Radio-TV Broadcast History

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KCBS-TV, channel 2, is a television station that is owned-and-operated by the CBS Television Network, located in Los Angeles, California.

Los Angeles, California
Branding CBS 2 (general)

CBS 2 News (newscasts)

Slogan News That's Central to Your Life
Channels Digital: 43 (UHF)

Virtual: 2 (PSIP)

Subchannels 2.1 CBS
Translators (see article)
Affiliations CBS Television Network
Owner CBS Corporation

(CBS Broadcasting, Inc.)

First air date May 6, 1948
Call letters' meaning K

Columbia Broadcasting System (former legal name of CBS)

Former callsigns KTSL (1948-1951)

KNXT (1951-1984)

Former affiliations DuMont (1948-1951)
Transmitter power 1000 kW
Height 950.9 m
Facility ID 9628
Transmitter coordinates 34°13′38″N 118°4′0″W / 34.22722°N 118.066667°W / 34.22722; -118.066667

KCBS-TV shares its offices and studio facilities with sister station KCAL-TV (channel 9) inside CBS Studio Center in the Studio City section of Los Angeles, and its transmitter is located atop Mount Wilson.


[hide]*1 History

[edit] History[]

[edit] Early years[]

[edit] Experimental origins[]

KCBS-TV is one of the oldest television stations in the world. It was created by Don Lee Broadcasting, which owned a chain of radio stations on the Pacific Coast, and was first licensed by the Federal Radio Commission, forerunner of the Federal Communications Commission as experimental television station W6XAO in June 1931. On December 23, 1931 it went on the air, and by March 1933 was broadcasting one hour daily except Sundays. The station used a mechanical camera which broadcast only film footage in an 80-line image, but demonstrated all-electronic receivers as early as 1932. It went off the air in 1935, and then reappeared using an improved mechanical camera producing a 300-line image for a month-long demonstration in June 1936. By August 1937, W6XAO had programming on the air six days per week. Live programming started in April 1938.

By 1939, with the image improved to 441 lines, an optimistic estimate of the station's viewership was 1,500 people in a few hundred homes. Many of the receiver sets were built by television hobbyists, though commercially made sets were available in Los Angeles. The station's six-day weekly schedule consisted of live talent four nights, and film two nights. During World War II, programming was reduced to three hours, every other Monday. The station's frequency was switched from Channel 1 to Channel 2 in 1945 when the FCC decided to reserve Channel 1 for low-wattage community television stations.

The station was granted a commercial license (the second in California, behind KTLA) as KTSL on May 6, 1948, and was named for Thomas S. Lee, the son of Don Lee. The station became affiliated with the DuMont Television Network later that year.

[edit] CBS acquisition[]

Since 1949 the CBS television network had been affiliated with KTTV (channel 11), a station in which the network held a minority (49 percent) ownership stake. After an attempt to buy out that station's remaining shares were rebuffed by the majority partner, the Los Angeles Times, CBS and Don Lee struck a deal for the transfer of KTSL. CBS sold its stake in KTTV to the Times, and on January 1, 1951 all CBS programming moved to KTSL. On November 1, 1951, KTSL changed its call letters to KNXT to coincide with CBS' Los Angeles radio outlet, KNX (1070 AM).

In 1960, KNXT created the nation's first one-hour local newscast, The Big News, which featured Jerry Dunphy, one of Southern California's most beloved news icons, along with legendary weatherman Bill Keene and sportscaster Gil Stratton. Also featured were Special Assignment reporter Maury Green and "Human Predicament" essayist Ralph Story. This helped make KNXT the number-one news station in Los Angeles. At times, a quarter of Los Angeles televisions were tuned into The Big News, the highest ratings ever for a television newscast in the area. The station eventually added such reporters as Howard Gingold and Saul Halpert, among others, and added news bureaus in Sacramento, San Francisco and Orange County, each with full-time correspondents and camera crews. Eventually, KNXT expanded to two-and-a-half hours of live local news, as well as a late-night newscast. However, in the mid 1970s, rival KABC-TV began gaining ratings at KNXT's expense. In 1975, KNXT fired Dunphy (who was quickly hired by KABC) and adopted a format similar to KABC-TV's Eyewitness News with its "happy talk" between anchors. However, the change went nowhere. Just as most of its fellow CBS O&Os were dominating their cities' ratings, KNXT rapidly fell into last place.

