KSTP-TV, virtual channel 5 (UHF digital channel 35), is an ABC-affiliated television station licensed to Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States and serving the Twin Cities television market. It is the flagship television property of Saint Paul-based Hubbard Broadcasting, which has owned the station since its inception. The station's offices and studios are located on University Avenue, on the Saint Paul–Minneapolis border, and are shared with sister stations KSTP Radio (1500 AM), KSTP-FM (94.5 FM), KTMY (107.1 FM), and KSTC-TV (channel 45). KSTP-TV's transmitter is located at Telefarm Towers in Shoreview.
KSTP-TV's programming is also seen on two full-power satellite stations: KSAX (virtual and UHF digital channel 42) in Alexandria (with transmitter near Westport); and KRWF (virtual channel 43, UHF digital channel 27) in Redwood Falls (with transmitter near Vesta). Nielsen Media Research treats KSTP-TV and its satellites as one station in local ratings books, using the identifier name KSTP+.
Stanley E. Hubbard, founder of KSTP radio, was one of broadcasting's foremost pioneers. In June 1939, he purchased one of the first television cameras available from RCA and began experimenting with television, but the television blackout brought on by World War II prevented any transmissions from being made. The first telecast by KSTP-TV reportedly occurred on December 7, 1947, when Jack Horner hosted a 25-minute program. On April 27, 1948, KSTP-TV signed on as the first commercial television station in Minnesota, although an experimental mechanical television station had been set up by WDGY station engineers more than a decade earlier. That station's license expired in 1938 as the Federal Communications Commission was not interested in continuing mechanical TV broadcasts.
KSTP-TV was originally an NBC affiliate, as KSTP radio had been an affiliate of the NBC Red Network since 1928. Channel 5 claims to have been the NBC television network's first affiliate located west of the Mississippi River; however, this distinction is actually held by KSD-TV (now KSDK) in St. Louis, which signed on one year earlier. (Also, both the studios and the transmitter are located east of the river.) It was part of NBC's Midwest Network, a regional group of NBC affiliates that fed programming in the days before the coaxial cable link to New York City. In 1961, due to its status as an NBC affiliate, it was the first television station not owned by a network to broadcast all of its local programs in color.
In the mid-1970s, ABC—which had become the top-rated television network in the United States—began looking for stronger affiliates across the country. KMSP-TV (channel 9), the Twin Cities' ABC affiliate since 1961, had long struggled in the ratings. ABC had approached independent station WTCN-TV (channel 11, now KARE), CBS affiliate WCCO-TV (channel 4), and KSTP-TV to affiliate with the network. Channel 5 surprised the industry in August 1978 by announcing its intention to sever ties with then third-place NBC after 30 years to join ABC. The affiliation switch occurred on March 5, 1979 and was ABC's biggest coup at the time; the NBC affiliation subsequently went to WTCN-TV that same day. “We want to go into the 1980s in a leadership position with a network which we think has the management, team and depth to be the best. That's ABC. We're just absolutely thrilled,” said KSTP's Stanley S. Hubbard, son of station founder Stanley E. Hubbard. In 2000, Hubbard Broadcasting purchased independent station KVBM-TV (channel 45; now KSTC), creating Minnesota's first commercial television station duopoly (though there is a longstanding public television duopoly: KTCA/KTCI).
KSTP-TV has used its "groovy 5" logo or variations on it since April 1969—it is the longest-used station logo in the Upper Midwest. By 1982, the design contained a white '5' on a red rounded edge square background. The number was italicized for a time in the mid-to-late 1980s. In the early 1990s, the logo endured a more dramatic makeover, with a gold colored '5' on a blue ABC-style disc (with either the call letters or the Eyewitness News name imprinted upon it), with the center colored in green. By the late 1990s, a brighter logo—still with a gold '5'—returned to the rectangular look, adding a black ABC logo. From 2004 to late 2014, a white '5' was used on a red parallelogram, also featuring the ABC logo. In April 2008, KSTP started airing commercials commemorating the station's 60th year of broadcasting. On November 30, 2014, the logo was redesigned, and now features the "groovy 5" logo in blue with red lines circling the left part of the logo, with the ABC logo again.
