KION-TV (virtual channel 46, UHF channel 32) is a television station licensed to Monterey, California, United States, affiliated with CBS, and Fox. Owned by the News-Press & Gazette Company, it serves the Monterey Bay area from studios located on Moffett Street in Salinas, immediately south of Salinas Municipal Airport, and a transmitter on Mount Toro, about 10 miles (16 km) south of Salinas. The station is rebroadcast to the Monterey area on translator KMUV-LD (channel 23), with transmitter on Fremont Peak.
This station was the second established in the Salinas-Monterey area proper, beginning broadcasts in 1969; it has been affiliated with CBS since beginning operations. Traditionally a second- or even third-place operation in the market, its operations were merged with KCBA (channel 35), then the region's Fox affiliate, between 1996 and 2013. The Fox subchannel on KION-TV, "Fox 35", represents the continuation of what was KCBA's programming after this station reacquired the Fox affiliation in 2021. KION produces English- and Spanish-language local newscasts covering the northern Central Coast.
KION started out as KMST-TV ("Monterey–Salinas Television") on January 25, 1969, as a CBS affiliate, taking it over from NBC affiliate KSBW (channel 8), which affiliated with CBS on a secondary basis. It is the second longest serving station to serve Monterey Bay, excluding now-former ABC affiliate KNTV, which is based in San Jose. With KMST's sign on, it took 16 years for the Monterey Bay region to have full-time affiliations from all three commercial networks, although KNTV now serves the San Francisco Bay Area exclusively as of 2002 as its NBC O&O.
KMST was available in markets that reached from the Monterey Bay area to San Jose, California. Retlaw Broadcasting, a subsidiary of Retlaw Enterprises, a company owned by relatives of Walt Disney, acquired KMST from its original local owners in 1979.
By 1993, San Jose's TCI cable opted to drop KMST. Later that year, Retlaw sold the station to a partnership between Harron Communications and Smith Broadcasting, with Smith Broadcasting having control of the joint venture). On October 4, the new owners changed Channel 46's call sign to KCCN-TV (standing for "Central Coast News"), calls shared with two stations in Honolulu, Hawaii, the AM KCCN, and KCCN-FM, with the latter group agreeing to it based on FCC procedures at the time, though with hesitation and concerns over confusion between the entities. The next year, Smith Broadcasting sold its share of the station to Harron, in order to purchase KSBW. At that time, KCBA (channel 35), then owned by the Ackerley Group, signed a local marketing agreement with KCCN, with Ackerley taking over the operations of both stations. The beginning of the LMA came at a time when CBS' ratings were at one of the lowest points in the network's history, while Fox's ratings were on the rise. Although KCCN was longer-established, KCBA became the senior partner in the LMA.
On February 23, 1997, KCCN changed its call letters again, this time to KION, after the rise of the World Wide Web brought new complaints from the Honolulu radio stations, who wanted to restrict channel 46 from using their call sign on their website.
Late in 1998, Ackerley bought KION outright from Harron and sold KCBA to Seal Rock Broadcasters. It took more than a year for this transaction to receive Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approval, due to the then-pending license renewals for both stations; and the deal was completed on January 12, 2000. However, Ackerley continued to operate KCBA through an LMA with its new owners, resulting in KION now becoming the senior partner in the LMA. By that time CBS' ratings had recovered to be competitive with those of ABC and NBC. Two years later, Ackerley merged with Clear Channel Communications. Clear Channel added the -TV suffix to KION's legal call sign when what was then KTXX (AM 1460, also owned by Clear Channel) took the KION call letters on August 14, 2002. From 1995 to 2003, KION and KCBA carried UPN programs such as WWF/E SmackDown! and the 2002 version of The Twilight Zone as a secondary affiliate.
On April 20, 2007, Clear Channel entered into an agreement to spin off its entire television stations group to Newport Television, a broadcasting holding company established by the private equity firm Providence Equity Partners. However, Newport Television could not keep KION or Telemundo affiliate KMUV-LP due to Providence Equity Partners' partial ownership of several media properties (specifically, several radio stations owned by Univision Radio that are located within the San Francisco–San Jose market) that serve parts of the Monterey market. KION and KMUV were sold to the Cowles Publishing Company, the owner of KHQ-TV and The KHQ Television Group in Spokane, Washington. The deal closed on May 7, 2008. On that day, Cowles Publishing took over the LMA for KCBA from Newport Television. However, for some time afterward, Newport Television's website continued to list all three stations (KION, KCBA, and KMUV) as being owned and/or operated by Newport. Subsequently, KION and the other former Clear Channel/Newport stations acquired by Cowles switched their website CMS providers from Inergize Digital to Worldnow.