[edit] As KCBS-TV[]

On April 2, 1984, at noon, KNXT changed its call letters to the present KCBS-TV. In 1997, it adopted the "CBS2" moniker for its on-air image, following the lead of its Chicago and New York sisters. In 2002, KCBS-TV became a sister station to KCAL-TV after the latter was purchased by CBS Corporation.

For a time during the 1980s and 1990s, KNXT/KCBS-TV had several locally produced programs such as "2 on the Town," a local show similar to Evening Magazine and KABC-TV's Eye on L.A., and Kid Quiz, a Saturday morning children's game show hosted by longtime weathercaster Maclovio Perez. For a time in the mid-2000s, its sister station KCAL-TV did a show called 9 on the Town.

For most of the period from 1975 to 2006, KNXT/KCBS-TV was not a factor in the Los Angeles television ratings. The exceptions were a brief surge to first place in the early 1980s and another in the mid-1990s.

During the period, Channel 2 had frequently changed formats to styles that often became unsuccessful and even controversial. In September 1986, Channel 2 implemented a news-wheel format with each half-hour of news devoted to certain topics and themes. For example, there was Entertainment and Lifestyle news early on and harder news later on. This format was heavily panned by critics and audiences alike, and cancelled after only a month.

The late 1980s and early 1990s brought in the Action News format, which featured a tabloid-type newscast; the style grated on the news staff, which circulated a memo that resulted in the eventual firing of news director John Lippmann. Lippmann was heavily criticized by many, and reportedly had many confrontations with news staff, notably a shoving match between him and anchor Michael Tuck. The station's ratings quickly declined.

CBS management, highly embarrassed at KCBS' subpar performance, responded by bringing in Bill Applegate as general manager. Applegate had previously been general manager at WBBM-TV, and ironically been a reporter there in the early 1970s. While Applegate had been criticized for making WBBM's newscasts flashier than they had previously been, he set about toning down KCBS's newscasts. One of his strategies involved bringing in popular news anchors and reporters from other stations including the return of Jerry Dunphy, 20 years after he was fired from the station. Dunphy went on to anchor at KABC-TV and KCAL-TV achieving high ratings at both stops. Also joining Dunphy were colleagues Ann Martin, Dr. George Fischbeck, Paul Dandridge and Marc Coogan from KABC-TV, and Larry Carroll who worked with Dunphy at KABC and KCAL. Linda Alvarez of KNBC-TV also joined the team.

The station's ratings improved, but Applegate was eventually a casualty of CBS' merger with the Westinghouse corporation in 1996; he'd bickered with Westinghouse over syndicated programming not long after he'd arrived. Westinghouse executives never forgot this, and Applegate was one of the first executives to be let go. Channel 2's momentum ground to a halt, and it soon dropped into last place. The Action News branding was dropped in 1997 and renamed CBS 2 News. That year, Dunphy returned to KCAL.

KCBS began making another attempt to get out of the ratings basement at the start of the 21st century. In 2000, former KNBC Today in L.A. anchor Kent Shocknek joined KCBS to become its morning co-anchor. Then in 2001 the station hired Harold Greene, longtime anchor at KABC, as its 5 and 11 p.m. anchor. A year later, he was joined by his former partner at KABC, Laura Diaz. In 2004, Paul Magers, longtime anchor at KARE in the Twin Cities, replaced Greene on the 5 p.m. and 11 p.m. news, bumping Greene to the 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. newscasts. The 4 p.m. newscast moved to KCAL-TV with the arrival of Dr. Phil on KCBS. At the beginning of 2005, longtime KABC weatherman Johnny Mountain moved to KCBS, surprising many since it appeared that he was going to retire.

