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Arizona's Family Sports

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Arizona's Family Sports
TypeSports-focused broadcast television network
United States
AvailabilityStatewide Arizona
TV stationsSee § Stations
OwnerGray Television
Launch date
July 13, 1995 (28 years ago) (1995-07-13), with the launch of K19DD (now KPHE-LD) in Phoenix
Official website

Arizona's Family Sports (AZFS) is a broadcast television channel in the U.S. state of Arizona. It is owned by Gray Television as part of the Arizona's Family group of stations, based in Phoenix, alongside CBS affiliate KPHO-TV (channel 5) and independent station KTVK (channel 3). Its programming consists primarily of sports events and news simulcasts. It is broadcast by low-power station KPHE-LD (channel 44) and on a subchannel of KPHO-TV in Phoenix from transmitters atop South Mountain; in Flagstaff on KAZF (channel 32), with transmitter on Mormon Mountain; in Yuma on KAZS (channel 27), with transmitter on Black Mountain in Imperial County, California; and in Tucson as a subchannel of Gray-owned KOLD-TV.

KPHE-LD, the low-power station purchased by Gray to start Arizona's Family Sports, was on the air by the mid-1990s, originally on channel 19. It broadcast programming from several sources and was also used in a trial of wireless internet broadcasting from low-power TV stations in the early 2000s. From 2003 to 2006, the station broadcast Bohemia Visual Music, a music video service. During that time, Lotus Communications purchased the station, and it relocated to channel 44. Lotus then relaunched the station with Spanish-language programming, some of it local.

In 2022, Gray Television acquired KPHE-LD and won permits to build new full-power stations in Flagstaff and Yuma. On March 1, 2023, the Arizona's Family Sports and Entertainment Network (shortened to Arizona's Family Sports) launched on channel 44, airing simulcasts of most of KTVK–KPHO's newscasts, Phoenix Rising FC soccer, Arizona Interscholastic Association high school sports, and other programming. Gray owns the rights to Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury basketball, which are aired in conjunction with KTVK and KPHO-TV, and Arizona Cardinals preseason football, which is broadcast by KPHO-TV and KOLD-TV plus Arizona's Family Sports in Yuma.

History of KPHE-LD

Early years

On March 17, 1992, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) granted an original construction permit to build low-power television station K19DD on UHF channel 19 to serve Phoenix and the East Valley. The station was owned by Scottsdale publisher Harlan L. Jacobsen, with transmitter location on Usery Mountain in east Mesa. K19DD was granted an initial license on July 13, 1995, and aired Bloomberg Television by 1996.[1]

In June 1998, Jacobsen was granted a construction permit to operate an experimental broadcast station using the facilities of K19DD to broadcast in digital format. He sold the station to US Interactive LLC in September 1999; the new owners adopted the call sign KPHE-LP. In December 2000, the station became part of a pilot program to study the feasibility of using low-power UHF television stations to deliver wireless data services to subscribers.[2] The Digital Data Services Act pilot project was effective from December 2000 through June 2002, during which time KPHE was unavailable as an over-the-air analog broadcast station.[3]

After the pilot project was complete, KPHE programming consisted of a camera focused on a fish tank. Viewers could watch the fish while music played in the background. That changed in October 2003, when Valley residents Jeff Crawford and Jennifer Harris Crawford leased the station from US Interactive and took over its operations. The Crawfords had been operating a music video service called Bohemia AfterDark since 1982 and launched Bohemia Visual Music (BVM), a 24/7 music video channel.[4]

Lotus Communications ownership

KPHE/Bohemia Visual Music logo used from 2005 through 2006, after the station had moved to channel 44.

In January 2004, Lotus Communications purchased KPHE from US Interactive. The sale was finalized in March, and the station continued to be operated by the Crawfords as Bohemia Visual Music. Lotus had intended to launch family-friendly Spanish-language programming,[5][6] but the station continued to air Bohemia Visual Music. In March 2005, KPHE moved from channel 19 to channel 44, moved broadcast facilities from Usery Mountain to the South Mountain antenna farm, and upgraded its broadcast signal in preparation for future digital broadcasting.[7]

