KOBI is a local NBC affiliate based in Medford, Oregon. It is owned by Patricia Smullin. The company, California Oregon Broadcasting, Inc., is the longest continuously independent broadcast group in the West and one of the three oldest in the country.
|Slogan||Local News Comes First|
|Channels||Digital: 5 (VHF)|
|Affiliations||NBC (secondary 1953-1961; primary 1983-present)|
|Owner||California Oregon Broadcasting, Inc. (Smullin family)|
|First air date||August 1, 1953|
|Call letters' meaning||K(C)alifornia
Oregon Broadcasting Incorporated
|Former callsigns||KBES-TV (1953-1962)
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
5 (VHF, 1953-2009) Digital: 15 (UHF)
|Former affiliations||CBS (1953-1983)|
|Transmitter power||5.4 kW|
|Transmitter coordinates||42°41′49.5″N 123°13′45.1″W|
The station also operates a satellite station in Klamath Falls, KOTI on channel 2, as well as a large network of translators. Together, the two stations serve 12 mostly rural counties in southern Oregon and northern California.
The station's vice president and general manager is Robert Wise, who served as general manager of KOBI's former sister station KRCR-TV in Redding, California, from 1995 to 2005. The studios, located on Main and Fir Streets in downtown Medford, cover an entire city block.
It was founded on August 1, 1953 by Bill Smullin, a 20-year veteran of the television industry. The station's call letters were originally KBES-TV (BESt TV), and it carried programming from all four major networks. However, for its first 30 years, it was a primary CBS affiliate. It was the second television station in Oregon, and the first on VHF, following KPTV-TV, Portland, Oregon, by eleven months.
Smullin soon realized that KBES' signal was not strong enough to cover all of southern Oregon, which the FCC had ruled was part of the Medford market. Fortunately, he was able to buy the license for channel 2 in Klamath Falls, and KOTI debuted on August 12, 1956.
In 1962, Smullin changed the call letters to KTVM. When channel 10 was allocated to Medford, Smullin helped the owners of KMED-AM get the license, as well as space on his transmitter on Blackwell Hill. Partly because of his help, KMED-TV (now KTVL) signed on in 1961. In1968, KTVM moved to a powerful transmitter on King Mountain and changed its calls to KOBI.
For many years, KOBI branded itself as "Channel 5M," with a logo showing a "5" on an interstate highway sign, reflecting the interstate that goes through the Medford area, Interstate 5. The interstate sign motif was later extended to KOTI and KRCR. KOBI rebranded itself as "The News Channel" in 1998 and as "NBC 5" in 2004, but the highway sign remains today.
The station has a UHF translator, K32DY, to serve non-antenna-rotator-equipped households between Medford and Ashland. It is located on Grizzly Peak.
KOBI has brought many firsts to Southern Oregon and Northern California. It was the first station in Medford to offer local color programming, the first station to operate in stereo, the first Medford station to employ electronic news gathering technology, and was the first Medford station with statewide microwave news coverage.
Bill Smullin retired in 1985 and was succeeded by his daughter, Patricia C. "Patsy" Smullin, who serves as owner and president today.
KOBI is the home for NBC 5 News at Sunrise anchored by Austin Reed, Anne McCloy, and weather from Cameron Loughlin. The Five On Five newscast is hosted by Craig Smullin. The 6:00pm and 11:00pm newscasts are anchored by Dan Joseph, Laura Cavanaugh, and weather from Jeff Heaton.
Lyle Ahrens serves as the markets only Klamath Basin bureau chief at KOTI-TV 2. In 2006, Fox affiliate KMVU began broadcasting a half-hour newscast, "First at Ten," anchored by Audrey Kuchen (now anchored by Dan Joseph) and produced by KOBI. On January 10, 2011, a 7am news program called FOX 26 Morning News Live at Seven anchored by Anne McCloy, Austin Reed and Cameron Loughlin debuted.
KOBI (as well as competitor KTVL) does not currently have a local sportscast. It was dropped in 2009 by management. It is a move that many believe has hurt the station. (KDRV is the only station in the market to continue airing a local sportscast.)
