KHON-TV, virtual channel 2 (VHF digital channel 8), is a television station located in Honolulu, Hawaii, United States. Owned by Media General, the station serves as the local affiliate of Fox (via its main signal) and The CW (via its second digital subchannel). KHON maintains studios on Piikoi Street in Honolulu; and its main transmitter is also located in the city, just northwest of the Hawaii Convention Center.
KHON also has repeater stations on all the major Hawaiian Islands to rebroadcast programs outside of metropolitan Honolulu: KHAW-TV (channel 11) in Hilo and KAII-TV (channel 7) in Wailuku. KHON can also be seen statewide on both Oceanic Time Warner Cable and Hawaiian Telcom cable analog channel 3.
As an NBC affiliate
KHON first signed on the air on December 15, 1952 as a primary NBC affiliate, KONA-TV, occupying the channel 11 position. It also had a secondary affiliation with Dumont (which it later shared with KULA-TV (now KITV) after it signed on in 1954) until its demise in 1955. The station, which is Hawaii's second-oldest television station (behind KGMB, originally on channel 9, now on channel 5), was originally owned by Herbert Richards. Two years later in 1954, the Honolulu Advertiser purchased the station. On October 16, 1955, KONA changed channels from 11 to 2 due to the lower VHF positions (2 to 6) having the most powerful ERPs at the time. In 1956, KONA was sold to Pacific and Southern Broadcasting, the forerunner of Combined Communications. In 1965, the station's call letters were changed to the current KHON-TV. In 1973, Pacific and Southern Broadcasting decided to spin off KHON to the company's president Arthur H. McCoy, in order for the company to be officially merged into Combined Communications (which would itself merge with the Gannett Company six years later) because the merged company was over the legal station ownership limit at the time.
In 1979, KHON and its Maui satellite station KAII-TV were sold to Western-Sun Broadcasting, a subsidiary of Cowles Communications; the Hilo satellite KHAW-TV was sold to Simpson Communications, but leased back to Cowles/Western Sun. In 1985, KHON and KAII were sold to Burnham Broadcasting as part of the Cowles family's liquidation of most of its media assets; Burnham would acquire KHAW outright the next year, reuniting the stations.
As a Fox affiliate
In March 1994, the Fox Broadcasting Company (then a division of News Corporation) entered into a partnership with minority-owned communications firm Savoy Pictures to form a television station ownership group called SF Broadcasting. On August 25, 1994, the company bought KHON, WVUE-TV in New Orleans, Louisiana and WALA-TV in Mobile, Alabama for $229 million; fellow sister station WLUK-TV in Green Bay, Wisconsin was sold to the company one month earlier in a separate $38 million deal, which for a time, was challenged by an FCC petition filed by NBC alleging that the deal violated foreign investment limits for U.S. broadcasters (a fifth Burnham station, KBAK-TV in Bakersfield, California, was excluded from the SF deal and was instead spun off to Westwind Communications, a new company formed by several former Burnham executives). As part of the deal, all four stations (three NBC affiliates, including KHON, and one ABC affiliate) would disaffiliate from their respective network and become Fox affiliates. Fox was slated to control the voting stock in the venture, but prior to the sale's closure in 1995, it was determined that Fox would still hold an interest in SF although it opted not to have voting stock in the company. Savoy Pictures controlled the day-to-day operations of the four stations.
On January 1, 1996, KHON-TV switched its affiliation to Fox (and changed its on-air branding to "Fox 2"); the NBC affiliation moved to former Fox affiliate KHNL (channel 13). Unlike the New World Communications-owned Fox affiliates that joined the network during the previous 18-month span, KHON ran Fox Kids programming on weekdays (until Fox discontinued the weekday block in December 2001, airing weekdays from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. and then from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. until the fall of 2001 when it was moved to 10:00 a.m. to noon) and Saturday mornings (until November 2008, when 4Kids Entertainment ceased programming Fox's children's block, with the network discontinuing its children's programming altogether). KHON also expanded its local news programming on weekdays, seeing an increase in newscast ratings with the affiliation switch. KHON currently has the distinction of having the highest-rated local news programming of any Fox affiliate nationwide, and also declares itself as "America's No. 1 Fox affiliate", though the network's Miami affiliate WSVN makes this claim as well. Neither station mentions Fox in its logo or branding; when KHON was rebranded to KHON 2 in 2004, it became the first Fox station to ditch the network's brand standardization for its stations while it was still an affiliate. KHON is now one of only four Fox affiliates that omit network references in their branding (alongside WSVN, WDRB in Louisville, Kentucky – which had branded as "Fox 41" from 1996 to 2011, and KVRR in Fargo, North Dakota – which branded simply as "Fox" from the 1990s until March 2015).