At first, it seemed that none of these changes brought KCBS any closer to becoming a factor in the Los Angeles news race. However, in April 2006, KCBS grabbed the #2 spot at 5 PM from KABC due to a strong lead-in from Dr. Phil. More importantly, KCBS shot past both KABC and KNBC to take first place at 11 p.m. for the first time in 30 years.

On April 21, 2007, KCBS and KCAL-TV moved from historic CBS Columbia Square in Hollywood to an all-digital facility at the CBS Studio Center in Studio City. The move marks many changes at KCBS and KCAL-TV. Several news personalities have departed, including David Jackson, a respected news anchor who returned to the duopoly after fronting KCAL's Prime 9 News in the early 1990s, Kerry Kilbride, reporter Jay Jackson, Paul Dandridge, Dilva Henry, Linda Alvarez, sports anchor Alan Massengale, and Dave Clark, who left for KTVU. Both stations began broadcasting all their newscasts, sports shows, and public affairs programming in high definition, becoming the third and fourth station in Los Angeles to do so; the other being KABC-TV in February 2006, and KTLA in January 2007. In addition, KCBS and KCAL-TV now operate in a completely tapeless newsroom. This newsroom is named in honor of Jerry Dunphy, who previously worked at both stations in the past.

With the move, KTLA and KCET are the only stations (either in radio or television) in Los Angeles to broadcast from Hollywood.

On April 1, 2008, CBS's owned-and-operated television stations division ordered widespread budget cuts and staff layoffs from its stations, among the largest budget cuts in television history. CBS O&Os across the country have laid off numerous staff members with KCBS and KCAL-TV being no exception. As a result of the budget cuts, roughly 10-15 staffers were released by the duopoly. The 6pm anchor team, Harold Greene and Ann Martin, decided to retire from television news after many years in the business. Greene and Martin (who both also anchored KCAL-TV's 4 p.m. newscast) were slated to have their contracts expire in June, and both were considered for layoffs. Additionally, longtime KCBS reporter Jennifer Sabih, and reporters Greg Phillips and Jennifer Davis were let go by the station.

[edit] NewsCentral era[]

[2][3]CBS2 NewsCentral LogoOn September 19, 2009, KCBS and KCAL rebranded to the NewsCentral brand (unrelated to Sinclair Broadcasting Group's former "News Central" brand). The slogan was changed to News that's central to your life and was refocused to cover on more community news, including news from outlying communities. Local news headlines from the Los Angeles Newspaper Group and other MediaNews Group newspapers were displayed on the ticker, "street team" submissions of video and photos from viewers were featured, reporters ended stories with NewsCentral rather than the individual station names, and mic flags and news vehicles were branded to show both stations at once (previously the KCBS logo was displayed on half the sides and the KCAL logo on the other half). NewsCentral claimed that it produced more local news than any other television station in the country, with reporters in Ventura County, the Inland Empire, and Orange County, and the only Los Angeles television station with two helicopters (subcontracted to Angel City Air, owned by reporter Larry Welk). Ed Asner was used to introduce the new newscast.[1] CBS denied that the move was made in response to other stations pooling newsgathering resources.[2]

On December 10, 2009, CBS brought in Steve Mauldin to replace Patrick McClenahan as president and general manager of the duopoly. That week, the duopoly ultimately rescinded the NewsCentral branding, reverting to the "CBS2 News" and "KCAL9 News" identities. The NewsCentral graphics, mic flags and logos remained in the interim, though on-air talent no longer used the NewsCentral identity.[3][4]

[edit] Digital television[]

The station's digital channel is multiplexed. KCBS-TV broadcasts on digital channel 43.

