KGW, VHF digital channel 8, is an NBC-affiliated television station located in Portland, Oregon, United States. The station is owned by Tegna, Inc. KGW maintains studios on Jefferson Street in southwestern Portland, and its transmitter is located in the city's Sylvan-Highlands section. KGW also serves as the Portland bureau for co-owned regional news channel Northwest Cable News and produces news segments for the channel.

History

The station was an extension of radio station KGW (620 AM, now KPOJ). The Oregonian newspaper created KGW-AM by purchasing an existing transmitter from the Shipowners Radio Service. The U.S. Department of Commerce licensed the station, and it began broadcasting on March 25, 1922 (after a test transmission two days earlier).[3] Among the station's early personalities was "The Man of 1000 Voices," Mel Blanc, who debuted on the radio program The Hoot Owls. The station's studios and transmitter were located in The Oregonian Building[4][5] (of 1892) until 1943, when a fire destroyed them and the station moved to other quarters.[5] The Oregonian applied for and received a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) construction permit for a television station in 1947, but later returned it in order to focus on its core newspaper business. It later bought KOIN-AM and used it to start KOIN-TV (channel 6).

The Oregonian sold KGW-AM-FM to North Pacific Television, a consortium of Seattle businesswoman Dorothy Bullitt and five Portland businessmen, on November 1, 1953. Bullitt's King Broadcasting Company, who also owned KING-AM-FM-TV in Seattle, was the largest shareholder in the venture, with a 40 percent stake. Bullitt eventually bought out her partners, and KGW-TV signed on the air on December 15, 1956 on channel 8 as an ABC affiliate. On April 26, 1959, it swapped affiliations with KPTV (channel 12), becoming an NBC affiliate (KGW's sister station, KING-TV in Seattle, also switched from ABC to NBC with KOMO-TV at the same time).

The KGW-TV tower was a prominent victim of the Northwest's historic, and violent Columbus Day Storm on October 12, 1962. The station returned to the air on October 16 using a temporary tower, as well as an antenna on loan from KTNT-TV (now KSTW) of Tacoma, Washington. A new antenna and tower were placed into service on January 28, 1963.

In January 1964, KGW began building a new broadcast center at 1501 SW Jefferson Street, which has served as its headquarters and main studios location ever since. The station moved into the new facility, from an old building located two blocks to the east, in 1965, the radio facilities in the spring and the television facilities in July 1965. Located at the west edge of downtown Portland, the two-story building had approximately 54,000 sq ft (5,000 m2) of space.

In 1992, King Broadcasting (which also included KING-TV in Seattle, KREM-TV in Spokane, Washington, KTVB in Boise, Idaho and KHNL in Honolulu, Hawaii) merged with The Providence Journal Company. Only five years later, in 1997, KGW became part of the Belo Corporation when it bought The Providence Journal Company.

KGW aired a Portland Trail Blazers game in high-definition on October 24, 2007. On October 12, 2011, KGW announced that unless a new contract agreement could be reached that it would drop the station from DirecTV's channel lineup.[6] This contract dispute that involved DirecTV and Belo would also remove sister station KING-TV from DirecTV in the Seattle market.[7] On November 1, 2011, DirecTV reached an agreement with Belo[6] to continue carrying KGW and KING on DirecTV.[7]

On June 13, 2013, the Gannett Company announced that it would acquire Belo. However, since Gannett owns the Statesman Journal newspaper in Salem – within KGW's viewing area – KGW was instead sold to Sander Media, LLC (owned by former Belo executive Jack Sander), with Gannett operating KGW through joint sales and shared services agreements in order to comply with the FCC's cross-ownership restrictions.[8][9] The sale was completed on December 23.[10]

On June 29, 2015, Gannett's publishing and digital media operations were spun off, with the latter renamed Tegna, Inc.[11] Shortly afterward, Sander Media filed with the FCC to transfer KGW's license to Tegna's King Broadcasting Company;[12] the acquisition was completed on December 3, 2015.[13]

Digital television

Digital channels

The station's digital channel is multiplexed:

