KRCR-TV, branded as NewsChannel 7, formerly known as Channel 7R, is a television station serving the towns of Redding and Chico and surrounding area in Northern California. Currently an affiliate of ABC and MeTV, the studios are located on Auditorium Drive in Redding, the Chico sales office and news bureau are located at the former Sainte Television Group facilities on Main Street in downtown Chico and the transmitter is on top of Shasta Bally, the tallest mountain in the Whiskeytown unit of the Whiskeytown–Shasta–Trinity National Recreation Area.
The station was founded in 1956 as KVIP-TV by William B. Smullin of California Oregon Broadcasting, Inc. (COBI), owners of KOBI in Medford, Oregon and KOTI Klamath Falls, Oregon as a primary NBC affiliate with a secondary ABC affiliation. By 1963, network emphasis had shifted towards ABC, as only the Saturday morning and Sunday night primetime schedules, a few daytime game shows and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson were carried in NBC's schedule pattern. The full ABC schedule was available by way of translators of Stockton's KOVR in Chico and Redding. Channel 7 became KRCR in 1963.
It changed from primary NBC affiliation to a full-time ABC affiliation in 1978, which in turn started the seven-year process for building KCPM (now KNVN). This was an unusual arrangement for a two-station market especially one of the size of Chico and Redding, but, after 15 years of unsuccessful attempts, the area was served by a local ABC affiliate.
It was purchased by Lamco Communications of Texas in 1995, KRCR was operated by California Broadcasting, Inc., run by general manager Bob Wise, until 2004, when the station was sold to current owners Bluestone Television. Then in December 2006, the station was sold (along with 12 other Bluestone stations) to Diamond Castle Holdings, a New York-based private equity firm, later become Bonten Media Group.
The station also operates a semi-satellite in Eureka, KAEF-TV (channel 23). It operated a local cable-only WB affiliate KIWB, but that station was sold to Catamount Broadcasting following the merger between the WB and UPN to form the new CW Network. KRVU-LD was previously a UPN affiliate, but now is a My Network TV affiliate.
KRCR was one of very few ABC affiliates that broadcasts on channel 7 but didn't use the Circle 7 logo until April 11, 2006 when a new set and logo were designed. Under COBI ownership, KRCR's logo was an interstate highway sign, with the name "7R", matching its sister stations. The "7R" was adopted due to TV Guide's reference to KRCR in text (non-bulleted) listings to differentiate it from KGO-TV San Francisco (both stations were listed in the Northern California edition).
Merger with KCVU & KBVU
In August 2012, Bonten Media announced that KCVU & KBVU will be sold to Esteem Broadcasting, effectively merging both the ABC & Fox affiliates operations to create a media powerhouse north of Sacramento and south of the Oregon border.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|Main programming / ABC|
On August 23, 2011, Disney-ABC Television Group announced that KRCR and KAEF would carry Live Well Network as part of an affiliation agreement with Bonten Media Group; the network was added to a new third subchannel. Live Well Network was replaced by Movies! on November 18, 2013.
Both stations shut down their analog signals 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 channel allocations post-transition are as follows:
- KRCR-TV shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 7; the station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 34 to VHF channel 7.
- KAEF-TV shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 23; the station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 22. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 23.
KAEF is a satellite station of KRCR, serving the North Coast.
KAEF began broadcasting in 1987 under the call sign KREQ. Prior to 1987, ABC programming was limited to off-hours clearances on CBS affiliate KIEM-TV and NBC affiliate KVIQ. Some North Coast residents were able to get a grade B signal from KRCR, but the coastal areas (where most of the population lives) were unable to receive it until cable arrived in the 1970s. In 1989, Channel 23 adopted the call letters K-A-E-F, (for Arcata, Eureka, Fortuna).
KAEF shares some much of the same programming as KRCR, but does offer a separate newscast of its own, North Coast News with Lindsay Housaman serving as anchor. KAEF airs local commercials and weather updates produced by KRCR throughout the day, with an extended weather brief each night at 11pm. KAEF's sales offices are located on E Street in Eureka, with its master control handled at KRCR's studios in Redding.
