call_letters = KDKA-TV
station_slogan = Your Home (general)
Local News First (news)
station_branding = KDKA (general)
KDKA-TV News (newscasts)
analog = 2 (VHF)
digital = 25 (UHF)
January 11, 1949
callsign_meaning = taken from sister radio station KDKA
former_callsigns = WDTV (1949-1955)
former_channel_numbers = 3 (1949-1952)
licensee = CBS Broadcasting, Inc.
former_affiliations = Primary:
effective_radiated_power = 100 kW (analog)
1000 kW (digital)
HAAT = 295 m (analog)
311 m (digital)
facility_id = 25454
coordinates = coord|40|29|38.5|N|80|1|8.6|W|type:landmark_scale:2000
homepage = [http://www.kdka.com/ www.kdka.com]
KDKA-TV is the
CBSowned and operated (O&O) television stationin Pittsburgh. Its studios are located at One Gateway Center in Downtown Pittsburgh. It broadcasts its analog signal on VHF channel 2, and its digital signal on UHF channel 25 from its transmitter in Pittsburgh. Along with sister station KYW-TV, it is one of two television stations in Pennsylvania that has a callsign starting with a K. Both were former Westinghouse-owned stations.
The station went on the air on
January 11, 1949, as WDTV (W DuMont TeleVision), owned and operated by the DuMont Television Network. It became the first "networked" station briging the gap between the mid-west area stations that showed many shows hosted in Chicago and the east coast stations that had much of its programming from New York. It also boasted being the first full time television station, in March 1952 it was the very first to have a 24/7 program schedule [http://kdka.com/slideshows/KDKA.TV.anniversary.20.687528.html?rid=6] . It originally broadcast on channel 3, moving to channel 2 in 1952 to alleviate interference with WNBK in Cleveland(now WKYC-TV), which for several years was a sister station to KDKA-TV. It was one of the last stations to be granted a construction permit before the Federal Communications Commissionimposed what turned out to be a four-year freeze on new licenses.
At the time, Pittsburgh was the sixth-largest market in the country (behind New York,
Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphiaand Washington). However, WDTV's only competition came from UHF stations, as well as grade B signals from stations in Johnstown, Altoona, Wheeling and Youngstown. Despite its large market size, no other commercial VHF stations signed on in Pittsburgh until 1957 (the only other VHF station in town was educational WQED-TV). This was because the major cities in the Upper Ohio Valley are so close together that they must share the VHF band. After the FCC lifted the license freeze in 1952, it refused to grant any new commercial VHF construction permits to Pittsburgh in order to give the smaller cities in the area a chance to get on the air. At the time, UHF stations were unviewable without a very expensive converter. Even with a converter, the picture quality was marginal at best. UHF stations in the area faced an additional problem because Pittsburgh is located in a somewhat rugged dissected plateau, and UHF stations usually do not get good reception in rugged terrain.
As a result, WDTV had a de facto monopoly on Pittsburgh television. Like its sister stations, WABD in New York (now
WNYW) and WTTGin Washington, it was far stronger than the network as a whole. Owning the only viewable station in such a large market gave DuMont considerable leverage in getting its programs cleared in large markets where it didn't have an affiliate. As CBS, NBCand ABC had secondary affiliations with WDTV, this was a strong incentive to stations in large markets to clear DuMont's programs or risk losing valuable advertising in the sixth-largest market. WDTV aired all DuMont network shows live and cherry-picked the best shows from the other networks, airing them on kinescopeon an every-other-week basis.
WDTV's sign-on was also significant because it was now possible to feed live programs from the East to the Midwest and vice versa. In fact, its second broadcast was the activation of the coaxial cable linking the two regions. It would be another two years before the West Coast received live programming, but this was the beginning of the modern era of network television.
By 1954, DuMont was in serious financial trouble.
Paramount Pictures, which owned a stake in DuMont, vetoed a merger with ABC who had merged with United Paramount Theaters, Paramount's former theater division, a year before. Since the FCChad ruled that Paramount controlled DuMont and there were still lingering questions about whether UPT had actually broken off from DuMont, Paramount didn't want to risk the FCC's wrath.
