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KPRC-TV
KPRC-TV Logo.png

KPRC-DT2 Logo.png
Houston, Texas
United States
BrandingKPRC Channel 2 (general)
Channel 2 News (newscasts)
SloganHouston's Home for News
ChannelsDigital: 35 (UHF)
Virtual: 2 (PSIP)
Affiliations
OwnerGraham Media Group
(Graham Media Group, Houston, Inc.)
First air dateJanuary 1, 1949 (70 years ago) (1949-01-01)
Call letters' meaningHouston Post Radio Company (previous owner)
or
Sister station(s)KTRH (news and weather partnership only)
San Antonio: KSAT-TV
Former callsignsKLEE-TV (1949–1950)
Former channel number(s)
  • Analog:
  • 2 (VHF, 1949–2009)
Former affiliations
Transmitter power1000 kW
Height585 m (1,919 ft)
Facility ID53117
Transmitter coordinates29°34′6″N 95°29′57″W / 29.56833°N 95.49917°W / 29.56833; -95.49917
Licensing authorityFCC
Public license informationProfile
CDBS
Websitewww.click2houston.com

KPRC-TV, virtual channel 2 (UHF digital channel 35), is an NBC-affiliated television station licensed to Houston, Texas, United States. The station is owned by the Graham Media Group subsidiary of the Graham Holdings Company. KPRC's studios are located on Southwest Freeway (I-69) in the Sharpstown district,[1][2] and its transmitter is located near Missouri City, in unincorporated northeastern Fort Bend County. It is the largest NBC affiliate (not owned by the network) station by market size.[3]

Prior to the digital transition, KPRC was the only Houston station on the VHF dial whose cable channel position did not match its over-the-air analog channel, due to interference from the low-band VHF terrestrial signal; it was placed on Comcast Xfinity channel 12, instead.[4] Other cable systems on the outer edges of the Houston media market carry KPRC on cable channel 2. It is also available on cable in LufkinNacogdoches and BryanCollege Station.

History

The station first signed on the air on January 1, 1949, as KLEE-TV. It was Houston's first television station and the second one to sign on in Texas, three months behind Fort Worth station WBAP-TV (now KXAS-TV) and over eight months ahead of Dallas station KBTV (now WFAA). It was originally owned by hotelier W. Albert Lee and carried programming from all four networks of the day—NBC, CBS, ABC, and DuMont. However, after a year of difficulty, Lee sold the station to the Hobby family, owners of the Houston Post and Houston's oldest radio station, KPRC (950 AM and 99.7 FM, now KODA at 99.1). The Hobbys took control on June 1, 1950, and changed the television station's call letters to match its radio sisters on July 3, 1950. Although the call letters stand for Post Radio Company, they also refer to a 1920s Houston business/tourism campaign slogan Kotton (sic required by ITU prefix) Port Rail Center. (There is a similar situation with Houston radio station KHCB-FM.) After the Hobbys took over, channel 2 became a primary NBC affiliate due to KPRC-AM radio's longstanding affiliation with the NBC Red Network, a link that remains today. Due to the Federal Communications Commission-imposed freeze on new station licenses, channel 2 remained the only television station in Houston for four more years.[5] CBS moved to KGUL-TV (channel 11, now KHOU) in 1953 and KTRK-TV (channel 13) took over the ABC affiliation when it signed on one year later. DuMont ceased operations in 1956, though it was briefly affiliated with now-defunct KNUZ-TV (channel 39, frequency now occupied by KIAH). Because of its affiliation with NBC, KPRC was the first station in Houston to broadcast a program in color and was subsequently the first to broadcast its programming entirely in color.

KPRC-TV's original "Lone Star 2" logo, used from late 1994 to 2004: The current logo (shown in the infobox) is very similar to the original, but is enhanced for HD.
KPRC-TV's original "Lone Star 2" logo, used from late 1994 to 2004: The current logo (shown in the infobox) is very similar to the original, but is enhanced for HD.

