KSWO-TV, virtual channel 7, is the ABC affiliated television station located in Lawton, Oklahoma. It also serves Wichita Falls, Texas. Its transmitter is located near Grandfield, Oklahoma. KSWO broadcasts its digital signal on VHF channel 11. KSWO also offers Telemundoprogramming on digital channel 7.2. KSWO's broadcasts became digital-only, effective (as originally scheduled) on February 17, 2009.
|Lawton, Oklahoma/Wichita Falls, Texas|
|Slogan||You Can Count on Us!|
|Channels||Digital: 11 (VHF)|
|Translators||KKTM-LP 17 Altus, OK|
|Affiliations||American Broadcasting Company|
(KSWO License Subsidiary, LLC)
|First air date||March 8, 1953|
|Call letters' meaning||South
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
7 (VHF, 1953-2009)
|Transmitter power||138 kW|
A 2008 deal to sell the station along with group sister stations in Amarillo, Bryan, Midland, and Waco, Texas was approved by the FCC but was called off owing to uncertainties in the financial markets notice of non-consummation to the Federal Communications Commission(FCC).
KSWO was owned by Drewry Communications Group, which started out with one radio property at Lawton, KSWO-AM, in 1941, followed by the addition of KRHD Radio in nearby Duncan, Oklahoma in 1947. The call letters of the Duncan station were named for the owner, Ransom H. Drewry's, initials. The call letters KSWO are now exclusively used by the TV station and KRHD is now used as the call sign for an ABC affiliate in Bryan-College Station, Texas, which is also owned by Drewry. Drewry Communications Group also owned CBS affiliate KFDA-TV in Amarillo, Texas; ABC affiliate KXXV in Waco, Texas; NBC affiliates KWES-TV in Midland, Texas; and KWES repeater station KWAB-TV in Big Spring, Texas.
KSWO-TV was the only television station in the Wichita Falls-Lawton market to have remained under the same ownership since its inception and to remain locally owned and operated to this day. It also one of the few TV stations in the country (not counting owned-and-operated stations) that has had the same call letters, channel number, and primary network affiliation throughout its history.
KSWO-TV uses the Circle 7 logo that is also used by ABC's owned-and-operated stations along with many other ABC affiliates with Channel 7 frequencies. It is the oldest logo still in use among TV stations in the Wichita Falls/Lawton market, having been used continuously since 1979, though the "Circle 7" was previously used at KSWO from 1967 to 1970, and then succeeded by a TV-screen '7" logo from 1970 to 1977, followed by a "Circle 7" logo from 1977 to 1979 that was similar to one used in the 1980s and 1990s by Midland-Odessa station KOSA-TV. The ABC "Circle 7" symbol returned to KSWO in 1979 as part of a re-imaging that included a new news set and the introduction of the "Action 7 News" name and format to the Texoma area which would last for more than 15 years until the current "7 News" branding and newsroom/studio format began in the mid-1990s.
Due to electrical outages following a damaging windstorm that rolled through the Lawton area in late May 1996, the early morning newscast Good Morning Texoma was broadcast virtually in the dark. The only power came from the portable generator in one of the station's live trucks, which they also used as a makeshift STL (studio-to-transmitter link) to get the signal to the transmitter. The show was done with one camera, one tape deck and one microphone (that was passed between the announcers).
KSWO has broadcast the annual West Texas Rehabilitation Center telethon from Abilene, Texas each year since 1971. The telethon is broadcast one Saturday night each January over TV stations serving various markets in north, west and central Texas.
The station's first transmitter was at the studios east of Lawton, which was a relatively low-power unit that could reach viewers within a limited 55-mile radius that included Altus,Oklahoma to the west, Wichita Falls to the south, Anadarko, Oklahoma to the north and Ringling, Oklahoma to the east. By the late 1950s, other ABC affiliates such as KOCO-TV in Oklahoma City and KTEN in Ada, Oklahoma were encroaching the northern and eastern fringes on KSWO's viewing area, but wide gaps existed to the south and west of Wichita Falls, and the only primary ABC affiliates in north and west Texas were WFAA-TV, Dallas-Fort Worth and KVII-TV in Amarillo, as Lubbock and Abilene did not get their own primary ABC affiliates until 1969 and 1979, respectively.