In July 2006, more than a year after announcing its intention to launch a family-focused station, Lotus replaced Bohemia Visual Music programming—first with a mix of music videos, including recorded worship services, and later with talk shows and other Bible-based instruction. The new programming was branded TV Inspiración. KPHE affiliated with Monterrey-based Multimedios Televisión in November 2006 while keeping TV Inspiración as secondary programming. In February 2007, KPHE announced that it would carry Spanish-language telecasts of Arizona Diamondbacks home baseball games, beginning with the 2007 season. These were separately produced broadcasts with their own play-by-play, color commentary, and on-field announcers. 50 games a season were aired in 2007 and in 2008;[8][9] original plans called for 75 games in 2009, but the team dropped the deal because KPHE was unable to secure a slot on the local Cox Communications system.[10]

In the 2010s and early 2020s, KPHE offered a constantly changing lineup of programming, primarily in Spanish and/or religious. KPHE had converted to digital broadcasting by June 2009 and was offering four subchannels: its local channel with programming from Telemax, the state TV network of Sonora, Mexico, and Multimedios Television; the English and Spanish channels of the Seventh-day Adventist-related 3ABN network; and infomercials.[11] Other subchannels that KPHE offered at one time or another included My Family TV and Retro TV, both owned by Luken Communications.[12][13] In April 2013, the station became an affiliate of CNN Latino for eight hours a day, also continuing to air output from Telemax and local productions.[14] Eventually, it shifted to airing mostly programming from LATV, though it was announced to air English-language coverage of Arizona Rattlers indoor football for 2021.[15]

Arizona's Family Sports


Arizona's Family Sports and Entertainment Network logo used from March 2023 to May 2023

On March 11, 2022, Gray Television (owner of CBS affiliate KPHO-TV and independent station KTVK) filed an application to acquire KPHE-LD for $1.75 million.[16] The sale was completed on May 4.[17] Lotus had previously reached a deal to sell to Sovryn Holdings for $2 million, which was not consummated, as part of its exit from the few low-power TV stations it still owned.[18]

In June 2022, Gray Television participated in an FCC auction of new TV stations and paid $4.648 million for channel 32 in Flagstaff and $1.345 million for channel 11 in Yuma.[19] The FCC approved a request from Gray Television to change the Yuma allotment from VHF channel 11 to UHF channel 27 in February 2023.[20]


Gray announced in January 2023 that KPHE-LD would relaunch as Arizona's Family Sports and Entertainment Network[a] on March 1, 2023. It also announced a three-year deal with USL Championship side Phoenix Rising FC; KPHE was set to air all 34 matches per season, with five simulcasts on KTVK and one on KPHO in 2023.[21]

On April 28, 2023, the Phoenix Suns of the NBA announced an agreement with Gray to serve as the broadcast television rightsholder of Phoenix Suns and WNBA Phoenix Mercury games, beginning in their forthcoming 2023 seasons and replacing Bally Sports Arizona. KPHE and KTVK would carry non-nationally televised games, with KTVK to carry at least 40 Suns games per season and 13 Mercury games per season; concurrently, Kiswe would develop an over-the-top (OTT) platform for the teams. The parent company of Bally Sports Arizona, Diamond Sports Group, responded by claiming that the Suns/Mercury deal represented a breach of contract by not allowing Diamond to exercise its contractual rights in violation of bankruptcy law.[22] The CEO of the Phoenix Suns and Mercury, Josh Bartelstein, had previously cited a "goal of wide distribution" for the teams in the face of cord cutting affecting the availability of RSNs.[23] Gray announced, in conjunction with the Suns deal, that Arizona's Family Sports and Entertainment Network would be broadcast on the 13.5 subchannel of Gray-owned KOLD-TV in Tucson.[24] The part of the contract for Suns games was voided by the bankruptcy court under an automatic stay, while Mercury games were not affected by the court order.[25][26] On July 14, the Suns announced that the Gray deal would go ahead as planned, as Diamond Sports Group declined to match the contract.[27]

Ahead of the NBA season, the Yuma and Flagstaff stations began broadcasting. KAZS, the Yuma station, began broadcasting by September 26, 2023,[28] while KAZF in Flagstaff debuted on the same day.[29] Over the course of the Suns season, telecasts saw a 69-percent year-over-year ratings increase from the 2022 campaign carried by Bally Sports Arizona.[30] Previously, the Mercury experienced a nearly sixfold ratings increase for the 2023 season, per Nielsen Media Research data.[31]

In 2024, Gray became the official television partner of the Arizona Cardinals football team, taking over from previous rightsholder KPNX.[32] KPHO-TV and KOLD-TV will air preseason games, while Arizona's Family Sports will offer additional team-related programming as well as high school football and flag football telecasts.[33]


Arizona's Family Sports is broadcast on stations in three media markets: Phoenix, Tucson, and Yuma. It is also available on the Fubo streaming service in those markets plus Albuquerque, New Mexico.[34] For further information on KPHO-TV and KOLD-TV, consult those pages.

