KNTV, virtual channel 11 (VHF digital channel 12), branded as NBC Bay Area, is an NBC owned-and-operated television station licensed to San Jose, California, United States and serving the San Francisco Bay Area. The station is owned by the NBC Owned Television Stations subsidiary of NBCUniversal (itself a subsidiary of Comcast), as part of a duopoly with Telemundo owned-and-operated station KSTS (channel 48), also licensed to San Jose. The two stations share studios on North 1st Street in San Jose; KNTV's transmitter is located on San Bruno Mountain, just south of San Francisco.

KNTV is available on Comcast Xfinity cable systems in the Bay Area on channel 3 (703 in HD).


Early years (1955–1999)Edit

KNTV signed on the air on September 12, 1955, originally operating as an independent station covering the entire north-central California coast from Monterey to San Francisco. It was the first television station in San Jose, and was originally operated by Standard Radio and Television Corporation, which was owned by Allen T. Gilliland. The station's studios and offices were adjacent to the Gilliland-owned Sunlite Baking Company on Park Avenue in downtown San Jose, and its antenna was originally located on Loma Prieta, some 60 miles (97 km) south of San Francisco. Channel 11 often aired shows from CBS, DuMont and NBC that were respectively turned down by San Francisco's KPIX (channel 5) and KRON-TV (channel 4), as well as some ABC shows that also aired on KGO-TV (channel 7). The station was not viable as an independent, despite the Bay Area's size. The going got even more difficult when Oakland-based KTVU (channel 2) signed on in 1958, and it soon became apparent that the Bay Area was not large enough at the time to support two independent stations.

However, due to KNTV's antenna location, its signal could be received fairly well in the nearby areas of Monterey and Salinas; the transmitter was located approximately halfway between San Jose and Monterey. Taking advantage of this, KNTV sought and was granted the ABC affiliation for the Monterey Bay area in 1960, on the condition that the station reduced its transmitter power so as not to overlap with network-owned KGO-TV's signal. Previously, all three networks had been shoehorned onto Salinas-based KSBW-TV (channel 8). KNTV, therefore, became one of the few stations located outside the market it served.

Following the death of Allen T. Gilliland in 1960, ownership of KNTV was held by the executors of his estate, which included son Allen T. Gilliland Jr. The younger Gilliland acquired majority ownership in August 1966 and later operated it as part of Gill Industries, which also controlled San Jose's cable television system. Even as an ABC affiliate, KNTV occasionally preempted a few ABC programs. KGO-TV, meanwhile, aired ABC's entire programming schedule, so this often gave San Jose and Silicon Valley area residents a second choice for viewing preempted ABC programming. Gill Industries sold KNTV to Norfolk-based Landmark Communications in 1978. Twelve years later, Landmark sold the station to a minority-owned firm, Granite Broadcasting.

Transition (1999–2001)Edit

In 1999, KGO-TV agreed to pay Granite a substantial fee to stop channel 11 from running ABC programming once the station's affiliation contract expired. ABC's corporate parent, The Walt Disney Company, saw the need to expand KGO-TV's exclusive advertising market share into San Jose for this reason, and it felt that KNTV was taking away from the share.

That same year, the deYoung family, owners of KRON-TV and the San Francisco Chronicle, put all of its media properties up for sale. NBC, which had been in the midst of renewing its affiliation agreement with KRON-TV, jumped into the bidding. It had been one of the bidders for the channel 4 license in the late 1940s when it wanted a sister television station to compliment West Coast flagship KNBC (AM 680, now KNBR), but lost out to Chronicle. The deYoungs had built KRON into one of NBC's strongest affiliates, though NBC had long felt chagrin at KRON's frequent preemptions of network programming. NBC was thought to be the favorite to buy KRON-TV, but lost a bidding war for the station to Young Broadcasting in November 1999.[12] NBC responded by threatening to yank its programming from KRON unless Young agreed to run it under the conventions of an NBC-owned outlet, including disallowing the station from preempting NBC programs outside of breaking news coverage. The network also made the unprecedented demand that Young pay NBC $10 million annually to carry the network's programming—a form of reverse compensation. Young refused, and announced that it would end KRON-TV's 52-year relationship with NBC once its affiliation contract ended in December 2001.

