KYW-TV, channel 3, is an owned and operated television station of the CBS Television Network, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. KYW-TV shares a studio facility with its sister station WPSG (channel 57, Philadelphia's CW affiliate) just north of Center City Philadelphia, and its transmitter is located in the Roxborough section of Philadelphia.
|Branding||CBS 3 (general)
CBS 3 Eyewitness News(newscasts)
|Slogan||The Pride of Philadelphia (general)
Expect More (newscasts)
|Channels||Digital: 26 (UHF)Virtual: 3 (PSIP)|
|Subchannels||3.1 CBS 3.2 Start TV
(CBS Broadcasting, Inc.)
|First air date||September 1, 1941|
|Call letters' meaning||Based on callsign of AM sister station.|
|Sister station(s)||KYW, WIP, WOGL, WPHT,WYSP, WPSG-TV|
|Former callsigns||WPTZ-TV (1941-1956)
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
3 (VHF, 1941-2009)
|Former affiliations||NBC (1941-1995)|
|Transmitter power||790 kW|
|Transmitter coordinates||40°2′33″N 75°14′33″W|
- 1 History
- 2 Digital programming
- 3 Office locations
- 4 News operation
- 5 Station Gallery
- 6 References
- 7 External links
The channel 3 facility in Philadelphia is one of the world's oldest television stations. It began in 1932 as W3XE, an experimental station owned by the Philco Corporation, a local company known for manufacturing early radio and television sets. Philco engineers created much of the station's equipment, including cameras. In 1941, it began sharing programs with W2XBS (later WNBT and now WNBC-TV) in New York City, becoming NBC's second television affiliate, and creating a link between the station and the network that would last for 54 years.
On July 1, 1941, W3XE received a commercial license—the third in the United States, and the first outside New York City—as WPTZ-TV. The station signed on for the first time on September 1. The station originally broadcast from a tower in the Philadelphia suburb of Wyndmoor. It significantly cut back operations after the U.S. entered World War II, but returned to a full schedule 1945. It then became one of three stations (along with WNBT and WRGB in Schenectady, New York) that premiered NBC's regular television service in 1946. The Westinghouse Electric Corporation, owner of Philadelphia's NBC radio affiliate KYW (1060 AM), purchased WPTZ-TV in 1952.
As an NBC-owned station
In June 1955, Westinghouse traded WPTZ-TV and KYW radio to NBC in exchange for Cleveland's WNBK television and WTAM-AM-FM. NBC had long sought an owned-and-operated station in Philadelphia, the largest market where it didn't own a station. It had made several offers over the years for the Philadelphia stations, but Westinghouse said no each time. After being rebuffed by Westinghouse on several occasions, NBC threatened to drop its affiliation from WPTZ-TV and Westinghouse's other NBC television affiliate, WBZ-TV in Boston, unless Westinghouse agreed to the trade. When NBC took over in February 1956, channel 3's call letters were changed to WRCV-TV (for the RCA-Victor record label; KYW radio adopted the WRCV calls as well).
Shortly after NBC took control of channel 3, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) collapsed the Lehigh Valley, most of northern Delaware, and southern New Jersey (including Atlantic City) into the Philadelphia market. NBC realized WRCV-TV's existing tower was inadequate for this enlarged market. In 1957, channel 3 moved to a new 1100-foot tower in Roxborough. The tower was co-owned with WFIL-TV (channel 6, now WPVI-TV) and added much of Delaware, the Lehigh Valley and southern New Jersey to the station's city-grade coverage. Along with the transmitter move, NBC upgraded channel 3 from black-and-white to color transmissions.
However, almost immediately after the trade was finalized, Westinghouse complained to the FCC and the United States Department of Justice about NBC's coercion and an lengthy investigation was launched. In August 1964 NBC's license for WRCV radio and television was renewed by the FCC -- but only on the condition that the 1956 station swap be reversed. Following nearly a year of appeals by NBC, Westinghouse regained control of WRCV-AM-TV on June 19, 1965. Westinghouse had moved the KYW call letters to Cleveland after the swap, and upon regaining control of the Philadelphia outlets channel 3 became KYW-TV. Group W, as Westinghouse's broadcasting division was known by this time, took over a transmitter facility far superior to the one it relinquished in 1956. To this day, KYW-TV insists that it "moved" to Cleveland in 1956 and "returned" to Philadelphia in 1965—in fact, some staffers who worked at KYW-TV in Cleveland (talk show host Mike Douglas and news anchor Tom Snyder among them) moved to Philadelphia along with the call letters.   
