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KPRC-TV, virtual channel 2 (UHF digital channel 35), is an NBC-affiliated television station licensed to Houston, Texas, United States. The station is owned by the Graham Media Group subsidiary of the Graham Holdings Company. KPRC's studios are located on Southwest Freeway (I-69) in the Sharpstown district, and its transmitter is located near Missouri City, in unincorporated northeastern Fort Bend County. It is the largest NBC affiliate (not owned by the network) station by market size.

Prior to the digital transition, KPRC was the only Houston station on the VHF dial whose cable channel position did not match its over-the-air analog channel, due to interference from the low-band VHF terrestrial signal; it was placed on Comcast Xfinity channel 12, instead. Other cable systems on the outer edges of the Houston media market carry KPRC on cable channel 2. It is also available on cable in Lufkin–Nacogdoches and Bryan–College Station.

HistoryEdit

The station first signed on the air on January 1, 1949, as KLEE-TV. It was Houston's first television station and the second one to sign on in Texas, three months behind Fort Worth station WBAP-TV (now KXAS-TV) and over eight months ahead of Dallas station KBTV (now WFAA). It was originally owned by hotelier W. Albert Lee and carried programming from all four networks of the day—NBC, CBS, ABC, and DuMont. However, after a year of difficulty, Lee sold the station to the Hobby family, owners of the Houston Post and Houston's oldest radio station, KPRC (950 AM and 99.7 FM, now KODA at 99.1). The Hobbys took control on June 1, 1950, and changed the television station's call letters to match its radio sisters on July 3, 1950. Although the call letters stand for Post Radio Company, they also refer to a 1920's Houston business/tourism campaign slogan Kotton (sic required by ITU prefix) Port Rail Center. (There is a similar situation with Houston radio station KHCB-FM.) After the Hobbys took over, channel 2 became a primary NBC affiliate due to KPRC-AM radio's longstanding affiliation with the NBC Red Network, a link that remains today. Due to the Federal Communications Commission-imposed freeze on new station licenses, channel 2 remained the only television station in Houston for four more years. CBS moved to KGUL-TV (channel 11, now KHOU) in 1953 and KTRK-TV (channel 13) took over the ABC affiliation when it signed on one year later. DuMont ceased operations in 1956, though it was briefly affiliated with now-defunct KNUZ-TV (channel 39, frequency now occupied by KIAH). Because of its affiliation with NBC, KPRC was the first station in Houston to broadcast a program in color and was subsequently the first to broadcast its programming entirely in color.

In March 1953, the station operated its first permanent studio located on 3014 Post Oak Road, which later became the Lakes on Post Oak near the Galleria shopping complex in Uptown Houston. The studio building was along the street frontage, while the KPRC (AM) transmitter site was in the rear of the lot. KPRC was the first station in Houston to use weather radar, to use videotape for field reporting, to have a fully staffed news bureau in Austin, and to hire female and African American reporters.

The station became the source of controversy after some television viewers in the United Kingdom claimed to receive its signal on September 14, 1953, three years after the original signal was transmitted. However, this was actually a hoax. Over the years, the Hobby family bought several other television stations, including KVOA-TV in Tucson, KCCI in Des Moines, WTVF in Nashville, WESH in Orlando, and KSAT-TV in San Antonio.

From 1969 to 1998, KPRC produced the longest-running syndicated television program in Texas, The Eyes of Texas, a lifestyle program which focused on segments relating to Texas culture and life (the program continues to air locally on PBS member station KUHT, channel 8). KPRC was also one of the first stations to air telethons, raising $28,000 for the American Cancer Society in 1950. It carried the MDA Labor Day Telethon every Labor Day from 1970 to 2012 (KPRC's status as an MDA "Love Network" affiliate in 2013, when the telethon discontinued its syndicated distribution model and moved to ABC as the rebranded MDA Show of Strength, where it aired locally on KTRK-TV until the program ended after 2014). In March 1972, KPRC-TV moved into a new state-of-the-art studio facility in Houston's (then-suburban) Sharpstown neighborhood where it operated from for 45 years. The building housed three studios within and were suspended from the ground to reduce vibration, and when viewed from space via satellite map, the building resembled a film camera.

In 1983, the Hobbys sold the Houston Post to MediaNews Group, while the family's broadcast holdings were reorganized as H&C Communications, with KPRC-AM/TV remaining as the flagship stations (KPRC-FM was sold in 1958). After 40 years under Hobby family ownership, KPRC was sold to The Washington Post Company on April 22, 1994 (the Post was then bought by the Hearst Corporation and absorbed into its Houston Chronicle, with the last edition printed on April 18, 1995). In 2004, KPRC was rebranded "Local 2". In January 2015, KPRC dropped the "Local" and began calling themselves "Channel 2".

In December 2015, KPRC broke ground on a new studio, behind the old studio in the employee parking lot, on the same Shaprstown site. While the old studio was 90,000 square feet (8,361 m2), the new studio would have only 65,000 square feet (6,039 m2). The new studios were dedicated in April 2016, and the previous 45-year-old studios have since been demolished.

Since 1994, KPRC has used the familiar "Lone Star 2" logo, which was modified in 2004 for HD. WMAR-TV in Baltimore, Maryland used a similar logo in the late 1990s and early 2000s, but without the Texas star and with the ABC logo in place of the NBC one, since that station had switched affiliations in 1995.


TV stations in Texas
KPRC, Houston

WOAI, San Antonio
KXAN, Austin
KXAS, Dallas–Fort Worth
KFDX, Wichita Falls
KCEN, Waco
KTAL, Texarkana
KAGS-LD, College Station
KBMT-DT2, Beaumont
KAMR, Amarillo
KSAN, San Angelo
KETK, Tyler
KMOL-LD, Victoria
KCBD, Lubbock
KGNS, Laredo
KRBC, Abilene
KRIS, Corpus Christi
KVEO, Weslaco
KWES, Odessa
KTSM, El Paso

TV stations in Greater Houston
KPRC 2 (NBC)
KUHT 8 (PBS)
KUVM-LD 10 (Ind)
KHOU 11 (CBS)
KTRK 13 (ABC)
KETH 14 (TBN)
KVVV-LD 15 (Word)
KTXH 20 (MNTV)
KVQT-LD 21 (Ind)
KLTJ 22 (Daystar)
KRIV 26 (Fox)
KUGB-CD 28 (GEB)
KCVH-LD 30 (REL)
KEHO-LD 32 (FESTIVA)
KUVM-CD 34 (LATV)
KZHO-LD 38 (VCL)
KIAH 39 (CW)
KHLM-LD 43 (MULTIMEDIOS)
KXLN 45 (UNI)
KBPX-LD 46 (NV)
KTMD 47 (TLM)
KPXB 49 (Ion)
KDHU-LD 50 (Daystar)
KYAZ 51 (AZA)
KTBU 55 (QUEST)
KUBE 57 (Ind)
KZJL 61 (ESTRELLA)
KFTH 67 (UMas)
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