KFOR-TV, virtual channel 4 (digital channel 27), is the NBC-affiliated television station in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. KFOR-TV is owned by Local TV, a subsidiary of the private equity group Oak Hill Capital Partners, in a duopoly with MyNetworkTV affiliate KAUT-TV (channel 43); its studios are located at 444 East Britton Road in Oklahoma City, along U.S. 77, east of the Britton section of Oklahoma City; its transmitter facility is located at 1400 E. Britton Road, across the street from the studios of ABC affiliate KOCO-TV (channel 5).
|Oklahoma City, Oklahoma|
|Branding||Oklahoma's NewsChannel 4,
NewsChannel 4 HD K4 (alternate; used occasionally)
|Channels||Digital: 27 (UHF)|
Antenna TV (DT2)
|Owner||Local TV, LLC
(Local TV Oklahoma License, LLC)
|First air date||June 6, 1949|
|Call letters' meaning||Refers to former analog channel (and current virtual channel), 4|
|Former callsigns||WKY-TV (1949-1976)
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
4 (VHF, 1949-2009)
|Former affiliations||All secondary:|
|Transmitter power||790 kW|
|Transmitter coordinates||35°35′52.1″N 97°29′23.2″W|
The station broadcasts its digital signal on UHF digital channel 27, using its former analog VHF channel assignment of 4 as its virtual channel via PSIP. KFOR also carries the 24-hour weather channel "4Warn 24/7", an affiliate of NBC Plus, on digital subchannel 4.2 and Cox digital channel 247. KFOR-TV also operates four translator stations serving northwestern Oklahoma and can also be seen on several cable systems across the state.
On cable, KFOR-TV can be seen on channel 4 in standard definition and channel 704 in high definition on Cox Oklahoma City, making it the only station in the Oklahoma City market to have a cable channel number matching its over-the-air virtual digital channel; and is also seen on channel 4 on other Cox systems in Central Oklahoma. The station is received on cable as far away as Guymon, Oklahoma, which is technically part of the Amarillo market and Idabel, Oklahoma, which is technically part of the Shreveport-Texarkana market.
The station signed on June 6, 1949 as WKY-TV, owned by the Oklahoma Publishing Company, publishers of the Daily Oklahoman, along with WKY radio. The station was affiliated with the four major networks at the time (NBC, ABC, CBS and DuMont). It is Oklahoma's first television station, having signed on a few months before KOTV in Tulsa. Channel 4 took a primary affiliation with NBC due to WKY radio's association with NBC Radio. The station's original studios were located at the Municipal Auditorium (now the Civic Center Music Hall) in downtown Oklahoma City, with local programming broadcast from the Little Theatre.
Due to an FCC-imposed freeze on station licenses, WKY-TV was the only Oklahoma City television station until 1953 when KTVQ (channel 25, now KOKH-TV) signed on, taking an ABC affiliation. Later that year KWTV (channel 9) debuted as a primary CBS affiliate. WKY-TV continued as a dual NBC/DuMont affiliate until the DuMont network shut down in 1956. KTVQ closed its operations that year as well, and channel 4 picked up ABC once again. In 1958, ABC station KGEO (channel 5) was moved from Enid into Oklahoma City, becoming KOCO-TV, and that allowed WKY-TV to become an exclusive NBC affiliate.
In 1954, when NBC became the first television network to broadcast color programs, WKY-TV subsequently followed as one of the very first local TV stations in the U.S. to broadcast its own color programming many years ahead of most other local stations nationwide, most of whom did not follow suit until the mid-1960s.
