KDVR, virtual channel 31 (UHF digital channel 32), is a Fox-affiliated television station located in Denver, Colorado, United States. The station is owned by the Tribune Broadcasting subsidiary of the Tribune Media Company, as part of a duopoly with CW affiliate KWGN-TV (channel 2). The two stations share studio facilities located on East Speer Boulevard in Denver's Speer neighborhood (to the immediate south of the studios of KMGH-TV [channel 7]); KDVR maintains transmitter facilities located atop Lookout Mountain, near Golden. On cable, the station is available on Comcast Xfinity channel 13, and in high definition on digital channel 655 & on Century Link Prism channel 31 & high definition channel 1031 .
The station operates a full-time satellite station, KFCT (UHF digital channel 21, virtual channel 22.1 via PSIP) in Fort Collins, which maintains transmitter facilities atop Horsetooth Mountain, just outside Fort Collins. KFCT covers areas of northern Colorado, being that area's only full-power television station, that receive a marginal to non-existent signal from KDVR, though there is significant overlap between the coverage areas of both KDVR and KFCT's signals otherwise (including in Fort Collins proper and the nearby cities of Greeley, Windsor and Longmont). KFCT is a straight simulcast of KDVR; on-air references to KFCT are limited to FCC-mandated hourly station identifications during newscasts and other programming.
The station first signed on the air on August 10, 1983. Founded by a local ownership group, KDVR was the first commercial television station to sign on in the Denver market since KCNC-TV (channel 4) debuted in December 1953, and was the first full-service UHF television station in the state of Colorado. Denver had a fairly long wait to receive a second independent station to compete with the longer-established KWGN (now a CW affiliate), even though on paper, the market had a large enough population to support two independents since the early 1970s. However, the Denver market is a very large one geographically, stretching across large swaths of Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska. The major stations all operate massive translator networks to cover the vast area, and the expense of building so many translators to extend a new station's signal to these areas scared off potential owners. By the late 1970s, however, cable television – then as now, a must for acceptable television reception in some parts of the market due to the region's mountainous terrain – had gained enough penetration to make a second independent viable.
TV Guide had listed a channel 31 in its Denver edition earlier in 1983 (as KX2AEG), however this was a translator station rebroadcasting the Spanish International Network (now Univision). KDVR has never considered KX2AEG as part of its history. It was only in October 1990 that Univision finally gained a full-power affiliate of its own in Denver in KCEC (channel 50).
KDVR originally operated as a typical general entertainment independent station, running a lineup of cartoons, classic sitcoms, drama series, movies and religious programming. After KWGN turned down an offer to affiliate with the new Fox network prior to its launch in 1986, KDVR stepped in, and signed a deal to join the network. Channel 31 became a charter affiliate of Fox when it launched on October 6 of that year; KDVR eventually changed its on-air branding to "Fox 31" in the late 1980s. The station originally operated from studio facilities located near 7th Avenue and Auraria Pkwy. The station's original local owners sold KDVR to Chase Broadcasting in 1990; Chase subsequently merged with Renaissance Broadcasting in 1992.
On September 1, 1994, Renaissance signed on KFCT (channel 22) in Fort Collins (located 63.5 miles (102.2 km) north of Denver) to serve as a full-time satellite to improve KDVR's over-the-air coverage in northern portions of the market (expanding its coverage area north to the Wyoming border) that could not receive its signal. Prior to KFCT's sign-on, the UHF channel 22 allocation in Fort Collins had been occupied by DuMont affiliate KNCO, which signed on in 1954. That station was hampered by low viewership as only a small percentage of television sets in the area were even capable of receiving UHF stations since set manufacturers were not required to equip televisions with UHF tuners until the Federal Communications Commission passed the All-Channel Receiver Act in 1961, although UHF tuners were not included on all newer sets until 1964. In addition, the terrain of the area made matters even more difficult, as UHF station signals had poorer reception in very mountainous areas. As a result, KNCO shut down in 1956.
Renaissance sold KDVR and KFCT to Fox Television Stations for $70 million on November 15, 1994, in exchange for acquiring that network's owned-and-operated station in Dallas-Fort Worth, KDAF (which was set to lose Fox programming to that market's longtime CBS affiliate, KDFW, as a result of a ten-station affiliation deal with New World Communications); As part of a series of attempts to prevent News Corporation (the parent company of Fox at the time) from acquiring additional stations, NBC filed a request to the Federal Communications Commission to reject the trade, on the grounds that the company was in violation of foreign ownership rules (which prohibit a foreign-owned company from maintaining more than a 25% interest in a U.S. television station). However, the deal was approved by the FCC and subsequently finalized on July 3, 1995, effectively making channel 31 a Fox owned-and-operated station and the second O&O of a major English language network in the Denver market (KCNC had been owned by NBC from 1986, when the station's owner General Electric added it to NBC's owned-and-operated stations division, until 1995, when it was traded to CBS as part of a multi-station trade deal that also involved WCAU and KYW-TV in Philadelphia and the transmitter facilities of WCIX (now WFOR-TV) and WTVJ in Miami due to a multi-part affiliation deal between the network and KYW-TV's then-parent Westinghouse Electric Corporation, thru it's broadcasting division Group W, which was resulted in all 3 company's owned stations into CBS affiliates).
