Early years Edit
Channel 9 went on the air as KFI-TV on August 25, 1948, owned by Earle C. Anthony, along with KFI radio (640 AM). KFI had long been affiliated with NBC and KFI-TV served for a brief period as Los Angeles' first NBC television affiliate. Channel 9 lost its NBC affiliation in January 1949 when the network launched its own station, KNBH (now KNBC). KFI-TV then became an independent station, a status it has retained to this day (though it carried DuMont programming from 1954 up to the network's demise in 1956).
Channel 9's engineers made noises about going on strike in 1951, leading Anthony to sell the station to the General Tire and Rubber Company. A few months earlier General Tire had purchased the Don Lee Broadcasting System, a regional West Coast radio network. Don Lee's flagship station was KHJ radio (930 AM), and General Tire changed its new TV station's call letters to KHJ-TV. The Don Lee name was so well respected in California broadcasting that KHJ-TV called itself "Don Lee Television" for a few years in the early 1950s, even though it had never been affiliated with KHJ radio until the 1951 deal. Most of Don Lee's television experiments had been conducted on what is now KCBS-TV – ironically, current sister station to channel 9.
In 1955, General Tire purchased RKO Radio Pictures, giving the company's TV stations access to RKO's film library, and soon after General Tire merged its broadcast interests as General Teleradio. In 1959, General Tire's broadcasting and film divisions were renamed as RKO General.
RKO ownership Edit
By the late 1960s, channel 9 offered a standard independent schedule of movies, off-network reruns, children's shows, syndicated fare, and locally-produced programs such as news, sports, and public-affairs shows.
In the early-1970s, KHJ-TV sought a similar programming strategy to that of cross-town competitor KTLA, which focused more on talk shows, game shows, sports, films, and off-network dramas. The cartoons were phased out (some moving to KTTV and KCOP), and the station ran fewer off-network sitcoms. It did continue to have a weekday children's show called Froozles, which ran until the late 1980s. It also produced a many 30 minute public affairs programs as well as a local talk show called Mid Morning L.A., hosted over the years by Bob Hilton, Meredith MacRae, Geoff Edwards and Regis Philbin, which ran well into the 1980s. Edwards and MacRae won Emmy Awards for their hosting duties during the early-1980s. Some other locally produced public affairs shows included the investigative show Camera 9 and The Changing Family, a program about family and social issues during the 1980s. Despite this, KHJ-TV was perceived as an also ran while KTLA was the leading independent with a similar format.
KHJ-TV's camera from the 1960s, also showing its logo from that era.Meanwhile, a behind-the-scenes battle was underway with serious implications on the station's future – and that of its owner. In 1965, RKO General faced a threat to its license for KHJ-TV from a group called Fidelity Television. At first, Fidelity's claim focused on channel 9's programming quality. Later, and more seriously, Fidelity claimed that KHJ-TV was involved in reciprocal trade practices. Fidelity alleged that RKO's parent company, General Tire, forced its retailers to purchase advertising on KHJ-TV and other RKO stations as a condition of their contracts with General Tire. An administrative law judge found in favor of Fidelity, but RKO appealed. In 1972, the FCC allowed RKO to keep the license for KHJ-TV, but two years later conditioned future renewals on the renewal of sister station WNAC-TV (now WHDH-TV) in Boston. Six years later, the FCC stripped WNAC-TV of its license for numerous reasons, but largely because RKO had misled the FCC about corporate misconduct at General Tire. The decision meant KHJ-TV and sister station WOR-TV (now WWOR-TV) in New York City lost their licenses as well. However, an appeals court ruled that the FCC had erred when it tied channel 9's renewal to that of WNAC-TV and ordered new hearings for KHJ-TV and WOR-TV.
The hearings dragged on until 1987. That year, an administrative law judge found RKO unfit to be a broadcast licensee due to numerous cases of dishonesty by RKO, including fraudulent billing and lying about its ratings. The FCC advised RKO that it would almost certainly deny any appeals, and persuaded RKO to sell its stations to avoid the indignity of having their licenses taken away.
Joining the House of Mouse Edit
Finally, in 1989, RKO agreed to sell KHJ-TV to Fidelity Television, the group that originally challenged the license in 1965. Fidelity then sold the license to the Walt Disney Company. As a result of the sale, many, if not all, of KHJ-TV's staffers were dismissed or left the station, including notably longtime KHJ-TV general manager Charles Velona.
Even though Channel 9's longtime radio sisters had changed their calls to KRTH some years before, Disney wanted to make a clean start. Accordingly, it changed the calls to KCAL-TV, and briefly branded the station as California 9 before settling on K-CAL 9. The station also overhauled its format in the wake of its ownership change, adding many children's programs, including cartoons from the Walt Disney library. The station also ran a greater number of family based off-network sitcoms and syndicated programs.