On November 28, 1995, Silver King Communications (operated by former Fox executive Barry Diller) announced that it would acquire Savoy Pictures; as a result, Savoy Pictures and Fox ended their partnership and sold the SF Broadcasting stations, including KHON-TV, to the USA Networks division Silver King Broadcasting. Silver King, which later became known as USA Broadcasting, owned several stations on the United States mainland that were affiliated with the Home Shopping Network, which was also owned by USA Networks. The sale of KHON and the other SF stations was approved and finalized in March 1996, with its other assets being merged into the company that November.
In 1999, KHON relocated from its longtime studios on Auahi Street and moved to their current studios on Piikoi Street. Also on April 1 of that year, USA sold all four of its Fox stations to Indianapolis-based Emmis Communications for $307 million in cash and stock, as part of a sale of its major network affiliates in order to concentrate on its formerly HSN-affiliated independent stations.
A year later in 2000, Emmis purchased CBS affiliate KGMB, effectively bringing Hawaii's two oldest television stations under common ownership, though both stations retained separate operations – unlike what would become the common operational structure of most duopolies. Emmis received a crossownership waiver to acquire KGMB as Federal Communications Commission duopoly rules prohibit two of the four highest-rated stations in the same market from being owned by one company.
From 2002 to 2004, KHON carried select UPN programming via a secondary affiliation shared with KGMB; each station aired programs from that network that the other station did not air. The two stations began carrying UPN programming in September 2002 after KFVE, which had served as Honolulu's UPN affiliate since the network's January 1995 inception, decided to disaffiliate from UPN and switch its primary affiliation to The WB (whose programming aired on KFVE in a secondary capacity from 1998 until that point). KIKU, an independent station specializing in Japanese programming, became a secondary UPN affiliate in November 2004 and remained with the network until its closure in September 2006.
Sale to Montecito
On May 15, 2005, Emmis Communications announced that it would sell its 16 television stations in order to concentrate on its portfolio of radio stations. On September 15, Emmis sold KHON as well as CBS affiliate KOIN in Portland, Oregon, and NBC affiliates KSNW in Wichita and KSNT in Topeka, Kansas to the Montecito Broadcast Group (formerly SJL Broadcast Group) for $259 million; the sale closed on January 27, 2006. The acquisition resulted in one of the rare instances in which two stations operated in a duopoly were completely separated due to Emmis owning KHON and KGMB under a waiver.
The sale was controversial due to Montecito's plan to replace 35 of KHON's 111 employees with automation. KHON employees first learned of the plan on January 12, when general manager Rick Blangiardi notified the staff of his intent to resign once the sale was finalized. At a station staff meeting that afternoon, SJL announced the layoffs, which would take place in two phases over the course of two months. Anchor Joe Moore announced the plan at the end of that evening's 6:00 p.m. newscast, and stated his concern that the change would impact the station's ability to serve its viewers. Montecito responded on January 15, assuring the public that no reporters or anchors would be affected, and the 6:00 p.m. newscast would be largely unchanged from the viewer's perspective.
The purchase of KHON was scheduled to close on January 26; however, Montecito was unable to complete the purchase of KHON that day, due to a mix-up in paperwork. As a result, Emmis announced that no employees would be fired as a result of the sale until at least March 31, and that Emmis would pay additional benefits to the affected employees. Moore used the last minutes of the 6:00 p.m. newscast, the final newscast under Emmis' ownership, to bid farewell to Blangiardi (who continues to manage KHON's former sister station, KGMB) and to criticize Montecito. Among other charges, he claimed that the layoffs were tantamount to "the butchering of an already lean work force" and accused Montecito of being a "virtual company" with no physical offices. Montecito's chief operating officer, Sandy Benton, disputed the charges, saying that "what was said last night was not the truth."
