KAMR-TV, virtual channel 4 (UHF digital channel 19), is an NBC-affiliated television station licensed to Amarillo, Texas, United States. The station is owned by Nexstar Media Group, which also operates Fox affiliate KCIT (channel 14) and low-powered MyNetworkTV affiliate KCPN-LP (channel 33) under joint sales and shared services agreements with the latter two stations' owner, Mission Broadcasting.
All three stations share studios on Southeast 11th Avenue and South Fillmore Street in downtown Amarillo (500 feet [150 m] northwest of the studios of ABC affiliate KVII-TV [channel 7]); KAMR and KCIT share transmitter facilities on Dumas Drive (U.S. 87-287) and Reclamation Plant Road in rural unincorporated Potter County. On cable, the station is available on Suddenlink Communications channel 5 in Amarillo, and on channel 4 on other providers in outlying areas of the market.
On September 5, 1951, the Plains Radio Broadcasting Company – a subsidiary of Globe News Publishing Co. (owned by landowner and oilman Roy N. Whittenburg and civic leader Samuel "S.B." Whittenburg), then-publisher of the Amarillo Globe-News and owner of radio station KGNC (710 AM) – filed an application with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to obtain a license and construction permit to operate a commercial television station on VHF channel 4. The FCC awarded the license and permit for channel 4 to Plains Radio Broadcasting on October 8, 1953; the group subsequently requested and received approval to assign KGNC-TV (for Globe-News Company) as the television station's call letters.
The station first signed on the air on March 18, 1953. KGNC-TV was the first television station to sign on in the Amarillo market, debuting two weeks before KFDA-TV (channel 10) signed on as the market's CBS affiliate on April 4. Channel 4 has been an NBC television affiliate since its debut, inheriting those rights through KGNC radio's longtime relationship with the progenitor NBC Red Network, which had been affiliated with that station since January 1937; it also maintained a secondary affiliations with the DuMont Television Network. The operations of KGNC-TV were originally located at a facility on North Polk Street and Northeast 24th Avenue in northeastern Amarillo, which it shared with KGNC radio. DuMont shut down in 1955, amid various issues that arose from its relations with Paramount that hamstrung it from expansion; that year, the station joined the NTA Film Network until that network closed in 1961.
On October 8, 1966, the Globe News Publishing Company announced that it would sell KGNC-TV and its sister radio properties to Topeka, Kansas-based Stauffer Communications (a family-owned company run by Oscar S. Stauffer, Stanley H. Stauffer, John H. Stauffer and Marion W. Stauffer) for $5.6 million (split between Globe-News Publishing for $4.225 million plus a three-year non-compete agreement worth $300,000, and $1.375 million to Plains Broadcasting); the sale was approved by the FCC on January 12, 1966. The Whittenburg family retained ownership of the Globe-News.
In October 1973, Stauffer announced it would sell KGNC-TV to Cannan Communications – a locally based company managed under the direction of Darrell A. Cannan, Sr. and Darrell A. Cannan, Jr. – for $2.5 million; the sale received FCC approval, along with the renewal of the KGNC-TV license, on July 31, 1974. In order to comply with an FCC rule in effect at the time that prohibited separately owned radio and television stations in the same market from sharing the same base call letters, as Stauffer was allowed to keep the KGNC call letters for its new radio properties, the station's call letters were changed to KAMR-TV (in reference to its city of license, AMaRillo) on November 5th of that year.
During the late 1980s, KAMR-TV had experienced a gradual ratings downturn in both local news and, to a lesser extent, in total-day viewership. Especially troubling for KAMR was the fact that its ratings decline occurred at a timeframe when NBC's ratings were otherwise strong, thanks to its prime time programming (including its Thursday night comedy lineup). Not helping matters was that NBC also held partial broadcast rights to the NFL's American Football Conference (which it continued to broadcast through 1997, when those rights shifted to CBS [and by association, KFDA-TV]), which included rights to Super Bowls following the 1992, 1993, 1995, and 1997 seasons. Each of these telecasts featured an NFC or AFC team of interest to significant cohorts of KAMR's viewing area (particularly, the Dallas Cowboys and the Denver Broncos). Meanwhile, KFDA's ratings continued to improve despite CBS losing its NFL telecast rights after the 1993 season. (Prior to 1993, KFDA's final Super Bowl telecast determined 1991's NFL champions; after CBS regained the NFL rights in 1998, channel 10 also carried the Super Bowl that determined the champions for the 2000 season.)
On January 5, 1999, Boston-based Quorum Broadcasting announced that it would purchase KAMR-TV from Cannan Communications as part of a $64-million, three-station deal. The following day (January 6), Westlake, Ohio-based Mission Broadcasting announced that it would acquire KCIT and KCPN-LP from Wichita Falls-based Wicks Broadcast Group for $13 million; the sale to Quorum received FCC approval on February 23, 1999. Quorum took over the operations of KCIT and KCPN on June 1, 1999, under joint sales and shared services agreements with Mission, under which KAMR would handle news production, engineering, security and certain other services as well as handling advertising sales for the two stations. Although KAMR was the senior partner in the deal, it subsequently vacated its longtime studio facility on North Polk Street, and relocated its operations seven miles (11 km) south to KCIT/KCPN's facility on South Fillmore Street. (The former Polk Street studio is now occupied by the Faith Clinic Christian Center Church, which relocated its campus into the building in July 2003.)
On September 8, 2003, Irving, Texas-based Nexstar Broadcasting Group announced that it would acquire Quorum Broadcasting's ten television stations, including KAMR-TV and the JSA/SSAs involving KCIT and KCPN-LP, for $230 million; the sale of KAMR to Quorum and the transfer of the joint sales and shared services agreements to Nexstar was completed on December 31, 2003. On February 25, 2013, the over-the-air signals of KAMR, KCIT and KCPN were knocked off the air for more than 18 hours as a result of electricity fluctuations that shut off cooling pumps on the stations' transmitter tower off of U.S. 287 during a major blizzard that crippled much of the Texas Panhandle. Snow drifts of up to 4 feet (1.2 m) prevented station employees from accessing the site until the morning of February 26, in order to restore power to the transmitters. All three stations remained available to Suddenlink Communications systems in the area through a direct fiber feed.
|TV stations in Texas|
| KPRC, Houston|
WOAI, San Antonio
|TV Stations in the Texas Panhandle / Oklahoma Panhandle / High Plains area, including Amarillo|
|Amarillo and surrounding area||Northeastern New Mexico|
|KACV 2 (PBS)||KENW 3 (PBS)|
|KAMR 4 (NBC)||KVIH 12 (ABC)|
|KBEX-LP 6 (Youtoo)||KCVP 34 (GLC)|
|KVII 7 (ABC)|
|KFDA 10 (CBS)|
|KWET 12 (PBS)|
|KDAX-LD 13 (Daystar)|
|KCIT 14 (Fox)|
|KAUO-LD 15 (TCN)|
|K17HI-D 17 (3ABN)|
|KPTF 18 (GLC)|
|KLKW-LD 22 (ESTRELLA)|
|KEYU 31 (TLM)|
|KCPN-LP 33 (MNTV)|
|K45IQ 45 (MTV2)|
|KXAD-LD 51 (Rev'n)|