Desperate for cash, DuMont was forced to sell WDTV to
Westinghouse Electric Corporationfor $9.75 million in late 1954. While the sale gave DuMont a short-term cash infusion, it eliminated DuMont's leverage in getting clearances in other major markets. Within two years, the DuMont network was no more.
Westinghouse had wanted to sign on a television sister station to KDKA radio --the world's oldest radio station--for some time, but when it became obvious the FCC wouldn't grant any VHF construction permits in the near future, it opted to approach DuMont.
After the sale closed in 1955, Westinghouse changed WDTV's calls to KDKA-TV, sistering it to Westinghouse's pioneering radio station KDKA (and later to FM 92.9, now
WLTJ). As such, it became one of the few stations east of the Mississippi with a "K" call sign. KDKA-TV became a primary CBS affiliate, retaining secondary affiliations with NBC until 1957 (when WIIC-TV, now WPXI, signed on) and ABC until 1958 (when WTAE-TVsigned on). It became the flagship station of Westinghouse's broadcasting arm, Group W.
WDTVcalls now reside on a CBS affiliate located 130 miles south in Weston, West Virginia, which is unrelated to the current KDKA-TV. That station, which signed on after KDKA-TV adopted its current call signs, did adopt those calls "in honor" of KDKA-TV.
As a CBS affiliate, KDKA-TV dominated the ratings. It was not uncommon for newscasts anchored by Bill Burns to draw a 50 percent share of audience (or higher). It is still the market leader today, though WTAE and WPXI have closed the gap in recent years.
The station was known from the 1960s through the 1990s to pre-empt CBS programs that received low ratings, usually replaced by locally produced shows, high-rated syndicated programming, and
Pittsburgh Piratesbaseball games. Group W's other stations were known for pre-empting network programming in a similar manner. However, CBS didn't mind, given KDKA's near-absolute dominance of the market.
For example, channel 2 pre-empted or delayed "
As The World Turns" for a large portion of its still-continuing run, most notably in the 1960s (for movies and " The Mike Douglas Show"), "The Marie Torre Show" during the early 1970s, and from 1978 to 1990, where the 2 to 3 P.M. hour usually reserved for the national CBS feed of "ATWT" was replaced by the popular talk program "Pittsburgh 2Day" (Originally titled "Pittsburgh Today" because it started at 1 PM and it was a 90-minute show). On November 22, 1963, as CBS broke into ATWT to report shots fired at President John F. Kennedy's motorcade, KDKA was airing "The Mike Douglas Show" when newscaster Bill Burns broke in with the first bulletin. After "Pittsburgh 2Day"'s cancellation in 1990, KDKA would later give in to pressure from both CBS and "ATWT" fans to air the show. In September 2006, it moved " Guiding Light" from its longtime 3pm slot to 10am placing "Dr. Phil" at 3pm.
Starting in 1993, KDKA stopped running "
CBS This Morning" and instead ran syndicated Disney cartoons, an unusual move for a major-market station. However, only a year later, Westinghouse made a long-term affiliation deal with CBS to convert the entire Group W television unit--KDKA, KYW-TVin Philadelphia, WJZ-TVin Baltimore, WBZ-TVin Boston and KPIX-TVin San Francisco--to CBS affiliation. As part of the deal, in the fall of 1994 channel 2 began running the entire CBS lineup in pattern, with no pre-emptions except in the case of breaking news.
In early 1996, Westinghouse merged with CBS, making KDKA-TV a CBS owned-and-operated station, after four decades as being simply a CBS affiliate.
Viacommerged with CBS in 2000, making KDKA a sister station with Pittsburgh UPN(now The CW) affiliate WNPA-TV (now WPCW). Ironically, in 1994, Viacompurchased Paramount Pictures, which figured so prominently in DuMont's collapse, and in fact had announced plans to launch UPN prior to being acquired by Viacom.
In 2001, KDKA began producing a 10 P.M. newscast on UPN Pittsburgh. KDKA added a two hour morning newscast in 2005 on UPN.
