KCAL-TV (Channel 9) is an independent station in Los Angeles, California. The station is owned and operated by Viacom, which also owns CBS's West Coast flagship station, KCBS-TV (Channel 2). KCAL is notable for airing newscasts during unconventional time blocks. Along with newscasts at 10pm (where it competes against KTLA and KTTV) and noon, it also airs news at 2pm, 3pm, 8pm, and 9pm . The station also airs some Los Angeles Angels and LA Lakers games, as well as the Los Angeles Galaxy of Major League Soccer.
- Frequency: Channel 9
- Name: K-CAL 9
- Radius: 80 miles (Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties)
- Slogan: Live, Local, Late Breaking
- Start of Operation: August 25, 1948 as KFI-TV.
- Transmitter Location: Los Angeles, California (34� 13' 38.00" N Latitude, 118� 4' 0.00" W Longitude)
- Transmitter Power: 141 kW
Channel 9 went on the air as KFI-TV on August 25, 1948, and for a brief period served as LA's NBC affiliate, until KNBH (now KNBC) Channel 4 went on the air several months later in 1949. The station then went independent, a status it has retained to this day though it carried some DuMont programming. RKO General later acquired the station in 1951 and changed its call letters to KHJ-TV, after KHJ radio.
In 1965, RKO faced a challenge to its license for KHJ from a group called Fidelity Television. At first, Fidelity's challenged focused on KHJ's programming quality. Later, and more seriously, Fidelity claimed that RKO's parent company, General Tire, forced its retailers to purchase advertising on KHJ and other RKO stations as a condition of their contracts with General Tire. An administrative law judge found in favor of Fidelity, but KHJ appealed. In 1972, the FCC allowed RKO to keep the license for KHJ, but two years later conditioned future renewals on the renewal of sister station WNAC in Boston. Six years later, the FCC stripped WNAC of its license for numerous reasons, but largely because RKO had misled the FCC about corporate misconduct at General Tire. The decision meant KHJ and sister station WOR-TV in New York lost their licenses as well. However, an appeals court ruled that the FCC had erred when it tied KHJ's renewal to that of WNAC and ordered new hearings for KHJ and WOR.
These hearings dragged on until 1987. That year, an administrative law judge found RKO unfit to be a broadcast licensee due to numerous instances of fraudulent billing. The FCC advised RKO that it would almost certainly deny any appeals, and persuaded RKO to sell its stations to avoid the indignity of having their licenses taken away. Finally, in 1989, RKO agreed to sell KHJ to Fidelity Television, the group that originally challenged the license in 1965. Fidelity then sold the license to Disney. With this sale, RKO ended an over 40-year involvement in broadcasting. Even though channel 9's longtime radio cousins had changed their calls to KRTH-AM-FM, Disney wanted to make a clean start. Accordingly, it changed the calls to KCAL-TV, and briefly branded the station as "California 9" before settling on "K-CAL 9." Disney also introduced the concept of the prime time news block, with "Prime 9 News" between 8 pm and 11 pm.
In 1995, when Disney purchased CapCities/ABC, Inc., it was forced to divest KCAL because of FCC regulations at the time, with ABC's ownership in KABC-TV (Channel 7). Young Broadcasting of New York bought the station thereafter, and Viacom acquired KCAL in 2002. Later, Viacom preceded to relocate KCAL from its longtime headquarters at the Paramount Studios (another Viacom property) in Hollywood to the histroic CBS Columbia Square (home to KCBS-TV/FM and KNX-AM), located one mile away. Viacom has plans to relocated its Los Angeles television stations to a new office complex on the site of its CBS Studio Center in Studio City in 2006, located 5 miles away in the San Fernando Valley. Groundbreaking of the new KCAL/KCBS-TV studios took place on June 17, 2005.
Initially, when Viacom bought KCAL, many in the media may have thought that Viacom would move its UPN network affilliation from Fox Television-owned KCOP (Channel 13) to KCAL, but Viacom decided (at least for the time being) to leave KCAL as an independent station, as Fox and Viacom decided to renew their affillation agreement for its UPN-affillated stations. Some also say the reason is because Fox is using KCOP for leverage to keep UPN on its New York City (WWOR) and Chicago (WPWR) stations because Viacom doesn't own second stations in those cities, like that of its Los Angeles duopoly.
- Previous owners of Channel 9
Each broadcast involves a male and a female reporter who each take turns telling a story. Each hour, a new set of reporters is used. However, the previous set can be used again that night or session. All reports are reported without bias and in a serious manner, although the afternoon newscasts have lighter stories, including feature segments.
However, when transitioning from a certain segment to another, such as going from telling headlines to reporting the weather, usually on-topic humor and conversation is introduced. Nevertheless, no biases are introduced. One example of such humor is on May 21, 2005, when Josh Rubenstein reported on the weather and said to "open up the backdoor" as a way of saying to show a live camera view of outside the studio looking to the city. A sound of a creaking door was played (one example), and Josh said, "That door is still creaky even with the heat." ("Heat" in regards to the 90-100 degree temperatures experienced that day.) A rimshot was then played and the cast members laughed.
Because of the amount of news on the station, KCAL is known as the station showing the most police chases. Often regular news programming is dropped to cover a police chase, and programming following the news is sometimes preempted to show the chase's conclusion.
- KCAL 9 Homepage
- Photos of KCAL's set
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