|St. Louis, Missouri|
|Branding||Fox 2 (general)|
Fox 2 News (newscasts)
|Slogan||Coverage You Can Count On|
Weather Coverage You Can Count On (weather)
St. Louis' Newsroom
The Most Powerful Name in Local News (all news slogans)
|Channels||Digital: 43 (UHF)|
(to move to 33 (UHF))
Virtual: 2 (PSIP)
|Owner||Nexstar Media Group|
(KTVI License, LLC)
|First air date||August 10, 1953|
|Call letters' meaning||TeleVision Illinois|
(station originally licensed to Belleville, Illinois)
|Former callsigns||WTVI (1953-1955)|
|Former channel number(s)|
|Transmitter power||1000 kW|
823 kW (CP)
|Height||337 m (1,106 ft)|
336 m (1,102 ft) (CP)
|Public license information||Profile|
KTVI, virtual channel 2 (UHF digital channel 43), is a Fox-affiliated television station licensed to St. Louis, Missouri, United States. The station is owned by Nexstar Media Group, as part of a duopoly with CW affiliate KPLR-TV (channel 11). The two stations share studios on Ball Drive in the northwestern St. Louis County community of Maryland Heights (though with a St. Louis city postal address); KTVI's transmitter is located in the unincorporated community of Sappington. On cable, the station is available on Charter Spectrum channels 2 (standard definition) and 702 (high definition), and on AT&T U-verse channels 2 (SD) and 1002 (HD).
The station first signed on the air by Signal Hill Telecasting Corporation on August 10, 1953 as WTVI, broadcasting on UHF channel 54. It was originally licensed to Belleville, Illinois (across the Mississippi River from St. Louis) and was the second television station in the St. Louis market after KSDK on February 8, 1947. The station's first broadcast was a baseball game between the St. Louis Browns and Cincinnati Reds, announced by Buddy Blattner, Bill Durney and Milo Hamilton. It operated as a primary CBS affiliate, and held secondary affiliations with ABC and DuMont. DuMont affiliation was agreed to in February 1953 to replace KSD-TV. The station was project to sign on May 15, 1953. The station originally operated from studios located in Alton, Illinois. The CBS affiliation moved to KWK-TV (channel 4, now KMOV) when it debuted on July 8, 1954; more or less by default, WTVI became a primary ABC affiliate.
The station moved to UHF channel 36, and relocated its city of license to St. Louis on April 9, 1955, keeping the base "TVI" letters as part of its callsign while flipping the first assigned letter from "W" to "K", thus changing to the current KTVI. It moved its operations to facilities located in the Clayton-Tamm/Dogtown neighborhood in west St. Louis (off present-day I-64/US 40 at the intersection of Berthold, Oakland and Hampton Avenues). However, the Federal Communications Commission had recently changed its regulations so that the station could have kept its license in Belleville even while moving its main studio to St. Louis. The WTVI calls are currently used by a PBS member station in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The station lost DuMont programming when the network ceased operations in 1956, making KTVI an exclusive ABC affiliate. As the FCC would not require television sets to include UHF tuners until 1961, on April 15, 1957, KTVI moved to VHF channel 2, something it had attempted to do soon after moving to St. Louis-the channel 2 allocation had been reassigned from Springfield, Illinois under pressure from the Truman Administration, originally done so as not to interfere with CBS-owned WBBM-TV in Chicago.
For many years, the station was owned by the Newhouse newspaper chain, owners of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat. In 1980, Newhouse exited from broadcasting, and sold KTVI and its other television outlets to the Los Angeles-based Times Mirror Company. In March 1993, in order for the company to concentrate on its newspaper and cable television system franchises, Times Mirror sold KTVI and its three sister stations--fellow CBS affiliates KTBC in Austin and KDFW-TV in Dallas-Fort Worth and NBC affiliate WVTM-TV in Birmingham--to Argyle Television Holdings in a two-part deal for $335 million in cash and securities. Under the transaction's purchase option structure, WVTM and KTVI were the first two stations that Argyle sold to New World, which the latter purchased for a combined $80 million. (It would later respectively acquire KDFW and KTBC from the group for $335 million in cash and securities). The purchase of the entire group was completed in December of that year following securement of financing for the deal.