In 1959, the FCC permitted KSWO-TV to erect a 1,000-foot-tall (300 m) tower with 316,000 watts of power (maximum allowable for VHF channels 7-13) near Grandfield, Oklahoma, which was activated in early 1960 and permitted reception of Channel 7 over a much larger area of North Texas and Southwest Oklahoma - bringing complete ABC programming with viewable reception to many locations for the first time. Wichita Falls stations KFDX-TV and KSYD-TV (now KAUZ) opposed the application, and the FCC had to be convinced. The new site was about halfway between the cities and from a Lawton perspective in the same direction as the Wichita Falls stations. Many years later when KJTL (channel 18) was activated in the mid-1980s, it chose a site near KSWO-TV's transmitter at Grandfield. Ironically, KJTL is now in common ownership with NBC affiliate KFDX (channel 3), which continues to operate its own transmitter from the original site in Wichita Falls as does CBS affiliate KAUZ (channel 6).
On July 31, 2009 Drewry Communications initiated a joint sales/shared operational services agreement between KSWO and CBS affiliate KAUZ-TV (channel 6). This will combine oversight of sales and promotion with those of KSWO-TV. In time, it could streamline operation of the two stations (shared people, shared equipment, shared location) along the lines of separately owned but cooperatively operated competitor stations KFDX-TV and KJTL-TV. With each station office more than an hour's drive from the other, it is not as easy as combining stations that are around the corner from each other. With the agreement, KAUZ-TV General Manager Mike deLier, News Director Dan Garcia, and a videographer were released. These tasks were assumed by their KSWO-TV counterparts.
On August 10, 2015, Raycom Media announced they would be purchasing Drewry Communications for $160 million, the sale was completed on December 1, 2015. Raycom would also buy CBS affiliate KAUZ-TV and then give it to American Spirit Media (a company headed by Thomas B. Henson) under a shared services agreement in which KSWO would handle news production and provide building space for that station since KSWO and KAUZ will remain jointly operated.
KSWO produces 20.5 hours of news programming a week.
KSWO pioneered new developments to the local area in weather forecasting throughout its history, particularly with severe weather coverage across its nearly 30-county viewing area in Southwest Oklahoma and North Texas. Channel 7 was first with its own on-site (black and white image) radar in the late 1950s or early 1960s, introduced the market's first color radar in 1976 (Accu-scan 7) and introduced the area's first Doppler radar in 1984 more than 10 years ahead of arch-rivals KFDX and KAUZ.
KSWO-TV has several long-time veterans who have been with the station for 20 years or longer. Jan Stratton has served as anchor continuously since 1981 and was news director until July 2006, while co-anchor and current news director, David Bradley has been with the station since 1986 first as sports director/anchor for 13 years and then as news anchor since 1999.
Tom Charles, a familiar face to Channel 7 viewers since the early 1960s, officially retired from KSWO-TV after 45 years of service on Dec. 31, 2010. He served as chief weathercaster/meteorologist from 1964 to 1996 and then as anchor of the 5:30 a.m. newscast and Good Morning Texoma co-anchor from 2000 to 2010 following a four-year stint as chief meteorologist at CBS affiliate KAUZ-TV in Wichita Falls, Texas. Larry Patton has served as general manager of KSWO-TV since 1976 and has been employed by the station since 1967. In 1976, Lisa John was anchoring the 10 p.m. newscast one Sunday night when a skunk made its way into the studio causing her face to turn pale on live television before hundreds of thousands of viewers across Southwest Oklahoma and North Texas.
KSWO has a stronghold on the Oklahoma market, while KAUZ and KFDX primarily compete for the Texas audience.
For the May 2009 ratings period, KSWO ranks for first on weekdays for the morning show, as well as 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. newscasts, according to Nielsen Media Research. KSWO ties for first with KFDX at 5 p.m. on weeknights. KSWO ranks first on Sundays at 10 p.m. and ties with KFDX for first on Saturdays at 10 p.m. KSWO does not produce a noon broadcast).