On September 8, 1954, not long before he left for rival KWTV, meteorologist Harry Volkman delivered the first tornado warning broadcast on television. WKY-TV station management believed that the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) ban on broadcasting tornado warnings (the FCC feared broadcasting such warnings would cause panic) was responsible for heavy loss of life, such as in the Flint-Worcester tornado outbreak sequence, a year earlier. The station's management figured that giving advanced warning on such storms would save lives. The station bootlegged a Tornado Forecast from Tinker Air Force Base (which was first produced in 1948), in order to warn people of a tornado in the Oklahoma City area. Survivors sent letters of thanks following the storm to WKY-TV and Volkman for the advance warning.In 1966, WKY-TV became the originating studio for country music singer Buck Owens' half-hour syndicated program, The Buck Owens Ranch Show. The show was in its first season packaged by two Oklahoma City businessmen, brothers Bud and Don Mathis (Bud actually played a character on the show, that of the "ranch foreman," who joked and bantered with Owens). Regular acts who appeared on the show included Owens' band, the Buckaroos, Kay Adams, the Hager Twins, Susan Raye, and Owens' sons Buddy Alan and Mike. The show should not be confused with Owens' later Hee Haw, whose producers forced Owens to discontinue production on Ranch in 1973 due to duplication of musical material on both programs. At its height, the show was seen in over 100 markets throughout the U.S. and was perhaps the most successful of its kind not produced in Nashville, Tennessee, where the overwhelming majority of country music, and television programs featuring it, has historically originated from. In 1972, news director Ernie Schultz hired Pam Henry and she became the first female television reporter in Oklahoma. While at WKY she became the first female to anchor a news broadcast in Oklahoma. She had contracted polio at age 14 months and had been the national Poster Child for the March of Dimes in 1959. She had a 30-year career in television news despite walking on crutches.
Over the years, Oklahoma Publishing acquired several other television and radio stations, including WSFA in Montgomery, Alabama (in 1955), WTVT in Tampa, Florida (in 1956), WVTV in Milwaukee (in 1966), KHTV in Houston (launched in 1967), and KTVT in Fort Worth (in 1971). WKY-TV was its flagship outlet, and Oklahoma Publishing called its television subsidiary the WKY Television System. When the FCC disallowed same market co-ownership of newspapers and broadcast licenses in the early 1970s, the combination of the Daily Oklahoman and WKY-AM-TV was grandfathered under the new rule. But in 1976, WKY-TV was sold to Universal Communications, a subsidiary of the Detroit-based Evening News Association. Universal Communications changed channel 4's call letters to KTVY after the sale was finalized. Oklahoma Publishing retained WKY radio, and its television group was rechristened Gaylord Broadcasting, after the family which owned the company.
During the KTVY years, it aired one-hour edited replays of Oklahoma Sooners football games co-hosted by then-head coach Barry Switzer. This program was also syndicated on other stations, like KDOC in Orange County, California, at the same time that OU was challenging the NCAA's rules restricting the number of college football telecasts. The United States Supreme Court lifted the restrictions in 1984.
The Gannett Company bought the Evening News Association in 1986. Gannett had owned KOCO-TV since 1979, and FCC rules of the time forced Gannett to sell KTVY (along with CBS affiliate KOLD-TV (channel 13) in Tucson, Arizona and NBC affiliate WALA-TV (channel 10, now a Fox affiliate) in Mobile, Alabama) to Knight-Ridder Broadcasting after just one day of ownership. In 1989, Knight-Ridder sold all of its broadcasting properties to separate buyers as part of a plan to reduce an accumulated $929 million debt, with KTVY going to Palmer Communications, owner of fellow NBC affiliate WHO-TV (channel 13) in Des Moines, Iowa (and former owner of what is today KWQC-TV in Davenport) in September of that year. Palmer changed the station's call letters to the current KFOR-TV on April 22, 1990. In 1991, Palmer Communications attempted to sell KFOR-TV to Hughes Broadcasting Partners, along with WHO-TV/AM and WLYF-FM in Des Moines; the sale was later aborted. The New York Times Company purchased the two stations in 1996.
KFOR-TV eventually became the first station in the country to introduce color Doppler weather radar and in the 1990s, becoming the first television station to broadcast pictures and video of severe weather via cell phones. On the evening of June 13, 1998, a severe thunderstorm which produced several tornadoes in northern sections of Oklahoma City (including one that caused minor damage to the Frontier City amusement park and the studios of KOCO-TV, more than a block away from KFOR), destroyed the old WKY-AM-TV tower, located not far from KFOR-TV's studios. The collapse of the tower, which was used as an auxiliary tower for KFOR-TV and WKY-AM, was caught on tape by KWTV through a camera on the station's tower.
