KTAB-TV is the CBS affiliate television station serving Abilene, Texas. It is owned by Nexstar Broadcasting Group and broadcasts on digital channel 24. KTAB is licensed to Abilene and broadcasts on a High Definition digital signal on UHF Channel 24. Syndicated programming on KTAB includes: Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy!, The World's Funniest Moments, and The 700 Club. KTAB shares studios with NBC affiliated KRBC-TV located on South 14th Street in downtown Abilene, and also shares a transmitter facility with KRBC along Texas State Highway 36 in rural southwestern Callahan County.
KTAB began broadcasting on October 6, 1979 and transmits from a transmitter/tower facility located on a hilltop southeast of the city along Texas Highway 36 in neighboring Callahan County (about 15 miles from the studio). The tower structure is approximately 700 feet tall with an average height of about 950 feet above the city of Abilene. This made Abilene one of the last markets in the country to get full service from the Big Three networks.
Upon signing-on, it took over the CBS affiliation from KTXS-TV, which became a full ABC affiliate. The station was founded by William "Bill" Terry (55% owner) and a large contingent of partners, investors, and department heads. Terry had worked for many years at established station KRBC-TV and was well known in the Abilene area. Terry sold the station to International Broadcasting, owned by stockholder Thomas Scallen in 1984.
Shamrock Broadcasting, Roy E. Disney's broadcasting company, bought the station in 1986. Shamrock then sold KTAB to Shooting Star Broadcasting in 1997. Current owner Nexstar Broadcasting bought the station from Shooting Star Broadcasting in 1999.
In 2005, Nexstar Broadcasting completed the consolidation of the KTAB operations into the older, larger KRBC building at 4510 South 14th Street in Abilene. Nexstar had already taken over KRBC's operations a year earlier under a joint sales agreement with KTAB as the senior partner. The original KTAB building was sold and has subsequently been converted into an office building. The computerized and automated master control facility not only operates KTAB and KRBC n Abilene, but also sister Nexstar/Mission stations KLST and KSAN in San Angelo. All syndicated programming and local commercial advertising for the four stations is delivered via Harris/Leitch Nexio servers with Avid/Sundance FastBreak automation providing all switching and playback operations.
The main bi-directional microwave relay system link connecting master control in Abilene with the KLST-KSAN studio and transmission facilities in San Angelo, 90 miles away, was destroyed when the KRBC tower near Tuscola collapsed on January 14, 2007. In December 2007, Nexstar Broadcasting set up a dual-path fiber-optic Suddenlink cable link to the San Angelo broadcast facility.
In May 2007, both KTAB and KRBC TV websites were combined into one, . The site is maintained by content produced by both stations, and serves as a community portal to Abilene and the surrounding areas.
On June 15, 2016, Nexstar announced that it has entered into an affiliation agreement with Katz Broadcasting for the Escape, Laff, Grit, and Bounce TV networks (the last one of which is owned by Bounce Media LLC, whose COO Jonathan Katz is president/CEO of Katz Broadcasting), bringing one or more of the four networks to 81 stations owned and/or operated by Nexstar, including KTAB-TV and KRBC-TV.
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|32.1||1080i||16:9||KTAB-DT||Main KTAB-TV programming / CBS|
|32.3||Grit (Launch date TBD)|
Installation of full-power digital transmitters for both KTAB-DT and KRBC-DT was completed in October 2007. The transmitters are housed in a newly constructed building at the KTAB tower site, adjacent to the current analog transmitter building on a mountaintop southeast of Potosi. Both stations share the same digital antenna on the KTAB tower. A new digital 7 GHz microwave studio-transmitter link (STL), as well as a master control update, has allowed both stations to deliver the High-Definition HDTV signals to the entire coverage area, as well as delivering Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Both CBS and NBC networks use the 1080i HDTV format.
Both KTAB and KRBC operate digital microwave links in the 7GHz and 2GHz spectrums.
KTAB-TV shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 32, on May 12, 2009. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 24. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 32.
On Saturday, February 2, 2013, KRBC began broadcasting the news in 16x9 widescreen with a new set and new graphics becoming the second station to make the switch. The newscasts on KTAB were included in the upgrade.