KHBS is the ABC-affiliated television station for Fort Smith, Arkansas. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 21 (virtual channel 40.1 via PSIP) from a transmitter located on the Cavanal Hill northwest of Poteau, Oklahoma. Owned by Hearst Television, the station's brand name "40/29" refers to KHBS and its Fayetteville-based satellite station KHOG-TV, which covers other areas of Northwest Arkansas and far into southwestern Missouri that aren't covered by the primary KHBS signal. KHOG also broadcasts on UHF digital channel 15 (virtual channel 29.1 via PSIP) from a transmitter located southeast of Fayetteville. The two stations share a studio on Ajax Avenue in Rogers and also operate a news bureau on North Albert Pike in Fort Smith.
Channel 40 began as KFPW-TV on July 28, 1971. It was owned by local businessman Bob Hernreich along with KFPW radio (1230 AM). The station was a primary CBS affiliate with a secondary ABC affiliation. Before channel 40's arrival, all three networks had been shoehorned on primary NBC affiliate KFSA-TV (channel 5, now CBS affiliate KFSM-TV).
KFPW-TV found the going difficult against channel 5 largely because of the difficulties experienced by UHF stations operating in rugged terrain. Most seriously, it was all but unviewable in Fayetteville and the surrounding area—a problem exacerbated by its transmitter being located in Oklahoma. Many viewers in the northern part of the market watched CBS on KTVJ in Joplin, Missouri (now NBC affiliate KSNF).
To solve this problem, on December 8, 1977, KTVP channel 29 in Fayetteville signed on as a satellite station of KFPW. It was Fayetteville's second attempt at a commercial television station, after KGTO-TV. That station aired NBC (primary) and CBS programming in the area on channel 36 from February 1969 to December 1973. The two stations became full-time ABC affiliates in 1978 after KLMN-TV (now KFTA-TV) signed on and took the CBS affiliation.
In 1983, the Hernreich family sold off its radio stations, KFPW and KXXI-FM. The Hernreichs changed channel 40's call letters to KHBS on March 21st. Two years later, in 1985, Bob Hernreich bought a stake in Sigma Broadcasting (becoming its chairman and CEO in 1989), merging KHBS and KTVP into Sigma. On September 1, 1987, KTVP became KHOG-TV. Argyle Television bought the stations in 1996. A year later, Argyle merged with Hearst. In October 2007, KHBS and KHOG-TV moved their operations to new, state of the art studios in Rogers.
On April 28, 2008, KHBS and KHOG-TV launched new second digital subchannels to carry The CW. This complemented a cable-only CW affiliate operated by Cox Communications known as having the fictional callsign, "KCWA".
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|Main programming / ABC|
KHBS & KHOG discontinued regular programming on their analog signals, respectively over UHF channels 40 & 29, 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. Both stations' digital signals remained on their pre-transition UHF channels 21 & 15, using PSIP to display both station's virtual channels as their former UHF analog channels 40 & 29.
KHBS currently broadcasts a total of 19½ hours of local newscasts each week (with 3½ hours on weekdays and one hour each on Saturdays and Sundays). It is one of the few ABC affiliates that does not carry any newscasts on weekend mornings. Craig Cannon has been the station's main anchorman since 1983--a post he has held despite a long battle with Bell's palsy.
On April 18, 2011, KHBS/KHOG expanded its weekday morning newscast 40/29 News Sunrise, to 2½ hours from 4:30 to 7 a.m., becoming one of the smallest stations in terms of market size to extend its morning newscast to a 4:30 a.m. start time. On September 13, 2011, the stations became the first in the Fort Smith–Fayetteville television market to begin broadcasting its newscasts in 16:9 widescreen enhanced definition. The station is currently broadcast in full 1080p HD.
On August 20, 2012, KHBS/KHOG launched a nightly half-hour prime time newscast at 9 on their CW-affiliated second digital subchannels. The broadcast is the third prime time news option in the market, joining a weeknight-only newscast on Fox outlet KFTA that is produced by sister station KNWA-TV and a nightly KFSM-produced newscast on MyNetworkTV affiliate KXNW.