KSBW is a television station in the United States and is the primary NBC affiliate for the Monterey-Salinas-Santa Cruz, California market. Licensed to the city of Salinas, the station is owned by Hearst Television. KSBW has its studios on John Street (along Highway 68) in downtown Salinas, which is mentioned occasionally during commercial breaks and newscasts. Its news programs are entitled Action News 8. Its transmitter is located on Fremont Peak in the Gabilan Mountains above San Juan Bautista, California, over 3,100 feet above sea level. The call letters KSBW stand for "Salad Bowl of the World," which is the nickname of the city of Salinas.
KSBW began broadcasting on September 11, 1953. It shared the channel 8 frequency with KMBY-TV of Monterey until the two stations merged in 1955 under KSBW's license and call letters. Originally, it was affiliated with all four major networks — NBC, ABC, CBS and DuMont (DuMont folded in 1955). ABC disappeared from KSBW's programming schedule when San Jose's then-independent KNTV decided to concentrate on the Monterey-Salinas market in 1960. For the next nine years, KSBW was forced to shoehorn NBC and CBS onto its schedule. This was unusual for a two-station market (especially one of Monterey's size); in most such markets, ABC was relegated to secondary status on the CBS and NBC affiliates. When KMST-TV (now KION-TV) signed on as a full-time CBS affiliate in 1969, KSBW became an exclusive NBC affiliate.
Partnership with KSBY
In 1957, KSBW's original owners bought KVEC-TV in San Luis Obispo, California and changed the calls to KSBY. For the next 22 years, KSBY simulcasted KSBW, except for producing its own local newscasts and covering CBS programming (in San Luis Obispo, KCOY provided CBS programming from adjacent Santa Maria, requiring KSBY to drop the feed from Salinas when KSBW was carrying a CBS network program). The simulcasting ended when Blair Broadcasting bought the two stations and KSBY became an NBC affiliate on its own. On November 12, 1986, Blair Broadcasting sold most of its English-language stations to Gillett Communications (which would later acquire most of Storer Broadcasting's stations).
In 1987, KSBW built a 1500 foot tall tower atop Mount Madonna in the Santa Cruz mountains in anticipation of viewers from afar, particularly the South Bay Area at San Jose. However, KSBW was not very successful in reaching this audience, as many San Jose viewers were more interested in San Francisco's TV stations. So, in the year 2000, KSBW abandoned this tall tower in favor of their original broadcasting point, at Fremont Peak. KSBW currently broadcasts atop a 400-foot tower on Fremont Peak. The tall Mount Madonna tower still stands today, and is visible from many locations in the South Bay. This tower is currently leased to Etheric Networks by its current owner, the Mount Madonna Tower Association, and is mainly used for long range wireless internet today.
Gillett Holdings, a subsidiary of Vail Associates at that time, would own just the two stations, along with nearby station KSBY, two ski resorts, and a packing company. Gillett would later file for bankruptcy on August 17, 1992, after the ski area and its media company was due to emerge from bankruptcy. After Gillett restructured into SCI TV, it put KSBW and KSBY on the market. However, a buyer for both stations wasn't found until after SCI sold most of its stations to New World Communications in 1993; the following year, KSBW and KSBY were sold to EP Communications, a company co-owned by Elisabeth Murdoch, daughter of News Corporation chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch.
In 1995, Smith Broadcasting and SJL Communications teamed up to purchase the EP stations, with KSBW going to Smith Broadcasting and KSBY going to SJL because Smith Broadcasting has already owned KEYT. At the time, the FCC did not allow common ownership of two stations in the same market. What was then called Hearst-Argyle Television bought KSBW, along with WPTZ in Plattsburgh, New York and its semi-satellite WNNE in White River Junction, Vermont, from Sunrise Television (at that time a subsidiary of Smith Broadcasting) in 1998, swapping WDTN in Dayton, Ohio and the license for WNAC-TV in Providence, Rhode Island to Sunrise in the process.
