KNXV-TV, virtual and UHF digital channel 15, is an ABC-affiliated television station licensed to Phoenix, Arizona, United States. The station is owned by the E. W. Scripps Company. KNXV-TV's studios are located on the city's east side (north of Sky Harbor International Airport), and its transmitter is located atop South Mountain on the city's south side. Its signal is relayed across northern Arizona through a network of 15 low-power translators.
In February 1975, pioneering UHF broadcaster Edwin Cooperstein announced that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) had granted a construction permit to his company, New Television Corp., to build a television station in Phoenix on UHF channel 15. It was expected to begin broadcasting within a year and was intended to place a heavy emphasis on news programming, airing three 90-minute newscasts at different times between 4 p.m. to midnight. The lone legacy of this intended format was the station's callsign, KNXV, standing for "Newswatch 15". Plans were soon delayed by the inability to secure financing in a difficult economy, and by the end of 1976, the station still had not been built. Finally on September 9, 1979, more than four-and-a-half years after the construction permit was granted, KNXV-TV signed on the air. Its programming originally consisted of first-run and off-network syndicated shows, and children's programs during the day, with the subscription television service ONTV being broadcast during the nighttime hours. One of the station's most memorable early promotions was the "Bluebird of Happy News," with the voice of Elroy "Buzz" Towers (who was voiced by an early station master control/videotape operator) in a helicopter taking jabs at local news on other stations.
In Phoenix, ONTV held telecast rights at various times to ASU sports, the Phoenix Suns, Phoenix Giants minor league baseball and Los Angeles Kings hockey. By July 1982, it had 39,000 subscribers in Phoenix, but signs of trouble were emerging. In 1981, the Suns signed to telecast games through American Cable (resulting in the launch of the Arizona Sports Programming Network), which sub-licensed games to ONTV in part because they had not wired all of the metropolitan area. Late in 1982, KNXV resisted a request to expand ONTV to start before 7:00 p.m. on weekdays and 5:00 p.m. on weekends, while the station also wanted the subscription service to stop screening adult movies.
Phoenix was one of the first markets to show serious subscriber erosion. By April 1983, its subscriber base had dipped below 25,000, a drop of more than 35 percent. Oak Communications ultimately shuttered ONTV in Phoenix on May 4, 1983, resulting in the loss of 140 jobs. KNXV then became a full-time general entertainment independent station, and ran a number of cartoons, older off-network sitcoms, classic movies and drama series. The station pulled in mediocre ratings and lagged behind longtime independent station KPHO-TV (channel 5). Despite this, Cooperstein was able to sell the station to the E. W. Scripps Company in late 1984, with the sale being finalized in 1985.
As a Fox affiliateEdit
Under Scripps, KNXV began to purchase more recent sitcoms, often outbidding KPHO for strong shows. The station also became the over-the-air broadcaster of the Suns again; it lost the rights to televise the team's games to KUTP (channel 45) in 1988. After KPHO turned down an offer to affiliate with the fledgling Fox network, it approached KNXV. After Scripps promised to launch a news department, KNXV joined Fox at the network's inception on October 6, 1986, with the first Fox program airing on the station being the late night talk show The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers, which was at that time the only program Fox offered, so KNXV still essentially remained independent. KNXV promoted its new affiliation with a campaign centered around the slogan "Light Up the Night with Late Night Fireworks". Also in 1986, KNXV began producing Friday Night at the Frights starring "Edmus Scarey" (portrayed by Ed Muscare), a series of decidedly campy B-movie wraparounds. Ed Muscare had previously hosted shows for KNXV sister station KSHB-TV in Kansas City. Stuart Powell, general manager of KNXV in the late 1980s, coaxed Muscare out of retirement.
During this period, KNXV made steady ratings gains. By 1990, KNXV nearly tied KPHO in the ratings, even though the station still produced no local newscasts. While KPHO attempted to woo Fox away with its existing news operation, KNXV retained the affiliation, having become by 1992 the second most successful Fox affiliate after KTXL in Sacramento.
As an ABC affiliateEdit
On May 22, 1994, New World Communications signed a long-term groupwide affiliation agreement with Fox that would result in longtime CBS affiliate KSAZ-TV (channel 10, which New World was in the process of acquiring from Citicasters) becoming the Phoenix area's new Fox affiliate. The CBS affiliation, in turn, moved to KPHO, leaving KNXV without an affiliation and the likelihood of reverting into an independent, prompting Scripps to negotiate an affiliation agreement with ABC. CBS heavily wooed longtime ABC affiliates WXYZ-TV and WEWS-TV to switch to that network, which was about to lose its longtime affiliates in Detroit and Cleveland to Fox. In order to allow Scripps to renew its network affiliation agreements with WXYZ-TV and WEWS-TV, ABC agreed to affiliate with KNXV, NBC station WMAR-TV in Baltimore, and Fox affiliate WFTS-TV in Tampa (which was also slated to lose Fox to WTVT). Locally, this resulted in the displacement of ABC from longtime affiliate KTVK (channel 3). As a condition of the deal, KNXV agreed to produce the same amount of local news programming as KTVK had been producing as an ABC affiliate. KNXV also agreed to not preempt any ABC programming, outside of coverage of breaking news events. KTVK later briefly joined the new WB network in 1995, then later that year, became an independent station.
