KXLY-TV, virtual channel 4 (digital channel 13), is the ABC-affiliated television station in Spokane, Washington. KXLY-TV is owned by Spokane Television Group, a subsidiary of Morgan Murphy Media. KXLY is operated in a duopoly with KXMN-LD, which was launched on September 5, 2006 as Spokane's MyNetworkTV affiliate (and has since switched to MeTV).

On cable, the station is available in standard definition on channel 4 on Comcast in the Spokane area and on Time Warner Cable in the Coeur d'Alene area; it is also available in high definition on Comcast digital channel 104 in Spokane and Time Warner Cable digital channel 1200 in Coeur d'Alene and the Palouse. On satellite, it is available on channel 4 in both standard definition and high-definition on Dish Network and DirecTV. The station is also carried on cable in Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta; both of which are double the size of KXLY's American coverage area. This forces the Calgary and Edmonton stations to air American programming in Pacific Time, even though Calgary and Edmonton are both on Mountain Time. It is one of five local Spokane area television stations available in Canada via satellite provider Shaw Direct.

History

Although KHQ and KXLY were both granted authorization by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to build television stations on July 11, 1952,[2] KXLY was second to sign on, going on the air with broadcast tests on January 16, 1953,[3] with regular programming beginning on February 22.[4] KXLY had initially hoped to have its television station on the air by Christmas of 1952,[5] but adverse weather conditions on Mount Spokane delayed the launch.[6] It was owned by northwestern broadcast pioneer Ed Craney along with Spokane's oldest radio station, KXLY (AM 920). Just a few months after signing on, Craney sold KXLY-AM-TV to Northern Pacific Radio and Television Corporation.

KXLY-TV was a primary CBS affiliate owing to its radio sister's long affiliation with CBS Radio[7] sharing ABC with KHQ-TV. Channel 4 also carried some programming from DuMont[8] up until as late as April 1955. ABC programming,[9] along with partial DuMont shows that KXLY-TV did not carry, moved to KREM when it signed on in 1954.

At first, channel 4 enjoyed a good partnership with CBS. The national affiliate worked well with early KXLY executives Dick Jones, Bob Struble, and James Agostino to help the station become a dominant player in the Spokane television market in the 1950s and 1960s. Morgan Murphy bought the station in 1961.

However, the station's relationship with CBS faltered in later years when it started airing several network shows out of pattern. On February 19, 1976, CBS sent KXLY-TV a "notice of termination,"[10] with CBS spokesman Barry Richardson stating that the network was ending its 23-year arrangement with KXLY-TV "because we made a business judgment that we could get wider exposure for our programs with another station." This would become a rare first in which a major television network would strip a station of its affiliation without first announcing a new affiliate.[11] On August 8, the affiliation switch went into effect,[12] with CBS programming moving to KREM (KREM wanted to wait until ABC finished airing the network's broadcast of the 1976 Summer Olympics to make the switch[13]). KXLY then picked up KREM's old ABC affiliation,[14] although it began the transition in February 1976 when it started airing Good Morning America while airing CBS shows throughout the day. Ironically at this time, ABC jumped to number one in the ratings for the next several years. This meant KXLY ended up broadcasting the highest-rated networks (first CBS, then ABC) throughout the 1970s. Its radio sister would remain with CBS for another 30 years.

KXLY-TV is the only station in the Spokane market to broadcast from Mount Spokane, to the northeast of the city. The site (located in a state park) was originally developed with the expectation that Spokane's other TV stations would want to follow suit. When this did not occur, KXLY built a translator (K09FZ on channel 9, later becoming K11VT Channel 11, then KUUP-LP) to serve non-antenna-rotator-equipped households from the mountain ridge south of Spokane used by the other stations. On May 24, 2006, it became KXMN-LP and from September 5, 2006 until the national DTV transition in February 2009, it broadcast MyNetworkTV programming. From the digital transition date forward, the South Hill transmitter rebroadcasts KXLY ABC 4 - both in analog on VHF Channel 11 and as 4.1 (ABC HD) and 4.2 (MyNetworkTV/MeTV) over a VHF Channel 9 high definition digital translator.