Weather Plus and Central Coast ABC
In early 2005, KSBW debuted its localized version of NBC Weather Plus, branded as KSBW Weather Plus. Its only local preemption was their debut of their 10pm newscasts at that time. KSBW first offered Weather Plus on its digital channel (on KSBW-DT2), as well as on Comcast cable. NBC's national Weather Plus operations were shut down on December 1, 2008 after the network's parent company, NBCUniversal, purchased The Weather Channel. However, KSBW remained one of the few to continue the use of the "L" bar Weather Plus. Additionally, although KSBW anchors Dan Green and/or Erin Clark claims that its 10 p.m. newscasts are offered on its website in addition to its second digital subchannel and Comcast, it also ran KSBW Weather Plus on its website. KSBW Prime Plus debuted on August 3, 2010, although it is broadcast Monday through Friday nights. Along with the 10pm newscast, it ran KSBW Weather Plus would still retain its branding during the time that Prime Plus is not on the air. The subchannel used the "moreTV" concept previously used by its sister station in Tampa, WMOR-TV.
Between July 2000 and April 2011, the Monterey area was without an ABC affiliate after KNTV disaffiliated with the network. Viewers who wanted to view ABC programming had to rely mainly on "ABC 7", a localized version of San Francisco's KGO-TV for ABC programming which was exclusively cable and satellite-only. With KSBW keeping its NBC affiliation, the station announced in December 2010 that they will add ABC affiliation as well. KSBW began a test of its subchannel on April 1, 2011. The subchannel officially launched on April 18, 2011, ahead of NBC affiliate WALB, in Albany, Georgia, who launched their ABC affiliation on their second digital subchannel on April 27, as WALB was originally scheduled to launch on January 1, 2011. With the launch of the ABC affiliation, KSBW-DT2 becomes the third station to serve Monterey Bay as an ABC affiliate, and the first ABC affiliate based from within the immediate region.
Syndicated shows and programming
In March 2010, KSBW started broadcasting non-network syndicated programming in HD, although a limited amount of syndicated programming was in HD. That changed on April 6, 2011, when KSBW added more non-network programming in HD, along with selected local promos using elements from NBC. With a dual affiliation, the station airs cross promos to promote newscasts and ABC programming over on its second digital subchannel.
KSBW is also the first station in the market to have its syndicated logo bug on the bottom-right hand corner of the screen since June 2010. With Oprah bidding farewell to viewers after the 2010-11 season, the station announced that Ellen will fill the 4 p.m. slot starting in Fall 2011, with Anderson Cooper to fill in the 10 a.m. slot.
Locally produced programs
Feedback at Five
Theresa Wright once hosted a public affairs show called Feedback at Five, which is a weekend discussion show interviewing with selected interviewee. In most cases, most of the interviews are informational and educational to the viewer. Feedback at Five, like Sunday's 6pm newscasts, are subject to preemption due to special programming. Feedback at 5 was cancelled on July 13, 2014 when Theresa Wright left KSBW.
KSBW also broadcasts "Lifeline TV", which is a local program produced by the Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital and hosted by former KSBW anchor Kate Callaghan. Callaghan previously anchored KSBW's morning newscasts until her departure from the station in 2008. It is a program that addresses health issues and occasional questions being answered. It also follows the team of trained doctors and physicians there and keeps viewers informed of their progress. This program generally airs before weekend editions of NBC Nightly News, however, it can be delayed or preempted due to special programs.
KSBW produces a three-minute editorial session since 1999, called "KSBW Editorial", which is broadcast after Friday's 6pm newscast, weekend newscasts, and Monday morning newscast. It is hosted by KSBW president and general manager, Joseph W. Heston. The format of the editorial is primarily a commentary by Heston and occasional viewer's comments. The commentary may also provide information on upcoming events by the station itself. With the addition of Central Coast ABC, KSBW also simulcasts the editorial on both stations, though as in the case of all newscasts, it can be subjected to preemption or delay on either channel under network obligations.
In February 2009, KSBW was involved in a controversy that after Heston gave an editorial that angered then-Salinas police chief Daniel Ortega. It came after an interview conducted by anchorman Dan Green interviewing Salinas mayor Dennis Donahue that Ortega described as the following, as well as how he described what Heston was doing. Ortega asked all media to come in and he gave a speech that addresses KSBW, saying:
|“||Over recent days, there has been a perception of bias on the part of KSBW channel 8. In an interview with the mayor and Dan Green last week, Green kept pushing for 'gang injunctions.' If Mr. Green had simply watched some of his own newscasts, he would have realized that gang injunctions have been obsolete for almost a decade. We have reported numerous times that while gang injunctions were very effective at the time we used them; the gangs have changed the way they operate and injunctions just would not work now. Subsequently, an editorial by (president) and general manager Joseph W. Heston pointing fingers at me, the police department, and the city with no suggestions for resolving the issue. Nowhere in their reporting or editorializing this past week has KSBW addressed any of the social-economic issues that contribute to a problem that has plagued our city for decades and generations. Their sole interest seems to be a strong bias against our city leaders and police department, which ends up hurting our citizens and businesses.||”|
Ortega went on and asked KSBW to report with "more objectivity." He also asked KSBW to apologize to their sponsors that pay for their existence and their bias reporting. A follow-up editorial by Heston have addressed the issue and admits that Ortega should be treated as a friend.
