KABB, virtual channel 29 (UHF digital channel 30), is a Fox-affiliated television station located in San Antonio, Texas, United States. The station is owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group, as part of a duopoly with NBC affiliate WOAI-TV (channel 4); Sinclair also operates CW affiliate KMYS (channel 35) through joint sales and shared services agreements with owner Deerfield Media. KABB maintains studio facilities located between Babcock Road and Sovereign Drive (off Loop 410) in northwest San Antonio, and its transmitter is located off of Route 181 in northwest Wilson County (northeast of Elmendorf).
The station first signed on the air on December 16, 1987; originally operating as an independent station, KABB was the first independent to sign on in the San Antonio market since KRRT (channel 35, now CW affiliate KMYS) – which by that point, was the market's original Fox affiliate – debuted in November 1985. Channel 29 was originally owned by the Alamo Broadcasting Corporation, from which the station's call letters were taken.
Alamo Broadcasting sold the station to River City Broadcasting in 1989. In 1994, Paramount Pictures, then-owners of KRRT through its Paramount Stations Group subsidiary, entered into a partnership with Chris-Craft Industries – which owned NBC affiliate KMOL-TV (channel 4, now WOAI-TV) at the time – to create the United Paramount Network (UPN), with KRRT serving as the network's San Antonio affiliate. River City subsequently signed an affiliation agreement with Fox for KABB to become the network's new area affiliate; on January 16, 1995, KRRT dropped Fox programming to become the market's original affiliate of UPN, with KABB assuming the Fox affiliation; shortly afterward, KRRT entered into a local marketing agreement with KABB after Paramount sold channel 35 to Jet Broadcasting. In 1996, the Sinclair Broadcast Group acquired River City Broadcasting's television stations.
The following year, Glencairn, Ltd. (which evolved into Cunningham Broadcasting) bought KRRT; the family of Sinclair Broadcast Group founder Julian Sinclair Smith owned 97% of Glencairn's stock (Glencairn was, in turn, to be paid with Sinclair stock for the purchases), effectively making KABB and KRRT a duopoly in violation of FCC rules of the period. Glencairn had owned eleven television stations nationwide that Sinclair operated under LMAs; a later plan to sell five of its stations to Sinclair outright prompted the Rainbow/PUSH coalition (headed by Jesse Jackson) to file challenges, citing concerns over a single company holding two broadcast licenses in one market and arguing that Glencairn passed itself off as a minority-owned company (its president, former Sinclair executive Edwin Edwards, is African American) when it was really an arm of Sinclair, and used the LMA to gain control of the station. The FCC levied a $40,000 fine against Sinclair in 2001 for illegally controlling Glencairn. Sinclair purchased KRRT outright in 2001, creating the market's first television duopoly with KABB.
The station originally carried Fox's children's program block Fox Kids when it switched to the network in January 1995 and also carried its successors FoxBox and 4Kids TV; the network later discontinued the Fox Kids weekday blocks in 2002, with the Saturday morning lineup remaining until September 2006, when KABB became the seventh Fox station that was not involved in the switches resulting from the network's 1994 affiliation agreement with New World Communications (after WSVN in Miami, KMSP-TV in Minneapolis, KPTV in Portland, Oregon KMSB-TV in Tucson, KMPH-TV in Fresno and KPTM in Omaha) to stop carrying the network's children's program block; Fox Kids successor 4Kids TV block was moved to sister station KMYS to accommodate a short-lived weekend expansion of its morning newscast Fox News First. The lineup remained on KMYS until 4Kids TV was discontinued by Fox (due to a dispute between the network and the block's lessee 4Kids Entertainment) in December 2008, after which Fox permanently discontinued providing network-supplied children's programming.
On May 15, 2012, the Sinclair Broadcast Group and Fox agreed to a five-year extension to the network's affiliation agreement with Sinclair's 19 Fox stations, including KABB, allowing them to continue to carry the network's programming through 2017.