- Channel 7 Newsreel (1953–1963)
- TV-7 News (1963–1973)
- Channel 7 News (1973–1977)
- Newscene 7 (1977–1979)
- Action 7 News (1979–1996)
- 7 News (1996–present)
- The TV-7 News Team - Putting Southwest Oklahoma and North Texas First Gives You the Winning Team (1970–1973)
- This is The Place to Be on Channel 7 (197?-197?; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- Channel 7 News, Most Watched News Source in Southwest Oklahoma and North Texas (1974–1977)
- Welcome to the Bright New World on Channel 7 (1975-1976; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- Let Us Be The One on Channel 7 (1976-1977; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- Newscene 7, The Most Comprehensive News in Texoma (1977–1979)
- Still The One in Texoma (1977-1978 and 1979-1980; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- We're The One in Texoma: Channel 7 (1978-1979; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- You And Me and Channel 7 (1980-1981; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- Now is the Time and 7's The Place (1981-1982; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- 7's The Place (1982–1985; local campaign similar to Tulsa's KTUL "8's The Place" campaign)
- Come on Along with KSWO-TV Channel 7 (1982-1983; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- KSWO: 7's The Place, Looking Out For You! (1985–1990)
- Something's Happening on Action 7 (1987-1990; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- Action 7 News: The Most Complete Newscast in Texoma (1989–1992)
- Texoma's Watching Action 7 (1990–1992, localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- If It's Texoma, It Must Be Action 7 (1992–1993, localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- Watched By More Texomas, Action 7, ABC (1993-1996; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- You Can Count on Us! (2000–present).
Current on-air staff
- Caitlin Williams - weeknights at 4 and 5 p.m.
- Paula Van Drisse - weeknights at 6 and 10 p.m.
- Monte Brown- weekday mornings on Good Morning Texoma from 5-7 a.m.
- Allie Haddican - weekend anchor and weeknight reporter
FirstAlert Weather Team
- Austin Bowling - meteorologist; weeknights at 5, 6, 9 (KSWO-DT3) and 10 p.m. when not on vacation
- Mandy Bailey - meteorologist; weekend mornings on Good Morning Texoma
- Matthew DiPirro- weekday mornings on Good Morning Texoma from 5-7 a.m.
- Kyle Weatherly - sports director, weeknights at 6 and 10 p.m.
- Re'Chelle Turner - general assignment reporter
- Haley Wilson - general assignment reporter
- Will Hutchison - general assignment reporter
- Chelsea Floyd - general assignment reporter
Former on-air staff
- Matt Barrie - sports anchor (2004-2005)
- Glen Boyer - news anchor (1975-1979)
- David Bradley - news anchor (now news anchor at KVII-TV in Amarillo, TX)
- Dan Bretweiser - news reporter (2005–2007)
- Robert Burch - anchor/reporter (1995–2003); now at OETA
- Andrea Charles - reporter (2006–2008)
- Tom Charles - weathercaster/Good Morning Texoma anchor (1964-1996 and 2000-2010)
- Courtney Coates - weekend morning anchor/reporter (200?-2006); now at KOKH
- Harry Edens - news anchor/reporter/staff announcer (1960s-1978)
- Vince Erickson - sports director (1999-2003)
- Mike Francis - meteorologist (1998–2000)
- Kurt Goff - weekend anchor (1987-89)
- David A. Grady - news director/anchor (1967–1973)
- Tarra G. Haskins - anchor/reporter/talk show host (1980–1983)
- Larry Hoefling - news director/anchor/reporter/ (1978-1979)
- Dave Hunt - sports anchor (2006–2007)
- Darcy Jackson - reporter (now reporter at KJRH-TV in Tulsa, OK)
- Lisa John - news director/weekend news anchor/reporter (1974–1981; deceased)