On May 23, 1994, as part of a $500-million overall deal in which network parent News Corporation also purchased a 20% equity interest in the group, New World signed a long-term affiliation agreement with Fox to switch thirteen television stations--five that New World had already owned and eight that the company was in the process of acquiring through separate deals with Great American Communications and Argyle Television Holdings (which New World purchased one week later in a purchase option-structured deal for $717 million), including KTVI--to the network. The stations involved in the agreement--all of which were affiliated with one of the three major broadcast networks (CBS, ABC and NBC)--would become Fox affiliates once individual affiliation contracts with each of the stations' existing network partners had expired. (WVTM did not switch as WBRC, which was placed in a blind trust, was later sold to Fox outright as New World could not keep both due to FCC rules at the time that forbade duopolies). The deal was motivated by the National Football League (NFL)'s awarding of the rights to the National Football Conference (NFC) television package to Fox on December 18, 1993, in which the conference's broadcast television rights moved to the network effective with the 1994 NFL season, ending a 38-year relationship with CBS.
ABC had a fourteen-month leeway to find a new affiliate in St. Louis, as its contract with KTVI did not expire until July 1, 1995; its affiliation contracts expired only one month after as CBS's agreement with KDFW and KTBC was scheduled to expire, giving the networks that were already affiliated with the three former Argyle stations slated to switch to Fox a longer grace period to find new affiliates than CBS, NBC and/or ABC were given in most of the other markets affected by the Fox-New World deal (ABC's affiliation contracts with WGHP and WBRC ended even later, respectively expiring in September 1995 and September 1996). Of ABC's options, four prospects were automatically eliminated: KSDK was in the middle of a long-term affiliation agreement between its owner at the time, Multimedia Broadcasting, and NBC; KMOV was under a long-term agreement between CBS and Paramount Stations Group (which was in the process of selling KMOV and its four other major network affiliates to focus on its Fox-affiliated and independent stations that were set to become charter affiliates of group parent Viacom's then-upstart United Paramount Network [UPN]); and KNLC (channel 24, now a MeTV affiliate) and WHSL (channel 46, now Ion Television owned-and-operated station WRBU) were respectively owned by the locally based New Life Christian Church and the Home Shopping Network at the time, and both stations had inferior signals, making either unlikely choices as even last-ditch options. This left independent station KPLR-TV (channel 11, now a CW affiliate) and existing Fox station KDNL-TV (channel 30) as the only viable options with which ABC could reach an affiliation agreement. The network first approached KPLR about negotiating an affiliation deal, ultimately to be turned down by its then-owner Koplar Communications. On August 25, 1994, River City Broadcasting reached an agreement with ABC to shift the network's affiliation rights to KDNL.
KTVI switched to Fox on August 7, 1995, ending its relationship with ABC after 42 years; concurrently, ABC programming moved to KDNL-TV. As with most of the other New World-owned stations affected by the agreement with Fox, KTVI retained its longtime "Channel 2" branding upon the affiliation switch, with references to the Fox logo and name limited in most on-air imaging; it also retained the news branding it had been using before it joined the network--in its case, 2 News Team, which the station adopted in November 1990 as an ABC affiliate. In addition to expanding its local news programming at the time it joined Fox, the station replaced ABC daytime and late night programs that migrated to KDNL with an expanded slate of syndicated talk shows as well as some documentary-based reality series and off-network sitcoms, and also acquired some syndicated film packages and first-run and off-network syndicated drama series for broadcast in weekend afternoon timeslots on weeks when Fox did not provide sports programming.
On July 17, 1996, News Corporation announced that it would acquire New World in an all-stock transaction worth $2.48 billion, with the latter company's ten Fox affiliates being folded into the former's Fox Television Stations subsidiary, making them all owned-and-operated stations of the network (the New World Communications name continued as a licensing purpose corporation for KTVI and its sister stations until 2007 under Fox, and from 2009 to 2011 under Local TV ownership); upon the completion of the merger on January 22, 1997, KTVI became the first network-owned station in the St. Louis market since CBS sold KMOX-TV (now KMOV) to Viacom in 1986. Under Fox ownership, programming began to change very slightly as KTVI (through Fox) began to add stronger first-run syndicated shows as well as stronger off-network sitcoms to the programming mix..
