KAIL, virtual and VHF digital channel 7, is a MyNetworkTV-affiliated television station licensed to Fresno, California, United States. The station is owned by Aperio Communications. KAIL's studios are located on Shaw Avenue in Fresno, and its transmitter is located in Meadow Lakes in rural northeastern Fresno County.

History[edit | edit source]

Background[edit | edit source]

The UHF channel 53 allocation in the Fresno market was originally licensed to KBID-TV, which operated for a few months in 1954. The station was owned by veteran broadcaster John Poole, the original owner of KBIC-TV in Los Angeles (whose channel 22 allocation is now occupied by Spanish independent station KWHY-TV). KBID ceased operations when the station was unable to acquire a network affiliation. At the time, CBS was the only U.S. broadcast network that did not have an affiliate in Fresno. The network would eventually affiliate with KFRE-TV (channel 12, now ABC owned-and-operated station KFSN-TV on channel 30) when that station signed on in May 1956.

Until 2006[edit | edit source]

The station first signed on the air on December 18, 1961, originally broadcasting on UHF channel 53; it was the first independent station to sign on in the Fresno market, beating eventual competitor KICU-TV (channel 43, channel allocation now occupied by KGMC) to the air by five days. The station holds the record for the longest continuous usage of the same call letters in the Fresno market, having used the KAIL callsign since its sign-on; it has held the record since 2000, when KJEO-TV (channel 47, which signed on under those call letters in September 1953) changed its calls to KGPE (several other stations have had the same call letters since their original licensing, but signed on after KAIL made its debut), and is the only Fresno station that is independently owned.

In its early years, KAIL produced a sizable amount of its own programming; among them included the children's program Leebo the Clown. During the 1960s, KAIL ran a mix of religious and public affairs programs, a few older syndicated programs, some cartoons, classic movies and some sports events. The station originally broadcast for about eight hours a day.

During the 1970s, KAIL began to have financial problems and was still broadcasting in black and white. The station got some competition in 1971, when KMPH-TV signed on from Visalia. Soon after sign on, due in part to its wealthier ownership (the Pappas family), KMPH passed KAIL as the strongest independent in the Central Valley. On April 17, 1973, KAIL went dark but they resumed broadcasting on October 7, 1976. It was on the air about eight hours a day running mostly religious programs such as The 700 Club and TBN's Praise the Lord, among others. The station also ran some children's programs and public affairs programming. As time went on, a few low budget drama shows, movies, and first run barter syndicated shows would be added. Cartoons began to move onto the schedule by 1983. The station was on the air about 20 hours a day by 1985, but continued to lean toward carrying barter syndicated programs, especially after KMPH beat it out for the rights to stronger programming. The station's ratings continued to be rather modest throughout the 1980s.

On January 16, 1995, KAIL became a charter affiliate of the United Paramount Network (UPN); the station maintained a schedule resembling an independent during its first three years with the network as UPN would not carry a week's worth of programming until 1999 (even at that point, the network had no weekend prime time programming). During the 1990s, KAIL added stronger programs to its schedule, including recent off-network sitcoms, talk, reality and court shows. The station began gradually phasing out cartoons from its schedule around 2000 and dropped them from the weekday lineup altogether in August 2003, when UPN discontinued its children's program block, Disney's One Too.

Since 2006[edit | edit source]

On February 22, 2006, News Corporation announced the launch of a new "sixth" network called MyNetworkTV, which would be operated by Fox Television Stations and its syndication division Twentieth Television. MyNetworkTV was created to compete against another upstart network that would launch at the same time that September, The CW (an amalgamated network that originally consisted primarily of UPN and The WB's higher-rated programs) as well as to give UPN and WB stations that were not mentioned as becoming CW affiliates another option besides converting to independent stations. KFRE-TV (channel 59, no relation to what is now KFSN-TV) took the CW affiliation; KAIL, meanwhile, signed an affiliation agreement to become MyNetworkTV's Fresno affiliate. The station became a charter affiliate of the network when it launched on September 5, 2006.

In 2008, the station acquired the broadcast rights to Fresno State Bulldogs collegiate sporting events, assuming the rights from CW affiliate KFRE-TV.

KAIL-TV shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 53, on June 12, 2009, the official date in which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital signal broadcasts on its pre-transition VHF channel 7.

On April 1, 2008, KAIL began carrying the classic television service, the Retro Television Network, on digital subchannel 7.2. The subchannel eventually assumed local broadcast rights to San Francisco Giants Major League Baseball games, which moved to the station from KFRE-TV. On January 14, 2013, KAIL ended its run as an affiliate of RTV, switching its 7.2 subchannel over to the similarly-styled Cozi TV. In 2017, Light TV launched on 7.2, with Cozi moving to a newly-created 7.4 subchannel.

In February 2010, KAIL became the first television station in the Fresno market to begin offering Mobile DTV broadcasts, simulcasting the station's main channel and digital subchannel 7.2.

On April 15, 2014, KAIL's longtime owners Trans-America Broadcasting changed its name to Tel-America North Corporation, as part of a restructuring of the company's operations, which coincided with the sale of its sole radio outlet KTYM in Los Angeles to El Sembrador Ministries; as a result, KAIL until then was Tel-America's sole media property. On April 6, 2015, Tel-America agreed to sell KAIL to Aperio Communications for $3 million.

TV stations in California
KCOP, Los Angeles

KEYT-DT2, Santa Barbara/Santa Maria/San Luis Obispo
KECA-LD2, Eureka
KQCA, Sacramento
KRVU-LD, Redding/Chico
KPSE-LD, Coachella Valley/Palm Springs
KRON, San Francisco
KAAP-LP, Monterey
KECY, El Centro/Yuma
KAIL, Fresno
KFMB-DT2, San Diego

TV stations in Central California, including Fresno and Visalia
KZMM-CD 22 (Ind)
KMPH 26 (Fox)
KBID-LP 31 (Euronews)
KJEO-LD 32 (Bounce)
KNXT 49 (Ind)
KFRE 59 (CW)
KTFF 61 (UMas)
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