KASN, virtual channel 38 (UHF digital channel 39), is a CW-affiliated television station licensed to Pine Bluff, Arkansas, United States and serving the Little Rock and central Arkansas market. The station is owned by Mission Broadcasting, as part of a duopoly with Fox affiliate KLRT-TV (channel 16); Nexstar Broadcasting Group, which owns NBC affiliate KARK-TV (channel 4) and MyNetworkTV affiliate KARZ-TV (channel 42), operates KLRT and KASN under a shared services agreement.
All four stations share studio facilities located on West Capitol Avenue in Downtown Little Rock, one block east of the Arkansas State Capitol; KASN maintains transmitter facilities located on Shinall Mountain near the Chenal Valley section of Little Rock; KASN maintains transmitter facilities located near Redfield. On cable, KASN is available on Comcast Xfinity channel 7 in standard definition (ABC affiliate KATV, which broadcasts over-the-air on virtual channel 7, is instead carried on Comcast channel 8) and digital channel 236 in high definition.
The station first signed on the air on June 17, 1986, as KJTM; it originally operated as an independent station, before becoming the market's original Fox affiliate on October 6, 1986. The station was originally owned by MMC Television Corporation.
In 1988, KASN (channel 38) negotiated a merger with KLRT-TV that would have resulted in KASN's Fox network affiliation and syndicated programming to KLRT; under the deal, KASN would have become an affiliate of the Home Shopping Network. KLRT abruptly pulled out of the merger deal with KASN, notifying the station by fax of its nullification of the deal on its part. However, in April 1990, Fox chose to move its network programming to the higher-rated KLRT, despite the fact that the deal made it so that KASN would continue as a Fox station if the merger fell through. MMC Television filed a lawsuit against KLRT owner Little Rock Communications Associates and operator Scollard Communications, alleging civil conspiracy, misappropriation of trade secrets, interfering with business relationships, breach of contract and fraud.
Losing Fox, and then affiliating with UPN
The Fox affiliation would change hands three times between the two stations before settling on KLRT-TV. After being an independent for most of that time, KASN became an affiliate of the upstart United Paramount Network (UPN) when it launched on January 16, 1995. Ironically, given the previous lawsuit against channel 16, KLRT's then-owners US Radio began operating KASN under a local marketing agreement in 1992. In 2000, shortly after the Federal Communications Commission revised its media ownership rules to permit television station duopolies in markets with at least eight full-power stations, Clear Channel Communications (which bought KLRT in 1996 through its merger with US Radio) purchased KASN from Mercury Broadcasting, creating the first such duopoly in the Little Rock market.
The following year, KASN vacated its original studio facilities and moved into the Clear Channel Metroplex (a converted former Sam's Club), located on Colonel Glenn Road (east of Interstate 430) in West Little Rock, where all of Clear Channel's Central Arkansas properties – including sister station KLRT – were consolidated.
In addition to carrying network programming from UPN and syndicated programs, KASN also aired content from the Shop at Home Network daily from 1 a.m. through 6 a.m. Overnight programming from Shop at Home was discontinued by the station on the network's final day of broadcasting, June 22, 2006.
As a CW affiliate
On January 24, 2006, the Warner Bros. unit of Time Warner and CBS Corporation announced that the two companies would shut down The WB and UPN and combine the networks' respective programming to create a new "fifth" network called The CW. KASN became a charter affiliate of The CW on September 18, 2006; WB affiliate KWBF (channel 42, now KARZ-TV) opted to affiliate with MyNetworkTV, another service which launched two weeks earlier on September 5.
On July 19, 2012, Newport Television reached an agreement to sell 22 of its 27 stations to Nexstar Broadcasting Group, Sinclair Broadcast Group and Cox Media Group. KLRT-TV and KASN were among the twelve that were sold to Nexstar. However, since Nexstar already owned NBC affiliate KARK-TV (channel 4) and MyNetworkTV affiliate KARZ-TV (channel 42) and in order to comply with FCC regulations prohibiting common ownership between two of the four highest-rated stations in a single market, KLRT and KASN were instead transferred to Mission Broadcasting, a company which is involved in several local marketing agreements and joint sales agreements with Nexstar-owned stations in other markets where Nexstar itself is legally prohibited from owning multiple television stations. The FCC approved Mission's purchase of KLRT and KASN on December 10, 2012, and the deal was consummated on January 3, 2013. On February 2, 2013, the operations of KLRT and KASN were consolidated with KARK and KARZ at KARK's downtown Little Rock studios, making it the first instance in which four full-power television stations in one market, carrying affiliations with four of the six major English-language networks (NBC, Fox, The CW and MyNetworkTV) were controlled by one company; and all four having been housed out of one facility.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|38.1||1080i||16:9||KASN-HD||Main KASN programming / The CW|
KASN shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 38, on February 17, 2009, the original target date for full-power television stations in the United States 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 UHF channel 39. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 38.