KSDK, virtual channel 5 (UHF digital channel 35), is an NBC-affiliated television station licensed to St. Louis, Missouri, United States. The station is owned by Tegna Inc. KSDK's studios are located on Market Street in Downtown St. Louis, and its transmitter is located in Shrewsbury, Missouri. On cable, the station is available on Charter Spectrum channels 5 (standard definition) and 705 (high definition), and on AT&T U-verse channels 5 (SD) and 1005 (HD).
The station first signed on the air as KSD-TV on February 8, 1947; it was owned by the Pulitzer Publishing Company, publishers of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and owners of KSD radio (550 AM, now KTRS). It was the ninth television station to sign on in the United States, the first station in Missouri and the second commercial station located west of the Mississippi River, following KTLA in Los Angeles, which had signed on just 17 days earlier. In the early days, KSD produced much of its own programming and developed its own talent pool. Many St. Louis television pioneers from KSD-TV came from radio, including Frank Eschen, Kay Morton, Russ Severin and Dave Russell.
Because of a freeze on new television station licenses imposed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), KSD-TV was the only television station in the St. Louis market, until WTVI (channel 54, now KTVI channel 2, a Fox affiliate) signed on in August 1953. Channel 5 has always been an NBC affiliate, owing to KSD radio's longtime affiliation with the NBC Red Network; the station is currently the longest-tenured affiliate of any major broadcast television network. In its early years, channel 5 also carried secondary affiliations with CBS, DuMont and ABC. In the early 1960s, Channel 5 became the first St. Louis television station to broadcast in color.
After Pulitzer sold KSD radio to Combined Communications Corporation in 1979 (prior to Combined's merger into the Gannett Company that same year), KSD-TV's call letters were modified to the current KSDK on July 10, 1979. Four years later, Pulitzer traded channel 5 to Multimedia, Inc. in return for WFBC-TV (now WYFF) in Greenville, South Carolina and WXII in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, in what was a rare instance of one company's flagship station being traded for another. During the 1980s and 1990s, KSDK was the highest-rated NBC affiliate in the country, and it remains the most-watched NBC affiliate in the top 30 markets to this day, despite the network's overall ratings decline that has occurred since the 2004–05 season.
In 1989, KSDK dropped the Eyewitness News branding and rebranded its newscasts as NewsChannel 5; the station also began to operate on a 24-hour-a-day schedule. On July 24, 1995, Multimedia was purchased by the Gannett Company, with the acquisition finalized on December 4. In 1998, KSDK debuted the "Window on St. Louis," a streetside studio located in the same downtown St. Louis building that also houses KSDK's other studios. The local program Show Me St. Louis broadcasts from this studio, which welcomes the public to take part in the telecasts. The Window on St. Louis is modeled on Today's "Window on the World."
In an attempt to provide St. Louisans with local and national election results during the 2004 elections, KSDK partnered with PBS member station KETC (channel 9) to simulcast election coverage. The KSDK/KETC partnership continued through September 2005, when, along with radio partners KYKY (98.1 FM) and KEZK (102.5 FM), a telethon for Hurricane Katrina relief was simulcast.
KSDK produced the first broadcast of any local program in St. Louis in high definition, when it broadcast the St. Louis Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 24, 2005. Incidentally, the 2005 parade also marked the final year that the event, which had been a Thanksgiving Day tradition on KSDK, would be broadcast on the station, as the parade moved to CBS affiliate KMOV (channel 4) in 2006.
Around the first week of October 2012, Gannett entered a dispute against Dish Network regarding compensation fees and Dish's AutoHop commercial-skip feature on its Hopper digital video recorders. Gannett ordered that Dish discontinue AutoHop on the account that it is affecting advertising revenues for KSDK. Gannett threatened to suspend its contact with the satellite provider should the skirmish continue beyond October 7 and Dish and Gannett fail to reach an agreement. The two parties eventually reached an agreement after extending the deadline for a few hours.
On June 29, 2015, the Gannett Company split in two, with one side specializing in print media and the other side specializing in broadcast and digital media. KSDK was retained by the latter company, named Tegna.
In 2017, the station re-branded as "5 On Your Side."
KSDK presently broadcasts 32 hours of locally-produced newscasts each week (with five hours each weekday and 3½ hours each on Saturdays and Sundays). The station also produces five half-hour episodes of Show Me St. Louis each week.
KSDK dominated the news ratings in St. Louis for the better part of its first six decades on the air. KMOX-TV (now KMOV) took the lead in the late 1960s, but KSDK regained the #1 spot in the early 1980s and kept it for most of the next two decades, with some of the highest (and by some measures, the highest) rated newscasts in the nation. For much of that time, its main anchors stayed at the station for 10 years or more. At one point, its 6 p.m. newscast ended with local elementary schoolchildren flashing the hand signs for "5" and "1", signifying that, as a promo featuring the kids said, "Even a second grader could tell you that Channel 5 is number 1."
During the spring 2004 sweeps, it lost its first-place position at 10 p.m. to KMOV, and the two stations have traded the ratings crown in that timeslot several times since then. KMOV has also closed its ratings gap in several other timeslots, due in part to NBC's overall weaker ratings since 2004. KSDK's ratings dominance began to slip dramatically in 2009, first losing late news to KMOV, and then morning news to KTVI. In 2013, its ratings went into free fall. The November 2013 ratings book saw KSDK tumble into last place for the first time in its history. KTVI easily won the morning news and KMOV swept the rest.
A sports wrap-up program previously aired on Sunday evenings after the 10 p.m. newscast called Sports Plus. It was originally hosted by Mike Bush until he moved from sports director to news anchor in 2004, and then hosted by sports director Rene Knott, who became the news co-anchor of Today in St. Louis, KSDK's weekday morning newscast, in 2017.