On September 20, 2013, News-Press & Gazette Company (NPG) announced that it would purchase KION-TV and KMUV-LP, as well as San Luis Obispo sister station KKFX-CA. NPG would also take over some of the operations of Santa Maria sister station KCOY-TV, which Cowles initially retained but eventually sold to VistaWest Media LLC, under a shared services agreement, as NPG's holdings in the area already included KEYT-TV in Santa Barbara. The sale was completed on December 13. The existing LMA for KCBA was terminated on December 1, as that station's operations were assumed by Entravision Communications through a joint sales agreement (the license being retained by Seal Rock Broadcasters). Almost immediately after NPG closed on the purchase, Internet Broadcasting took over the operations of KION's web site, as for all other NPG station websites.
KION radio is no longer co-owned with KION-TV, as Clear Channel (now iHeartMedia) continues to operate the radio station. For several years after Clear Channel sold the television station, the radio station's logo continued to echo that of KION-TV's previous logo, with a "1" and a "0" added to turn "46" into "1460".
On June 20, 2014, KION redesigned its website with a new logo consistent with the rest of the NPG stations in San Luis Obispo, Santa Maria, and Santa Barbara.
On November 4, 1966, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) granted a construction permit to Monterey–Salinas Television, Inc., to build a new commercial television station on channel 46 in Monterey. The company was led by Stoddard P. Johnston, owner of KMBY AM and FM radio in Monterey, and also featured William H. Schuyler. Schuyler had been the president of KTVU in Oakland, California, and Johnston chaired its board of directors before it was sold to Cox Broadcasting. In 1968, a planned start date of September 1 was announced for the new KMBY-TV, which Johnston said would benefit from the recent addition of UHF tuning to all new televisions and from the widespread use of cable TV systems in Salinas, Monterey, and Santa Cruz. On June 1, 1968, the unbuilt station changed its call sign to KMST, and though the September start was missed, construction moved along and the station picked up the CBS affiliation; at the time, KSBW (channel 8) in Salinas, a primary NBC affiliate, aired some CBS programs. Schuyler would later note that one of the reasons the Central Coast was picked was because CBS had an interest in adding an affiliate in the area, with NBC already spoken for and KNTV in San Jose then serving the Salinas and Monterey area but no CBS outlet between KPIX-TV San Francisco and KCOY-TV in Santa Maria. KMST would remain on cable in San Jose until 1993, when the TCI system there demoted it and then dropped it altogether.
KMST intended to begin broadcasting on January 25, 1969, but bad weather kept the station off the air; the microwave link to receive KPIX-TV and CBS programming had not yet been installed. KMST made its debut on February 1, a week later than planned. Leased quarters off the Monterey–Salinas highway were used as an interim studio site, but the acoustics were poor; eventually, the station relocated to a purpose-built site near the Monterey Peninsular Airport. In December 1973, the Johnston-led group filed to sell KMST to a new company, also named Monterey–Salinas Television, which featured Johnston and other new owners. The new owners were brought in to provide additional needed capital for equipment improvements.
Retlaw Enterprises, a company owned by relatives of Walt Disney, purchased KMST for $8.25 million in 1979. The sale offer was chosen because it was all-cash; five different groups had sought to purchase the station. KMST was traditionally a training ground for broadcasters; one former reporter, Kathryn Pratt, noted that many staffers called it the "KMST School of Broadcasting".
The late 1980s and early 1990s would prove to be turbulent times for the station. Citing poor working conditions, KMST employees voted 43–2 to unionize with the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists in 1989. Retlaw constantly fought the unionization effort; when it fired a production director who had been active in the organizing effort, the National Labor Relations Board filed a complaint against ownership. The news department struggled; newscasts were cut, and six staffers defected to KCBA (channel 35), which started a news department in 1990. Union negotiations remained incomplete in 1991, with AFTRA blaming station management for stalling and stating that the two-year turnover rate at KMST had reached 80 percent. Meanwhile, the station experimented with an early prime schedule, airing prime time from 7 to 10 p.m. instead of from 8 to 11, for a year in 1992; other Northern California stations also tried out the time change.
