KLTV, virtual and VHF digital channel 7, is an ABC-affiliated television station located in Tyler, Texas, United States. The station is owned by Raycom Media. KLTV maintains studio facilities located on West Ferguson Street in Downtown Tyler (located between the Smith County and the United States courthouses), and its transmitter is located in rural northern Smith County (near the Wood County line). On cable, the station is available on Suddenlink Communications channel 7 and in high definition on digital channel 720.
KTRE (virtual and VHF channel 9) in Lufkin operates as a semi-satellite of KLTV; it clears all of KLTV's syndicated programming, but produces separate weeknight 6:00 and 10:00 p.m. newscasts, airs its own station identifications and maintains its own advertising sales department for commercials seen on KTRE.
The station first signed on the air on October 14, 1954; it was founded by the locally based company Buford Television, which was owned by Lucille Buford. KLTV has been an ABC affiliate since its debut, however it initially carried the network as a shared primary affiliation with CBS and NBC; the station also aired programming from the DuMont Television Network on a secondary basis until 1955. The station originally operated from studio facilities on Texas Loop 323 on the east side of Tyler. In 1964, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) collapsed Lufkin and Nacogdoches into the Tyler market. Soon afterward, the Buford family bought KTRE and converted it into a semi-satellite of KLTV.
KLTV lost the CBS affiliation in September 1984, when Longview-based KLMG-TV (channel 51, now Fox affiliate KFXK-TV) signed on. It retained a secondary affiliation with NBC until KETK-TV (channel 56) signed on in March 1987, resulting in channel 7 becoming an exclusive ABC affiliate. Buford Television owned KLTV and KTRE until 1989, when it sold the stations to Jackson, Mississippi-based Civic Communications. In 1996, KLTV relocated its operations from its longtime studios on Texas Loop 323 in eastern Tyler to a new facility downtown, located in a former savings loan branch and office complex near the Smith County courthouse; the former studio facility was demolished in November 2007. Civic merged with The Liberty Corporation in 2002, which in turn merged with current owner Raycom Media in 2006.
At approximately 7:30 a.m. on February 3, 2006 (one day after Raycom officially took ownership of the station), KLTV's 1,078-foot (329 m) broadcast transmitter in Red Springs collapsed taking both its over-the-air analog and digital signals as well as radio station KVNE (89.5 FM) off the air; no one was reported injured as a result. Cox Communications (which sold its East Texas systems to Suddenlink Communications in 2007) continued to carry KLTV's standard and high definition feeds via a fiber optic connection, however DirecTV and Dish Network customers were not able to receive the station. KLTV re-established an analog signal at reduced power from its former studio and transmitter location in eastern Tyler within 13 hours of the collapse. No cause for the collapse has been disclosed to date.
A new Harris transmitter – on a tower slightly less than half the height of the one that collapsed – was installed the following day, allowing resumption of full-power broadcasts from the Tyler site, allowing over-the-air viewers to watch ABC's broadcast of Super Bowl XL over its analog signal; the digital signal was restored several days later. On February 7, KVNE held a one-day fundraiser to raise a goal of $70,000 to put the station back on at full-power, raising more than $80,000 in its 15-hour campaign. KLTV restored its analog over-the-air signal from its original tower while also being restored on DirecTV, Dish Network and other area cable providers. Its analog transmitter equipment was not damaged and was supplemented at the original tower site with a newer transmitter. However, its over-the-air high definition and digital television transmission equipment was a total loss. In March and April 2007, KLTV ran a "Flip the Switch" promotion to promote the completion of the new Red Springs tower. Viewers were urged to submit 30-second videos to show why they should be selected to turn on the tower, with the winner being selected by popular vote on the station's website. On April 17, 2007 at approximately 6:58 p.m., contest winner Jeff Heimer officially flipped the switch to turn on the new transmitter and tower.
In January 2011, KLTV started "KLTV in Your Community," a section of its website serving as a branch for citizen journalism, or community blogging; the blog sites are separated into fifteen East Texas communities with Tyler divided into four quadrants by city section.
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|7.1||720p||16:9||KLTV DT||Main KLTV programming / ABC|
|7.3||16:9||La Vida||"Telemundo La Vida"|
On digital subchannel 7.2, the station carries Bounce TV; the subchannel is also carried on Suddenlink Communications digital channel 247. The subchannel launched on December 14, 2005 as the "StormTracker 24/7 Weather Channel," a local weather service consisting of temperatures, weather conditions and a live feed of the station's Doppler radar (branded as the "StormTracker 7 Live Doppler Network") on a rotating schedule; the subchannel affiliated with This TV in December 2009, it later switched to Bounce TV on January 1, 2012. On digital subchannel 7.3, the station carries Telemundo; the subchannel is also carried on Suddenlink channel 22.
The station installed its digital transmitter tower on September 23, 2005; on December 14, KLTV became the second television station in East Texas to launch a digital signal, broadcasting on VHF channel 10. KLTV shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 7, 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. The station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition VHF channel 10 to channel 7 for post-transition operations.
KLTV carries the majority of the ABC network schedule; however, it pre-empts the first hour of the network-syndicated Litton's Weekend Adventure block on Saturday mornings in favor of running E/I-compliant children's programs from the syndication market. Syndicated programs broadcast by KLTV include Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy!, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Criminal Minds, and Right This Minute among others.
KLTV presently broadcasts 29 hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 2½ hours on weekdays, one hour on Saturdays and a half-hour on Sundays); unlike most ABC affiliates, the station does not broadcast an early evening newscast on Sundays nor does it air a weekend morning newscast. Lufkin semi-satellite KTRE simulcasts KLTV's weekday morning, midday, 5:00 p.m. and weekend evening newscasts. Channel 7 has been the dominant station in the market for most of its history and its newscasts routinely garner several times the number of viewers of its nearest competitor. KLTV and its staff have received several awards including seven Lone Star Emmy awards.
The station's longtime slogan is "Proud of East Texas", which has been used since 1985. In a June 2006 article, the Longview News-Journal reported KLTV continued its dominance in the area with an estimated 70,000 households tuning into its weeknight 10:00 p.m. broadcast. KETK-TV was second with about 12,000 viewers and KYTX was watched by an estimated 9,000 viewers. The station was nominated in 2008 for eleven Lone Star Emmy Awards including: best morning and evening newscasts, weather, along with several news/sports specials and reporting. On June 21, 2010, KLTV-TV became the third television station in the Tyler-Longview market to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition. On September 10, 2012, KLTV debuted an hour-long weekday afternoon newscast at 4:00 p.m.