In March 1953, the station operated its first permanent studio located on 3014 Post Oak Road, which later became the Lakes on Post Oak near the Galleria shopping complex in Uptown Houston. The studio building was along the street frontage, while the KPRC (AM) transmitter site was in the rear of the lot. The station became the source of controversy after some television viewers in the United Kingdom claimed to receive its signal on September 14, 1953, three years after the original signal was transmitted. However, this was actually a hoax.[6] Over the years, the Hobby family bought several other television stations, including KVOA-TV in Tucson, KCCI in Des Moines, WTVF in Nashville, WESH in Orlando, and KSAT-TV in San Antonio.

In March 1972, KPRC-TV moved into a new state-of-the-art studio facility in Houston's (then-suburban) Sharpstown neighborhood where it operated from for 45 years. Built on property originally lended to Houston Baptist University, KPRC chose the site to build its new facilities in large part due to its location on the feeder road of the Southwest Freeway as well as its proximity to the majority of KPRC's employees. The building housed three studios within and were suspended from the ground to reduce vibration, and when viewed from space via satellite map, the building resembled a film camera.

In 1983, the Hobbys sold the Houston Post to MediaNews Group, while the family's broadcast holdings were reorganized as H&C Communications, with KPRC-AM/TV remaining as the flagship stations (KPRC-FM was sold in 1958). After 40 years under Hobby family ownership, KPRC was sold to The Washington Post Company on April 22, 1994[7] (the Post was then bought by the Hearst Corporation and absorbed into its Houston Chronicle, with the last edition printed on April 18, 1995). In 2004, KPRC was rebranded "Local 2". In January 2015, KPRC dropped the "Local" and began calling themselves "Channel 2".

In December 2015, KPRC broke ground on a new studio, behind the old studio in the employee parking lot, on the same Shaprstown site. While the old studio was 90,000 square feet (8,361 m2), the new studio would have only 65,000 square feet (6,039 m2).[8] The new studios were dedicated in April 2016, and the previous 45-year-old studios have since been demolished.

Since 1994, KPRC has used the familiar "Lone Star 2" logo, which was modified in 2004 for HD. WMAR-TV in Baltimore, Maryland used a similar logo in the late 1990s and early 2000s, but without the Texas star and with the ABC logo in place of the NBC one, since that station had switched affiliations in 1995.

Digital television

KPRC-DT3 logo during its LATV affiliation
KPRC-DT3 logo during its LATV affiliation

Digital channels

The station's digital signal is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[9]
2.1 1080i 16:9 KPRC-HD Main KPRC-TV programming / NBC
2.2 480i MeTV MeTV
2.3 H&I Heroes & Icons
2.4 StartTV Start TV

KPRC had carried This TV from the start of 2009 until May 28, 2018 on its second subchannel, being one of the network's longest-tenured affiliates before leaving the network on that day. KPRC 2.2 then became the new home of MeTV in the Houston market, taking over that role from KUBE-TV 57.4 (also where This TV moved to the newly created 57.7 and Cozi TV swapped to 57.4).

Analog-to-digital conversion

KPRC-TV discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over VHF channel 2, on June 12, 2009, as part of the federally mandated transition from analog to digital television.[10] The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 35, using PSIP to display KPRC-TV's virtual channel as 2 on digital television receivers. On that date, tropospheric ducting resulted in KPRC's digital signal being receivable as far away as Alexandria, Louisiana, where KPRC virtual channel 2.1 was seen in place of KALB-TV's virtual channel 5.1 on digital receivers (both channels transmit their digital signals on UHF channel 35).[citation needed]

As part of the SAFER Act,[11][12] KPRC kept its analog signal on the air until July 12 to inform viewers of the digital television transition through a loop of public service announcements from the National Association of Broadcasters.

Programming

Since its inception KPRC has been an NBC affiliate, and in part because of NBC's affiliation the station was the first in Houston to broadcast in color. The station also carries a daily lifestyle and entertainment program called Houston Life, which debuted on August 23, 2016 with hosts Derrick Shore (formerly of KCET, Current TV and Channel One News) and Courtney Zavala and focuses on lifestyle and feature segments in and around Houston. This resulted in KPRC bumping the long-running NBC soap opera Days of Our Lives from its network-recommended 1:00 p.m. Central Time slot to 2:00 p.m., where it replaced the canceled Meredith Vieira Show. Asides from local and network programming, KPRC's daily syndicated lineup includes Entertainment Tonight, Dr. Phil, Extra and Celebrity Page.