Arizona's Family Sports primary stations
Station City of license Channel FID ERP HAAT Transmitter
First air date Former call signs Public license
KPHE-LD Phoenix 16 (virtual 44) 168602 15 kW 487.9 m (1,601 ft) 33°20′1″N 112°3′48″W / 33.33361°N 112.06333°W / 33.33361; -112.06333 (KPHE-LD) July 13, 1995 (1995-07-13)
  • K19DD (1992–1999)
  • KPHE-LP (1999–2010)
KAZF Flagstaff 32 776273 100 kW 433.1 m (1,421 ft) 34°58′7.6″N 111°30′30.6″W / 34.968778°N 111.508500°W / 34.968778; -111.508500 (KAZF) September 26, 2023 (2023-09-26)
KAZS Yuma 27 18066 19.2 kW 433.9 m (1,424 ft) 33°3′2.1″N 114°49′40.9″W / 33.050583°N 114.828028°W / 33.050583; -114.828028 (KAZS) September 26, 2023 (2023-09-26)


Subchannels of KPHE-LD[35]
Channel Res. Aspect Short name Programming
44.1 720p 16:9 KAZF Arizona's Family Sports
44.3 480i Rewind Rewind TV
44.4 Fido Bark TV
44.5 365 The365
44.6 DRTV-1 Infomercials
44.7 DRTV-2
Subchannels of KAZF[36]
Channel Res. Aspect Short name Programming
32.1 720p 16:9 Arizona's Family Sports
Subchannels of KAZS[37]
Channel Res. Aspect Short name Programming
27.1 720p 16:9 Arizona's Family Sports
27.2 480i Outlaw
27.3 The365


  1. ^ The name was shortened to Arizona's Family Sports on May 19, 2023.


