Kaiser Broadcasting
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Kaiser Broadcasting
Kaiser Broadcasting Corp.
Private subsidiary
SuccessorField Communications[1]
Founded1957; 62 years ago (1957)[2]
FounderHenry J. Kaiser[1]
Defunct1977; 42 years ago (1977)[1]
  • Oakland, California, U.S.[3]
  • San Francisco, California, U.S.[4]
Key people
  • Richard Block, VP, GM[3]
  • Don B. Curran, President[4]
ParentKaiser Industries[1]
DivisionsKaiser Broadcasting Company[4]
SubsidiariesKaiser-Globe Broadcasting Corp.[3]

The Kaiser Broadcasting Corp. owned and operated broadcast television and radio stations in the United States from 1958 to 1977.[1]


Kaiser's involvement in television broadcasting began when the Henry J. Kaiser Company Ltd., a multi-industrial conglomerate, signed on KHVH-TV in Honolulu, Hawaii (operating on channel 13 at the time), in 1957.[] In 1958 Kaiser purchased Honolulu's KULA-TV[2] and merged it with KHVH, resulting in KULA becoming the new KHVH-TV, which is now KITV.[]

Later in the 1960s, Kaiser explored new opportunities to expand its broadcast holdings on the U.S. mainland. Kaiser secured permits to construct new UHF stations, all of which were in large markets. The first two of these new stations signed-on during 1965: WKBD-TV in Detroit went on the air in January, followed nine months later by WKBS-TV in Burlington, New Jersey, a suburb of Philadelphia. Also that year Kaiser sold KHVH-TV, partially to help fund its mainland expansion.[2]

In December 1966, Kaiser teamed up with the Boston Globe forming WKBG Inc. (later Kaiser-Globe Broadcasting[3]) to purchase WXHR (AM-FM-TV) from Harvey Radio Laboratories.[5] WKBG, WCAS and WJIB were all placed into Kaiser-Globe Broadcasting Corp., 90% ownership by Kaiser Broadcasting and 10% Boston Globe.[3] Kaiser started up two more stations, KBHK-TV in San Francisco and WKBF-TV in Cleveland, within three weeks of each other in January 1968.[2]

In September 1967, the Kaiser Broadcasting Corporation announced plans for live television network operations by 1970.[6]

Although many of Star Trek's third season's episodes were of poor quality, it gave Star Trek enough episodes for television syndication.[7] Most shows require at least four seasons for syndication, because otherwise there are not enough episodes for daily stripping. Kaiser Broadcasting, however, had already purchased syndication rights for Star Trek during the first season for its stations in several large cities. The company arranged the unusual deal because it saw the show as effective counterprogramming against the Big Three networks' 6 pm evening news programs.[8]:138Paramount began advertising the reruns in trade press in March 1969;[9] as Kaiser's ratings were good, other stations, such as WPIX in New York City, also purchased the episodes[10]:91-92 for similar counterprogramming.

KBSC-TV was purchased in 1966. In 1972, the company sold a minority ownership (about 22.5 percent) in some of its broadcasting holdings to Chicago-based Field Communications. Through this exchange, Kaiser also acquired a majority interest in WFLD-TV, Field's Chicago station, and added it to its stable.[2] The Kaiser/Field partnership was named Kaiser Broadcasting Co. (Kaiser Co.) and included KBHK-TV, WFLD-TV, WKBD-TV, WKBS-TV and WKBF-TV.[4]

In 1975, in Cleveland, Kaiser Co. decided to merge WKBF's operations with United Artists-owned WUAB, with Kaiser Co. closing down WKBF and returning its license to the Federal Communications Commission. Kaiser Co. then purchased a minority share of WUAB, but was responsible for programming the station. In Boston, Kaiser/Field bought out the Boston Globe and ended its partnership in WKBG.[2]

In 1977, Kaiser Industries decided to split itself up. It exited television after Field purchased the remainder of Kaiser Broadcasting Corporation's shares in 1977,[1] with the exception of KBSC and WUAB (which were not included and sold to other firms).[2]


The Kaiser Broadcasting group of stations consisted of independent outlets broadcasting on the UHF band. In Detroit, Boston, and Cleveland, Kaiser-owned stations were the first independents in their respective markets. At a time when viewer interest in watching UHF television was still at its infancy, the Kaiser group did its part in attracting audiences by programming aggressively with movies, off-network programs, and children's shows. WKBD in Detroit invested heavily in sports programming, securing rights to carry games of the NBA's Detroit Pistons, the NHL's Detroit Red Wings, and other area college teams early in its history. WKBD also produced The Lou Gordon Program, a topical (and often controversial) talk program that started out locally but was later shown by the entire Kaiser group. (Other non-Kaiser stations, including WCIX in Miami, also carried the program.)[] Perhaps the most elaborate and pioneering program supported throughout its station group and promoted by Kaiser was Della (also known as The Della Reese Show), a 1969-70 talk/variety series, the first long-form national series of the sort to be hosted by an African-American woman, and one of the earliest to be hosted by a woman of any ethnicity.

Former Kaiser stations

Stations are listed in alphabetical order by state and city of license.


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AM Station FM Station


  • (**) - Indicates that a station that was built and/or signed-on by Kaiser.
  • 1 Kaiser purchased the construction permit for KMTW-TV and signed the station on in 1966. This station was not built by Kaiser from the ground-up.
  • 2 Kaiser's Boston stations were co-owned with the Boston Globe through subsidiary Kaiser-Globe Broadcasting Corporation. This joint-venture was in effect from 1966 to 1975.[3]
  • 3 Kaiser co-owned WKBF-TV equally with Frank V. Mavec and Associates[3]
  • 4 Kaiser had minority ownership of WUAB with majority owner United Artists, following the sign-off of WKBF-TV.

See also

External links


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Walters, Donna K. H. (August 4, 1985). "An Empire Fades Away, but Its Legacy Lingers On : Final Chapter Is Being Written for What Once Was West's Greatest Industrial Power". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Wilkinson, Gerry. "WKBS Signoff". Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia. Retrieved 2012.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Group Ownership" (PDF). Broadcasting Yearbook. 1969. Retrieved 2012.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ a b c d "Group Ownership: Kaiser Broadcasting Stations" (PDF). Broadcasting Yearbook: A-34. 1975. Retrieved 2012.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ "Top 50 rule may have breathed its last" (PDF). Broadcasting: 9. October 24, 1966. Retrieved 2012.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ Kellner, C.A. (Spring 1969). "The Rise and Fall of the Overmyer Network". Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media. 13 (2): 125-130. doi:10.1080/08838156909386290. Retrieved .
  7. ^ Teitelbaum, Sheldon (May 5, 1991). "How Gene Roddenberry and his Brain Trust Have Boldly Taken 'Star Trek' Where No TV Series Has Gone Before : Trekking to the Top". Los Angeles Times. Tribune Company. p. 16. Retrieved 2012.
  8. ^ Abbott, Stacey (March 10, 2010). The Cult TV Book. I.B. Tauris. ISBN 978-1-84885-026-2.
  9. ^ "Star Trek Syndication Advertisements, Circa 1969-1970". Television Obscurities. December 15, 2008. Retrieved 2011.
  10. ^ Meehan, Eileen R. (2005). Why TV is not our fault: television programming, viewers, and who's really in control. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 978-0-7425-2486-6.

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