The deal with New World that spurred Fox's trade of KDAF with KDVR would play a factor in the Denver market on September 10, 1995, when CBS affiliate KMGH-TV (channel 7) switched to ABC, NBC affiliate KCNC-TV took over the CBS affiliation, and ABC affiliate KUSA-TV (channel 9) switched to NBC; with the sale to Fox being finalized on July 3, 1995, KDVR was not affected by the switches (it is currently the only television station in the Denver market to have never changed its network affiliation). Fox never intended to hold on to KDVR for long; it initially planned to divest the station to Qwest Broadcasting (a company backed by Quincy Jones and Tribune Broadcasting) and move its affiliation to KWGN. In turn, KDVR would have inherited KWGN's WB affiliation. However, this deal never came to fruition.
After becoming a Fox-owned station, KDVR added first-run talk and reality shows to its daytime schedule, while continuing to carry sitcoms during the evening and late night hours. In September 2006, KDVR, along with other Fox-owned stations, had their websites migrated to the MyFox web platform created by Fox Interactive Media, featuring expanded multimedia and social networking features.
On December 22, 2007, Fox Television Stations entered into an agreement to sell KDVR and seven other Fox owned-and-operated stations to Local TV (a holding company operated by private equity firm Oak Hill Capital Partners), adding to the nine stations that the group had acquired in May of that same year when it bought the broadcasting division of The New York Times Company. The sale was finalized on July 14, 2008. On September 17, 2008, Tribune Broadcasting announced that Local TV would begin managing KWGN under a local marketing agreement and consolidate its operations with KDVR effective October 1, as a result of the formation of a "broadcast management company" that was created to provide management services to stations owned by both Tribune and Local TV. KWGN vacated its longtime studios in Greenwood Village and consolidated its operations with KDVR at its Speer Boulevard facility. As part of the Local TV-Tribune partnership, on January 22, 2009, KDVR's website switched from the MyFox platform to a website platform managed by Tribune Interactive. Tribune bought KDVR outright on July 1, 2013, as part of its $2.75 billion acquisition of Local TV; the sale was finalized on December 27, forming a legal duopoly between KDVR and KWGN.
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
(KDVR / KFCT)
|Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|31.1 / 22.1||720p||16:9||KDVR DT||Main KDVR programming / Fox|
|31.2 / 22.2||480i||4:3||Antenna||Antenna TV|
KDVR became a charter affiliate of Antenna TV upon the network's launch on January 1, 2011, it is carried on digital subchannel 31.2. Interestingly, Local TV-owned KDVR was given the Antenna TV affiliation in the Denver market despite the fact that the network's corporate parent, the Tribune Company, owns KDVR's sister station KWGN-TV.
KDVR shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 31, 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 signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 32. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 31.
KDVR clears the entire Fox network schedule (nightly primetime, Saturday late night, and Fox Sports programming, along with the network's Saturday morning infomercial block, Weekend Marketplace and the political talk show Fox News Sunday). Syndicated programs broadcast by KDVR include Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy!, The Insider, Judge Judy and The Simpsons (which also airs first run episodes). In addition, the station produces Everyday, an hour-long lifestyle program which originated as an afternoon program on sister station KWGN in 2008 as Everyday with Libby and Natalie (then hosted by evening anchor Libby Weaver and reporter Natalie Tysdal); the program moved to KDVR on March 1, 2010, effectively moving to late mornings with the move.
On August 7, 2014, KDVR entered into a partnership with the Denver Broncos to broadcast head coach John Fox's weekly analysis show (which had been airing on KMGH-TV as The John Fox Show since 2012); the program, which will move to KDVR under the new title Fox on Fox on September 5 (pre-empting the second half-hour of the 9:00 p.m. newscast on Fridays), will be hosted by sports director Nick Griffith. The station is also involved in the Broncos in that they are given up to two games to be aired, usually when an NFC team plays at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
In late August 2014, KDVR acquired the Sony game shows Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune for a fall premiere on September 8, which had lost their longtime home of KMGH due to Scripps continually removing the shows from their stations throughout the country for lower-cost internally produced programming and local newscasts. The two game shows will displace the longtime hour of The Simpsons leading into primetime to after KDVR's 10 p.m. news.