To this day, KDKA-AM/TV is the last heritage television/radio cluster in Pittsburgh.
KDKA is also available on cable in Johnstown, Altoona and Wheeling, as well as several other out-of-market cable systems in northwestern
Pennsylvania, northwestern Marylandand North-Central West Virginia.
From 1965 to 2003, KDKA's logo was a stylized "2" in the font made famous by Group W. It retired the font in 2003 in favor of a much plainer logo similar to that of sister station
KCBS-TVin Los Angeles. In 2005, it adopted the logo seen above, which is virtually identical to that of WBBM-TVin Chicago. However, it has not come into complete compliance with the CBS Mandateas of 2008 as several Pittsburgh viewers have protested the idea of KDKA being called "CBS 2". WCCO-TVin Minneapolis, WBZ-TVin Boston, WWJ-TVin Detroitand WJZ-TVin Baltimorealso do not follow any form of the mandate.
In August 2007, KDKA revealed a new image campaign, entitled "Your Home", with music and lyrics performed by singer-songwriter
Bill Deasy. The promo features scenes of Pittsburgh and its surrounding areas, as well as three of the station's personalites. In September 2007, the station unveiled another promo featuring the Joe Grusheckysong "Coming Home." Later, a third spot was introduced, called "Long Way Home," and features the voice of Kelsey Friday. [cite web |url= http://postgazette.com/pg/07236/811615-238.stm|title= TV Q&A with Rob Owen/KDKA's Image Campaign|accessdate=2007-08-27 |work=post-gazette.com]
Digital Broadcast Signal
As of November 2007, KDKA currently uses one of its three designated digital broadcast signals over the airwaves [DTV Ch 25 / 2.1 -- Main Format: 1080i, DD2.0] which will broadcast in HD when programming permits. No information is currently available about plans for use of 2.2 or 2.3.
After the analog television shutdown and digital conversion, which is tentatively scheduled to take place on
February 17, 2009, http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-07-138A2.pdf] KDKA will continue digital broadcasts on its current pre-transition channel number, 25. [http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/ws.exe/prod/cdbs/forms/prod/cdbsmenu.hts?context=25&appn=101231572&formid=387&fac_num=39746 CDBS Print ] ] However, through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers will display KDKA's virtual channelas 2.
Hometown High-Q": Saturdays at 11 A.M. - "quiz bowl" format show with three teams composed of local high school students
KDKA Sports Showdown": Sundays at 11:35 P.M. - sports talk show
*"KD/PG Sunday Edition": Sundays at 8:30 A.M. - public affairs programming
*"The Lynne Hayes-Freeland Show": Sundays at 6 A.M. - public affairs programming
*"Pittsburgh Today Live": 9:00 - 10:00 A.M. - Kristine Sorensen and Jon Burnett are the hosts, with weather from Dennis Bowman; local general interest program
*"The Sunday Business Page": Sundays at 6:30 A.M. - public affairs programming
KDKA presently offers seven-and-a-half hours of live news each weekday, collectively, on channels 2 and 19 (
WPCW). On Saturdays, news is broadcast four-and-a-half hours per day, and there is 90 minutes of news each Sunday. KDKA-TV also airs the Pennsylvania Lotterytelevised nighttime drawings live 7 nights a week at 6:59 P.M. and the live Powerballdrawing at 10:59 P.M. on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
*"The Free-Care Fund" - (Holiday Season)- yearly pledge drive
*"The Hines Ward Show" - (during the
NFLseason) - Saturdays at 11:35 P.M. - Bob Pompeani, Hines Ward, Jim Lokay and a rotating member of the Pittsburgh Steelers
*"Hometown Holiday Lights" - Series aired over the news.
Contestbetween localfamilies with christmasdisplays at their residence.
