KHSL-TV, channel 12, is a CBS affiliate television station based in Chico, California. Its transmitter is located in Cohasset, California. Owned by Heartland Media, this station also operates its sister station NBC affiliate, KNVN channel 24, owned by Maxair Media, LLC. That transmitter is located in Red Bluff, California, sharing the news and advertising focus between Chico and Redding. The station's Redding office is located near the Redding Civic Auditorium (737 Auditorium Dr, Redding, CA 96001)
For many years, KHSL-TV has been a dominant television station in the Central Valley north of Sacramento. News presenters have referred to the viewing area on air as the "North State." Until recently, the San Francisco Chronicle included KHSL-TV in its television listings. Under certain weather conditions, KHSL's old analog signal could occasionally be received as far south as the eastern portion of the San Francisco Bay Area. For many years, KHSL-TV provided a signal to a large network of translators, but due to satellite and cable TV, only the station translators are still in operation.
KHSL-TV's on-air staff over the years has included television host and producer Moriss Taylor, actor Richard Kiel, voiceover announcer and vocalist Ron Palmer, news reporter Rick Rigsby, news anchors Dean Reeter (the former anchor at Channel 7R in Redding), Bill Windsor, Larry Stuelpnagel, Bill Ihle (later with KFBK Radio, Sacramento) and Angela Astore (later with KSTP-TV Minneapolis-St. Paul and CNN Headline News), meteorologist Anthony Watts and sports directors Ray Narbaitz, Dennis Lehnen and Royal Courtain. Former California state assemblyman Stan Statham also anchored news at KHSL-TV and is currently the president of the California Broadcasters Association.
KHSL-TV signed on in 1953, owned by the McClung family's Golden Empire Broadcasting Company along with KHSL-AM 1290. The call letters are in honor of Harry Smithson and Sidney Lewis, who founded KHSL-AM in 1935 and sold it to Hugh and Ruth "Mickey" McClung a year later. Ruth "Mickey" McClung was one of the first women to own a television station.
The McClungs owned the station until October 1994, when they sold it to United Communications Corporation. On September 14, 1998, KHSL-TV was purchased by Catamount Broadcasting. A month earlier, it took over KNVN's operations. It had been the dominant station in the Northstate for almost half a century.
From its infancy, KHSL-TV was an affiliate of CBS. When KRCR-TV entered the Chico-Redding market as the NBC affiliate, the two stations occasionally cherry-picked ABC programming since no third commercial station yet existed. In the mid 1970s, KRCR-TV switched to ABC. KHSL-TV then picked up some NBC programming - notably The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. However, it was forced to switch to and from the signal of KRON-TV in San Francisco whenever NBC programming aired. This required somewhat awkward masking of KRON's IDs and commercials. Occasionally, KRON's IDs and commercials leaked through when KHSL-TV's engineers couldn't cover them up in time. Finally, when KCPM (now KNVN) launched and took the NBC affiliation, the sharing of a third network was no longer necessary in the Chico-Redding market. However, there may have been at least one attempt back in the mid-1960s to bring a third commercial station to the area that would have been an ABC affiliate, but it never materialized and even KCPM did not come without challenges and financial troubles of its own.
On February 6, 2013 it was announced that KHSL would be sold to GOCOM Media, LLC. Concurrently, sister station KNVN was sold by Evans Broadcasting to K4 Media Holdings, LLC. The FCC approved the sale on April 19, 2013; it was consummated on May 6. On July 14, 2015, GOCOM announced that it would sell KHSL-TV to Heartland Media (which also owns Oregon television stations KDRV in Medford and KEZI in Eugene), through its USA Television Holdings joint venture with MSouth Equity Partners, for $40 million; concurrently, K4 Media Holdings will sell KNVN to Maxair Media, with KHSL providing services to KNVN and selling up to 15 percent of channel 24's advertising time. The sale was completed on December 1.
Newscast & Other Local Programming History
One of the station's first newscasts was "Valley Headline News," which in 1959 was broadcast on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:00 p.m. W.E. Thomas was the news director.
