KBVO, virtual channel 14 (UHF digital channel 27), is a MyNetworkTV-affiliated television station serving Austin, Texas, United States that is licensed to Llano. The station is owned by the Nexstar Media Group, as part of a duopoly with Austin-licensed NBC/Ion Television affiliate KXAN-TV (channel 36); Nexstar also operates CW affiliate KNVA (channel 54) under a local marketing agreement (LMA) with owner Vaughan Media. The three stations share studios on West Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard and San Gabriel Street (between the Old West Austin section of Austin and the University of Texas at Austin campus); KBVO's transmitter is located near the intersection of TX 71 and Llano County Road 307 in unincorporated Llano County (8 miles (13 km) southeast of Llano).
The station's signal is relayed on a low-powered, Class A repeater in Austin, KBVO-CD (virtual channel 51, UHF digital channel 31), from a transmitter at the West Austin Antenna Farm on Mount Larson (near Loop 360 and Westlake Drive, north of West Lake Hills). On cable, the station is available on Charter Spectrum channels 7 (SD) and 1215 (HD), Grande Communications channels 18 (SD) and 818 (HD), Suddenlink channel 12 (SD/HD), Google Fiber channel 8 (SD/HD) and AT&T U-verse channels 7 (SD) and 1007 (HD).
History[edit | edit source]
As a semi-satellite of KXAN[edit | edit source]
On November 5, 1985, the Llano Broadcasting Co. (owned by Round Mountain-based judge A.W. Mousund and his wife, Mary Mousund, who later renamed the licensee Horseshoe Bay Centex Broadcasting Co.) filed an application with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for a license and construction permit to operate a commercial television station on UHF channel 14. On July 10, 1986, the Mousunds received approval to assign KLNO (in reference to its city of license, Llano) for use as the television station's call letters.
Although KXAN-TV (then known as KTVV) increased its transmitting power in 1973, the station found it difficult to adequately compete against CBS affiliate KTBC-TV (channel 7, now a Fox owned-and-operated station), ABC affiliate KVUE (channel 24) and, later, [the original] KBVO-TV (channel 42, now CBS affiliate KEYE-TV) largely because of the difficulties that UHF television stations experienced with signal propagation in areas of rugged terrain. The station's analog signal on UHF channel 36 provided an inadequate over-the-air signal to the western part of the Hill Country and was marginal to basically unviewable in Llano, Fredericksburg, Blanco and surrounding areas, with some parts of the region only being able to receive a clear signal from channel 36 once cable television became established in the Austin market in the late 1970s.
To solve this coverage gap problem, in 1989, KXAN rolled out plans to launch a network of UHF repeater stations to serve areas that had fair to no reception of its main signal, which was to have included five low-power television stations serving Llano, Blanco, San Marcos and Burnet as well as a fill-in translator in Austin. On May 9, 1989, LIN Broadcasting – through an indirect subsidiary, Kingstip Communications Inc., which LIN acquired as part of its 1979 purchase of channel 36 – filed an application to acquire the dormant KLNO license from Horseshoe Bay Centex Broadcasting Co. (which was unable to complete construction of the KLNO transmitter) for $100,000; LIN intended to launch KLNO as a semi-satellite of KXAN to reach viewers in the western Hill Country who could not adequately receive the channel 36 signal. On December 6, 1990, the FCC granted LIN/Kingstip's application to acquire the construction permit for KLNO, conditioned upon the payment to Horseshoe Centex Broadcasting not exceeding $100,000.
Channel 14 first signed on the air as a KXAN semi-satellite on September 6, 1991; it was the first (and only) full-power television station ever built and signed-on by the LIN TV Corporation (which operated at the time as the television broadcasting unit of original parent LIN Broadcasting). While the station was intended to improve KXAN's over-the-air reception in eleven Central Texas counties (especially in Llano, Burnet, Blanco, Gillespie, Mason, San Saba and Lampasas Counties), some viewers in this part of the Hill Country initially complained that the KLNO signal created interference issues (including, among others, signal shadowing and double-imaging) with other Austin-area television stations. In an Austin American-Statesman report on these issues published three weeks after KLNO's sign-on, KXAN chief engineer Dave Daniel cited that signal amplifiers installed onto the home antennas of many Hill Country residents to enhance reception of other Austin-area stations had the side effect of strengthening the Channel 14 signal to levels that interfered with those stations; to remedy this problem, the KXAN engineering staff developed amplifier filters to be distributed to affected area residents.
After only one month on the air, in order to match its parent station, LIN changed the Llano station's call letters to KXAM-TV on October 14, 1991. (For ratings purposes, Nielsen identified the two stations collectively as "KXAN+" in its local ratings tabulation diaries.) The station simulcast KXAN-TV's programming for most of the broadcast day, with the exception of breakaways for local news inserts produced from a bureau facility in Llano (which was equipped with a microwave truck and a live microwave link to a relay tower in Round Mountain) that were placed into channel 36's newscasts. KLNO/KXAM's existence was primarily acknowledged only in KXAN's legal station identifications, with a variant of channel 36's logo being utilized for disambiguation purposes in channel 14's own station IDs and periodically during KXAN's newscasts until February 2007. Along with other improvements to the station's news operations, the expanded signal coverage provided by Channel 14 helped boost KXAN's profile in the market, helping it vie for first place with KVUE (as KTBC's own news viewership declined following that station's July 1995 switch to Fox) in the late 1990s.
On January 14, 2002, KBVO-CA converted into a Spanish language station, when it became a charter affiliate of TeleFutura (now UniMás); in January 2009, that station converted into a full-time simulcast of primary CW/secondary MyNetworkTV-affiliated sister station KNVA (channel 54), after Univision Communications acquired the local affiliation rights to TeleFutura and migrated its programming to Class-A low-power station KTFO-CA (channel 31), which the company had previously operated as a repeater of Univision owned-and-operated station KAKW-TV (channel 62).