On September 13, 2006, The New York Times Company announced that it plans to sell off its television stations, including KFOR. On January 4, 2007, the New York Times Company entered into an agreement to sell the stations to affiliates of the private equity group Oak Hill Capital Partners. On May 7, 2007, KFOR officially became part of Local TV LLC.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
KFOR-DT broadcasts on digital channel 27.
|4.1||KFOR-DT||main KFOR-TV programming/NBC HD|
|4.2||4WARN 24/7||Local and national weather information
(to be Antenna TV in May 2011)
KFOR became the first television station in Oklahoma City (and the state of Oklahoma) to launch an over-the-air digital signal in June 1999. NBC Weather Plus was offered on digital subchannel 4.2; branded as "4WARN 24/7," it was one of the few Weather Plus affiliates not using the "Weather Plus" name on the subchannel or in the station's main weather branding, and was not simulcast on KFOR or NBC WX+'s websites, unlike most NBC affiliates that carried the service; the national NBC WX+ network is defunct as of December 1, 2008.
On December 29, the channel was revamped as an affiliate of NBC Plus, utilizing the same graphics as Weather Plus (and is now a computer-updated loop of regional satellite/radar images, current temperatures, and national daily forecasts), with the 4WARN Storm Team logo (replacing the Weather Plus logo) and without the national on-camera meteorologist segments (though the local OCM segments remain). It also airs FCC-mandated "E/I" programming on weekend mornings (featuring syndicated children's programs carried by sister station KAUT-TV).
In May 2011 KFOR-TV will add Antenna TV, a new 24-hour digital general entertainment and movie channel owned by Tribune Company, to its digital signal. The channel will be carried on digital channel 4.2, replacing "4WARN 24/7" programming.
KFOR-TV discontinued regular analog programming on June 12, 2009.  The station remained on its pre-transition channel 27, using PSIP to display KFOR-TV's virtual channel as 4.
KFOR-TV currently carries all of NBC's network programming offerings. Current syndicated programming includes Rachael Ray, Swift Justice with Nancy Grace, Inside Edition and Jeopardy!, with CSI: Miami, Criminal Minds and NUMB3RS (the latter two also air on sister station KAUT) on weekends. Currently, Jeopardy! airs on KFOR-TV (it had previously aired on KWTV until 1999). Wheel of Fortune, on the other hand, airs on rival ABC affiliate KOCO-TV (Oklahoma City is one of the few media markets to carry Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune on separate television stations). Interestingly despite being an NBC affiliate, a decent proportion of the aforementioned syndicated programming is distributed by CBS Television Distribution.
News operationKFOR-TV airs 32½ hours of local news each week (with five hours on weekdays, two hours on Saturdays and 3½ hours on Sundays), second to KWTV in the most hours of local news in the Oklahoma City area. The station also produces 12½ hours of local news a week for sister station KAUT. The newscasts feature a balance of "serious" issues (such as politics, government, crime, the economy and investigative reports), special-interest stories and other lighter fare. On election nights, KFOR-TV runs a special extended edition of its 10 p.m. newscast to cover election results. KFOR-TV's newscasts are well known in Oklahoma City for the longevity of its anchors, and based on that experience and serious coverage, it has become one of the most-watched newscasts in the Oklahoma City area.
The station has three radar systems: "4WARN StormTracker", "4WARN Storm Scanner" (formerly "4WARN SkyTracker") and "4WARN Doppler". KFOR-TV has the characteristic of being only one of two stations in the state with two doppler radars (along with KJRH in Tulsa), and has the most powerful Doppler radar in Oklahoma at 1 million watts of power (located near Newcastle). The station also uses a news helicopter "Chopper 4" to cover breaking news and track severe weather. On May 3, 1999, during wall-to-wall coverage of what became the prolific 1999 Oklahoma Tornado Outbreak, the helicopter caught footage of a destructive F5 tornado that tore through parts of Central Oklahoma from Amber to Midwest City which resulted in extensive damage and 44 fatalities. Video of the chopper's footage from 1999 has been used since in promos for Chopper 4. The helicopter was remodeled and renamed "Bob Moore Chopper 4" in January 2010, after entering a brand licensing agreement with Bob Moore Auto Group (a prominent local car dealership franchise); on March 11, 2010 it became the first news helicopter in Oklahoma to broadcast images in high definition to the viewer (KWTV's SkyNews9 HD also uses an HD camera but did not air images in HD until KWTV upgraded its news broadcasts to HD in October 2010).