From 1956 to 1960, KHSL-TV aired a half-hour program on Sunday evenings called "There Is A Telling" about the folklore and history of northern California. Chico State College produced the program with the aid of students. It is perhaps best remembered for its ballad theme song performed by Tom Lee.
From 1956 to 1995, perhaps the most visible show that KHSL aired was the legendary half-hour music program, The Moriss Taylor Show, hosted by Moriss Taylor and featured several musicians such as Charlie Robinson, Yvonne Haygood, Bill Teague, Mark Alstad and Rosie Mello, just to name a few.  Reruns aired until 1997, two years after Catamount Broadcasting purchased KHSL-TV. The show aired on KRVU-LD on Saturday mornings beginning at 10am from 1997 until 2015 when that station cancelled the show after it was sold to Bonten Media Group, owners of chief rival KRCR-TV.
From the 1970s to the late 2000s, the station produced a local public affairs program called Agenda 12 (later known as just Agenda) which featured various hosts.
During the 1990s, news anchor Bruce Lang hosted a half-hour news and information program called Sunday Evening, which is similar to CBS Sunday Morning. The program aired after the CBS Evening News Sunday and before 60 Minutes.
Your Show Live was a locally produced interview program that aired from 2002 to 2004 as a taped rebroadcast of its live program on KNVN.
60th Anniversary Special
On August 29, 2013, exactly 60 years to the day after the station hit the air, KHSL-TV presented a one-hour special program celebrating the station's 60th Anniversary on the air. Hosts Alan Marsden and Debbie Cobb, who are current lead anchors for Action News Now, took a look back at 60 years of local programming and network programming from CBS. Many former personalities made appearances in the special including Ray Narbietz, Stan Statham, Rick Rigsby, Royal Courtain, Dino Corbin, Jim Houpt, Kathy Wilson and others. They even played clips from special events and The Moriss Taylor Show. After it aired, it began airing on YouTube.
Merger with KNVN
On August 10, 1998, when KCPM changed its callsign to KNVN, Grapevine Communications sold the station because the station was extremely high in debt and overdue for bankruptcy. To avoid possibly putting KNVN off the air, the nearly bankrupt station signed a shared services agreement with KHSL, eventually leading to the creative yet controversial consolidation of the news departments. The ratings of the newscasts have always lagged far behind KHSL and KRCR, and the takeover resulted in the newscast ratings very slightly going up, while KHSL's ratings slightly declined and then the ratings of both stations plummeted once the newscasts were merged. Today's newscasts have slightly increased ratings with six newscasts per weekday and two per day on the weekends, but both KHSL and KNVN still lag behind KRCR-TV and to a lesser extent, KCVU in overall ratings, placing 4th and 3rd, respectively, since most locations in the southern portion of the viewing area can also receive many of the larger stations from Sacramento, including KCRA or KOVR, of which both are also available on Comcast Cable.
In February 2000, it merged its news department with that of KHSL because the failing new KNVN was at risk of having all of its newscasts dropped because of low viewership, but it still wanted to have some form of local news on. It didn't want to go back to using Sacramento news because it still wanted a complete form of local news, so it merged with KHSL to form Northern California News, or more commonly known as NCN in December 2001. It dropped NCN in 2005 in favor of "The (hour) News" brand. It finally came up with a more permanent name in September 2006 called "Action News". In 2013, following the station's sale to GOCOM, the title (and station's identity) became known officially as Action News Now. (see below)
Starting in September 2006, its KHSL-DT2 subcarrier added programming from The CW Television Network. This coincided with the company's acquisition of KIWB from Bluestone Television in July 2006. It has its own 10:00 newscast titled CW Action News at Ten. It broadcasts on cable channel 10 on both Comcast and Charter systems. It is also available on Dish Network channel 43 and on DirecTV channel 10. It gets most of its programming from The CW Plus, but airs Maury at noon and Dr. Phil at 1pm.