Since the purchase, KHON's new general manager, Joe MacNamara, changed the scope of the terminations: instead of a number of people to fire, a salary goal was given. Eight of KHON's nine managers resigned over three days, each stating that they could not support Montecito's decision to terminate employees (only the chief engineer remained). The managers involved, including Blangiardi, denied that the mass exodus was planned. Montecito continued to stand by the automation plan, pointing out that most of the markets it had entered have seen ratings increases as a result of Montecito management.
On June 28, 2006, Moore appeared to take another on-air dig at Montecito's automation plan. For two weeks, a noticeable echo could be heard during the newscast. At the start of that night's 10 p.m. newscast, it prompted Moore to stop and ask the technical crew if the problem could be fixed. A visibly disgusted Moore then blamed the new automated system, said "We're going to go to commercial. We're going to get this straightened out because I'm fed up with this crap." When the newscast returned, the problem was fixed, and Moore resumed as normal. Moore, who was rumored to be considering leaving KHON as a result of the sale, decided to remain as the station's chief anchor. In a February 6 email sent to staff members, Moore wrote, "How could I possibly work for owners I do not respect? After much deliberation, I reached this conclusion ... the owners are not KHON-2. We, the people who work here are KHON-2. I would not be working for the owners. I would be working for our viewers, and with fellow employees I deeply respect. I have decided not to let our owners drive me out of KHON-2."
Sale to New Vision Television, then LIN Media
On July 24, 2007, Montecito announced the sale of all of its stations (KHON, KOIN in Portland, KSNW in Wichita and its satellites, and KSNT in Topeka) to New Vision Television. On November 1 of that year, New Vision officially took over ownership of the stations.
On May 7, 2012, LIN Media announced its acquisition of the New Vision stations for $330.4 million and the assumption of $12 million in debt. The FCC approved the sale to LIN on October 2, and the group deal was consummated ten days later on October 12, 2012, reuniting KHON-TV and its Oregon and Kansas sister stations with several former Emmis-owned stations which had been purchased by LIN seven years earlier, such as WALA-TV, WLUK-TV and Albuquerque, New Mexico's KRQE.
Sale to Media General
On March 21, 2014, Media General announced that it would purchase LIN Media and its stations, including KHON-TV, in a $1.6 billion merger. The merger was completed on December 19. KHON was the only LIN-owned Fox affiliate affected by the SF Broadcasting deal that was retained by Media General, as WALA and WLUK were respectively sold to the Meredith Corporation and Sinclair Broadcast Group to resolve ownership conflicts with existing Media General stations in the Mobile and Green Bay markets (as such, none of the former Burnham/SF stations remain under common ownership; WVUE had previously been sold to the Louisiana Media Company in 2007, and has since transferred that station's operations to Raycom Media).
Sale to Nexstar Broadcasting Group
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|2.1||720p||16:9||KHON-HD||Main KHON-TV programming / Fox|
KHON-TV discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over VHF channel 2, on January 15, 2009, the official date in which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts (six months before the June 12 transition date for full-power stations on the U.S. mainland). The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition VHF channel 8, using PSIP to display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analog channel 2.
On that same date, KHAW-TV relocate its digital signal from UHF channel 21 to its former analog-era VHF channel 11; while KAII-TV relocated its digital signal from UHF channel 36 to its former analog-era VHF channel 7. K55DZ formerly broadcast in analog only, though it had applied with the FCC to operate a digital signal on channel 28.
On October 23, 2006, KHON-TV was announced as the Honolulu affiliate of The CW, carrying the network on its second digital subchannel. Beginning in March 2006 (two months after the network's launch was announced), The CW had struggled to find an affiliate in Honolulu after the market's then-WB affiliate KFVE, which was seen by many as the likeliest candidate to join The CW, signed with competing network MyNetworkTV, and former UPN affiliate KIKU (which aired the network's programming in the afternoons) declined to take The CW affiliation.
The network premiered on KHON's main channel on October 24 and 25 with airings of the regular CW schedule before moving to digital channel 2.2 on October 30; this was possible due to Fox's World Series coverage airing live at 2 p.m. Honolulu time, freeing up prime time. On December 11, 2006, Oceanic Time Warner Cable began offering KHON-TV's CW subchannel on digital cable channel 93; until the fall of 2011, the subchannel used its cable channel position within its branding. The channel is currently available only on cable on Kauai, since KHON's Lihue translator only operates an analog signal.
