KSBI, virtual channel 52 (UHF digital channel 23), is a MyNetworkTV-affiliated television station licensed to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States. The station is owned by locally based Griffin Communications, as part of a duopoly with CBS affiliate and company flagship KWTV-DT (channel 9). The two stations share studios on Kelley Avenue and 74th Street (near North Lincoln Boulevard) in northeast Oklahoma City, adjacent to the studios and main offices of the Oklahoma Educational Television Authority (OETA) PBS member network; KSBI's transmitter is located near 122nd Street, also on the city's northeast side. On cable, KSBI is available on Cox Communications channel 7 and AT&T U-verse channel 52 in standard definition, and in high definition on Cox digital channel 707 and U-verse channel 1052.
Locke Supply ownership
The UHF channel 52 allocation was contested between two groups that vied to hold the construction permit to build a new station on the frequency. The first prospective permittee was Satellite Broadcasting Company – a religious nonprofit corporation headed by Donald J. Locke, owner of Oklahoma City-based regional hardware store chain Locke Supply Company, and his wife, Wanda McKenzie Locke – which petitioned the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) allocate a ninth television frequency in the Oklahoma City market (originally to have been assigned to Edmond) in the spring of 1979. The FCC Broadcast Bureau contended that, even though Edmond had no television channel assignments, Satellite Broadcasting failed to justify that such a need for one in the Oklahoma City suburb existed, but did allow the group to apply for use of the Oklahoma City-assigned allocation with Edmond as a designated city of license under the FCC's "15-mile" rule, which allowed licensees to assign a city of license located 15 miles (24 km) from the city to which the proposed station's broadcast assignment was designated. Satellite Broadcasting filed an application with the FCC for a license and construction permit on October 17, 1980, proposing to sign on a religious television station on the frequency. The second applicant, TV 52 Broadcasting, Inc., filed its own application on January 8, 1981.
The FCC granted the license to Satellite Broadcasting on April 15. 1982; two months later in August 1982, the group applied to use KSBI (standing for Satellite Broadcasting Co., Inc., in reference to the Locke-owned licensee) as the planned station's callsign. After six years of delays in getting KSBI operational, the station first signed on the air on October 3, 1988. KSBI's original studio facilities were housed out of Locke Supply's corporate offices on 82nd Street and Pole Road in southeast Oklahoma City. For its first 16 years on the air, channel 52 was largely run as a religious independent station; station management settled on the format after initially hedging on their original plans to institute a religious format, which had planned to lease free airtime to churches and televangelists. Atypical of most television stations on the air at that time, KSBI originally broadcast on a part-time basis, airing Monday through Fridays from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. during a six-month test broadcasting stage. Programming expanded to 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. by March 1, 1989.
The station was exclusively available over-the-air in the market until June 1993, when must-carry rules passed by the FCC that allowed broadcast stations to request mandatory carriage on cable providers went into effect. Cox Cable—whose Oklahoma City system, at the time, only served the city proper and select inner-city suburbs—began offering KSBI on channel 40 (in 1995, Cox moved the station to channel 9, which suffered from co-channel interference from, ironically, the VHF analog signal of CBS affiliate and eventual sister station KWTV, which continued until Cox moved KSBI's basic cable slot to channel 15 in 2007); Multimedia Cablevision – which served outer suburbs including Edmond, Midwest City, Moore and Bethany, all of which are now served by Cox—placed KSBI on channel 33 at that time. In preparation for the addition to Cox and Multimedia, channel 52 adopted an 18-hour daily schedule from 6:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m.; the station would begin broadcasting 24 hours a day by 1996. During most of the 1990s and early 2000s, in addition to airing local and nationally syndicated religious programs, KSBI also carried a limited amount of secular sitcoms, Westerns and movies, some of which were cherry-picked from INSP (now The Inspiration Network) and FamilyNet. Despite its format, KSBI did not accept or solicit financial support via monetary contributions from viewers.