One of the station's principal anchors, Linda Cavanaugh, has been with the station since 1978, is currently the longest-tenured of KFOR-TV's on-air news staff. The Barrys and the Ogles are the prominent faces at KFOR. Kevin and Kent Ogle are two of three sons of the late Jack Ogle, who was the station's main news anchor during most of the WKY era and early KTVY years (a period that also included prominent anchor/reporters George Tomek, Ernie Schultz and Jerry Adams). His other son, Kelly, ironically is evening co-anchor at rival CBS affiliate KWTV. Kevin Ogle is co-anchor of the 6, 6:30 and 10 p.m. newscasts, while brother Kent is co-anchor of the morning news on weekdays and sole anchor of the noon newscast. Sportscaster Bob Barry, who was sports anchor for the 5 and 6 p.m. newscasts until he retired from television in 2008, had been a fixture at KFOR since the 1960s and remains the longtime radio voice of the Oklahoma Sooners. His son Bob Barry Jr. is currently the station's sports director and weeknight sports anchor (assuming his father's duties at 5 and 6 p.m. in 2008). Mike Morgan has served as KFOR's chief meteorologist since 1993 and had previously worked at rival ABC affiliate KOCO-TV and Tulsa NBC affiliate KJRH, where former KFOR meteorologist Dan Threlkeld is now chief meteorologist. For many years, the station's chief meteorologist was Jim Williams (1958-1990), who was among the few on-air personalities to work at Channel 4 under all three callsigns: WKY, KTVY and KFOR.
After the call change to KFOR-TV in 1990, the station began using a 24 Hour News Source format which featured one-minute cut-ins outside of regular newscasts near the top of every hour, even during NBC network programming (except Today where local updates were provided at :25 and :55 minutes past the hour during the show otherwise). For several years during the 1990s, the updates were also aired during the overnight hours with producers and other newsroom personnel anchoring. By 2004, the news updates were relegated to airing only during the daytime and early late night hours; and in the summer of 2006, KFOR discontinued nearly all of its hourly news updates, except for twice a day in the afternoon, which now basically serve as promos for the early evening newscasts instead of offering news updates unless breaking news occurs.
The station became the first station in the market to offer weekend morning newscasts, beginning in 1992; for much of the time since then, the newscasts have been anchored by Tara Blume, and continue to be anchored by Blume today. The station added a 4:30 p.m. newscast in 1994, originally titled "First News at 4:30", before being renamed NewsChannel 4 at 4:30 by 1996; the station later debuted a 6:30 p.m. newscast in 1996.
In 1993, the station debuted the Sunday morning political talk show Flash Point, focusing on state and national political issues; it is currently moderated by weeknight anchor Kevin Ogle with Mike Turpin and former Oklahoma City mayor Kirk Humphreys as panelists. One of the station's most popular segments is Is This a Great State or What?, featuring Oklahoma's most interesting people and stories. Debuting in 1991, it airs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 6:30 (until 2008, it aired on the 5 p.m. newscast, then briefly moved to the 6 p.m. newscast) and is hosted by Galen Culver (husband of weekend morning anchor Tara Blume). In January 2009, KFOR began airing the Great State segments in high definition, though its newscasts did not make the switch to HD until seven months later. The Rant with Kevin Ogle (airing Monday-Thursdays during the 10 p.m. newscast), began in 2006 and similar to brother Kelly Ogle's My Two Cents segment on KWTV, features viewer comments via e-mail (and since 2008, also via voicemail) on selected news stories, with the Thursday edition being an "Open Topic" forum featuring viewer comments on various subjects.
