Radio-TV Broadcast History

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St. Louis, Missouri
Branding ABC 30
Slogan St. Louis' Leader in Entertainment Programming
Channels Digital: 31 (UHF)
Affiliations ABC
Owner Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc.

(KDNL Licensee, LLC)

First air date June 8, 1969
Former channel number(s) Analog:

30 (1969-2009)

Former affiliations Primary:

Independent (1969-1986) Fox (1986-1995) Secondary: UPN (1995-1998)

Transmitter power 1000 kW
Height 320.5 m
Facility ID 56524
Transmitter coordinates 38°34′50″N 90°19′45.2″W / 38.58056°N 90.329222°W / 38.58056; -90.329222

The station broadcasts in stereo and broadcasts a Secondary Audio Program channel, used mainly for Descriptive Video Service.


[edit] Early history[]

KDNL-TV started broadcasting on June 8, 1969 as the first UHF television station in the St. Louis market. It began as an independent station owned by Evans Broadcasting. KDNL ran a format of business news, religious shows, rejected network programming from KSDK and KTVI, and old movies. Several years later, KDNL offered Japanese live-action and cartoons dubbed into English including, Johnny Sokko, Speed Racer, Marine Boy, and Ultraman.

By 1976, the station ran religious shows in the early morning, rejected network shows in the late morning, business news in the early afternoon, a couple of cartoons in the late afternoon, westerns and some old sitcoms in the evening, and a few older movies during prime time and late nigh. Also in 1976, KDNL began televising St. Louis Blues hockey games for five seasons. In 1977, the business news was gradually eliminated and made way for a few more second-hand classic sitcoms. The Japanese English dubbed shows were phased out. The station moved finally to a more conventional independent but far behind KPLR. Its big disadvantage was that the station was on UHF and continued to be considered an also ran.

Evans sold the station to Cox Enterprises in 1981. Programming continued to be classic sitcoms, a couple rejected network shows, and some religious shows during the day. Some of the shows at this point included Brady Bunch, Little Rascals, I Love Lucy, Andy Griffith, Good Times, What's Happening, and Honeymooners]. But beginning on June 1, 1982, Preview Subscription Television was run on KDNL at night, leaving KPLR as the only full-time independent. Nine months later, Preview was dropped and the station began running the usual prime time fare of movies and classic sitcoms until 1 or 2 a.m. KDNL regained the rights to the Blues games in 1983, for an additional three seasons. In 1984, cartoons had been added to the lineup and the station cut back on the religious shows. Also under Cox, the station won bids for stronger off-network sitcoms.

In 1986, KDNL joined the then-fledging Fox after KPLR-TV turned the network down, going under the name Fox 30. With the Fox affiliation, KDNL managed to get closer to KPLR in the ratings after being well behind channel 11 for its entire tenure as an independent. In 1991, Cox sold KDNL to St. Louis-based River City Broadcasting.

[edit] As an ABC affiliate[]

In 1994 New World Communications, bought St. Louis' longtime ABC affiliate, KTVI, and three other stations from Argyle. New World had made an affiliation deal to switch all of its stations, including KTVI, to Fox. ABC originally wanted to affiliate with longer-established KPLR. However, channel 11 turned it town, opting instead to affiliate with The WB. More or less by default, ABC cut a deal with KDNL and moved its programming there on August 7, 1995.

Soon after joining ABC, KDNL began showing UPN programming in off-hours. Despite its size, the St. Louis market did not have enough willing commercial stations at the time to support a full-time UPN affiliate.

After becoming the ABC affiliate, KDNL also began to air more first-run syndicated shows and reduced its reliance on older sitcoms. In 1996, Sinclair Broadcast Group bought River City. KDNL dropped UPN programming in 1997, and KNLC and KPLR began sharing UPN. St. Louis didn't have a full-time UPN affiliate until WRBU in East St. Louis took on the affiliation in April 2003. In 2004 KDNL preempted the movie Saving Private Ryan; all Sinclair-owned ABC affiliates preempted the movie.

Sinclair had refused to allow Charter Communications, the dominant cable provider in the St. Louis area, to carry KDNL's HDTV channel, being the longest hold out in the area (not counting KMOV's pulling of its signal in January 2007) until April 2007, when Sinclair and Charter came to a national retransmission agreement for three years until 2010. Subsequently, KDNL-DT began airing on Channel 780 on Charter systems on April 19, 2007 [1].

Since dropping its news department in 2001 (see below), KDNL's schedule more closely resembles that of an independent than that of a Big Three affiliate in a major market. Due to the lack of any local news presence and a schedule heavy on mainstays of syndication (such as Judge Mathis, Maury, The People's Court and The Simpsons) along with a heavy schedule of paid and religious programming, KDNL doesn't provide the ABC schedule many lead-ins. Several ABC programs, such as Good Morning America and World News with Diane Sawyer, garner ratings so low that A.C. Nielsen can't rate them due to a sample too small to classify with a ratings number. The station also has a habit of preempting ABC primetime programming for paid programming [1]. The station regularly rates fifth in the St. Louis market behind KPLR [2], making the station among the weakest ABC affiliates in the nation. In contrast, KTVI was one of ABC's strongest affiliates. There has also been regular talk of Tribune Broadcasting pursuing the ABC affiliation for KPLR after KDNL's affiliation agreement expires in the St. Louis market, due to that station's management agreement with Local TV LLC-owned KTVI and their playing down of the CW as part of their branding, along with experimentation with the CW schedule to maximize ratings. However the network did extend their affiliation agreement with KDNL and Sinclair's other ABC affiliates for five years on March 26, 2010, which will keep KDNL affiliated with ABC until August 2015 [3].