KTVI first launched its website on November 1, 1999, which featured a design similar to other sites belonging to Fox's owned-and-operated stations at the time and focused on promotional and programming content initially, but eventually incorporated news content. The website was migrated to the MyFox platform on September 14, 2006. On October 15, 2007, KTVI launched STLMoms.com, a website aimed at St. Louis area moms, whose concept spun off from a popular blog featured on the station's main website. Subsequently, on June 2, 2008, KTVI launched GarageSaleSTL.com, a free website that primarily features a Google-based map of viewer-submitted garage sales (the site has since been discontinued).
On December 22, 2007, Fox sold KTVI and seven other owned-and-operated stations--WDAF-TV in Kansas City, WBRC in Birmingham, WGHP in Greensboro/Winston-Salem/High Point, WJW in Cleveland, WITI in Milwaukee, KDVR in Denver and KSTU in Salt Lake City--to Local TV (a broadcast holding company operated by private equity firm Oak Hill Capital Partners that was formed on May 7 of that year to assume ownership of the broadcasting division of The New York Times Company) for $1.1 billion; the sale was finalized on July 14, 2008. On February 1, 2012, WJW redesigned its web site under the new WordPress-hosted design implemented months earlier by sister stations WDAF and WITI, replacing the site design previously used for the Local TV stations that was developed by Tribune Interactive (now Tribune Digital). On July 1, 2013, the Tribune Company (which in 2008, had formed a joint management agreement involving its Tribune Broadcasting subsidiary and Local TV to operate stations owned by both companies and provide web hosting, technical and engineering services to those run by the latter group) acquired the Local TV stations for $2.75 billion; the sale was completed on December 27.
On September 17, 2008, Local TV LLC entered into a local marketing agreement with Tribune Broadcasting, under which it assumed some operational responsibilities for CW affiliate KPLR-TV. The agreement, which took effect on October 1, allowed KTVI to provide advertising and promotional services as well as news operations for KPLR, while Tribune would retain responsibilities over channel 11's programming (although both stations would share certain syndicated programs), master control and production services. The LMA resulted from the formation of a "broadcast management company" that was created to provide management services to stations owned by both Tribune and Local TV. Although it was the senior partner in the agreement, KTVI vacated its longtime studios in the Clayton-Tamm/Dogtown neighborhood on St. Louis' west side and moved its operations to KPLR's facility in Maryland Heights (KPLR moved to that building, the larger of the two facilities, in 2003; whereas KTVI had been operating from the Berthold studios for nearly 50 years).
On July 1, 2013, Tribune acquired KTVI and Local TV's eighteen other television stations outright for $2.75 billion; the sale received FCC approval on December 20, and was completed on December 27, creating the first legal station duopoly in the St. Louis market between KTVI and KPLR. As FCC rules prohibit the common ownership of two of the four highest-rated television stations in the same market, Tribune's direct purchase of KTVI to form a duopoly with KPLR was permissible because KPLR ranked in fifth place in total day ratings at the time of the purchase. (In recent years, KPLR and KDNL - which ranked fourth in the ratings at that time - have rotated between fourth and fifth place in total day viewership due to the weaker viewership of KDNL's programming since its news department was shut down by owner Sinclair Broadcast Group in 2001); St. Louis also has only nine full-power television stations, seven of which are commercial outlets, making this the only legal duopoly allowable in the market under FCC rules.
On May 8, 2017, Sinclair--which has owned KDNL-TV since the group's 1996 acquisition of its previous corporate parent River City Broadcasting--entered into an agreement to acquire Tribune Media for $3.9 billion, plus the assumption of $2.7 billion in debt held by Tribune. The market conditions that allowed for Tribune to form a duopoly between KTVI and KPLR in 2013, ironically, precluded Sinclair from acquiring KPLR directly as, at the time of the merger announcement, channel 11 ranked in fourth place and KDNL ranked fifth among the St. Louis market's television stations in total day viewership. As the FCC prohibits common ownership of two of the four highest-rated television stations in a single market, Sinclair was required to sell KPLR to a third-party group in order to comply with those rules and alleviate potential antitrust issues preceding approval of the acquisition (Sinclair CEO Christopher Ripley cited St. Louis as one of three markets, out of fourteen where ownership conflicts existed between the two groups, where the proposed acquisition would likely result in divestitures).