Beginning in the 1990s, KSBI gradually signed on translators throughout the state, eventually claiming the largest broadcast coverage area of any commercial television station in Oklahoma; at its peak, its signal was relayed over fourteen translators serving areas within the Oklahoma City market and in markets adjacent to it such as Tulsa, Elk City, Ponca City and Ardmore. It also gained cable (and eventually, satellite) coverage in the Tulsa, Wichita, Amarillo, Wichita Falls and Ada–Sherman markets. In August 1999, the station upgraded its transmitter from an effective radiated power of 1,355 kW to a total power of three million watts, after installing a new transmitter antenna atop the 1,600-foot (490 m) broadcast tower on 122nd Street and Kelley Avenue in northeast Oklahoma City.
In June 2000, KSBI began including more family-oriented secular programming in themed evening blocks (consisting of western series and films on Mondays, sports on Tuesdays, music programs on Wednesdays, wildlife, outdoor and automotive series on Thursdays, family-focused series on Fridays, classic comedy series on Saturdays and religious and gospel music programs on Sundays). The inclusion of more secular programs to the schedule was partially cited because of the decline in Southern gospel music programming available on the syndication market. At that time, KSBI placed guidelines for its advertising and program content, prohibiting certain types of advertising (such as for alcoholic beverages or psychic hotlines), infomercials, telethons or religious programs that solicited donations from viewers.
Sale to Family Broadcasting Group
Following Don Locke's death in February 2000, Locke Supply's board of directors—led by Locke's former wife, Wanda McKenzie, who took over as the company's chief executive officer—were approached by various station owners beginning in April 2001 for offers to acquire KSBI, its regional translator network and low-power sister station KXOC-LP (channel 54, later on channel 41; now defunct). The company ultimately decided to sell off the stations to focus on operating the Locke Supply chain that Don Locke founded more than three decades earlier. On October 8, 2001, Locke Supply agreed to sell KSBI to Christian Media Group, a newly formed locally based company that was founded by former KWTV meteorologist Brady Brus; his sister and local media personality Brenda Bennett; Church on the Rock senior pastor John Benefiel; and media executive Jerry Mash.
However, Christian Media's agreement to buy the station would fall apart, after the upstart company failed to pay its $15 million bid to purchase KSBI from Locke; the company attempted to accrue the funds to buy the cluster, but were unable to obtain the needed cash, even after it was granted several extensions to come up with the money. Station management subsequently increased the estimated purchase value to $20 million, largely because of the station's then-recent launch of its digital television signal (which was the first in Oklahoma to offer two high definition channels, including one carrying programming from HDNet [now AXS TV] and a simulcast of its analog feed).
Brus and Bennett would get a second chance to acquire KSBI, KXOC and the former's translator network on July 8, 2003, when Locke sold the stations to Family Broadcasting Group of Oklahoma, Inc., a restructuring of the former Christian Media Group that the siblings co-founded with Brady's wife, certified public accountant and treasurer Angie Brus; and Joe Bowie, co-president/CEO of Retirement Investment Advisors Inc. and Seekfirst Media LLC. The deal included permissory rights for Family Broadcasting to take over the operations of KSBI and KXOC-LP under a time-lease agreement effective July 21, which would continue until the acquisition received regulatory approval by the FCC; the sale was finalized on March 17, 2004.
After Family Broadcasting assumed full control of the station, KSBI was repositioned as a family-oriented general entertainment independent with syndicated secular programming that contained minimal to no sexual content, overt violence or strong profanity added to the schedule (programs that contained some degree of the aforementioned content were edited—usually through muting of profanity and occasional commercial interruptions to omit scenes containing adult material—to fit the station's content standards). Most of the initial secular programs seen on KSBI under Brus' management consisted of sitcoms, drama series and westerns from the 1960s to the early 1990s.