[edit] News operations[]

Local news on KDNL premiered on January 1, 1995; shortly after the affiliation switch was announced. Initially, news was limited to a daily 9 p.m. newscast. When KDNL became an ABC affiliate, the 9 p.m. news moved to 10 p.m. and an additional evening newscast was added. Although ratings were initially good, KDNL was never competitive with KMOV, KSDK (both have had at least 20% shares over the years), or even KTVI. The evening newscast fluctuated between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. and was canceled for a time. Turnover in the newsroom was very high, and it showed in the ratings.

In the spring of 2001, a transmitter failure left KDNL off the air for a number of days (or at least was broadcasting at lower power than it did). What little audience there was for KDNL's news switched to other sources and never returned. KDNL finally dropped news altogether on October 12, 2001. To this day, KDNL is one of the very few major network affiliates that does not have local news. KDNL is the largest (in terms of DMA) of any major network affiliate that has no newscast(s) (CBS owned-and-operated station WWJ-TV in Detroit was the largest until May 5, 2009, when it launched a morning show). Most major network affiliates are contractually obligated to air local news, but KDNL's affiliation agreement does not have such a clause. KDNL now occasionally employs its former news set for commentary on sporting events. KDNL also has weather updates during GMA which were formerly compiled and presented by Tony Pagnotti at Sinclair's News Central headquarters in Hunt Valley, Maryland. These updates are now compiled and presented from Columbus, Ohio sister operation WSYX/WTTE by that station's evening meteorologists, Jerry Martz and Dana Turtle.

[edit] Post-Super Bowl XL criticism[]

Following Super Bowl XL in 2006, KDNL was criticized[4] for airing an hour-long local postgame show after network coverage instead of the much-hyped "Code Black" episode of Grey's Anatomy, despite St. Louis not having any stake or connections to Super Bowl XL. The postgame show, followed by Grey's at 10:15 p.m., was listed in local paper listings and in electronic program guides, however the station did not disclaim it within any promos that aired through the game and those who use the TV Guide as their main listings source didn't know about the local postgame show, causing the station and other local media (such as the St. Louis Post-Dispatch) to be overwhelmed with complaints about KDNL's problems as the city's ABC affiliate.

This incident, along with off-synced TiVo and VCR recordings nationwide which didn't capture the entire episode, was instrumental in forcing ABC to reair the episode the following Thursday, after Dancing with the Stars.

[edit] On-air staff[]

[edit] Former on-air staff[]

  • Andy Banker: reporter (1995–2001; currently at KTVI)
  • Paul Brown: reporter
  • Maurice Drummond: sports reporter (currently at KTVI)
  • Rick Edlund: anchor ( -2001)
  • Patrick Emory: anchor (1999–2000)
  • Trish Gazall: traffic reporter (now with KTRS Radio)
  • Dilva Henry; reporter
  • Derrin Horton (news reporter)|Derrin Horton]]: reporter
  • Kelley Hoskins: feature reporter (currently at KTVI)
  • Steve Jerve: meteorologist (1995–1998; currently at WFLA-TV in Tampa, Florida)
  • Ric Kearbey: meteorologist (1997–2001; now at WHOI-TV in Peoria, Illinois)
  • Darren Kramer: anchor (1995- )
  • Gina Kurre: anchor (1997–2001)
  • Leslie Lyles: anchor (1995–1998)
  • Don Marsh: anchor (1995-c.1998)
  • Rick Powers: sports reporter (1997–2001)
  • Grant Rampy: reporter (currently Washington, DC correspondent for Tribune Broadcasting)
  • Mitch Roberts: sports reporter (1995–1997)
  • Phil Rozen: anchor
  • Keryn Shipman: chief meteorologist (1998–2001, later at KPLR c.2003-2008)
  • Kevin Slaten: sports reporter (currently at KFNS (AM))
  • Joby Smith: sports reporter (1995–1996)
  • Jean Jackson: anchor
  • Jim Wicks: anchor (1995-1995)

[edit] News/station presentation[]

[edit] Newscast titles[]

  • News 30 Now (1995–1996)
  • News 30 (1996–1997)
  • ABC News 30 (1997–1999)
  • ABC 30 News (1999–2001)

[edit] Station slogans[]

  • It's The News That Matters Most (1998–1999)
  • You Get More (1999–2000)
  • Bringing News Home (2000–2001)
  • St. Louis' Leader in Entertainment Programming (2006–present)

[edit] News music packages[]

  • KOVR News (1995–1998)
  • Counterpoint (1995–1999)
  • Finale (1999–2000)
  • Third Coast (2000–2001)

[2] This film, television or video-related list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it with reliably sourced additions.==[edit] References==

  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ STLtoday

[edit] External links[]