KNSD, virtual channel 39 (UHF digital channel 17), is an NBC owned-and-operated television station licensed to San Diego, California, United States. The station is owned by the NBC Owned Television Stations subsidiary of NBCUniversal (itself a subsidiary of Comcast), and is sister to Poway-licensed Telemundo owned-and-operated station KUAN-LD (channel 48, which shares spectrum with KNSD). The two stations share studios on Granite Ridge Drive in the Kearny Mesa section of San Diego and transmitter facilities southeast of Spring Valley. KNSD's on-air branding, NBC 7 San Diego, is derived from its cable channel position in the market on Spectrum, Cox Communications and AT&T U-verse. The station is also available on channel 39 on satellite providers DirecTV and Dish Network.
The station first signed on the air on November 14, 1965, as KAAR. It was the first television station in the San Diego market to operate on the UHF band and was the market's first independent station. The station originally operated from a building that was once occupied by the National Pen Company, located in the neighborhood of Kearny Mesa, 10 miles (16 km) northeast of downtown San Diego. Initially broadcasting from 12 noon to either 12:30 or 1 a.m., the station aired a mix of local and first-run syndicated programming, both vintage and more recent films, and reruns of several 1950s dramatic series. However, in the summer of 1966, KAAR cut its operating hours significantly, with sign-on time moved up to 5 p.m., and by that fall, the station was only broadcasting on weeknights with a 15-minute 7 p.m. newscast, a travelogue and a movie (which ran for a week at a time).
A short time later, in January 1967, KAAR made an arrangement with San Diego State College to air programming produced by the San Diego Area Instructional Television Authority from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, which was followed by two hours of cartoons; this lasted until the sign-on of educational station KEBS on June 12 of that year. Channel 39 then went dark and was subsequently sold to Western Telecasters Inc., controlled by the Texas-based Bass family, and returned to the air on February 2, 1968, as KCST (standing for "California San Diego Television").
For a four-year period from the late 1960s to the early 1970s, Western Telecasters tried to take the ABC affiliation from XETV (channel 6)–a station licensed across the Mexican border in Tijuana but which broadcast exclusively in English, with a studio facility based in San Diego. XETV had been San Diego's ABC affiliate since 1956 under a special arrangement between the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Mexican authorities, subject to renewal by the Commission every year. Upon the FCC granting its annual renewal to ABC/XETV in late 1968, Western Telecasters countered, claiming that the presence of KCST made it no longer necessary for an American television network to affiliate with a Mexican television station.
In May 1972, the FCC revoked XETV's permission to carry ABC programming. As the only commercial station in the market other than CBS affiliate KFMB-TV (channel 8) and then-NBC affiliate KGTV (channel 10), KCST took over the ABC affiliation in two stages: daytime programming moved to channel 39 in June 1973, followed by primetime programs and all other shows (including children's programs, network newscasts and sports) by July 1, 1973. Four months earlier in March, Western Telecasters agreed to sell KCST to Storer Broadcasting, which owned major network affiliates in the Eastern and Midwestern United States. The sale was completed on September 30, 1974; shortly afterwards, Storer added a "-TV" suffix to the KCST callsign. The switch and sale changed channel 39's fortunes, transforming the low-rated independent into a major player in the market. Riding on the heels of ABC's ascent to first place nationally during the 1975-76 season, KCST also out-rated its network-affiliated rivals locally. XETV, meanwhile, operated as an independent station until October 1986, when it became a charter affiliate of the Fox Broadcasting Company (the station is now an exclusive Spanish-language outlet for Canal 5).
Switch to NBC
On June 27, 1977, in the wake of its new success as the highest-rated television network in America, ABC moved its San Diego affiliation from KCST to KGTV, causing an affiliation swap that ended with KCST taking the NBC affiliation formerly held by KGTV.
In 1985, the Storer stations were acquired by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.. Two years later, KCST and the other Storer stations were sold to Gillett Communications (former Storer flagship WTVG in Toledo, Ohio, was the only station left out of the sale and was instead sold to a local employee/investor group). On September 16, 1988, the station changed its news brand to News San Diego, and its call letters to KNSD to reflect the new name; it also adopted the on-air brand "Channel 7/39" (in respective reference to its cable and over-the-air channel positions). Gillett was restructured into SCI TV in 1991, after Gillett defaulted on some of his bond purchases. After SCI filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1992, the company's stations were sold in a group deal to New World Communications.
