KRQE, digital channel 13, is the CBS-affiliated television station serving the Albuquerque, New Mexico television market; the station is owned by Media General and is sister station to Fox affiliate KASA-TV (channel 2), and both stations share a studio on Broadcast Plaza in Albuquerque (across the street from KOB). Its transmitter is located on Sandia Crest, east of Albuquerque.

History

Channel 13 began operation in October 1953 as KGGM-TV, owned by the Hebenstreit family's New Mexico Broadcasting Company along with KGGM radio (610 AM, now KNML). In the late 1960s, the Hebenstreits sold a minority share to Chicago's Harriscope Broadcasting, which at one point owned WSNS-TV in Chicago (among other stations). Many early Westerns were filmed, at least partially, at KGGM. The large studio that it used is now KRQE's "Newsplex," a combination newsroom and news studio. KGGM talent Earnest "Stretch" Scherer, known as Captain Billy, hosted a children's show called Captain Billy's Clubhouse. The format was a kids peanut gallery on bleachers holding about 50 seats with games and banter between cartoons, à la Bozo's Circus. Captain Billy was a sea captain with a Dutch boy white haircut sticking out from under a sea Captain's hat and big brush moustache. Scherer was shot in the station's lobby after a misunderstanding involving a jealous husband. He died later at a hospital. Among many alumni at KGGM/KRQE is Ray Rayner, formerly a children's television personality at WGN-TV in Chicago. He spent the last several years at KRQE before going into retirement.

The Hebenstreits sold KGGM-TV to Lee Enterprises in 1991 (KGGM radio had been sold off in 1973); on September 7, 1992, the station changed its call letters to the current KRQE. However, the name "New Mexico Broadcasting Company" continued on the station's license well into the 21st century.

In January 1995, KRQE became a secondary affiliate of both UPN and WB, running their programming on weekend overnights. Both networks moved to KASY-TV (channel 50) when it signed on that October, with KRQE running KASY under a local marketing agreement (LMA) with Ramar Communications. Ramar sold KASY to Acme Communications, owner of KWBQ, in 1999, and the LMA with KRQE was dissolved.

Lee would eventually exit broadcasting and sold KRQE, along with most of the rest of its group, to Emmis Communications in 2000. In 2005, Emmis, in its own exit from television, sold the station to LIN Television in a group deal that included its sister stations in Green Bay, Mobile-Pensacola, and Terre Haute. In 2006, LIN announced its purchase of Raycom Media-owned Fox affiliate KASA-TV, which KRQE took control of on September 15. LIN's acquisition of KASA was finalized on February 22, 2007. The acquisition earned LIN TV criticism from area newspapers for the resulting layoffs, as well as what the Albuquerque Objectivist newspaper in October 2006 referred to as the creation of a local "news empire" in KRQE.

KBIM-TV (channel 10) in Roswell, New Mexico signed on in February 1966 as the CBS affiliate for Southeastern New Mexico, replacing former CBS affiliate KAVE-TV in Carlsbad, New Mexico, which became an ABC affiliate (eventually becoming KOCT, a satellite of rival KOAT-TV). KBIM became a KGGM/KRQE satellite in 1990. KREZ-TV, channel 6 in Durango, Colorado began operations September 15, 1963 as KJFL-TV, a free-standing local independent station owned by Jeter Telecasting;[2] it went off the air March 2, 1964, and returned on September 9, 1965 as KREZ-TV, a satellite of CBS affiliate KREX-TV (channel 5) in Grand Junction, Colorado,[3] operating as such for nearly 30 years (with many attempts at regional news along the way) before becoming a KRQE satellite in 1995. A deal to sell KREZ to Native American Broadcasting, LLC was reached in April 2011;[4] upon the sale's completion, KREZ was to become a full-scale independent station (with plans for extensive local programming), and change its call letters to KSWZ-TV.[5] However, as of August 2012, the sale has not been completed, and KREZ remains a KRQE satellite.

Following the acquisitions of KBIM and KREZ, in the late 1990s, KRQE branded as "CBS Southwest" in hopes of positioning itself as a regional network. However, this went nowhere, largely because the other stations in the market have long branded themselves by their call letters (even after acquiring or starting their own satellite stations), and in 2000 the station changed its branding to "KRQE News 13."