Cartoons continued to be a big part of KCAL's schedule in the 1990s, with blocks of children's programming on weekday mornings and afternoons, including The Disney Afternoon block, that lasted well into 1997. In the early 1990s, the family sitcoms were gradually phased out and KCAL added more first-run syndicated talk, reality, court, and newsmagazine shows.
In 1995, Disney purchased Capital Cities/ABC, which owned KABC-TV. Due to FCC regulations at the time, Disney was not allowed to keep both KABC-TV and KCAL. Disney chose to divest KCAL, which was purchased by Young Broadcasting in 1996.
The afternoon kids block would remain until 1998, when the Disney kids block moved to UPN and KCOP. In 2000, the children's shows in the morning were gone as well under the ownership of Young Broadcasting. The station also added more weekday daytime newscasts at 2 and 3 p.m., and the 6:30 p.m. newscast was discontinued. It would also be the last station in the Los Angeles area to air a half-hour local newscast at 6:30 p.m., until January 2009 when KTLA launched its 6:30 p.m. local newscast, a decade after KCAL ended.
CBS purchase Edit
As a result of massive debt acquired from purchasing KRON-TV in San Francisco, Young Broadcasting put KCAL up for sale in 2002, and the station was purchased by CBS, then a subsidiary of Viacom, on June 1, 2002. KCAL's operations were merged with those of KCBS-TV, and channel 9 moved from its longtime headquarters at the Paramount Studios on Melrose Avenue in Hollywood to the historic CBS Columbia Square, located one mile away.
When Viacom/CBS bought KCAL-TV, many in the broadcasting industry speculated that they would move its UPN affiliation from Fox-owned KCOP to KCAL. Chris-Craft Industries, KCOP's previous owners, had co-founded UPN with Viacom in 1995, and owned 50 percent of the network before selling out to Viacom in 2000. Fox's parent company, the News Corporation, purchased KCOP and the other Chris-Craft TV stations in 2001. However, CBS Corporation decided to leave channel 9 as an independent, as Fox renewed its affiliation agreement for its UPN-affiliated stations. It is widely believed that Fox used KCOP as leverage to keep UPN on Fox-owned stations in New York (WWOR-TV, KCAL's former sister station) and Chicago, threatening to drop the network in those markets should Viacom move UPN to KCAL. This issue became moot with the announcement of the merger of UPN and the WB Television Network into the CW Television Network, in January 2006. The new network launched in September 2006, with former WB affiliate KTLA affiliating with the CW.
KCAL-TV is still an independent, at least for now, and is now one of three independent stations owned by CBS. The other two stations are both former UPN affiliates, KTXA in Fort Worth, Texas and WSBK-TV in Boston. Channel 9 currently offers first-run syndicated programs such as one-week old repeats of Dr. Phil, Inside Edition, South Park, and Scrubs, among others. KCAL is the Southern California home of the annual Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Association Labor Day telethon, which it has carried since 1997.
On April 21, 2007, KCBS-TV and KCAL-TV moved from Columbia Square to an all-digital facility at the CBS Studio Center in Studio City. The move allowed both stations to begin broadcasting all local programming in High Definition. In addition, KCBS-TV and KCAL-TV now operate in a completely tapeless newsroom. This newsroom is named after veteran newscaster Jerry Dunphy, who worked at both stations during his career. With the move to Studio City, KTLA and KCET are the only stations (either in radio or television) in Los Angeles to broadcast from Hollywood.
Although KCAL-TV is an independent station, it has aired programming from the CBS network on at least two occasions. On August 30, 2007, it aired an elimination episode of Big Brother 8 and a rerun of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation because KCBS carried a National Football League preseason game between the San Francisco 49ers and the San Diego Chargers at the same time. In 2005, an episode of Big Brother 6 was bumped to KCAL, as KCBS-TV aired an Oakland Raiders preseason game.
Digital television Edit
The station's digital channel:
KCAL-DT broadcasts on digital channel 43.
Channel Name Programming 9.1 KCAL-TV main KCAL-TV programming
Analog-to-digital transition Edit
After the analog television shutdown in 2009,KCAL-TV move its digital broadcast from channel 43 to channel 9.
Sports programming Edit
For much of its history, sports have been a part of Channel 9's identity, even more so today. From 1961 to 1963, KHJ-TV was the first television home of the Los Angeles Angels. The team moved to KTLA starting in 1964, when then-Angels owner Gene Autry bought KTLA. Channel 9 has been the broadcast home of Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association since 1977, and it has the longest current consecutive station-team broadcast partnership in the NBA.