KSBW broadcasts a live telethon each December which is called "Share Your Holiday". The station partners with the local chapters of the Salvation Army to help the people in need, through donations, live entertainment, and music throughout the telethon. Local newscasts at noon, 5, and 6 p.m. are shortened to accommodate the telethon; the latter two are normally with the weekend anchor team. Both Days of Our Lives and NBC Nightly News still air at its regular time, as KSBW is still obliged to carry NBC programming, while syndicated programming is either delayed or preempted. Hosts of the telethon includes anchors Dan Green and Erin Clark, who broadcasts live from outside the KSBW studios, with additional personnel stationed throughout the viewing area at convenient locations. The 2010 version of the telethon made a change to accommodate the HD broadcast, with the information about the telethon posted on the bottom sixth of the screen during the broadcast.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|8.1||1080i||16:9||KSBW-TV||Main KSBW programming / NBC|
|8.2||720p||CC ABC||KSBW-DT2 / ABC|
KSBW shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 8, 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 8.
KSBW's coverage area includes most of the immediate part of the market, but is also easily received in southern Santa Clara County, including Gilroy and Morgan Hill, San Martin, and parts of San Jose due to the transmitter location, however, Santa Clara County itself is not part of the market, as it is primarily served by KNTV and KGO-TV.
KSBW currently broadcasts more local news than any other station in the market, with 28.5 hours total (4.5 hours of news on weekdays and 3 hours on weekends). On weekdays, a two-hour morning newscast is shown at 5 a.m., followed by a half-hour news blocks at noon and 5 p.m., one hour at 6 p.m., and a 35-minute wrap-up at 11 p.m. On weekends, KSBW broadcasts the market's only two-hour, early-morning weekend newscast at 7 a.m., followed by half-hour blocks at 6 and 11 p.m. With the exception of its noon newscast on weekdays, KSBW-DT2 simulcasts all of its parent station's newscasts, subject to preemption on one channel due to NBC or ABC obligations. (It is noted that KSBW is currently one of two stations in the entire Central Coast to carry both a noon newscast on weekdays and a weekend morning newscast on weekends, since as of September 2014, KEYT has launched a midday newscast at 11 AM weekdays, while fellow NBC affiliate KSBY, as well as rivals KCBA, KION, KCOY, and KKFX, do not currently offer a noon or a weekend morning newscast.)
KSBW also operates a Santa Cruz newsroom to this day. The newsroom was destroyed during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake in which one reporter was working there. The station started to broadcast live coverage of the earthquake from the time it struck until just after midnight, then from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. the following day. In both cases, it included a live broadcast from Santa Cruz.
Between 2005 and January 31, 2011, KSBW had started local newscasts on KSBW-DT2, beginning with their debut of KSBW's 10 p.m. newscast on its second digital subchannel, as well as its 6 p.m. Sunday evening newscasts when NBC Sunday Night Football is carried on KSBW. However, those newscasts were broadcast with limited functionality. With a dual NBC/ABC affiliation, all newscasts, especially on weekends, are subject to preemption under network obligations.
KSBW's notably stable weekday-evening anchor team are Dan Green and Erin Clark, who have worked together since 1998 and anchors the 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts. Jim Vanderzwaan, known more commonly as "Lead Forecaster" rather than being called "Chief Meteorologist", have been with the station since 1983. On February 1, 2015, Jim Vanderzwaan announced that he will be retiring from KSBW after 32 years at the station and that current morning weather anchor Lee Solomon would take over as Chief Meteorologist starting in June, 2015. The other anchor teams and reporting staff have less longevity, but field reporters Felix Cortez and Phil Gomez are station veterans, having been with the station since the late 1990s. The most recent addition to the weekday-evening team is Dina Ruiz-Eastwood, who first came to KSBW in 1991. Eastwood, the wife of actor Clint Eastwood, retired in 1997, but returned to the station on February 8, 2011 and occasionally anchors the 5 p.m. newscasts.