Action News Now
KHSL features half-hour-long newscasts at noon and 6:30 pm 5 days a week with 2-minute news updates at the top of the hour throughout the day; it also simulcasts its nightly 11 pm news on KNVN. It also produces an hour-long 5 pm newscast for KNVN, a half-hour 10 pm newscast for the CW 10, a morning show weekdays at 5:30 am, and a weekend newscast at 6:30 pm and 11:00 pm. In addition to the 11 pm news, the weekday morning and weeknight newscasts are simulcast on KNVN.
Former on-air staff
- Royal Courtain (sports director) (1975-1997, formerly Chico sports anchor then account executive at KRCR-TV in Redding)
- Diane Dwyer (news reporter) (formerly with KTVU, currently special projects reporter with NBC Bay Area)
- Louisa Hodge (NCN "Wake Up!" host) (2003–2005, now at KCBS-2/KCAL-9 Studio City, Los Angeles)
- Dana Howard (Reporter, now at KXTV 10 in Sacramento, CA)
- Rick Rigsby (Reporter, now an ordained minister and former professor at Texas A&M University)
- Stan Statham (news anchor) (1960s-1970s, former California state assemblyman, now president of the California Broadcasters Association)
- Moriss Taylor (host of The Moriss Taylor Show) (1956-1995, now retired)
- Anthony Watts (chief meteorologist) (1987–2002, 2004, now at KPAY radio in Chico and returned as weekend weather anchor in 2015)
Locally produced programs
- The Moriss Taylor Show (1956–1995; continued airing reruns until 1997, then aired on KRVU My 21 from 1997 to 2012)
- "Sunday Evening" with Bruce Lang (1980s-1998)
- KNVN's Your Show Live with Shaye Leeper and Dave Tappan (2002–2004)
Digital channels for KHSL
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|12.1||1080i||16:9||KHSL-HD||Main KHSL-TV programming / CBS|
|12.2||720p||CW-10||The CW 10|
Digital channels for K42HL-D
|42.1 / 24.4||Telemundo|
|42.3 / 24.3||KNVN SD|
|42.4 / 12.3||KHSL SD|
|42.5 / 12.4||The CW 10|
|42.6 / 24.6||The AccuWeather Channel|
KHSL-TV became digital-only on December 22, 2008. The station shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 12, on January 1, 2009. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 43. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analog channel 12.
KHSL replaced normal programming with digital TV information on analog channel 12, and eventually turned it off on January 1. KHSL's new 235 kW, 500-foot-tall (150 m) digital tower is up and running and has been for the past four months, but will double its power to nearly 500 kW on February 17, 2009.
Loss in OTA coverage
According to the engineering department, KHSL chose not to return to VHF Channel 12, as digital transmission has much poorer results than UHF Channels, but there was still a substantial loss in over-the-air (OTA) coverage. There has been lots of criticism because a VHF signal better covers the terrain of the rural, mountainous viewing area in communities and could have actually gained coverage if the digital transmitter used the analog tower. However, results by most stations in the U.S. show a loss of coverage with a VHF signal, but the Chico/Redding area is unique in the fact that the valley is suited better for UHF (VHF is notorious for impulse noise) while the foothills and mountains are better suited for VHF (UHF does not travel the natural curve of the Earth well), but KHSL had to take a loss of approximately 50,000 potential viewers since it cannot satisfy both types of terrain at the same time, less than it would have on VHF 12 but still much worse than the other stations in the area which saw little or no loss in coverage . However, it still covers 537,000 people which is still second to KCVU, which now covers 550,000 people; and pulls ahead of KRCR, KIXE, and KNVN, which better cover the core Chico/Redding area but only cover 400,000 people each. Many rural cable systems use Dish Network to feed their systems now since they have now lost OTA coverage. Viewers in northern areas of Sacramento can now occasionally receive a clear KHSL signal, when before they could only get a snowy image at best. To make up with the reception problem in Redding, KHSL has launched a digital fill-in translator from South Fork Mountain on channel 36.
Although KNVN and KHSL began airing local commercials (including their own promos) in high definition in January 2012, no details have been released if local newscasts will be ever produced in HD.
KHSL began airing high definition local newscasts on January 7, 2014.