opener host (2000–2012; now at KHOU)
- Ken Jones - reporter
- Katie McCall - reporter (2000–2006; now at KTRK-TV)
- Jim McKrell - station spokesman (later became an anchor and after the newscast had ended, he hosted station-produced specials; appeared in the film Teen Wolf)
- Donna Savarese - anchor/reporter
- David Scott - weekday anchor (now reporter and weekend anchor at KXAN-TV in Austin, Texas)
- David Solano - sports/news reporter/anchor (2010-2012; now at WXYZ-TV in Detroit)
- Sherry Williams - anchor/reporter (2000–2009; now at KHOU)
- Danielle Vollmar - co-anchor
- NewsInc. News Briefs . . . Tribune to buy KHTV-Houston, NewsInc., October 16, 1995. HighBeam Research. (February 17, 2011).
- UPN and WB to Combine, Forming New TV Network, The New York Times, January 24, 2006.
- 'Gilmore Girls' meet 'Smackdown'; CW Network to combine WB, UPN in CBS-Warner venture beginning in September, CNNMoney.com, January 24, 2006.
- Barron, David (2008-06-26). "One more time: Channel 39 decides to change call letters yet again". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2008-06-27.
- McGuff, Mike (March 28, 2011). "KIAH 39 becomes CW39 again with new look starting today". mikemcguff.com blog. Retrieved March 29, 2011.
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24.
- CDBS Print
- Lone Star Chapter of NATAS – Emmy Awards
- Hoffman: Channel 39 amps up its nightly news | Ken Hoffman | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle
- "KIAH VP-GM Describes New, Anchor-less Newscast...," from Media Bistro, 3/14/2011
- Barron, David (July 23, 2010). "Channel 39 changing its newscast format". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved July 24, 2010.
- "KIAH's 'NewsFix': The Anticipated TV News Revolution Begins Saturday, But We Won't Be Covering It," from houstonpress.com, 3/15/2011
- "KIAH 39 to start morning news with Eye Opener; Mia Gradney returns," from the MikeMcguff.com blog, posted 5/2/2011
- "Two familiar names are back in the news game," from Houston Chronicle, 5/5/2011
- "CW33 hires new meteorologist, ramps up for early morning show on two levels," from UncleBarky.com, posted 8/31/2011
- KHWB Houston's WB News at 9pm 2004
- KIAH 39 News at 9 2010 Open
- Meet the Hosts
- NewsFixNow.com - Official website
- Query the FCC's TV station database for KIAH
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on KIAH-TV