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KHOU, virtual and VHF digital channel 11, is a CBS-affiliated television station licensed to Houston, Texas, United States. The station is owned by Tegna, Inc. KHOU's transmitter is located near Missouri City, in unincorporated northeastern Fort Bend County.

KHOU currently shares studio facilities with PBS member station KUHT (channel 8) at the LeRoy and Lucile Melcher Center for Public Broadcasting on the campus of the University of Houston; master control is based at the studios of Tegna sister station and ABC affiliate WFAA in Dallas. From April 24, 1960 to August 27, 2017, the station's studios and offices were located at 1945 Allen Parkway, along Buffalo Bayou in the Neartown neighborhood (near Downtown Houston), until floodwaters from Buffalo Bayou inundated the studios during Hurricane Harvey.

During the 2016–17 television season, KHOU became the second-largest (after sister station and Tegna flagship, WUSA in Washington, D.C.) CBS affiliate (not owned by the network) station by market size, after passing Atlanta.

HistoryEdit

The station first signed on the air on March 23, 1953 as KGUL-TV (either GULF of Mexico or seaGULL). It was founded by Paul Taft of the Taft Broadcasting Co. (no relation to the Cincinnati-based Taft Broadcasting Company). Originally licensed to Galveston, it was the second television station to debut in the Houston market (after KPRC-TV, channel 2), taking the secondary CBS affiliation from KPRC-TV as the network's new primary affiliate, and has stayed aligned with the network ever since. One of the original investors in the station was actor James Stewart, along with a small group of other Galveston investors. The studio was located at 2002 45th Street in Galveston.

In 1956, the original owners sold the station to the Indianapolis-based Whitney Corporation (later Corinthian Broadcasting), which became a subsidiary of Dun & Bradstreet in 1971. In June 1959, the station changed its callsign to KHOU-TV (the "-TV" suffix was dropped from the call letters the week following the June 12, 2009 digital transition, as most Belo stations did at the time) and had its city of license relocated to Houston. The FCC license listed both the Houston and Galveston service areas for a time. On April 24, 1960, the station moved to its first Houston facilities at 1945 Allen Parkway, located just west of downtown.

In 1984, Dun & Bradstreet sold its entire broadcasting division, including KHOU, to the Belo Corporation, who spun off its Beaumont station, KFDM-TV (channel 6) in order to comply with FCC regulations at the time that prevented one company from owning overlapping signals; both stations had overlapping Grade B signals in the vicinity of Liberty County (east of Houston).

Known for its ownership of The Dallas Morning News and its flagship TV station in its home city of Dallas, WFAA (historically one of ABC's strongest affiliates and a local news powerhouse in that city), Belo began to make significant investments into KHOU, which had become one of CBS's weakest affiliates during the 1980s under the final years of Dun & Bradstreet ownership. With the addition of stronger syndicated programming including the popular game shows Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! (both of which were picked up from KPRC-TV) and The Oprah Winfrey Show (which KTRK-TV turned down), the revamping of its news department, and the carrying over of its Dallas flagship's popular branding, The Spirit of Texas, KHOU began to challenge KTRK and KPRC in the local ratings, and eventually became one of CBS's strongest affiliates by the 1990s. In 1998, KHOU became the first television station in the market to begin broadcasting a high-definition digital signal.

The KHOU studios were flooded during Tropical Storm Allison in 2001, resulting in damage to much of the station's offices, including its newsroom. The damage was so severe that the station had to cease regular programming and instead broadcast a West Coast feed of the Late Show with David Letterman, followed by a feed from the station's doppler radar for roughly 90 minutes.

During Hurricane Ike, which hit the Texas Gulf Coast in mid-September 2008, KHOU's storm coverage was distributed nationwide via DirecTV and XM Satellite Radio, as well as through a live feed on the station's website. On June 13, 2013, the Gannett Company announced that it would acquire Belo for $1.5 billion. The sale was completed on December 23.

On June 29, 2015, the Gannett Company split in two, with one side specializing in print media and the other side specializing in broadcast and digital media. KHOU was retained by the latter company, named Tegna.

Effects of Hurricane Harvey and studio relocation On August 21, 2017, KHOU began covering Hurricane Harvey as the storm was projected to hit the Texas Gulf Coast with extensive rainfall expected in the Greater Houston area. The station began wall-to-wall coverage on August 25, 2017 with extensive coverage of the storm's landfall in Rockport (near Corpus Christi). While initial coverage focused on storm damage and cleanup in parts of KHOU's viewing area, by the following Saturday, August 26, massive and continuous rain bands from the Gulf of Mexico led to catastrophic flooding throughout the metropolitan area, with much of the flooding being unprecedented in many places.