Sinclair originally planned to retain operational stewardship of KPLR-TV through a local marketing agreement (possibly involving one of its partner companies); however, in an amendment to the Sinclair-Tribune merger submitted on February 21, 2018, the group announced that, in addition to purchasing KTVI's license and assets, it would retain ownership of KDNL, while selling KPLR-TV to an independent third party. (Sinclair, on behalf of Tribune, later attempted a sale proposal of KPLR to Des Moines, Iowa-based Meredith Corporation--owner of KMOV since February 2014--for $65 million on April 24, 2018, only to cancel that deal on May 15 amid objections by the Justice Department, with Sinclair amending the merger transaction to place KPLR into a divestiture trust administered by Rafamedia LLC [led by media broker Richard A. Foreman] for sale to an independent third party that does not already own a television station in St. Louis.)
On July 18, 2018, the FCC voted to have the Sinclair-Tribune acquisition reviewed by an administrative law judge amid "serious concerns" about Sinclair's forthrightness in its applications to sell certain conflict properties. Three weeks later on August 9, Tribune announced it would terminate the Sinclair deal, intending to seek other M&A opportunities. Tribune also filed a breach of contract lawsuit in the Delaware Chancery Court, alleging that Sinclair engaged in protracted negotiations with the FCC and the U.S. Department of Justice's Antitrust Division over regulatory issues, refused to sell stations in markets where it already had properties, and proposed divestitures to parties with ties to Sinclair executive chair David D. Smith that were rejected or highly subject to rejection to maintain control over stations it was required to sell.
On December 3, 2018, Irving, Texas-based Nexstar Media Group announced it would acquire the assets of Tribune Media for $6.4 billion in cash and debt. The deal--which would make Nexstar the largest television station operator by total number of stations upon its expected closure late in the third quarter of 2019--would put KTVI and KPLR-TV under common ownership with Nexstar's existing properties in Champaign-Springfield-Decatur (CBS affiliate WCIA and MyNetworkTV affiliate WCIX), Peoria-Bloomington (CBS affiliate WMBD-TV and Fox-affiliated SSA partner WYZZ-TV), Rockford (Fox affiliate WQRF-TV and ABC-affiliated SSA partner WTVO) as well as its properties in Southwestern Missouri (NBC affiliate KSNF and ABC-affiliated JSA/SSA partner KODE-TV in Joplin and Fox affiliate KRBK, MyNetworkTV affiliate KOZL-TV and CBS-affiliated SSA partner KOLR in Springfield).
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|2.1||720p||16:9||KTVI-DT||Main KTVI programming / Fox|
|2.3||ESCAPE||Court TV Mystery|
KTVI began carrying Antenna TV upon its launch on January 1, 2011 on digital subchannel 2.2. As of January 2016, digital subchannel 2.3 started showing colored bars with a pending affiliation to Escape.
KTVI shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 2, 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 continued to broadcasts on its pre-transition UHF channel 43. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analog channel 2.
KTVI currently carries the majority of the Fox network schedule; however, it delays the network's Saturday late night block (currently, as of September 2016, consisting of reruns of Fox prime time reality series) by a half-hour in order to air its 10:00 p.m. newscast. The station may preempt some Fox programs in order to air long-form breaking news or severe weather coverage, although live sports events may require such coverage to air simultaneously with the scheduled Fox Sports telecast. Fox prime time shows preempted or otherwise interrupted by such content may either be rebroadcast on tape delay over KTVI's main channel in place of syndicated programs normally shown during overnight timeslots. Station personnel also gives viewers who subscribe to AT&T U-verse, DirecTV, Dish Network and other pay television providers within the KTVI viewing area the option of watching the affected shows on the Fox Now streaming platforms or its cable/satellite video-on-demand service the day after their initial airing. Syndicated programs broadcast by KTVI as of September 2017 include Judge Judy, Rachael Ray, The Wendy Williams Show, Hot Bench, Access, Seinfeld and TMZ on TV.