In 1996, KCAL-TV once again became the broadcast home of the Angels (Disney's ownership interest in the Angels briefly overlapped its stewardship of the station), and added more basketball coverage with the Los Angeles Clippers, in addition to its Lakers telecasts. The station and the Clippers parted ways in 2001, as they eventually moved their over-the-air telecasts to KTLA; The Clippers aired the majority of their telecasts in 2001-02 NBA season on FSN West 2 (now Fox Sports Prime Ticket). The Angels departed KCAL after the 2005 season, moving to KCOP.
In 1997, KCAL premiered the first fifteen-minute weekday sports report Final Quarter. The show was an expansion of the typical five minute sports report seen towards the end of a newscast. Several years later the show was renamed KCAL 9 Sports News and with the purchase by CBS, joined KCBS-TV and was renamed Sports Central. The show was recently expanded to a full half-hour on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights. With the termination of the Southern California Sports Report on Fox Sports Net West/Prime Ticket, this is the only nightly detailed sports highlights show on local television.
In 2007 KCAL became the new over-the-air television home of the Los Angeles Dodgers, televising at least 50 games a year. Also, channel 9 recently signed a contract extension to continue to carry Lakers games through the end of the current decade, which would give them a 30-plus-year relationship with the NBA team. KCAL carries a minimum of 35 road games per season, with FSN West given the rights to home games. KCAL also carried selected games from the Los Angeles Galaxy of Major League Soccer until 2005, when the games became cable-exclusive to FSN West. Currently, channel 9 broadcasts all Lakers and Dodgers games in High Definition.
In addition, KCAL broadcasted selected weekend Mighty Ducks of Anaheim games from the team's first season in 1993 (both entities were Disney properties until 1996) until 2005, when the Ducks moved their over-the-air broadcasts to Anaheim-based independent station KDOC-TV. KCAL was also home to the Los Angeles Kings in the early 1980s and again during the mid-to-late 1990s. Channel 9 ran preseason coverage of the NFL's San Diego Chargers in 2005, and aired contests of the Chargers' AFC West rival, the Oakland Raiders, in 2006. The station also aired preseason Raiders during the middle 1990s. Also of note, KCAL-TV simulcasted the ESPN and TNT feeds of Sunday night football games featuring the then-Los Angeles Raiders and then-Los Angeles Rams (now the St. Louis Rams) from 1990 until 1993.
News programming Edit
In the 1970s, KHJ-TV had a 10 p.m. newscast. It was moved to 9 p.m. during the 1980s, and the station later added a half-hour 8 p.m. newscast during the late 1980s. Some of its most notable personalities included anchors George Putnam, Jerry Dunphy, Pat Harvey, Tom Lawrence, Nathan Roberts, Lonnie Lardner, Linda Edwards, and Andrew Amador, who continues to work in Southern California television. He fronts the "Best Deals" program airing on KTLA-TV and KCAL-TV. Many of chanel 9's former staff were let go by the time Disney purchased the station. By 1989, Disney implemented the concept of a prime time news block, with "Prime 9 News" between 8 and 11 p.m.. The 3-hour news block is still seen on KCAL-TV to this day. A few years later, channel 9 added a short-lived half-hour newscast at 6:30 p.m.
KCAL is notable for airing newscasts during unconventional time blocks. Along with newscasts at 10 p.m. (where it competes against KTLA and KTTV), noon (competes against KTTV), and 4 p.m. (competes against KABC), it also airs news at 2 p.m., 3 p.m., 8 p.m., and 9 p.m. Combined with its sister station KCBS-TV the two stations air just over 11 hours of news programming every weekday.
KCAL's newscasts run the gamut in tone. Its 8 p.m. newscast is generally an update on the day's news, which are much of the stories devoted to California and local news, and was previously branded California Report. Its 9 p.m. newscast is generally the most serious newscast and was branded in previous years as the Prime 9 News World Report. The 9 p.m. newscast prominently features political, business, and international news. The noon newscast, on the other hand, features lighter stories, including features on food, health, and entertainment news. The 4 p.m. newscast is essentially a repurposed KCBS-TV newscast and is done with channel 2 anchors Harold Greene and Ann Martin, who did not appear recently elsewhere on KCAL.
The 4 p.m. newscast was moved to KCAL from KCBS-TV to make room for Dr. Phil, which by contract is not allowed to air opposite The Oprah Winfrey Show, which in Los Angeles airs on KABC-TV at 3 p.m. Its 10 p.m. newscast is simply more of an update of the 8 p.m. news, as it competes with KTTV and KTLA, and in the past KCOP, though in recent years, it has been shortened to 30 minutes, in order to make way for Sports Central, the only comprehensive local sports news program in Southern California (since the demise of the Southern California Sports Report on Fox Sports Net). The 6:30 p.m. newscast, which ran in the early 1990s was called First 9 News focused primarily on local news and competed against the national network newscasts aired on KCBS-TV, KNBC-TV and KABC-TV. However, KCBS did air a 6:30 p.m. local newscast in the mid to late 1990s, while the CBS Evening News aired at 5:30 p.m.