From 1969 to 1998, KPRC produced the longest-running syndicated television program in Texas, The Eyes of Texas, a lifestyle program which focused on segments relating to Texas culture and life (the program continues to air locally on PBS member station KUHT, channel 8). KPRC was also one of the first stations to air telethons, raising $28,000 for the American Cancer Society in 1950. It carried the MDA Labor Day Telethon every Labor Day from 1970 to 2012 (KPRC's status as an MDA "Love Network" affiliate in 2013, when the telethon discontinued its syndicated distribution model and moved to ABC as the rebranded MDA Show of Strength, where it aired locally on KTRK-TV until the program ended after 2014).

Historically, KPRC was the original Houston affiliate for the nighttime syndicated editions of Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!, both of which had their roots as NBC daytime game shows, from their respective 1983 and 1984 debuts until the game shows moved to rival KHOU in 1986 (the latter now airs on KTRK since 2015); from 1986 to 1993, KPRC would eventually fill Wheel of Fortune's 6:30 p.m. slot with various syndicated revivals of Hollywood Squares, Family Feud and You Bet Your Life before settling on Entertainment Tonight in 1993. The station also gained a reputation from the 1980s well into the early 2000s for airing various syndicated tabloid talk shows that often fit the pejorative definition of "Trash TV"; indeed, KPRC was the original Houston affiliate for Geraldo, which the station carried from its 1987 debut until complaints from viewers and even station management over its content led KPRC to drop the show in 1990. After Post-Newsweek acquired the station, KPRC nonetheless began broadcasting more syndicated talk shows in the afternoon including ones hosted by Montel Williams, Maury Povich, Jenny Jones, Ricki Lake and Jerry Springer, as well as infotainment news programs such as A Current Affair, Hard Copy and Inside Edition. Many of these shows eventually moved to other stations due to ratings declines and the overexposure of their genres, as well as the gradual expansion of NBC's Today (which KPRC has historically aired in its entirety) from two to three hours in 1999, and eventually four hours by 2007.

Network preemptions

While KPRC generally airs NBC's programming lineup in pattern, this has not always been the case; despite NBC historically being less tolerant of preemptions than other networks, it has at times preempted programming particularly in late night and daytime hours. While NBC has become more tolerant of preemptions than in previous years, it prefers that its affiliates clear the entire schedule whenever possible.

Following its acquisition by Post-Newsweek various programs have been preempted by KPRC over the years in a pattern similar to that of its Detroit sister station, WDIV-TV. Most notorious of all, the station dropped Late Night with Conan O'Brien from 1994 to 1996, leaving Houston as the largest market in the country to not air the program, with reruns of various tabloid talk shows including the aforementioned Ricki Lake and The Jenny Jones Show, tabloid news programs such as Entertainment Tonight and Access Hollywood, and even a repeat of KPRC's 10 p.m. newscast often filling the void. While Late Night did return to KPRC in 1996, the station continued to delay its broadcast as far back as 2:40 a.m. (even truncating the broadcast of its late-night news program, NBC Nightside, in the process).

This fact was not lost on O'Brien, who visited Houston (making impromptu stops at Houston's central bus terminal and the Astrodome) to watch an episode of his own show with Houstonians in a classic remote piece; KPRC's mail servers were flooded with emails from O'Brien's fans in response. KPRC responded by moving the show to 12:35 a.m. in 1998, and finally to its network-recommended (for the Central Time Zone) 11:35 p.m. slot in 2005, where Late Night, now hosted by Seth Meyers, continues to air. However, KPRC currently delays A Little Late with Lilly Singh (previously Last Call with Carson Daly, which ended its run on May 24, 2019), airing at 1:35 a.m. as of September 16, 2019.