The station also launched a weather department—which it heavily invested in—and aired local weather updates throughout the broadcast day (including five-minute midday, late afternoon and evening updates on weekdays presented by a two-person on-camera weather staff led by Brus, who also served as the station's chief meteorologist in addition to his duties as its owner and general manager), incorporating interactive touch screen technology for its weather presentation and installing a network of remote cameras throughout various cities across Oklahoma (branded as the "KSBI Statecam Network"). In February 2004, the station became the first television station in Oklahoma to provide severe weather watches and warnings in both English and Spanish. It also eventually added state high school and Southeastern Conference college sporting events.
While its syndicated inventory was fairly limited early on, KSBI eventually expanded its programming slate; this began in the fall of 2008 with the additions of NurseTV, Lost and American Chopper, followed the next year by the acquisitions of Deadliest Catch, Cold Case Files, The Martha Stewart Show, Judge Hatchett, My Wife and Kids and then the addition of The King of Queens to the schedule in the spring of 2010.
After reaching a deal with the NBA's Oklahoma City Thunder to telecast select regular season games from Oklahoma City's first long-term major professional sports franchise in 2008, KSBI began branding as "Thunder TV" beginning that October, with the "KSBI 52" brand being used on a secondary basis. That year, the station also began construction on a new state-of-the-art studio facility on North Morgan Road (south of the John Kilpatrick Turnpike) in Yukon, which was completed in the spring of 2009; KSBI relocated its local programming production and various other operations to the new facility that September. That year, DirecTV began carrying KSBI's programming in the Tulsa area as an out-of-market station (the station was removed from the satellite provider in January 2012 following a carriage dispute between Family Broadcasting Group and DirecTV).
Completing a deal signed between Family Broadcasting management and the Chesapeake Energy co-founders in January 2007, on September 10, 2009, the Federal Communications Commission approved the transfer of a portion of Family Broadcasting Group's stock to Aubrey McClendon and Tom L. Ward (the latter of whom would later become the founder of SandRidge Energy), after Family Broadcasting restructured its equity to retire all long-term debt and accelerate growth.
Management and programming changes
On November 1, 2010, Family Broadcasting Group appointed two former area newscasters as its top executives—Vince Orza (former president and CEO of Eatery's Restaurant Management, and two-time candidate for Governor of Oklahoma) was appointed as its president and CEO, and Jerry Hart was named its vice president and operations manager (Orza had earlier announced on October 21 that he would step down as dean of the Meinders School of Business at Oklahoma City University, shortly before he accepted the position); Orza and Hart had worked together at ABC affiliate KOCO-TV (channel 5) as an anchor and production manager, respectively, during the 1980s. That month, Orza began appearing in a promotional campaign that aired on the station, seeking opinions from viewers on programming changes that KSBI should make. The station also divested some of its translators; six were converted into repeaters of former sister station KXOC-LP, while two others based in Enid and Stillwater continued to rebroadcast KSBI's signal. It also began a gradual rebrand under the moniker "OK52"; the "OK52" and "KSBI 52" brandings were both used by the station until May 23, 2011, when KSBI started using the "OK52" branding full-time, before reverting to simply "KSBI" in March 2012.
A further expansion of the station's programming came in January 2011 with the additions of shows such as The Daily Buzz, Judge Karen's Court, Emergency! and Cash Cab, effectively decreasing the number of infomercials on its weekday schedule. Following the management changes at Family Broadcasting Group, KSBI transitioned into a traditional general entertainment independent station (with programs being aired as is content-wise) featuring recent off-network and first-run syndicated programs as well as the few classic television shows that remained on the schedule; the station also began placing an emphasis on locally produced lifestyle and entertainment programs.
On June 14, 2012, KSBI announced (through a promo for its Fall 2012 programming slate which was uploaded to the station's official YouTube channel) that it would join the MyNetworkTV programming service that fall, bringing a primary network affiliation to the station's main channel for the first time. The service's programming officially moved to KSBI on September 17; the market's original MyNetworkTV affiliate, KAUT-TV (channel 43), became an independent station with an informal secondary affiliation with Antenna TV (which continued to be carried full-time on sister station KFOR-TV's 4.2 subchannel).