As a separate entertainment-based station; MyNetworkTV affiliation[edit | edit source]
On August 3, 2009, Channel 14's call letters were changed to KBVO, named after the University of Texas at Austin's mascot, "Bevo". (Prior to being reassigned for use by Channel 14 repeater station KBVO-CA in 1995, the callsign had originally been used on UHF channel 42 from its December 1983 sign-on as an independent station until it became a CBS affiliate, accordingly adopting the KEYE-TV call letters, in July 1995.) Subsequently, on October 21, KBVO took over as the Austin-area affiliate of MyNetworkTV, assuming the programming rights from KNVA, which had carried it on a tape delayed basis since the network-turned-programming service launched in September 2006 (initially airing from 9:00 to 11:00 p.m. after CW prime time programming, before temporarily being shifted one hour later after KNVA debuted a KXAN-produced 9:00 p.m. newscast on September 21, 2009). Until fellow charter MyNetworkTV affiliate WKTC in Columbia, South Carolina added a primary affiliation with The CW in August 2014, KNVA was one of two American television stations (not counting a handful of others that carry both networks on separate subchannels) that carried programming from both The CW and MyNetworkTV. (The other, KWKB in Iowa City, Iowa, continued to carry the full schedules of both netlets/programming services for another two years until it also chose to disaffiliate from MyNetworkTV and become an exclusive CW affiliate in 2016.)
KBVO – which originally branded as "MyAustinTV" under the service's branding conventions, before identifying solely by its call letters starting in September 2014 – also adopted a separate program schedule (consisting mainly of first-run syndicated talk and court shows, recent off-network sitcoms and drama series), with a partial emphasis on professional, high school and college sports events. LIN and KXAN management cited the conversion into a separate station as an effort to provide unique program offerings to differentiate KBVO amid a decrease in the number of Hill Country households that received KXAN over-the-air since Channel 14 signed on (declining from 60% in 1991 to less than 15% in 2009). Rather than offering a market-wide simulcast feed on a subchannel of either KXAN or KNVA, the full-power KBVO converted low-power station KBVO-CA into a translator to extend its reach into metropolitan Austin; however, its 75-watt signal barely covered Austin proper and did not cover surrounding towns such as San Marcos and Georgetown. As such, most viewers living in Austin and surrounding areas originally had to relay on cable or satellite in order to receive the station (in Austin, subscribers of Time Warner Cable [which ceded its local cable franchise rights to Charter Communications as a result of Time Warner Cable's 2016 merger with Charter] could only receive KBVO via its high-definition channel tier until July 2011, when it began carrying a standard definition feed of the station on channel 7).
On March 21, 2014, Richmond, Virginia-based Media General announced that it would purchase the LIN Media stations, including KXAN-TV, KBVO, and the LMA with KNVA, in a $1.6 billion merger. Despite the fact that KBVO no longer acted as a simulcast of KXAN, Media General filed to renew an existing satellite relay waiver to allow KBVO to continue under the same ownership as KXAN to comply with FCC rules in effect at the time that prohibited legal duopolies in media markets where there were fewer than eight independent owners of full-power television stations. The FCC approved the merger on December 12, 2014, with the deal being consummated on December 19.
On March 9, 2015, the KBVO-CD translator – which concurrently moved from UHF channel 51 to UHF 31 – increased its effective radiated power (ERP) to the maximum 15,000 watts (15kW), which allowed it to cover the entirety of the Austin metropolitan area. Furthermore, on September 23, 2016, the main KBVO signal increased its ERP from 75 watts to 15,000 watts, which expanded the station's signal contour to a 54.7-mile (88.0 km) radius that includes San Marcos and Georgetown, among other Central Texas cities.
On January 27, 2016, after terminating the planned $2.4-billion acquisition of the Des Moines, Iowa-based Meredith Corporation it announced the previous September, Media General announced it had signed an agreement to sell its assets to the Irving-based Nexstar Broadcasting Group – which had a previous $14.50-per-share offer for the group be rejected by Media General two months earlier – for an evaluation of $4.6 billion in cash and stock plus the assumption of $2.3 billion in Media General-held debt. The transaction was approved by the FCC on January 11, 2017; the sale was completed six days later on January 17, at which point the existing Nexstar stations and the former Media General outlets that were not subject to divestiture to address ownership conflicts in certain overlapping markets became part of the renamed Nexstar Media Group. The deal marked Nexstar's re-entry into the Austin market, as the group had previously operated KEYE-TV under a local marketing agreement with Four Points Media Group from 2009 to 2011, concluding after Sinclair Broadcast Group acquired the KEYE and the other Four Points stations; it also resulted in KBVO becoming the fourth Nexstar station to have originated as a part- or full-time satellite station prior to converting into an independently programmed outlet (along with NBC affiliate KNWA-TV in Fort Smith, Arkansas, and MyNetworkTV affiliates WCIX in Champaign, Illinois and KYLE-TV in Bryan).
|TV stations in Texas|
KCWX, San Antonio
|TV stations in Austin/Hill Country region|
|KTBC 7 (Fox) |
KBVO 14 (MNTV)
KADT-LD 16 (Daystar)
KVAT-LD 17 (AZA)
KLRU 18 (PBS)
KGBS-CD 19 (Stadium)
KADF-LP 20 (ANTENNA)
KVUE 24 (ABC)
K29HW-D 29 (Ind)
KTFO-CD 31 (UMas)
K34FM-D 34 (TBN)
KXAN 36 (NBC)
KXLK-CD 40 (Justice)
KEYE 42 (CBS)
KNVA 54 (CW)
KAKW 62 (UNI)