The only two notable program preemptions that KTVI made as a Fox affiliate - outside of those necessitated by extended breaking news or severe weather coverage, special programming, or other scheduling conflicts - have been that of the secondary Sunday morning NFL pre-game show Fox NFL Kickoff, of which KTVI had declined carriage for the 2015 regular season (the program moved to Fox from Fox Sports 1 in September 2015), with the station's second digital subchannel airing it instead in its network-recommended time slot; KTVI began clearing Fox NFL Kickoff in September 2016. Unlike most of its sister stations under its former New World ownership, KTVI has carried Fox's children's programming. Upon joining the network in August 1995, it opted not to run the Fox Kids weekday and Saturday blocks, instead airing children's programs acquired via syndication on Saturday mornings; starting that September, Fox Kids programming aired locally on religious independent KNLC. However, by the spring of 1996, due to objections to program content and accompanying national advertising, New Life Evangelistic Center/KNLC owner Rev. Larry Rice began refusing to sell local advertising during the Fox Kids weekday and Saturday blocks ceding local advertising slots to air public service messages from Rice's ministry that discussed various controversial moral issues (such as the death penalty, same-sex marriage and abortion). Fox network management objected to the subject matter included in the PSAs being shown during children's programs, and reached an agreement with KTVI to carry Fox Kids starting in September 1996, making it the only New World-owned Fox station to carry the block.
KTVI stopped carrying the Fox Kids weekday block in 2000, although the station retained its Saturday morning lineup (this was despite the fact that Fox gave its affiliates the option to push the weekday block to an earlier afternoon timeslot at that period). Fox discontinued its weekday block nationwide on December 31, 2001, while the Saturday lineup was contracted out to 4Kids Entertainment and relaunched as FoxBox on September 14, 2002. In September 2006, KTVI aired the block (by then, renamed 4Kids TV) two hours earlier than most carrier stations to accommodate the station's Saturday morning newscast. Fox ended its network-supplied children's programming on December 28, 2008, replacing it thereafter with the paid programming block Weekend Marketplace. On September 13, 2014, KTVI began carrying Xploration Station, a live-action educational program block distributed by Steve Rotfeld Productions that is syndicated primarily to Fox stations, on Saturday mornings through an agreement involving Tribune's Fox-affiliated stations.
KTVI became the official "home" station of the St. Louis Rams--which had relocated to the city from Los Angeles in 1995 (with the exception of select primetime telecasts on Thursday, Sunday and Monday nights, KTVI broadcast most of the NFL franchise's road games as well as most sold out home games against other NFC teams). KTVI's status as the team's primary station ended after the 2015 season, as a consequence of NFL team owners voting to approve the Rams' relocation back to Los Angeles effective with the 2016 NFL season, 30-2.
Since 1996, channel 2 also airs any St. Louis Cardinals games that are broadcast via Fox's broadcast contract with Major League Baseball; this included their World Series victories in 2006 and 2011, and its appearance in the 2013 World Series.
KTVI presently broadcasts a combined 63½ hours of locally produced newscasts each week (10½ hours on weekdays and 5½ hours on weekends); in regards to the number of hours devoted to news programming, it is the highest local newscast output among St. Louis's broadcast television stations. KTVI's Sunday 5:00 p.m. newscast is subject to preemption due to network sports coverage, as is standard with Fox stations that carry early evening weekend newscasts (though the Saturday 5:00 p.m. newscast is usually delayed to 6:00 p.m. due to baseball or college football coverage).
As an ABC affiliate, KTVI's newscasts usually placed third in the ratings, behind longtime leader KSDK (channel 5) and KMOV. However, for most of the 1980s and early 1990s, the station fought a spirited battle with KMOX-TV/KMOV for second place. Since 2009, the station's weekday morning newscast has placed first among the newscasts in the St. Louis market during that time period. One of the mainstay evening segments is "You Paid For It" (an investigative segment reported by Elliott Davis that uncovers city government tax abuse; the segment ends by giving the phone number of the office of that municipality's mayor, followed by the signoff "Call and speak your mind: after all, you paid for it").
