KITV, virtual channel 4 (UHF digital channel 40), is an ABC-affiliated television station located in Honolulu, Hawaii, United States. The station is owned by SJL Broadcasting. KITV's studios are located on South King Street in downtown Honolulu, and its transmitter is located on the top of the Ala Moana building.
The station is also carried on Oceanic Time Warner Cable channel 6 throughout most of the state, except for the Big Island, where it is available on channel 4. It is also on channel 4 on Hawaiian Telcom statewide. The station operates several satellite stations and translators on all the major Hawaiian Islands to rebroadcast programs outside of metropolitan Honolulu.
The station signed on the air on April 16, 1954, as KULA-TV, launching at 10:30 a.m. with a test pattern, followed by its inaugural sign-on premiere party at 6 p.m., and two movies from 7 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. Prior to its launch, it had planned to use the call letters KABS-TV before settling on the KULA calls, which came from its then sister AM station under the ownership of Pacific Frontier Broadcasting Company, whose owner Jack A. Burnett had applied for a TV license to operate KULA on channel 2 as the channel 4 allocation was being sought after by rival radio stations KGU and KPOA, but after the application by the two stations fell through the FCC awarded the channel 4 allocation to Burnett instead. The station has been an ABC affiliate since its sign-on, making KITV one of the two major television stations in Honolulu that has never changed its network affiliation; local CBS outlet KGMB (originally on channel 9, now on channel 5) is the other. They are also the only station in Hawaii to broadcast in the same channel position since its sign-on. It also shared programming from Dumont with KONA (then at channel 11, now KHON-TV on channel 2), until its demise in 1955.
Originally, the KHVH-TV calls belonged to a then-independent station that operated on VHF channel 13 in Honoulu when it began operations in May 5, 1957, but a year later on May 7, 1958, KHVH's parent company Kaiser Broadcasting would acquire KULA for $685,000. Since FCC rules prohibit a broadcaster from owning two TV stations in one market at the time, Kaiser returned the channel 13 license back to the FCC, allowing KHVH to merge with KULA on July 16, 1958 and change the channel 4 call letters to KHVH-TV in 1959. Kaiser then later sold the station to Western Telestations in December 1964 to help fund its new chain of independent stations on the U.S. mainland. Western Telestations became a wholly owned subsidiary of Lexington, Kentucky-based Starr Broadcasting Company in 1973 for $4 million. Around that time, the station adopted its present-day KITV call letters (standing for "Island TeleVision) to reflect its service of broadcasting to the Hawaiian Islands.
Shamrock Broadcasting, a new company founded by Roy E. Disney, bought out Starr Broadcasting (including KITV) in 1979. Eight years later, Shamrock sold KITV to Tak Communications (owned by Sharad Tak) in 1987. Tak would declare Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1991 and was later taken over by a group of creditors. During Tak's bankruptcy, Freedom Communications made an offer to purchase KITV, but later withdrew its bid. In 1995, rumors circulated that it would join NBC when KHON – which had been Hawaii's NBC affiliate for 43 years (from its sign-on in 1952 until 1996) – decided to join Fox as part of an groupwide affiliation deal with SF Broadcasting (which acquired the station and three others from Burnham Broadcasting). However, later in 1995, Argyle Television Holdings II bought KITV and then-sister station WGRZ-TV in Buffalo, New York from Tak's creditors. KITV ultimately remained with ABC, and NBC instead signed an affiliation deal with existing Fox affiliate KHNL (channel 13), later switching to the network in January 1996.
When Argyle Television Holdings II merged with the Hearst Corporation's broadcasting unit in 1997, KITV and its satellites became part of the newly formed television station group then known as Hearst-Argyle Television. In 1998, the station moved its operations from its longtime studios on Ala Moana Boulevard/Route 92 to their current location on South King Street. Hearst bought out the remainder of the company in mid-2009, dropping the word "Argyle" from the company's name.
On May 13, 2015, Hearst announced that it would sell KITV and its satellites to SJL Broadcasting; the deal marks the return of the company to Hawaii, as SJL (then known as Montecito Broadcast Group) formerly owned KHON-TV from 2006 until 2007. The sale was approved by the Federal Communications Commission on July 10, 2015 and completed on September 1, 2015.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|4.1||1080i||16:9||KITV-HD||Main KITV programming / ABC|
KITV previously carried a weather information channel called on 4.2 Weather Now, which featured programming from the Local AccuWeather Channel with local cut-ins by KITV weather anchors. The channel featured local weather forecasts, a news ticker and live traffic cameras, in addition to national programming provided by AccuWeather.
