KING-TV, channel 5, is an NBC-affiliated television station located in Seattle, Washington, United States. The station is owned by Tegna, Inc., as part of a duopoly with independent station KONG (channel 16), along with Tegna-run regional cable network Northwest Cable News (NWCN). The three operations share offices and studios at the Home Plate Center in the SoDo district of Seattle, and KING's transmitter is located in the Queen Anne neighborhood of Seattle.
KING-TV is one of five Seattle television stations that are available in Canada on satellite providers Bell TV and Shaw Direct, and is available to most cable subscribers in the Vancouver, British Columbia area as the NBC affiliate. The station is also carried on several cable providers in southeastern Alaska and northwestern Oregon.
Channel 5 first took to the air as KRSC-TV on November 25, 1948, becoming the first television station in the Pacific Northwest. The station was originally owned by Palmer K. Leberman's Radio Sales Corporation, which also operated KRSC radio (1150 AM, now KKNW, and FM 98.1, now KING-FM). The first broadcast on channel 5 was a live remote of a Thanksgiving Day high school football game – the telecast was plagued with technical difficulties, but local viewers reported being impressed nonetheless. Channel 5 was originally a primary CBS affiliate, and carried secondary affiliations with NBC, ABC and DuMont.
Eight months after the television station debuted, KRSC-TV and KRSC-FM were purchased by King Broadcasting Company, owners of KING radio (1090 AM, now KFNQ) and the original KING-FM (94.9, frequency now occupied by KUOW-FM), for $375,000 in May 1949. The station changed its callsign to KING-TV to match its radio sisters (according to legend, King Broadcasting president Dorothy Bullitt purchased the KING call letters while on a fishing boat). For many years, the stations' logo was "King Mike", an anthropomorphized microphone in ermine robes and a crown, drawn by cartoonist Walt Disney (Portland, Oregon sister stations KGW-AM-FM-TV used a similar logo, called "Pioneer Mike"; the King Mike logo was later brought back for KING's 50th anniversary in 1998 and still appears in promotional announcements to this day).
Once the Federal Communications Commission-imposed freeze on television station license awards ended in 1952, KING-TV lost its monopoly in the market. During 1953, the Seattle-Tacoma area received three new stations: KTNT-TV (channel 11, now KSTW) debuted in March as the market's CBS outlet; while NBC went to KMO-TV (channel 13, now KCPQ), which signed on in August. NBC moved a few months later to KOMO-TV (channel 4), which went on the air in December. By the end of the year, KING-TV was left with poor-performing ABC and DuMont, the latter of which ceased operations in 1956. Subsequently, Bullitt lobbied NBC for a group affiliation for her stations, and in October 1958, KING-TV and KGW-TV in Portland began carrying NBC programming. In Seattle, channel 5 shared NBC and ABC with KOMO-TV for most of the 1958–59 television season. On September 27, 1959, KING-TV became a primary NBC station and KOMO-TV affiliated with ABC full-time.
Dissatisfied with Stimson Bullitt's management style, Dorothy Bullitt, and Mr. Bullitt's sisters, arranged for his voluntary resignation from King Broadcasting in 1972. Stimson sold his company shares to his sisters, Harriet and Patsy. He then received control of the family's real estate interests. Ancil Payne, who had served as general manager of the company's Portland stations since 1965, became president and CEO. By the 1970s and 1980s, KING-TV was the flagship of a growing regional media empire which at various times included ventures in publishing, the film industry, cable television systems (under the name of King Videocable, the assets of which have by now been absorbed into Comcast) and even various timber assets in the Far East.
Locally produced programs that debuted on the station during the 1970s and 1980s included Seattle Today, a mid-morning talk show hosted by Cliff Lenz and Shirley Hudson and later by Susan Michaels and Colby Chester; Seattle Tonight, Tonite!, hosted by Ross McGowan and later Dick Klinger; Almost Live!, a Saturday night talk and sketch-comedy program originally starring Ross Shafer; and a local Evening Magazine franchise, first hosted by Penny LeGate and Brian Tracey. Of these, only Evening Magazine exists today. How Come?, a half-hour early Sunday evening family television program hosted by Al Wallace, won several awards during its run during the 1970s and early 1980s. The show covered topics on how things were made or done in the world. Dick Klinger hosted the show after Al Wallace died.
