KMPH-TV, virtual channel 26 (UHF digital channel 28), is a Fox-affiliated television station serving Fresno, California, United States that is licensed to Visalia. The station is owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group, as part of a duopoly with Sanger-licensed CW affiliate KFRE-TV (channel 59). The two stations share studios on McKinley Avenue in eastern Fresno (one mile (1.6 km) southwest of Fresno Yosemite International Airport); KMPH's transmitter is located on Big Baldy Mountain in northwestern Tulare County.

The station's signal is relayed to the northern part of the market on low-powered Class A translator KMPH-CD, virtual channel 17 (UHF digital channel 19), licensed to Merced and Mariposa, with transmitter on Mount Bullion.

KMPH-TV's focus is on the San Joaquin Valley and Central California. KMPH-TV's signal is receivable as far way as the Bakersfield area; however, local Fox affiliate and sister station KBFX-CD (itself once a KMPH repeater) is the only Fox station carried by cable providers in the Bakersfield market. Through its translator, KMPH's signal extends northward to Merced, Mariposa and the southern Sierra Nevada, and sometimes can be received in Monterey County for those who live just north of King City. KMPH has been received over the air sometimes in eastern Kern County (Ridgecrest) and San Luis Obispo.

History[edit | edit source]

Early years[edit | edit source]

The station first signed on the air on October 11, 1971; originally operating as an independent station (though it ran ABC, NBC, and CBS shows that the local affiliates passed on at times as well), it was the first television station founded by the Pappas brothers, Mike, Pete and Harry, through their company, Pappas Television. The brothers already owned radio stations KGEN (1370 AM) and KBOS (94.9 FM) in Tulare, KMPH's original city of license. The station's original studios were located on Mooney Boulevard in Visalia. The funding for KMPH came from general manager Harry Pappas' plan of having hundreds of investors each investing a small amount of money that was needed to construct the station, rather than having one investor providing all the capital; as a result, the Pappas brothers had a combined ownership stake of only 30.5%, with the other 69.5% controlled by other investors.

KMPH carried Operation Prime Time programming at least in 1978. That year, Harry Pappas formed a new company, Pappas Telecasting, to buy full control of the station for $3.1 million. In 1979, KMPH changed its city of license from Tulare to Visalia.

Soon after signing on, KMPH had passed KAIL (then on channel 53, now on channel 7) as the leading independent in the Central Valley. KAIL went dark in 1973 but returned to the air in 1976 as a very low budget operation initially running mostly religion but would gradually build into a major player. Throughout the early to mid-1980s, KMPH was one of the top independent stations in the country. The station could be received up to 100 miles (160 km) from Visalia.

Since 1988[edit | edit source]

Pappas signed an affiliation deal with Fox for KMPH to become an affiliate of the network in 1988; the agreement also covered sister stations WHNS in Greenville, South Carolina and KPTM in Omaha, Nebraska. At the time, Fresno and Omaha were the only two top-100 markets without a Fox affiliate. KMPH remains a Fox affiliate to this day; both it and NBC affiliate KSEE (channel 24) were the only two stations in Fresno that were unaffected by the 1985 network swap involving ABC and CBS between KFSN-TV (channel 30) and KJEO (channel 47, now KGPE) and the later launches of The CW and MyNetworkTV in September 2006. The station relocated its operations from its original studio in Visalia to its current facility on McKinley Avenue in Fresno in the early 1990s.

Ownership change[edit | edit source]

On May 10, 2008, thirteen Pappas stations, including KFRE, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. As a result of the bankruptcy, Pappas Telecasting Companies was given until February 15, 2009 to sell these stations to other owners. On January 16, 2009, Pappas announced that most of the stations, including KFRE, would be purchased by New World TV Group (no relation to the similarly named New World Communications, which switched most of its stations to Fox between September 1994 and July 1995), after the sale received United States bankruptcy court approval. On April 2, 2009, Pappas laid off 22 employees involved with the KMPH/KFRE duopoly. New World TV Group formed a new holding company known as the Titan TV Broadcast Group (unrelated to the similarly named smaller-market radio station owner Titan Broadcasting), which completed its purchase of most of the Pappas stations involved in the bankruptcy on October 15, 2009.

Titan announced the sale of KFRE-TV, KMPH-TV and most of the company's other stations to the Sinclair Broadcast Group on June 3, 2013. The FCC approved the sale on September 19, and the sale was officially finalized on October 3, 2013. With the completion of the sale, KMPH was reunited with Bakersfield Fox affiliate, KBFX-CD, which formerly operated as a repeater of KMPH, but was sold by Pappas in 2005 and had been acquired by Sinclair as part of its merger with Fisher Communications earlier in 2013.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

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TV stations in California
KTTV, Los Angeles

KKFX-CD, Santa Barbara/Santa Maria/San Luis Obispo
KBVU, Eureka
KTXL, Sacramento
KCVU, Redding/Chico
KDFX-CD, Coachella Valley/Palm Springs
KTVU, San Francisco
KCBA, Monterey
KECY, El Centro/Yuma
KMPH, Visalia/Fresno
KBFX-CD, Bakersfield
KSWB, San Diego

TV stations in Central California, including Fresno and Visalia
KZMM-CD 22 (Ind)
KMPH 26 (Fox)
KBID-LP 31 (Euronews)
KJEO-LD 32 (Bounce)
KNXT 49 (Ind)
KFRE 59 (CW)
KTFF 61 (UMas)
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