From August 1989 until September 2011, Today in St. Louis co-anchors Jennifer Blome and Art Holliday had one of the longest anchor pairings in U.S. local television history. In 2011, Holliday was re-assigned to co-anchor a new half-hour 4 p.m. newscast alongside Kay Quinn that debuted on September 12, 2011, while Blome was paired with Pat McGonigle (formerly of WHEC-TV/Rochester) on the morning newscast.
On September 12, 2005, KSDK debuted a half-hour weekday newscast at 10 a.m., following the third hour of NBC's Today; the newscast was discontinued in September 2009, but returned on September 12, 2011 as an hour-long program (as a result, the fourth hour of Today airs on a one-hour delay at 11 a.m.). On February 6, 2006, KSDK became the first television station in St. Louis, and the seventh station in the United States, to broadcast all newscasts and locally produced programming in high definition; it also became the first St. Louis area station to stream all of its newscasts online. On August 13, 2007, KSDK debuted Online @ 9, a 10-minute news webcast on the station's website that was tailored to an online audience. That online newscast has been discontinued.
On November 11, 2010, KSDK entered into a news share agreement with Sinclair Broadcast Group-owned ABC affiliate KDNL-TV, to produce two pre-recorded half-hour newscasts at 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. weeknights for that station starting on January 3, 2011 (prior to the agreement, KDNL had not run any local newscasts since it shut down its news department in October 2001); in addition, KDNL also aired weekend rebroadcasts of KSDK's entertainment/features program Show Me St. Louis. KDNL general manager Tom Tipton stated that the station did not want to run simulcast or repurposed newscasts in its efforts to return daily newscasts to channel 30. The arrangement was unusual given that KSDK and KDNL are both "Big Three" network affiliates, and the fact that the newscasts on both stations competed against one another. The agreement with KDNL was to have ended on December 31, 2013; however, it was extended for another month until January 31, 2014.
On September 12, 2011, along with the relaunch of its 10 a.m. newscast and the addition of a 4 p.m. newscast, Today in St. Louis expanded from 2½ to three hours on weekday mornings, now running at 4–7 a.m.; while the noon newscast was reduced to a half-hour with Show Me St. Louis being moved to fill the remaining half-hour. With these additions, KSDK was reduced to only three hours of syndicated daytime shows to back up its newscasts outside of NBC network programming.
By 2014, KSDK had cancelled its 10 a.m. newscast, with a now hour-long Show Me St. Louis taking up the 10 a.m. hour, with the noon newscast also expanding back to 60 minutes in length. By 2017, Show Me St. Louis was again only 30 minutes, with infomercials filling the 10:30 half hour. The noon news was typically 30 minutes long with occasional extensions to 60 minutes, with another infomercial filling the 12:30 slot. In 2017, KSDK's noon news was discontinued, and replaced with a second run of Jeopardy! In 2018, Today in St. Louis was reduced to 2 hours on weekday mornings, running from 5–7 a.m. In 2020, KSDK expanded Today in St. Louis back to 2½ hours, running at 4:30–7 a.m. In addition, KSDK revived its 10 a.m. newscast for a third time and has moved Show Me St. Louis to 10:30 a.m.
KSDK used to operate a Bell 206B3 JetRanger helicopter called "Chopper 5", that was used for breaking news and severe weather coverage. To save money, the station began paying market leader KMOV to use video from its chopper in 2010. Its news reporting has also won the station a multitude of journalism awards including Regional Emmys, Gabriel Awards and Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards.
- AP News & Views
- KSD-TV News
- Eyewitness News (1969–1970s)
- Eyewitness News Central (1970s–1979)
- Channel 5 Eyewitness News (1979–1990)
- NewsChannel 5 (1990–2017)
- 5 On Your Side (2017–present)
- The News Station (?-1974)
- Your News Station (1974-?)
- Channel 5, Proud as a Peacock! (1979-1981; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
- What's Important to You (1981-?)
- Channel 5, Our Pride is Showing (1981-1982; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
- We're Channel 5, Just Watch Us Now (1982-1983; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
- Channel 5 There, Be There (1983-1984; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
- Show Me 5 (1984–1986)
- Channel 5, Let's All Be There! (1984-1986; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
- Come Home to Channel 5 (1986-1987; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
- Come on Home to Channel 5 (1987-1988; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
- Come Home to the Best, Only on Channel 5 (1988-1990; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
- St. Louis' NewsChannel (1988–1990)
- KSDK, The Place to Be! (1990–1992; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
- Where the News Comes First (1990s–?)
- St. Louis' News Leader (2000–present)
- 5 On Your Side
|TV stations in Missouri|
|KSDK, St. Louis|
|TV stations in the Greater St. Louis and Metro East Illinois areas|
|KTVI 2 (Fox) |
KMOV 4 (CBS)
KSDK 5 (NBC)
KPTN-LD 7 (HSN)
KETC 9 (PBS)
KPLR 11 (CW)
WPXS 13 (Daystar)
KDTL-LD 16 (RTV)
KEFN-CD 20 (EWTN)
KNLC 24 (MeTV)
K25NG-D 25 (3ABN)
W29CI-D 29 (3ABN)
KDNL 30 (ABC)
KBGU-LP 33 (Buzzr)
K38HD-D 38 (HSN)
WODK-LD 45 (Cozi TV)
WRBU 46 (Ion)
W50CH 50 (Ind)
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- KSDK splitting up Jennifer and Art after 22 years, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, August 29, 2011.
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