When Passions debuted on NBC in 1999, KPRC (along with Detroit sister station WDIV-TV) were the only NBC affiliates that preempted the soap opera until 2002, even though Passions' predecessor Another World was cleared by KPRC for most if not all of its entire run.[13] Around this time, both KPRC and WDIV had also previously preempted Sunset Beach, with UPN stations in both cities (in Houston's case, KTXH (channel 20)) carrying the soap opera. KNWS-TV (channel 51, now KYAZ), which had also picked up another preempted NBC daytime program, the talk show Leeza during the late 1990s, would pick up Passions in 2001 before the program moved to KPRC in 2002 at 3:05 a.m.. Following the expansion of Today to three hours in 1999, Maury (which previously filled the 9 a.m. hour) aired in place of Passions until KPRC placed the latter program in its network-recommended 2 p.m. timeslot in August 2004 (with Maury moving to KHWB (channel 39, now KIAH) at the same time), but the issue became moot when the program was canceled in September 2007.

During the 2000s, KPRC was also among a handful of NBC affiliates that did not air Poker After Dark during its entire run, and likewise did not carry the short-lived Face the Ace in August 2009 (along with WDIV and Milwaukee's WTMJ-TV), preempting both primetime airings with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital programs. As is the case with Detroit's WDIV, NBC's current overnight lineup (a rebroadcast of the fourth hour of Today on weekdays; LXTV 1st Look and Open House NYC on weekends) also does not air in Houston.

Sports programming

Beginning in 1965, the American Football League signed a broadcast deal with NBC. As a result, KPRC became the primary station for regular season games of the Houston Oilers, one of the league's eight founding teams; this continued after the AFL became the American Football Conference of the National Football League in 1970. Local Oilers broadcasts ended after the 1996 NFL season, when the team relocated to Nashville and eventually became the Tennessee Titans, though Oilers games would continue to be prioritized for broadcast during the 1997 season, which also turned out to be the last for NBC as the primary broadcaster of Sunday afternoon AFC games. During the team's final years in Houston, the Oilers failed to sell out many home games, subjecting them to in-market television blackouts under league rules at the time in addition to preemption from radio broadcasts locally.

Since 2006, the station is also involved with Houston's current NFL team, the Texans (who began play in 2002), in that the station airs games when they are featured on NBC's Sunday Night Football, as well as broadcasting a Sunday morning pregame show during the season on Sunday afternoon game days.

In addition to Oilers/Texans games, KPRC-TV has aired Houston Astros games via NBC's broadcast contract with Major League Baseball from 1962 to 1989; it also served as the team's over-the-air flagship station from 1973 to 1978. Channel 2 also aired Houston Rockets games via NBC's broadcast contract with the NBA from 1990 to 2002, including the team's championship victories in 1994 and 1995.

However, KPRC has been known for motorsports preemptions. In 2001, a contract with the Miss Texas Scholarship Pageant (which predated NBC's acquisition of partial NASCAR broadcast rights) did not allow for the program to be rescheduled, resulting in the preemption of what was then the Pepsi 400, then televised on NBC under an alternating basis with Fox (which in return carried the Daytona 500 held at the same track). In 2013, KPRC also preempted coverage of NBC's inaugural Formula 1 telecast of the 2013 Monaco Grand Prix (which aired locally at 6:30 a.m. due to time differences between the U.S. and Monaco) with infomercials and local news.

In September 2007, the first half-hour of the NFL Kickoff game between the New Orleans Saints and the Indianapolis Colts was shown on KPRC with default audio in Spanish rather than English.[14] KPRC inadvertently aired the secondary audio program feed provided by Telemundo (owned by NBC parent company NBCUniversal).

News operation

KPRC-TV presently broadcasts 39½ hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 6½ hours each weekday, three hours on Saturdays and four hours on Sundays). The station also carries Sports Sunday, which has been a staple of the station since its days as a locally-owned station in the 1980s, at 10:20 p.m. following its late Sunday newscast, as well as Houston Newsmakers (a local Sunday morning talk show similar in format to NBC's Meet the Press) at 10:30 a.m.