ABC's affiliation agreement with KTVK did not expire until December 31, 1994; however, KTVK had already begun to drop ABC shows from its schedule, unhappy about losing its affiliation with the network after 41 years. As a result, ABC's programming migrated to KNXV in stages, and the station carried programming from both ABC and Fox for a while, with ABC as a temporary secondary affiliation. Good Morning America was the first ABC program to move to KNXV, following the first round of changes at the end of August 1994. KNXV then picked up Mike and Maty, World News Now, Nightline and ABC's Saturday morning cartoons when the station officially dropped its Fox affiliation on December 15. The rest of ABC's programming moved to KNXV on January 9, 1995. KNXV kept about one-third of its syndicated programming, with the rest moving to other area stations.
KNXV carried the majority of the Arizona Cardinals' NFL games that were not subject to blackouts in the meantime, until those games returned to KSAZ in December 1994. The Cardinals were part of the National Football Conference (NFC), which aired their games on CBS until the end of the 1993 season, before moving the following year to Fox—whose acquisition of the NFC television package from CBS was a major catalyst of Fox's deal with New World. After becoming a full-time ABC affiliate, KNXV was limited to airing the Cardinals' games on Monday Night Football—the first of which would be in 1995: a Christmas Day contest in Tempe against the eventual Super Bowl champions, the Dallas Cowboys (the Cowboys won 37–13 to clinch home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs; coincidentally, the Super Bowl was also played in Tempe).
Over the years, KNXV has added more first-run syndicated shows, such as Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!. KNXV has since become the home of preseason games for the Arizona Cardinals. Today, KNXV is a typical ABC affiliate, producing a decent amount of local news programming, and clearing nearly all of the network's programs in their intended time slots. However, KNXV has been one of ABC's weakest affiliates since the 1994 switch. In stark contrast, KTVK dominated the ratings when it was affiliated with ABC.
Since ABC lost NFL rights in 2006, the Cardinals' preseason games have been the only NFL games to be broadcast on KNXV. The Cardinals' regular season games as well as any playoff games that the team appears in are split between KPHO-TV (through CBS), KSAZ-TV (through Fox), KPNX (channel 12, through NBC) and KTVK (through its over-the-air carriage of games televised by NFL Network and ESPN).
During the 2007 Little League World Series, KNXV's rights to the Cardinals caused a conflict with ABC's coverage of one of the preliminary-round games. The plan was to move the baseball game to ESPN, thereby interrupting the national feed on Cox Communications and other cable providers in the market. Those getting KNXV by way of satellite would watch the baseball game on an alternate channel. Meanwhile, KNXV would air a preseason game between the Cardinals and the Houston Texans at 1 p.m. that day. KNXV would then rebroadcast the LLWS game on tape delay at about 4:30 p.m. that afternoon.
On July 27, 2007, two news helicopters leased to KNXV and KTVK collided while covering a police pursuit in downtown Phoenix. All four people on both helicopters were killed, including KNXV pilot Craig Smith and photographer Rick Krolak.
Prior to the 2009 digital transition that resulted in many stations historically broadcasting on the VHF band moving their channel assignments to UHF, KNXV was ABC's largest affiliate on the UHF band (it remains the largest affiliate to broadcast with a virtual channel number higher than 13.1).
KNXV started a traffic channel on .2 called Go AZ given the area's traffic congestion.
KNXV-TV shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 15, at 12:01 a.m. on June 12, 2009, the official date in which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. At 2 a.m. on that date, the station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 56, which was among the high band UHF channels (52–69) that were removed from broadcasting use as a result of the transition, to its analog-era UHF channel 15.
On April 1, 2015, Scripps acquired Journal Communications, owners of its two nearby ABC affiliates, Las Vegas' ABC affiliate KTNV-TV (channel 13) and Tucson ABC station KGUN-TV (channel 9), becoming sister stations to KNXV. Outside of the small corner of southwest Arizona covered by KECY-DT2 from El Centro, California, this effectively gives E. W. Scripps a monopoly on ABC programming throughout the state of Arizona. (Before KECY-DT2 became an ABC affiliate on January 1, 2007, that area's ABC programming was served by KNXV and eventual Scripps sister station KGTV (channel 10) in San Diego.)
|TV stations in Arizona|
| KNXV, Phoenix|
|TV stations in Phoenix metropolitan area|
| KNAZ 2 (NBC) |
KTVK 3 (Ind)
KPHO 5 (CBS)
KMOH 6 (AZA)
KAZT 7 (Ind)
KAET 8 (PBS)
KSAZ 10 (Fox)
KDTP 11 (Daystar)
KPNX 12 (NBC)
KFPH 13 (UMas)
KNXV 15 (ABC)
K18DD-D 18 (Evine)
K19FD 19 (Hope)
KPAZ 21 (TBN)
KTVP-LD 22 (3ABN/Hope/LLBN)
K18JL-D 25 (AFTV)
KTVW 33 (UNI)
KKAX-LP 36 (Youtoo)
K38IZ-D 38 (Ind)
KTAZ 39 (TLM)
KEJR-LD 40 (AZA)
KPDF-CD 41 (Rel)
KVPA-LD 42 (ESTRELLA)
KPHE-LD 44 (LATV)
KUTP 45 (MNTV)
KDPH-LP 48 (Daystar)
KFPB-LD 50 (Nuestra)
KPPX 51 (Ion)
KASW 61 (CW)