KMPH-TV, virtual channel 26 (UHF digital channel 28), is a Fox-affiliated television station serving Fresno, California, United States that is licensed to Visalia. The station is owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group, as part of a duopoly with CW affiliate KFRE-TV (channel 59). The two stations share studio facilities located on East McKinley Avenue in eastern Fresno (one mile southwest of Fresno Yosemite International Airport); KMPH maintains transmitter facilities located on Big Baldy Mountain in northwestern Tulare County.
KMPH-TV's focus is on the San Joaquin Valley and Central California. KMPH-TV's signal is receivable as far way as the Bakersfield area; however, local Fox affiliate and sister station KBFX-CD (itself once a KMPH repeater) exclusively carried on cable providers in the Bakersfield market. KMPH's airwaves extend northward to Mariposa and Merced, and the southern Sierra Nevada, and sometimes can be received in Monterey County for those who live just north of King City. KMPH has been received over-air sometimes in eastern Kern County (Ridgecrest) and San Luis Obispo.
The station first signed on the air on October 11, 1971; originally operating as an independent station, it was the first television station founded by the Pappas brothers, Mike, Pete and Harry, and served as the flagship station of their company Pappas Telecasting Companies. The station's original studios were located on Mooney Boulevard in Visalia. The funding for KMPH came from general manager Harry Pappas' plan of having hundreds of investors each investing a small amount of money that was needed to construct the station, rather than having one investor providing all the capital; as a result, the Pappas brothers had a combined ownership stake of only 30.5%, with the other 69.5% controlled by other investors.
Throughout the early to mid-1980s, KMPH was one of the top independent stations in the country. The station could be received up to 100 miles (160 km) from Visalia. KMPH formerly operated a translator in Merced, California on channel 17, KMPH-CA.
Pappas signed an affiliation deal with Fox for KMPH to become a charter affiliate of the network in 1986 (the other Pappas-owned stations, WHNS in Greenville, South Carolina and KPTM in Omaha, Nebraska; joined Fox two years later). KMPH became a Fox affiliate when the network launched on October 5 of that year. KMPH remains a Fox affiliate to this day; both it and NBC affiliate KSEE (channel 24) were the only two stations in Fresno that were unaffected by the 1985 network swap involving ABC and CBS between KFSN-TV (channel 30) and KJEO (channel 47, now KGPE) and the later launches of The CW and MyNetworkTV in September 2006. The station relocated its operations from its original studio in Visalia to its current facility on McKinley Avenue in Fresno in the early 1990s.
On May 10, 2008, thirteen Pappas stations, including KFRE, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. As a result of the bankruptcy, Pappas Telecasting Companies was given until February 15, 2009 to sell these stations to other owners. On January 16, 2009, Pappas announced that most of the stations, including KFRE, would be purchased by New World TV Group (no relation to the similarly named New World Communications, which switched most of its stations to Fox between September 1994 and July 1995), after the sale received United States bankruptcy court approval. On April 2, 2009, Pappas laid off 22 employees involved with the KMPH/KFRE duopoly. New World TV Group formed a new holding company known as the Titan TV Broadcast Group (unrelated to the similarly named smaller-market radio station owner Titan Broadcasting), which completed its purchase of most of the Pappas stations involved in the bankruptcy on October 15, 2009. Titan announced the sale of KFRE-TV, KMPH-TV and most of the company's other stations to the Sinclair Broadcast Group on June 3, 2013. The FCC approved the sale on September 19, and the sale was officially finalized on October 3, 2013. With the completion of the sale, KMPH was reunited with Bakersfield Fox affiliate, KBFX-CD, which formerly operated as a repeater of KMPH, before it was sold to Fisher Communications in 2005.
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|26.1||720p||16:9||Fox||Main KMPH-TV programming / Fox|
|26.2||480i||4:3||This TV||This TV|
KMPH-TV shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 26, on June 12, 2009, the official date in which full-power television in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 28. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 26.
Syndicated programs broadcast by KMPH-TV include The Wendy Williams Show, The People's Court, Steve Harvey, The Simpsons, and Family Feud. It is one of the fewest stations to carry both of Steve Harvey's shows.
In 2003, KMPH stopped carrying Fox's children's program block 4Kids TV; the block, which normally aired on Saturdays, was moved to sister station KFRE-TV and aired on that station on a tape delay on Sunday mornings (this resulted in KFRE carrying children's blocks from two major networks, as it already carried The WB's Kids' WB block). KMPH was one of the few Fox charter affiliates to have dropped the network's children's programming; beginning in the mid-1990s, Fox gave its affiliates (after several stations that switched to the network between 1994 and 1995 that were owned by New World Communications opted not to carry the lineup) the option to pre-empt Fox Kids programming and arrange for another local station to carry the block, a practice continued until the end of the 4Kids TV's run. KFRE continued to carry 4Kids TV until the block was discontinued by Fox in December 28, 2008 due to a dispute with the block's lessee 4Kids Entertainment; KMPH has also declined to carry Fox's Saturday morning infomercial block Weekend Marketplace, which instead airs on KFRE in 4Kids TV's former Sunday morning timeslot on the station.
KMPH-TV presently broadcasts 34½ hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 6½ hours on weekdays and one hour each on Saturdays and Sundays); in addition, the station produces the lifestyle program Around the Valley, which airs weekdays at 11:00 a.m. prior to its midday newscast.
In 1978, KMPH launched its first news department and began producing a nightly primetime newscast; the program was discontinued in 1980. The station would not resume news programming for seven years until 1987, when channel 26 debuted a 10:00 p.m. newscast, which has gone on to become the longest-running primetime newscast in the Fresno market. On October 6, 2003, the station debuted a three-hour weekday morning newscast, titled Great Day; that same date, the station also launched a half-hour midday newscast at 11:30 a.m. In the spring of 2007, Great Day was expanded to five hours, running from 5-10 a.m.
In January 2006, KMPH began to produce a half-hour 11:00 p.m. newscast for sister station KFRE-TV; the newscast was unable to compete against the established late evening newscasts on KFSN-TV, KSEE and KGPE and was canceled the following year in February 2007, due to low ratings. On September 30, 2009, KMPH-TV became the second television station in the Fresno market (after KFSN, which made the upgrade in April 2007) to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition. It was the first television station in the market to provide news video from the field in true high definition, as KMPH upgraded its ENG vehicles, satellite truck, studio and field cameras and other equipment in order to broadcast news footage from the field in high definition, in addition to segments broadcast from the main studio.
In July 2014, Politifact reported that KMPH, in a news story, claimed that the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act had increased the average emergency room wait time in California to five hours. Its reporting was deemed inaccurate, as it was based on statistics released by the California HealthCare Foundation in 2012, and not from after the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
Notable current on-air staff
- Kopi Sotiropulos – anchor