Appropriate for a station with roots in the Houston Post, KPRC has long been a very news-intensive station, and in particular one with a history of innovation in television journalism. In its early years under the stewardship of legendary news director Ray Miller, KPRC often led the local news ratings with such notable personalities as Miller and fellow anchors Steve Smith and Larry Rasco. KPRC was the first station in Houston to use weather radar for its weather reports, to use videotape for field reporting, to have a fully staffed news bureau in Austin, to hire female and African American reporters, and to hire a Hispanic news anchor for an English-language newscast.

In 1973, after Smith departed for KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh (at the time, a larger market than Houston), the station hired former KHOU anchor Ron Stone and paired him and his former KHOU colleague, sportscaster Ron Franklin, with weatherman Doug Johnson for its evening newscasts (Smith would eventually return to Houston as the lead anchor at KHOU in 1975). During this time, KTRK overtook KPRC and became the dominant news station in Houston, even though KPRC would continue to fare a strong second from the late 1970s well into the early 1990s as KHOU began to struggle with management and ownership issues during this period. From 1985 to 1992, the station's newscasts were branded as ChannelTwoNews, broadcasting round-the-clock news updates throughout the day, including during NBC primetime shows. For several years during the early 1990s, updates also aired during the overnight hours with producers and other newsroom personnel serving as anchors. During this time, national voiceover announcer Charlie Van Dyke served as the station's image announcer, with KPRC personality Don Armstrong serving as the local promo announcer.

With anchors such as Stone, Bill Balleza, Jan Carson, Linda Lorelle, Dan O'Rourke, and Bob Nicholas, weathermen Johnson and Ted Shaw, and sports anchors Ron Franklin, Craig Roberts and Lisa Malosky, the station's newscasts often competed for and even placed first at times. In the fall of 1994, shortly after Post-Newsweek Stations bought KPRC, its newscasts were retitled as News 2 Houston with a somewhat more tabloid presentational style (in contrast to its more traditional format under local ownership) similar to that of its Detroit sister station, WDIV-TV. Three years later, KPRC constructed a new newsroom within one of its three studios, utilizing the newsroom as a backdrop that was similar to the "newsplex" set used by Miami Fox affiliate WSVN, itself a former NBC affiliate which became a ratings leader in that market after losing its NBC affiliation and switching to a similar tabloid-style format. This set was referred to as the "News Center" and was used on-air until 2006, even though the physical newsroom continued to exist until the move to its current facilities in 2017.

In 1996, KPRC debuted a half-hour 4 p.m. newscast. During this time, KPRC won more awards and continued to avidly compete in the ratings with KTRK as well as a resurgent KHOU, even occasionally beating KTRK at 10 p.m. on the strength of NBC's "Must See TV" programming of the 1990s. Notable personalities who rose to prominence in the News 2 Houston era included Dominique Sachse (who originally started as a traffic reporter before moving up to anchoring its morning news), chief meteorologist Frank Billingsley (who left his position as KTRK's weekend meteorologist to succeed Doug Johnson as evening weather anchor), and investigative reporter Tony Kovaleski (whose reports resulted in numerous awards for the station).

In 2004, KPRC retitled its newscasts as Local 2 News, putting the station in line with its fellow Post-Newsweek stations which adopted similar branding and perhaps to avoid confusion with News 24 Houston, a 24-hour local cable news channel owned by Time Warner Cable and KHOU parent company Belo which shut down just weeks before KPRC's transition was complete. However, by this time the station had gone into a period a decline both in terms of quality and ratings. At one point, KPRC's 5 p.m. newscast even reportedly finished in fifth place, behind English-language newscasts on KHOU and KTRK-TV, a Spanish-language newscast on Univision station KXLN (channel 45), and even syndicated reruns of The Simpsons on Fox station KRIV (channel 26) which at one point even led all Houston newscasts airing in that timeslot. Despite a strong lead-in from Dr. Phil, KPRC also continued to decline at 4 p.m. and in both the morning and evening hours as NBC's ratings began to enter a steep decline following the ending of several of its 1990s-era staples such as Friends and Frasier, with the station even dropping Dr. Phil at one point and not even clearing the show for another Houston station to pick up. KPRC was also hit with a 2006 boycott by civil rights activist Quanell X and other African American leaders following the demotion of African American anchors Linda Lorelle and Khambrel Marshall from its evening broadcasts. In response to the controversy, KPRC hired longtime KHOU anchor Jerome Gray, who is African American, to anchor its early evening newscasts as well as serve as a managing editor, and moved former anchor Khambrel Marshall to executive producer, with Marshall eventually moving back on-air as a weekend meteorologist and host of Houston Newsmakers.