Despite its status as NBC's largest affiliate, KYW-TV spent much of the next thirty years pre-empting many NBC programs, choosing to air local or syndicated programming instead. The production arm of Westinghouse Broadcasting was partially responsible for the pre-emptions, as channel 3 aired shows produced and syndicated by Group W, such as The Mike Douglas Show, The David Frost Show and Hour Magazine. Pre-empted network programming was usually lower-rated daytime game shows, soap operas or reruns of primetime programs with an average of two hours per day. At one point, in the fall of 1980, KYW-TV preempted NBC's entire morning schedule after the Today Show. Over the years, NBC contracted independent stations WPHL-TV, WTAF-TV/WTXF-TV, WKBS-TV and WGTW-TV to air programs pre-empted by channel 3. NBC has been far less tolerant of pre-emptions than the other networks and was rather perturbed at losing valuable advertising in the nation's fourth-largest market.
Like most affiliates that pre-empt poorer performing network programs, KYW-TV used the pre-emptions in order to gain an increase in local advertising rates which potentially come with ratings increases. This proved to be a very profitable decision at first, as KYW-TV was either first or second in the Philadelphia television ratings for most of the 1960s and 1970s. However, the station (and NBC) faltered in the late 1970s, and by 1980 KYW-TV was the lowest-rated network affiliate in Philadelphia. By 1985, NBC had recovered, but channel 3 hadn't. For the rest of its NBC affiliation, KYW-TV was NBC's lowest-rated major-market affiliate during a very successful period for the network as a whole. It continued to heavily pre-empt NBC programming, much to NBC's chagrin.
In 1994, sister station WJZ-TV in Baltimore lost its affiliation with ABC after that network announced a deal with the E.W. Scripps Company to switch all but two of Scripps' television stations to ABC. One of the Scripps-owned stations joining ABC was Baltimore's NBC affiliate, WMAR-TV. This did not sit well with Westinghouse, who felt betrayed by ABC after nearly half a century of loyalty. As a safeguard, Group W began shopping for affiliation deals of its own. Group W eventually struck an agreement to switch KYW-TV, WBZ-TV, and WJZ-TV to CBS (Westinghouse's two other stations, KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh and KPIX in San Francisco were already CBS affiliates). CBS was initially skeptical about including KYW-TV in the deal. While KYW-TV was a poor third, CBS-owned WCAU-TV (channel 10) was a solid runner-up to dominant, ABC-owned WPVI-TV. However, after Westinghouse offered to sell CBS a minority stake in KYW-TV, CBS agreed to move its affiliation to channel 3, and put channel 10 up for sale.
As a CBS-owned station
On September 10, 1995, KYW-TV and WCAU-TV swapped network affiliations, part of a more complex affiliation/ownership deal involving NBC, CBS and Westinghouse. Group W and CBS formed a joint venture which assumed ownership of channel 3, with Group W retaining majority interest. NBC then traded its stations in Denver and Salt Lake City to the Group W/CBS partnership in return for WCAU. Group W/CBS and NBC also traded broadcasting facilities in Miami to compensate each other for the loss of stations. While channel 3's Group W stablemates in Boston and Baltimore had aligned with CBS in January, the switch had been delayed in Philadelphia after NBC discovered it could not buy WCAU outright without going over the FCC's ownership limit of the time. The final NBC program aired on channel 3 was a rerun of Saturday Night Live, which began at 11:30 PM on September 9, 1995.
Under the terms of Westinghouse's deal with CBS, KYW-TV began carrying the entire CBS schedule in pattern with no pre-emptions except for local news emergencies. Westinghouse bought CBS outright in early 1996, making KYW-TV a CBS owned-and-operated station.
In 2000, the combined company was purchased by Viacom. The Viacom deal brought KYW-TV under common ownership with Philadelphia's UPN station, WPSG, and that station moved into the KYW-AM-TV facility on Independence Mall. On January 1, 2003, KYW-TV went into compliance with the CBS Mandate and officially rebranded itself as CBS 3. The 5AM Station ID is now the only place where the KYW branding is heard. When Viacom spun off CBS Corporation in 2006, KYW-AM-TV and WPSG, along with the rest of Viacom's broadcasting interests, became a part of the new company.
|Virtual channel||Physical channel||Programming|
|3.1||main KYW-TV programming / CBS HD|
After the analog television shutdown and digital conversion on June 12, 2009 , KYW-TV continued digital broadcasts on its current pre-transition channel number, 26. However, through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display KYW-TV's virtual channel as 3. KYW-TV was the only Philadelphia market station participating in the "Analog Nightlight" program, and did so through July 12, 2009.