- Arthur Johnson - news anchor (1962–1967)
- Hugh Johnson - news anchor (1972–1977)
- J Kendel Johnson - assistant news director/anchor/reporter/producer/assignments editor (1981–1984)
- Lew Johnson - sports director/anchor (1965–1981)
- Ken Koonce - weekend weathercaster (1972-1973)
- Nicole Jolly - anchor/reporter (1994–2006; now at Southwestern Medical Center)
- Eric Law - meteorologist (2002–2004); now at WLBT
- Michael Leal - reporter (1986–1991); now at WMCE
- Don Long - sports reporter (1970-71)
- Cecilia Mason - anchor/reporter (1987–1989)
- Mike McDonald - news anchor (1980–1994)
- Bob McGuire - weathercaster/staff announcer (1979-82; previously at KSWO-AM 1380)now at KTVQ
- Patrick McKee - morning meteorologist (2001–2003); chief meteorologist (2003–2005) now at WSLS
- Bill McReynolds - news anchor (1953-1956)
- Jim Moore - meteorologist (1996–1998)
- Stacia Naquin - morning anchor/executive producer (2001–2008); now at KKTV
- Chad Nichols - meteorologist (2001–2003)
- Kevin Ogle - reporter (early 1980s; now at KFOR-TV in Oklahoma City)
- Harold Patterson - weekend sports anchor/reporter (1976-79)
- Don Peeples - weathercaster (1953-1955; later at KFOR-TV in Oklahoma City and KAMR-TV in Amarillo, TX)
- Scott Perkins - sports director (1979–1986)
- Paul Phillips - news reporter (1968-71)
- JUSTIN POVICK - Meteorologist (2004-2006); now at Accuweather in PA, www.accuweather.com
- Sheila Rawls - host/anchor of noon newscast Profile (1973-78) and Exercise With Sheila (1975-77)
- Tom Reddell - weathercaster (late 1950s-early 1960s)
- Darrell Reed - staff meteorologist (1987–1992)
- Robert Richardson - news reporter (2008–2009); now at WHNT
- Bill Riley - news director/co-anchor 1973-1979)
- Rochelle Ritchie - news reporter (2006–2007)
- Elaina Rusk - reporter/fill-in anchor (2007–2008); now at KERO-TV
- Beverly Saffa (aka Beverly Stapleton) - anchor/host of Profile (1967-1973) and host of public affairs program Platform (1986-96)
- Kenny Scarle - news reporter (2006–2008)
- Randy Scott - sports reporter/producer/anchor (2004-2005)
- Mike Straub- sports anchor (?-?)
- Jan Stratton - long time news anchor
- Tanner Swift - metorologist (2003–2005)
- Chris Thomasson- sports anchor (2007–2009)
- Nathan Thompson- sports director (1999–2007); now at KOKI in Tulsa
- Dan Threlkeld - weathercaster (1981–1983; later at KFOR-TV in Oklahoma City, now chief meteorologist at KJRH in Tulsa)
- Jennifer Tipton - anchor (1997–2004)
- Nelly Tsoodle - news reporter (1992–2008)
- Kim Truong - meteorologist (2006–2008; Now at WQAD-TV in Moline, IL)
- Lindsay Vocht - morning anchor/executive producer/reporter (2007–2011); now a Communications Specialist at Goodyear
- Doug Wahl - "Good Morning Texoma" anchor (1997–1999)
- Andy Wallace - meteorologist (1992–1993); chief meteorologist (1996–2003; then went to KXXV in Waco, TX)
- Dave Wallace - meteorologist (1996–2000; deceased)
- Lynn Walker - news anchor (1996–1999, now at Times Record News in Wichita Falls, TX)
- Pat Walker - chief meteorologist (2005–2008); now at Independent News Network in Davenport, IA)
- Winnifred Washington - reporter (1980-81)
- Mark Weinberg - meteorologist (early 1990s)
- Mack Young - news reporter/photographer (1967-70; previously at The Lawton Constitution/Morning Press and later at KFDX-TV)
- Dan Zarrow - meteorologist (2006-0ct.2008)
- ^ http://www.kswo.com/Global/story.asp?S=9803807
- ^ "KSWO-TV Goes On Air Today From New 1,059 foot transmitter": Lawton Constitution and Morning Press (Lawton, OK), Feb. 28, 1960 pg. 33
- ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=apXSAIadsew
- ^ http://www.kswo.com/Global/category.asp?C=85090