On October 4, 2010, about two months after Hearst sister stations KCRA-TV and KSBW started broadcasting an alternate set of programming over on their second digital subchannels, KITV replaced Weather Now programming during the 6 to 11 p.m. timeslot with More TV Hawaii, a channel modeled after its Tampa sister station WMOR-TV and operated as an independent station-style service that featured first-run shows, reruns of sitcoms and dramas, and current syndicated KITV programs. KITV digital channel 4.2 also joined KHON's second subchannel as the only outlets in Hawaii to feature general entertainment programming on their digital subchannels.
On November 14, 2011, KITV replaced Weather Now and More TV Hawaii with MeTV; MeTV programming on KITV is electronically-delayed for the Hawaii Time Zone, following the network's Eastern Time schedule.
KITV discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over VHF channel 4, on January 15, 2009, the date in which full-power television stations in Hawaii transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts (almost five months earlier than the June 12 transition date for stations on the U.S. mainland). The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 40, using PSIP to display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analog channel 4.
At the same time, KHVO's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 18 to VHF channel 13 (using its former analog channel 4 as its virtual channel), while KMAU's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 29 to UHF channel 12 for post-transition digital operations. KITV and its satellite were one of the first Hearst-owned stations to terminate their analog signals.
These stations rebroadcast KITV's signal throughout Hawaii:
|Station||City of license||Channels|
|First air date||Call letters’|
|ERP||HAAT||Facility ID||Transmitter Coordinates|
|KHVO||Hilo||13 (13)||May 15, 1960||Kaiser Hawaiian Village Hotel of HilO|
(disambiguation of former sister station KHVH Radio)
|2 kW||-92 m||64544|
|KMAU1||Wailuku||12 (VHF)||December 4, 1955||MAUi||9 kW||747 m||64551|
- 1. KMAU used the callsign KMVI-TV from its 1955 sign-on to 1978.
- 2. KHVO operated on channel 13 until September 2012, when it relocated its PSIP to channel 4.
In its early days, KITV and its predecessors aired most of the ABC offerings on a one-week delay due to Hawaii's geographical location and at times would receive most of the network shows via air mail. Because of this, the station would program ABC daytime shows from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. in incorrect order (with movies rounding out most the schedule) and ABC primetime shows from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m., again out of pattern (and at times, delayed to weekends) and mixed in with syndicated programs to fill in the slots. Like most of the Honolulu stations, the network newscast would be delayed as late as midnight as the broadcasts were flown in from the mainland after their airings on the East Coast. This changed on November 19, 1966, when channel 4 KHVH began broadcasting the first live network satellite telecast from the U.S. mainland to Hawaii as ABC fed a football game between Notre Dame and Michigan State to the station via the Lani Bird satellite. Today, KITV receives ABC shows on the same day as the rest of the United States, including live news, sports coverage and special events. On February 28, 2016, KITV began airing the Academy Awards live for the first time after delaying the telecast for decades, citing the impact of social media reporting the winners in real time, making it difficult to delay the broadcast for Hawaiian viewers.
KITV clears the entire ABC network programming schedule. The only recent exception was for Power Rangers, which was part of the now-defunct ABC Kids block until August 28, 2010. Most (if not all) ABC affiliates owned by Hearst Television refused to clear the show due to its lack of educational and informational content. In the past, KITV also pre-empted some of ABC's daytime programming, which instead aired on then-independent station KAAH-TV.
Early on, prior to being owned by Hearst, it aired ABC's Saturday morning cartoon lineup, usually starting at 5 or 6 a.m. But currently, unlike most ABC affiliates, KITV does not air Litton's Weekend Adventure, an E/I block leased to Litton Entertainment by ABC, on Saturdays. The station airs live ESPN on ABC coverage or infomercials in its place, due to the five- or six-hour time difference between Hawaii Standard Time and Eastern Standard/Eastern Daylight Time, depending on time of year. KITV did air three hours of the ABC Kids programming block over three weekdays (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday). On each of the three days, one hour (two shows) of the block would air from 11 a.m. to noon local time, leading into ABC's daytime soap opera lineup. In September 2010, KITV placed The Nate Berkus Show in the 11 a.m. to noon time slot and the ABC Kids lineup was moved to weekend afternoons, as KITV is still obligated to broadcast three hours of E/I programming per week; this arrangement continued following the replacement of ABC Kids with Litton's Weekend Adventure in September 2011.
On KITV-DT2's MeTV channel, the three-hour E/I programming quota is satisfied on Saturdays and Sundays from 8 to 11 a.m. – two hours of Green Screen Adventures both days, one hour of Mad About on Saturdays, and one hour of Edgemont on Sundays.
