KFDA-TV, virtual and VHF digital channel 10, is a CBS-affiliated television station licensed to Amarillo, Texas, United States. The station is owned by Gray Television, as part of a duopoly with Borger-licensed Telemundo affiliate KEYU (channel 31). The two stations share studios on Broadway Drive (just south of West Cherry Avenue) in northern Amarillo, where KFDA's transmitter is also located. On cable, the station is available on Suddenlink Communications channel 12 in Amarillo, and on channel 10 on other providers in outlying areas of the market.
History[edit | edit source]
Early history[edit | edit source]
On July 3, 1952, the Amarillo Broadcasting Company – a consortium led by radio station owners Wendell Mayes, oil, gas and publishing interest holder C. C. Woodson, Charles B. Jordan (vice president and assistant general manager of the Texas State Network), and Gene L. Cagle (Texas State Network president and general manager) – 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 10. The FCC awarded the license and permit for channel 10 to the Amarillo Broadcasting Company on October 8, 1952; the group subsequently requested and received approval to assign KFDA-TV as the television station's call letters, using the base callsign that had been used by its existing radio station on KFDA (1440 AM) since it signed on in March 1939.
The station first signed on the air on April 4, 1953; it was the second television station to sign on in the Amarillo market, debuting two weeks after NBC affiliate KGNC-TV (channel 4, now KAMR-TV) launched as the market's first television station on March 18. Channel 10 has been an CBS television affiliate since its debut; however, it also initially carried programming from ABC, inheriting those rights through KFDA radio's longtime relationship with the television network's progenitor ABC Radio, which had been affiliated with that station since 1943 (as the post-NBC-split Blue Network).
In January 1954, the Texas State Network (TSN) – a broadcasting consortium owned by Sid W. Richardson (philanthropist and owner of, among other petroleum firms in the state, Fort Worth-based Sid W. Richardson Inc. and Richardson and Bass Oil Producers), media executive Gene L. Cagle, mineral rights firm owner R. K. Hanger, company president Charles B. Jordan and D. C. Homburg – acquired a 75% controlling stake in KFDA-AM-TV from the original stockholders for $525,000, with Jordan retaining his existing 25% interest. KFDA disaffiliated from ABC shortly before KVII-TV (channel 7) signed on as an affiliate of that network on December 21, 1957, with the station remaining an exclusive CBS affiliate. In January 1958, Jordan divested his stake in KFDA-TV to TSN/Amarillo Broadcasting in exchange for full ownership of KFDA radio through his firm, the Lone Star Broadcasting Company. Despite this separation of ownership, the KFDA television and radio stations continued to share a base call sign until 1966, when the radio station changed its call letters to KPUR, in order to comply with a since-repealed FCC rule that prohibited separately owned television and radio stations that were based in the same media market from sharing the same call letters.
In an effort to expand its viewing area, KFDA-TV launched a network of UHF translators to serve areas of the Texas Panhandle that were not covered by its main signal. KFDA's parent companies during the timeframe also acquired two standalone network affiliates during the mid-1960s for conversion into satellite stations to reach areas where its primary signal was impaired by some of the rugged terrain within the Panhandle. The station was all but unviewable in Clovis, Portales and surrounding areas of northeastern New Mexico as well as portions of the far eastern Texas Panhandle. Many viewers in those areas received CBS programming either via KGGM-TV (now KRQE-TV) in Albuquerque or KWTV in Oklahoma City. On September 11, 1963, the Texas State Network purchased primary CBS and secondary ABC affiliate KICA-TV (channel 12) in Clovis, New Mexico from Marshall Enterprises (owned by John H. Marshall Sr., John H. Marshall Jr., Lena V. Marshall and Carolyn A. Marshall) for $350,000; the sale was approved on January 22, 1964. TSN subsequently changed the Sayre station's call letters to KFDW-TV to match its new parent station.
The owner of KFDA-TV and its satellites changed its name from Texas State Network to Bass Broadcasting Company – by then, led by investor/philanthropist Perry R. Bass – in April 1965 (following TSN's sale of KFJZ-AM-FM in Fort Worth to a company that subsequently took on the Texas State Network name). The following year, in February 1966, the Bass family acquired a majority stake in the company from the Sid W. Richardson Foundation (a move that followed concerns from Congress and the Department of the Treasury regarding nonprofit foundations' business interests) and Gene Cagle (who gave up his interest in Bass in exchange for acquiring KRIO in McAllen from the company) for nearly $2.3 million. On July 1 of that year, Bass Broadcasting acquired CBS affiliate KSWB (channel 8) in Elk City, Oklahoma from Southwest Broadcasting Company (owned by Lonnie J. Preston and Alice H. Preston) for $275,000, including a non-compete agreement for Southwest Broadcasting worth $50,000. The sale, along with a concurrent renewal request for the KSWB license and proposed upgrades to its transmitter facility, received FCC approval on November 17, 1965. In September 1966, KSWB converted into a KFDA satellite under the call letters KFDO-TV (which also had its city of license relocated to the nearby city of Sayre), to relay its programming into portions of eastern New Mexico who could not adequately receive ABC programming from KGGM-TV. (The KSWB call letters are currently used by a Fox-affiliated television station in San Diego, California.)