On April 2, 2007, KYW-TV and WPSG moved to a new broadcast complex located at 1555 Hamilton Street near Center City Philadelphia, across from the Community College of Philadelphia and near Fairmount Park. The new building, which is wired for high definition newscasts, was the fourth studio in the station's 75-year history. Channel 3 had been broadcasting from Independence Mall East since July 1972.
When the station began operations as W3XE in 1932, it was based within Philco's production plant, at C and East Tioga streets in North Philadelphia, complete with a small studio and transmitter. After receiving the commercial license from the FCC in 1941, Philco moved WPTZ-TV's studios to the penthouse suite of the Architect's Building, at Sansom and North 17th streets in downtown Philadelphia, while retaining master control facilities at the Philco plant.
Channel 3 relocated its entire operation to the Wyndmoor transmitter facility during World War II, when the station aired little programming. When full broadcasting was resumed, the station reactivated its studio in the Architect's Building, remaining there until 1950. WPTZ-TV then moved into unused space at 1619 Walnut Street in Center City, where KYW radio was housed. What is now KYW-TV has been based in Center City ever since.
The Mike Douglas Show, which moved from Cleveland to Philadelphia in 1965, was taped at the Walnut Street studio until 1972, then at Independence Mall East. In 1978 the program moved to Los Angeles and remained there until it ended in 1982.
Shortly after Westinghouse regained control of KYW-TV in 1965, news director Al Primo popularized the Eyewitness News format and branding. This format has the reporters actually presenting their stories instead of having an anchor read them. Primo used the cue "007" from the film From Russia with Love as the theme. Within a few years, Group W's other television stations had adopted the format. Around this same time, sister station KYW radio became one of the first all-news radio stations in the country.
Channel 3's newscasts, anchored by Vince Leonard starting in 1958 (during its stint as NBC-owned WRCV-TV), had long been second behind WCAU-TV, but the new format catapulted KYW-TV to first place. Also seen on the air during that time were future talk show host Tom Snyder and Marciarose Shestack. Primo took the concept with him to WABC-TV in New York in 1968, albeit an improved version which introduced the concept of chatter among the anchors ("happy talk"). It was this modified format that was emulated throughout the United States.
Channel 3 dominated the ratings for the rest of the 1960s, but faced a new challenger after WFIL-TV introduced Action News to Philadelphia. For most of the 1970s, KYW-TV traded first place with WFIL/WPVI. In 1972, KYW-TV hired Philadelphia-area native Jessica Savitch as a reporter, and later co-anchor alongside Leonard. Mort Crim also joined as an anchor during that period, forming what native Philadelphians called the "Camelot of television news." However, in 1977, WPVI beat KYW-TV in most timeslots by a wide margin during a sweeps period. In a case of especially bad timing, Savitch left for NBC News later that year. Crim left for WDIV in Detroit in 1978. Channel 3's ratings went into rapid decline. The station tried to stop the decline by adopting a new format called "Direct Connection", with reporters assigned to "beats" such as medical, consumer, entertainment, and gossip, among others. It didn't work, and by the time Leonard left for KPNX in Phoenix in 1980, Eyewitness News had crashed into last place. For most of the next 20 years, KYW-TV was a very distant third behind WPVI-TV and WCAU-TV. Despite the presence of personalities such as Maria Shriver and Maury Povich (who anchored briefly in the early 1980s), Eyewitness News stayed in the ratings basement.
In 1991, KYW-TV rebranded itself as KYW 3 after being known on-air as simply "channel 3" for most of its history (except for the "Direct Connection" era, when it was known as "3 for All"). It also abandoned the longstanding Eyewitness News name after 26 years and experimented with giving each newscast a different name. The morning and noon news became "Newsday," the 6 p.m. news "Newsbeat," and the 11 p.m. news "The News Tonight." It also started using a theme based on the musical signature of its radio sister, one of the top all-news stations in the country and the highest-rated radio station in Philadelphia for most of the last 40 years. Group W hoped to gain the trust of viewers who already associated KYW radio with high-quality news. However, neither of these fixes worked, and channel 3 stayed in the ratings basement. The experiment with different newscast names ended in 1994, just before it became a CBS station, when the station began calling its news operation "News 3". The Eyewitness News name was restored in early 1998.
KYW-TV used music packages based on KYW radio's musical signature until 2003. That year it adopted "News in Focus", by composer John Hegner as its theme song. This package, like the majority of themes for CBS' owned and operated stations, is based on "Channel 2 News," written in 1975 for WBBM-TV in Chicago. Channel 3 used an updated version written in 2003 for sister station WCBS-TV in New York. The change to "News In Focus" came just after KYW began calling itself CBS 3. Ironically, WCAU-TV used music based on this theme for its last decade as a CBS-owned station. In 2005, KYW-TV ditched "News In Focus" in favor of another "Channel 2 News"-based tune, "The Enforcer" by Frank Gari.