On June 5, 2006, KFOR-TV launched a weeknightly half-hour 9 p.m. newscast on sister station KAUT, to compete against Fox affiliate KOKH's 9 p.m. newscast, which launched ten years earlier. On September 8, 2008, KFOR-TV launched a two-hour extension of its weekday morning newscast on KAUT. On July 11, 2009 starting with its 10 p.m. newscast, KFOR-TV became the second station in Oklahoma (after fellow NBC affiliate KJRH in Tulsa) and the first commercial television station in Oklahoma City to produce and broadcast its local programming in high definition, upgraded its master control and installed a character generator that allows the station to place 16:9 weather and news crawls over its programming.
In Your Corner
Since 1973, KFOR-TV has featured its In Your Corner investigative reports, which help people solve various problems with businesses who have ripped people off. Then-anchor Brad Edwards began In Your Corner in 1973, and did the segment until a few months prior his death in 2006 after suffering an aneurysm and falling into a coma, which came after he had been diagnosed with endocarditis and vasculitis, which is inflammation of the heart and blood vessels caused by a bacterial infection. Lance West, Ali Meyer, Cherokee Ballard and Scott Hines covered stories on a rotating basis. In 2007, Hines was named as sole IYC reporter.
KFOR-TV has waged a high-spirited battle with its rival KWTV in the Oklahoma City metro area for decades. It had recently run second in the news ratings behind KWTV in the morning and late news time periods and KOCO at 5:00 and 6:00 p.m. Nielsen, which compiles ratings for television stations around the country, later found an error in KFOR's ratings that sent digital viewers to KFOR's 4.1 digital multicast. This error was corrected in September 2008, and KFOR's corrected ratings show that it is currently #2 in morning, noon and night, a rarity given the state of the NBC network and associated local news ratings.
- News Room (1950s)
- WKY-TV News (1960s-1970s)
- Channel 4 News (1970s)
- NewsCenter 4 (1970s–1980)
- Action 4 (1980–1984)
- KTVY News 4
- News 4 Oklahoma (1984–1990)
- NewsTeam 4 (1990–1992)
- (Oklahoma's) NewsChannel 4 (1992–2017)
- Oklahoma's News 4 (2017–present)
- Oklahoma's Leading News Station
- Oklahoma City's Leading News Station (?–1979)
- We're 4 Oklahoma (1979–1980)
- Action 4, Proud as a Peacock! (1979-1981; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
- It's a New 4 (1980–1982)
- Action 4, Our Pride is Showing (1981-1982; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
- We're Action 4, Just Watch Us Now (1982-1983; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
- Action 4 There, Be There (1983-1984; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
- 4's the One (1984–1987)
- Come Home to Channel 4 (1986-1987; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
- Going All Out 4 Oklahoma (1987–1990)
- Come on Home to Channel 4 (1987-1988; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
- Come Home to the Best, Only on Channel 4 (1988-1990; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
- 4 Strong: The Strength of Oklahoma (1990–1992)
- Oklahoma's News Channel (1992–1994)
- Where The News Comes First (24 Hours a Day) (1994–1997)
- Expect The News First (1997–2001)
- The News Leader (2013–?)
- The Weather Leader (2013–present; weather slogan)
- Looking Out 4 You (?–present)
Current on-air staff (as of April 6, 2011)
- Meg Alexander - weeknights at 5 and 6:30 p.m.; also fill-in 4:30 p.m. anchor and reporter
- Tara Blume - weekend mornings; also reporter
- Linda Cavanaugh - weekdays at 4:30, weeknights at 6, 9 (on KAUT) and 10 p.m.; also reporter
- Ed Doney - Sundays at 5 and 10 p.m.; also weeknight reporter and fill-in anchor
- Ali Meyer - weekday mornings (5-7 a.m.); also investigative reporter
- Bobbie Miller - Saturdays at 6 and 10 p.m.