Harron, Ackerley, and Clear Channel ownership
In 1993, Retlaw sold KMST for $8.2 million to Harron-Smith Television Partnership, a joint venture of Harron Communications and Smith Broadcasting. Amid a major retooling of the station, the call letters were changed in October to KCCN-TV, representing the new title of its newscasts, "Central Coast News". The call letters were shared with two stations in Honolulu, Hawaii, KCCN AM and KCCN-FM.
A year into the partnership, Smith sold its half back to Harron; the next year, it bought KSBW-TV, channel 46's longtime competitor. Meanwhile, Harron began to realize it was in over its head with the task it confronted at KCCN-TV, having underestimated the dimensions of the challenge posed by turning it around. In late 1995, Harron began to shop KCCN-TV—or its assets—for sale. Smith then looked at buying back KCCN-TV's assets and programming the station under a local marketing agreement (LMA). A deal with Smith was far along enough that it was reported as confirmed by the Santa Cruz Sentinel newspaper. However, negotiations then stalled, and Harron sought another buyer.
At 3 p.m. on the afternoon of April 24, 1996, KCBA owner Ackerley Communications took over the operations of KCCN-TV. Harron immediately laid off 70 employees and shut the channel 46 newsroom down, though 25 employees would then be hired back by KCBA. News director Adrienne Laurent popped up three hours later as a fill-in anchor on KSBW's 6 p.m. newscast. KCBA promised to restore news to KCCN-TV on June 3 in what was just the second LMA of its type involving two news-producing stations. With the agreement, KCCN-TV operations moved from Monterey to Salinas. The move drew fire from the city councils of Salinas and Monterey and the Monterey County Board of Supervisors, as well as several private petitions to the FCC. The first KCCN-TV local newscasts from KCBA in Salinas were picketed by some of the employees that were not rehired. On February 23, 1997, KCCN changed its call letters again, this time to KION, after the rise of the World Wide Web brought new complaints from the Honolulu radio stations, who wanted to restrict channel 46 from using their call sign on their website.
Late in 1998, Ackerley bought KION outright from Harron and sold KCBA to Seal Rock Broadcasters, though Ackerley would continue to operate that station on Seal Rock's behalf. It took more than a year for this transaction to receive Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approval, due to the then-pending license renewals for both stations; the deal was completed on January 12, 2000. Ackerley instituted three master control hubs in its group in 2000, one of them in Salinas and the others at KGET-TV in Bakersfield and WIXT in Syracuse, New York. The Salinas hub served KION and KCBA as well as KFTY in Santa Rosa, KVIQ-TV in Eureka, and KMTR in Eugene, Oregon.
Two years later, Ackerley merged with Clear Channel Communications. Clear Channel already owned radio stations on the Central Coast, and one of them began to share KION's call sign: news/talk-formatted KTXX (1460 AM) became KION as part of a partnership that saw collaboration between the radio station and the TV newsroom.
Cowles and NPG ownership
On April 20, 2007, Clear Channel entered into an agreement to spin off its entire television stations group to Newport Television, a broadcasting holding company established by the private equity firm Providence Equity Partners. (Clear Channel retained KION radio.) However, Newport Television could not keep KION or Telemundo affiliate KMUV-LP; Providence Equity Partners owned a stake in Univision, whose radio division owned several overlapping radio stations in the San Jose area. Instead, KION and KMUV-LP, along with KCOY-TV and KKFX-CA, the Clear Channel TV stations on the southern Central Coast, were sold to the Cowles Publishing Company of Spokane, Washington, for $41 million.
On September 20, 2013, News-Press & Gazette Company (NPG) announced that it would purchase KION-TV and KMUV-LP, as well as KKFX-CA; NPG would also take over some of the operations of KCOY-TV, which it could not own directly as NPG's holdings in that area already included KEYT-TV in Santa Barbara. The sale was completed on December 13.
The existing LMA for KCBA was terminated on December 1, 2013, as Seal Rock entered into a new joint sales agreement with Entravision Communications; as a consequence, KION's 10 p.m. newscast moved from KCBA to its second subchannel, which was affiliated with The CW Plus. NPG purchased the Fox affiliation and program stream, which moved to KION's 46.2 subchannel on January 1, 2022; there was no change for cable or satellite viewers.