The Bass family decided to exit broadcasting in the mid-1970s to focus on their oil and gas exploration interests. In October 1975, Bass Broadcasting Co. sold KFDO-TV to Amarillo-based Marsh Media Ltd. – owned by entrepreneur and philanthropist Stanley Marsh 3, Tom F. Marsh, Michael C. Marsh and Estelle Marsh Wattlington – for $300,000; Marsh converted KFDO into a satellite station of KVII (under the new calls KVIJ-TV) to reach viewers in the eastern Texas Panhandle as well as those in west-central Oklahoma who could not adequately receive ABC programming from KOCO-TV in Oklahoma City. (KVIJ ceased operations on December 2, 1992, citing the fact that the majority of ABC's viewership in west-central Oklahoma came via either reception of KOCO-TV or KSWO-TV in Lawton on local cable providers in that area.)
Transfer to Drewry[edit | edit source]
In May 1976, KFDA-TV was sold to the Panhandle Telecasting Company (originally known as Amarillo Telecasters, and under licensee to Midessa Television Inc.) – a partnership of Ray Herndon, majority owner of KMID-TV in Midland, and R.H. Drewry, owner of KSWO-TV in Lawton, Oklahoma – for $2.8 million; the sale was received FCC approval 3½ months later on August 20. The sale of KFDA did not include KFDW-TV, which was instead included in a sale of Bass's remaining stations to Mel Wheeler, Inc. a few months later in a $2.2-million deal. (After subsequent sales, KFDW would become KMCC-TV, a satellite of Lubbock ABC affiliate KAMC, in 1979, and KVIH-TV, a satellite of KVII, in 1986; KVIH remains a KVII satellite to this day.) In October 1983, Drewry (through his Lawton Cablevision Inc. subsidiary) acquired majority control of KFDA for $3 million; the transaction received FCC approval on February 27, 1984.
On July 1, 2008, Drewry Communications Group announced its intention to sell its eleven television stations (as well as local radio station KEYU-FM [102.9] and sister radio property KTXC in Lamesa) to Dallas-based London Broadcasting Company—a company founded by Terry E. London, former CEO of Gaylord Entertainment, the previous year to acquire broadcast properties in small to mid-sized markets within Texas, beginning operations with the February 2008 purchase of CBS affiliate KYTX in Tyler—for $115 million. While the deal received approval by the FCC, London Broadcasting filed a notice of non-consummation to the FCC in January 2009, after company management decided to terminate the deal due to market uncertainties resulting from the Great Recession.
On February 23, 2011, KFDA became the first television station in the Amarillo market (and the West Texas region as a whole) to carry syndicated programming and advertisements inserted during local commercial breaks (including station and network promos) in high definition. The station upgraded its master control facilities to allow content not directly fed by CBS or produced in-house to be transmitted in HD.
Raycom ownership and sale to Gray[edit | edit source]
On August 10, 2015, Montgomery, Alabama-based Raycom Media announced that it would purchase Drewry Communications' eight television and two radio stations for $160 million. The sale was completed on December 1; as result of the Raycom purchase, KFDA gained a new sister station in NBC affiliate KCBD in the adjacent Lubbock market (which Raycom has owned since it acquired Greenville, South Carolina-based Liberty Corporation's television broadcasting unit in 2006.).
On June 25, 2018, Atlanta-based Gray Television announced it had reached an agreement with Raycom to merge their respective broadcasting assets (consisting of Raycom's 63 existing owned-and/or-operated television stations, including KFDA-TV and KEYU as well as Lubbock sister station KCBD, and Gray's 93 television stations) under the former's corporate umbrella. The cash-and-stock merger transaction valued at $3.6 billion – in which Gray shareholders would acquire preferred stock currently held by Raycom – will result in KFDA/KEYU gaining a new sister station in the Odessa–Midland market as Gray plans to retain ownership of fellow CBS affiliate KOSA-TV in exchange for selling NBC affiliate KWES-TV (which will be sold to an independent company to comply with FCC ownership rules prohibiting common ownership of two of the four highest-rated stations in a single market, KWES and CBS affiliate WTOL in Toledo, Ohio would be sold to Tegna Inc.). The sale was approved on December 20, and was completed on January 2, 2019.
|TV stations in Texas|
KENS, 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)|