KTNC-TV, virtual channel 42 (UHF digital channel 14), is an Estrella TV-affiliated television station serving the San Francisco Bay Area that is licensed to Concord, California, United States. The station is owned by NRJ TV, LLC, as part of a duopoly with MundoMax affiliate KCNS (channel 38). KTNC maintains studios and offices located on Montgomery Street in the North Beach district of San Francisco, and its transmitter is located at Mount Diablo State Park near Walnut Creek.
As an independent station
The station first signed on the air on June 19, 1983 as KFCB, which was originally owned by First Century Broadcasting (later known as Family Christian Broadcasting) – from which the station's original call letters were taken. At that time, its president was Reverend Ronn Haus. A majority of the station's broadcast day was devoted to Christian programming, including its own in-house productions. The station's flagship program was called California Tonight (later retitled Coast to Coast), a Christian talk show with sermons, conversations with religious topics and musical guests. The program utilized an applause cart (audio tape cartridge) to give the viewers the impression that a studio audience was present during the tapings. Other programs seen on the station included The 700 Club, Dr. Robert Schuller's Hour of Power and various other local and national religious programs, usually of an evangelical nature.
In its earliest years, KFCB supplemented the religious programs with secular shows such as Speed Racer, Dennis The Menace, Donna Reed, Father Knows Best, Mighty Hercules, Candid Camera, New Zoo Revue and other programs as well as CNN Headline News, for about six hours a day. Although the station aired secular programming and commercials, KFCB's primary revenue source continued to come from viewer donations; commercial revenue was not significant. Commercials that aired were primarily "direct response" spots. The station broadcast semi-annual telethons, in the manner of public television and radio stations. Christian children's programs included The Gospel Bill Show, Superbook and Davey and Goliath. From 1985 to 1986, the station phased out most of its secular shows, although a lineup of such programs remained on Saturday mornings until at least 1989. The secular shows were occasionally modified to meet the station's programming standards – for example, master control operators were instructed to cover up the "Hollywood Minute" feature during CNN Headline News simulcasts, and beer commercials were deleted from airings of the syndicated discussion program It's Your Business. During the fall of 1989, KFCB aired a schedule of Western Athletic Conference college football games.
KFCB's studios were originally located at 5101 Port Chicago Highway, in the industrial section of north Concord, just north of the interchange with State Route 4. Later, space was leased in a neighboring office building for additional offices and a larger studio. Only the cameras (three RCA TK-761's) were moved to the new studio, with the control room remaining in the original building. The new studio boasted an unusual feature – a restroom in the middle of the studio floor, the result of the studio being located in a roughed-in, but unfinished, office structure. The restroom was placed off-limits during tapings as a result of not being soundproof. The RCA transmitter was located on the north peak of Mount Diablo, in a very difficult to access building which was barely large enough to house the transmitter itself – the result of challenges from environmentalists against the station's original application for a construction permit. An engineer working on the front panel of the transmitter was actually standing outside the building itself (the North Peak transmitter site was decommissioned in June 2009, while the digital transmitter is located on Mt. Diablo's main peak).
KFCB maintained a full-time production staff and generated much of its own programming, primarily short ministry programs with local ministers. A Sunday afternoon public-affairs program, Open Forum, covered secular community issues and was the result of an agreement between First Century Broadcasting and a competing applicant for the channel 42 license. The program was later replaced by a similar show, The Informed Viewer.
Around 1988, a translator station, K34AV, was built in Fresno to rebroadcast KFCB's signal. The translator became low-power station KSDI-LP in 1997 (now on channel 33) and is no longer associated with KFCB/KTNC. Efforts around the same time to construct another translator in Modesto, and purchase a full-power station on Long Island, New York failed.
In 1990, the license renewal application of KFCB came under fire from minority groups for alleged failures to comply with the equal employment opportunity regulations of the FCC. After an investigation by the FCC, the license was ultimately renewed. A few years later, Haus and other partners decided to form United Christian Broadcasting, with KFCB as the flagship station. The network was intended to bring KFCB's programming to a national audience. The venture would prove to be a financial disaster, and by 1996 Haus was forced to sell the station to Pappas Telecasting, at which time the station adopted the KTNC-TV callsign.
In 1997, Pappas acquired KFWU-TV in Fort Bragg in 1997 from Sainte Limited, at which point KFWU became a satellite of KTNC (though at first, KFWU was considered the main station and KTNC the satellite). That station became KUNO-TV in 2003.
KUNO was sold to Jeff Chang in July 2010. Chang would later drop the KTNC simulcast in favor of Retro Television Network programming, under new call letters (originally KBQR; now KQSL), upon taking over.
As a Spanish-language station
KTNC was among the earliest affiliates of Azteca America upon its formation in 2001. However, Pappas Telecasting terminated KTNC's affiliation agreement with the network on June 30, 2007. The next day, KTNC officially became a part of Pappas' independent Spanish language network, TuVision. The Azteca América affiliation for the San Francisco market moved to a newly created digital subchannel of KBWB (channel 20, now KOFY-TV), while the network's Sacramento affiliation moved to low-power station KSTV-LP. DirecTV replaced KTNC with the KBWB subchannel in some locations on July 1, 2007.
KTNC affiliated with Estrella TV upon its launch in 2009. On January 18, 2013, NRJ TV announced that it would acquire KTNC-TV from Titan TV Broadcast Group for $13.5 million, as part of a two-station deal that also included Houston sister station KUBE-TV; Titan TV Broadcast Group would continue to operate the stations upon the sale's consummation. The acquisition of KTNC created a legal duopoly with MundoMax affiliate KCNS (channel 38, which was bought by NRJ for $15 million in 2011); Titan Broadcast Management maintains a one-third equity stake in NRJ TV. The sale was consummated on July 1.
KTNC was the Central Valley's Estrella TV affiliate until June 1, 2015, when Sacramento's KQCA added the network to one of their subchannels. The Central Valley feed on 42.2 was replaced with The Works. The Works on 42.3 was initially replaced with color bars before the channel was deleted. The San Francisco feed is still available to viewers in Sacramento over the 42.1 subchannel.
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
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On June 3, 2009, the Federal Communications Commission announced that KTNC would be one of 35 stations to go dark at the end of the transition from analog to digital broadcasts for full-power television stations in the United States on June 12, 2009. However, the station was transmitting a digital signal as of June 13, 2009. KTNC-TV shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 42, on June 12. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 63, which was among the high band UHF channels (52-69) that were removed from broadcasting use as a result of the transition, to UHF channel 14, using PSIP to display KTNC-TV's virtual channel as 42 on digital television receivers.