King Broadcasting's stations included KGW radio and television in Portland, KREM-TV in Spokane, KTVB-TV in Boise, KHNL-TV and KFVE-TV in Honolulu and KYA/KOIT radio in San Francisco. Long-time station-owner Dorothy Bullitt died in June 1989. Dorothy Bullitt's daughters Harriet Bullitt and Priscilla "Patsy" Bullitt Collins decided to sell the King assets in 1992 – eventually selling King Broadcasting (including KING, KREM, KGW, KTVB, KHNL/KFVE and the cable provider assets) to The Providence Journal Company. KING-TV and other King Broadcasting stations later became Belo properties as a result of that company's merger with The Providence Journal Company in 1997. As a result, Belo was forced to divest KIRO-TV to Cox Enterprises in order to keep the higher rated KING-TV.
Bonneville International Corporation purchased KING-AM in 1994. The 1990s saw the end of Almost Live!. During this decade, the show launched the career of Bill Nye the Science Guy, Joel McHale (of The Soup fame) and locally, Pat Cashman and John Keister (who replaced Ross Shafer as host). KING-TV was also the home for Watch This!, a fast-paced Emmy Award-winning show aimed at children and teenagers; the show lasted five years and was hosted by local anchors, Jim Dever and Mimi Gan. On December 18, 1995, King Broadcasting launched Northwest Cable News, a 24-hour regional cable news channel available primarily to cable providers in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho with lesser cable coverage in Alaska, Montana and California.
Gannett/Tegna, move to SoDo
On June 13, 2013, the Gannett Company announced that it would acquire Belo. The sale was completed on December 23. On June 29, 2015, Gannett's newspaper business was spun out, with KING and the remaining Gannett properties renamed Tegna, Inc.
In April 2014, KING announced plans to sell its current South Lake Union headquarters and re-locate, taking advantage of a booming real estate market in the South Union Lake area. In September 2014, it was reported that the station was planning to lease multiple floors at the Home Plate Center—a complex across the street from Safeco Field in the SoDo area of Seattle. In March 2015, Gannett confirmed that KING, KONG, and NWCN would move to the lower three floors of the Home Plate Center, and announced plans for KING to utilize the lower floor for the market's first street-side studio. The former facilities were sold to Kilroy Realty for nearly $50 million, and are to be demolished and replaced by mixed-use developments.
The choice of a smaller location was in response to concerns that the large size of its previous facility inhibited collaboration. The ground floor contains two studios: a street-side studio for KING's news programming, and the other for local productions such as New Day Northwest. The newsroom is located on the second floor, and contains NWCN's main set. The new facility was equipped with new Grass Valley master control, graphics, and playout hardware, and Sony automation equipment. After broadcasting its final newscast from the North Dexter Avenue studio on February 12, 2016, KING transitioned its master control to the new facility during that night's broadcast of Late Night with Seth Meyers—a transition which technical director Dick Trumbo described as one that "just worked" and was barely noticeable to viewers. The station began broadcasting newscasts from the Home Plate Center facility on the morning of February 13, 2016.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|5.1||1080i||16:9||KING-HD||Main KING-TV programming / NBC|
On December 6, 2011, Belo signed an agreement with the Live Well Network to affiliate with digital subchannels of KING-TV and Spokane sister station KSKN; Live Well Network replaced Universal Sports on digital subchannel 5.2 on January 1, 2012, as Universal Sports transitioned into a cable and satellite channel during the first quarter of 2012. Justice Network replaced Live Well Network on 5.2 in January 2015.
KING-TV discontinued its regular program over analog, on June 12, 2009, as part of the federally mandated transition from analog to digital television. As the "analog nightlight" station for the Seattle-Tacoma market, it aired a loop reminding viewers to get a digital converter box on analog channel 5 until June 26, 2009. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 48, using PSIP to display KING-TV's virtual channel as 5 on digital television receivers.