Following NPG's purchase of non-license assets of Fox affiliate KCBA from Seal Rock Broadcasters, its Fox affiliation and programming moved to KION's second digital subchannel.
On January 1, 2022, the Fox schedule and the intellectual unit for KCBA's main signal moved permanently to KION-DT2 while retaining the "Fox 35" on-air brand, while CW+ programming which had been carried on KION-DT2 moved to KCBA. Cable and satellite viewers saw no change, as KION-DT2 took over KCBA's former channel slots.
KION has morning and evening newscasts seven days a week, totaling 23 hours of news per week (including a broadcast on subchannel 46.2). On weekdays, a two-hour morning news block begins at 5 a.m., followed by half-hour newscasts at 5, 6, and 11 p.m. KION also produces a half-hour 10 p.m. newscast on subchannel 46.2, seven nights a week; this newscast had aired on KCBA prior to November 30, 2013. On weekends, besides the 46.2 broadcast, KION does not have weekend morning newscasts and only has half-hour newscasts at 5 and 11 p.m. The CBS Evening News has its timeslot at 5:30 p.m. KION previously had the CBS Evening News at 6 p.m. This station has no noon newscasts, unlike most CBS affiliates.
In October 2009, KION became the first station in the Salinas–Monterey market to begin broadcasting local newscasts in 16:9 widescreen high-definition. The 10 p.m. newscast on KCBA was included in the upgrade. KION broadcasts news in high definition using HD studio cameras, HD field cameras, and a new HD control room installed in August 2009. Remote shots are still done using standard definition signals upconverted to widescreen. KCBA and KION were the only stations in the Monterey Bay, and on the Central Coast, to broadcast their news in HD until August 25, 2010, when rival KSBW started to broadcast the majority of its local news, as well as weather and sports segments, in HD. This came after KSBW had been the first to launch a widescreen newscast a few weeks before KION, though the KSBW newscasts were in merely widescreen standard definition, and no pillarboxes were inserted until late-February 2010. Sports segments originate from the KCOY studios and are currently in 16:9 widescreen. When the 10 p.m. newscast moved from KCBA to KION-DT2, that newscast reverted to standard definition as the subchannel; although transmitted in 16:9 widescreen, it is not available in HD.
As of May 2010, the slogan at the start of newscasts has changed from "Your Eye on the Central Coast" to "Right Now". This slogan is used on other Cowles media stations in California that are also branded as Central Coast News, including The KHQ Television Group. KION previously used the Central Coast News branding in the 1990s when it was branded as "KCCN Central Coast News".
In late 2010, KION and KCBA introduced a new slogan, "A New Leader is Emerging". The new promos include viewership, news, weather, and political coverage. In addition, weekend weather anchors also produce weather segments for sister stations KCOY and KKFX.
On January 6, 2012, sister stations KCOY and KKFX announced a round of layoffs in an effort to cut costs, including eliminating the sports department, cutting the morning show produced at the Santa Maria studios to only one hour on weekdays, and having the evening newscasts based at the KION/KCBA studios. Layoffs at KCOY/KKFX included chief meteorologist Jim Byrne and sports anchor Kevin Roose, with KCOY weeknight anchor Arturo Santiago shifting to reporting duties.
Friday Night Blitz
Friday Night Blitz is a weekly program which covers local high school football. The show is aired during the 10 p.m. newscast on KION-DT2 and the 11 p.m. newscast on KION. The show features a "Game of the Week" segment which viewers vote for each week. The game of the week is featured during evening newscasts on KION. The show includes live coverage and interviews with players and coaches.
During high school basketball season, Central Coast News features local scores and highlights from local games along with player and coach interviews, similar to Friday Night Blitz.
During Central Coast newscasts on KION, viewers can ask questions, directly via the station's website, relating to local issues presented by anchors, who respond during newscasts. Promos for KION questions are often shown during commercial breaks and station IDs.
- Jon K. Brent - weeknights at 6 p.m.
- Dave Alley - weekday mornings 5-7 a.m.
- Monica Quintero - weekday mornings 5-7 a.m.
- Marc Cota-Robles - weeknights at 5, and 11 p.m.on KION and at 10 p.m. on The CW
- Jasmine Viel - weeknights at 5 and 11 p.m. on KION and at 10 p.m. on The CW
- Jaqueline Tualla - weekends at 10 p.m. on The CW and at 11 p.m. on KION
- Norm Hoffmann - chief meteorologist, weeknights at 5, 6, 10, and 11 p.m.
