KIFI-TV is the ABC-affiliated television station for Southeastern Idaho, Southwestern Montana and Northwestern Wyoming that is licensed to Idaho Falls. It broadcasts a high-definition digital signal on VHF channel 8 from a transmitter on East Butte in unincorporated northern Bingham County along the Idaho National Laboratory border. The station can also be seen on Cable One channel 8 and in high definition on digital channel 1008.

Owned by the News-Press & Gazette Company, KIFI operates CBS affiliate KIDK and low-powered MyNetworkTV outlet KXPI-LD (both owned by VistaWest Media, LLC) through a shared services agreement. All three television stations share studios on North Yellowstone Highway/U.S. 26 in Idaho Falls. Syndicated programming on this station includes Everybody Loves Raymond, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Dr. Oz Show, and Anderson among others.

History

Founded in 1961, KIFI-TV was the third television station to broadcast in Eastern Idaho. It went on the air in January 1961. KIFI began broadcasting the NBC television network, with 316,000 watts,and shared an ABC partial affiliation with then KID-TV. At the time, KIFI was the most powerful television station in Idaho. In 1962, KIFI aired the first live remote basketball telecast in Idaho from Reed Gym at Idaho State University in Pocatello.

In 1965, KIFI was the first station in Idaho to install a color film chain for color film (16mm and 35mm color slides). In 1968, KIFI broadcast the first live telecast from the Eastern Idaho State Fair in Blackfoot with weatherman Lloyd Lindsey Young. In early 1996, KIFI-TV changed from an NBC affiliate to an ABC affiliate, swapping with the longtime ABC affiliate KPVI after KPVI was sold to Sunbelt Broadcasting.

Originally owned by The Post Register, the area's leading newspaper, it was sold to News-Press & Gazette in 2005. KIFI-TV was branded as "Idaho 8" for a number of years, before being branded Local News 8 in early 1999. In 2008, KIFI launched "WiNG" (Wireless Internet Newsgathering), becoming the first station in the United States to execute live shots using WiMAX technology. In December 2010, it was announced that KIFI had entered into a shared services agreement with Fisher Communications-owned KIDK and would operate the CBS affiliate out of the KIFI facility.[2]

Digital television

Digital channels

The station's digital signal is multiplexed:

ChannelVideoAspectPSIP Short NameProgramming[3]
8.1720p16:9KIFI-DTMain KIFI-TV programming / ABC
8.2480iTelemunTelemundo
8.3CWCW East Idaho
8.4NowLocal News 8 NOW

It is currently broadcasting in a 720p format. As of September 7, 2009, KIFI added The CW on its second digital subchannel.

Analog-to-digital conversion

KIFI-TV shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 8, 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 relocated from its pre-transition VHF channel 9 to channel 8 for post-transition operations.[4][5]

News operation

KIFI operates it news department out of its Idaho Falls facility, with a news bureau that operates in Pocatello on Yellowstone Ave. With KPVI (NBC), operating out of Pocatello with a bureau on Lincoln Road in Idaho Falls near KIFI's facility. On March 1, 2009, this ABC affiliate became the area's first television station to upgrade local newscast production to high definition level. As a result of the SSA between KIFI and KIDK, the latter consolidated its news department into KIFI's studios. This ABC outlet then began producing all of KIDK newscasts (including a nightly prime time show seen on KXPI).

The CBS affiliate modified its local news schedule in order to reduce opportunities for direct competition with KIFI and because the station only has one studio. More specifically, KIDK dropped its weekday morning show in favor of CBS Morning News repeats making that station one of a few in the United States that does not provide a local broadcast in the time slot. Separate newscasts airing weeknights at 5 and 6 on KIDK were dropped in favor of one seen at 5:30 while KIFI airs ABC World News. KIDK provides the CBS Evening News at 5 preceding its local show. That station still offers a separate broadcast weeknights at 10 that does compete with KIFI.

All local news programming produced for KIDK originates from KIFI's primary set except with modified studio elements, such as duratrans and on-screen graphics, indicating the specific channel airing news. In order to maintain individual on-air identities and branding, KIFI and KIDK have separate graphic schemes and news music packages. The two maintain primary personalities during the week (such as news anchors) that only appear on one channel. The primary anchors will appear on competing stations during major breaking news simulcasts, like the 2012 Charlotte Fire. On weekends, this station offers its own early evening newscast at 5 while KIDK follows at 5:30. The two television outlets simulcast together at 10 although the broadcast can be delayed or preempted on one channel due to network obligations. In December 2011 due to a decline in advertising revenue, KPVI announced significant layoffs and the cancellation of all weekend newscasts. Like all CW Plus stations, KIFI-DT3 airs the nationally syndicated morning show The Daily Buzz on weekdays.