- Kent Ogle - weekday mornings (5-7 a.m.) and noon; also reporter
- Kevin Ogle - weeknights at 6, 6:30 and 10 p.m.; also reporter and 4:30 p.m. statewide newsreader
- Lance West - weekday mornings (7-9 a.m. on KAUT) and weeknights at 5 p.m.; also reporter
4WARN Storm Team In addition to providing forecasts on KFOR-TV, the 4WARN Storm Team provides forecasts for its 4WARN 24/7 weather channel on digital channel 4.2 and Cox Digital Cable channel 247, and on KTOK, KEBC, KBRU, KXY, KTST, and KJYO radio.
- Mike Morgan (AMS member; NWA member) - chief meteorologist; weekdays at 4:30, 5, 6, 6:30, 9 (on KAUT) and 10 p.m.
- Troy Christensen (AMS member) - meteorologist; Wednesdays-Fridays at noon and weekend mornings
- David Payne (NWA and AMS Seals of Approval) - meteorologist; weekday mornings (5-7 a.m. on KFOR, 7-9 a.m. on KAUT) and Mondays-Tuesdays at noon
- Emily Sutton - meteorologist; Sundays at 5, Saturdays at 6 and weekends at 10 p.m.
- Bob Barry, Jr. - sports director; weeknights at 5, 6 and 10 p.m., also "Friday Night Heroes" and "Friday Sports Overtime" host
- Brian Brinkley - sports anchor; Sundays at 5, Saturdays at 6 and weekends at 10 p.m.; also sports reporter
- Carson Cunningham - sports reporter
- Matt Reese - sports reporter; also fill-in sports anchor
- Joleen Chaney - general assignment reporter; also fill-in anchor
- Galen Culver - "Is This A Great State or What?" feature reporter
- Ashton Edwards - "Frugal Fridays" feature reporter (daughter of late investigative reporter Brad Edwards)
- Shane Faulkner - managing editor
- Jim Gardner - "Bob Moore Chopper 4" pilot reporter
- Scott Hines - investigative reporter ("In Your Corner")
- Marika Lorraine - general assignment reporter
- Adam Mertz - general assignment reporter
- Chellie Mills - general assignment reporter; also fill-in anchor
- Ian Parker - general assignment reporter
- Mike "Road King" Rogers - "Time Saver Traffic" reporter, seen weekday mornings
- Sarah Stewart - freelance reporter (previously reporter from 2001-2006)
- Jesse Wells - general assignment reporter
- Kevin Ogle - "Flash Point" moderator
- Kirk Humphreys - "Flash Point" commentator
- Mike Turpen - "Flash Point" commentator; also political analyst
"2 Movie Guys" (also seen on KAUT-TV)
- Lucas Ross
- Ryan Bellgardt
Notable former on-air staff
^[D] - Deceased
KFOR has used its "Split 4" logo, a stylized dye-cut, italic "4" logo sectioned in three parts, since the 1990 callsign change from KTVY to KFOR-TV—the logo is one of the longest-used numeric logo in Oklahoma City television history - (Only KWTV's current "9" logo has been around longer - by 2 years). The logo's color changed from yellow to light blue on August 8, 2008, the first day of NBC's coverage of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, the first major modification to the logo since 1994, when the logo became one-dimensional and was slightly slimmed down.
Its previous logo, which was used from 1979 until 1990, was a tri-lined "4", similar to the logo currently used by ABC affiliate WTAE in Pittsburgh, which consisted of three thinner multi-colored lines until the late 1980s when the logo became solid and was overlaid on blue and red circles.
KFOR's studios are located at 444 East Britton Road. The transmitter facility is located across the street from KOCO-TV at 1400 E. Britton Road. The phone number is 405-424-4444.
- ^ http://www.fybush.com/sites/2004/site-040129.html
- ^ http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-06-1082A2.pdf
- ^ http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/115633-Nielsen_Mistake_Hurts_KFOR.php?q=KFOR+ratings
- KFOR-TV's Webpage
- Query the FCC's TV station database for KFOR-TV
- Query the FCC's TV station database for K18BV
- Query the FCC's TV station database for K53CI
- Query the FCC's TV station database for K60ER
- Query the FCC's TV station database for K61CW
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on KFOR-TV