KHON-DT2 presently clears The CW's entire schedule, including its daytime and Saturday morning blocks. However, the subchannel had aired The CW's Sunday night lineup an hour off-schedule, from 5-10 p.m. until the Sunday lineup was dropped and the hours given to its affiliates in September 2009. Syndicated programming on the subchannel includes 'Til Death, The Jerry Springer Show and Maury, along with repeats of some KHON-TV programming. The subchannel is also available locally on DirecTV and Dish Network; the '93' in the subchannel's branding was removed for this reason, as its channel numbers are different on those providers, and was later dropped by KHON across the board on both Oceanic Time Warner and Hawaiian Telcom (on cable channel 3), going with only "Hawaii's CW" for that same reason. On August 20, 2007, "Hawaii's CW" began airing the nationally syndicated morning news program The Daily Buzz. The show's former home in the Honolulu market, KGMB, dropped the show three days earlier on August 17 in favor of a local morning newscast titled Sunrise on KGMB9, which launched on September 17. Unlike KGMB, which only aired the first two hours of The Daily Buzz, "Hawaii's CW" aired the entire three-hour broadcast each weekday from 5 to 8 a.m. Upon the sudden cancellation of The Daily Buzz in mid-April 2015 by its distributor, the channel switched to a simulcast of KHON's morning news in full.
Incidentally, KHON was a secondary affiliate of one of The CW's predecessor networks, UPN, from 2002 to 2004 – at a time when secondary affiliations were more common and the advent of digital subchannels was not as widespread as it is today. "Hawaii's CW" does not have its own website; the only mentions of the subchannel on KHON's website are in the station's programming schedule and a link to The CW's website.
These stations rebroadcast KHON-TV's signal throughout Hawaii:
|Station||City of license||Channel||First air date||Call letters’|
|ERP||HAAT||Facility ID||Transmitter Coordinates|
|KHAW-TV||Hilo||11 (VHF)||November 27, 1961||HAWaii||3.35 kW||30.5 m||4146|
|KAII-TV||Wailuku||7 (VHF)||November 19581||HawAII||3.69 kW||753 m||4145|
- 1. The Broadcasting and Cable Yearbook says KAII-TV signed on November 17, while the Television and Cable Factbook says it signed on November 19.
When it was a NBC affiliate, channel 2 carried most of the network's lineup. The only exception was The Today Show, which it pre-empted since its sign-on due to the program being telecast live and Hawaii's geographical location, making it difficult to deliver a taped broadcast to the islands. As a result, the station would not start its full day of programming until at least 7AM, usually with ethnic programming, cartoons, and from 1966 to 1972, an hour of Romper Room. In 1968, KHON would finally air a one-hour edited tape version of Today but would then drop it in 1969, only to finally air the full two-hour program via same-day satellite in 1972. It also aired NBC programming on a weekly delay with some of its shows airing out of pattern, the Saturday morning schedule airing on Sundays (and in an ironic twist, programming Meet the Press on Saturday mornings instead) and its Nightly News telecasts airing after 12 Midnight or 6AM the following morning via air mail. It would not be until 1985 when KHON would start airing NBC programming the same day as the rest of the mainland United States thanks to newer and updated satellite technology.
Since its switch from NBC in 1996, KHON clears the entire Fox network schedule (nightly primetime, Saturday late night, and Fox Sports programming, along with the network's Saturday morning infomerical block, Weekend Marketplace and the political talk show Fox News Sunday). However, the station presently airs Fox's Sunday night programming one hour later than other affiliates, from 7-10 p.m. Hawaii Time (instead of the 6-9 p.m. slot common with other network affiliates in Hawaii), and the network's Animation Domination HD late night lineup on Saturdays airs a half-hour later airing at 10:30 p.m., due to its nightly 10 p.m. newscast. In 2014, KHON launched a half-hour primetime newscast at 9 p.m. on weekdays, followed by a second-run syndicated program, while network programs air in that hour on Sundays (syndicated programs may air in place of network shows if Fox airs a sporting event that is scheduled for primetime on the U.S. mainland, but due to the time differences between Hawaii and the continental United States, airs on KHON earlier that day).
KHON's CW subchannel aired weekly CFL broadcasts for the 2007 season after former University of Hawaii star quarterback Timmy Chang earned a backup spot with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the pre-season. Also, in August 2015 the station has aired Tennessee Titans preseason games supplied via the team's primary affiliate (and sister station through Media General) WKRN-TV, due to Hawaii native (and 2014 Heisman Trophy winner) Marcus Mariota being named the team's starting quarterback during training camp.