On the early morning of Sunday, August 27, KHOU was forced to evacuate its studios due to rising floodwaters from the nearby Buffalo Bayou. Around 6 a.m., the first floor of the building became inundated with floodwaters, forcing station employees to completely abandon its facility nearly three hours later after a move to a second floor conference room proved to only be a short-term option, though critical equipment (such as the studio's robotic cameras) was also moved up to the second floor before the flooding became worse. The station's brand-new news set, which had debut in November 2016, weather center, newsroom and master control were destroyed by the floodwaters, which rose up to five feet within the building. Additionally, the station's over the air signal, including its CBS and diginet feeds, were knocked off the air as computers and other equipment became submerged by floodwaters, with staff relegated to providing updates on social media.

After KHOU's signal was knocked off the air, sister station WFAA began providing live news coverage for KHOU by live-streaming on both station's websites and social media profiles until the station was able to resume broadcasting on its own. The station's staff then evacuated to the nearby Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas Houston Branch building on higher ground while a new contingency plan was drafted.

With the assistance of PBS member station KUHT and master control from WFAA, KHOU eventually resumed live broadcasting later that night from temporary facilities at the LeRoy and Lucile Melcher Center for Public Broadcasting on the campus of the University of Houston. At various times, WFAA, along with Tegna NBC affiliate KUSA in Denver, provided assistance with weather graphics and master control. Due to technical difficulties, WFAA originated the August 27, 2017 edition of the 10 p.m. news that was simulcasted in both cities. Eventually a reliable signal was established an hour later from the Melcher Center and storm coverage continued. KHOU is the third commercial station in Houston to utilize a part of the UH campus for its facilities, after ill-fated KNUZ-TV (channel 39) from 1953 to 1954 and KTRK-TV (channel 13) from its 1954 launch until its 1961 move to its current studios in the Upper Kirby district.

On the evening of August 31, the station resumed CBS programming with its primetime lineup. For the first month, the station only broadcast its main HD channel while its two subchannels (at the time Bounce TV and Justice Network) remained shut down. The following week, on September 4, KHOU began to reuse parts of its previous 2011–2016 news set in the temporary studio. On October 4, the subchannels returned as widescreen SD simulcasts of the main channel in preparation for the eventual return of the diginets, which would finally return on October 12. Around the same time, the station's on-air look returned to normal with full news and weather graphics restored and program guide listings on the terrestrial signal. Currently, the station continues to originate broadcasts from the Melcher Center studios.

On November 16, 2017, KHOU officially announced it would not return to the Allen Parkway facility; the building would eventually be sold to an affiliate of Service Corporation International (whose headquarters are located in an office building adjacent to the former KHOU studios) and was eventually demolished the following May. In December 2017, KHOU announced that it would open a secondary street-side studio at the George R. Brown Convention Center along Avenida Houston, which will primarily be used for morning and daytime newscasts. This is similar to Dallas sister station WFAA's Victory Park studio, which opened a decade earlier in January 2007.

On March 29, 2018, KHOU announced that it had signed a lease for 43,000 square feet (3,995 m2) of space at 5718 Westheimer Road near the Galleria district. The station will occupy three floors of the high-rise that will include two studios, two control rooms, an open collaboration space for all content producing departments, technical operations, sales and executive offices. Occupancy is anticipated in early 2019.

Gallery Edit

TV stations in Texas
KHOU, Houston

KENS, San Antonio
KEYE, Austin
KTVT, Dallas–Fort Worth
KAUZ, Wichita Falls
KWTX, Waco
KBTX, College Station
KXII, Sherman
KFDM, Beaumont
KFDA, Amarillo
KLST, San Angelo
KAVU, Victoria
KLBK, Lubbock
KYLX-LD, Laredo
KZTV, Corpus Christi
KGBT, Harlingen
KOSA, Odessa
KDBC, El Paso

TV stations in Greater Houston
KPRC 2 (NBC)
KUHT 8 (PBS)
KUVM-LD 10 (Ind)
KHOU 11 (CBS)
KTRK 13 (ABC)
KETH 14 (TBN)
KVVV-LD 15 (Word)
KTXH 20 (MNTV)
KVQT-LD 21 (Ind)
KLTJ 22 (Daystar)
KRIV 26 (Fox)
KUGB-CD 28 (GEB)
KCVH-LD 30 (REL)
KEHO-LD 32 (FESTIVA)
KUVM-CD 34 (LATV)
KZHO-LD 38 (VCL)
KIAH 39 (CW)
KHLM-LD 43 (MULTIMEDIOS)
KXLN 45 (UNI)
KBPX-LD 46 (NV)
KTMD 47 (TLM)
KPXB 49 (Ion)
KDHU-LD 50 (Daystar)
KYAZ 51 (AZA)
KTBU 55 (QUEST)
KUBE 57 (Ind)
KZJL 61 (ESTRELLA)
KFTH 67 (UMas)
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