Digital channels

Channel Name Programming
2.1 KCBS-TV main KCBS-TV/CBS programming

[edit] Analog-to-digital conversion[]

KCBS-TV ended programming on its analog signal, on VHF channel 2, and switched to analog nightlight on June 12, 2009 at 1:10 p.m.[5] as part of the DTV transition in the United States. KCBS-TV moved its digital broadcasts from channel 60 to channel 43 [6] using PSIP to display KCBS-TV's virtual channel as 2. KCBS broadcasts in 1080i high definition on virtual channel 2.1, since CBS Network programming uses that HD format.

[edit] News/station presentation[]

[edit] Newscast titles[]

  • World News (1938–1948)
  • Telenews (1948–1949)
  • Fleetwood Lawton & The News (1950–1951)
  • World News and KNXT News (1951–1960)
  • The Big News (1960–1976, 6:15 P.M. newscast until September 1, 1963; 6 P.M. newscast since September 2, 1963)
  • 24 Hours (1960–1976, 11 P.M. newscast)
  • 2LA Newsroom (1976–1979)
  • Channel 2 News (1979–1988)
  • Channel 2 Action News (1988–1997)
  • CBS 2 News (1997-September 2009 and December 2009–present)
  • CBS 2 NewsCentral (September 2009-January 2010)

[edit] Station slogans[]

  • Here's 2LA (1976–1979)
  • We're Looking Out for You (1979-1982)
  • We're Got The Touch on Channel 2 (1985-1986; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
  • The Team to Watch (1981–1984; also used by Network Ten in Australia from 1982–1988)
  • LA Watches 2 (1987–1988)
  • You're Watching Channel 2, Home of Action News (1988-1991)
  • Get Ready for Channel 2 (1989-1990; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
  • Stand Up and Tell 'em You're From LA (1985–1994; based on Frank Gari's "Turn To" series)
  • Bringing Balance Back to Local News (1997–1999)
  • The Station of the People (2000–2001)
  • CBS 2 is Always On (2005–2009)
  • News That's Central to Your Life (September-December 2009)
  • Only CBS 2 (2010-present; localized version of CBS ad campaign)

[edit] On-air staff[]

The station's former anchors include Connie Chung, Ann Curry, Jerry Dunphy, Ken Jones, Steve Kmetko, Dan Miller, Brent Musburger, Pat O'Brien, Keith Olbermann, Maury Povich, Bree Walker, and Paula Zahn. Ken Jones anchored for KTTV and KCBS Weekends, Jerry Dunphy anchored for KNXT/KCBS and KCAL-TV.

Sports director Jim Hill may well be the station's most notable current personality. Hill, a former San Diego Charger was a sportscaster for CBS Sports during his first stint at KNXT/KCBS-TV, from 1976 to 1987. Hill then left to become sports director at KABC-TV, but returned to KCBS-TV in 1992 and has remained sports director at the station since. Other ex-athletes who are also sportscasters for KCBS and KCAL-TV are Eric Dickerson, James Worthy and Eric Karros.

[edit] Current on-air staff[]


2View Weather

  • Jackie Johnson - Weeknight Weather Anchor; weeknights at 5PM, 6PM and 11PM
  • Josh Rubinstein (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist/NWA Seal of Approval) Chief Meteorologist; weekday mornings (5AM and 6AM) and weekdays 11AM
  • Kaj Goldberg - Weather Anchor; weekends 5PM, 6PM and 11PM
  • Rich Fields - fill-in meteorologist
  • Henry DiCarlo (AMS Seal of Approval) - fill-in Meteorologist
  • Evelyn Taft - fill-in meteorologist


  • Gary Miller - Sports Anchor; Saturdays at 6 and 11PM and 6PM Sunday (also Sports Central co-host)
  • Jim Hill - Sports Director; weeknights at 6 and 11PM (also Sports Central host)


