KBAK-TV channel 29 is a CBS-affiliated television station located in Bakersfield, California, USA. KBAK-TV is owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group, which also operates the local Fox affiliate, KBFX-CD from a shared facility in Bakersfield. The two stations share studios on Westwind Drive west of downtown Bakersfield and the transmitter site is on Breckenridge Mountain. Until 2014, KBAK-TV also Bakersfield Neon has a second transmitter for Eastern Kern County, the Antelope Valley and Victor Valley in the Mojave Desert on K55CW-D (moved to channel 34 in 2009). KBAK plans to continue to serve this region on a future translator.
The station signed on the air on August 20, 1953 as KAFY-TV. It was originally owned by Sheldon Anderson along with KAFY radio (AM 550, now AM 1100). The station originally operated from studios located on Chester Avenue in Bakersfield. It is Bakersfield's oldest television station; KERO-TV followed a month later. Four months later, Anderson sold the station to Chronicle Publishing Company of San Francisco. KAFY-TV was initially an affiliate of the Dumont television network, later becoming a primary CBS affiliate, sharing ABC programming with KERO-TV until KLYD-TV (channel 17, now KGET-TV) signed on in 1959.
In February 1954, shortly after becoming a full CBS affiliate, channel 29 changed its calls to the current KBAK-TV.. The Chronicle sold the station to Reeves Telecom in 1960. As a CBS and later ABC affiliate, KBAK had aired all of its color programs in color, and went to full color in 1967. In 1974, KBAK swapped affiliations with channel 17, then known as KJTV, and became an ABC affiliate.
Reeves then sold KBAK to Chicago-based Harriscope Broadcasting in 1964, which also owned WSNS in Chicago (now a Telemundo O&O) and a partial stake in KRQE in Albuquerque (now owned by Media General). In the late 1980s, KBAK started signing off only on Fridays and Saturdays, which as a CBS affiliate it continued to do until May 2008, when the sign-offs on KBAK and KBFX were discontinued and were replaced by a simulcast of the Kern Weather Channel, which is also available on digital cable systems in the Bakersfield area.
In 1986, Harriscope sold KBAK to Burnham Broadcasting, which also owned KHON-TV in Honolulu and would later acquire WVUE in New Orleans, WALA-TV in Mobile, Alabama and WLUK in Green Bay, Wisconsin. In 1995, Burnham sold most of its stations to SF Broadcasting, a joint venture between Fox and Savoy Pictures, but KBAK was not included in the sale to SF Broadcasting, and was instead spun off to Westwind Communications, a locally based company linked to former Burnham executives.
In 1995, McGraw-Hill cut an affiliation deal with ABC which called for all of its stations, including KERO-TV, to become ABC affiliates. Largely by default, KBAK rejoined CBS when KERO picked up ABC in March 1996.
On August 6, 2007, Westwind Communications announced the sale of KBAK and KBFX-CA to Fisher Communications of Seattle. The deal closed on January 1, 2008. This marked a re-entry to the Central Valley for Fisher, who previously bought and sold KJEO (now KGPE) in Fresno in the late 1990s.
In mid May 2010, KBAK became the first station in Bakersfield to begin broadcasting local newscasts in 16:9 widescreen standard definition. Then on January 16, 2011, KBAK took it one step further to become the first station in Bakersfield to launch local news in true high definition. The KBFX shows were included in the upgrade to HD; however, they are presented in downconverted standard definition widescreen on KBAK-DT2 (which serves as a full-power companion to KBFX's low-power Class A digital terrestrial signal).
KBAK-TV, KBFX, and Fisher Communications' other holdings were sold to Sinclair Broadcast Group in a transaction announced on April 10, 2013. The deal was completed on August 8, 2013. The transaction marked a re-entry into California for Sinclair since it sold off its Sacramento station KOVR to CBS at the end of April 2005.
The current announcer for KBAK and KBFX is nationally recognized voice-over Eric Gordon.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|29.1||1080i||16:9||KBAK-HD||Main KBAK-TV programming / CBS|
|58.2||720p||16:9||KBFX-DT||Simulcast of KBFX-CD|
KBAK-TV discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over UHF channel 29, on June 12, 2009, the official date in which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 33. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 29.