As of September 2014, KING broadcasts only two syndicated programs during its weekday schedule, Dr. Phil and The Ellen DeGeneres Show. This, as part of the station's reliance on NBC's daytime programming and the station's newscast and local programming, makes KING one of several stations in the U.S. to share a similar strategy; other stations relying on this strategy include WTMJ in Milwaukee, WFRV in Green Bay, KSNV and KTNV in Las Vegas, and KPNX in Phoenix (the latter is also owned by Tegna). Despite this, KING was airing 3 and a half hours of syndicated programming prior to September 2013, consisting of the two aforementioned programs at the beginning, as well as Katie and Inside Edition. However, Katie was cancelled by the end of the 2013-2014 TV season and Inside Edition moved to KONG, as newscasts were used to replace the void.
KING opted not to carry NBC's telecasts of the 2006, 2007 and 2008 Stanley Cup Finals, and 2013, when the games began at 5 p.m. Pacific time, choosing to instead air its regular lineup of local newscasts and syndicated shows. KONG picked up the NBC telecasts of the games, and CBC Television's broadcasts of the games were available to most cable providers in the region through the network's Vancouver owned-and-operated station CBUT. For the 2007 and 2008 Stanley Cup Finals, however, KING aired NBC's Saturday night telecasts of the Stanley Cup Final, while KONG aired the other NBC Stanley Cup Final telecasts. As for the 2009 Stanley Cup Finals, KING aired games 1, 2 and 5 while KONG aired games 6 and 7.
KING was the official broadcast home of Seattle Seahawks preseason games, with the exception of those shown on national television, from 1981 to 2000 and again from 2005 to 2011 (sister station KONG carried Seahawks preseason games in 2003 and 2004). The station also airs Seahawks through NBC's broadcast contract with the NFL. Both KING and KONG served as official television broadcasters of the city's Major League Soccer club Seattle Sounders FC from 2009-2013, in which KONG aired a weekly magazine program on Sunday nights during the season called Sounders FC Weekly, and was rebroadcast Mondays on sister cable channel Northwest Cable News.
In 1999, to compete against KOMO, KING began broadcasting its newscasts in high definition; at the time it only had one studio camera that was HD-capable. In April 2007, KING upgraded all of its studio cameras, graphics and weather system to high definition, and began broadcasting its public affairs programming in the format as well. Field reports continue to be broadcast in standard definition (480i converted to 1080i HD for telecast) but are taped in a 16:9 aspect ratio, giving the appearance of high-definition. According to KING, it is "Seattle's First HD Newscast".
Following its sale to the company, KING adopted Gannett's standardized news presentation on June 18, 2014, which included new on-air graphics and the "This Is Home" music used by its new sister stations. The station's new graphics incorporate a cleaner visual appearance, and color-coding for stories using the same colors used by Gannett's national newspaper USA Today.
Notable current on-air staff
Notable former on-air staff
- Dennis Bounds- weekday morning anchor (1991-1994) and weeknight evening anchor (1994-2016). Currently retired.
- Aaron Brown - evening co-anchor (was at KIRO-TV, ABC News, and CNN; now anchoring at PBS and teaching at Walter Cronkite School of Journalism)
- Jim Compton - Host of The Compton Report (1985–1999)
- Lou Dobbs - Anchor (was at CNN; now at FOX Business)
- Jean Enersen - Seattle's first female news anchor (1972-2016). Currently retired.
- Joe Fryer - general assignment/special projects reporter (2010 - 2013) (Now with NBC News as a Los Angeles-based correspondent)
- Jack Hamann - reporter
- David Kerley (was at KIRO-TV; currently at ABC News)
- Mark Mullen - morning/noon co-anchor (formerly with WNBC-TV and ABC News; currently at KNSD in San Diego)
- Shannon O'Donnell - weather anchor (1996–2000 and 2007–2009; now weekend weather anchor at KOMO-TV)
- Greg Palmer - reporter
- Don Poier (later radio voice of Vancouver/Memphis Grizzlies)