Saturday, June 28, 2008

KDKA-TV, channel 2 (DTV 25), the first "networked" station, and the heir to a claim of the first television broadcast -AND- KDKA (AM) AM 1020, first..

KDKA is the callsign of two broadcast stations in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA:
KDKA (AM) AM 1020, the first commercially licensed radio station in the United States.
KDKA-TV, channel 2 (DTV 25), the first "networked" station, and the heir to a claim of the first television broadcast.

KDKA-TV is the CBS owned and operated (O&O) television station in 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 K call signed television stations in Pennsylvania.


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 [1]. 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 Commission imposed 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, Philadelphia and 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 WTTG in 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, NBC and 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 kinescope on 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 FCC had 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 Corporation for $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 (AM) (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-TV signed on). It became the flagship station of Westinghouse's broadcasting arm, Group W. (The WDTV calls now reside on a CBS affiliate in Weston, West Virginia, which is unrelated to the current 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 Pirates baseball 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-TV in Philadelphia, WJZ-TV in Baltimore, WBZ-TV in Boston and KPIX-TV in 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. Viacom merged with CBS in 2000, making KDKA a sister station with Pittsburgh UPN (now The CW) affiliate WNPA-TV (now WPCW). Ironically, in 1994, Viacom purchased 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 Maryland and North-Central West Virginia.

CBS 2?
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-TV in Los Angeles. In 2005, it adopted the logo seen above, which is virtually identical to that of WBBM-TV in Chicago. However, it has not fallen into complete compliance with the CBS Mandate as of 2008 as several Pittsburgh viewers have protested the idea of KDKA being called "CBS 2".
WCCO-TV in Minneapolis, WBZ-TV in Boston, WWJ-TV in Detroit and WJZ-TV in Baltimore also do not follow any form of the mandate.

Image Campaign
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 Grushecky song "Coming Home". Later, a third spot was introduced, called "Long Way Home," and features the voice of Kelsey Friday. [1]

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.

When I think of Pittsburgh Sports, Bob Pompeani definitely comes to mind as the everyday media representative of the strong love of Pittsburgh teams and the world of sports.
Moreover, Bob Pompeani is a consummate gentleman, "guy's-guys" and yet cultured and well rounded and quite the conversationalist. Bob's passion for community and non-for-profits like Partners for Quality, Inc. (PFQ)/Citizen Care seems to even trump his passion for living and delivering sports.

Valerie Abati joined KDKA-TV in September 2007 - KDKA Meteorologist Valerie Abati's "Wednesday Weather Whys"

Sonni Abatta anchors the KDKA-TV Morning News on KDKA and Pittsburgh's CW and KDKA-TV News at Noon. ... Sonni Abatta. Sonni joined the KDKA News Team in June of 2003 ...

Keith Jones and Sonni Abatta

Keith Jones joined KDKA-TV in September of 2005 as KDKA's morning anchor alongside Sonni Abatta. ... Keith comes to KDKA from WOWK-TV Charleston/Huntington ...

Alison Morris joined KDKA-TV in September of 2005 as a general assignment reporter appearing weekdays on the morning and noon news, as well as in the 4pm newscast.
Alison began her career writing for the Wall Street Journal Europe in Paris and broke into broadcast as CNBC's Paris Markets Correspondent where she covered the CAC-40 and French Economics for CNBC Europe. She also provided daily pan-European updates for CNBC's Wake-Up Call and Squawk Box programs. While in Paris, she developed a reputation among the business community for breaking news, and was the first journalist to report France Telecom's buyout of Wanadoo in the spring of 2004.

Stephanie Watson joined the KDKA-TV News Team in September of 2006. She currently co-anchors the weekend evening news alongside Don Cannon. During the week, Stephanie also reports for the early and late evening broadcasts.Watson comes to KDKA after working as a morning/noon anchor at the Southwest Florida NBC affiliate WBBH. She started her on-air career at the ABC affiliate in Beaumont, Texas. There she earned the 2002 Outstanding Media of Crime Victims' Issues in Hardin County, Texas.In between her anchoring positions, Stephanie was an on-air radio talent for KAYD in in Beaumont, Texas. She also pulled double duty as their news director for all five of the Cumulus Broadcasting's radio stations in that market.But television will always be her first love. She started in TV working behind the scenes for "Entertainment Tonight." She went on to work as an associate producer for two other nationally syndicated shows-- "Hard Copy" and "Extra."
Moreover, even though Stephanie Watson is a "transplant" she defintely enhances the Pittsburgh community when lending her "extra" star-power to local events such as Kennedy Township and Ohio Valley General Hospital’s 27th Annual 5K Community Run ... ... ... ....

Best of Pittsburgh's RUSTED Roses,
P.S. Courtney Friel for a Saturday = A+++ +++ +++ +++
Saturday, June 28, 2008 10:51 AM
From: "John French"
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Courtney, honey-pie, you own these headline deliveries inbetween Bulls & Bears and Cavuton on Business = = = And, YOU LOOK TOTALLY AMAZINGLY SIZZLING SMOKING RED HOT ===

Courtney Friel for a Saturday = A+++ +++ +++ +++

Best of the Roses, John French


Anonymous said...

I found your blog post to be very interesting! I also enjoy learning new fun facts about the entertainment industry!

john b said...

nice info on the KDKA staff enjoyed it!