- Dan Joseph - 6, 10 (on FOX 26), and 11PM
- Laura Cavanaugh - 6 & 11PM
- Craig Smullin - 5PM & Reporter
- Anne McCloy - Weekday Mornings/Midday Reporter (and on, FOX 26 Morning News Live at Seven)
- Austin Reed - Weekday Mornings (and on FOX 26 Morning News Live at Seven)
- Jacqueline Mazur - Weekends (also reporter)
- Jeff Heaton - Chief Meteorologist; weeknights 5, 6, 10 (on FOX 26), and 11PM
- Cameron Loughlin - Weekday Mornings (and on FOX 26 Morning News Live at Seven)
- Larry Miller - Weekends (also co-weekend anchor/reporter)
- Christine Pitawanich - General Assignment
- Travis Koch - General Assignment
- Joe Camarlinghi - Features
- Dr. Robin Miller - Medical
- Lyle Ahrens - Klamath Basin bureau chief
- Julie Akins - Also News Director
- William Mahon - General Assignment
- I-Five News (1970s?)
- Eyewitness News (1970s-1998)
- The News Channel (1998-2005)
- NBC 5 News (2005-present)
- No current slogan
- Working for you (2008-2010)
- Local News Comes First (1998-2008)
- We're locally owned (1960s-?)
During the 1980s, KOBI broadcast a popular interactive game show called Jackpot Bingo, hosted by Tom Carnes. The show aired beforeDays of our Lives. Jackpot Bingo gave contestants the opportunity to win up to $5,000 in cash by playing blackout bingo. However, contestants usually won the minimum $200 prize. Carnes was replaced by Sally Holliday in 1987 and the show was renamed $10,000 Jackpot Bingo as the prize money doubled. Still, contestants usually won $200. The show was such a hit, it garnered the highest ratings for its time slot. Despite its popularity, it was cancelled in 1988.
Jackpot Bingo takes after the popular Dialing for Dollars format.
Other notables who worked at the station included longtime Rogue Valley meteorologist Leon Hunsaker (also formerly of KTVL Channel 10 and theDove Radio (KDOV), from where he retired on 4/8/09) and news reporter/anchor Gayle Wilson, who now produces and stars in her own commercials for a car dealership in Grants Pass, Oregon. Tom Carnes, host of Jackpot Bingo, was recently seen in commercials for a Medford car dealership. Longtime news anchor Chris Corcoran is now a Medford city councilman.
Academic Challenge quiz bowl
This exciting competition, similar to College Bowl, places local high schools in a head to head battle for the championship title and over $40,000 in scholarship money.
Twenty high schools from all over Southern Oregon are participating in the NBC Academic Challenge. Each school brings in a team of five students, four participating and one alternate, who answer a series of questions from the host, NBC 5 Chief Meteorologist Jeff Heaton, on topics such as history, math, literature, current events and a variety of other categories.
At the end of this double-elimination competition the final two teams will split the scholarship money, 60% to the championship team, 40% to the second place team. The generous donations from the sponsors have helped produce an exciting new way for students to earn money for college.
The idea for Academic Challenge originally started at KRCR-TV in Redding in 1998 and was hosted by Gary Gunter from '98 to 2005, then Tim Mapes from then on. NBC 5's newly-hired general manager Bob Wise brought the identically-formatted program to southern Oregon in 2005.
Southern Oregon Meth Project
In 2005, KOBI started a special program called the Southern Oregon Meth Project to educate viewers and concerned citizens about the dangers of methamphetamine and what can be done to prevent. The project was headed up by KOBI's lead news anchor Christina Anderson, where she remained until her departure for KOVR in Sacramento in 2010. Information can be found at www.somp.org.
Bill Smullin, who died in the early 1990s, is best known for a mission statement he shared during a rare television interview in 1983 as the company and the station celebrated their 30th anniversary (and it's still true today): "Maintenance-free television is so vitally important to the American people. It's vitally important for the simple reason that communications with the people helps preserve our national institutions and including the freedom which we enjoy under the United States of America flag."
This statement was replayed on Eyewitness News in August 2003 in celebration of the station's 50th anniversary.
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
KOBI-DT broadcasts on digital channel 5.
|5.1||KOBI-DT||Main KOBI programming / NBCHD|
|5.2||The AccuWeather Channel||NBC 5 WeatherNOW|
KOBI is rebroadcast on the following network of translator stations. Some channels currently broadcasting, are not listed in the FCC database:
City Grade Translators:
- KOBI website
- Western States Museum of Broadcasting: History of Television In Southern Oregon
- Bill Smullin: Southern Oregon TV's pioneer
- Query the FCC's TV station database for KOBI
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on KOBI-TV
- ^ Christina Anderson's KOVR profile page
- ^ http://www.mailtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090205/NEWS/902050325 Digital delay bill awaits Obama's signature; But most local network affiliates plan to make the switch on the initial Feb. 17 date if possible, Greg Stiles, Mail Tribune, February 5, 2009
- ^ CDBS Print