KAZT-TV, virtual and VHF digital channel 7, is an independent television station licensed to Prescott, Arizona, United States and serving the Phoenix television market. The station is owned by the Londen family of Phoenix and, as such, is the only locally owned English-language television station in the Phoenix market. KAZT's studios are located on Tower Road in Prescott, with a secondary studio and sales office in the Londen Center on Camelback Road in Phoenix. Its main transmitter is located atop Mingus Mountain (northeast of Prescott). Its signal is relayed through a network of seven low-power translators across central and northern Arizona, including KAZT-CD (UHF digital channel 36, also remapped to virtual channel 7 via PSIP) in Phoenix. The station is also carried on cable providers throughout the Phoenix market, as well as on the Phoenix DirecTV and Dish Network local feeds.

History[edit | edit source]

The station was originally assigned the call letters KNAZ in January 1980, when the original construction permit was granted; that September, the calls were changed to KUSK (the KNAZ call letters ended up being assigned to the NBC-affiliated station in Flagstaff), and it was under the latter calls that the station first signed on the air on September 5, 1982. By the 1990s, channel 7 was running low-budget programming that mainly targeted northern Arizona, through its main transmitter transmitting from Mingus Mountain and a network of translators from Yuma to Payson, and from Casa Grande to Bullhead City. The station broadcast television series from the 1950s and old public domain movies (some of which were provided by America One and the American Independent Network), syndicated programs that were declined by other Phoenix stations, local talk shows, and home shopping programs from America's Store. Before the Arizona Diamondbacks began play in 1998, KUSK thrived on Major League Baseball telecasts, and aired San Diego Padres, Oakland Athletics and San Francisco Giants games.

On December 5, 1997, KUSK, Inc., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, while the company reorganized. KUSK emerged from bankruptcy in May 2000. On November 30, 2001, KUSK reached an agreement to sell the station to the Londen family, who own Lincoln Heritage Life Insurance Company. The new owners officially took control of KUSK and its translator network on April 1, 2002.

The day after the Londen Group closed on its purchase, it relaunched the station with new call letters: KAZT-TV. It also adopted a new brand, AZ-TV, and a new slogan, "Arizona's Own." They also gave the station a significant technical facelift, including a studio in Phoenix, and purchased stronger programming. The station transformed from a low-budget operation focused on Northern Arizona into a high-quality independent station more focused on Phoenix and a serious competitor to the Valley's long-successful independent, KTVK (channel 3). To help ensure that KAZT would "do some good for Arizona", the Londen family put together an advisory board of notable Arizonans, including Governor Jane Dee Hull, U.S. Representative Bob Stump, prominent local auto dealer Lou Grubb, Jerry Colangelo of the Phoenix Suns and Arizona Diamondbacks, and Michael Bidwill of the Arizona Cardinals. Company patriarch Jack Londen later said that he had bought the station as a 50th anniversary gift for his wife, Dodie.

KAZT-CD[edit | edit source]

KUSK's Phoenix repeater was founded on January 22, 1985; the construction permit for the station, which was originally assigned the callsign K27AN, was granted to the Meredith Corporation, owners of KPHO-TV (channel 5). In August 1985, before the station was ever built, Meredith sold the permit to Arizona Metro Television Ltd., who constructed the station, then sold it to KUSK, Inc. in April 1986. That same month, the station signed on the air under Program Test Authority, but was not licensed until June 30, 1987. By 1993, it was an affiliate of Home Shopping Network (HSN). William H. Sauro, KUSK's president, became the licensee of the station in May 1994, and in December 1994, the station changed its callsign to KHSK-LP. Around that time, KUSK became accessible to Phoenix viewers on translator K55EH, also owned by the Prescott flagship station.

As part of KUSK's network of stations, KHSK-LP and K55EH were included in the proposed sale to Harry Pappas for his Azteca Phoenix enterprise, but they were eventually sold to the Londen Group as part of the KUSK sale after the Pappas purchase failed to materialize. KHSK-LP initially kept its HSN affiliation, but on July 5, 2002, the Londen Group changed the station's callsign to KAZT-CA and relaunched the station as a translator of KAZT-TV. K55EH eventually became defunct.

After KUTP (channel 45) signed on its digital signal on channel 26, their permanent allocation, KAZT-CA began to experience adjacent channel signal interference. The station requested Special Temporary Authority (STA) to shut off its analog signal and begin operating its digital signal on the same channel (called a "flash cut"). The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) granted the STA on August 16, 2007, and KAZT-CA began broadcasting in digital on January 15, 2008. On August 4, 2008, KAZT-CA applied to move its signal to channel 36, citing displacement due to continuing interference from KUTP. The FCC granted the displacement application on September 10, 2009, and on December 7, KAZT-CA ended broadcasts on channel 27, commencing operations on channel 36 five days later.

TV stations in Arizona
Religious: Other stations
KPCE-LP, Green Valley K19FD, Camp Verde KPAZ, Phoenix KTVK, Phoenix K35OU-D, Tucson
KDTP/KDPH-LP, Holbrook/Phoenix KAZT, Prescott
KKAX-LP, Kingman
TV stations in Phoenix metropolitan area
KTVK 3 (Ind)
KAZT 7 (Ind)
KSAZ 10 (Fox)
KDTP 11 (Daystar)
KFPH 13 (UMas)
K18DD-D 18 (Evine)
K19FD 19 (Hope)
K18JL-D 25 (AFTV)
KKAX-LP 36 (Youtoo)
K38IZ-D 38 (Ind)
KPDF-CD 41 (Rel)
KDPH-LP 48 (Daystar)
KFPB-LD 50 (Nuestra)
KPPX 51 (Ion)
KASW 61 (CW)
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