The anchors take a decidedly informal approach to the newscast, with much light-hearted cross-talk among the personalities. Much of KSBW's national news comes from syndicated reports from other Hearst-owned affiliates and/or NBC stations, and state-capitol reports originate from Sacramento Hearst NBC station KCRA. The newscasts incorporate typical business segments (under "Project Economy"), consumer, and health segments, and place considerable emphasis on crime reporting, focusing on the persistent gang-violence problem in the Salinas area (under the segment title, "Crime Watch"). During the 6 p.m. newscast, weather and sports quizzes are given, as well as an "Animal Stories" segment that Green presents to conclude the newscast. On weekend morning newscasts, in addition to segments regularly shown on newscasts, a movie preview segment (titled as "Movie Buzz") is also shown. Although KSBW is well known for its local and statewide political coverage under the Hearst-mandated "Commitment" banner, KSBW simulcasts the live televised debates from KCRA, superimposing the KSBW logo over the KCRA logo due to the fact that the debates are often held near Sacramento.
In June 2010, with NBC carrying the US Open at Pebble Beach, KSBW is one of two stations that carried newscasts immediately after the coverage accompanied by live reports from Peeble Beach (the other is KNTV). KSBW currently uses the mandated Hearst news music package for its newscasts since September 2004. In the early years being owned by Hearst, KSBW was one of the stations using the Image music package. Some segments shown on Action News 8 would continue to use the Image music package until August 25, 2010.
KSBW underwent a major format change in 1987. On weekdays, newscast time doubled from 90 minutes to over 180 minutes. Previously, weekday newscasts were at 6-7 p.m. and 11-11:30 p.m. In early 1987, KSBW began producing five-minute newscasts during the Today program at 7:25 a.m. and 8:25 a.m. In August 1987, thirty-minute newscasts were added at 6:30-7 a.m., 11:30 a.m.-noon, and 5-5:30 p.m. Also in August 1987, KSBW adopted a new "8" logo which incorporated a right triangle (identical to one used by WGHP, but it was bluish-tinted purple as opposed to reddish-tinted purple in WGHP's) and began use of a new news music package. The next major format change occurred in late 1991. Upon its current ownership by Hearst Television (then-called Hearst-Argyle Television) in 1999, KSBW had made another change to its studios, along with a new voiceover, Bill Ratner, in which Ratner is currently the main voiceover for the station.
In January 2010, KSBW underwent another format change and minor renovations were made to the KSBW studios, the first such change in over a decade. KSBW anchors had to present their newscasts from the newsroom for several days before the station debuted the new look. During Healthwatch 8 segments, anchor Erin Clark had to present her segment in front of a green screen. New flatscreen televisions were also installed behind the news set of KSBW, which replaced the old set. Additionally, "KSBW" replaced "Action News 8" inside the studio to reflect the studio's name and not the news branding, while two additional monitors were installed for better presentations. The in-studio cameras also made a change, with the cameras no longer being shown during editorial segments. The debut was during the midday newscasts when anchor Dale Julin presented the new look after Lee Solomon was finished with his weather update.
On February 17, 2012, the station debuted a new look to its website, which includes a redesign of the page to report local and national news faster.
On August 2, 2013, the station began using the new Hearst TV mandated graphics package similarly used on all the other Hearst-owned stations.
Widescreen and High Definition
KSBW has made many changes since September 2009 to accommodate the changes made at the studio. It first started with KSBW became the first station on the Central Coast to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in 16:9 widescreen; however in that case, they were merely in widescreen standard definition with only the news tickers shown during morning newscasts, though no pillarboxes were inserted until after the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. At the same time, KSBW did a test version of the Hearst HD package during Dr. Phil when previewing the 5pm newscasts, which its graphics and block letters are similar to those of Hearst NBC affiliate KCRA. (KSBW would later become the only station owned by Hearst to use two different types of the Hearst HD package.) Though not true high definition, the format of the KSBW newscasts matched those of HD television screens. New weather graphics and some field reports were still in 4:3 ratio and then pillarboxed to fill the 16:9 screen. This is only before KSBW's chief rival KION-TV and its sister station KCBA started to present their local newscasts in high definition from the studio a few weeks later.