Differing from KAUT-TV (which refrained from using MyNetworkTV branding on-air throughout its six-year tenure with the service), KSBI branded as "MyKSBI" on-air (though it used the "KSBI 52" brand more often beginning in 2013, before becoming its sole brand after the sale to Griffin Communications), and used a secondary visual brand overlaying the "circle" logo used by the station since March 2012 on a red and white version of MyNetworkTV's logo (to match the main station logo's color scheme). Upon receiving the MyNetworkTV affiliation, KSBI expanded its programming inventory by acquiring additional syndicated shows (mainly sitcoms and drama series); it also greatly reduced the amount of infomercials it aired in certain overnight timeslots, eventually limiting them to weekends. KSBI also counterprogrammed shows seen on the major networks and prime time newscasts on KAUT and Fox affiliate KOKH-TV (channel 25) in the 9:00 p.m. hour on weeknights with a nightly lineup of varying programs (mainly drama series).
Cutbacks and sale to Griffin
In September 2014, KSBI cancelled two of its local programs, the talk/lifestyle show Oklahoma Live and game show Wild Card; the station had also, reportedly, laid off most of its employees, aside from its sales and operational staff. The move came as a result of a restructuring and a possible shift away from local programming, along with the possibility that Family Broadcasting would place the station up for sale. Indeed, a sale of KSBI was announced on September 29, 2014, when Family Broadcasting Group announced that the station would be sold to Griffin Communications, longtime owner of KWTV (which had previously submitted a bid to acquire KSBI in 2001, only to be beaten by Christian Media Group's competing offer).
Griffin took over the operations of KSBI on December 1, 2014, with the station switching to a pre-recorded feed of its regular programming schedule until the company completed the move of KSBI's master control operations to KWTV's Kelley Avenue studios in northeast Oklahoma City on December 6. The station's programming lineup remained similar (with a few programs carried over from KWTV such as Extra and Dr. Phil as well as reruns of since-discontinued series from Entertainment Studios being added after Griffin took over), although KSBI will also be able to air CBS programming in the event that extended breaking news or severe weather coverage requires KWTV to pre-empt it (taking over this responsibility from News 9 Now, a news rebroadcast subchannel on KWTV virtual channel 9.2).
Unusual for a recently acquired duopoly outlet, KSBI also ceased all separate programming promotions, outside of a modified version of its final logo under Family Broadcasting ownership that was mainly used to fulfill FCC-mandated station identification requirements; all promotional content that aired on the station thereafter was in the form of news and image promos produced for KWTV, with short-form ID bumper promotions produced for that station being augmented with the KSBI logo in place of that belonging to KWTV.
On March 1, 2017, KSBI began to phase in the "News 9 Plus" brand, in a co-branding effort with sister station KWTV. Griffin Communications CEO David Griffin said that the rebranding of channel 52 was designed to "help create a more inclusive and consistent identity for all of our programming".
|TV stations in Oklahoma|
|KSBI, Oklahoma City|
|TV stations in Central, Northwestern and West-central Oklahoma, including Oklahoma City|
|KFOR 4 (NBC) |
KOCO 5 (ABC)
KWTV 9 (CBS)
KWET 12 (PBS)
KETA 13 (PBS)
KTBO 14 (TBN)
KUOT-CD 21 (CTV)
KTOU-LD 22 (HSN)
KOMI-CD 24 (Youtoo)
KOKH 25 (Fox)
KTUZ 30 (TLM)
KLHO-LD 31 (TVALA)
KOCB 34 (CW)
KUOK 35 (UNI)
KUOK-CD 36 (UNI)
KBZC-LD 42 (OnTV4U)
KAUT 43 (Ind.)
KOHC-CD 45 (AZA)
KOCM 46 (Daystar)
KOCY-LP 48 (ESTRELLA)
KUOC-LD 48 (BUZZR)
KSBI 52 (MNTV)
KOPX 62 (Ion)