Also in 2003, KYW-TV became a factor in the Philadelphia news race for the first time in over 20 years. The previous summer, it persuaded WPVI-TV's longtime 5 p.m. anchor, Marc Howard, to jump ship to anchor its 11 p.m. news. Kathy Orr, weekend weathercaster at WCAU, also moved to channel 3. But those moves did nothing to help the ratings, and the station languished in last place for almost a full year.
Then, in September 2003, the station lured Larry Mendte away from WCAU. Mendte had been the lead anchor at that station when it defeated WPVI in the ratings for the first time in 30 years. Alycia Lane, a weekend anchor at WTVJ in Miami) was added to compliment Mendte, and they became the station's new top anchor team, anchoring the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. news.
The 5 p.m. news was moved to 4 p.m., and Marc Howard moved off the 11 p.m. newscast to anchor with Denise Saunders. The change proved successful, as KYW moved ahead of WCAU at 11 p.m. and came within a point of knocking off WPVI in the time slot. Saunders left the station in 2004 and was replaced by Angela Russell. Russell left the station on December 26, 2008. The 4 p.m. newscast has since been co-anchored by 6 p.m. co-anchor Susan Barnett. Today, KYW-TV is in second place in most time slots while WPVI-TV (a.k.a. 6ABC) continues to dominate with its newscasts despite having its digital signal on interference-prone channel 6. WTXF-TV (a.k.a. Fox 29) leads in prime time programming.
In 2005, KYW introduced a customized graphics package created by Emmy Award winner Randy Pyburn of Pyburn Films. Interestingly, the Pyburn graphics package is quite similar to the one it created for WNBC-TV in 2003, which some of NBC's owned and operated stations are currently standardizing around.
In April 2007, KYW-TV began broadcasting its newscasts in high-definition, becoming the third Philadelphia television station to do so. The switch coincided with the station's move from its former Independence Mall studios to its new facility on Hamilton Street.
On February 2, 2009, KYW's news department began broadcasting a 10pm newscast on sister station WPSG. It was announced in the fall of 2009 that the noon news on KYW would be ditched in favor of a talk show, "TalkPhilly". Only WPVI and WTXF will air noon newscasts after this format change..
KYW-TV cooperates with sister station WCBS-TV in the production and broadcast of statewide New Jersey political debates. When the two stations broadcast a statewide office debate, such as Governor or U.S. Senate, they will pool resources and have anchors or reporters from both stations participate in the debate. Additionally, the two stations cooperate in the gathering of news in New Jersey where their markets overlap; sharing reporters, live trucks, and helicopters. Like other CBS-owned stations, KYW-TV offers a web only newscast called "CBS 3 At Your Desk", shown daily. On September 1, 2010, KYW-TV switched to the same graphics package used by WCBS-TV and KCBS-TV.
In June 2008, former 6 and 11 p.m. news anchor Larry Mendte was fired after police raided his home and seized his computers. He was accused of secretly reading thousands of emails of fellow co-anchor Alycia Lane, from March 2006 to May 2008, and passing them on to gossip columnists. Mendte claimed that his actions were rooted in a feud that ended what was according to him a "flirtatious and improper" relationship with Lane. Mendte pleaded guilty. In September 2008, Lane filed a lawsuit against Mendte and KYW-TV. She accused the station of defaming her before and after she was fired; she was fired after being arrested in December 2007 following a scuffle with New York police.
News music packages
Current on-air staff
- Natasha Brown - Saturdays at 6pm, Sundays at 6:30pm, Weekends at 10 (on WPSG) and 11pm
- Pat Ciarrocchi - Talk Philly co-host
- Nicole Brewer - weekend mornings
- Chris May - weekdays 5, 6, 10 (on WPSG) and 11 p.m.
- Erika von Tiehl - weekday mornings (4:30-7am (KYW) and 7-9am (WPSG)
- Ukee Washington - weekday mornings (4:30-7am (KYW) and 7-9am (WPSG); also Talk Philly
CBS 3 Eyewitness Weather team
- Kate Bilo - Meteorologist; weeknights at 5 & 6pm
- Kathy Orr - Chief Meteorologist; weeknights at 10 (on WPSG) and 11 p.m
- Justin Drabick - Meteorologist; Saturdays at 6, Sundays at 6:30, Weekends at 10 (WPSG) and 11pm
- Katie Fehlinger- Meteorologist; Weekday Mornings (4:30-7am (KYW) and 7-9am (WPSG); also Talk Philly
- Carol Erickson - Meteorologist; Weekend Mornings; also fill-in
- Beasley Reece - Sports Director; weeknights at 6, 10 p.m. (on WPSG) and 11 p.m.