For over a decade, both Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune aired on KHON. Jeopardy! was then moved to KGMB in 2002 in order to begin a 5 p.m. newscast, which makes Honolulu one of the few markets where Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune air on separate stations. Other syndicated programs airing on KHON and KHON-DT2 include Live! with Kelly and Michael, The People's Court, Judge Judy, Dr. Phil, Rachael Ray, The Big Bang Theory, Hot Bench, Inside Edition, How I Met Your Mother, Two and a Half Men, and Mike & Molly.
KHON-TV presently broadcasts 37 hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 7 hours on weekdays, and one hour each on Saturdays and Sundays). At the start, KHON maintained a news schedule similar to what it offered as an NBC affiliate, and continued after it became a Fox affiliate. This resulted in KHON being the only news-producing Fox affiliate in the United States – and the only Fox station that ran any local news programming – that did not air a primetime newscast. In Hawaii, the major networks' primetime programming ends at 10 p.m., using the same scheduling as network-affiliated stations in the Central, Mountain and Alaska time zones in the continental U.S.; this means that Fox stations would generally air their late evening newscasts at 9 p.m., instead KHON airs its late newscast at 10 p.m., competing against KITV, KGMB and KHNL instead of only competing with KFVE (whose 9 p.m. newscast is produced by the joint Hawaii News Now operation also involving KFVE sister stations KGMB and KHNL). On September 8, 2014, KHON launched its first 9 pm weeknight newscast, which is 30 minutes in length. This marked the first time KHON aired news programming in primetime since it was a NBC affiliate, when its "Eyewitness News" began its late evening broadcast at 9:30 pm to accommodate the delayed NBC schedule from 1972 to 1980. KHON's 10 pm newscast will continue in the same time slot.
KHON's newscasts have been the highest-rated in Hawaii for almost 40 years. The station's news operation is so well respected that even when it branded itself as "Fox 2", it still titled its newscasts Channel 2 News (later revised as KHON 2 News) rather than Fox 2 News. Also for this reason, its late newscast is not titled The Ten O'Clock News like with other Fox stations.
The station's dominance has been especially pronounced since it lured KGMB sports anchor Joe Moore to become its lead anchor in 1979. Moore, billed as "Hawaii's most watched television newscaster," remains the station's lead anchor. In addition to his duties on the 6 and 10 p.m. flagship newscasts, he also anchors Hawaii's World Report at 5:30, a round-up of world and national news reports from CNN and Fox News. Moore is frequently the subject of controversy, but his popularity in the state usually prevents any attempts to rein him in.
As of 2012, KHON was the only major U.S. network-affiliated television station in Hawaii that had yet to make the upgrade to high definition or 16:9 enhanced definition widescreen local newscasts (KITV (channel 4) upgraded its newscasts to widescreen that year), as well as one of two LIN Media television properties that has yet to broadcast its local programming in high definition or widescreen (the other being WLFI-TV). On March 23, 2012, KHON president and general manager Joe McNamara stated in a New Vision Television press release that "in the coming months, additional changes will be taking place inside our (KHON) studios with state-of-the-art HD upgrades of cameras, lighting and newsroom systems that will enhance our on-air look tremendously." On October 11, 2013, KHON became the last LIN-owned station to broadcast its newscasts in high definition with a new set and new logo. The debut was made during their 5PM newscast. Included in the upgrade was a new logo and updated news music. The station uses the Inergy news music package by Stephen Arnold Music that was originally intended for stations owned by the E. W. Scripps Company; however, KHON uses a custom version with traditional Hawaiian instrumentation.
Notable current on-air staff
- Joe Moore - weeknights at 5:30 (Hawaii's World Report), 6 and 10 p.m.
- Rob DeMello - sports director; Sports Anchor Sunday-Thursday Host, Executive Producer of Cover 2: Hawaii High School Football Weekly
Notable former on-air staff
- Emily Chang - reporter, October 2003 – September 2004
- Bob Hogue - sports director
- "General" Les Keiter - sports director (1971–1993, died April 14, 2009 at age 89)
- Barbara Marshall - reporter/anchor for Action Line (was a member of the Honolulu City Council, died February 22, 2009 at age 64)
- Tina Shelton - reporter (now Director of Public Relations, John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii-Manoa)