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This is a List of television stations in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The major network television affiliates include
Several independent television stations also operate in the area, including
There were amateur television stations in the U.S. before 1940.
San Francisco's first television station was KPIX (Channel 5), which began broadcasting on December 24, 1948. The station became an affiliate of the CBS television network and was owned and operated by Westinghouse for many years, with studios on Van Ness Avenue and a transmitter on a Mount Sutro tower shared with KGO-TV. The station produced one of the first local children's television shows, Captain Fortune, during the 1950s, which featured live studio segments hosted by artist Peter Abenheim, as well as episodes of the early television cartoon series Crusader Rabbit. KPIX had a popular Dance Party program on weekday afternoons from its studios during the 1950s and 1960s, hosted by Dick Stewart, who also appeared on a weekly High School Salute program. KPIX has a long-running, locally-produced news magazine. Today KPIX operates from studios on lower Broadway, near the Embarcadero. It has been owned and operated by CBS since November 1995.
On May 5, 1949, the ABC television network launched KGO-TV (Channel 7), which had studios on Golden Gate Avenue (beginning in 1954) and a transmitter on Mount Sutro. A number of daytime ABC network shows originated at those studios, including programs featuring Tennessee Ernie Ford, Jack LaLanne, and Gypsy Rose Lee. San Francisco's popular disc jockey Don Sherwood (who had a morning show on KSFO radio) also hosted a program on KGO, until he was fired for complaining on-air about the plight of the Navajo Indians. The station produced a popular children's program King Norman's Kingdom of Toys, hosted by the owner of a local toy store, Norman Rosenberg. The station began carrying ABC's first color program, The Flintstones, in 1962 and was the first to produce live color telecasts in the Bay Area. Today the station has studios at 900 Front Street.
The city's third station was KRON (Channel 4), which began broadcasting on November 15, 1949, with studios in the basement of the San Francisco Chronicle, which owned and operated the station, and a transmitter on San Bruno Mountain. KRON was long affiliated with the NBC television network; that affiliation passed to KNTV, located in San Jose, in early 2002. KRON was the first Bay Area station to offer programs in RCA's compatible color, including NBC specials and occasional movies, beginning with The Big Cat, a 1949 Technicolor feature starring Preston Foster and Forrest Tucker, shown in 1954. KRON's local children's programs included Fireman Frank, hosted by George Lemont, who utilized puppets and drawings to entertain children; he was succeeded by Art Finley's Mayor Art show, which had begun on Stockton's KOVR. A longtime staff announcer was Vern Wilson, whose voice was often heard during station I.D.s and whenever technical problems occurred. In 1967, KRON moved from the Chronicle Building to a massive facility on Van Ness Avenue near Civic Center; the production studio was later used for a special live telecast by the Oakland Symphony Orchestra. Today the station is independently owned and operated, producing local programs and carrying syndicated shows.
KPIX, KGO, and KRON all relied on filmed network shows until the completion of the transcontinental microwave in September 1951. They also produced a number of local live shows. Some live network shows were preserved on kinescope films, then shipped to the West Coast for later airing. After the microwave radio relay connections were completed, work proceeded on the development of videotape, which was first used extensively by CBS for its West Coast feed of the nightly network newscast hosted by Douglas Edwards, beginning in November 1956. Network shows were usually transmitted in the Bay Area three hours after they aired on the East Coast, a practice still largely followed today.
Further Reading: KTEH-TV
KQED (Channel 9) was one of the first educational television stations in the nation. The station began broadcasting on April 5, 1954. It was affiliated with National Educational Television (NET), which later became known as the Public Broadcasting Service, better known as PBS. KQED's transmitter tower was originally on San Bruno Mountain. Like other educational stations, KQED did not air commercials; instead, the station relied on underwriters and viewer support, through the use of regular pledge drives and its annual on-air auction. KQED has produced a number of special programs for PBS and is a regular contributor to the Lehrer Newshour.
KOVR (Channel 13) in Stockton began broadcasting on September 6, 1954, using studios both in San Francisco and in Stockton. Until the construction of the huge television tower near Walnut Grove, the station transmitted from Mount Diablo, near Danville, and could be clearly seen in most of the Bay Area. The station was affiliated with ABC for much of that time. Its most popular local program in the 1950s was Toonytown, hosted by Art Finley, before he moved to KRON.
KNTV (Channel 11) began broadcasting from studios in downtown San Jose on Park Avenue in 1955. For many years, its transmitter tower was on Loma Prieta in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The station was initially affiliated with ABC; today it is owned and operated by NBC. Its transmitter tower is now located on San Bruno Mountain.
KTVU (Channel 2) went on the air on March 3, 1958. It has studios in historic Jack London Square in Oakland and initially used a transmitter tower on San Bruno Mountain. It was an independent station for many years and was the first station to telecast the San Francisco Giants baseball games, whenever the team played the Los Angeles Dodgers at Chávez Ravine, through arrangements with KTTV in Los Angeles. Don Sherwood hosted a nightly talk show on the station during the late 1950s, often interviewing entertainers who were appearing in the Bay Area. KTVU's children's programming included Captain Satellite, hosted by Bob March. The station aired numerous classic television shows and regular movies, including a Sunday night series called Premiere, which included the first local telecasts (often in color) of classic Warner Brothers films from the 1950s. A Friday night feature in the 1960s was live professional wrestling matches from the KTVU studios, hosted by Walt Harris with live Chevrolet commercials. Another popular KTVU program was Creature Features, initially hosted by Bob Wilkins, a collection of low budget horror and science fiction films, interspersed with interviews of such actors as Buster Crabbe and Christopher Lee; John Stanley took over the program when Wilkins gave it up. With the creation of the FOX television network, KTVU became the Bay Area's affiliate with that network. KTVU has won numerous awards and acclaim for its nightly news program at 10 p.m.
UHF channels in the Bay Area began with KSAN, operating on Channel 32, in 1954. KBAY, which was to operate on Channel 20, was intended to be another early UHF station in San Francisco, but it didn't sign on the air until 1968. KSAN had a limited audience because most television sets could only receive UHF with a special converter. Only in markets such as Fresno and Bakersfield, which had only UHF channels, was there any real reason to purchase such a converter in the 1950s.
Later, in the early 1960s, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ruled that all television sets had to have tuners for both VHF and UHF channels. On October 12, 1964, KCSM began broadcasting on Channel 14 with studios and transmitter on the new College Heights campus of the College of San Mateo in San Mateo. The station later switched to Channel 60 and recently began transmitting DTV on Channel 43 (where it will remain after the analog shutdown in 2009).
By the mid 1960s, more sets were being equipped to receive UHF signals and this led to additional UHF stations, beginning on January 2, 1968, with KBHK, operating on Channel 44, a station owned by Kaiser Broadcasting. In 1968, KSAN was acquired by Metromedia and renamed KNEW, then donated to KQED in 1970, which operated it as a secondary PBS channel under the call letters KQEC. The station changed hands again in 1988, becoming a foreign language station known as KMTP-TV.
In 1972, with the completion of the Sutro Tower, KPIX, KGO, KRON, KQED, and KTVU all moved their transmitters to the new 900-foot (270 m) tower. Actual transmissions from the new tower began on July 4, 1973, and greatly improved their signals in the hilly terrain of the Bay Area. It was planned to be demolished in 2000, but the measure was overturned.