- vacant - weekends
- Monica Quintero - mornings on KION and KCOY.
- Dave Alley - general assignment reporter
- Keith Carls - general assignment reporter
- Ricardo Navarro - general assignment reporter
- Michelle Pulido - general assignment reporter, also reporter on KMUV
- Cassandra Arsenault - general assignment reporter
- Brooke Holmquist - Assistant News Director
- Claudia Otero - general assignment reporter, also anchor on KMUV
- Patti Piburn - general assignment reporter
- Rachel Laine - general assignment reporter
- Christian Hartnett - general assignment reporter
- Jake Reiner - general assignment reporter
- Marissa Schwartz - general assignment reporter
- Leah Masuda - general assignment reporter
Notable former on-air staff
- Art Bell
- Lois Hart (future first anchor for CNN, anchor for KCRA-TV in Sacramento)
- Shannon Hogan (FOX Sports Detroit)
- Pedram Javaheri, also known as P.J. Javaheri, weekend meteorologist; now at CNN International
- Craig Kilborn (former host of The Daily Show and ESPN's SportsCenter)
- John Reger - anchor, now weeknight anchor at KSBY
- Sharon Tay, reporter (mid-1990s); now anchor/reporter at KCBS-TV/KCAL-TV in Los Angeles
- KMST News (1969–1974)
- Headline News (1974–1979)
- Newsbeat (late 1970s)
- The News 46 (1985–1987)
- NewsCentral 46 (1987–1991)
- 46 Eyewitness News' (1991–1993)
- KCCN Central Coast News (1993–1996)
- CBS 46 Eyewitness News (1996–1998)
- NewsChannel 46 (1998–2000)
- KION News 46 (2000–2005)
- KION 46 News (2005–2009)
- Central Coast News (2009–present)
- The Spirit of 46 (1985?)
- KMST... The 1 2 C (1989-1990?)
- CBS for the Central Coast (1995–1997)
- Your Eye on the Central Coast (1997 and 2007–present)
- The Central Coast News Channel (1997–2000)
- Keep It ON (2000–2004)
- Right Now (2009–present)
- A New Leader is Emerging (2010–present)
- KMST TV 46 (1985–1993)
- CBS 46 (1996–1998)
- NewsChannel 46 (1998–2000)
- News 46 (2000–2005)
- KION 46 (2006–present)
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|23.3||720p||16:9||KMUV-LD||Simulcast of KMUV-LD / Telemundo|
|46.1||1080i||KION-HD||Main KION-TV programming / CBS|
|46.2||720p||FOX46.2||Main KION-DT2 programming / Fox|
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|23.3||720p||16:9||KMUV||Simulcast of KMUV-LD / Telemundo|
|46.1||1080i||KION||Main KION-TV programming / CBS|
|46.2||720p||CW+||Main KION-DT2 programming / CW+|
KION-TV shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 46, on February 17, 2009, the original target date by which full-power television in the United States was to transition from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate (which was later pushed back to June 12, 2009). The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 32. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 46.
- Channel 5 branded TV stations in the United States
- Channel 32 digital TV stations in the United States
- Channel 46 virtual TV stations in the United States
|TV stations in California|
|KCBS, Los Angeles|
KCOY, Santa Barbara/Santa Maria/San Luis Obispo
|TV stations in California|
|KTTV, Los Angeles|
KKFX-CD, Santa Barbara/Santa Maria/San Luis Obispo
|TV stations in California|
|KPXN, Los Angeles|
|TV stations in Monterey Bay area, including Monterey, Salinas and Santa Cruz|
|KOTR-LD 7 (MNTV) | KSBW 8 (NBC) | K15CU-D 15 (COZI) | K14TG-D 17 (TLN) | KMBY-LD 19 (H&I) | KLFB-LD 22 (3ABN) | KMUV-LD 23 (TLM) | KQET 25 (PBS) | KYMB-LD 27 (MeTV) | KDJT-CD 33 (UMas) | KCBA 35 (CW+) | KMMD-CD 39 (CourtTV) | KMCE-LD 43 (AZA) | KION 46 (CBS) | KSMS 67 (Uni) |