After joining Fox in August 1995, KTVI increased its news programming output from roughly 30 hours a week to nearly 45 hours. It initially retained a news schedule similar to what it had as an ABC affiliate. All of its existing newscasts were retained, but it expanded its weekday morning newscast from one to three hours (with two hours added from 7:00 to 9:00 a.m.), and bridged the weeknight 5:00 and 6:00 p.m. newscasts into a 90-minute early evening news block (by adding a half-hour newscast at 5:30 to compensate for Fox's lack of a national news program). However, like its Austin sister station KTBC did during its first four years as a Fox station, KTVI did not initially add a prime time newscast at 9:00 p.m. upon switching to the network to compensate for Fox's lack of prime time network programming during that hour; instead, it filled the slot with syndicated programming from the August 1995 switch until September 1996, when it debuted a half-hour 9:00 p.m. newscast; it continued to air syndicated shows during the 9:30 half-hour until the prime time newscast expanded to one hour in September 1999, now leading directly into the 10:00 p.m. newscast (KTVI is one of several Fox stations that offer newscasts in both the final hour of primetime and the traditional late news timeslot, one of the few affiliated with the network that runs a nightly 10:00 p.m. (or 11:00 p.m.) newscast and one of the few to continue its Big Three-era 10:00 p.m. newscast after switching to Fox).
In addition to compensating for the absence of daily national newscasts on Fox's schedule, the expansion of KTVI's news schedule also served to fill timeslots vacated by the departures of Good Morning America and World News Tonight through its discontinuance of the ABC affiliation. KTVI is able to emphasize a broad array of stories from national and local reports, to investigative stories because of its large news programming output. The station also devotes a sizeable portion of its sports coverage to local high school sports (once partnering with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch to produce the now-canceled Prep Sports Show on Saturdays) and was the home of Jeff Fisher's weekly St. Louis Rams review show on Mondays.
For much of the time since it affiliated with Fox until the LMA began, KTVI's 9:00 p.m. newscast had beaten KPLR-TV's own prime time news program in that timeslot. Before Dick Ford retired from the station in December 2005, all four of KTVI's main male anchors (Ford, Tom O'Neal, Dan Gray and John Pertzborn) formerly served as anchors at KSDK. On April 10, 2006, KTVI debuted a new standardized graphics package, logo and news theme (Fox Affiliate News Theme by OSI Music) that was used by Fox's other owned-and-operated stations and select affiliates, during that evening's 9:00 p.m. newscast. A new set and weather center (replacing one built in 1998) was also introduced (the old news desk was donated to Southern Illinois University Carbondale, with the old weather center donated to the University of Missouri-St. Louis). In December 2008, KPLR temporarily relocated its newscasts to KTVI's now-former Clayton-Tamm/Dogtown studios as KPLR's facility was being remodeled to accommodate both KPLR and KTVI's newscasts; KTVI moved production of its newscasts to a temporary set in January 2009, in order for crews dismantle and move the station's existing news set to KPLR's Maryland Heights facility.
On February 15, 2009, KTVI began broadcasting local newscasts in high definition from its new Maryland Heights studio, accompanied by a new graphics package. The set was updated with several elements added to better fit the new graphics and due to the conversion to HD, while removing the city skyline backdrop in favor of a blue background. In January 2010, KTVI expanded its weekday morning newscast to six hours from 4:00 to 10:00 a.m. (despite the expansion, the station retained its 11:00 a.m. newscast). On December 23, 2011, KTVI/KPLR opened a news bureau in the newly renovated Peabody Opera House in downtown St. Louis, to better serve the downtown and eastern portion of the St. Louis metropolitan area.
On January 28, 2015, KTVI/KPLR introduced a new combined set with LED lighting, two video walls (one replacing the weather green screen), and a new anchor desk. Both stations now share the set (but KPLR uses a separate Weather center). They also introduced new graphics and music package for both stations the same day. KTVI became the first station in the Central time zone to launch an 11:00 pm weeknight newscast Hosted by Shirley Washington and Jasmine Huda (formerly of KMOV) the show debuted on January 18, 2016.