  1. ^ "TV News" (PDF). VHF-UHF Digest. November 1996. p. 14. Archived (PDF) from the original on January 25, 2023. Retrieved January 25, 2023.
  2. ^ "Ten Low Power TV Stations Designated For Pilot Program". CongressDaily AM. September 21, 2000. EBSCOhost 19366132.
  3. ^ "In the Matter of Implementation of LPTV Digital Data Services Pilot Project" (PDF). Federal Communications Commission. April 19, 2001. Archived (PDF) from the original on October 30, 2020. Retrieved March 4, 2007.
  4. ^ Gately, Edward (December 20, 2003). "Tempe, Ariz., TV Station Build Fans with All-Music-Video Format". Mesa Tribune. Retrieved March 4, 2007.
  5. ^ Gonzales, Angela (March 9, 2005). "New Spanish-language TV station headed to Phoenix". Phoenix Business Journal. Archived from the original on January 25, 2023. Retrieved March 4, 2007.
  6. ^ Cordova, Randy (April 2, 2005). "Spanish TV station to debut". Arizona Republic. Phoenix, Arizona. p. E10. Archived from the original on January 25, 2023. Retrieved March 12, 2022 – via
  7. ^ Gately, Edward (March 23, 2005). "Mesa, Ariz.-area music channel will reach across state and into Mexico". East Valley Tribune. ProQuest 460356153.
  8. ^ "D-Backs set to televise 50 games in Spanish: Deal part of strategy to woo Hispanic fans". Arizona Republic. February 28, 2007. p. C6. Archived from the original on January 25, 2023. Retrieved January 25, 2023 – via
  9. ^ Haller, Doug (July 16, 2007). "Hot-hitting Tracy sits out with sore knee". Arizona Republic. Phoenix, Arizona. p. C5. Archived from the original on January 25, 2023. Retrieved March 12, 2022 – via
  10. ^ Piecoro, Nick (January 23, 2009). "Team cuts ties with Spanish TV broadcast". Arizona Republic. Phoenix, Arizona. p. C8. Archived from the original on January 25, 2023. Retrieved March 12, 2022 – via
  11. ^ Ruelas, Richard (June 12, 2009). "TV stations set to go digital". The Arizona Republic. p. A15. ProQuest 239166439.
  12. ^ Hoch, Heather (August 5, 2014). "Retro TV Brings Doctor Who, Ghostbusters, and MST3K to the Phoenix Airwaves". Phoenix New Times. Archived from the original on October 20, 2021. Retrieved January 25, 2023.
  13. ^ "Luken Signs Multi-Network Affiliation With KPHE". TVNewsCheck. July 31, 2014. Archived from the original on January 25, 2023. Retrieved January 25, 2023.
  14. ^ Brown, Brandon (April 1, 2013). "CNN Latino debuts in Ariz". The Arizona Republic. p. B4. ProQuest 1322342977.
  15. ^ "LATV Designated as Rattlers' 2021 Television Home in Partnership with Lotus Communications (press release)". OurSportsCentral. February 3, 2021. Archived from the original on April 11, 2021. Retrieved January 25, 2023.
  16. ^ "Assignments". Licensing and Management System. Federal Communications Commission. March 11, 2022. Retrieved March 11, 2022.
  17. ^ "Notification of Consummation". Licensing and Management System. Federal Communications Commission. May 4, 2022. Archived from the original on January 25, 2023. Retrieved May 9, 2022.
  18. ^ Jacobson, Adam (July 21, 2021). "Philip Falcone's New Venture Snags Another LPTV Property". Radio and Television Business Report. Archived from the original on September 29, 2022. Retrieved January 25, 2023.
  19. ^ Jacobson, Adam (June 24, 2022). "Here Are The FCC's 'Auction 112' Winning Bidders". Radio & Television Business Report. Retrieved September 26, 2023.
  20. ^ "Report and Order" (PDF). Federal Communications Commission. February 24, 2023.
  21. ^ "Arizona's Family announces broadcast partnership with Phoenix Rising, launch of new network". Arizona's Family. January 25, 2023. Archived from the original on January 25, 2023. Retrieved January 25, 2023.
  22. ^ Rankin, Duane (April 28, 2023). "Diamond Sports Group accuses Phoenix Suns of breach of contract in leaving Bally Sports Arizona". The Arizona Republic. Archived from the original on April 28, 2023. Retrieved April 28, 2023.
  23. ^ Brown, Brandon (April 20, 2023). "Q&A: Suns' new CEO wants to capitalize on NBA Playoffs, land big concerts and shore up TV broadcasts". Phoenix Business Journal. Archived from the original on April 20, 2023. Retrieved April 28, 2023.
  24. ^ "New network to bring Suns and Mercury games to southern Arizona viewers". KOLD-TV. April 28, 2023. Archived from the original on April 28, 2023. Retrieved April 28, 2023.
  25. ^ Kaplan, Daniel. "Judge voids Suns' media deal with local TV group". The Athletic. Retrieved May 11, 2023.
  26. ^ Rankin, Duane (May 10, 2023). "Phoenix Suns seeking 'fair resolution' as judge blocked move from Bally Sports Arizona". The Arizona Republic. AZCentral. Retrieved May 13, 2023.
  27. ^ Ourand, John (July 14, 2023). "Gray Television wins Suns, Mercury media rights". Sports Business Journal. Retrieved July 14, 2023.
  28. ^ Miller, Mark (September 26, 2023). "Arizona's Family Sports Launches On KAZS Yuma". TVNewsCheck. Retrieved September 26, 2023.
  29. ^ Ziedy, Melissa (September 26, 2023). "Arizona's Family Sports network is now available statewide". Arizona's Family. Retrieved September 28, 2023.
  30. ^ Karp, Austin (April 25, 2024). "NBA RSN audience jumps 8% during regular season". Sports Business Journal. Retrieved June 9, 2024.
  31. ^ "Broadcast bounceback: New TV sports rights deals provide fans with free access to local games". Nielsen. October 2023. Retrieved June 9, 2024.
  32. ^ Romero, José M. (August 1, 2023). "Arizona Cardinals announce NFL preseason broadcast network". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved June 9, 2024.
  33. ^ Cortez, Alexis (June 3, 2024). "Arizona's Family & Arizona Cardinals launch multi-year partnership deal". Arizona's Family. Retrieved June 8, 2024.
  34. ^ "Arizona's Family Sports". Arizona's Family. Retrieved June 9, 2024.
  35. ^ "Listing for KPHE-LD". RabbitEars. Retrieved September 26, 2023.
  36. ^ "Listing for KAZF". RabbitEars. Retrieved June 8, 2024.
  37. ^ "Listing for KAZS". RabbitEars. Retrieved June 8, 2024.

External links

This page was last edited on 15 June 2024, at 00:57
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