KEYT-TV is the ABC-affiliated television station for Santa Barbara, Santa Maria and San Luis Obispo, California. Licensed to Santa Barbara, the station broadcasts a high definition digital on UHF channel 27 (virtual channel 3.1 via PSIP) with its transmitter located atop Broadcast Peak, between Santa Barbara and Santa Ynez in the Santa Ynez Mountains. Owned by News-Press & Gazette Company, it is the sister station to Fox affiliate KKFX-CD. It also operates CBS affiliate KCOY-TV (owned by VistaWest Media, LLC). KEYT's studios are located at 730 Miramonte Drive on TV Hill, overlooking downtown Santa Barbara. Syndicated programming featured on this station includes Live! with Kelly and Michael, OK TV, The Dr. Oz Show, Extra, TMZ and Access Hollywood.
KEYT-TV first signed on the air on July 24, 1953. During the 1950s, the station ran programming from all four TV networks: ABC, CBS, DuMont, and NBC. It would lose NBC in 1964 when KCOY in adjacent Santa Maria signed on, then shared CBS with KCOY until 1969, when the inclusion of San Luis Obispo County into the Santa Barbara-Santa Maria market resulted in KEYT becoming exclusively affiliated with ABC, with KCOY becoming the CBS affiliate and KSBY in San Luis Obispo also becoming Santa Barbara's NBC affiliate. KEYT operates morning, evening and nighttime newscasts. KEYT channel 3 has identified its local newscasts as KEY News since the 1980s.
Between KEYT's launch of its HDTV signal on March 2007 and September 2007, KEYT-HD was initially unavailable to cable subscribers in the Central Coast, due to a contract dispute with the local cable companies. KEYT has since reached an agreement with Cox Communications in Santa Barbara, Comcast in Santa Maria, and as of late October 2007, with Charter Cable in San Luis Obispo to carry its HDTV signal, In 2012 Time Warner Cable In Ventura County carried its HDTV Signal.
On September 7, 2012, News-Press & Gazette Company announced that it had entered into an agreement to purchase KEYT from Smith Media for $14.3 million. The transaction, which was approved by the Federal Communications Commission on November 6, was completed November 19. Smith Media owned KEYT since 1987.
On January 28, 2013, KEYT retired the longtime KEY News branding and with the new owner's purchase rebranded themselves as NewsChannel 3. The branding is similar to now Palm Springs sister station, KESQ-TV. Its newscasts and site now includes a new graphics package that is similar to all NPG stations and is operated by Internet Broadcasting.
On April 1, 2013, KEYT began broadcasting news in High Definition.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|3.1||720p||16:9||KEYT HD||Main KEYT-TV programming / ABC|
|3.2||480i||4:3||KEYT SD||MyNetworkTV / Retro TV|
KEYT-TV shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 3, 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 UHF channel 27. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analog channel 3.
KEYT acquired the MyNetworkTV affiliation in June 2006, it initially showed only MyNetworkTV programming, with a test pattern running outside of network programming hours. By the fall of 2007, the station had managed to obtain syndication broadcast rights to Family Guy and South Park, and officially launched its second digital subchannel under the branding "MyNetworkTV Central Coast" in October 2007, replacing Los Angeles-based MyNetworkTV affiliate KCOP on all cable systems in the Central Coast region.
The subchannel initially ran a standard-definition simulcast of KEYT's primary channel outside of MyNetworkTV programming. On October 30, 2007, KEYT-DT2 added a secondary affiliation with the Luken Communications-owned Retro Television Network and broadcasts RTV programming outside of MyNetworkTV primetime program slots. The subchannel subsequently changed its branding to "My RTN" to coincide with the new affiliation, later changing to "My RTV" after the network modified its on-air acronym to "RTV".
Notable former on-air staff
- Christine Craft - anchor/reporter (1970s)
- Giselle Fernández - reporter (circa 1983)
- Michelle Franzen - reporter/fill-in anchor (1993-1994)
- Edie Lambert - anchor/reporter (now at KCRA-TV in Sacramento)
- Indra Petersons (now with ABC News)
- Kelsey Gerckens and Joey Buttitta - reporters (and winners of The Amazing Race 27)
KEYT also operates a translator to extend its coverage area into San Luis Obispo county. It operates a repeater station in San Luis Obispo, K31KE-D, on channel 31.