Because of the amount of news on the station, channel 9 is known as the station showing the most police chases. Often regular news programming is dropped to cover a police chase, and programming following the news is sometimes pre-empted to show the chase's conclusion.
On April 1, 2008, CBS' owned-and-operated television stations division ordered widespread budget cuts and staff layoffs from its stations. As a result of the budget cuts, roughly 10 to 15 staffers were released from KCBS-TV and KCAL-TV, including reporters Jennifer Sabih, Greg Phillips, and Jennifer Davis. Harold Greene and Ann Martin, who were then the 4:00 p.m co-anchors on channel 9 and 6:00 p.m. on sister station, Channel 2, were also said to have been on the layoff list, but have both decided to retire from television when their contracts expired in June.
Current personalities Edit
KCAL Anchors Edit
- David Gonzales - weekdays Noon and 2:00 p.m.
- Juan Fernandez - weekends 9:00 and 10:00 p.m.
- Pat Harvey - weeknights 8:00 and 10:00 p.m.
- Mia Lee - weekdays Noon, 2:00 and 3:00 p.m.
- Sylvia Lopez - weekdays 4:00, 9:00 and 10:00 p.m.
- Sandra Mitchell - weekdays 4:00, 8:00 and 9:00 p.m.
- Leyna Nguyen - weekends 9:00 and 10:00 p.m.
- Sharon Tay - weekends 8:00 p.m.
- Glen Walker - weekends 8:00 p.m.
- Jackie Johnson - chief meteorologist/weeknights 8:00, 9:00 and 10:00 p.m.
- Josh Rubenstein (AMS Certified, NWA Seal of Approval) - weekdays Noon, 2:00, 3:00 and 4:00 p.m. also on KCBS-TV) 11:00 a.m.
- Kaj Goldberg - weekends 8:00, 9:00, and 10:00 p.m. also on KCBS-TV) weekends 5:00, 6:00 and 11:00 p.m.
- Kimi Evans - Weather Anchor
- Steve Hartman - Sports Central co-host
- Jim Hill - sports director/Sports Central co-host
- Eric Karros - co-host Think Blue TV Anchors
- John Ireland - Curb-Side Reporter for Los Angeles Lakers Games
- Stu Lantz - Los Angeles Lakers Commentator
- Steve Lyons - Los Angeles Dodgers Play by Play for Road Games
- Gary Miller weekend sports anchor/Sports Central co-host
- Joel Meyers - Los Angeles Lakers Play by Play
- Vin Scully - Los Angeles Dodgers Play by Play for Home Games
- James Worthy Los Angeles Lakers analyst for Sports Central
- Serene Branson
- Dave Bryan (politics)
- Stacey Butler
- Mark Coogan
- Michele Gile (Orange County bureau)
- David Goldstein (investigative)
- Desiree Horton (helicopter)
- Vera Jimenez (traffic)
- Amy Johnson -(Ventura County)
- Kristine Henderson (Orange County bureau)
- Dave Malkoff
- Melissa McCarty
- Mary Beth McDade
- Christina McLarty (entertainment)
- Randy Paige (consumer affairs)
- Lisa Sigell
- Sharon Tay
- Glen Walker
- Larry Welk (helicopter)
KCAL Fill-in News Anchors Edit
- Stacey Butler
- Juan Fernandez
- Mary Beth McDade
- Sandra Mitchell
- Lisa Sigell
- Sharon Tay
- Glen Walker
Notable alumni Edit
- Linda Alvarez
- Andrew Amador
- Carl Bell
- Linda Breakstone
- Frank Buckley
- Dave Clark
- Rick Chambers
- Gary Cruz
- Paul Dandridge
- Jennifer Davis
- Jerry Dunphy
- Alex Epstein
- Joe Fowler
- Ted Garcia
- Jaime Garza
- Harold Greene
- Toni Guinyard
- Hal Fishman
- Dilva Henry
- Darrin Horton
- Sharon Ito
- David Jackson
- Lisa Joyner
- Tricia Kean
- Kerry Kilbride
- Tom Lawrence
- Tawny Little
- Ann Martin (newsanchor)
- Alan Massengale
- Alan Mendelson
- Byron Miranda
- Greg Phillips
- George Putnam
- Jennifer Sabih
- Wayne Shattuck
- David Sheehan
- Mark Steines
- Jane Velez-Mitchell