When compared to other major network affiliates in Honolulu (KHON-TV, KFVE, KGMB and KHNL), KITV airs few syndicated programs outside of network hours. The only first-run syndicated shows currently aired on KITV include Steve Harvey, The Meredith Vieira Show, The Dr. Oz Show (twice daily), and The Ellen DeGeneres Show. The station also airs the first-run syndicated series On The Red Carpet and reruns of Leverage, The Closer and Law & Order. Various other syndicated shows air on weekends, usually during the late night hours.
Since its 1954 debut, KITV has produced local shows that ranged from children programs (such as Captain Honolulu and Rocketship 4) to variety programs (like The Aku Show, The Lucky Luck Show, a Don Ho music special, and The Tom Moffatt Show, a local daily version of American Bandstand), as well as its first morning news/talk program (AM Honolulu/The Don Robb Show, which ran from 1970 to 1975), which it continues in the present day. On weekends, KITV airs the locally produced program Ohana Road, which features information and reviews on the latest automobiles as well as coverage of local car enthusiast events, and Soul Sessions, which showcases local Hawaiian musical acts. Another KITV-produced show, Mixed Plate, a lifestyle/travel/cultural/entertainment program hosted by KITV anchorwoman Pamela Young, airs on both KITV-DT2 every Sunday and on the main channel during various timeslots whenever live feeds from ABC finish early or in some cases if technical problems with the satellite feeds occur. Mixed Plate was also KITV's longest-running locally produced series, debuting in 1984. The series ended its run in 2016 after Young left the station to join KHON.
KITV was also well known throughout Hawaii as the long-time presenter of the Merrie Monarch Festival, which was broadcast on the station live every April from Hilo for many years until 2009. During its coverage of the festival, KITV usually pre-empted ABC primetime programs until the weekend. On October 1, 2009, it was announced that the Merrie Monarch Festival would be broadcast on KFVE beginning in 2010.
On July 9, 2012, KITV's parent company Hearst Television was involved in a dispute with Time Warner Cable, leading to KITV being pulled from Oceanic Time Warner and temporarily replaced with other cable channels that were offered by the system. The dispute lasted until July 19, 2012, when the deal was reached between Hearst and Time Warner.
From the beginning, KULA started building a small but innovative news department with the launching of its first newscast featuring John Needham. But under the ownership of Kaiser, this would later expand with the pairing of John Galbraith and then-production manager Bob Sevey, who would go on to be one of Hawaii's best remembered news teams. On October 15, 1959 KHVH would become the first station in Hawaii to show same-day news images from film and photography during their newscasts (its competitors at the time took two days to have their film and photographs processed). It also expanded its Sports department presence in the 1960s with Kaiser Sports Central, a weekly round-up of sporting reports around the Islands.
Currently, KITV presently broadcasts 29 hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 4½ hours on weekdays, 3½ hours on Saturdays and three hours on Sundays); unlike most ABC affiliates, the station does not carry a local newscast in the midday timeslot. KITV has won a Regional Emmy Award for best newscast in the state.
In addition to ABC NewsOne, KITV also has a news feed affiliation with CNN, which used KITV's live broadband stream to report on a magnitude-6.6 earthquake that struck off the northwestern coast of Hawaii County on October 15, 2006. Since KITV was the only station in Hawaii to air live coverage of the earthquake after the event (most other stations in Honolulu continued on with their normal morning programming that day), it also attracted a flood of phone calls and e-mails from people worldwide trying to find out if their loved ones were safe. The live stream also attracted the attention of The Daily Show the following day (October 16), due in part to a building manager mentioning via a public address system that the building's bathrooms were still operational while the news anchors were still on the air.
On November 16, 2009, KITV expanded its 10:00 p.m. newscast to one hour; KITV is one of a handful of ABC stations across the country that carries an hour-long late evening newscast. Because of this, ABC's 10:35 programming (previously Nightline and presently Jimmy Kimmel Live since the two shows switched timeslots nationally in January 2013) have been broadcast a half-hour later (both programs are aired on a tape delay to begin with due to time differences between Hawaii and the U.S. mainland) and start at 11:00 p.m. On September 7, 2010, the station expanded its weekend morning newscast to two hours from 6 to 8 a.m.
On April 18, 2011, starting with its 5:00 p.m. newscast, KITV began broadcasting its news programming from the station's newsroom while construction of a new news set was being done in the station's main news studio. Ten days later on April 28, the station unveiled the new set, along with updated graphics and music, and also began broadcasting its local newscasts in widescreen standard definition; the majority of live field reports and video footage is also broadcast in widescreen. In April 2013, KITV expanded its 6:00 p.m. newscast to one hour, making it the only station in Hawaii to air an hour-long newscast in this time period.