In February 2000, Granite contacted NBC to negotiate an affiliation deal and offered to pay an average of $37 million annually (totaling roughly $362 million over 10 years) for the rights to broadcast NBC programs on KNTV. This agreement was groundbreaking and notable, as KNTV became the first major market affiliate to pay a network for programming, reversing a long-standing model where networks paid affiliates to carry their programming. NBC accepted the deal, which was due to take effect in January 2002. In preparation for this switch, KNTV boosted its signal to reach the entire San Francisco Bay Area. This increased KNTV's potential audience to more than seven million viewers, including 90% of the San Francisco Metropolitan area.

On July 3, 2000, KNTV terminated its ABC affiliation after 40 years with the network; it then temporarily carried programming from The WB Television Network in a part-time simulcast with then co-owned KBWB-TV (channel 20, now KOFY-TV), which was the full-time WB affiliate for the San Francisco Bay Area. The move cost the Monterey Bay area an over-the-air ABC affiliate. In order to compensate for the loss, KGO-TV was then added on cable providers in that market, with certain syndicated programs carried by the station replaced due to syndication exclusivity rules. This did not pose as much of a problem as it may seem due to the very high penetration of cable and satellite in the Monterey Bay area. ABC would not return over-the-air to the area until KSBW began carrying ABC programming on the station's second digital subchannel on April 18, 2011.

In September 2000, Nielsen Media Research reclassified KNTV to the Bay Area DMA. In March 2001, the FCC officially recognized KNTV as a Bay Area station, clearing the way for channel 11 to begin identifying as "San Jose/San Francisco/Oakland."

For Granite Broadcasting, the deal with NBC was expensive; the company showed a net loss of $44 million for the first three quarters of 2001, more than double its losses during the same period the previous year. In an attempt to reduce debts, Granite started looking for a buyer for Detroit WB affiliate WDWB (now WMYD) in October 2001; that station would not be sold until 2014.

As an NBC O&O (2001–present)Edit

On December 17, 2001, NBC announced another twist on the deal: it bought KNTV from cash-strapped Granite for $230 million, effectively separating itself from KBWB (which remained under Granite ownership). The network was already in the process of acquiring San Jose-based Telemundo station KSTS, and wanted to create a duopoly in the Bay Area. KNTV officially joined NBC at 11:35 p.m. Pacific Time on December 31, 2001. Jay Leno officially welcomed NBC's newest station in a ceremony on The Tonight Show (leading an area-wide 10-second countdown, as the show served as KNTV's first NBC program), followed later that morning by a segment on the Today show in which Al Roker introduced KNTV's anchors. With NBC's move to channel 11, it became the only major network in the Bay Area to switch from one station to another. KNTV is the third Bay Area station to affiliate with NBC, as primary CBS affiliate KPIX-TV had carried the network as a secondary affiliation upon its sign-on in 1948 until KRON debuted the following year. NBC formally took control of KNTV in April 2002.

After the affiliation switch to NBC, KNTV changed its branding to "NBC 3" to reflect its position on cable channel 3 on nearly every cable provider in the Bay Area. However, due to potential confusion with Sacramento's NBC affiliate, KCRA-TV (which broadcast on channel 3), NBC rebranded the station as "NBC11" in September 2002. Initially, KNTV newscasts were perceived to be infotainment due to the focus on crime and entertainment news, but by late 2002 the newscasts began focusing on Bay Area affairs. The station added on a San Francisco bureau and studio in a 25,000-square-foot (2,300 m2) facility on Battery Street in San Francisco.

During the 2004 Summer Olympics, the station heavily promoted channel 11 through its "illuminating" marketing campaign (stylized as "I11uminating," with the number "11" used in place of the "L" letters). Even in its early years as the new NBC affiliate, KNTV aired NBC's soap opera lineup much later in the afternoon than most affiliates; KRON had done this for years as an NBC affiliate. Soon enough by August 2004, KNTV fell in line with the network's recommended time slot and now airs Days of Our Lives (NBC's remaining afternoon daytime drama) at the recommended 1 p.m. timeslot.