ChannelVideoAspectPSIP Short NameProgramming[14]
8.11080i16:9KGWMain KGW-TV programming / NBC
8.2480i4:3KGWJCJustice Network
8.316:9KGWESTEstrella TV

KGW provided a 24-hour weather forecast service on digital subchannel 8.2 through the digital television transition, until the September 14, 2009 launch of Estrella TV. On August 2, 2010, KGW restored the 24-hour news and weather channel on 8.2 and moved Estrella TV programming to digital subchannel 8.3. On December 3, 2012 KGW placed Live Well Network on KGW 8.2. Justice Network replaced Live Well Network on January 20, 2015.

Analog-to-digital conversion

On July 18, 2008 at 6:14 p.m., KGW conducted a test for viewers to determine whether their television sets were ready for the digital transition by turning off its analog signal for 10 seconds, which the station conducted other times through the spring of 2009. In early 2009, KGW, along with other stations that had already added digital television technology, began broadcasting on its digital channel and those without cable or satellite service could purchase "DTA" (Digital to Analog) converter boxes. The U.S. government distributed credit-card "coupons" to get as much as a $50 discount on the boxes, with a limit of two coupons per household. The boxes would accept the digital signal and convert it back to analog so that older televisions could pick up the signal. It is estimated that 20% of television watching households in the Portland area use the over-the-air signal for TV services, making the coupon program very popular in Portland.

KGW shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 8, at 3:04 a.m. 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 relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 46 to VHF channel 8.[15][16] At 3:43 a.m., KGW completed its digital conversion when it shut down its temporary digital transmitter (on UHF channel 46) and switched digital operations to channel 8.

Programming

Syndicated programming on this station includes The Dr. Oz Show, FABLife, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and Inside Edition. Along with NBC network programming, the station also airs some local programs, including select Portland Trail Blazers game telecasts, even as NBC itself no longer televises NBA games. The station preempts the Saturday edition of Today in favor of its extended weekend morning newscasts.

Former local programming

Original local programming in the 80s included the award-winning quiz show On the Spot (airing daily from 1984–88) and the lottery-based game show The Money Game (airing Saturday nights after the six o'clock news from 1988–90).

News operation

KGW presently broadcasts 38 hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with six hours on weekdays, and four hours each on Saturdays and Sundays). In addition, the station produces a nightly half-hour primetime newscast at 10 p.m. for CW affiliate KRCW as the Tribune Broadcasting-owned station does not operate a news department of its own.

KGW-TV's original evening news team remained intact for more than seven years – a rarity in the broadcast industry. Anchors Richard Ross and Ivan Smith, commentator Tom McCall, sportscaster Doug LaMear and meteorologist Jack Capell were the faces of KGW's "News Beat" from sign-on in December 1956 until early 1964, when McCall left the air to run for Oregon Secretary of State. McCall won election that fall, and was elected Governor of Oregon two years later. Ross anchored KGW's nightly news "Northwest Tonight" until 1975, and LaMear and Capell remained on Channel 8 for at least another two decades after Ross' departure for rival KATU (channel 2).

On January 21, 2008, KGW became the first television station in the Portland market to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition. Along with a newly renovated studio, the station shortened its brand from "KGW Northwest NewsChannel 8" to "KGW NewsChannel 8", updated its logo/graphics, and debuted Version 3 of 615 Music's "The Tower" music package. In November 2008, KGW retrofitted its news helicopter with an HD camera.[18]

In 2008–2009, the station developed a high-definition news studio in downtown Portland at Pioneer Courthouse Square, in a space previously occupied by Powell's Books. Regular broadcasts from the location that KGW named the "Studio on the Square" began on March 17, 2009,[20] with the 4:30 a.m. newscast. KGW's weekday morning, noon, 4 and 7 p.m. newscasts originate from the downtown location.[22]

Notable current on-air staff

Notable former on-air staff

Translators

KGW's signal is rebroadcast on the following translator stations:

NOTE: All of KGW's translator services appear on channel 8 (8.1, 8.2, etc.) through use of PSIP.