KJZZ-TV virtual channel 14 (UHF digital channel 46) is an independent television station located in Salt Lake City, Utah, United States. The station is part of a triopoly of stations owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group in the market, along with CBS affiliate KUTV (channel 2) and St. George-licensed MyNetworkTV affiliate KMYU (channel 12/2.2). Its transmitter is located on Farnsworth Peak in the Oquirrh Mountains, southwest of Salt Lake City. The station has an extensive that extend its over-the-air coverage throughout Utah, southwestern Wyoming, southeastern Idaho, southern and eastern Nevada, southwestern Colorado and northern Arizona.
An original construction permit was granted on December 6, 1984 for a full-power television station on UHF channel 14 to serve Salt Lake City and the surrounding area. The station was originally intended as an over-the-air subscription television service per its original permits, filed in 1979, but by the time the construction permit was granted, over-the-air subscription television had largely become obsolete and the subscription television application had already been dismissed. For nearly two years, the station did not even have call letters, but used its application ID, 790822KE as its callsign. In November 1986, the station took the call letters KGBS, then changed to KXIV (for the Roman numeral form of 14) in February 1988.
After four replacement construction permits, KXIV was finally licensed on March 24, 1989 and began operations on April 14. Initially, the station offered a general entertainment format with cartoons, classic sitcoms, drama series, classic movies and religious shows. The station was originally owned by American Stores.
In February 1993, Larry H. Miller, owner of the Utah Jazz NBA franchise, purchased the station; the station later changed its call letters to KJZZ-TV to reflect both his ownership of the Utah Jazz and the station's status as the broadcast television outlet for Jazz games. The format remained the same initially but by the mid to late 1990s, talk and reality shows were mixed into the schedule.
UPN affiliation, then independence, and MyNetworkTV affiliation
On January 16, 1995, KJZZ became a charter affiliate of the United Paramount Network. However, in October 2000, KJZZ made national headlines when it warned it would assert its contractual right to back out of its affiliation contract with UPN if the network increased its "urban/ethnic programming" to more than two hours per week. From KJZZ's perspective, its designated market area has about the lowest percentage of African Americans for any media market in the United States. UPN officials were outraged at this demand and considering the network's national programming strategy, the two parties parted ways when UPN transferred the Salt Lake City affiliation to KAZG (channel 24, now KPNZ), a smaller station based in Ogden in January 2001, leaving KJZZ as an independent once again.
In the fall of 2005, KJZZ entered into a local marketing agreement with CBS owned-and-operated station KUTV (channel 2). As a result, second runs of shows like Dr. Phil, Wheel Of Fortune and Jeopardy! were added to the schedule (the latter two shows had aired on KTVX, channel 4 for about two decades prior to moving to KJZZ) as well as newscasts from KUTV.
On February 22, 2006, News Corporation announced the launch of a new network called MyNetworkTV, which would be operated by Fox Television Stations and its syndication division Twentieth Television. MyNetworkTV was created to compete against another upstart network that would launch at the same time that September, The CW (an amalgamated network that originally consisted primarily of UPN and The WB's higher-rated programs) as well as to give UPN and WB stations that were not mentioned as becoming CW affiliates another option besides converting to independent stations. The station affiliated with MyNetworkTV when it launched on September 5, 2006. However, KJZZ ran the network's programming on tape delay at 11 p.m. initially (instead of the recommended 7 p.m. timeslot for the Mountain Time Zone), before later moving it to midnight. Possible reasons included the Jazz telecasts and the LMA with KUTV, though more likely the network's unsuccessful telenovela strategy did even worse in a market like Salt Lake City, which caused the move to a late-night slot to mute possible damage to the station's ratings, along with the racy content of the telenovelas which clashed with the views of KJZZ's management (a more diverse original programming strategy was abandoned after most of the network's stations signed charter affiliation agreements). KJZZ was also one of the few stations which never branded with any of MyNetworkTV's imaging.
Returning to independence again
KJZZ dropped MyNetworkTV and became an independent station again on August 18, 2008. The MyNetworkTV affiliation then moved to St. George-based KCSG (also on channel 14), which covers the Salt Lake City area via coverage on local cable television providers (the programming service has since moved to KMYU, channel 12, which serves the Wasatch Front via KUTV's digital subchannel). In January 2009, DirecTV dropped KJZZ from its lineup of stations available to local viewers when the station's owner and the satellite provider could not come to an agreement on retransmission terms. KJZZ was returned to the DirecTV lineup on February 11, 2009.
Larry H. Miller died on February 20, 2009. His son, Greg Miller, took over as CEO of the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies several months earlier. FCC records show a transfer of 48% ownership of the station to a trust to which Larry Miller's widow, Gail, is trustee, in April 2009. Gail Miller directly owns 48% of the station, with Larry Miller's sons holding the remainder. After the LMA between KJZZ and KUTV concluded in 2010, KSL-TV owner Bonneville International began managing KJZZ under a new LMA.
On April 4, 2016, Larry H. Miller Communications Corporation agreed to sell KJZZ-TV and 8 translators to Sinclair Broadcast Group for $6.5 million. The sale was completed on June 17, 2016; concurrently, the station's relationship with Bonneville and KSL-TV ended, as KJZZ had become a sister station to KUTV.
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|14.1||1080i||16:9||KJZZ-HD||Main KJZZ-TV programming|
KJZZ-TV shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 14, on June 12, 2009, as part of the federally mandated transition from analog to digital television. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 46, using PSIP to display KJZZ-TV's virtual channel as 14 on digital television receivers.
On August 8, 2016, KJZZ-TV switched from 720p to 1080i, as KUTV and KMYU also broadcast in that same format.
Syndicated programming seen on KJZZ-TV includes Matlock, Friends, The Office, Judge Mathis, The People's Court, Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy!, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and The Insider. It is one of the few television stations in the United States that broadcasts films of the LDS cinema genre, as Miller was a devout member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and financed a number of LDS-themed films.
From 1993 to 2009, KJZZ was the over-the-air broadcaster of Utah Jazz regular season NBA games. The Utah Jazz signed a new exclusive 12-year agreement with regional sports network FSN Utah (now Root Sports Utah) on October 20, 2009, ending the team's broadcasts on KJZZ-TV, and making the team's telecasts cable-exclusive.
KJZZ-TV began a partnership with the Utah Utes Athletics department in 1995, broadcasting Utes men's and women's basketball games, also football games and gymnastics (televised men's and basketball games from 1995 to 2007). For the 2011 season, KJZZ aired select Utah Utes football games not televised by ESPN, Versus (now known as the NBC Sports Network), or Fox Sports.
KJZZ aired a tribute to Larry H. Miller on February 21, 2009. This tribute won an Emmy in the Rocky Mountain Southwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
In September 2005, KUTV began producing weekday morning 9 a.m. and nightly 9 p.m. newscasts for KJZZ-TV. The newscasts were canceled after nearly five years on May 31, 2010. No official explanation was given for the discontinuance, although it is likely that it was due to the end of the LMA between KUTV and KJZZ.
KJZZ-TV extends its coverage throughout the entire state of Utah, plus parts of Arizona, Idaho, Nevada and Wyoming, using a network of more than 80 community-owned translator television stations listed below.