New World subsequently entered into a deal with News Corporation that would result in most of New World's television stations (which were primarily CBS affiliates, along with a few ABC and NBC stations) switching from their "Big Three" network affiliations to join Fox, causing the network's affiliations in the affected markets relocating from UHF to VHF stations. However, KNSD retained its NBC affiliation since Fox's San Diego affiliation was already on the VHF band through XETV. New World sold KNSD and WVTM-TV in Birmingham, Alabama to NBC in May 1996; the sale was finalized that August. Following the sale's closure, in January 1997, KNSD modified its on-air branding to "NBC 7/39". In October 1997, NBC sold a 24% ownership interest in KNSD to LIN Television; in exchange, NBC acquired majority control (76%) of its Dallas–Fort Worth affiliate KXAS-TV from LIN. The deal closed on March 2, 1998, marking the official launch of the new NBC/LIN joint venture known as Station Venture Operations, LP (which was controlled by NBC).
Under the traditional definition, KNSD is the only English-language owned-and-operated station of a major network in the San Diego market (however, several stations owned by Grupo Televisa on the Mexican side of the market are O&Os of that company's various networks). The station blamed its woes on its UHF status in the past, but as viewers migrated to cable television (San Diego has one of the highest cable penetration rates in the United States), along with the fact that most of the market's UHF stations brand by their cable channel placements or call letters rather than by their physical channel, along with former VHF analog stations operating their post-transition digital signals on the UHF band, the issues with the station's position on the UHF dial have been significantly reduced. KNSD had formerly owned low-power station KNSD-LP (channel 62), which was leased to Entravision Communications to expand the coverage area of Univision affiliate KTCD-CA (channel 17, now KBNT-CD).
In the spring of 2001, KNSD moved its operations into 225 Broadway, a high-rise office building in downtown San Diego that was redeveloped to serve as its studio and office facilities, which includes a glass-enclosed street-level news studio resembling that of the streetside studio at Rockefeller Center in New York City used by NBC's Today. In February 2013, LIN Media withdrew itself from the Station Venture Operations joint venture as part of a corporate reorganization. As a result, NBC regained full ownership in KNSD and gained full ownership of KXAS.
KNSD shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 39, on June 12, 2009, as part of the federally mandated transition from analog to digital television. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 40. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 39.
As part of the SAFER Act, KNSD kept its analog signal on the air until June 26 to inform viewers of the digital television transition through a loop of public service announcements from the National Association of Broadcasters.
On January 9, 2014, KNSD announced that it would not renew its lease for the 225 Broadway studios when it expires in 2016. On June 23, the station announced the purchase of a two-story, 50,000 square feet (4,600 m2) building at the StoneCrest office complex on Granite Ridge Drive in the Kearny Mesa neighborhood for $9.6 million, which will be converted into a new facility for the station. The location was chosen due to its easy access to San Diego County's main thoroughfares, and no-cost parking for its employees. The studio opened on February 29, 2016.
Dish Network dispute
On March 15, 2016, NBCUniversal's parent company Comcast pulled the signals of KNSD along with co-owned cable channels USA Network, Bravo, Syfy, MSNBC and CNBC from Dish Network's lineup as a result of a dispute between NBC and Dish. Dish claimed NBCUniversal was demanding it renew its carriage of 10 NBC-owned stations and 16 Telemundo-owned stations including those removed due to the dispute. XHAS-TDT, then a Telemundo affiliate, was unaffected by the dispute. Three days later on March 18, 2016, the company announced it would continue to carry KNSD and five other cable channels for another 10 days while seeking arbitration by the FCC.
|TV stations in California|
|KNBC, Los Angeles|
KSBY, Santa Barbara/Santa Maria/San Luis Obispo
|TV Stations in the San Diego–Tijuana metropolitan area|
|English stations||Spanish stations|
|KZTC-LP 7 (SBN)||XHJK-TDT 1 (A1)|
|KFMB 8 (CBS)||XHCTTI-TDT 3 (Imagen)|
|KGTV/KZSD-LP 10 (ABC)||XETV-TDT 6 (Canal 5)|
|KPBS 15 (PBS)||XHTJB-TDT 11 (Once)|
|KVSD-LD 26 (Ind)||XEWT-TDT 12 (Televisa Regional)|
|KNSD 39 (NBC)||KBNT-CD 17 (UNI)|
|KSKT-CD 43 (Ind)||XHTIT-TDT 21 (A7)|
|KUSI 51 (Ind)||KSDX-LD 29 (ESTRELLA)|
|KSWB 69 (Fox)||XHAS-TDT 33 (AZA)|
|KDTF-LD 36 (UMas)|
|XHBJ-TDT 45 (Nu9ve)|
|KUAN-LD 48 (TLM)|
|XHDTV-TDT 49 (Milenio)|
|KSDY-LD 50 (Nuestra Vision)|
|XHUAA-TDT 57 (Las Estrellas)|
|K09YL-D 9 (Multimedios/Tr3s)|
|K35DG-D 35 (UCSD TV)|
|KSEX-CD 42 (Info)|