  • Stephanie Abrams - general assignment reporter
  • Serene Branson - general assignment reporter
  • Dave Bryan - political reporter
  • Stacey Butler - general assignment reporter
  • Carter Evans - general assignment reporter
  • Suraya Fadel - freelance reporter
  • Juan Fernández - general assignment reporter
  • Kara Finnstrom - general assignment reporter
  • Michele Gile - Orange County reporter
  • David Goldstein - investigative reporter
  • Kirk Hawkins - general assignment reporter
  • Amy Johnson - Ventura County reporter
  • Rachel Kim - freelance reporter
  • Edward Lawrence - general assignment reporter
  • Kristine Lazar - freelance reporter
  • Dave Lopez - Orange County reporter
  • Suzanne Marques - general assignment reporter
  • Greg Mills - Inland Empire reporter
  • Melissa McCarty - freelance reporter
  • Christina McLarty - entertainment reporter
  • Amy Murphy - general assignment reporter
  • Randy Paige - consumer/investigative reporter
  • Michelle Simick - general assignment reporter
  • Suzie Suh - general assignment reporter

Timesaver Traffic

  • Whitney Drolen- Morning traffic reporter

  • Erik Oginski - managing editor
  • Mark Liu - webcaster/assignment editor/blogger
  • Jenn McBride - webcaster/web producer

Sky 2

  • Derek Bell - Pilot/Reporter
  • Mike Case
  • Aaron Fitzgerald - Fill-in Pilot/Reporter
  • Justin Jager - Photographer/Reporter
  • Gary Lineberry - Pilot/Reporter
  • Larry Welk - Pilot/Reporter/Owner

[edit] Notable former on-air staff[]

[edit] Former KNXT/KCBS General Managers[]

[edit] Programming notes[]

  • KCBS airs The Young and the Restless at 11:30 a.m. instead of 11 a.m. Most CBS affiliates and stations air it at 11 a.m. in the Pacific, Mountain and Central Time Zones, owing to newscasts that air at 12 noon. But 11:30 a.m. is CBS' recommended time slot to air it. This reflects off the fact that most affiliates in the Eastern Time Zone air it at 12:30 p.m., following the midday news. This is also the case at KCBS, in lieu of sister station KCAL-TV's newscast schedule. CBS began offering its affiliates two feeds of the show in 1981 so stations in the Central time zone wouldn't have to tape delay Y&R to air before their midday newscasts.
  • In Los Angeles, national news from the major networks air at 6:30 p.m., an hour later than most West Coast affiliates. This includes the CBS Evening News on KCBS. During the 1980s, the CBS Evening News and ABC World News Tonight (broadcast by KABC-TV) aired on their respective stations at 7 p.m., though for a time in 1986-87, KCBS had a 7 p.m. newscast, thus airing CBS Evening News at 6:30 p.m. From 1988 to 1999 KCBS aired the CBS Evening News at 5:30. KCBS was also the last station in the Los Angeles area to offer a 6:30 p.m. local newscast, when its 6 pm newscast ran for an hour, until KTLA launched one in January 2009.
  • KCBS had 4 p.m. newscasts from time to time. It was the first in the Southland with a 4:30 pm newscast, that was later expanded to an hour. KCBS dropped its 4 p.m. newscasts in 1998 in favor of the short-lived Howie Mandel Show, which was canceled after only one season, then in 1999, the Woman 2 Woman public affairs show. After the acquisition of now-sister station KCAL-TV, KCBS reintroduced the 4 pm newscast, but now airing exclusively on KCAL-TV. Dr. Phil now airs in the 4 p.m. slot on KCBS.
  • KCBS carried Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! at 7:00 and 7:30 PST from 1989 until 1992, when rival KABC-TV added it to its lineup. Before 1989, both Wheel and Jeopardy! were shown on KCOP-TV. Today the 7 p.m. hour carries Entertainment Tonight and The Insider. Jeopardy! initially aired during the afternoon hours on KCBS in 1984, before KCOP picked it up a year later.

[edit] Rebroadcasters[]

KCBS is rebroadcast on the following translator stations:

[edit] See also[]

[edit] References[]

  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ CDBS Print
  7. ^ ABC News: Linda Douglass
  8. ^ Linda Douglass, well-known journalist, becomes a partisan : Top of the Ticket : Los Angeles Times

[edit] External links[]