On May 18, 2007, LIN TV announced that it was exploring strategic alternatives that could have resulted in the sale of the company.[6]

On August 7, 2009, KRQE began offering Mobile TV using BlackBerry.[7]

On March 21, 2014, it was announced that Media General would acquire LIN.[8] The merger was completed on December 19.[9] Just over a year later, on January 27, 2016, it was announced that the Nexstar Broadcasting Group would buy Media General for $4.6 billion. KRQE and KASA will become part of "Nexstar Media Group."[10]

Digital television

Digital channel

The station's digital signal is multiplexed:

ChannelVideoAspectPSIP Short NameProgramming[11]
13.11080i16:9KRQE-HDMain KRQE programming / CBS
13.2480i4:3GetTVGetTV

On February 2, 2016, KRQE added GetTV, a channel that features classic movies from the 1930s to 1960s from Sony Entertainment, as a subchannel. GetTV was previously shown locally on KUPT-LD Ch. 16.2 since Fall 2014.

Analog-to-digital conversion

KRQE shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 13, 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 UHF channel 16 to VHF channel 13.[12]

Satellite stations

These stations rebroadcast KRQE's signal and add local content for other parts of the broadcast market:

StationCity of licenseChannels
(Digital)
First air dateERP
(Digital)
HAAT
(Digital)
Facility IDTransmitter Coordinates
KBIM-TVRoswell, New Mexico10 (VHF)February 23, 196624.32 kW610 m48556
KREZ-TV2Durango, Colorado/Farmington, New Mexico15 (UHF) 6 (PSIP)September 15, 196346 kW90.4 m48589

Note:

  • KREZ was independent station KJFL-TV from 1963[2] until going dark on March 2, 1964; it returned to the air September 9, 1965 as KREZ-TV,[3] a satellite station of KREX-TV in Grand Junction, Colorado, and remained as such until February 28, 1995. LIN was in the process of selling KREZ to Native American Broadcasting, LLC.[4] The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved the sale in late May 2011 but Native American Broadcasting has not yet closed on the purchase as of August 2012. Nexstar's buyout of Media General will reunite KREZ with KREX.

In addition, there are several low-powered repeaters that carry KRQE's programming throughout New Mexico.

Programming

KRQE is one of few CBS affiliates not to air daytime network programming in pattern. Let's Make A Deal airs at 10 a.m., The Price Is Right airs at 11 a.m. (most CBS affiliates generally air at 10 a.m.), The Young and the Restless airs at 1 p.m. (most CBS affiliates air it at 11 a.m. as the first soap opera of the CBS Daytime lineup) and CBS Evening News airs at 5 p.m. (other CBS affiliates in the Central and Mountain time zones typically air it at 5:30 p.m.).

News operation

Ordinarily, KRQE produces eight hours of local news on weekdays and four hours each weekend day. The station and its newscasts identify themselves as "KRQE News 13".

According to Nielsen Media Research, the station was long a distant third in the market in terms of local viewership from the 1970s through the 2000s. This was largely because its competitors, KOB-TV and KOAT-TV, were two of their networks' strongest affiliates. In contrast, most CBS affiliates serving large stretches of territory either dominate their markets or are solid runners-up. The station has experienced a resurgence in recent years, however, and now wages a spirited battle for the top spot in the market with KOB and KOAT. Since September 15, 2006, KRQE also produces an hour-long, 9 p.m. newscast for co-owned Fox affiliate KASA-TV.

KBIM-TV offered local newscasts at 5:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Monday thru Fridays. However, due to budget cuts the newscast was eliminated in December 2008, KBIM was southeast New Mexico's only source of local news with local news offices in Roswell, Carlsbad and Hobbs for many years. KREZ-TV's local newscasts from Durango were eliminated several years earlier by KRQE, also due to budget cuts by the parent company, a move that also eliminated a primary local news source for the Four Corners Region.

On August 8, 2010, KRQE became the first and only station in New Mexico to broadcast their newscasts in true high definition (KRQE newscasts on KASA-TV are also in high definition). A new set and new graphics debuted on the first HD broadcast, and KRQE also switched to "The CBS Enforcer Music Collection" theme music package for the HD debut.