KESQ-TV is the ABC-affiliated television station for the Coachella Valley licensed to Palm Springs. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF Channel 42 from a transmitter on Edom Hill in Cathedral City. The station can also be seen on Time Warner Cable Channel 3 (hence its "NewsChannel 3" branding) both in standard definition and in high definition. Owned by the News-Press and Gazette Company, it is partner of Class A CBS affiliate CBS Local 2, Class A FOX affiliate KDFX-CD, low-powered CW affiliate KCWQ, and low-powered Telemundo affiliate KUNA.
The station can be seen over-the-air on analog translators K27DS and K15FC. K27DS Channel 27 licensed to Yucca Valley is a translator west of Morongo Valley in the San Bernardino National Forest along the San Bernardino and Riverside County line. K15FC Channel 15 licensed to Joshua Tree extends coverage of KESQ in Twentynine Palms to the east. All these cities are within the Los Angeles market.
Along with other major Coachella Valley television stations, KESQ identifies itself on-air using its cable designation (News Channel 3) rather than its over-the-air channel position. The unusual practice stems in part from the area's exceptionally high cable penetration rate of 80.5% which is one of the highest in the United States.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP short name||Programming |
|42.1||720p||16:9||KESQ-DT||Main KESQ-TV programming / ABC|
|42.2||480i||4:3||Simulcast of KPSP-CD / CBS|
|33.2||KDFX-DT||Simulcast of KDFX-CD / Fox|
|15.1||KUNA-DT||Simulcast of KUNA-LP / Telemundo|
|2.3||KCWQ-DT||Simulcast of KCWQ-LD / The CW|
Since KDFX, KUNA and KCWQ are low-powered stations, they did not originally offer digital signals of their own. Therefore, KESQ added them as subchannels to serve as that purpose. Unlike most other broadcasters, this station does not number a digital signal equivalent to the analog signal as minor channel 1 and label other subchannels with higher minor channel numbers. KDFX, KUNA and KCWQ have since signed-on low-powered digital signals of their own.
The station signed on in October 5, 1968 and was the market's first station. However, it would hold the distinction of being the only station in the Coachella Valley for just three weeks, as NBC affiliate KMIR started up at that time on channel 36. Airing an analog signal on UHF channel 42, it used the KPLM-TV call sign named for the "Palm" as in "Palm Springs". In 1980, the station changed its calls to the current KESQ-TV while under the ownership of Esquire Communications whom acquired them in 1979. At this point, KESQ-AM 1400 was combined with the television station into a studio complex at Melanie Place in Palm Desert where KESQ-TV remains today. In the mid-1980s, its call sign was featured in a logo above a tri-color "red-blue-yellow" rainbow until being replaced by a golden "3" in 1994 that is still in use.
In the 1980s, the station operated three other translators in order to cover a wide area of the market including K82BQ in Hemet, K33BL in Banning, and K71AB in Blythe. The television station currently owns the license for KESQ-AM which is simulast of KUNA-FM. The station shut down its analog signal on June 12, 2009 as part of the DTV transition. On January 31, 2012, KESQ bought rival KPSP, the local CBS affiliate. KPSP's transmitter on 38.1 went silent at midnight on March 1, 2012. CBS programming is now broadcast on 42.2 on the KESQ-DT digital tier and the lineup has not changed. On June 20, 2013 it was announced that KESQ, with all their sister channels, will be moving into a new state-of-the-art studio. KESQ is moving into their new studio on June 26, 2013 along with KPSP. The new studio is located in Thousand Palms, California in the old KPSP studio.
The station established a local news department in the mid-1980s and became a ratings powerhouse regularly earning more viewership than all of its competitors combined. After acquiring KPSP, that station had its operations merged into KESQ's facility. Currently, KESQ offers the most broadcasts while CBS Local 2 airs separate news programs on weekday mornings as well as weeknights at 5:30 and 6:30. In addition to these newscasts, KESQ produces a two-hour extension of its weekday morning newscast seen from 7:00-9:00 a.m. on KDFX-CD. The FOX affiliate also airs a nightly prime time broadcast at 10:00 p.m. that features the CBS outlet's branding and anchors. These offerings competed with now defunct low-powered MyNetworkTV KPSG-LP, which had local news produced by rival NBC affiliate KMIR-TV. The Telemundo newscasts can be seen weeknights at 6:00 and 11:00 p.m. on KUNA. Like all CW Plus outlets in the Pacific Time Zone, KCWQ-LP airs the nationally syndicated morning show The Daily Buzz on weekday mornings from 6:00-9:00 a.m.