*"Steelers Trivia Challenge" - Sundays at 12:00 A.M. - Bob Pompeani hosts a "quiz bowl" format, modeled after "Hometown High-Q", with three teams composed of three Pittsburgh Steelers fans who answer team-related trivia questions
Evening Magazine" (1976-1990)
*"The Jerome Bettis Show" (1998-2005)
*"Pittsburgh 2Day" (1978-1990)
Pittsburgh Piratesbaseball" (1957-1994)
*"Wake Up With Larry Richert"
Over the past decade, Pittsburgh has been a perennially competitive market for local news, with news ratings usually differing by less than a full ratings point. More recently, however,KDKA has taken a modest lead in most dayparts and continues to be the market leader for local news, with the largest audiences for the newscasts at noon, 4, 5, 6 and 11 P.M., according to the Nielsen May 2008 ratings period. Also during this period, KDKA trailed WTAE-TV and WPXI during the morning hours and the KDKA-produced 10 P.M. news was second to WPXI's newscast on WPGH. [cite web |url=http://www.post-gazette.com/popup.asp?
|title=TV News Ratings: May 2008 |accessdate=2008-06-20 |work=post-gazette.com] [cite web |url=http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08144/884130-42.stm|http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08144/884130-42.stm|title=Tuned In: KDKA wins sweeps; WPXI most improved |accessdate=2008-06-20 |work=post-gazette.com]
*"The Esso Reporter"– - used until 1966
Eyewitness News" - used until 1996; news format inspired by KYW
*"KDKA-TV News" - used in accompany with "Hometown Advantage" from 1996-2005; and "Local News First" from 2005-present
*1980-81: "Pittsburgh's Here 2 You, We're Looking Good" (customized vesion of the CBS campaign, incorporating KDKA's Here 2 You campaign)
*1983: "Renaissance Two" (used to promote KDKA's newscasts)
*1985-86: "We've Got the Touch on TV-2" (customized version of the CBS campaign)
*1989-90: "Get Ready, its KD and You" (customized version of the CBS campaign, incorporated with the KD & You promotion)
*1980s: "You're in KD Country"
*Early-mid 1990s: "Always Taking the Lead"
*1990s-2005: "The Hometown Advantage"
*2005-2007: "Local News First"
*2007-Present: "Your Home"
Christina Aguileramade her first TV appearance on KDKA-TV.
*In the early 1980s
Dennis Millerhosted "The Trolley Show", a Saturday-afternoon newsmagazinefor teenagers on KDKA. [http://www.comedy-zone.net/standup/comedian/m/miller-dennis.htm] He also produced humorous essays for the syndicated " PM Magazine" television program.
*KDKA is credited with the first "network" TV feed in world history. Fact|date=April 2008
*The station had the world's first father-daughter broadcast team. Beginning in the 1970s, KDKA's noon news broadcast was anchored by veteran Pittsburgh anchorman Bill Burns and his daughter Patti Burns, often referred to as the "Patti and Daddy show."
*The station is only one of two television stations east of the
Mississippi River(the other being KYW-TV) whose call letters begin with "K."
*KDKA is one of only five CBS O&O stations (in addition to WCCO in Minneapolis, WWJ in Detroit, WJZ in Baltimore, and WBZ in Boston) that doesn't use the "
CBS Mandate" for the on-air name (CBS [channel #] [city/market descriptor] ).
*KDKA has aired the
Pennsylvania Lotterydrawings in the Pittsburgh market since 1980 following an incident where WTAE personality Nick Perry, who called the lottery drawings for the Pennsylvania Lottery, fixed the PA Lottery's Daily Number so that the drawing could come up as "666". [http://www.tubecityonline.com/history/perry_fr.html]
*KDKA uses a variation of the VIPIR system for its radar.
*It once carried Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune in the 5pm hour back in the '80s. They've been on WPXI since 1987, airing in the prime access hour.
*KDKA now uses the
WeatherBugNetwork as part of its weather forecasts. It also relies upon AccuWeather.
* [http://www.kdka.com/ KDKA-TV Homepage]
* [http://www.pbrtv.com/pbrtvtv.html Pittsburgh Television history page]
* [http://www.nb.net/~schaefer/tv1103.htm Article on early Pittsburgh Television]
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