KSBW continued to use its old graphics until August 25, 2010, when KSBW began broadcasting the majority of its local newscasts in full high definition, however, HD is not mentioned in the news openings and talents at the time when the newscasts carried on KSBW-DT2 is in 4:3 standard definition due to its signal. Upon the switch, new graphics and elements from its previous graphics and from Hearst stations WCVB, KMBC-TV, and KOAT were introduced, while the graphics utilizes a blue background in contrast to the red background of which WCVB and KMBC uses. The upgrade also includes a new animated logo bug and a revised Hearst music package. KSBW uses HD studio cameras and HD field cameras for its newscasts; however, the field video is downconverted to widescreen SD in the control room due to its editing equipment only being capable of SD. KSBW now becomes the smallest DMA market among all Hearst stations to broadcast local news in widescreen or HD, as well as becoming the seventh Hearst-owned station to broadcast local news in HD. While its live newscast is in HD, other local programming (e.g. public affairs, editorials) except for syndicated programming were in 4:3 standard definition.
A new logo for KSBW's newscasts debuted on April 6, 2011, during their 5pm newscast. The logo mirrors those of KCRA, but uses a navy blue background instead of the green background used by KCRA while retaining their "8" logo and without mention of its affiliation. The news opens were redone to accommodate the ABC affiliation on its second digital subchannel, while retaining the current graphics used by the station. Due to their current primary NBC affiliation, though, KSBW will retain their current logo for general programming.
Promotions and slogans
Since 1957, KSBW has used "Action News 8" on all of its newscasts and promos. The general branding was "KSBW 8" before ownership by Hearst, although since then, that branding is used occasionally, often using the call letters as the default branding. With the addition of ABC on KSBW-DT2, the station also may brand itself "KSBW 8 NBC", when referring to the main subchannel and primary affiliation, as well as selected programming on NBC. During newscasts, although the branding is "Action News 8", the call letters are often inserted, but omitted from the news branding, to refer to the stations name and newscast title.
Although KSBW's current primary news-intensive slogan is "Coverage You Can Count On," there were variants of that slogan to promote its news, weather, sports, and other programming on Action News 8, including "Weather Coverage You Can Count On," "Sports Coverage You Can Count On," and "Traffic Coverage You Can Count On." As of 2011, those slogans can be seen during station identification in the form of five-second promos to promote news, weather, traffic, and sports anchors. The other variant slogans include, but not limited to, "Community Coverage You Can Count On" and "Mobile Coverage You Can Count On", a promo during commercial breaks not seen during station identification. Hearst stations KOAT, WGAL, KMBC-TV, and WCVB also use this slogan though the latter two use their own variant of the slogan, adding "Live" and "Local" before the main slogan.
Success by 6, a children's reading program, has long been promoted since KSBW was owned by Hearst. The promotions include child safety, eating, early education, and important information from trusted people such as doctor's advice. Another promotion, "Central Coast Pros," is a promo that includes commercials and advices from various retailers and companies.
In February 2010, during the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, KSBW introduced a new slogan, "It's how you know." This features people in a promo wondering about the latest news, weather, and other ideas of interests that would lead to KSBW's website. Among the notable topics presented on the promo included breaking news, local news, local weather, sports, and its picture sharing site, "uLocal" which is being rolled out to all of Hearst's TV stations. A few weeks later, the slogan is seen at the beginning of each video segments on YouTube, along with Hearst stations KCRA and WMUR, but eventually was updated upon the launch of its HD newscasts to fit 16:9 screens. The news slogan is still retained during newscasts.
Dennis Lehnen, currently the sports director for KSBW, has been with the station since December 1981. Lehnen was first the weekend sports anchor before he assumed his current position a few years later. While at the station, Lehnen has covered many playoffs, such as when the Oakland Raiders were in the Super Bowl. The weekend anchor currently acts as the weekend sports anchor in addition to anchoring the news, however, if a major sporting event is held within the area, a sports anchor would broadcast the highlights instead.
High School Playbook
On autumn Friday nights, a special sports segment called "High School Playbook Blitz" follows Central Coast high-school teams through their seasons. A preview of upcoming high school football games is announced by sports anchors during the 5 and 6pm newscasts, as well as any final scores from any game in the area. During their 11pm newscasts, and only after a weather update, sports anchors would go through the highlights and final scores between two teams. KSBW also covers other sports from high school, including basketball, and those are included in a separate segment of High School Playbook. KSBW previously had its segments called "Operation Football" upon ownership by Hearst, then later called "Operation Football Blitz" in the early 2000s before the current title change somewhere around September 2008. (It is noted that KION and its sister station KCBA uses a similar title, but the branding is currently called "Friday Night Blitz.")