On September 11, 2014, KSTP-TV filed a complaint with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) regarding its carriage in Canada and simultaneous substitution (simsubbing), as well as notifying the CRTC of viewer complaints of problems with closed captioning and poorly-timed simsubbing on its cable feed in Canada. In particular, KSTP is stating it is authorized for broadcast by the Federal Communications Commission, and not the CRTC, and is concerned that it may not have the appropriate broadcast rights for viewing in Canada. Hubbard Broadcasting, the owners of KSTP-TV, also argued concerns about their video feed being modified for Canadian viewers via simsubbing, removal of its closed-captioning information (a Broadcast Act violation, if proven), not having its digital subchannels carried as well, and that this might be a potential Copyright Act of Canada violation for its programming to air in Canada. Similar to other American stations, KSTP has also asked for compensation for its carriage in Canada or to have its unauthorized coverage cease, as it was never asked for permission to be relayed on cable services in Canada. The CRTC ultimately ruled against KSTP-TV on September 16, 2014 regarding their request to be removed from the CRTC's list of stations eligible for carriage in Canada, a fear that was shared by Shaw Media (owners of Shaw Direct/Shaw Cable/CANCOM) and Thunder Bay MP Bruce Hyer. A secondary concern posed by Shaw Media was that KSTP-TV would try to ask for fee-for-carriage in a cross-border retransmission consent agreement, which does not currently exist under the Copyright Act of Canada, and as the CRTC explained, is outside the scope of the Broadcast Act of 1968 or its regulatory responsibilities.
KSTP-TV has used its "groovy 5" logo or variations on it since April 1969—it is the longest-used station logo in the Upper Midwest. By 1982, the design contained a white '5' on a red rounded edge square background. The number was italicized for a time in the mid-to-late 1980s. In the early 1990s, the logo endured a more dramatic makeover, with a gold colored '5' on a blue ABC-style disc (with either the call letters or the Eyewitness News name imprinted upon it), with the center colored in green. By the late 1990s, a brighter logo—still with a gold '5'—returned to the rectangular look, adding a black ABC logo. From 2004 to late 2014, a white '5' was used on a red parallelogram, also featuring the ABC logo. On November 30, 2014, the logo was redesigned, and now features the "groovy 5" logo in blue with red lines circling the left part of the logo, with the ABC logo again. On March 22, 2021, the logo got its current redesign, putting a white 5 inside a red "app" shaped square with rounded corners (an updated version of the 1982–1986 logo with the italicized white groovy 5 and the black ABC dot logo placed beside it). An updated graphics and music package debuted on the same day.
KSTP-TV's studios and offices are located at 3415 University Avenue, precisely on the Minneapolis–St. Paul boundary. The sidewalk in the adjacent photo of the building is on the city line. The principal production facilities, including the news studio, are on the Minneapolis side of the building. However, the station has a St. Paul mailing address (55114-2099) and telephone number (area code 651) because its business and advertising offices are on the St. Paul side. The large 594-foot-tall (181 m) freestanding transmitting tower, which was amongst the tallest in the country when completed in 1948, has one leg in each city, with the third leg precisely on the city line. This tower is primarily used as a studio transmitter link relaying the signals for both KSTP-TV and KSTP-FM to the Telefarm paired tower setup in Shoreview (shared with KSTP-FM, WCCO-TV, KARE, and WUCW), along with backup transmitter facilities in case of failure at Shoreview. The tower also houses the transmitter for KEC65, the NOAA Weather Radio station serving the Twin Cities area.
Satellite stations and translators
KSTP-TV operates two satellite stations northwest of the Twin Cities area. These two stations carry KSTP on their DT1 signal, KSTC on DT2, and MeTV on DT3, leaving the other three subchannel services exclusive to the Twin Cities.
|Station||City of license||Channels
(RF / VC)
|Licensee||First air date||Callsign meaning||ERP||HAAT||Transmitter coordinates||Facility ID||Public license information|
|KSAX-TV, Inc.||September 15, 1987 (33 years ago)||KSTP for AleXandria||55.3 kW||361 m (1,184 ft)||45°41′59″N 95°10′36″W||35584||Profile
|KRWF||Redwood Falls||27 (UHF)
|KSAX-TV, Inc.||April 14, 1987 (34 years ago)||K-RedWood Falls||58 kW||151 m (495 ft)||44°29′3″N 95°29′27″W||35585||Profile
KSAX's schedule was virtually identical to that of KSTP-TV, though it aired separate identifications and commercials. It also placed local inserts into KSTP's weeknight broadcasts. KRWF was a full-time repeater of KSAX. Expanding their operations in 1999, the stations hired their first meteorologist. This continued in 2004 with the launch of a half-hour high school sports highlight show. The stations have won numerous broadcast journalism awards from various broadcaster associations. On June 25, 2012, Hubbard Broadcasting shut down KSAX/KRWF's local operations, converting the two stations into full-time satellites of KSTP-TV outside of occasional local advertising and community calendar notices.
In addition, KSTP-TV's signal is further extended by way of twelve translators in central and southern Minnesota:
|TV stations in Minnesota|
|KSTP, St. Paul|
|TV stations in Central Minnesota including Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Brainierd|
|KTCA 2 (PBS)|
WCCO 4 (CBS)