In early 2000, KDVR began plans to produce a primetime newscast to compete with KWGN's longer-established 9:00 p.m. newscast. The station built a "news and technology center" adjacent to its original studio facility, at 100 East Speer Boulevard (near downtown Denver), to house the new news department; KDVR moved its operations into the building on April 15, 2000. The news department launched three months later on July 16, with the premiere of Fox 31 News at 9 O'Clock; as a result, KDVR became the last Fox-owned station to begin producing local newscasts (until WJZY in Charlotte, which Fox had acquired in March 2013, launched its news operation in January 2014). The program was originally anchored by Ron Zappolo (who previously served as a sports anchor at KCNC and KUSA) and Libby Weaver (who joined the station from WMAQ-TV in Chicago and had formerly hosted the syndicated entertainment news program Extra), who both served as lead anchors for the newscast from its inception until Weaver's departure in 2012.
KDVR expanded news programming to mornings on March 22, 2004, with the debut of Good Day Colorado, which was created to compete with KWGN's weekday morning newscast, WB2 Morning News (now titled Daybreak). Initially a 2½-hour newscast beginning at 5:30 a.m., Good Day expanded over time into a four-hour block beginning at 5:00 a.m. In January 2005, KDVR began producing a 5:00 p.m. newscast on Saturday evenings; this was later followed by the launch of a half-hour 5:30 p.m. newscast on weekdays in September 2008.
After entering into the local marketing agreement, major changes were made to KDVR and KWGN's news programming to benefit both stations as best as possible. While it does hinder both stations, KDVR and KWGN each produce weekday morning newscasts that run concurrently from 5:00 to 9:00 a.m. Besides competing with KWGN, the final two hours of the newscast also compete with the KUSA-produced weekday morning newscast on KTVD. KWGN discontinued its 5:30 p.m. newscast on January 12, 2009, while KDVR pushed back its early evening newscast to 5:00 p.m. and expanded it to an hour. Two months later on March 30, KWGN moved its primetime newscast two hours earlier to 7:00 p.m. (an unusual timeslot for a network-affiliated station in the Mountain Time Zone) to avoid competition with KDVR's 9:00 p.m. newscast and scaled back the program to weekdays only, leaving a KUSA-produced primetime newscast on KTVD as KDVR's only news competition in the latter slot. There is a considerable amount of sharing between KDVR and KWGN in regards to news coverage, video footage and the use of reporters; though both outlets maintain their own primary on-air personalities (such as news anchors and meteorologists) that only appear on one station; several KWGN on-air staffers that remained with the station after the LMA was formed joined KDVR's news staff with the consolidation of news departments, with most of KDVR's news staff appearing on KWGN's newscasts as well. On June 28, 2010, KDVR added a half-hour 10:00 p.m. newscast titled Fox 31 Nightside, which focuses on more hard-hitting stories than the local news programs seen on the other major network affiliates during the same timeslot.
During breaking news coverage of the fatal crash of a news helicopter rented by KOMO-TV in Seattle on March 18, 2014, the station briefly aired a Twitpic image of an adult penis sticking out from unzipped pants (immediately following images of Johnny Depp as Edward Scissorhands, and a baked food dish) as Good Day Colorado co-anchor Kurt Yuhnke searched for user-submitted pictures from the crash's aftermath on social media during the segment; some of the four anchors could be heard gasping, as master control operators quickly tossed back to the studio while Yuhnke switched to a photo from the crash site. In a statement apologizing for the incident, KDVR/KWGN news director Ed Kosowski clarified that the photo "did not come from the tablet" being used by Yuhnke and stated that the station would be "taking immediate steps to prevent such an accident from happening again." On June 1, 2014, KDVR debuted #COpolitics – From the Source, an unconventionally formatted Sunday morning political discussion program that is taped at The Source food market in Denver.
In early 2015, KDVR-TV updated its on-air graphics for FOX31 Denver, building upon its graphics package from 2011.
Current on-air staff
- Jeremy Hubbard - weeknights anchor
Notable former on-air staff
- Crystal Egger – Good Day Colorado meteorologist (2006–2010; later at The Weather Channel, now at KNBC in Los Angeles)
- Phil Keating – weekend anchor-reporter (2000–2004; now at Fox News Channel)
- Tom Martino – "Troubleshooter" consumer reporter and host of Martino TV (2000–2011, now radio host on KHOW (630 AM); Martino filed a federal discrimination lawsuit against KDVR in 2013, alleging that the station refused to renew his contract in September 2011 after he announced that he was filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection; the suit was settled in June 2014)
- David Treadwell – sports director (2000–2005)