What Makes News Channel 7?
In the fall of 1995, Continental Cablevision of Mt. Shasta (now part of Northland Communications) filmed, produced and broadcast a 30-minute documentary special called "What Makes News Channel 7?" as part of its news magazine series In Focus: Siskiyou Magazine. It took a look behind the scenes of what went on at the station and mainly focused on the news team, featuring a behind-the-scenes look at how a newscast is done as well as interviews with key personalities such as Mike Mangas, Rich Eisen, Sandra Geist, Warren Wright, Gary Gunter and Katy Brown. The program aired on Mt. Shasta cable channel 3 in the winter and spring of 1996 and starting showing on YouTube and MySpace in February 2010. It was rebroadcast to the Mt. Shasta cable airwaves again on MCTV 15 in 2010 leading to that program's relaunch.
- California Oregon Broadcasting, Inc. (William B. Smullin, Founder) (1956–1995)
- Sacramento Valley Television, Inc. (operators) (?-1990)
- Lamco Communications (owners) & California Broadcasting, Inc. (operators) (1995–2005)
- Bluestone Television (2005–2006)
- Bonten Media Group, LLC (Bluestone License Holdings, Inc.) (current)
Notable former on-air staff
- Rich Eisen - sports anchor/reporter (now of NFL Network, formerly of ESPN)
- Mark Eubank - meteorologist
- Cal Hunter - anchor/reporter (now president of Huth Broadcasting and program director of KBLF-AM, KRAC-AM, KIQS-AM, KMYC-AM and KVXX-FM)
- Sandra Maas - news anchor/reporter (formerly of KSBY-TV and KFMB-TV, now at KUSI-TV)
- Cristina Mendonsa - general assignment reporter (now at KXTV in Sacramento)
- Kurtis Ming - anchor/reporter/weather 1999-2001 (now at KOVR in Sacramento)
- David Owens - sports anchor/reporter (formerly of WUSA in Washington, DC, now professor of journalism at University of Maryland)
- Craig Padilla - chief creative services editor and production manager (now full-time self-employed professional musician & video editor)
|Cable Provider||Area||7.1 (ABC)||7.2 (MeTV)|
|Comcast||Butte & Glenn Counties||707 (HD) & 7 (SD)||197|
|Charter||Shasta & Tehama Counties||787 (HD) & 7 (SD)||287|
|Suddenlink||Humboldt County (KAEF)||107(HD) & 7 (SD)||TBA|
Mt. Shasta cable dispute
Since its inception in the mid 1980s, the Mt. Shasta cable system currently owned by Northland Communications had carried KRCR on its cable channel 7. However, in January 2012, Northland dropped KRCR from its cable line-up after the station's current ownership and the cable company failed to come to a mutual agreement to continue the station's coverage on the system and severed ties after a near-30-year working relationship between the two. As a result, Northland replaced KRCR on cable channel 7 with Medford, Oregon, ABC affiliate, KDRV NewsWatch 12.
KRCR and its sister stations no longer broadcast north of Shasta County or south of Butte County.
Dispute with Dish Network
Dish Network and KRCR had been at odds for quite sometime regarding carriage of the station on the satellite system. KRCR was asking for reimbursement and made their feeling public. Charges for which Dish Network denies. As a result, on December 8, 2013, Dish halted carrying KRCR on their system. General manager Andrew Stewart went to the internet at the station's website to share his frustrations with the viewers and called out Dish Network. On January 12, 2014, DISH restored KRCR, KCVU and associated stations to its line-up.
KRCR is rebroadcast on the following translator stations:
Note: as of 2016, KRCR no longer broadcasts on cable in Siskiyou County.
KRCR is operating a digital fill-in translator on their pre-transition channel 34 for residents in Redding and the surrounding areas that have difficulty receiving their VHF signal on channel 7.
Formerly, KRCR was broadcast on translators channel 20 in Yuba City part of the Sacramento television market (KRCR no longer broadcasts at all in Yuba City) and channel 21 in Susanville part of the Reno television market.