On July 19, 2012, Sinclair announced that it would acquire NBC affiliate WOAI-TV (channel 4) from High Plains Broadcasting as part of its purchase of six television stations, along with the assumption of the operations of two others, from Newport Television. Since Federal Communications Commission duopoly regulations forbid common ownership of more than two full-power stations in a single market from being under the same ownership, Sinclair spun off KMYS to Deerfield Media; however, Sinclair retained control of KMYS through a shared services agreement. In addition, while FCC rules disallow ownership of two of the four highest-rated stations in the same market, which normally precludes duopolies involving two "Big Four" network affiliates, Sinclair cited in its FCC purchase application that WOAI ranked as the fourth highest-rated station (behind Univision owned-and-operated station KWEX-DT (channel 41)) and KABB the fifth-rated station in the San Antonio market in total day viewership. The Sinclair and Deerfield Media deals were consummated on December 3, 2012. The operations of KABB and KMYS remain mostly separate from WOAI-TV, with the two stations retaining competing news operations. However, in October 2013, the San Antonio Express-News reported that Sinclair planned to move WOAI's sales, promotions and executive offices from its downtown San Antonio studios on Navarro Street to a new building adjacent to KABB and KMYS' shared Babcock Road facility; the transition of WOAI employees to the KABB/KMYS complex is expected to be finalized by the summer of 2014, with the completion of a shared newsroom on the second floor of the building that will accommodate both WOAI and KABB's respective news staffs.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|29.1||720p||16:9||KABB-HD||Main KABB programming / Fox|
On August 24, 2010, Sinclair signed a groupwide affiliation deal with The Country Network (which rebranded as ZUUS Country in July 2013), a digital subchannel network featuring country music videos, to the 28 of the company's stations. On October 31, 2015, the station switched its subchannel to the Sinclair-owned Comet network.
On February 2, 2009, Sinclair told cable and satellite television providers via e-mail that regardless of the exact mandatory switchover date to digital-only broadcasting for full-power stations (which Congress rescheduled for June 12 days later), the station would shut down its analog signal on the original transition date of February 17, making KABB and KMYS the first stations in the market to convert to digital-only broadcast transmissions.
KABB discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over UHF channel 29, on February 17, 2009. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 30, using PSIP to display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 29.
KABB broadcasts the majority of the Fox programming schedule, however the station pre-empts the network's Xploration Station E/I block (which airs Sunday mornings on KCWX), which replaced the Weekend Marketplace infomercial block (which, in return, replaced 4Kids TV in December 2008, and instead airs Saturday mornings on sister station KMYS). Syndicated programs broadcast by KABB include Dr. Phil, Family Feud, The Doctors, The Meredith Vieira Show, and Two and a Half Men among others.
KABB presently broadcasts 27 hours 40 minutes of locally produced newscasts each week (with 5 hours 20 minutes on weekdays and half hour each on Saturdays and Sundays); in addition, the station produces the sports highlight program Maximum Sports, which airs on weeknights during the final ten minutes of the 9:00 p.m. newscast and as a standalone half-hour program on Saturdays and Sundays at 9:30 p.m. as well as the lifestyle program Daytime at Nine, which airs weekday mornings at 9:00 a.m.
River City Broadcasting started a news department for KABB shortly before the company's merger with the Sinclair Broadcast Group. In 1995, the station began producing a half-hour primetime newscast at 9:00 p.m. each weeknight, originally titled The Nine O'Clock News. The station expanded the weeknight broadcast of The Nine O'Clock News to one hour in 1998; this was followed by the addition of hour-long weekend editions of the 9:00 p.m. broadcast by 1999. In 1999, the station began to produce a half-hour late afternoon newscast at 5:30 p.m. for sister station KRRT, which utilized the same anchors, meteorologist and sports staff as that seen on KABB's 9:00 p.m. newscast. The program was cancelled in 2001 due to low ratings.
KABB programmed news outside its established 9:00 p.m. timeslot for the first time on channel 29 on January 2, 2006, when it premiered Fox News First, a three-hour morning newscast that aired weekdays from 6:00 to 9:00 a.m., replacing infomercials and children's programs that had previously aired that time period. On September 8, 2008, the program was expanded to four hours, with the addition of an hour-long block from 5:00 to 6:00 a.m.
KABB is one of the few local television newscasts in the United States to have syndicated its newscasts to other stations in nearby markets. Its morning and primetime newscasts also aired on Fox affiliates KIDY in San Angelo and KXVA in Abilene from September 2009 to September 2013 (simulcasts of Fox News First were added by both in October 2010) when the owner of those stations, London Broadcasting Company, launched half-hour primetime newscasts during the 9:00 p.m. hour; KXVA's MyNetworkTV-affiliated sister station KIDZ-LD rebroadcast KABB's 9:00 p.m. newscast nightly on a one-hour delay at 10:00 p.m. during the same timeframe.
On August 3, 2011, KABB became the fourth English-language television station in the San Antonio market to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high-definition. One month later on September 6, KABB launched an hour-long lifestyle program Daytime @ Nine, as a lead-out of its weekday morning newscast.