HD race

On March 11, 1999, KXLY-DT signed on the air as Eastern Washington's first digital television signal on VHF Channel 13. Much like the first black and white television broadcasters, this initial effort was launched utilizing a low power digital transmitter and antenna co-located at the Boone Avenue studio location in downtown Spokane. The station's first authentic telecasts began with its 5 pm and 6 pm newscasts March 26, 1999.

Later behind the scenes that year, engineers assembled the new ABC High Definition satellite equipment to ready the station for ABC's foray into HD with Monday Night Football. By Monday, September 27, 1999, KXLY-DT had permanently moved its digital transmissions to the top of Mt. Spokane and increased its power to the FCC maximum of 23,300 watts. That evening marked the region's first broadcast of high-definition pictures with the airing of ABC Monday Night Football.

On April 20, 2006, the race to high-definition live local newscasts in the Spokane television market began when KXLY-TV became the first station in Eastern Washington to broadcast a local news segment in high definition, an experiment the station continued to explore by showing one pre-taped news segment in HD each Tuesday night during its 6 pm broadcast until it switched to showing full HD newscasts on August 3, 2008.

On May 16, 2008, KHQ announced that it would leap ahead of KXLY in becoming the first station to produce HD newscasts beginning August 8, 2008. After months of KHQ marketing this milestone, on August 1, 2008, KXLY shocked KHQ when it made a surprise announcement that starting on August 3, 2008, just a mere two days after the announcement, it would begin producing all news broadcasts in high definition.[15] The date was chosen in order to beat KHQ to the milestone of being the first station in Eastern Washington to broadcast high definition local news.

Digital television

Digital channels

The station's digital signal is multiplexed:

ChannelVideoAspectPSIP Short NameProgramming[16]
13.1 (4.1 on screen)720p16:9KXLY-HDMain KXLY-TV programming / ABC[17]
13.2 (4.2 on screen)480i4:3KXLY-HDMain KXLY-TV programming / MeTV[18]
9.1 (4.1 on screen)720p16:9KXMN-LDSimulcast of KXLY-TV ABC HD
9.2 (4.2 on screen)480i4:3KXMN-LDSimulcast of KXLY-TV MeTV SD
Ch 11analog4:3KXMN-LPAnalog Simulcast of KXLY-TV ABC

Analog-to-digital conversion

KXLY-TV discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over VHF channel 4, on February 17, 2009, the original target date in which full-power television stations in the United States were to transition from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate (which was later pushed back to June 12, 2009). The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition VHF channel 13.[19][20] Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analog channel 4.

Programming

KXLY currently clears the entire ABC schedule, as well as local news, paid programming, and syndicated entertainment programming including Live! with Kelly and Michael, The Doctors, Rachael Ray, Entertainment Tonight and The Insider among others.

News operation

KXLY broadcasts 23 hours of news a week, with a two-hour morning program, Good Morning Northwest, from 5 to 7 a.m., and its evening newscast at 5:00, 6:00, 6:30 and 11:00 p.m. Unlike most ABC affiliates in the Pacific Time Zone, KXLY does not produce midday news or broadcast Saturday nights at 11:00, leaving the 5:00 and 6:00 newscasts as KXLY 4's only offerings of news on Saturdays.

On December 22, 2008, KXLY began producing high-resolution weather segments for sister stations KAPP/Yakima and KVEW/Kennewick. Both stations discontinued their 6 p.m. newscast, the 11 p.m. newscast was reduced to five minutes and weekend newscasts are now produced at KXLY. This includes all weather and sports reports for weekdays and weekends. In addition to this move, 17 employees from KVEW and KAPP, were laid off.[21][22]

Notable on-air staff

  • Richard Brown- weeknights evening news anchor (1998-2007).[23] Currently Chief Communications Officer for the mayor of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.[24]
  • Donna Kelley- anchor, reporter, and producer (1982-1985). Currently weeknight news anchor for KBZK 7 in her hometown of Bozeman.[25][18][27]

Translators

KXLY is rebroadcast on the following translator stations.

Translators in Montana are located in the Mountain Time Zone.