KTVA, virtual channel 11, is a CBS-affiliated television station in Anchorage, Alaska. Owned by Denali Media Holdings (a subsidiary of local cable provider GCI), its studios are based at the former headquarters of the Anchorage Daily News on Northway Drive in Anchorage, while its transmitter is located in Spenard—covering the Anchorage bowl and much of the adjacent Matanuska-Susitna Valley.[2][3] Some of its programming is broadcast to rural communities via low-power translators through the Alaska Rural Communications Service (ARCS).

History

KTVA is Alaska's first broadcast television station. Legendary Alaskan broadcast pioneer August G. "Augie" Hiebert (1916-2007) applied for the license in May 1953 through his company, Northern Television. He received FCC approval for construction permits in July 1953, and KTVA signed on the air on December 11, 1953 broadcasting (initially from 2 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.). The studio and office were originally housed on the first floor and the transmitter on top of the pink 14-story McKinley Building.[4] with an analog signal on VHF channel 11.[5] The station aired a few NBC programs in the late 1960s, until KHAR-TV (now KYUR) took the NBC affiliation in 1970. The station was a DuMont affiliate in the early 1950s.[6] During the late 1950s, the station was also briefly affiliated with the NTA Film Network.[8] KTVA also carried Sesame Street from 1970 until KAKM signed on in 1975.

On January 3, 1971, KTVA aired Anchorage's first ever live satellite broadcast from the U.S. mainland, the 1971 NFC Championship Game.[9] Until the 1980s, when the networks went to full satellite distribution, KTVA and other TV stations in Alaska aired network programming on a tape-delayed basis via videotaped recordings of network programs captured off-the-air in Seattle, which were then flown to Alaska.

Hiebert retired in 1997, earning a handsome return on his investment of 44 years earlier. In 2000, KTVA was acquired by the newspaper publisher MediaNews Group.[10] KTVA brought in $6.8 million of revenue in 2009, second to KTUU-TV with $10 million (40% of the market).[11]

On November 9, 2012, GCI, through subsidiary Denali Media Holdings, announced plans to purchase KTVA, as well as KATH-LD and KSCT-LP in Southeast Alaska.[12] The Federal Communications Commission approved the deal on October 29, 2013.[13] The sale was formally closed on November 1.[2]

On December 2, 2013, KTVA moved to a new high definition-capable studio on the second floor of the headquarters of the Anchorage Daily News, and unveiled a new set and logo.[15] KTVA is presently the only Anchorage television station that has never changed its primary affiliation, as well as one of two Big Four affiliates in the market to have been their respective networks' sole affiliate (KTBY is the other).

Digital television

Digital channel

ChannelVideoAspectPSIP Short NameProgramming[2]
11.11080i16:9KTVA-HDMain KTVA programming / CBS

Analog-to-digital conversion

KTVA shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 11, 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.[2] Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analog channel 11.

News operation

KTVA produces 17 hours of local news programming per week. Weekday news offerings include a one-hour morning newscast called Daybreak at 6 a.m., two half-hour evening newscasts at 5 p.m. and 10 p.m and a one-hour newscast at 6 p.m. The station dropped its morning and weekend newscasts on April 18, 2012,[2] but they were reinstated in December 2013. "KTVA offers deeper-digging signature reports in its news lineup" to distinguish itself from KTUU-TV and KYUR, according to trade publication Broadcasting and Cable.[11]

On September 21, 2014, during the outro of a story regarding the state's November ballot issue which would allow recreational use of marijuana, reporter Charlene Ebge, who used the on-air pseudonym Charlo Greene, revealed that she was the president of the medical cannabis organization Alaska Cannabis Club, which is campaigning for the legalization of the drug. She ended the outro with a profane statement, resigned on-air and walked off the set. Ebge later admitted that she did this in order to "draw attention" to the issue of legalization of marijuana.[2] Following the incident, Bert Rudman, the station's news director, issued a formal apology.[2] As the incident occurred after 10 p.m. local time past the FCC's safe harbor provisions, a fine will not be assessed.[2] The ballot issue won voter support and was passed in the November 4 election.[3]