KTBS-TV, virtual channel 3 (UHF digital channel 28), is an ABC-affiliated television station located in Shreveport, Louisiana, United States. The station is locally owned by the Wray family (under the licensee KTBS, LLC), as part of a duopoly with CW affiliate KPXJ (channel 21). The two stations share studio facilities located on East Kings Highway on the eastern side of Shreveport; KTBS's transmitter is located near Mooringsport (southeast of Caddo Lake).
The station began operations on September 3, 1955; it has been owned by the Wray family since its sign-on, and was originally owned alongside KTBS radio (710 AM, now KEEL). The Wrays also owned several other radio stations in Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas, these stations were known as the Tri-State Broadcasting System, from which the station's call letters are taken. The radio stations were sold off in the late 1950s, but the Wrays (who are also the owners of a car dealership franchise in Shreveport) have retained channel 3 to this day.
The station originally operated as a primary NBC affiliate, although it shared ABC programming with KSLA-TV (channel 12). In 1960, Shreveport and Texarkana, Texas were collapsed into a single television market. Texarkana-based KTAL-TV (channel 6) took over the NBC affiliation for the enlarged market, leaving KTBS as Louisiana's second full-time ABC affiliate (after WVUE-TV in New Orleans, which became a full-time ABC station in 1957; it is now a Fox affiliate). Over the years, KTBS has become one of the strongest ABC affiliates in the country. In an era where most major network stations are owned by large media companies, KTBS is one of the few major network affiliates that remains locally owned to this day.
In 2003, Paxson Communications (now Ion Media Networks) sold Pax TV owned-and-operated station KPXJ (channel 21) to the Wray family, creating the market's first (and only) legal television duopoly (the Shreveport-Texarkana market has only eight full-power television stations, the minimum allowed to create a duopoly under Federal Communications Commission rules; KTBS had already handled advertising sales for KPXJ and rebroadcast its evening newscasts on that station prior to the purchase); after the purchase was finalized, the Wrays converted KPXJ into the market's UPN affiliate.
In December 2012, KTBS became ensnared over the controversial firing of meteorologist Rhonda Lee. The station claims that she (and another newscaster) were fired for violating the station's policy on responding to Facebook comments, while supporters of Lee claim that she was fired for her decision to respond to a racist and sexist comment.
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|3.1||720p||16:9||KTBS-HD||Main KTBS-TV programming / ABC|
|3.2||480i||16:9||KTBS-WX||The Local AccuWeather Channel|
|3.3||16:9||KTBS-24||KTBS 24 Hour News Channel|
On its second digital subchannel, KTBS runs a 24-hour weather service affiliated with The Local AccuWeather Channel. On its third digital subchannel, KTBS operates KTBS 24 Hour News, a 24-hour news channel that airs rebroadcasts and live simulcasts of the station's newscasts, along with the three hours of E/I programming required by the FCC. It is also offered on Comcast digital channel 201.
KTBS-TV discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over VHF channel 3, 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 remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 28, using PSIP to display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analog channel 3.
For many years, one of the most watched Sunday programs on KTBS has been The First Word, broadcasts of the morning worship services at the large First Baptist Church of Bossier City. The program began in June 1983. KTBS was the market's broadcaster of the Louisiana Lottery's televised drawings from the lottery's inception in 1993 until April 2009 when KTAL acquired the rights. KTBS re-acquired the rights to the drawings in 2012. The drawings now air on sister station KPXJ at 9:59pm, with a replay during KTBS 3 News at 10:00.
KTBS-TV presently broadcasts 34 hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 5½ hours on weekdays, three hours on Saturdays and 3½ hours on Sundays); in regards to the number of hours devoted to news programming, it is the highest local newscast output among all broadcast television stations in the Ark-La-Tex market. In addition, KTBS produces an additional 9½ hours of newscasts each week for sister station KPXJ, in the form of hour-long weekday morning and nightly 9 p.m. newscasts. In total, KTBS produces 43½ hours of local newscasts each week between the two stations.
In addition to the station's main studios on Kings Highway, KTBS operates a news bureau located on Jefferson Avenue in Texarkana, Arkansas. During the weeknight 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts, the station airs news segments featuring stories from the East Texas area. During the May 2008 ratings period, KTBS's newscasts placed number one in several time periods.
In 2003, following the Wray family's purchase of KPXJ, KTBS began producing a nightly, half-hour 9 p.m. newscast (which has since been expanded to one hour) on that station; the broadcast utilizes the same format as the 10 p.m. newscast on KTBS. In 2005, KTBS began producing an hour-long weekday morning newscast for KPXJ (which was moved to 9 a.m. in 2013). Prior to the purchase, as a Pax TV station, KPXJ had aired rebroadcasts of KTBS's 5 and 10 p.m. newscasts.
On October 15, 2008, KTBS began broadcasting its newscasts in 16:9 widescreen standard definition. On June 28, 2010, KTBS expanded its 6 p.m. newscast to one hour, becoming the first station in the market to carry an hour-long 6 p.m. newscast (CBS affiliate KSLA began broadcasting an hour-long 6 p.m. newscast a short time later); as a result, KTAL is the only Big Three affiliate in the market to carry syndicated programming during the 6:30 half-hour. In July 2010, KTBS expanded the weekend edition of its 10 p.m. newscast to one hour (again, KSLA quickly followed suit with an hour-long newscast at 10 p.m. on weekends).
On August 30, 2010, KTBS expanded its weekday morning newscasts to 2½ hours, by moving its start time to 4:30 a.m. (one of the few stations in a non-Top 50 Nielsen market to begin their weekday morning newscast at 4:30). On October 14, 2010, beginning with the station's 5 p.m. newscast, KTBS became the first television station in the Shreveport-Texarkana market to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition (rival KSLA began producing its news programming in high definition the next morning).
Notable current on-air staff
- Bob Griffin - weekend mornings on First News (5:30-7:00 Saturdays and 8:00-9:30 a.m. Sundays); also "Griffin's Ark-La-Tex" feature reporter; former long-term sports editor at KSLA-TV
Notable former on-air staff
- Liz Swaine - reporter (1981–1998; executive assistant to the mayor of Shreveport, 1998–2006; candidate for mayor of Shreveport, 2006; executive director of the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) of Shreveport, 2010–present)
Out-of-market cable coverage
KTBS is carried on various cable providers outside of the Shreveport-Texarkana market. The station is carried as far as Longview, Texas to the west, Mount Pleasant, Texas to the northwest, El Dorado, Arkansas to the northeast, Jonesboro, Louisiana to the southeast, and Carthage, Texas to the southwest.
The station became one of two de facto ABC affiliates (alongside KLAX-TV in Alexandria) for the Monroe-El Dorado market after that market's ABC affiliate, KARD-TV, became a Fox in April 1994; the market would not receive an ABC affiliate of its own again until KAQY signed on the air in 1998.
- A clip from KTBS' newscast was featured in the movie Meet Joe Black.