Overall, by early 2007, KPRC was in third place behind KHOU and KTRK. However, since Nielsen Media Research began using Local People Meters in the Houston market in October 2007, KPRC began to see gains in most timeslots, while its competition saw declines.[15] KPRC's morning and late-evening newscasts made the most gains in 2007, competing for second place with KHOU. On July 19, 2008 during its 6 p.m. newscasts, KPRC began broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition in the run up to NBC's coverage of the 2008 Summer Olympics. On August 24, 2009, KPRC-TV expanded its morning newscast to an additional half-hour at 4:30 a.m., and by 2012, the station's 6 p.m. newscast had ratings gains, boasting its highest viewership in November and December, as well as significant increases in all other time periods; the 10 p.m. broadcast also grew, besting KTRK for first in the timeslot for several consecutive months that year. While it continues to compete with KTRK, KHOU and KRIV in the local news ratings, the station leads among younger viewers between 25 and 35 years of age and also performs well among suburban audiences.

Notable current on-air staff

Notable former on-air staff

In popular culture

In 1958, Reader's Digest published an article on how one afternoon in 1953, a signal showing KLEE's station ID supposedly appeared on TV sets throughout England—three years after the station was sold and changed to KPRC-TV. Although quickly revealed as a hoax to sell TV sets in the UK, it remains a long-standing urban legend.[19]

Screen-capture image of KPRC's building facade and STL tower, appearing as fictional station 'KVIK' from the opening sequence of former NBC soap opera Texas.
Screen-capture image of KPRC's building facade and STL tower, appearing as fictional station 'KVIK' from the opening sequence of former NBC soap opera Texas.

In the 1980–82 NBC soap opera Texas, which was set primarily in Houston, the series made several mentions of fictional television station "KVIK", run by one of the show's characters. A brief view of the exterior of KPRC's studio facility, which was marked with a "KVIK" sign out front, can be seen during a later version of the show's opening title sequence. One episode of the series features a scene in which two characters are conversing while walking down a second-floor hallway at "KVIK" (which was filmed at the KPRC building) that overlooks the first-floor lobby.

References

  1. ^ "Contact." KPRC-TV. Retrieved on March 3, 2010.
  2. ^ "Districts Archived 2009-01-06 at the Wayback Machine." Greater Sharpstown Management District. Retrieved on August 15, 2009.
  3. ^ Mcguff, Mike (31 August 2016). "Houston now 8th Nielsen Designated Market Area (DMA)". mikemcguff.com.
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ earlytelevision.org Archived 2013-07-03 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ [2]
  7. ^ "SEC Filing | Graham Holdings Company". www.ghco.com.
  8. ^ http://www.click2houston.com/news/kprc2-debuts-new-broadcast-center-in-sw-houston
  9. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for KPRC
  10. ^ List of Digital Full-Power Stations Archived 2013-08-29 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "UPDATED List of Participants in the Analog Nightlight Program" (PDF). Federal Communications Commission. June 12, 2009. Retrieved June 4, 2012.
  12. ^ "CDBS Print", FCC CDBS database, retrieved November 20, 2012
  13. ^ NBC 'Passions' wane, Variety, July 1, 1999.
  14. ^ Scroll down to the "comments" section of the page
  15. ^ [3]
  16. ^ "Ron Franklin bio". ESPN. Archived from the original on July 22, 2009. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
  17. ^ "Janet Shamlian bio". NBC News. 12 October 2006. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
  18. ^ Barron, David (13 May 2008). "Anchorman Ron Stone left deep imprint on local news". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
  19. ^ The Legend Of KLEE-TV

External links

This page was last edited on 17 October 2019, at 23:08
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