New studios and transmitterEdit

In 2004, NBC converted a vacant office space in northern San Jose into a state-of-the-art, all-digital facility for KNTV and KSTS. On December 13 of that year, KNTV moved from its original studios on Park Avenue to the new location. As part of a company-wide environmental initiative (known today as "Green is Universal"), the facility is entirely powered by wind energy. Following its acquisition by NBC, KNTV continued to broadcast from its longtime transmitter location on the summit of Loma Prieta (located between San Jose and Santa Cruz), but did not increase its power to improve signal coverage in San Francisco and Oakland; as a result, the signal could not be seen over the air in much of the Bay Area north of San Mateo County, including much of San Francisco itself. The affiliation and market switches also resulted in many cable providers in the Monterey Bay area either dropping KNTV entirely or blocking its NBC programming under syndication exclusivity guidelines; even so, the signal still overlapped with KSBW.

That all changed on September 12, 2005, when KNTV was able to finally move its transmitter 52 miles (84 km) northwest to San Bruno Mountain, giving it a signal comparable to the Bay Area's other major stations. The move came after years of objection from KRON's owner Young Broadcasting. KRON made numerous filings with the FCC, alleging that thousands of San Jose residents would lose over-the-air coverage of KNTV if it moved closer to San Francisco.

Some San Francisco residents, especially in the Sunset and Richmond districts of the city, still found it difficult to receive an adequate over-the-air signal, because they are shielded by San Bruno Mountain. Most of the other Bay Area stations operate from Sutro Tower, which has a better overall view of San Francisco proper, although at the expense of those in northern San Mateo County, where San Bruno Mountain acts as a shield. However, most of the Bay Area is covered with a strong signal from all of the stations. The year closed, however, with a devastating wildfire at the retired transmitting facility on Loma Prieta. The fire was quickly extinguished on the afternoon of December 31; however, the fire reignited after firefighters had left the scene, and destroyed the former primary analog and digital transmitters, which had only been retired a few months earlier and were in backup status, as well as a variety of other communications equipment.

In January 2007, CNBC moved its Silicon Valley bureau—formerly located at The Wall Street Journal's bureau in Palo Alto—into KNTV/KSTS's San Jose studios. Former KNTV and KRON reporter Jim Goldman is the bureau chief, and the main CNBC reporter covering business stories concerning the Silicon Valley; the set used for daily broadcasts on CNBC occupies part of KNTV's newsroom. In 2009, KNTV changed its on-air branding from "NBC11" to "NBC Bay Area"; additionally the station's website was relaunched on October 16 of that year, as part of a larger revamp of the Web sites of NBC's entire O&O station group.

In April 2010, KNTV entered into an arrangement with former NBC affiliate KRON-TV to broadcast network programs during instances in which KNTV has to preempt them for special programming such as telecasts of San Francisco Giants games. Incidentally, KRON's owner, Young Broadcasting discussed entering KRON into a shared services agreement with KNTV's owner NBCUniversal, which ultimately never materialized. KRON's default carriage of preempted NBC shows ended in 2012, when KICU-TV (then owned by Cox Enterprises as a sister station to KTVU) resumed those duties until the sale of both KICU and KTVU to Fox Television Stations in 2014; pre-emptions are now handled in-house with a move of NBC programming to KNTV's COZI TV subchannel. On April 13, 2010, KNTV became the subject of Stephen Colbert's program, The Colbert Report, where Colbert played a clip read by weekend anchor Diane Dwyer on the issue of "unpaid internships". Colbert would eventually use that given clip to set the stage for laughs based on unpaid interns.

TV stations in California
KNBC, Los Angeles

KSBY, Santa Barbara/Santa Maria/San Luis Obispo
KIEM, Eureka
KCRA, Sacramento
KNVN, Redding/Chico
KMIR, Coachella Valley/Palm Springs
KNTV, San Francisco
KSBW, Monterey
KSEE, Fresno
KGET, Bakersfield
KNSD, San Diego

TV stations in the San Francisco Bay Area
KAXT-CD 1 (Decades)
KTVU 2 (Fox)
KDTV 14 (Uni)
KOFY 20 (Ind)
KTSF 26 (Ind)
KICU 36 (Ind)
KMMC-LD 40 (3ABN Latino)
KTNC 42 (Ind)
KBCW 44 (CW)
KZHD-LD 49 (Ind)
KKPX 65 (Ion)
KFSF 66 (UMas)
KTLN 68 (H&I)
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