- Lesley Van Arsdall - Sports Anchor; weekends at 6 and 11 p.m.
- Steve Bucci - Sports Anchor; freelance
- Bob Kelly - weekday mornings (4:30-7am (KYW) and 7-9am (WPSG), weekdays at 5 p.m., and weeknights at 6 p.m.
- Anne Evans - Sunday mornings (6-9am)
- Dray Clark - morning reporter
- Jim Donovan - consumer reporter
- Elizabeth Hur - general assignment reporter
- Walt Hunter - investigative reporter
- Valerie Levesque - general assignment reporter
- Jim Osman - investigative reporter
- Todd Quinones - general assignment reporter
- Robin Rieger - general assignment reporter
- Ben Simmoneau - general assignment reporter
- Jamie Smith - general assignment reporter
- Stephanie Stahl - health and science reporter
- Charlotte Haffman - investigative Reporter
- Jericka Duncan - general assignment reporter
Notable former staff
Cable, telco & satellite carriage
Outside of the Philadelphia DMA in central New Jersey, KYW-TV has been carried in southern Middlesex County since December 2007 on Comcast of Central New Jersey Digital Cable channel 256 in the municipalities of Plainsboro, South Brunswick, Monroe, Cranbury, Jamesburg, Helmetta, Spotswood and East Brunswick. The Middlesex County section of this system then part of Storer Cable had previously caried KYW-TV on Channel 37 (where it had been moved from Channel 3 in the late 1980s) up until 1993, when KYW was an NBC affiliate owned by Group W/Westinghouse until NBC Owned-and-operated WNBC objected to the southern Middlesex County the part of Storer Cable system carrying a second NBC affiliate in the New York DMA. KYW-TV was removed from the Middlesex County part of the Storer/Comcast of Central New Jersey I system at midnight September 1, 1993.
Interestingly after the affiliation and ownership swap on September 10, 1995 WNBC did not object to now NBC co-owned sister station WCAU continuing to be caried in southern Middlesex County on Comcast Channel 39 (moved back to channel 10 in late 1998 and again to digital cable channel 253 to preserve bandwidth in November 2006), but on the other hand Comcast did not restore the now CBS KYW to the system for another twelve years. Cablevision in the Asbury Park area of Monmouth County (previously Harte-Hanks Cable and Monmouth Cablevision) carried KYW-TV until September 10, 1995. WCAU replaced KYW on that system after the network switch. Verizon FiOS carries KYW in South Brunswick Township, Middlesex County; it is the only Philadelphia station carried on that system.
KYW is available to Comcast Cable customers in Ocean County on channel 256. It is not available to Cablevision customers in Lakewood, Seaside Heights and southern Monmouth County, even though Cablevision carries other Philadelphia stations on these systems. DirecTV and Dish Network do not carry any Philadelphia stations in any area outside the Philadelphia market that gets New York channels on cable.
- ^ United States Callsign Policies, United States Early Radio History.
- ^ "Philadelphia circle is complete." Broadcasting, Aug. 3, 1964, pg. 23.
- ^ "Nine-year history of that trade in Philadelphia." Broadcasting, Aug. 3, 1964, pg. 24-25.
- ^ KYW Newsradio Station History, which details the evolution of the station from Chicago, to Philadelphia, to Cleveland and back to Philadelphia.
- ^ http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-06-1082A2.pdf
- ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bTUDSG8L5Jw
- ^ CDBS Print
- ^ 
- ^ cbs3.com - The New Home of CBS 3
- ^ Pop history: First use of the 'Eyewitness News' slogan
- ^ http://www.philly.com/dailynews/features/20091014__Got_Talent__.html
- ^ 
- ^ US TV anchor convicted of hacking, BBC News, 00:35 GMT, 25 November 2008
- ^ "Fired Philly TV anchor sues colleague, station". Associated Press. September 24, 2008. http://www.comcast.net/articles/news-national/20080924/News.Anchor.Charged/.
- ^ Pergament, Alan (2010-07-06). Channel 4's Duncan leaving for No. 4 market. Still Talkin' TV. Retrieved 2010-07-09.
- CBS Philly / KYW-TV website
- Query the FCC's TV station database for KYW-TV
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on KYW-TV
- Program Information for KYW at TitanTV.com
- W3XE/WPTZ-TV's early history, from the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
- Another page on W3XE/WPTZ's early history, from the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia